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Warning! The following contains spoilers pertaining to the latest episode of This Is Us. Read at your own risk.
On the heels of that big reveal last night on This Is Us, the producers have shared some additional insights many viewers might not have picked up on. Producer John Requa talked about Jack's mega-secret -- that he had a brother that he hid from everyone -- and how it directly relates to his kids, Kevin and Randall:
The big thing is that he keeps secrets, that he has compartmentalized and hidden away this part of his life, which obviously was his brother, and it was a big part. Obviously a major thing happened, some trauma of some sort. And that's what Kevin is doing. That's what we're trying to say with this episode. This life of keeping secrets and evasiveness is exactly the sort of behavior that Kevin is exhibiting. We're trying to draw the parallels between the good and the bad of Jack, and how it manifests in his children.Then you also follow Randall, who is manifesting the good Jack in a complete way, and his dogged determination to make this relationship with Deja work, and to try to influence her life in a positive way. And that's the good side of Jack. You live on through your children, and I think that he is living on through his children, but the unfortunate truth is, not only the good survives. That's what we're seeing in Randall. And it also explains why at the beginning of the episode, Jack is almost a little possessed by his desire for Kevin and Randall to work out their relationship problems, and it's not until the end of the episode you're like, "Oh, geez, so that's why it's so important to him.
Aha! So Jack's actions and personality traits he shows in the past are currently showcased by his sons in the present. Randall got more of Jack's kind-hearted nature, patience, and relentless caring, and Kevin got just about every negative characteristic.
Much like Jack had kept quiet about his brother, Kevin is keeping everyone out of the loop on his knee injury, and lying that things are okay while he's also arguing with doctors on the phone for more pain pills. As John Requa told EW, this is the show's way of saying that parents live on through their children, although we'd hope that one kid doesn't always get the short end of the stick personality-wise.
If Kevin instinctively turns to Jack's worst traits in times of stress, that could be bad news for him as he tries to maintain his relationship with his ex-wife while also wrapping the biggest film of his career. Jack's secrets have turned out to be destructive and caused a lot of issues for him in his life, and the same might come true for Kevin. Speaking about that deathbed scene involving Jack's father, John Requa hinted at a potentially dire fate for Kevin.
There was a little bit more dialogue that was trimmed out. There was a desire to leave it a little bit more ambiguous. He represents, in the microcosm of the episode, the Kevin path. So Jack has two sides to his personality, the secret keeper in his alcoholism and the fact that he has his brother in Vietnam, and the ebullient, generous, loving father side. Randall is running the good path and Kevin is falling down the path that represents the dark side of his father. And the end of that path is Stanley in that nursing home, dying alone.
Things don't seem so dreadfully dire with Kevin's pain pill addiction that we'll see him looking as rough as Stanley did in that nursing home, but it is worrisome to hear a producer say that about the This Is Us character. After all, Stanley likely didn't look quite so haggard during his thirties. If Kevin is like Jack, then he'll need someone like Rebecca to pull him out of it. Is his ex-wife Sophie the person to do that for him?
Those questions will surely be answered at some point, as This Is Us charges ahead with another new episode on Tuesday, October 31st, at 9 p.m. ET. The show has been a big hit for NBC, but it's not the only program looking to make a splash this fall season! Keep tabs on all of the season's hottest shows and where to find them by bookmarking our fall premiere guide.