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There’s nothing we love more than a drama-fuelled episode of This Is Us (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., CTV), especially one that basically takes place entirely in a hospital waiting room. Tuesday night’s episode marked the first time the whole Pearson fam-jam has been together since Kevin went to rehab, and with everything that’s happened in the episodes since you can imagine how well it went.

Read: it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. For everyone.

It seemed like each family member was at one another’s throats as the stress of waiting to hear what was happening to Kate and the baby got to each character, notably Kevin and Randall. It’s rare that the brothers can hang out in the same room and not go at each other, but add in Randall’s stress over fighting with Beth and taking office, and Kevin’s current situation with the bottle, and things blew up pretty quickly.

And we get it. No one is ever their best in a situation like that. Kate was only 28 weeks pregnant, which is a terrifying number in terms of having your water break. So no one really wanted to sit there and call attention to the elephant in the room, which is Kevin’s drinking. However… maybe they should have?

Don’t get us wrong. We understand that in that moment, in that waiting room, everyone was worried about Kate and the baby. But doesn’t it always seems like someone else on this show has bigger problems than Kevin that require more immediate attention? Whether it’s Randall’s anxiety, Kate’s weight, Randall’s adoptive storyline, Kate’s baby problems… there is always something. And it’s not that Randall and Kate don’t have big, important things to deal with, but who says that addiction isn’t also important?

Some people on social media were calling out This Is Us for having Kevin go down the relapse road, but addiction doesn’t just cure itself. Having the character magically heal and never go back just wouldn’t be realistic. And isn’t it also kind of telling that Jack relapsed a few times in his life too? Who’s to say that he wouldn’t have done so again had he not died so tragically? Rebuilding your life after a huge fire and watching your kids go off to college would have been definite stressors for the guy.

And had it been Jack, the family probably would have focused all of their efforts on making him better. Is Kevin different because he’s a movie star? Does that mean he’s supposed to just shove aside his very real feelings and suck them up in order to be there for everyone else? Because his life is oh-so-enviable?

That’s the brilliance, but also the tragedy in writing a character like Kevin. He always seems to spiral at the worst possible times, and none of his family members can ever actually be there for him when he needs help. Did no one seriously think to question Kevin when he came back into that waiting room with a water bottle, noticeably calmer than before? Obviously there was vodka in there, but no one (save Zoe, who took a quiet swig) even bothered to think of it. If that isn’t a sign of just how alone Kevin actually is… well we don’t know what is.

People who face addiction aren’t addicted by choice. It’s more complicated than just saying no, and Kevin has the added guilt of knowing Toby is mad at him and he wasn’t sober enough to drive Kate to the hospital when her water broke. Heck, he may even be blaming himself for her water breaking at this point. Those thoughts aren’t going to help him overcome his demons anytime soon. People who are addicted know they hurt the ones closest to them—it’s why they pull away. They often can’t help themselves.

So… why can’t the Pearsons just try and help him, already?

For now, there were other big developments to dig into on Tuesday’s episode, including the monumental (if not super premature) arrival of Jack. There was no doubt in our minds, ever, that Kate and Toby would name their baby boy after Kate’s late father, but now that he’s here and so darned small… well let’s just say that our hearts can’t take losing another Jack on this show. So when Kate whispered over and over again to Tobes that their baby would be okay, we chose to desperately believe her.

Now if only we could feel the same about Kevin… That’s a situation that is definitely going to get worse before it even beings to get better. Sigh… pass the Rold Gold pretzels please, because we have a feeling there are a few more tense Pearson moments coming up that will totally need defusing.

 

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.