Justin Hartley, This Is Us OK, it was hard to narrow it down in an episode as weepy as this, and while the scene between Annie (Faithe Herman) and William (Ron Cephas Jones) just about killed me, and Chrissy Metz’s Kate alternating between sage sister and shaky fangirl with guest star Sylvester Stallone (who was equally great) were a breath of fresh air but Hartley gave his best performance to date in this episode. As much as Kate struggles with Jack’s death, it affects Kevin as much, if not, more. The flashback scenes between Kevin (with his broken leg) and Jack (giving his son the necklace he never took off) is likely a foreshadowing of why Kevin feels so guilty about his dad’s death. Like if Jack had been wearing the talisman he always wore to protect him instead of being around his son’s neck, maybe, just maybe ... It explains why Kevin can’t deal with his father’s death, taking on that blame. As Kevin went from pure elation on the movie set to annoyance and frustration was so, so good. You could feel the irritation coming off him, then lashing out at Kate was both heartbreaking yet understandable. That is EXACTLY what I thought! As soon as I saw that, I wondered if that was why Kevin struggles so hard with Jack’s death, if he (even more than Kate) blames himself the way that you do when something traumatic happens when you are too young to really process it properly. It’s early days but for anyone who felt bad for Hartley when the Emmy nominations came out, don’t. Because if Justin keeps giving performances like this (which he will undoubtedly do as Kevin comes to grips with Jack’s death all season long, as well as show he Will & Grace
truly is his father’s son as he grapples with what looks to be his own addiction storyline to tackle), we’ll be seeing his name on the ballot next year.