Unlike every other living Pearson on This Is Us, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is the only one not (technically) in a committed relationship. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But, judging by his kinda disastrous relationships with Olivia (Janet Montgomery) and Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) — not to mention the bombshell discovery that he and his childhood sweetheart Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) got divorced — Kevin doesn't seem very good at being a choice bae.
It certainly looks like he and his ex-wife are headed towards reconciliation though, and when TVGuide.com talked with Hartley at NBC's midseason previews, he maintained that Kevin can be a good partner. "It's nice seeing the romantic side of Kevin and the thoughtful side of him," Hartley said. "[He's] a lot like his dad, and I really appreciate that and like that — his kind heart. I guess it makes it okay that he gets away with some of the silly stuff that he does. It's like, 'Well, but he's a good guy.'"
Ah yes, the silly stuff. Kevin certainly has some wonderful attributes...and some maddening traits that creep really close to deal-breaker territory. As Sophie considers taking their relationship to more solid footing than the "cautiously dating" they're currently doing, it might not be a bad idea for her to whip out a sheet of paper and literally write down the pros and cons of settling down with him again. If she did, it might look something like this.
Pro #1: He's a looker!
You could do a lot worse in terms of arm candy.
Con #1: He's self-Absorbed
He's been this way since a kid. Manipulating his parents into having a Princess Bride-themed birthday party so he could put the moves on his sister's friend — ruining Kate's (Chrissy Metz) birthday party in the process — is like, junior psychopath behavior. His coldness toward Randall (Sterling K. Brown) out of jealousy was really petty — although we do have to give Kevin credit for growing more considerate by the day.
Pro #2: He's talented
If reactions from giddy The Manny fans are a good barometer of his acting chops, he's great at what he does.
Con #2: He's insecure
Oh God, if we have to endure any more of his navel-gazing about his perception of his own ability...
Pro #3: He's from a good family
The Pearsons are a relatively stable family (in that we're-all-messy upper-middle-class way).
Con #3: He has deep wounds from childhood
We don't need Dr. Phil to pinpoint how his self-esteem and abandonment issues started, and his father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) dying in Kevin's pivotal years surely made it all worse.
Pro #4: He keeps it real/isn't afraid to be vulnerable
Never have to worry about this guy hiding his feelings, that's for sure.
Con #4: He's oblivious
Is there anyone worse than a houseguest who doesn't know when to hit it? Kevin had to be tapped on the shoulder to know his time at Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall's home (because of his own rash decision, it should be noted) was up. And we can't even count the number of other times he had no clue he was getting on people's nerves.
Pro #5: He's principled
Though we still don't know exactly how Miguel (Jon Huertas) comes to be his stepfather, Kevin's refusal to play nice with him shows he's fiercely loyal. Similarly, his refusal to dump Sloane to get back with Olivia, as much as he liked her, demonstrated fundamental decency. He's always good to Kate (Chrissy Metz), even if he does use her as a crutch sometimes.
Con #5: He's prone to erratic decisions without regard for consequences
His walking off The Manny was juvenile and irresponsible. And abandoning his play, The Back of an Egg, on opening night was foul. While his (finally) coming to Randall's aid was noble, it most certainly could've been handled in a way that didn't leave lots of people stranded and jeopardize his already floundering career.
Pro #6: He's there for you when you need him
Despite his shortcomings — and hey, we all have them — grown-up Kevin is showing us that, when it comes down to it, he's a fundamentally good dude who basically just needs reassurance. Kevin supports his people, which means a lot.
Con #6: He cheated on his wife
Oooh, yeah. That's a big con. In fairness, we don't yet know how it happened — What factors led up to it? What betrayals led to a breakdown in their marriage? — but we do know Sophie's open to talking to him again. So maybe it's a nuanced situation instead of the massive breach of trust it sounds like now?
Pro #7: He's sweet and funny
Underneath it all, Kevin genuinely attempts to be kind and make the people in his life happy, which counts for a lot. He's a little goofy too, which is charming. A mate who can make you laugh is a great mate indeed — and a big reason to keep somebody around for as long as you can.
Do you think Kevin's pros outweigh his cons?
This Is Us' penultimate episode airs Tuesday, March 7 at 9/8c on NBC. The Season 1 finale airs March 14.