‘This Is Us’: Fans Discovered yet Another Parallel Between Nicky and Kevin—This One Will Make You Ugly Cry

Season 4 of This Is Us is currently on winter break, but that does not stop fans from theorizing about everything that has ever happened on the show. The latest discovery involves Nicky (Griffin Dunne) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), and it’s one that will pull at your heartstrings.

Let’s take a look at Nicky and Kevin’s relationship and how it relates to Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. Warning: Season 4 Spoilers.

Griffin Dunne and Justin Hartley
Griffin Dunne and Justin Hartley | Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

‘This Is Us’ refresher: How did Uncle Nicky come into Kevin’s life?

Before we go into the heartwrenching parallel between Kevin and Nicky, let’s do a quick recap of how the two met and their relationship thus far. It all began with Kevin and Zoe (Melanie Liburd) discovering a postcard from Nicky addressed to Kevin’s father, Jack. 

Kevin soon figures out that his Uncle Nicky is alive—not dead, like Jack told ‘the big three’ their entire life. Kevin enlists his brother, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and sister, Kate (Chrissy Metz), to travel the five hours from Pittsburgh together to meet 70-year-old Nicky.

When they find Nicky,—secluded from the world in a beat-up trailer— they unravel the entire backstory of Jack and Nicky’s falling out. It turns out that Nicky was grenade fishing with a little boy back in Vietnam. A grenade accidentally went off on the boat, killing the young boy, leaving Jack to console the mother. Jack was so mad at Nicky that he never spoke to him again.

Nicky tried to contact Jack by sending postcards to him. He desperately wanted to tell his brother the truth about what happened on the boat, but Jack wouldn’t hear it. When ‘the big 3’ inform him of Jack’s death, Nicky is heartbroken. He tells them to leave, but Kevin goes back.    

Kevin and Nicky’s relationship grows and changes throughout season 4 of ‘This Is Us’

Kevin vows not to repeat the same mistakes his father did. He buys a fancy mobile home and parks it on Nicky’s property. In the beginning, Kevin is helping to soften Nicky. However, as the season continues, Nicky becomes a father figure for Kevin. 

After Kevin sleeps with Cassidy, Nicky lectures him—Kevin sees his father, Jack, instead of Nicky handing out the guilt. When it comes time for Nicky’s court trial, fans love how he tells the judge that he is not sorry for throwing the chair through a window. 

It is undoubtedly a tearjerker moment when Nicky reveals that if he had not have thrown the chair, he would not have developed a relationship with his nephew, quit drinking, or went to therapy.

By the season 4 fall finale, Nicky is part of the family. He wears the Pilgrim Rick hat and starts the family tradition of bringing a shrimp platter to Thanksgiving. He finds that although Jack did not include him in the family, his brother often told the children stories that came straight from Nicky. 

Why do Nicky and Kevin bond so seamlessly on ‘This Is Us’?

As we all know, This Is Us gives us layer upon layer of themes to unpack during each episode. One that may not have been apparent to everyone is that Nicky and Kevin both feel guilty for not being able to apologize to Jack before he died. 

“When Nicky tells the big three the story of the boat incident in the Vietnam war,” one Reddit user wrote, “he ends it with that he never got to tell Jack that he was sorry/it was an accident. He says ‘I never got to tell him’ and the camera pans to Kevin’s face for a good few seconds.”

“I never realized this parallel with Kevin not getting to tell Jack he’s sorry either,” continued the fan. “I knew Kevin identified with his uncle because of their issues with alcohol, but it completely went over my head that it also has so much to do with them not being able to say certain things to Jack before he left the world.”

This unspoken connection of guilt and forgiveness brings Nicky and Kevin closer. Together they have helped each other through the pain and sorrow of losing someone they loved before they could say everything they wanted to.

To catch more episodes of Uncle Nicky and Jack, head to NBC on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, for the return of This Is Us.