‘This Is Us’: Justin Hartley Previews Rebecca’s ‘Heartbreaking’ Struggles and How Kevin Steps up as NBC Drama Ends

This Is Us‘ Kevin (Justin Hartley) finally has his romantic life in order as a partner to Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge). Now, fans will continue to see his evolution into the man his mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore) always knew he could be. Hartley said the remaining four episodes of the NBC family drama would preview Rebecca’s “heartbreaking” struggles and how Kevin steps up to help as the curtain drops on the series after six seasons.

Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley play Rebecca and Kevin on NBC's "This Is Us."
Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley | Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Rebecca was the catalyst for Sophie and Kevin’s reunion

Unknowingly, Rebecca was a catalyst for Kevin’s romantic reunion with Sophie.

Rebecca believed her son was her late husband Jack at different times due to her advancing Alzheimers.

In other moments, she thought Sophie was just 20 and still married Kevin when they spoke.

Rebecca sat down next to Sophie after Kate and Phillip’s (Chrissy Metz and Chris Geere) wedding.

She told her former daughter-in-law the timing isn’t right because Kevin isn’t yet ready for Sophie — but one day he will be, and if Sophie’s still waiting for him then, he will be so great to her.

Sophie later told Kevin that she spent most of her life praying he would grow up, and he’s finally the man she always knew he could be.

They’re now both the best versions of themselves and in the right place at the right time. Sophie implores Kevin that he needs to love her for who she is today, and she needs to love this adult version of her childhood love.

Justin Hartley shares Rebecca’s ‘heartbreaking’ struggles on ‘This Is Us’

In an interview with Variety, Hartley discussed what fans could look forward to regarding the health of the Pearson family matriarch in the series’ final four episodes.

“First of all, it’s heartbreaking,” Hartley explained.

“This is mom. If she thinks he’s Jack, it’s the least Kevin can do to answer her. She raised him, gave him everything — is take care of that moment for her as she slips in and out. I thought that was a manly, honorable, grown-up thing to do. And he’s going to keep doing that.”

“You have a woman who is slipping in and out. Even when she’s out, she does not remember things as they are now but remembers things the way they were in better times. Whatever that relationship was, whatever it was in her mind at the time, that was real to her,” the actor continued.

“Even though he’s taking care of her, and she’s elderly, and her mind is going, and she’s slipping, she can take care of Kevin without even really knowing it. I thought that was such a sweet thing to do. She is still his mom. Even though she thinks she’s talking to Jack, she’s still Kevin’s mom,” Hartley concluded.

‘This Is Us’ Season 6: As Kevin grows older, he mirrors his idol, dad Jack

Kevin saw his father Jack in a dream sequence. He gave him an important piece of advice about being a father.

The actor spoke of the final four episodes with a longing for what he could continue to explore as Kevin, mainly as a father to twins Nicky and Franny.

As time goes on, he becomes more like his idol, dad Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), than he ever believed possible.

The character also gets a taste of what Jack endured parenting headstrong Kevin.

Hartley mused, “Kevin wasn’t the easiest child growing up. So you can imagine that maybe the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and maybe there’s some conflict there.”

The actor continued, “It’s fun to see him [Kevin] in a different capacity. Remember when we used to see Jack be like, ‘Get your a** upstairs,’ because Kevin was a little pill. Now you see Kevin dealing with his kid, saying, ‘Go to your room! You’ve got to be kidding!’ It’s pretty good stuff.”

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

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