Season 4 of This Is Us has a lot going on. But, the Pearsons are just getting started. Kevin Pearson, played by three different actors, seems to be the Pearson with the most repressed emotional baggage.
Promos for the next episode show teenage Kevin in a new predicament: he got hitched. Here’s everything you need to know about the actor who plays him.
Kevin Pearson’s struggle on ‘This Is Us’ didn’t begin when Jack died
Present-day Kevin (Justin Hartley) is focused on his sobriety again. It’s something he’s struggled with in the past but relapsed. He’s also invested in helping long lost Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) and newcomer, Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison), to get their lives together.
They each have similar pains. Kevin’s issues come from the loss of patriarch, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), while Nicky struggles to deal with his time in Vietnam. Cassidy has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from her time served in Afghanistan.
The three connect in ways most outsiders can’t understand. Kevin’s insecurities stem as far back as childhood. His need to be the most popular (even among his siblings) outranks all else.
While Kevin and Kate (Chrissy Metz) have remained close, it’s Kevin and Randall’s relationship that has been the most strained. Over the last three seasons, Kevin’s come in and out of sobriety, therapies, and relationships. He’s constantly seeking validation everywhere he can get it.
Childhood Kevin (Parker Bates) often bullied Randall (Lonnie Chavis) and envied the relationship Randall had with Jack. Those feelings only intensified after Jack’s death.
Teenage Kevin’s reaction to the loss is important because it reveals why adult Kevin is the way he is.
Who plays teenage Kevin Pearson on ‘This Is Us’?
Shroyer told Good Housekeeping ahead of Season 4, he hates seeing his selfish character “look bad all the time,” because fans point the finger at him in real life.
“I instantly go, ‘Why you coming at me?'” Shroyer said. “I have to remember, like, ‘I didn’t do those things. I’m not that person, okay’ … [But] I’m not going to lie, I low-key judge people who don’t like Kevin.”
Shroyer also said he understands why Kevin behaves the way he does and that his narcissism came from somewhere, which is important to remember when watching Kevin’s story unfold.
“The most crushing thing that we didn’t get to see a ton of from Kevin’s perspective is that he broke his leg,” he said. “But what’s so devastating about it is, to me, it felt like everyone got over it so fast.”
That aside, Shroyer also commented on the strain between Kevin and Randall.
“While Kevin has an inability to be a good brother sometimes, there’s the care underneath it that I’d love to see more of,” Logan said. “I want to see more redemption moments. There are a few of these that we’ve already seen, but they happened when [Kevin and Randall] are older.”
It remains to be seen how much healing will take place in season 4. News of teen Kevin’s marriage to Sophie (Amanda Leighton) proves it’ll certainly get worse before it gets better.
How did Logan Shroyer almost miss out on ‘This Is Us’?
Shroyer told People he almost didn’t get the role of Kevin, saying he auditioned when he had an already full schedule.
“It was Halloween night, if not the day after, that I got the call about the audition and I almost didn’t go,” he said. “It was super last minute. I had a dentist appointment that I ended up canceling because I was like, ‘I have to do this.’
It’s a good thing he made it because the next afternoon, he got the gig. Shroyer prepared for the role by getting his hair “’90s ready,” and colored contacts to match Hartley’s eye color.
“I got the script that morning I met Dan [Fogelman] and I met Mandy [Moore]. It was one audition. Boom! Let’s do it. I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” Shroyer said.
“This Is Us has been the biggest blessing ever to be able to learn from people above me like that — that are so good at what they do.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone else as teenage Kevin on This Is Us — especially when he comes home to explain his rush to the later to his mother. Good luck, Kev.