Thank goodness Kevin left Pittsburgh without messing things up with Sophie again.
This Is Us Season 4 Episode 12 was dedicated to their reunion.
It was a tribute to their long relationship as well as to Sophie's late mother, and it worked well.
Claire's funeral felt like a real funeral because of the flashback scenes.
In some ways, Claire was what Rebecca couldn't be for Kevin.
While Rebecca missed his background-character debut on Days of Our Lives, Claire not only watched it but made a point of encouraging him to go back to the producers and demand another scene with lines in it.
Hey Soph, I'm really sorry. She was a force of nature.Kevin
But more importantly, Claire saw what Kevin was. She knew he loved Sophie and that he had the potential to be a great actor, but she also knew he was a kid and that the marriage might not last.
A lot of Kevin's regret came from knowing he'd let Claire down as well as blown it with Sophie over and over.
I hate on-again-off-again relationships and wasn't looking forward to more Kevin and Sophie for that reason.
But the way This Is Us weaved in so many different aspects of Kevin and Sophie's long history made the story worth watching.
Kevin's grief over Claire's death was tangled up with his grief over the way his relationship with Sophie never went where he wanted it to go, and his inability to earn her grandmother's ring was a great symbol of that.
Claire wanted him to prove himself worthy of the ring, e.g., worthy of Sophie, and he failed. No wonder it was hard for him to see Sophie holding hands with Grant.
It was interesting that we never saw Grant's face. All we ever saw of him was that one hand taking Sophie's.
From Kevin's perspective, it didn't matter who Grant was. Grant wasn't Kevin, that's all.
Grant never knew her. I mean, they met a few times, but she was so sick. It's so weird to think I'm going to spend the rest of my life with someone who never knew my mother.Sophie
So viewers didn't need to meet him. He was an abstraction, the future husband Sophie had who she presumably was happy with but totally not important to the story.
This Is Us turned so many tropes on its head with that.
Most shows would have had a jealous fiance who later found out he had reason to be jealous.
But on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 12, the opposite happened.
Grant was so un-jealous he never once said a word, and Kevin was allowed to be the friend Sophie needed who had the memories and understanding to comfort her in a way her fiance couldn't.
The story wasn't about Kevin trying to pick up where he left off. It was about him grieving the relationship he didn't have and the mistakes he'd made that ended that forever.
Claire's funeral was, in some ways, a funeral for Kevin's dream of having a life with Sophie, and his heartbreaking speech at Claire's gravesite demonstrated that.
It was as if he'd lived his life out of order, marrying Sophie before he was supposed to and losing her once he was ready to be married.
But once he realized that, he could accept that he and Sophie were determined to be nothing but friends and move on.
Kevin: I miss my sheep.
Jack: I know. Look,bud, sometimes we lose things we love and it makes us feel sad. Really sad. Now I know right now this feels like the worst thing in the world, but I promise you will find something else to love.
That was the point of the whole Good Will Hunting subplot.
They never saw the end of the movie, so they imagined all sorts of wild things, but the real ending was amazing even though it wasn't what they'd expected.
I liked how they weaved in little Kevin missing his sheep mobile, too. To a toddler, the loss of the mobile was just as heartbreaking as the loss of his marriage was to adult Kevin.
Jack tried so hard to get that mobile back for Kevin, but when he learned the mobile was gone, he gave a beautiful, comforting speech about grief.
And once again, This Is Us demonstrated how the past affects the future in all sorts of unexpected ways, as Kevin thought about that long-ago moment when he was by Claire's grave.
Afterward, of course, Kevin went home... and appears to have ended up in bed with Madison.
Better her than Sophie, but only time will tell if this is another mistake or the beginning of a real relationship.
Kevin seemed to regret it when he was talking to Randall, and he looked at Madison guiltily when he was talking to Kate.
But just because Madison is Kate's friend doesn't mean she's off limits to Kevin, and hopefully this won't be another impulsive sex-capade like when he slept with Cassidy.
The last five minutes contained a double whammy of a cliffhanger.
Adult Kate's marriage is imploding for reasons unknown. Well, we can guess, given what's been going on, but we don't know for sure.
And young Kate is having some sort of serious problem with Marc at the cabin.
This Is Us won't return until February 11, giving viewers plenty of time to discuss what they think that means.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics. What are your thoughts on Kevin's reunion with Sophie and his hook-up with Madison?
And what do you think happened now with Kate and Toby?
Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.
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This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST. It returns on February 11, 2020.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.