All three Pearson children have had trouble dealing with their father Jack's death on This Is Us. While both Kate and Randall have acknowledged it was hard on them, though, Kevin seems to have tamped down his grief — and we wonder if it's about to start manifesting itself as a drug problem.
On the latest episode, pointedly titled "Highs and Lows," Kevin begins shooting his movie with costar Sylvester Stallone, who was Jack's favorite actor (which is a nice nod to Milo Ventimiglia's real-life friendship with Sly; Ventimiglia played Sly's son Robert in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa). On set, Kate tells Sly how much he meant to their father, who passed away when the kids were in high school, and Stallone uses that as a way to reach out to Kevin before they shoot some emotional scenes together.
Unfortunately, Kevin can't get past thinking about his dad; his memories of the night Jack died invade the World War II battle scene they're shooting. In his distracted state, Kevin falls and hurts his knee — his bad knee, the one that was in a cast when Jack died. Viewers are also shown a teenage Kevin in the hospital with Jack putting some kind of saint's medal or good luck charm (it's hard to make out) around Kevin's neck.
Cut to present day, and Kevin takes some painkillers so that he can continue shooting the movie without causing trouble due to his knee. Considering Jack's battle with alcoholism in the flashbacks, this can't be good for Kevin.
Alcoholism and addiction do tend to run in families. In Jack's case, his father is presented in flashbacks as having a drinking problem (and also an anger and violence problem). While Jack seems to have curbed the violent and angry side of his father, the drinking problem continues, and Kevin may be predisposed to that as well.
According to the Addiction Center, behavioral traits like a predisposition for alcohol abuse and addiction can be passed genetically from parent to child. It doesn't guarantee a child will become an alcoholic or drug addict, because social factors also play a role, but it does mean it can be more of a struggle for children where alcoholism runs in their family.
Kevin obviously has some issues to work through regarding his father. It always seems like both Randall and Kate were closer to Jack and Rebecca than Kevin was in flashbacks, so he may feel like he doesn't deserve to struggle with his grief. We're also curious about how that charm Jack gives Kevin might factor in — does Kevin blame himself for his father's death because Jack was missing his good luck charm? It sounds kind of silly, but that seems exactly like something a kid might latch onto and carry with them for years afterward.
Whether Kevin blames himself or not, one thing is for sure — this knee problem and the bottle of pills he ran to to fix it aren't going away any time soon.