Is This Is Us season 2 episode 8 Justin Hartley’s best performance ever?

Justin HartleyThis Is Us season 2 episode 8 on NBC Tuesday night was one of the best episodes of the season. To go along with that, it may also be the best Justin Hartley performance.

While many people on this show are routinely praised for their performances, we do think that Hartley is the one of the main five Pearson family members who doesn’t get enough love. We hope that this changes after making our way through “Number One.” This was an emotional, traumatic episode for the Kevin character as he realized that he is far from a hero, and that he can’t go through making his recovery on his own. He wasn’t even trying to on his own. Instead, we saw at the end of tonight’s episode him going to Randall for help, only to realize that Randall may have some other priorities at the moment: Caring for Kate, who recently lost her baby.

Hartley’s performance throughout the hour was haunting and painful, starting with the incredibly-sad scene earlier in the episode when Kevin relied on his hotel maid for advice about his high-school homecoming ceremony. Then, you watched him become detached to what was going on and sifting through his memories. Him imagining Jack welcoming him at the high school rather than his old high-school football coach was a tear-inducing moment, and then there was the painful one of him sitting alone on a football field, drunk, recounting his high-school glory days before there was any struggle. He could be a hero then because he didn’t have any responsibility. He didn’t know how to be tested so he was blind to it. Hartley’s performance kicked us right in the heart.

As fantastic as many of these scenes were for Justin, none surpassed the one near the end of the episode where he, emotionally and physically distraught, pleaded outside of Charlotte’s house for her to let him back in so that he could retrieve his father’s necklace. Because he had already wronged her on so many levels, she didn’t let him and that only twisted the knife. Kevin begging for help time and time again was heartbreaking, and it was such a different dimension and range to the character than we’ve seen before. Hartley should easily be considered for some nominations after this episode, even if he is probably competing with some of his fellow co-stars. That’s a consequence of a show being this consistently fantastic with so many outstanding performances. That being said, this was Justin’s moment to shine.

What did you think about Justin Hartley’s performance tonight?

Do you think that this was one of the best ones of the entire series for him, and what moment stood out the most? Be sure to share in the comments below!

Also, take a look over here in the event you do want to get some more news on tonight’s This Is Us, and that includes both a full review for tonight’s new episode and also a preview for what’s coming up on the show next week.

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