"Number One" is the first of three episodes dedicated to each of the Pearson siblings. Each episode tells the story of what is happening in the lives of Kevin, Kate, and Randall on the same day. This is Kevin's story.
Kevin was the first to be born. He is also the first Pearson triplet to walk. The episode begins with an excited Jack and Rebecca recording Kevin's first steps! Kevin may have been the first of the three to walk, but present day Kevin is in trouble. He has ended things with Sophie and is becoming more and more isolated by his addiction. The phone rings. It's Kelly, a student at Kevin's high school finalizing plans for his attendance at a ceremony honoring him for his achievement. Kevin doesn't realize that the ceremony is the next but of course, he'll be there.
We know that Kevin was a star athlete with a promising career as a professional quarterback. As Rebecca and Jack prepare for the visit of a college recruiter, an arrogant young Kevin doesn't seem to get the importance of the meeting because it's not the school he wants to attend. Jack and Rebecca are horrified when Kevin is just plain rude to the recruiter.
Jack and Rebecca are furious with Kevin for his behavior and Jack orders Kevin to write a letter of apology to the man. Kevin, still with an attitude, storms out of the room. But he goes to his room and starts the paper.
Jack and Rebecca are furious with Kevin for his behavior, and Jack orders Kevin to write a letter of apology to the man. Kevin, still with an attitude, storms out of the room. But he goes to his room and starts the paper.
During the night, Kevin happens to Jack who has called his AA sponsor. Jack is talking about Kevin and how he lost control of his anger. The conversation ends, and Kevin watches his dad, kneel and recite the serenity prayer.
It's the day of Kevin's biggest game and the Pearson's are preparing. Unfortunately, Randall has an interview at Harvard that has been scheduled for the same day so Jack and Randall will miss the game. Jack takes a moment to apologize to Kevin for letting his anger get the best of him. Kevin brushes him off. Even as a teen, Kevin seems to be unable to deal with intense emotion.
Back to present day Kevin who is back in his hometown for the ceremony. Being back here, brings back all the memories of his childhood, the knee injury that ruined his dreams and, of course, his memories of Jack. We know that there isn't much time between Kevin's injury and Jack's death. We don't know how it all ties together, but as Kevin is unraveling, more details are revealed. Before he goes back to his high school, Kevin's limo pulls up to the Pearson's old house. Well, at least the site of where his house used to be.
Next stop is the high school. Kevin arrives and is met by Kelly, who is the spitting image of a young Sophie. He heads inside and as he walks the halls, more memories flood back. He sees the trophy case which still has his jersey inside. It's #1 of course.
Back to the fated football game years ago. Rebecca and Kate watch as Kevin takes a hit and crumbles to the ground in pain. Sophie, who is a cheerleader, turns to see Kevin on the ground. It's bad and Rebecca knows it. She sends Kate off to find Jack.
Jack arrives at the hospital and Kevin watches as his parents talk to the doctor. Kevin's injury is catastrophic and will end his dreams of professional football. It is up to Jack to break the news to Kevin, who is devastated.
Kevin, who is becoming more and more lost as the days goes on, is at a pre-ceremony luncheon. He runs into Charlotte, a classmate of Kevin's. She is also being honored because of her work as a plastic surgeon who works with burn victims. Charlotte admits that she had a huge crush on him. She tells him that he was always nice to her and Kevin tries to open up to Charlotte about how alone he feels. She uses the opportunity to make a play for Kevin.
Time for the ceremony begins. Does no one see that Kevin is not doing well? Kevin rises to accept his award, and he tells the crowd full of students that he is not someone to be admired. He is not a good person. The more he shared his past and his present; the crowd just keeps cheering him on.
Adding, even more, alcohol to the mix, Kevin wanders to the football field. The place where all his dreams were shattered. He doesn't understand why no matter how low he goes, how many mistakes he makes, how awful he treats people, the crowd still cheers him on. As he sits on the field, drowning his sorrows in booze, Kelly appears. She asks if Kevin is okay and asks if he wants to party. No, no, no!
Next, we see Kevin in bed with someone, and we are all thinking it's going to be Kelly, admit it! It's not though; it's Charlotte. She goes on and on about how much this night has meant to her, and all Kevin wants to do it get away from her. At Kevin's request, she heads to the kitchen to make him something to eat and Kevin sneaks out. But, not before he steals Charlotte's prescription pad from her desk.
As Kevin waits in line at the pharmacy to get his painkillers, he feels for the pendant that he always wears around his neck! It's missing!
As Kevin, begins to panic, we are taken back to the night in the hospital when Jack gives Kevin the pendant and explains that it is the Buddhist symbol for "purpose." Jack explains that Kevin is his purpose and swears to his son that he will find his purpose as well.
Kevin races back to Charlotte's to beg for his necklace back. Charlotte refuses to look for the necklace and who can blame her. He humiliated her by sneaking out the way he did. Is this rock bottom for Kevin?
Hours later it appears that Kevin is finally going to reach out for help and heads to Randall's house. Kevin starts to tell Randall that something's happened and he needs help. Randall says that he already knows... Kate has lost the baby!
Wait! What? Did I hear that right? Yes, Randall tells Kevin that Kate lost the baby! As tragic as this is, what about Kevin? When will his family notice he is killing himself?
"Number Two" is Kate's story.