“I think that they have this magnetic pull toward each other, and they have that kind of love at first sight thing that’s never left either of them,” Breckenridge tells PEOPLE of Sophie and Kevin
Kevin Pearson may have finally found his happy ending with Sophie Inman on This Is Us.
During Tuesday’s episode, titled “The Night Before the Wedding,” viewers finally got to see what Kevin (Justin Hartley) was up to the evening before Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Phillip (Chris Geere) got married.
The episode began with a young Kevin in school writing Valentine’s Day cards for the girls in his class, before shifting to the present day, where he ran into his ex-wife and longtime love Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) in the hotel ahead of the rehearsal dinner. As fans know, Sophie is good friends with Kate and was invited to her wedding, despite her past with Kevin.
After Sophie’s luggage was lost during her travels, Kevin took her into town to buy some clothes and toiletries. The two ended up spending the afternoon together, in which Sophie disclosed more about her life, including the shocking revelation that she is now divorced from her husband.
Later that night, Sophie and Kevin started to get intimate, but Sophie got upset after Kevin commented that her hair smells the same as it did in high school, and left. Confused and heartbroken, Kevin attempted to find comfort in the wedding singer (Katie Lowes) and in longtime friend Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison) but his heart remained focused on Sophie.
The following day at the wedding, Sophie shared a conversation with Rebecca (Mandy Moore), who is battling dementia. During their conversation, Rebecca noted that while Kevin is not “ready” for Sophie as a 20-year-old, he “will be” ready one day in the future.
After a sweet pep talk from his brother Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kevin mended the situation with Sophie and the two finally rekindled their romance — but not without Kevin revealing that he has “kept” Sophie with him all these years by carrying the valentine he made for her in grade school in his wallet.
Below, Breckenridge tells PEOPLE about Kevin and Sophie’s rekindled romance and what this means for their future together.
ALEXANDRA BRECKENRIDGE: I had a creative conversation with [creator] Dan Fogelman about where he wanted to take the character this season. So I kind of knew what was coming up, but reading the script… it took me on the emotional rollercoaster that I think we take everybody on watching it. Playing that character, and coming to the show, leaving the show, not really sure if I was going to be on the show or not for so many reasons, and then the weight of the Kevin and Sophie relationship that spans … I mean, at this point in the show, it’s 40 years for them. It was so huge and heavy for the character and for me.
It’s been this bizarre back and forth. And I was just really, really happy with the episode and how the characters come together and that they get to explore this rekindling of their feelings for each other in this beautiful place. It’s really romantic and it was just very satisfying. I’m really happy with it.
How long have you actually known that Sophie and Kevin would end up together?
[Dan and I] had a conversation about how they wanted to end it with them [around] last year. He said, “This is what we would like to do. This is our ideal [storyline] and we have this wedding between Kate and Phillip that’s going to take place that we want to sort of jump back and forth through timelines.” They had kind of outlined it back then, but I didn’t know if I was going to be in Vancouver shooting Virgin River. It was kind of unclear if it was going to be possible.
I think we were all hoping that we would be able to make it happen. I mean, through the characters, the way that they built up their relationship, starting from such a young age… I don’t want to say soulmates, because I don’t know if that applies, but I think that they have this magnetic pull toward each other. And they have that kind of love at first sight thing that’s never left either of them.
During the episode, Rebecca is struggling with her dementia and has several conversations with Sophie, in which she asks how college is going and how she and Kevin are handling their long-distance relationship. How much of an influence do you think those conversations have on Sophie’s decision to give Kevin another chance?
The conversation that Sophie has with Rebecca at the wedding was a pivotal moment for her, where she makes the decision to go for it with him, to jump back into it with him because it’s this sage advice that Rebecca gives. She thinks they’re 20 years old. It’s almost like her character is seeing into the future into the present.
I think that is not lost on Sophie. I think it’s huge for her because she’s really absorbing and seeing what Rebecca is saying to her. And so that’s the moment. I don’t know if you can catch it, but that’s the moment where Sophie says to herself, “Okay, I’m going to do it.”
Sophie also has a very emotional reaction when Kevin comments on her hair smelling the same and tells him, “I need you to love me for the woman I am today.” Why do you think she reacted the way she did?
It freaked her out. She suddenly is like, “Oh my gosh, he just loves this old version of me. He’s not present with me. He’s not, right now as our 46-year-old selves.” But she was misinterpreting it and just getting scared, which makes sense because Kevin has broken her heart two times, at least.
Do you think Sophie will be able to fully trust Kevin from this point forward, knowing that he has cheated on her in the past? Plus Sophie is a traveling nurse and might be away from him for periods of time!
Yeah. I think that when she gets to this place, after talking to Rebecca and after having these moments in this afternoon with Kevin, she knows that he’s changed. And I think that’s why it’s such a huge decision for her to go all in, and be able to let him back in fully. She is walking into it with completely open arms. I don’t think she’s closed off. I think she realizes that he is different and that he has changed. And the only way you can walk back into a relationship like that is to trust the other person.
I agree. I feel like there’s a nice theme about second chances in the last few episodes, regarding Sophie and Kevin, and Kate with Philip, and the idea of what could happen if you trust the process and open your heart to the right person.
It’s something that the This Is Us writers do very, very well. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s all very well thought-out and it’s character-driven. And that’s why I love the writing on this show. They do such a beautiful job of tugging at your heartstrings while you’re watching it. But that’s because it’s speaking to you, because everybody can engage and they understand it, and they can connect to it on an emotional level.
Is there anything you can hint at regarding Sophie and Kevin’s future in the final four episodes? Will Sophie take on a co-parenting role with Kevin’s kids or help with his Big 3 business?
I think you’re going to see how that dynamic is going to play out between her and his kids, and Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and Elijah (Adam Korson). But as we close in on the end of the show, and we have this looming deathbed that’s been teased over the last few seasons in the future, Sophie’s going to be a great sense of support and stability for Kevin.
How are you feeling knowing that there are only a few episodes left?
This is obviously an incredible group of people, from the top to the bottom of the show. Everybody that works on it is so kind and hard-working and thoughtful and present and engaged. It’s very rare to come onto a show where you feel that from everyone that you’re working with. They have something really special.
Not only is the show incredibly successful, but it’s successful for all the right reasons in terms of the people who are creating it. And so it’s such an honor to be able to be on the show. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to be here at the end. I will miss it, but I’m just happy that I was able to be on it at all. I think there’s more story for Kevin and Sophie that I would’ve loved to dive into, but there’s just not enough time to do it all.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.