‘This Is Us’: Justin Hartley Promises Kevin & Randall Still ‘Love Each Other’

This Is Us Season 5 - Justin Hartley

To say that dreamboat movie star Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) has a lot on his plate in This Is Us‘ fifth season is quite an understatement. When TV’s weepiest family drama picks up several months after the events of its March finale, the recovering alcoholic is trying to keep, oh, about a million emotions in check. “He definitely runs the gamut,” says Hartley, laughing.

Most worrying are the ripple effects from Kevin’s explosive exchange with brother Randall (Sterling K. Brown). The alpha males had been at odds before, but this was no mere disagreement: Kevin learned Randall had secretly coerced their Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), into moving to St. Louis for a nine-month clinical trial — after she’d decided against it. So Kevin lashed out, saying, in essence, he wished their parents had never adopted Randall.

“It’s not like someone said something they didn’t mean and they can just apologize,” Hartley explains. “If Kevin had to do it over, he would have chosen different words or maybe just not said it altogether, but there’s that sliver of truth.” However long the rift continues, he promises one thing will not change: “They’re brothers and they love each other.”

Meanwhile, now that Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) flighty but kind friend Madison (Caitlin Thompson) is pregnant by him (with twins!) after a one-night stand, Kevin is in an unusual place: “He’s happy,” says Hartley. “Having a family is something he’s always wanted. This is not the way in which he saw it happening, necessarily, but what is?”

This Is Us Season 5 Justin Hartley Chrissy Metz Sterling k Brown

(Credit: NBC)

The inevitable next question is whether parenthood could lay the groundwork for romance. Calling the pair “two lost souls [who met] at a vulnerable time,” Hartley teases, “You never know. You spend a lot of time with someone and next thing you know, you’ve fallen in love!”

This Is Us, Season Premiere, Tuesday, October 27, 9/8c, NBC