Throughout the first half of NBC’s emotional family drama, This Is Us, it seemed that Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) has been going through a downward spiral. After injuring his knee again while filming a movie (episode 3), the firstborn of the Big Three develops an addiction to painkillers and alcohol, cheats on Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) and completely breaks down after losing his father’s pendant (Number One). The season’s fall finale sees Kevin getting arrested for driving under the influence, with Randall’s daughter Tess in the back seat.

Kevin Pearson: A bad guy or just a good guy in trouble?

“The bottom line is Kevin a good guy. He's not a bad person,” Justin Hartley told the Hollywood Reporter, “He's an addict. Good people do bad things sometimes. I think that's what that was all about.”

Hartley hopes that the dark turn Kevin has taken is just a phase. He shared his careful optimism in an interview with US Weekly:

“In 10 years in a perfect world, I see him happy. Whatever that means, if that means kids and a wife and a house in the suburbs or if that means a big movie career, or if that means peace of mind and peace of heart and a simple life. I just want him happy. And I think he deserves it.”

Chrissy Metz, who portrays Kevin’s codependent twin Katy, told E!

News that the entire family is going to bond together around Kevin’s addiction, “because there's a lot of guilt and pain surrounding Jack's death.”

Will the Pearsons save Kevin from himself in 2018?

If you’ve had enough crying this season, you can keep your Kleenex away for some time. When the show returns in January, executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger will treat you to a lighter flashback episode, set in the summertime, where the Big Three are 9 and 10-years-old.

“We're going to see these two [Kate and Kevin] grappling with, Oh my god, how could have I missed this?,” Berger told the Hollywood Reporter. “I think all of our characters, to a certain extent, are going to be feeling that way and trying to right whatever wrongs they feel like they've committed over the last couple months."

While some fans of This Is Us are outraged by Kevin’s portrayal in episode “Number One”, many others showed sheer empathy for Kevin, expressing their hopes that he’d get help by his family or friends. predicted that Kevin's DUI will take its toll on his acting career, giving him a bad reputation in the media. Also, given Randall's seriousness, he might step in and convince his brother to go to rehab.

This Is Us returns on January 2.