‘This Is Us’: Kate & Toby’s Story Doesn’t Come to an End in ‘Katoby’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 12 of This Is Us, “Katoby.”]
The latest Season 6 episode follows the couple through the years, ranging from the present all the way through to the future when their son Jack (Blake Stadnik) is grown up and a successful musician. One of the most important things to note is that while some fans are reluctant to see Kate and Toby’s marriage end, it is not in fact the end for these characters and their story. Below, we’re breaking down the milestone episode (the show’s 100th!) and all of its key details, so beware of spoilers ahead. (*Note: The following recap has been organized in chronological order to prevent confusion).
Toby & Kate Call It Quits
The episode’s present-day storyline picks up the morning after baby Jack’s fall in the park, and Toby tells Kate that he’ll take the L.A. job he previously passed on to save their family. He also agrees to go to couples therapy, despite not being interested in that method. As time passes, the couple gets by as Kate and Toby each start new jobs and go through the motions of life together along with attending therapy sessions.
While Kate feeds the kids and hums a tune to Jack and Hailey, Toby isn’t enthusiastic when walking in the door. During one of their scheduled sessions at the therapist’s, Kate is running late and Toby’s sitting waiting. He’s frustrated when she walks in the door and she makes a sarcastic comment back when he tells her she could be on time if she wanted. Ultimately, he walks out of the meeting, arguing that if she can be late, he can leave early.
The tense state of their marriage is apparent at a family gathering where Kevin (Justin Hartley), who has brought along a Trojan ad actress girlfriend, notices Kate’s dazed state. After Toby makes a comment about wishing she made more at school, Kate leaves the room and Kevin follows her into the bedroom, he asks how she’s doing. Kate asks him when does she know when it’s time to call it quits on the marriage, and Kevin says she’ll know, and reassures that no matter her decision, he’ll support her.
After 16 months of therapy, there are few to no results and the therapist asks Kate and Toby when was the last time they had dinner together. And so, that evening, Toby puts the kids down with some difficulty, and the pair sit to eat. When Kate asks about how the sleep routine went, Toby gets defensive, they argue about how much time he puts in with the kids versus her and the argument takes a tough turn when Toby charges that his biggest crime is not being Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia).
When baby Jack starts crying and they find he’s dropped a toy in the toilet, they help him and return to the dining table alone. It’s then that Kate says it’s over for them. What follows is divorce proceedings and Toby begins moving his things out of the house. They agree to keep things civil while meeting at their lawyers’ office and as they exit the building, their elevator ride is set to the tune of Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” and they have to laugh at the irony of it all.
Adjusting to Life Apart
As the divorce proceedings continue, Kate stays in the house she and Toby kept together and he moves into an apartment. While they seem to settle into these new arrangements with ease, one night when Toby brings the kids home after a trip to the petting zoo, Toby begs Kate to reconsider their marriage before signing the papers the next day.
She agrees that they’re doing better but argues it’s because they’re apart and that they needed this adjustment. He tries convincing her otherwise and kisses her awkwardly before leaving. The next day is the divorce paper signing, and Toby is slow to scrawl his name on the paper, but he does. When they go to exit the building, she tells Toby that this isn’t the end of their story just because they aren’t married. He doesn’t see her point of view and they leave things slightly bitter between them.
After signing the divorce papers, Kate receives an invitation from Phillip (Chris Geere) to meet in Koreatown for drinks. He also surprises her with karaoke, knowing it was a big day for her. They end up singing “Tubthumping,” which plays another role in their future together. As time passes, the pair go on their first date at a Mexican restaurant (complete with a mariachi band) where they connect over different topics, but when Phillip’s hand touches hers, Kate takes a minute to herself outside.
When Phillip follows her out, she says she can’t swallow her feelings and asks for him to be honest with her because from what she knows, Phillip is a womanizer. So what’s he doing with a girl like Kate who is a mother to two young kids? Phillip opens up about the fact that he was married, and reveals that after a lengthy battle with IVF, he refused to try again. He tells Kate that the evening he gave up on him and his wife’s fertility battle, she walked out but barely made it down the road before she was killed in a car crash.
He tells Kate that he’s trying to be happy again, and he thinks that will be with her. That’s enough to spark something deeper between them as they share a kiss. Moving forward in time, Phillip and Toby meet up at a pub as Toby wants to set some ground rules for Phillip being around his kids. Phillip is open about hoping to propose to Kate soon, and Toby isn’t entirely surprised but admits he hoped he’d have a second chance with Kate.
The men chat some more and Phillip assures Toby that he loves his kids and he sees helping to raise them as an honor. Before parting ways for the night, Toby offers some helpful tips for learning about American football, noting it’s an important game in the Pearson family.
Another day, Phillip sits with a more grown-up Jack who encourages him to give Kate the ring he’s holding in his hands. While they go to sit for dinner, Phillip takes the chance to get down on one knee when Kate’s back is turned and with some help from signs that the kids made, he manages to pull off a successful proposal.
A New Romantic Journey
Skipping ahead to their engagement party, Madison (Caitlin Thompson) is pregnant and still with Elijah (Adam Korson), and Kevin has a new girl on his arm at the party where Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is also in attendance with her husband. Kevin seems thrown off by this but reassures Kate that it’s fine his ex-love is in attendance. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is also in attendance with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), while also taking calls for his State Senate campaign.
When Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel (Jon Huertas) approach Kate, Rebecca greets her daughter and narrowly forgets Phillip’s name, congratulating them on their impending wedding. But the sad degradation of Rebecca’s memory is overshadowed by Kate’s surprise for Philip which involves them singing “Tubthumper” together, as an ode to the beginning of their relationship.
Picking up in the wedding flash-forward that fans first saw at the end of Season 2, Beth and Madison build Kate up as she worries about any and everything going wrong on the big day. Just as she begins to say this, her phone rings and it’s Toby, he congratulates her on getting married and wants to tell her that he sees it now, the words she said the day they got divorced. It isn’t the end of their story which is still being written, even if they aren’t a couple anymore.
A further flash-forward reveals moments from their blended lives like Toby staying for dinner with the whole family, parties, and a new love for Toby. Once the episode reaches its conclusion, we get a peek at Toby and Kate, who are double-dating with Phillip and Toby’s new girl in the far future. Together, they’re stood at a bar to support a grown-up Jack as he takes to the stage for a gig. Their son’s excitement, when he notes that they’re both there for him proves that despite the hurdles they faced, Toby and Kate’s story does have a happier conclusion on the horizon.
What else could be unearthed in the future glimpses ahead? Stay tuned as This Is Us continues on NBC.
This Is Us, Season 6, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC