Halfway through its final season, This Is Us gave us a lot to unpack.
Kate's marriage to Toby is on its way to unraveling, but Kate finds some strength amidst the heartbreak.
Our This Is Us Season 6 Episode 9 Round Table team discusses whether Kate was correct in her assessment of Toby's recent decisions, why Kate and Toby are destined to separate, and what we thought were the most emotional moments.
Kate felt Toby lied and made a fool out of her by not telling her he had rejected a job offer in LA. How fair was that assessment of Toby's choices?
Christine: Completely fair!
Toby didn't have to take that job, but he should have told Kate about it and why he didn't think it was a good fit. Learning that Toby had shared the job offer with his friends at work but not with her showed Kate just how far they had grown apart.
Toby talks to people constantly at his new job, but it feels like he's stopped talking to Kate even about the important things.
Laura: Totally fair.
As Christine said, Toby didn't have to take that job, but job offers are generally things married couples discuss and weigh decisions together. I can understand why Kate felt blindsided hearing about it from his work friends.
Jack: I thought Kate was right to feel blindsided. I didn't think Toby made a fool out of her, but he DID make decisions that affected their marriage without talking to her, and rejecting the job offer without talking to Kate first was one of the worst examples.
Toby thought Kate and the kids should move to San Francisco to be with him, while Kate thought that would be too hard for Jack with his disability and didn't want to be far away from Rebecca. Who did you think was more right?
Christine: Toby and Kate both had valid points, and they should have discussed those concerns at length.
The sad part was that talking about what moving to San Francisco would entail was part of the reason Kate made the trip. She was opening the door to that conversation.
Instead of diving into the pros and cons of a move together, Toby had already made all of the decisions, including which house to buy, and just expected Kate to get on board.
Toby gave Kate an ultimatum. He told her that she had to move to San Francisco if she wanted to save their family.
She had to make all of the sacrifices. It was completely unfair, bordering on mean, and it's not what you do if you want to save your marriage.
Laura: They both had valid points, which should have been discussed at length.
I felt bad for Kate since she put out an olive branch to explore the idea of moving to San Fransisco, and Toby went full steam ahead.
Even without the ultimatum, Kate wouldn't have appreciated him practically buying the house without her.
These decisions need to be handled with care. With the ultimatum, he sounded controlling and like Kate needed to make all the sacrifices.
Jack: I agree with all of the above.
I get that Toby finally feels validated at his job and loves his life in San Francisco. But he and Kate are not two teenagers dating for the first time. They're a married couple with kids, and that means they need to talk over their options and decide TOGETHER what is best for their family.
Toby didn't do that. He got excited about what it would be like if Kate got on board with his plan and didn't bother to include her.
That was completely unfair to her, and Kate also made good points about why uprooting the kids might not be the best idea.
What was the significance of Kate's childhood and young adult memories in this story?
Christine: As a child, Kate saw no reason to let go of her dad and try something new.
As a young adult, Kate couldn't see a future for herself at all. She had no dreams.
Now she has a full life, and much of that is thanks to her relationship with Toby.
But now, Kate can imagine a future for herself, even if it doesn't include Toby. She can picture what she wants and is taking steps to make that happen. It's taken Kate a lifetime to get here, and I'm proud of her.
Laura: As a child, Kate had her dad to hang onto and had no reason to let go.
As a young adult, she was grieving and had no goals or dreams.
Now, she has a full life and has finally learned what she wants. Part of Kate has always been about music, so I'm proud she's conquered that dream.
Jack: Yes! Climbing that hill was the first time in her entire life Kate turned a "you can't" into "I will" instead of the other way around.
It was an amazing, powerful moment. I'm also proud of her for going after what she wants most instead of drifting through life and following someone else's dream because she has none of her own.
Kate and Toby realized they had grown apart. What do you think was most responsible for that happening to their marriage?
Christine: They've both grown and changed, but that happens to all couples over time.
Unfortunately, Kate and Toby stopped talking. They stopped sharing. They stopped dealing with their issues as a team and started blaming one another.
There's a lot of underlying resentment and passive-aggressiveness between them with which they've never dealt. It's been allowed to fester, and with the added stress of living hundreds of miles apart, it's taken its toll on their marriage.
Laura: As Christine said, Kate and Toby changed and grew up over time. Little things crept into their marriage, and they stopped talking. Now, they both feel valued in their job, and neither wants to give that feeling up.
Jack: Toby and Kate's marital problems made me think of the adage that couples that don't evolve together will fall apart.
That's exactly what happened here. Toby and Kate started growing in different directions, and that was never addressed before now, when it's way too late.
I think their problems began when Jack was born, and Toby had a hard time dealing with his special needs. At the time, I thought Kate might have an affair with that neighbor who had a stroke, as he was more supportive of Jack than Toby was!
Anyway, it seemed like they were NEVER on the same page and never talked to each other from that point forward.
Beth encouraged them to speak honestly, and that's when they decided to adopt Haley. But then Toby moved to San Francisco, and the not-talking problem began all over again, plus they both felt fulfilled at work for the first time, but they were living in different cities.
Discuss anything not covered above.
Christine: Toby seems so angry with Kate.
From telling her she fell in love with a coping mechanism to the condescending way he told her there were "real-world logistics at play" in their situation, it was clear that Toby may love his job, but he isn't happy.
When he told Kate that her ONLY option was to leave the job she loved, leave her family, uproot their kids, and sell their home, I wondered if Toby was trying to end their marriage.
Was this some sort of self-sabotage on his part? Is this his depression manifesting in a new way? Does he secretly feel like Kate is holding him back from his new life?
If these two want to save their marriage, they will get into therapy asap, but I don't see that happening.
Laura: I hated how Toby told Kate not to talk to his co-workers about their job duties. Was that because he was afraid someone would spill something to her, or did he not think she was smart enough?
Kate can hold her own in conversation, so I found that insulting.
Jack: My take on Toby telling Kate not to talk to his co-workers is that he was afraid she'd show him up. He loves this job, and it's the first thing that has been all his.
He doesn't want to share that, and I had this feeling that he thinks Kate is smarter than him or something.
This is beside the point of this episode, but I felt bad for Jack (Pearson) because he struck out trying to help both Kevin and Kate in the water.
What was your favorite scene, quote, or story from this week's This Is Us?
Christine: I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the old Toby and the new Toby.
Even when Kate told Toby she wanted to go to San Francisco for the weekend and see what it was like, it felt like his reaction was very subdued, whereas the old Toby would have been over the moon.
I also liked Kate asking about the job at her school.
Toby's made it clear what he wants, and he's choosing the job over Kate. He actually says, "I love you, and I love our family BUT." And the conversation only got worse from there.
It was devastating, but I like that it hasn't destroyed Kate the way it might have in the past. Instead, it feels like it's made her stronger.
Laura: Like Christine, I liked Kate taking the initiative about that job at her school. Since we know they end up separated, she's looking out for herself. I also enjoyed college-age Randall and Kevin helping Kate over the fence and reassuring her that she's got this. That version of the Big 3 really sticks out.
Jack: I liked Kate climbing the hill, literally and figuratively, too.
I also liked the college-age Randall and Kevin trying to help Kate figure out what she wanted to do with her life and Kate's response that they would make sucky guidance counselors.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your answers to these questions!
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST / PST.