SPOILER ALERT: The story includes details about Episode 100 of This Is Us, ‘Katoby.’
After Kate and Toby hit a breaking point at the end of last week’s episode with the couple’s worst fight ever following Jack Jr.’s escape to the park, we pretty much knew what was in store for tonight’s episode, titled “Katoby,” and promoted by NBC as “the final moments of Kate and Toby”. Starting immediately after the incident with Jack, which left the scar on his forehead we had seen in flash-forwards, “Katoby” chronicled the dissolution of Kate and Toby’s marriage as well as Kate and Phillip’s courtship.
There are many flash-forwards in “Katoby” but it is one brief one at the very end that solves one of This Is Us’ biggest ongoing mysteries — what happens to Kate in the future? In the show’s main 2032 flash-forward that it has been building towards, which features Rebecca on her deathbed at the new house by the cabin, we have seen Kevin, Randall, Toby, Beth, Nicky, many of the Pearson children — but not Kate, leading to fan speculation that she may have died sometime between her 2026 wedding and the events at the house.
At the end of “Katoby” grownup Jack Damon is performing at a bar, with his proud parents, older Kate and Toby, watching on, joined by their significant others, Phillip and Laura, a woman Toby met after his divorce from Kate in tonight’s episode. The scene, set around 2043, revealed that Kate is very much alive in the future and that, following the meet-cute encounter in the coffee shop, in which Toby and Laura exchange parfait cracks, they become a couple that lasts.
At the time of Kate’s engagement to Phillip, Kevin is living the bachelor life, dating one model after another but, in what could be a sign of what is to come (and a potential full circle), Kevin gives a longing look to his first love, Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) who is at the party with her husband. At the same party, we learn that Randall’s Senatorial campaign is going very well.
Written by This Is Us executive producers/co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, “Katoby,” which features probably more back-and-forth time shifts than any other episode of the NBC family drama, is framed by a call Toby makes to Kate on her wedding day. The episode follows the couple as they go through 16 months of marriage counseling with little success. At one point Kate, after another jab by Toby in front of her family brings her to tears, asks Kevin, “How do know it’s time to end the marriage?,” and Kevin reassures her that, “If the time comes I think you’ll know.” Ultimately, following another row with Toby that upsets Jack, Kate calls it, and they start divorce proceedings. Kate goes through with it despite pleads by Toby to try and save the marriage.
“Please, this cannot be the way that our story ends,” Toby says in one of the duo’s gut-wrenching exchanges. “Just because our marriage ends, it doesn’t mean that our story ends,” Kate replies. “We were meant to be together, and now we are meant to be apart.”
Says Toby, “I promise you I’ll never see it.” In his call to bride-to-be Kate that opens and closes the episode, Toby tells her, “I want you to know that I see it now, I’m sorry it took me so long.”
In an interview with Deadline conducted via email, Aptaker and Berger discuss the end of Kate and Toby’s marriage (but not their story), revealing Kate’s fate in the episode, Toby’s new girlfriend and their future and Kevin’s potential reconciliation with Sophie. They also speak of the emotional “Katoby” shoot and tease next week’s episode, “The Day of the Wedding.”
DEADLINE: Let’s start with the biggest news for This Is Us fans: Kate is alive. Was the plan always to give a glimpse at Kate and Toby’s distant futures (happily ever after) in this episode, or were you just tired by the “Kate is dead” online chatter and decided to put an end to it?
APTAKER & BERGER: We locked into revealing Kate in the distant future in this episode a while ago. So much of what we obsessively thought about in crafting this episode was balancing this incredibly sad chapter of Kate’s life with the joy and uplift that came after it. So it felt right to us to finally reveal her happy ending here, to officially say, “After Toby, Kate’s story continues for a long time, and it’s a beautiful story.”
DEADLINE: Talk about writing this episode which encapsulates the disintegration of a marriage, from the breaking point Kate and Toby hit at the end of last episode though their last-ditch efforts to save their union to denial and eventually acceptance that the marriage is over. What was the most emotional scene to shoot?
APTAKER & BERGER: We were all emotional throughout the entire shoot. We cracked a lot of jokes between scenes because we all desperately needed a break from the tension and the sadness we were feeling. The scene where Toby begs Kate to give him another chance and kisses her for the last time was difficult for all of us. When he kisses her and says “I guess that’s the last time I’ll ever kiss my wife”, we all felt it deeply on set. We’ve watched this couple for so many years now, through so many joyous chapters… there was something about that scene that hit home for all of us that we were truly witnessing their ending as a couple.
DEADLINE: Kate has the example of her parents who stayed together until Jack’s death and yet she was the one to call for an end to their marriage and stay firm throughout the divorce proceedings despite efforts by Toby to reconcile. Why was that?
APTAKER & BERGER: Kate fought really, really hard to save her marriage. So did Toby. But I think things reached a point where she knew with total certainty it was time to walk away. Kevin tells her early in the episode that she’ll know when it’s time and I think in her big fight scene with Toby, after they wake up Jack with their yelling, she knows she has to leave. They’re starting to hurt their children with the constant fighting and she can’t have that. In my mind that’s what gives her the strength to make the call that it’s over– she has reached a point where she truly believes it will be better for their children if they end the marriage.
DEADLINE: When exactly did Toby meet his future partner in the coffee shop? Will we get to know her and do they get married? Kevin is not wearing a ring in the flash-forward at Kevin’s house.
APTAKER & BERGER: Toby meets his partner, Laura, in the years after he and Kate get divorced and he is still with her when we see him again at Jack Jr.’s concert at the end of the episode. While we won’t delve too deeply into Toby and Laura’s love story, it is safe to say they have a very happy, loving relationship. Laura is definitely part of Toby’s happy ending in our minds.
DEADLINE: Five or so years into the future, Kevin appears further than ever from finding his true love and very close to the playboy we met in the pilot. Will that change by the time we get to the definitive flash-forward at his house, and should we read into the longing looks he gave Sophie at Kate’s wedding?
APTAKER & BERGER: Kevin’s always been our guy who takes one step forward only to take two big steps backwards. And it’s definitely safe to say he backslid a bit romantically after Madison ended things. Obviously, Sophie has held a special place in his heart for decades now. Maybe those were just longing looks they gave each other at Kate’s engagement party or maybe there’s still another chapter of their story to be told.
DEADLINE: What can you tease about the upcoming episode, “The Day of the Wedding”? When will we see another flash-forward to the house?
APTAKER & BERGER: “The Day of the Wedding” will fill in the blanks of what everyone’s been up to over the last five years. It will also really dive into what Rebecca’s illness looks like now that time has marched forward a bit. I won’t say exactly when we’ll see another flash forward to the house but it’s safe to say it plays a big part in our final stretch of episodes.