Kate and Toby’s collision course with divorce came to a head on Tuesday’s episode of “This Is Us” when the couple finally called it quits, before several scenes set in the future revealed they moved on from their troubled marriage to find peace and happiness.
In the episode, Toby, who took the job in Los Angeles he previously turned down, went to couples therapy with Kate. They were both determined to make it work, but the relationship continued to deteriorate as they couldn’t fix their problems, even after going to therapy for 16 months.
At one point, Toby, who was not happy with his job, made a crack that Kate’s job doesn’t pay enough, prompting her to leave the room and cry.
“How do I know when it’s time to end the marriage?” she asked Kevin, who walked in to comfort her.
Kate and Toby followed their therapist’s advice to have dinner alone, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back when they got into another fight about their parenting.
“You suck the joy out of being a dad,” he said, while noting how much she criticizes him.
She said he looked miserable half the time he’s with the kids.
“I look miserable because you are in the room,” he said.
Toby then said he couldn't be like her father, in a scathing moment that sealed their fate.
“This marriage has been a rigged game,” he said. “I am sorry that I like putting on a suit to go to work and Jack Pearson hated it. I’m sorry I don’t father my children exactly the way Jack Pearson did. I’m sorry that Jack Pearson died and you ended up having to marry me instead of him.”
“It’s over, Toby,” Kate said in response. “It’s time.”
Viewers have known that Kate winds up with Phillip, but this episode chronicled how they got together, starting with them enjoying a drink the day Kate and Toby finalized their divorce and a first date in which Philip explained how he was married and the relationship went bad when they couldn’t have kids. She wound up dying after getting hit by a drunk driver. Kate and Phillip’s relationship progressed and he wound up proposing in front of her kids, who wholeheartedly supported it.
Toby’s destiny was also revealed. While he was devastated at getting divorced and made a last-ditch plea to remain married, he eventually picked up the pieces and met someone new. In a flash-forward, he was in a bar wearing a ring, with his wife, Kate and Phillip preparing to see Jack sing and play piano, everyone seemingly getting along.
Meanwhile, in the past, outside the office where they signed the divorce papers, Kate told Toby they were meant to find each other in the weight loss group and were meant to be together, but now they’re meant to be apart.
“And I know that one day you will see it,” she told him.
“Kate, I promise you I will never see it,” he said.
The episode ended by returning to the beginning of the episode when Toby called Kate on her wedding day.
“I want you to know that I see it now,” he said, without a ring on his finger, to her on the phone while she’s at her wedding, which circled back to the episode’s open.
Metz says Kate managed to maintain a sunny outlook that would take Toby some time to understand.
"What’s beautiful is that Kate knows that they’re going to be in each other’s lives, and it’s all for the better and for the greater good," she told People. "It’s heartbreaking that Toby can’t see it at that moment.
Metz also said their relationship represented a moment in time that played a pivotal roles in their lives.
"What’s so bittersweet is that Kate and Toby were exactly the right people to be together," she said. "There’s a reason why they did meet and they did fall in love and have this beautiful family. So you can’t take that away just because they’re not together in the future.
"I think we forget to take all the good away from a situation when we can only see the negative about it. But only in hindsight do we then know, “Oh, this was actually for the best.”
While Tuesday's episode may have marked the end of the line for Kate and Toby, the pair will still be involved in the show as it heads to its finale.
"We do see, peppered in, how Kate and Toby are co-parenting, and that they still have such a love for each other," she said. "They still joke with each other, and they’re still very much there for each other."