This Is Us concluded Season 5 with a flash-forward that had jaws dropping. In a wedding gown, there was Kate, ready for her second run at marriage with Phillip (of all people), and no Toby anywhere to be seen. Since then, fans have been waiting for the big breakup, and if the This Is Us Season 6, Episode 12 promo is any indication, it’s finally here.
Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us Season 6, Episode 11 follow. Kate’s Big Three Trilogy episode was the beginning of a turning point in her relationship with Toby. After five years and two children, she stopped simply following his lead. “KaToby” had been good for her at the time, but Kate always allowed Toby to push her along. He was like a tornado that swept into her life and demanded she come along.
In that episode, Toby said Kate fell in love with the coping mechanism that was Old Toby, and he fell in love with Old Kate, an unformed person frozen in place since she was 19. By propelling her along, Kate finally emotionally found herself, and now that self is tired of being pushed.
Then in Episode 11, both Kate and Toby were at fault for Jack’s trip to the park: Toby forgot to lock the baby gate, and Kate failed to lock the front door. But Toby’s response, to try to sheepdog his family back under his control, no longer worked. And Kate’s argument that Jack should be able to be independent and not need to be herded is one borne of experience.
Something has to give. Either Toby must recognize he no longer drives the tornado bus, or Kate must accept that she married a man who always demands she follow his lead.
Or... their marriage has to end.
This Is Us Season 6, Episode 12 marks a huge milestone — the series’ 100th episode. It’s fittingly titled “KaToby,” which sounds just a little bit like “KaBlooey” if you think about it. The synopsis is as simple as the episode will likely be complex: “Kate and Toby’s relationship evolves over a few years.”
For all that things are falling apart faster than the water-damaged house Kate and Toby live in, at least the Big Green Egg turned out to be a red herring in Jack’s injury. But writer and executive producer K.J. Steinberg warned Episode 12 won’t be a walk in the park. She told Entertainment Weekly, “Structurally, it’s really different — and really interesting. It moves through time in a way that gives you a scope that will really help you understand.” Also, Steinberg promised the show would not be taking sides: “It earns what we’ve all been afraid of: ‘Will the show be able to earn this iconic couple splitting up? Will the audience ever be able to understand and accept both sides and love them both at the end of it?’ And the answer is yes.”
This Is Us: The Final Season continues with new episodes every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming the next day on Hulu.