This season of This Is Us is working on expanding the world outside the Pearson enclave. To that end, the show has taken steps to alter the format fans are used to. But the first two "newly angled" episodes have still been Pearson-centric, with an episode focusing on Kate almost right off the bat, followed by this week's Vietnam deep dive with Jack. But the This Is Us Season 3 episode 5 promo suggests it's finally time to go off the Pearson reservation, with an episode entitled "Toby."
Kate's new husband has been a controversial figure since he turned up in Season 1. While some think Toby's over-the-top exuberance is charming and lovely, a romance out of a fairy tale, others see red flags. Toby's behavior towards Kate, forcing her out of her comfort zone, sometimes comes off as controlling and heavy-handed. Some go so far as to suggest these are warning signs which could lead to a possible emotionally abusive situation. And there are questions about how reliable a narrator he's been about his divorce.
What has been evident since the end of Season 2 is what goes up must come down. Toby, from the time fans have known him, has been Mr. Up. But with him going off his medication at the beginning of the season, it looks like he might be heading into Mr. Down.
Here is next week's synopsis for "Toby":
Kate and Toby try to keep busy while waiting for big news. Randall embarks on a new journey. Kevin meets someone from his father's past.
The good news is even though this week's episode is called "Toby," it's not like the "This is Deja" episode in Season 2, where the Pearsons basically got the week off as viewers witnessed Randall and Beth's foster daughter's backstory. Fans will get some of Toby's experiences as a child, and from the looks of it, his depressive episodes from his early years, which perhaps will hint how badly things could get in the present day.
But Toby's childhood will be interspersed with plot momentum in Kate's fertility treatments, though the synopsis suggests there's a lot of hurry up and wait involved in making it happen. While everything is in limbo, it looks like Toby will go into full crash-and-burn mode as a result of going off his medication cold-turkey. And if those clips are anything to go by, Toby's crash will be more frightening than anything viewers have seen from him so far.
Also, Randall and Beth will get in on the action. Randall's nascent political career may already be over before it's begun if he cannot figure out how to talk to voters rather than lecture them. The look on Beth's face suggests she may need to step in and start coaching him before his campaign is irrevocably harmed. The synopsis calling this "a new journey" hints even if Randall gets off on the wrong foot this week, this new direction he's jumped into with both feet is far from over.
This is Us returns on Tuesday, Oct. 23 on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.