This Is Us

The Latest 'This Is Us' Flash Forward Showed Fans Baby Jack's Teenage Years

by Ani Bundel

Season 4 of This Is Us has not been an easy one for Kate. After working hard to conceive and carry a baby to term, her son was born prematurely, and Baby Jack is visually impaired as a result. Having a child with special needs has been a massive strain on Kate and Toby's marriage, but as This Is Us flashed forward to Baby Jack's teenage years at the end of Episode 15, "Clouds," viewers got a glimpse of how his parents' choices help him become the worldwide superstar views saw in the Season 4 premiere.

Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us Season 4 follow. Toby has been a polarizing character in the This Is Us fandom since his introduction in Season 1. While some fans love the man Kate eventually married, many argue Toby is manipulative and self-centered. These red flags mounted when Teenage Kate's first boyfriend, Marc, was introduced to the narrative; he was not just manipulative and self-centered, but emotionally and mentally abusive.

Toby gave fans enough reason to believe Kate was repeating a lesser version of her past relationship. From the near-emotional affair with Lady Kryptonite to the admission he couldn't connect with his son because of his ableist biases, Toby wasn't covering himself in glory. So when the episode opened with Toby up to his old "grand gestures as emotional spackle" trick to save their marriage, this time with the idea of making over the garage as a music studio, viewers were super skeptical. Kate is already carrying 90% of the emotional labor of caring for Baby Jack. When does she have time for music?


But Kate decided to let herself be open to another one of Toby's grand gestures. That's when he revealed it wasn't just a studio for her — it was also a place for Jack to experiment with music. He'd made up a play area adorned with a rock & roll band name: "Jumping Jack Damon & The Bugs." Embracing Jack's disability, he declared "if any kid deserved a playroom with every sound known to man," it was their son.

The show began a montage of flash-forwards, as Baby Jack sits on Kate's lap, banging on a keyboard. Toby's idea pays dividends, first with Toddler Jack, standing at his toy keyboard while his mother writes music in her studio. Jump to the elementary school years, and there's pre-teen Jack, in the garage with his friends, practicing in his first band. And then high school-aged Jack, with the garage now a full-on studio, recording solo demos.

As viewers know, Jack Damon goes on to become a music superstar, performing in arenas in front of sold-out crowds. And it all started right there, in his parents' garage, because of Toby.