This is the 100th episode of This Is Us! Can you believe it? We’ve watched 100 episodes of this emotional torture (I say that with so much love!!) and have lived to tell the tale. I don’t know about you folks, but I am tired. Sometimes tired in a good way, sometimes tired in a bad way, and sometimes both! Like, take this 100th episode, for example. As the title would suggest, “Katoby” focuses on Kate and Toby’s marriage, specifically its end, while also giving us a glimpse into what awaits these two after their marriage. It is full of moving, emotional scenes, both heartbreaking and hopeful. But also, Katoby has been DOA since the start of the season and we’ve had several episodes now that have tracked this relationship’s demise, yet here we are, wringing out one last drop. How many more times can we talk about how clear it is that these two people now make each other miserable? I guess one last time.
“Katoby” kicks off at that flash-forward to Kate’s wedding to Philip in which Kevin wants to know if he can make a Princess Bride joke in his toast, which like, get some better material, dude. You’ve had time!! After the ladies wisely kick Kevin out of the room, Kate receives a call from Toby. On her wedding day! This is a real flex. He somberly tells her that the thing she told him the day they signed their divorce papers — well, he can “see it now” and apologizes for taking so long. It is very cryptic and also something that seems like he could’ve told her the day before or the day after, you know? Texting is a thing. Anyway, it seems to bring Kate some peace, and she says something about how “life would be much simpler if we could live it backwards,” which does not then signal the start of this story being told backwards, which would’ve been extremely cool. It’s just a thing she says.
The rest of the episode jumps around at different points in Kate and Toby’s relationship pre- and post-divorce. We will go through those points mostly in chronological order to track the most important parts. We begin this story the morning after Baby Jack took his horrifying solo stroll to the park. Kate and Toby are exhausted physically and emotionally (which, same). It’s here, at a real rock-bottom moment for the Pearson-Damons, that Toby decides he will do “whatever it takes” to fix their family. He’s going to take that job in L.A. (I love that he still has to get in that dig about how big of a step down it’ll be), and he’ll go to couples therapy if that’s what Kate wants. This is a big deal. It’s not even compromising, he’s just giving up everything he had wanted, so, yes, it is completely understandable that he is royally pissed off when Kate repeatedly shows up to therapy late and continues to criticize him. As you might be able to surmise, couples therapy does not go well. They have the same fights over and over, and although Toby said he would take that L.A. job, he doesn’t hide that he hates it. Everyone is miserable! There’s a moving scene between Kate and Kevin in which Kevin finds his sister crying in her room, and she wonders how she’ll know when it’s time to end her marriage. Every part of my body is screaming, “Now! End it now!” Kevin tells her that she’ll just know.
They’re in therapy for 16 months. At the suggestion of their therapist, Diane — who leaves much to be desired as far as therapists go — they sit down and have dinner, just the two of them. It doesn’t take long for it to go to shit. Kate is criticizing Toby’s skills as a dad again, and he’s had it. And Kate is tired of having to watch Toby be miserable around their family, and Toby says he’s only miserable when she’s in the room, which, uh, yikes, and then he invokes the name of our lord and savior, Jack Pearson. He says their marriage has been “a rigged game” because he isn’t exactly like Kate’s dad. It takes Baby Jack throwing his Boba Fett toy in the toilet to get his parents to stop screaming at each other, but the damage is done and the writing’s on the wall, and Kate finally calls it. This marriage is a rotting carcass! There is nothing to save.
And you know what? Once Toby moves out and they have their own space, both seem better. They are so much better, in fact, that Toby brings up getting back together. Kate does not want this. She’s happier than she’s ever been. Toby pleads with her. He’s scared to be alone, to start over. Although heartbreaking, those are more about Toby’s fear and less about him wanting to be in a marriage with Kate. He kisses her — she tells him no. It’s all very sad and also marks the real end to their marriage. Two days later, they sign the divorce papers. Kate tries to tell Toby that this isn’t “how [their] story ends,” that they were meant to find one another and be married and now they’re meant to be apart, but their story isn’t over and one day he’ll see that. He’s like, no, I will NEVER EVER see that, which is so fucking dramatic and I love that for him. So how does Toby get from that guy to the guy calling Kate on her wedding day to say that he gets it now?
Kate and Toby move on and move forward. It is much easier for Kate, who, the very day they sign the divorce papers, gets a text from Philip to come meet him for a drink because he knows how hard her morning was and figures she’ll need a friend. They end up singing “Tubthumping” at karaoke in the middle of the day, and it is pretty cute. Later, at their engagement party, Kate will note this moment as the one that changed everything for them. I’m fine with fast-tracking Kate and Philip’s relationship because of time, et cetera, but I feel like we’re missing a beat in which Philip goes from surly work colleague to close enough friend that Kate wants to hang out with him on the day her divorce is finalized. Just, like, one tiny little moment. ANYWAY, we see their first date, which, Philip will later say, was when he realized he wanted to spend his life with her. Kate gets a little spooked by a charged hand-holding moment and walks out of the restaurant. When Philip finds her, she tells him how she isn’t looking for a relationship where she’s scared to say what she’s feeling and therefore will ask him directly: What is he doing with someone like her? She knows he’s a womanizer who doesn’t date women who look like her, let alone divorced mothers of two; her life is complicated and he seems to run from complicated. It’s all very presumptuous, which is exactly the word Philip uses when he responds with the same directness. He unloads his sad story. Listen, we’ve known from the moment he was introduced as Kate’s future husband that Philip would have some sad backstory, but, uh, I was not expecting “his marriage to his blind wife fell apart after multiple failed attempts of IVF that broke both of them and then when his wife decided to pack up and leave him she got in a cab without saying goodbye and was hit by a drunk driver and instantly killed.” This Is Us writers, who hurt you??? That’s not just a sad story, that is the saddest story. Dear lord. Anyway, Kate is super into those damaged goods. They kiss, and Chris Geere remains great at his job.
Kate and Philip are happy together, and Philip has a nice chat with Toby about how “privileged” he feels to help raise Toby’s kids and Toby begins to soften up about the whole thing. Philip sweetly proposes to Kate with an assist from her kids, and we get to that engagement party, and it’s all very nice. Toby finds love again, too, when he bumps into a cute woman who is into yogurt puns. Kate gets married and Toby understands what their story was meant to be and hey, look at this — we jump ahead in the future where a much, much older Kate and Toby and their new spouses are hanging out at a bar where Adult Baby Jack and Lucy show up and Adult Baby Jack performs for a small crowd. Everybody gets along! How nice! Old Philip is even rocking a sweet mustache that I will choose to enjoy instead of wondering if maybe it is some weird Jack Pearson cosplay thing. And friends, that concludes the ballad of Kate and Toby once and for all.
This Is the Rest
• While this episode is a Kate and Toby show, there are a few moments with other Pearsons that seem like ones we’ll be revisiting from their POVs in later episodes. Kevin’s been spending his days since Madison’s engagement (we later see Madison married and pregnant) dating a parade of commercial actresses. He seems a little unmoored when he spots Sophie and her husband at Kate’s engagement party (Sophie and Kate are close again). Stay tuned for how that goes.
• Wait, so Kate’s engagement party is in Los Angeles, right? Sophie, last we saw her, lived in NYC. Are people really traveling across the country for engagement parties these days?? Put your foot down, people.
• We also get a quick glimpse of Rebecca and Miguel at this engagement party, and Rebecca’s health seems to have deteriorated. The Big Three are 41 in the present day, and we know Kevin says he’s 45 at Kate’s wedding, so we’re seeing her somewhere in between there, and she has major difficulties even trying to remember Philip’s name.
• Also, at the engagement party, we learn Randall is running for Senate and Beth is super into oysters. So there’s that.
• So I guess Old Randall calling Old Toby to invite him to Rebecca’s deathbed party was just a weird misdirect? No thanks!
• One hundred episodes! We did it!