‘This Is Us’: Mandy Moore Revealed a ‘Huge Sequence’ in Kate and Toby’s San Francisco Episode Got Cut — ‘S*** Happens’

TL; DR: 

  • Mandy Moore directed Kate and Toby’s San Francisco episode in This Is Us Season 6.
  • She revealed fog and coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted production, ultimately changing the original story.
  • The original plan, according to Mandy Moore, was for Kate to see “old Toby” as she took a walk following a “very San Francisco-centric thing.”
Mandy Moore, who directed the Kate and Toby San Francisco episode of 'This Is Us', visits SiriusXM
Mandy Moore | Noam Galai/Getty Images

Kate and Toby’s marriage ended in This Is Us Season 6. It marked a pivotal moment for Kate and the Pearson family. However, what fans saw on TV wasn’t the original plan, according to Mandy Moore. The This Is Us star, who plays Rebecca Pearson in the NBC drama, directed the episode. After it aired Moore shared weather and coronavirus (COVID-19) meant changes were made to Kate and Toby’s San Francisco episode. 

Mandy Moore directed Kate and Toby’s San Francisco episode

Moore made her directorial debut with This Is Us Season 6 Episode 9. The episode, an hour focused on Chrissy Metz’s character, Kate Pearson, aired on March 22, 2022, as part of the Big Three trilogy. 

Metz co-wrote the episode with David Windsor and Casey Johnson. It centered around a crucial time in Kate and Toby’s marriage. Kate traveled to San Francisco, California, to spend time with Toby. Meanwhile, flashbacks to the Pearson family at the local pool, which had Moore cursing creator Dan Fogelman, appeared throughout the episode.

What was supposed to be a weekend for Kate and Toby to spend quality time together quickly evolved. Soon questions started arising: How would they continue? Would they move to San Francisco for Toby’s job? Alternatively, would Toby move back home? Or would their marriage end right then and there? 

Mandy Moore says fog and coronavirus changed the story

Movies and TV shows aren’t filmed in a vacuum. Oftentimes unforeseen events happen that mean changes have to be made. That’s exactly what happened when it came time to film Kate and Toby’s San Francisco episode. 

As Moore told the Los Angeles Times in March 2022, a portion of the episode was filmed on location in San Francisco. However, heavy fog derailed any chance of filming.

“After months of preparation and scouting and deliberating over certain locations for things and praying that weather was going to be OK, we get up there, and, of course, it’s a typical San Francisco morning — we’re socked in with fog, you can’t see anything,” Moore said. 

She continued, saying, “We literally could be in Echo Park right now because no one could tell it’s San Francisco. There’s no production value here. I mean, it’s beautiful, but foggy as f*ck.” 

The weather wasn’t the only thing that impacted filming. “Then COVID shut us down early,” Moore said. “We had a whole other huge sequence, a two-page scene, in our episode that had a very San Francisco-centric thing to it.” 

“It was just completely off the table because of this COVID scare that shut down production,” she explained. “It went from like: ‘Oh, we’re going to be able to finish the day’ to ‘No, you’re done right now.’”

Kate and Toby’s San Francisco story originally had ‘old Toby’ offering to join Kate on that walk

A crucial scene in Kate and Toby’s San Francisco episode happened when Kate walked up a hilly street in the California city alone. And, as Moore revealed, that wasn’t the original plan.

“Initially, the way it was written was that [Kate] wakes up the next morning and has that conversation with [Toby] where he’s like, ‘You guys have to move to San Fran. That’s just the way it is,’” she said. “And she’s like, ‘I need some air.’”

Moore went on, saying, “It was scripted that she goes to take this walk and clear her head and old Toby meets her there and she’s like, ‘I actually have to do this by myself. I have to say goodbye to you.’” 

Instead, “It became ‘How can we just assemble this scene to make sense?’” Moore said. “We figured it out. It was a reminder of like, ‘Oh, yeah, this s*** happens,’” she concluded.

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