‘This Is Us’ Season 5: Can Kate and Toby’s Relationship Survive This Next Challenge?

Everything has changed for Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) on This Is Us Season 5. The couple just welcomed their baby girl, Hailey Rose, to the world. But now, a shift in the family dynamic isn’t the only thing they have to worry about. So what can This Is Us fans expect from Kate and Toby’s latest hardship? Here’s what producers said after episode 9.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Kate and Toby’s storyline in This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9.]

What happened to Kate and Toby in ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 and 5?

Chris Sullivan as Toby, Chrissy Metz as Kate on 'This Is Us' Season 5
Chris Sullivan as Toby and Chrissy Metz as Kate on ‘This Is Us’ Season 5 | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Throughout This Is Us Season 4, fans started to see cracks in Kate and Toby’s relationship after the birth of baby Jack. The couple’s son was born blind, and Toby started to pull away from the family. This led fans to speculate the worst for Kate and Toby, theorizing cheating or divorce in the future. But luckily, Toby came around eventually. 

In the season finale, Kate and Toby decided to adopt. That said, they recognized the decision could be risky on multiple fronts.

“Toby, our marriage barely survived the year,” Kate told her husband. “We have a son with special needs, we have a crazy mortgage, and adoption comes with risks. I think we’re setting ourselves up for a major body blow here.”

Of course, This Is Us viewers quickly found out that Kate and Toby’s adoption was successful. In a far-future flash-forward, adult Hailey Rose (Adelaide Kane) showed up for her brother, Jack (Blake Stadnik), as his wife gave birth to their baby. Meanwhile, Kate and Toby began their adoption journey in This Is Us Season 5. 

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In the season premiere, Kate and Toby found a match with their adoption agency. Then they met Ellie (Annie Funke) and formed a friendship with her. Throughout the pregnancy, Ellie never doubted Kate and Toby. But there were a few challenges after the birth. 

When Kate and Toby welcomed Hailey Rose to the family, Ellie realized how difficult it would be to have an open adoption. Kate was worried because she wanted Ellie to be part of Hailey’s life. But Toby reassured Kate, noting that they are capable of handling unpredictable situations. Then after calling Kate “unflappable,” Toby revealed there was another curveball ahead.

“It’s a good thing that you are so unflappable,” Toby said. “Early today, when I was on the phone with work, I got laid off. … I’ve been torturing myself for the last few hours because I knew I had to tell you. But I didn’t want to ruin today.”

Finally, it was Kate’s turn to comfort Toby. “You are never gonna ruin anything, and you’re not going to ruin this day,” she said. “We can figure out the job stuff tomorrow. Let’s just be a family today. … Piece of cake.”

What to expect from Kate and Toby as ‘This Is Us’ Season 5 continues

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For the past few years, This Is Us fans have wondered what happens to Kate and Toby in the future. Thus far, Toby has appeared in multiple flash-forwards alongside the Pearson family. But Kate has yet to be seen. As a result, viewers theorized everything from Kate and Toby’s divorce to Kate’s death. Now, many This Is Us fans are curious to see how the loss of Toby’s job will impact the relationship moving forward.

In an interview with Glamour from February 2021, This Is Us Season 5 co-executive producer Julia Brownell touched on Kate and Toby’s next step. And ultimately, it seems the couple will explore unexpected new roles as professionals as well as parents.

“Kate is a really natural, loving, hands-on mother, and that doesn’t come quite as easy for Toby,” Brownell said. “He struggles with it at first. I think what we’re interested in exploring is, how does this family adapt when the structure of what their life looks like changes?”

Brownell continued, “We’re really interested in looking at what is it when one parent has to step up and the other one has to take on the full-time parenting role in a way they might not expect. I think especially in the last year with the pandemic, that’s something a lot of parents can relate to—taking on those roles more than they might have anticipated.”

How will Toby be impacted by the loss of his job in ‘This Is Us’ Season 5?

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When speaking with Entertainment Weekly in February 2021, Brownell opened up about Toby’s perspective on This Is Us Season 5. The producer pointed out that the character has “always felt very secure in his career.” So the show hopes to explore how Toby reacts when everything in his life shifts around. 

Meanwhile, director and actor Jon Huertas (who plays Miguel) reminded This Is Us fans that Toby has a history with depression. So it’s likely the major changes will impact him on an emotional level. Huertas said:

I think that a man who’s just brought home a newborn baby and has another baby at home, and his wife really doesn’t have a job, and they have a pretty big house — something’s going to have to happen emotionally for Toby. We know that he deals with depression. We’ve kind of, in the past, alluded to what Toby struggles with. So if you compound this, I think it’s a smart guess to think that in some way, this is really going to affect Toby emotionally, because of the responsibility he feels for his family.

New episodes of This Is Us Season 5 are expected to air in March 2021 on NBC.