‘This Is Us’: Why Fans Are Freaking Out About Kate’s Last Name

From the very beginning, it’s been obvious that This Is Us is different than many network television shows that stretch multiple seasons.

The story of Jack, Rebecca, their children, and their children’s families quite literally spans generations. Once the show’s timelines began jumping not just from the past to the present, but also from the present to the future, fans knew they had stumbled upon something special … something that will, sooner than many are willing to accept, come to an end.

The series finale is already in the filming stage, which confirms every small detail shown onscreen is far from coincidence.

It was no accident that the audience watched Kate “Pearson” sign her name on a police form last fall. This alone has sparked questions about the future of she and her husband’s marriage.

In the future, Toby arrives alone

Chrissy Metz on the red carpet
Chrissy Metz | Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Thanks to one flash-forward at the end of Season 3, we know Rebecca has fallen ill, and the Big Three (and their families) are gathering at the cabin to celebrate their joint birthday.

What has puzzled fans for months is the fact that Toby arrives to the cabin alone — without Kate and Jack. He also says “They’re on their way” when greeting Randall. Who is “they” referring to? And why didn’t Kate and Toby arrive at the cabin together?

This was the first of many events that suggest Kate and Toby’s relationship might not survive the rest of the series.

Kate’s marriage is ‘falling apart’

At the end of Season 4, episode 12, Kate tells Kevin her marriage is “seconds away” from total destruction.

The show has been hinting at the possibility of Kate and Toby separating temporarily, at the very least — if not forever.

Both parties have experienced harsh jealousy toward the other in more ways than one. Toby is jealous of their new neighbor — and the fact that Kate seems to have bonded more closely with their son than he has.

Kate, on the other hand, is jealous not only of her husband’s CrossFit friends, but also the fact that he is spending time away from their family to make his physical health a priority.

This, in addition to the stress of new parenthood, has put an unbearable weight on their relationship. They are also parents of a child with special needs, further adding to their overwhelm.

That’s why fans freaked out when, in a recent episode, the camera focused in on Kate signing a police report with the last name ‘Pearson.’ Did this confirm she and Toby were officially divorced? Not necessarily.

Kate Pearson never changed her last name

The theory that Kate signing her “maiden name” on the form at the end of the midseason finale last November points to a divorce doesn’t quite fit. It turns out Kate never took Toby’s name in the first place when they got married.

Reddit users pointed out that, in addition to the police form, Kate is listed as “Kate Pearson” when she’s identified as Jack’s mother on his hospital name tag when he’s in the NICU.

As we’ve seen in the “far future,” Kate and Toby’s son Jack takes on Toby’s last name (Damon). But it appears that Kate either kept her maiden name, or she hyphenated her last name (Pearson-Damon) but uses Pearson on legal documents.

Some have also speculated that when the camera zoomed in on the police form, it wasn’t to show Kate’s name, but instead the date on the form. This would give viewers a hint as to when that scene took place in the timeline.

Still, fans are eager to find out what’s going to happen to Kate and Toby in the near future. There are several months left in Season 4 — chances are, we’ll learn more about their possible fallout in the next few weeks.