There’s one thing “This Is Us” isn’t afraid of: jumping around to different timelines. That’s exactly what Tuesday night’s episode did. More than ever before, the NBC drama took place in multiple different years. Here, Variety breaks down what happened during the heartbreaking 100th episode, in chronological order.
Though the hour began with a flashback to Kate’s wedding day to Phillip — and Toby calling her right beforehand — this recap will begin in present day, post-Kate and Toby’s many fights.
Toby decides to take a job in L.A., which is a huge step back career wise, in order to try and save their marriage. Both determined to make it work, they start going to couples’ counseling — only to continue their arguing there. At one session, six months in, he walks out after she’s late again.
Franny, Hailey and Nicky’s second birthday party
In case you forgot like I did, the woman who Kate and Toby adopted Hailey from gave birth the same day Madison welcomed Franny and Nicky. During the new Big Three’s second birthday party, Toby makes a joke about how Kate doesn’t make any money at work, leading her to cry in her bedroom and ask Kevin — who is dating a model from a condom commercial — when she’s supposed to stop trying and throw in the towel.
Ten months later — they reference they’re 16 months into counseling — their therapist asks them when they last had dinner just the two of them. They attempt to do just that, which turns into a blowout fight. He says that he’s “miserable” around her and that she “sucks the joy out of being a dad.” He then says that all the issues they discuss in therapy aren’t really the problem but that their marriage has been “rigged” from the beginning because he’ll never be Jack Pearson. After baby Jack hears them fighting, Kate tells Toby they’re over.
Leading Up to the Divorce
During the episode, there are many different moments leading up to the official divorce, as they go to meetings with lawyers. After one meeting, the estranged couple awkwardly ride in an elevator while Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” plays. They both allow themselves to laugh before parting ways.
Two days before they’re planning to sign the papers, Toby brings baby Jack over to Kate’s house and Jack’s excited when they’re both there to tuck him in, exclaiming, “You’re both here!” In turn, Toby breaks down in tears and asks Kate to get back together. He kisses her and says, “This cannot be the way that our story ends.” She turns him down.
The day they sign the papers, Kate responds to his statement, telling him, “This is not how our story ends. Just because our marriage is over, doesn’t mean our story’s over. We were meant to find each other in that weight-loss group. We were meant to be together and now we’re meant to be apart. I know that one day you will see it.” He replies, “I promise you I will never see it.”
To cheer her up afterward, Phillip brings her to karaoke.
Kate and Phillip’s Romance
It’s not revealed how long after the divorce is finalized that Kate and Phillip decide to go on their first date. After their dinner, he opens up about his former wife, who was blind. After they went through three rounds of IVF, he wanted to be done with the process and she did not. She left the house angry and got in a cab, only to die in a car accident that day.
Over time, we see Toby and Kate figuring out co-parenting and Toby even starting to spend time with Phillip. At one point, they meet for a beer so Toby can make sure they’re on the same page with this kids. Phillip says he’s planning to propose, for which he enlists help from the kids. Soon after, the family is shown celebrating Franny, Hailey and Nicky’s 6th birthday party.
Toby is also shown meeting a new woman at a coffee shop.
At Phillip and Kate’s engagement party, Madison is pregnant and still with Elijah and Kevin is dating a State Farm spokesperson. Sophie (Alex Breckinridge) is also there with her husband, meaning that at some point, she and Kate repaired their friendship. During the party, Kate and Phillip sing “Chumbawamba” by Tubthumping, the same song they sang after she signed her divorce papers.
The creators previously shared that Kate and Phillip’s wedding took place about four years after her split from Toby; on that day, Toby calls to ask her if she remembers the conversation they had the day they signed the divorce papers. He notes, “I want you to know that I see it now. I’m sorry it took me so long.”
A Look Ahead
While this episode didn’t include a flash-forward to the family at Rebecca’s bedside, it did reveal that Kate is alive. In fact, she’s still alive far past that, when Jack is an adult. In the final scenes, Toby and his wife — the woman he met at the coffee shop — along with Kate and Phillip, all arrive at Jack’s concert and cheer him on alongside his wife, Lucy. Jack, once again, is excited to say to his parents, “You’re both here!”