This Is Us season 1 Photos

This Is Us Recap: Toby's Fate Revealed

Need to catch up? Check out the previous This Is Us recap here. 

The year 2016 took a lot of people from us. But was This Is Us‘ Toby one of ’em?

This week’s episode let us in on Kate’s beau’s fate quickly, revealing within the first few minutes that he did not die after collapsing at Randall’s home on Christmas Eve. Turns out it was “just” arrhythmia — but the condition indicates he’s got bigger cardiac problems, which prompts his hasty declaration of love to Kate… and then a lot of worried waiting while Tobes undergoes surgery to repair a hole in his heart.

Meanwhile, Randall wonders why his biodad is more interested in getting his swerve on than in hanging out with the family, and in trying to do the right thing, Kevin does the absolute wrong one.

Read on for the highlights of “The Right Thing to Do.”

MO’ BABIES, MO’ PROBLEMS | Let’s start in the past, where Jack and Rebecca have just learned the bun in their oven is more like a basket of dinner rolls. Gobsmacked, they realize that their new two-bedroom apartment in a six-floor walk-up is not an ideal nest for three baby birds, and they begin their respective freak-outs. She sobs in the kitchen. He lets her think that he didn’t hear her sobbing in the kitchen. And he ultimately decides to sell his car, ask his abusive father for a loan and buy a money pit of a house he’s been working on in order to make Rebecca happy. Luckily for him, she’s delighted. (Side note: I know it was a different time, but Jack makes two big financial decisions on his own in this episode and then drops them on his unsuspecting wife. Is anyone else a little irked by this?)

MATTERS OF THE HEART | Toby spends much of his post-arrhythmia convalescence trying to get Kate to climb on top of him. (“I’m not mounting you in a hospital,” she says) But when his doctor delivers the news about the hole that needs to be repaired, Toby stops making jokes and starts staunchly refusing to go under the knife. Kate calls him a child and takes off in a huff — and then when she’s gone, he has an abrupt change of (wait for it) heart. What’s more, he declares his love for Kate before he’s wheeled off to the operating room.

“Why didn’t I say it back?” Kate laments to her brothers as they keep her company in the waiting room. To push back her nerves, she asks for an update on Kevin and Randall’s lives. Like to hear it? Here it go!

SHOWMANCE REDUX? | Kev is still bedding Sloane, the playwright, his co-star and “the Jew who crashed Christmas,” as he calls her. And they seem happy, though she’s definitely pushing the “what are we?” conversation halfway through the hour. “I just like the fact that there’s an ‘us’ to talk about,” he tells her, which sounds sweet and all, but just then Olivia walks in and Kevin soon loses his mind.

“I’m baaaack,” says the actress, who’s now sporting a blonde bob. “I made a physical change to match the spiritual one,” she says, spouting off about how she went off and had all these experiences in order to become “authentic,” and I’ll be right back as soon as I can stop rolling my eyes at any part of that sentence. But Kevin is completely taken with his former leading lady, and Sloane’s a bright girl: She notices how enchanted Kev looks.

Eventually, Kevin decides that he doesn’t want Olivia in the play, and although he wants to slip back into a relationship with the bitchy Brit, he’s going to stick with Sloane as his lady, too. “Sometimes you’ve gotta do the right thing… even if it’s not what you want,” he tells Olivia — and Sloane overhears. Ouch.

THE AWFUL TRUTH | Randall can’t figure out why William’s bisexuality bugs him so much — and the bathroom-set discussion he has with Beth on the topic is perfection — so he spends the entire episode trying to parse his hard feelings.

Is he homophobic? Jealous of the time William is spending with Jesse? After Randall’s attempts to get to know Jesse better fail spectacularly (sample dialogue from an incredibly awkward Randall: “The sexiest thing about a man is his sense of humor”), he finally sits William down and asks why he’s not into spending time with the family anymore. “I can feel it now, Randall. The cancer is coming for me, sooner rather than later,” the older man says, explaining that Jesse has been helping him look into arrangements so that William can decamp to somewhere that the Pearsons won’t have to watch his painful final days. He’s so upset, and so is Randall as he assures his father that he’s not going anywhere and it’ll be OK.

ALL’S WELL THAT… | After the operation, Kate sits by a zonked-out Toby’s bedside and tells him she loves him and that she wants to spend the rest of his life with him… only to find out that he’s been playing possum and heard everything she said. “I would totally marry you, if that’s what you’re down with,” he says. “Just like that?” she asks, her face joyously incredulous. “From the moment I met ya, kid,” he replies. Aw, they are so cute and happy and I AM SO WORRIED. We have 13 minutes left in the episode, guys, and if ER and Grey’s taught me anything, it’s that you should never trust a bedside moment of elation in the back half of a medical drama.

Thankfully, Toby makes it through the hour OK. Phew. This show is gonna take years off my life, everyone.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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54 Comments
  1. Sheila says:

    Yay, Toby made it!

  2. Lisa Smith says:

    I am obsessed with this is us!!! When Randall and William had the conversation about stoping chemo and William started crying I was a goner! Every episode I cry with the pearsons!

  3. Annie says:

    Wait, was this on tonight? I thought the President’s farewell speech was on all the channels? Damn it.

  4. herman1959 says:

    Thank goodness the decent shows are coming back; this was another great episode.

  5. wwtbd12 says:

    Nothing about Jack and his dads budding back story? I think that has to be leading to something Moreno interesting than his dad never finding anything out….

  6. John036 says:

    Lowkey sad Toby didn’t die. I hate him and Kate together. He’s really annoying imo

    • chellemabelle says:

      Absolutely felt the same way. Toby seems more manipulative/controlling than (real) loving. Hope it’s not connected in any way to the abuse storyline they’ve related about her grandfather.

  7. Finale says:

    Jack going to his dad asking for money, not telling him it was for his wife and pretending it was because he (Jack) is a screwup just like his father made him feel like his whole life was practically verbatim from “Love Story”. Sure it worked and was a tear jerker in both shows but is was just such a blatant rip off from Love Story that it diminished the effect for me.

    • mary says:

      No it’s not. The story line in Love Story is not original first off. His father is a dick about her not being “good” enough so he cuts Oliver off. In this his father is abusive. He doesn’t want his father near his wife or babies. That’s a big difference.

  8. sntindall says:

    Ugh what was with Olivia’s bob?! Those weird uneven pieces drove me bonkers.

  9. Kevin says:

    Not shocked nor surprise Toby survives.

  10. Tennisnsun says:

    I was with you Kimberly waiting for Toby to crash after the bedside declarations of love between Kate and him ..

    • DZ says:

      Me too. After my initial elation that Toby was okay, my heart sank when he went into surgery. I just knew he was a goner. It’s crazy when the “twist” is that someone lives. But that’s where we are in TV Land.

  11. bigdede says:

    I so wanted Toby to die. I hate that William is dying and Toby’s annoying butt is living. The only good thing is the buffet table at Kate and Toby’s wedding reception will be lit!!

  12. Livia says:

    Another brilliant episode. There’s not another show on tv right now that literally makes me cry every single episode. And I’m someone that rarely ever cries. I feel like the creators and writers of the show have definitely taken the mantra of “representation mattters” to heart because as of right now, I can’t think of too many representations that they have left out. On top of that, everything feels extremely relatable. I can just as easily relate to Randall as I can to Kate and Kevin, as well as Jack and Rebecca. This show literally has it all for me, and I really hope they can win an Emmy this year, or hopefully in the years to come.

    In regards to the side note, I am actually not bothered by Jack’s initiative to make two big financial decisions, mainly because he is pretty much the provider of the family. On top of that, there’s the expectation that it IS his responsibility to figure out their financial and living situation. Actually, I was more bothered by the fact that Rebecca, who constantly talks bad about her mother, and not wanting to be a “traditional” wife that sits around and watches her husband watch football, seriously considered her mother’s offer to move in with her, rather than think of a way in which she herself could contribute financially. Yes, she was pregnant with triplets, but I have known many a pregnant women (even women with twins and triplets) that have had to work throughout their pregnancy. Women do it all the time and were even doing it back in 1979 (which I believe is the correct year considering the Steeler’s win and the big three’s age). And considering the time period, in which the work force saw an increase of women in professional jobs, I don’t think it would have been horribly difficult for Rebecca to have found a job, even a temporary one. Finally, I’m not bothered by it because Rebecca was not angry for not being included in the decision. It’s implied that Jack knows her well enough to know exactly what she’s looking for and knows that he has the permission to make those decisions, even without her actual verbal consent beforehand. I think if Rebecca had shown any type of indignation at not being included in the decision making, I would have been slightly irked, but she didn’t, so I don’t think that we the audience should either.

  13. kn1231 says:

    Man, I hated Olivia’s new hairbrush style. With that being said, I’m actually quite upset Kevin picked Sloan. Was Olivia flawed, of course, but so is Kevin and I think there was huge every potentially to grow their relationship into something special. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of her.
    The streak of this show making me cry continued tonight. That scene with Randall and William was excellent. You know the acting is good when you feel like you are a part of the scene, which I did and now I’m going to try and begin to plan for William’s loss.

  14. Eran says:

    For me, this was not the strongest episode. For the first time since the series began, I saw some things that quite frankly, are beneath the quality bar the show has set so far. Olivia gushing about how changed she is and how eager she is to get back with Kevin whilst Sloane is standing right there? 50 shades of would-never-happen unless she’s having a manic episode. Also, Sloane overhearing the conversation between the two? That trope’s been used what, 75,000 times already? Surely there could have been a far more authentic, organic way of hitting those story notes than resorting to C grade storytelling…

    • notpercysowner says:

      The Sloan overhearing was totally cliche, but Olivia going on about wanting everything back seemed very in character. I think she found out that Sloan took over the part and wanted to take it back merely to be spiteful. I don’t know if she really wants Kevin back, or simply to prove that he and the part are her territory.

      Obviously I am not on the Olivia is a flawed and complex character that I find interesting. I flat out dislike her and am not happy she is back, but oh, well.

    • VegasGal72 says:

      I thought it was a pretty weak episode also. Kind of boring.

  15. Anna says:

    The writers are nailing it with Kevin’s lines. (How’s Beginners the sequel going?) The best part of the whole episode was The Big Three sitting in the hospital talking like brothers and sisters. Loved it. I really like Sloane but I’m not really rooting for her or Olivia – I’m mostly just rooting for Kevin not to be a jerk to her.

  16. Sissy says:

    I laughed out loud when Kevin said to Olivia that she did a lot for only being gone a month!

  17. MiaB says:

    I also noticed how Jack made those big decisions about where to live without consulting Rebecca, but I think that’s a part of his savior complex. It’s where I think his relationship with Rebecca started to crack as the Big Three got older. He took that job he hated to save his family and was miserable, but didn’t want to “burden” Rebecca with his feelings about it, so he was absent.

    • :-) says:

      Rebecca hides her feelings also. Lots of crying when no one is around. On one hand understand their not wanting to burden others and their giving each other privacy for emotions. On the other hand they are not being real with each other. They are not sharing. Too many secrets. That’s what can crack their relationship.

  18. :-) says:

    Beth does not get the praise he deserves. She only had a few moments in this episode but they were all gold. She was wonderful. That bathroom scene was perfection.

    • kn1231 says:

      Beth a hands down my favorite character on the show. They should already start planning a spin off for Randall’s family for when This Is Us ends. They are the brightest lights in the show for me.

    • Hannah says:

      I’m with y’all. Beth is, hands down, my favorite character. I would watch the crap out of that spin off, too.

    • jj. says:

      I really hope we get to see more from beth, the actress is fantastic and her scenes will william are always great

  19. Chuck says:

    The way this show portrays Jack you’d think the man was Christ himself… love Randall’s storyline. Poor Kevin, two hot, talented girls and he has trouble choosing lol

  20. VegasGal72 says:

    This episode wasn’t the best in my opinion. It was kind of boring. I kept thinking that they were going to kill Toby off with the second surgery, lol. I was sad when William told Randall that the medicine wasn’t working any more. That is about the only things I remember from last nights episode.

  21. sunshine says:

    Rebecca was making comments about “nesting”and “hormonal” which wasn’t a thing in those days. Jack making all the decisions about providing a home rang true to me for the time. Also, keeping his entire family away from his Father was true, before the internet you could move across town and keep yourself to yourself no problem.

    • notpercysowner says:

      As a woman who had kids during that time period I can assure you that we knew and talked about nesting and being hormonal during pregnancy.

    • Sarah says:

      Sometimes I think this show (and the younger audience) confuses the mores of the 1980s with the 1950s. This show is set in Chicago with characters in their twenties who had been through the rebellions of the sixties and seventies, so they would be more modern and certainly would have talked about nesting and hormones–those concepts got popular in the seventies. (I’m the same age group as Jack & Rebecca and lived in Chicago in the early eighties too.)

      Also the clothes for the eighties is often off for me–the changes from seventies apparel to the eighties was pretty dramatic, even for men, but the show often looks like it’s set 10 years earlier.

      • Nia says:

        The show is set in Pittsburgh, not Chicago.

        And the clothing choices are, so far, pretty accurate. The apparel wasn’t as fast changing in smaller cities, and so that tracks also. Plus, they were raising three kids who all needed new clothes all the time — someone’s gotta sacrifice. And it’s pretty much always the parents.

        • Annie says:

          I agree, Nia. I was a kid, living n Pittsburgh, in the 70s & 80s. I remember how adults dressed as well as kids, since I was very fashion-conscious.

    • I thought the same thing about Rebecca. Also, though, could not remember if smoking being a thing, except it was to my my family, cause my brother and I felt it killed our dad (heart disease) Kate decided on gastric by pass surgery after her near death plane ride, I understand. For me, it was being 400 lbs on air Jamaica on tarmac for 2 hrs in May.

  22. Luis Roman says:

    I don’t think MY heart will stand up to a full season of this

  23. Andrew Hass says:

    I knew Toby was going to live but i’m wondering if he might die down the line.

    • Pamela says:

      Same here. I can’t imagine Kate and him walking down the isle at the end of the season successfully with how tv is nowadays.

  24. Jo says:

    I thought this episode was less stellar than the others. Still enjoyed, but did find myself thinking more than once – really, that trope? But mostly, I am on the side of I wish Toby had died. He gets on my nerves terribly. Someone that has to crack a one-liner for every thought in his head just drives me up the wall.

  25. Love Beth and Randall’s conversation in the bathroom. “I can’t turn it on and off.” “Randall…” “Okay.” LOL!
    .
    William not wanting to be a burden, and finally admitting he wanted to stop chemo was a great emotional moment. So was the scene where Rebecca imagines raising the kids in their new home.
    .
    I died a little inside when Jack swallowed his pride and went back to his abusive father for a loan. He’s trying so hard to keep it together and honor the promise he made to his mother. I’m afraid he started drinking as a form of release of all the trauma and stress he had kept bottled up all those years. All this is making me more annoyed at Miguel for swooping in after Jack was gone.
    .
    Kevin shouldn’t be with either of these women. Olivia couldn’t possibly have changed that much in a month. She’s in ‘fake it till you make it’ mode. Sloan is not Kevin’s type. She’s convenient and had she not overheard what he said about staying with her because it was the “right thing” to do, he would have wasted her time.
    .
    Toby could still die. Show’s not over! lol

    • jj. says:

      I was thinking the same this with jack’s drinking. Some other comments mentioned a ‘savior’ complex and that he wants to be the father he never had for his kids. From this episode we saw that he likes to take matters into his own hands, even with they are life changing matters e.g. buying the money pit house. I can see this causing a rift between rebecca and jack. I too am starting to get more and more uneasy about miguel…. I’m curious if we will eventually see how (and when) rebecca and miguel start to bond

  26. scampi745 says:

    Glad the show is back. Loved bathroom scene between Beth and Randall. Curious about Jack hiding marriage/family from his father. I don’t care about Olivia. I hope the play is successful and Kevin feels his talent is validated. Great scene between Randall and William. Can only imagine that following this through to William’s death is going to shed light on Jack’s death. I hope big 3 connect.

  27. travis says:

    What does Kate do to earn a living? How does she afford to fly coast to coast, schedule gastric bypass, and go to a “fat camp”? I guess that begs the question of how does Toby afford these things, as well?

  28. francesg says:

    I love Toby and Kate so much! They are so incredibly sweet and they love each other – that is the main thing!