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This Is Us' Chris Geere Gauges Kate and Phillip's Incoming, Inevitable Romance

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We haven’t known This Is Us‘ Phillip very long… but way he gazed at Kate in Tuesday’s season premiere told us a lot about the heretofore reserved Brit. That said, new cast addition Chris Geere previews that even though a flash-forward in Season 5 clued us in to the fact that Kate and Phillip will eventually marry, there’ll be no whirlwind romance between the two. Instead, Geere says, there’ll be a “slow build” from co-workers to life partners.

And that makes sense, given how Kate is very married — to Toby — at the current point in the story. Consequently, the romance between Chrissy Metz’s character and Geere’s is “a slow builder, because the storytelling on the show is so specific and so detailed that they don’t need to answer any questions immediately,” Geere tells TVLine. “But there is — I’ve always thought Philip was always quite an icy character, but when you meet him in this season, he starts to thaw a little bit. And there are those moments, in terms of connection.”

In fact, we saw one of them in the premiere. Kate rushed to school for an “emergency” (which really was a ruse to bring her in so the students could serenade her on her birthday), and inadvertently overheard an argument between Phillip and his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend, Jessica. His chief complaint: She’s boring. Before she took off, an angry Jessica mentioned a past trauma behind which Phillip may or may not be hiding. (Read a full recap of the premiere.)

Not long after that exchange came the moment where Phillip watches Kate — who is moved by the kids’ rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” — without her noticing. “I like the fact that she was so in touch with her emotions,” Geere says. “And I think that my character has been very closed-off, emotionally.”

Well, Phillip is British, right? “Yes, I’m supposed to be closed-off, emotionally,” Geere says, laughing. “It’s terrible and charming at the same time, hopefully. But yeah, I think it’s going to take a while.” — With reporting by Diane Gordon