We Need to Talk About Toby's Terrifying Decision on This Is Us
The Pearson clan made their long-awaited return to living rooms around the country last night during the season premiere of This Is Us. Yes, there were tears — but happy ones, the kind inspired by a Hallmark commercial as opposed to the untimely death of the world’s greatest father.
As This Is Us tradition dictates, the season premiere coincided with Randall, Kate, and Kevin’s birthdays. The Big 3 are all 38 years old now, and 20 years removed from their idyllic childhood with late father Jack Pearson. When it came time to pull the Jack card, the premiere was surprisingly restrained, steering clear of all moments related to his death. I, personally, appreciated the moment of reprieve. Meanwhile, in other Pearson news, Kevin has a new bae who also happens to be Beth’s cousin and Randall struggling to relate to his foster daughter. The real development in the premiere, though, was all about Kate and Toby. In fact, that spoiler about Toby at the end of the episode left me shook. Warning: I will be discussing that very spoiler ahead.
Newly married Kate is dead-set on having a baby, despite discouragement from various healthcare professionals. Kate and her baby mania steal the show throughout the episode, while Toby stands idly by, quietly lending his support and refraining from his typical quips.
Speaking of — I’ve heard what everyone’s saying about Toby, OK? I know you think he’s annoying, and even manipulative, and that Kate’s settling because she’s insecure about her weight, but I beg to differ. Kate’s finally found someone who makes her feel beautiful the way her father once did (don’t make this weird), and not only is his dad joke game on-point, but he also understands her struggles with weight and body image and is down to be her live-in cheerleader. If that’s settling, then literally what isn’t?
Anyways, my point is that I’m solidly on Team Toby, which is why this episode caught me off-guard. Everything was fine, I was fine, until the end, when Kate decides to go for IVF, even though the doctor tells her the chances of success are around 10 percent. Toby — who admits he’s been taking antidepressants for several years (which may be to blame for a low sperm-count) — reacts to the news by popping open a bottle of his pills and spilling them into the toilet.
Based on what we know about antidepressants, going off cold turkey is a really, really bad idea. Not only might you experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, nausea, trouble sleeping, etc., etc., but it can actually intensify depressive symptoms and lead to suicidal ideations and tendencies. In short: it’s ill-advised, and will in no conceivable way (no pun intended) make Kate or the hypothetical new baby’s life easier — which, sadly, was Toby’s intention in doing this in the first place.
Honestly, it may be one of the worst moves made in the history of the show, and something tells me it’s not leading anywhere good. We got a taste of Toby’s foreboding future timeline during this episode — aside from the occasional heart attack, Toby’s arc has been fairly drama-free until this point. If he’s casting off medical advice and taking his mental wellness into his own hands, that may not be the case going forward. As always with This Is Us, only time will tell.