TV Reviews

This Is Us Season 3 Episode 5: Toby Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode of This Is Us, click here.

Synopsis: Kate and Toby try to keep busy while waiting for big news; Randall embarks on a new journey; Kevin meets someone from his father’s past. (TVGuide)

Writer: K.J. Steinberg

Director: Chris Koch

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm on CTV (Canada)/NBC (United States)

This Is Us fans, we caught up to the flash-forward from last season and this season’s episodes have brought us up to speed with what led to Toby’s full-blown depression creeping back into his life.

It was unexpected that the flash-forward scene would present itself so early on, but alas it did and it can only mean that we can remain hopeful for the other ones to catch up with it. Toby’s unfortunate downfall is a rough moment to stomach because it comes with Kate’s exciting news that she is pregnant!

But let’s backtrack a little bit before we dive deep into the devastation of this week’s episode. We began this week with a flashback to Toby’s childhood and his screaming parents at each other’s throats. It becomes clear that his struggle with depression is hereditary because it was something that his mother struggled with as well. It also becomes clear this is the case because of an argument between his parents in which his father alludes to her moods. A young Toby tries to find solace in his bed during this ordeal where he has bitten his nails down to the stub as his concerned mother points out.

The flashbacks continued as we saw a young Toby trying to cheer up his mother while they’re out shopping and another one in which his father is packing up his stuff to move out and tells Toby that he needs to get a hold of the “sad stuff” before it consumes him like his mother. As time progresses, we see Toby’s ex, Josie, breaking up with him because he stops taking his meds, and then Toby eventually going back to therapy where he first meets Kate (remember the series pilot?!).

At least it’s not all gloom and doom because Kate’s procedure retrieved eight eggs and three were fertilized, and one of them turns out to be viable. While waiting until 4 PM for the doctor to call about whether or not she’s pregnant, Kate spends the day at a gig doing an Adele-o-gram where she belts out her beautiful voice while Toby spends the day trying to get his hands on the anti-depressants he stopped taking 5 weeks ago. The withdrawal symptoms are getting overwhelming and the depression is coming back with a vengeance.

The day gets away from him and he doesn’t make it home in time to learn the good news together. Of course, the emotions get the best of him and he completely breaks down as Kate learns the truth about him stopping his medications.

Randall dabbles with trying to campaign for the councilman position but it doesn’t go as well as he would have liked. He fails to appease and convince them despite the fact that he plans a day of free BBQ. They have a deep connection with the current councilman despite his poor job and it puts Randall in a tough spot. Because of this, Randall once again fails to see that Beth is struggling after being laid off. In fact, she goes for an interview and panics when they ask her about her previous job. Based on next week’s promo, it seems Beth will get worse before she gets better, and we hope Randall will be there to guide her.

In the flashbacks, Randall and Kevin prepare for prom but it ends up being a disaster when Kevin gets plastered drunk and Randall’s date’s father is against him going to the prom with his daughter–because he’s black. In the past, Miguel is a constant presence as he helps Rebecca around the house and fixes things for them and even brings in a piano because he hopes it will help. He’s present for the grieving Pearson family because he promised Jack he’d take care of them if he was ever gone, and that’s a promise he intends to live up to.

In the present, Kevin and Zoe head to Baltimore to meet Jack’s war buddy, Robinson. Along the way, a gas station clerk is blatantly disgusted by the idea of Zoe and Kevin being together, and it’s something Kevin doesn’t quite catch onto. He also doesn’t realize that Zoe sleeps with a silk pillowcase because of her hair, and when Zoe realizes that Kevin just might be worth it, she opens up about these moments with him because she wants him to understand what she experiences as a black woman.

Robinson and Kevin talk about Jack’s past and the war, and while Kevin learns that Jack wasn’t simply just a mechanic during the way, he doesn’t learn everything there may be to know. Luckily, Robinson comes around and shares a stack of letters with Kevin that he hopes will help Kevin learn more about Jack’s time in Vietnam. He opens up one of the letters to find a picture of Jack and a woman wearing the same necklace that Jack gave to Kevin–the one he still wears to this day.

Sigh, once again This Is Us doesn’t fail us, and perhaps it never will.

Score: 8/10

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