This Is Us makes its return to NBC’s air tomorrow night, but what has been hanging in the regular air is a big, scary question mark: Is Toby dead?
Kate’s bold boyfriend, played by Chris Sullivan, collapsed suddenly on Christmas Eve at Randall’s house after showing up unannounced and winning back Kate (Chrissy Metz). The fall finale ended with an unconscious Toby fighting for his life at the hospital, and, according to series creator Dan Fogelman, the next episode will address his fate within the first five minutes. Last week, EW brought you an interview with Metz in which she discussed the knee injury she suffered over the holidays but not the Toby cliffhanger. Let’s rectify that situation right now, as Metz reveals what the cast thought of Toby’s calamitous collapse, the impact this might have on Kate, and what to expect from episode 11, which is titled “The Right Thing to Do.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you think of the Toby trauma twist?
CHRISSY METZ: We were devastated. We were like, “Well, what does this mean? Short-term, long-term, what does this mean?” And Chris as a person and as an actor portraying Toby — it’s like, I wouldn’t be at this moment in my life, in my career, without him. He’s been so instrumental. So, I was like, “Umm, I need answers.” I was a little afraid. (Laughs) But I understand that it’s television and they want to make really good television.
I know you can’t reveal the outcome, but what did you think of those answers?
You know, I understand the answers. And why they chose to do what they wanted to do… I know, it’s so cryptic! (Laughs)
What would you say to fans who are on pins and needles about what happens with the resolution of the storyline, one way or another?
Well, I think that we’ve made them wait long enough that we’ll have answers pretty soon within the episode. Some people will be relieved and some people… might not be. (Laughs)
How did you feel the resolution was handled in episode 11?
I just think it’s amazing storytelling. And they keep you on the edge of your seat by pulling your heartstrings. I knew that something was going to happen because that’s just the evolution of the story, but… I don’t know. It’s heart-wrenching. To be shooting that and seeing that, it really moved me —to see somebody that you love in life and then obviously playing a role, it was like, (feigns struggling for breath). And literally every single person I’ve seen — this one lady came up to me and she said, “I love your program, but why did your boyfriend die?” And I said, “First of all, we don’t know any answers, little lady. We don’t know anything yet.” And she’s like, “Really?” And I said, “Really.” And she’s like “Oh, okay, great.” And then she just walked away. (Laughs) So everybody’s on pins and needles wanting to know what’s going on. Every single person. They’re like, “How’s Toby?” Which I’m really glad about, because it’s important, and he’s very important.
It’s a very big, melodramatic cliffhanger.
Oh, yeah! Definitely. The writers knew what they were doing.
How will all of this impact Kate?
When you see somebody that you love dearly finally making a point to do everything he can to be in your life and then something this traumatic happens, it causes her to really second guess and really to weigh what’s important to her and the repercussions of her decisions. She has a lotta, lotta thinking to do.
She’s declared that she’s having gastric bypass surgery.
Right. Exactly… There’s a lot of questions to be answered, and they can only come from her.
Any other teases for episode 11 and beyond?
Kate has a lot of decisions to make, and we’re going to see what she decides, and whether it’s good for her. She’s got a lot of pressure from her family, but she really truly has to come to terms with what’s best for her, so we’re going to figure that out.