This Is Us is a time-traveling (not like that) family drama that loves itself a mystery, and a few of them are currently swirling around one of the Big Three: Kate Pearson.
The NBC drama’s third season finale returned viewers to the 2030s, where the family was gathering to visit an ailing Rebecca, who seemed to be on her deathbed. Among the many questions (Who is the mother of Kevin’s son? Why was Nicky there and Miguel not?), there was this to grapple with: Toby (Chris Sullivan), who was previously seen in the future depressed and sans wedding ring, showed up at Kevin’s house and told Randall (Sterling K. Brown): “I just talked to Jack” — meaning his present-day baby son with Kate — “and they’re on their way.” Who was “they’re”? Is Kate still married to Toby? And, as some (overly) worried fans wondered: is Kate even alive?
Let’s start here: how would Metz sum up the level of mystery and intrigue that’s in store for viewers? “There’s something that’s very familiar about it,” she tells EW. “Because there’s things that each character — and particularly Kate — haven’t really figured out. So it’s going to continue to haunt her and follow her. But there’s other ones that are mysterious in the uncertainty of it.”
Not surprisingly, Metz has been bombarded by fans asking these questions over the hiatus. Her response? “I just keep saying, ‘She’s probably at the dry cleaners. It’s fine! Not to fret,’” quips Metz.
Earlier this summer, she played it coy when throwing out this ominous scenario during another interview with EW. “It could be a new wife,” says Metz coyly. “You never know.” (Of course, Toby wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, which certainly doesn’t help that theory.) And during an appearance on The Tonight Show, Metz answered cryptically when asked about the fate of Kate. “Dan [Fogelman, the show’s creator] has assured me everything is okay. And here’s the thing: should she have passed away, Jack has passed away…. It’s not linear. So we really don’t need answers, folks.”
Fans who are hungry for them may disagree, and Fogelman assures that answers will be revealed in time — once season 4 (which he calls “big, sprawling, ambitious”) provides the necessary context. It all begins with the season premiere, which Brown uses words like “subversive”and “disruptive” to describe. Metz seconds that notion, noting that it contains “one of the biggest twists” the show has ever seen, and she calls this season “very ambitious.”
The first season 4 trailer hinted at that by revealing a torrent of new faces, including Jennifer Morrison, Omar Epps, and Asante Blackk. “We get to meet new characters,” she says, “and it’s amazing how these people could be so influential in your life and how they get to do the things you never had a chance to do.”
For Metz, that also means working with a newborn, as Kate and Toby now have their hands full with Jack (not that one), who has been released from the NICU. “We’re with a new baby now and he’s five months, so working with someone else’s baby is always challenging,” she says, adding that Kate and Toby are just sort of acclimating and figuring out this uncharted territory of being parents to a preemie, and all the things that presents.”
Things will start presenting themselves to you on Sept. 24, with the semi-supersized season 4 premiere at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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