"But he’s a really nice person underneath," says the actor. "Chipping away at those things is going to be super fun."
This Is Us - Season 3

At the end of the fifth season of This Is Us, Kate seemed to get the storybook ending that she'd always wanted. Except it was with... the grumpy guy at the music school?

A few years into the future, the Pearson daughter (Chrissy Metz) was seen in her wedding dress, preparing to exchange vows with… Phillip (Chris Geere), the music teacher whom she works with at Jack Jr.'s school? Apparently, her marriage to wise-cracking, depression-prone Toby (Chris Sullivan) hit more than a few wrong notes after that long-distance experiment. And clearly the show aims to cue up plenty of drama in the family drama's sixth and final season, which kicks off Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

The man who plays Phillip is more than aware of what he's walking into and relishes the opportunity to be the other man. Or at least the new man. "They have this thing in England called a pantomime," Geere tells EW. "Around Christmas time, actors dress up as characters, like Cinderella, and they do a pantomime, which is a play for a younger audience. There's always a pantomime villain. And every time he walks onto the stage, everyone goes, 'Booooo!' That's what I felt like: 'Oh, I'm the guy that everyone will boo at for a while.' But as an actor, it's a huge challenge to turn that around. I have 18 episodes of TV to go from a really icy, cold, mean-ass music guy who's belligerent and hostile and ridiculous to the guy that one of the lead characters falls in love with. That, for me, is huge challenge. So, I'm just enjoying the journey. Chrissy is just marvelous to work with. She's a lovely person. I'm here for the ride and I'm enjoying it."

The ride will start off slowly, as the show will take its time to dissolve Kate and Toby's love story, which has been a key part of this time-tripping family drama since season 1. And Phillip's romantic dynamic with Kate will take a while to pop. "It's a working relationship — at first," Geere says. "And then it will, at some point, turn. Whether that is connected with the collapse of the marriage to build up another, I don't know. But I do know that from that flash-forward scene, she ends up happy. So she's not a bad relationship. She's with the guy that she wants. I just hope I can portray that guy."

This Is Us
Chris Geere and Chrissy Metz on 'This Is Us'
| Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

In the meantime, he is reading — and enjoying — your wildest theories on that flash-forward to Kate's second wedding. "I love all the conspiracies," he relishes. "I've heard so many, and to be honest, I still believe that any of them could happen. I just know we're in good hands. I've read [that Phillip is] Madison's [Kaitlin Thompson] brother. I've read that I am the best man in the remarriage. What I'm really looking forward to discovering is the impact that I have on her, for whatever reason. They write such brilliant soliloquies — such wonderful monologues in this show — I can't wait to get my teeth into one of them."

Chew heartily on this final hint about Phillip, one that alludes to the emotional injuries he's suffered and the protective armor he wears. "There's a phrase that 'Hurt people hurt people,' and he's damaged," says Geere. "It's a combination of previous relationships, current state of the world and his obnoxious views. He's a miserable person, but I think he's a really nice person underneath. Chipping away at those things is going to be super fun."

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Episode Recaps

This Is Us - Season 3
This Is Us

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • Tuesdays at 09:00 PM
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