This Is Us season 5: Kate will deal with something 'VERY unexpected' from her past
"People are going to have a lot to say about it," says Chrissy Metz.
The Pearsons have set a (new) reunion date: This Is Us returns to NBC for a fifth season on Oct. 27 with double the family-drama pleasure, in the form of a two-hour premiere. As you may recall, season 4 ended with a notable family fracture, as brothers Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) came to verbal blows that will not be soon forgotten. The new episodes will deal with the fallout from The Fight, and their sister Kate (Chrissy Metz) — who was a neutral if passive force as the feud came to a boil — seems to be stuck in the middle. (She was seen in a flash-forward to the Big Three's 40th birthday with her twin brother at the cabin, minus Randall).
"Neither of them are right or wrong," she tells EW. "Our feelings are our own, and our perception is our own reality. I have siblings, so I know that I have said things that I have absolutely regretted, but also said things that I had always wanted to say, and I didn't say them in the right way when I wanted to share my pain or my angst or my frustration. I mean, Kate and Randall have such an interesting connection, but Kevin's her twin, so I don't know where the loyalty lies, if she should have to choose. And it would suck to choose, you know?"
However Kate handles the sibling divide, she will be contending with her own drama this fall. "In true fashion, there's always a lot happening," Metz says. "I'm privy to some information about what's happening with Kate in the present day that she hasn't really contended with from the past. We didn't know that she was dealing with this, and it was something that she went through.'"
Whatever this "something" is, it sounds… significant and consequential. Series creator Dan Fogelman reached out to make sure that she was on board with telling this particular story. "Dan said, 'Oh my goodness, are you even comfortable with doing this?'" she says. "And I was like, 'Yeah, I am. I think it's really important.' People are going to have a lot to say about it. It will definitely be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it."
Does it involve teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile) and/or fallout from her relationship with toxic ex-boyfriend Marc (Austin Abrams)? "You could guess where it might come from, but I think it's very unexpected," she says. "Very unexpected."
In teasing the upcoming action, Metz shares another moment in her conversation with Fogelman: "I was like 'Me?' I literally was like, 'Wait. Kate?' And he's like, 'Yeah,' and I'm like, 'I did not see that coming. Wow. Okay. Cool. Cool.' I was pretty much shocked. And I do think that it's really important with TV, film, art in any capacity to not necessarily educate us, but enlighten us to someone else's issues or previous experiences and how that can shape and change our minds and our thoughts about them or what we might be going through."
Metz is also eager to see how Kate and Toby's swing-for-the-family-fences decision to adopt a second child pans out. (That seemed to ultimately be fruitful, given the season 4 finale flash-forward revelation of baby Jack's sister.) Fair to say that after they visited the NICU where Jack as born prematurely, they were swept up in the emotional rush. So, are they in over their heads once again? "Sure," she responds. "To be human is you feel like you're always in over your head, and I've heard so many people numerous times say, 'You're never really ready for a child.' Like, you get ready. And my sister just had her fourth baby, and she always says that to me. She's like, 'You can't ever get ready, you just have to sort of take the plunge and hopefully you figure it out.' They're very eager to have that, but I think it's coming from a good place. I don't know where it's going to evolve or unravel, I should say. Because it's going to be challenging, for sure. But I think it's lovely that they both want it and that there's the best intentions there."
Adoption is more than a familiar subject on This Is Us and carries special meaning in the Pearson household(s). Will Rebecca and Randall's experiences in that area provide help, or complication, or both on this journey? "Complicate in the way of: You don't ever know when you adopt what personality or how the dynamics are going to shift and change," she says. "And at what age are they going to adopt? So all of those factors are huge in adoption. And then, of course, still making sure that Jack, as this sweet little baby is taken care of, too. So there's all of those things at play. And then I think that Kate and Toby [Chris Sullivan] really could sympathize with Randall in a different way and understand — we can sympathize with people, but until we experience it ourselves, we don't really get it. Even with Rebecca [Mandy Moore] as well, as a mom, with a child who is being adopted. So yeah, there's a lot to unpack."
The same could be said for the state of the real world, as two major events — the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement — have dominated headlines since the show finished filming season 4. Fogelman told EW that the Pearsons will face these challenges in season 5, and "it will be done with care and grace," assures Metz. "I think it's very important to address what's going on, because we are in contemporary time in the show. A lot of people look to TV and film or art for escapism, but I think it's really also important to see how they're navigating all of it and what it brings up for them and their family, as far as race issues, and maybe things that the family didn't even think about when it came to Randall, particularly, or Beth [Susan Kelechi Watson] and their situation and their children. That's important stuff that I feel like has to be addressed. and I feel very passionate about it, personally. I would love to explore that."
In addition to focusing on all things present-day, our time-hopping saga will, of course, be peeking into the future again. One of the many questions on fans' minds involves the welfare and, well, whereabouts of Kate, given her absence of that flash-forward scene at Kevin's house, where the family gathers for what seems to be Rebecca's final days. Clearly there exists the possibility that more people will show up at the house, including Kate, but how soon are some answers coming? "I definitely think this next season we'll get some," Metz says, "but I don't know what else I can say."
In related future-Kate news, she and husband Toby were also MIA at the hospital room, where Jack Jr.'s wife, Lucy (Auden Thornton), just gave birth. Is that a significant omission, or might fans just be reading too much into it? "The camera could have just been really wide and they could be right at the door," Metz deadpans before adding, "Maybe we're reading too much into it."
Hey, that's what fans of This Is Us do. When they're not crying.
This Is Us
NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.