This Is Us - Season 3 Episode 2 - Toby’s Other Side 

Kevin’s big premiere is finally here and just like any Pearson get together it is filled good ole’ family drama. This time however, Toby takes a lead role in the dynamic instead of playing Kate steady support in the background. 

Until recently Toby has been such a lighthearted, upbeat, fun character. He seems unfazed by Kate’s rollercoaster of emotions. He has been willing to put up with a lot that the Pearsons have thrown his way. He always has a fun out of the box way to experience life. In general, he has been along for the ride since day one of meeting Kate. But, we are beginning to see this all break down.

This has been a dynamic long in the making, but the first obvious sign of trouble was last episode when Toby doesn’t express his fears about Kate’s health after the infertility doctor calls back offering a second appointment. We can tell by his facial expressions that he isn’t nearly as excited about the appointment as Kate. The two have JUST finished talking through why IVF wasn’t a good option for them and then as if she doesn’t remember a thing, Kate accepts the second appointment. Like the “good husband” that he is, Toby doesn’t say a thing and just goes a long with Kate’s wishes. Unexpressed thoughts like this will ALWAYS cause more distance between a couple than connection. Kate may be getting what she wants in the moment but at the expense of being aware of a real fear her husband is struggling with. 

The second is when Toby flushes his anti-depressants down the toilet. I don’t know if the directors planned for this episode to air during Mental Health Awareness Month on purpose or not, but BRAVO. Mental Health is real. If you have been prescribed medication to address depression, anxiety, etc. you most likely needs those meds. Just like you would faithfully take medication for high blood pressure, migraines, or diabetes you should also take medication for mental health as prescribed. Your body is fighting mental health just like it is fighting any of these other illnesses. We see Toby pull up a list of symptoms of anti-depressant detox. If you think it would be best for you to come off your medication please talk to a doctor first. Detox can cause very severe side effects and you need to be monitored by a doctor to make sure it is safe for you. It is never a good idea to stop these medications cold turkey. Again, in order to give Kate better chances of what she wants in life Toby sacrifices himself without filling her in on the decisions he is making. In order to play the hero he makes matters worse for himself and ultimately Kate.

We see the build up of emotions come to a head when the family is at Kevin’s apartment right before the premiere. Kate and Rebecca are arguing over if IVF is the best option for Kate and Toby loses it. In a very out of character moment he tells everyone to shut up and storms out of the room. Emotions don’t just go away when we ignore them. They build up inside of us and must find a way our of our bodies. When we don’t choose to express them they come out in whatever way they find fit. This might mean stomach aches and headaches for some and for others it means irritable outbursts. Toby has been holding in the fear of Kate’s health being compromised and the frustration of his voice not being heard in the marriage. He can’t take it anymore, and he shouldn’t. I wonder how long it will take before he is ready to express his emotions honestly with Kate. 

Some Things to Consider:

1. What emotions are you keeping to yourself and not sharing with a close friend or family member? How is that choice creating distance between you?

2. Do you or someone you know take medication for mental health? How can you take steps to ensure that this is being done responsibly?