'This Is Us' Fans Are Circulating a Theory About Kate and Toby and It's Not What You'd Expect

·4 min read

If you watched the This Is Us season 5 finale last night, you're likely still trying to process the gazillion things that happened.

To sum up the highlights, Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) decide not to get married, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) sit down to talk about Randall's birth mom, Tess (Eris Baker) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) have a daughter-mother breakthrough and Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) consider a long-distance marriage so they can both maintain their careers.

But that's not all, folks. The last 60 seconds of the finale added even more surprises to the mix. We see a flash-forward scene five years into the future where a lot has happened. A dressed-up Kevin is holding a piece of paper with a "Big Three Construction" header at the top, Madison is still in the picture and appears to be totally cool with Kevin, Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) alludes to having a wife, Randall is featured in a magazine and Kate is wearing a white gown and appears to be getting married to her grumpy boss Phillip (Chris Geere).

Photo credit: NBC
Photo credit: NBC

Obviously, this prompted a lot of questions — like, what happened to Toby? Those who have watched the series already know that a flash-forward scene from season 3 showed Toby alone without his wedding band on. Is this the show's way of letting us know that Toby and Kate's long-distance marriage doesn't work out? That may seem like the most obvious explanation based on what we saw last night.

That said, some fans believe the This Is Us writers' room is merely trying hard to make us think it's that simple. In fact, on both Twitter and Reddit, there's a popular fan theory circulating that paints the flash-forward scene from last night in another light — mainly stemming from Madison's parents. Here is a version of the theory, as explained by Reddit user @Patoons:

kates boss is madison’s brother or half brother or something. her mom and he are both british. and kevin and madison are getting married. that would explain the "future brother in law" line and debunk that kate is marrying her old boss and just renewing her vows with toby. remember, vows were a big part of the episode. and when she said "i can’t believe i’m doing this again", maybe it’s just getting into a wedding dress.

Okay, let's unpack this thing together. The first sentence of this theory could check out — in the beginning of the episode, we see a flashback of Madison's parents splitting up and both seem to have British accents. The brother-in-law and wedding dress part of the theory could also work as well, especially if Phillip really is Madison's brother. That said, it does fall apart a bit with the "Kevin and Madison are getting married" part, since Madison appears to be wearing a matching bridesmaid dress with Beth.

Photo credit: NBC
Photo credit: NBC

While anything is truly possible at this point, actress Chrissy Metz seemed to indirectly shut down this theory when speaking with Entertainment Weekly after the finale. Basically, she confirmed that Phillip will be a major player in season 6 and that she and show creator Dan Fogelman had held discussions about Kate and Toby splitting up a while back.

"Initially I was like, 'Does that have to happen? Like, are you guys sold? Are you sold on that? I don't know. Are you sure?,'" Chrissy said when she discovered Kate and Toby would be divorcing. "Because, of course, as a fan of Chris Sullivan's, I adore him, and to know him is to love him. You get so connected to somebody. And selfishly I'm like, 'No! This can't happen!' And then I cried. And then as Dan was giving me the particulars as far as this season was going to go, it was just very emotional, because anytime, even if it's a fictitious relationship, I'm attached to the relationship."

Of course, Chrissy could be trying to throw us off. But given what we know happens in the future, and the fact that we're only 18 episodes away from the series finale, it's more than likely that Phillip isn't Madison's long-lost brother and that Kate and Toby really are splitting up.

Photo credit: NBC
Photo credit: NBC

Kate-Toby-Phillip drama aside though, what is also interesting is Madison and Kevin's dynamic in the future. Not only do they seem a bit flirty, but the room Kevin is getting ready in has a bra hanging over a chair (see the picture above), possibly indicating that he's at this mysterious wedding event with a special someone. Madison also tells Kevin that she's told him "12 times this morning: no boys allowed" while she, Beth, and Kate are getting ready. Does this mean the pair wind up together after all?

SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. Someone please explain it all to us in the comments below ...

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