Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 6, Episode 9 of This Is Us.
Season 6, Episode 9 of This Is Us highlights present-day Kate's (Chrissy Metz) longing for the version of Toby (Chris Sullivan) she first fell in love with. In Season 6, Episode 9 of This Is Us, Kate embarks on a trip to Toby's current home of San Fransisco — where she promptly realizes just how much he has changed.
Kate and Toby get caught up in a chain of negotiations about their future together as a family, with Kate still believing they will be able to be happy like they once were — and Toby demanding she gets on board with the move to San Fransisco stat. The episode culminates in an excruciating fight scene. Kate's wants old Toby back and isn't able to come to terms with the giant changes Toby went through since they started dating — which partly began when he lost weight circa Season 4 of This Is Us.
Did Chris Sullivan lose weight for 'This Is Us'?
Chris actually wore a fat suit for the first three seasons of This Is Us. When this was revealed back in 2017, some fans were upset that NBC didn't cast a fat actor for the role. Chris wasn't surprised about the backlash, and he acknowledged that since his character gained weight after a divorce, the fat suit left room for flashbacks or other story shifts.
He told HuffPost, “The logistics of wearing a costume like that allows me to travel back and forth through time. We know Toby was married before and, because of the divorce, gained a bunch of weight. So there was a time when he was skinnier. So the costume allows, if they want to, for us to jump back and forth through time."
The creators decided to considerably alter the drives and motivations of the character sometime after Season 1. According to A.V. Club, Season 6, Episode 9 addresses some of these shifts.
Toby first meets Kate at a group for people with eating disorders then suffers a heart attack in Season 1 of This Is Us, and then he gradually sheds his goofy, happy persona in later episodes.
Season 6, Episode 9 zooms in on the conflict between Toby and Kate — which has to do with how much Toby has grown over the years as a person. Kate wants their old life back. Toby doesn't.
"We have some really big stuff for them coming up," Dan Fogelman said, perhaps in reference to Toby and Kate's divorce.
"The way Toby and Kate always came together, I’ve always thought was beautiful and romantic, but it was also kind of imperfect," Dan Fogelman, the creator of This Is Us said at a Television Critics Association press tour for Season 6, via Parade. "It was two people who often needed different things at different times and there were lots of conversations early on about whether they were good for one another."
"Mandy Moore directed recently a really beautiful episode that Chrissy co-wrote that starts this journey [to the end of Kate and Toby’s marriage]," Dan added. "We have some really big stuff for them coming up."
Catch new episodes of This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.