After a tumultuous 18 episodes, Season 2 of This Is Us has come to a close. This final chapter tied up a lot of loose ends and showed us a glimpse of what to expect in the season to come, now that we’ve all (sort of) come to terms with what happened with Jack. It was also full of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and a constellation of “what could have been” moments.
The This Is Us Season 2 finale — warning: some spoilers follow! — opens with a scene that feels like a hybrid of a flashback and a flash-forward (I know, we were confused at first, too). It features Rebecca walking down the aisle, with Jack right at the end of it. It’s their 40th wedding anniversary, and they’re renewing their vows. We spot the adult Big Three in attendance, each of them looking lovingly at their parents. But, of course, this is all too good to be true, and we later find out that it’s nothing but a recurring dream that Kate’s been having ahead of her wedding.
But, in these dreams, a key character was missing: Toby.
He wasn’t present in any of them, which is ironic, considering that he’s about to tie the knot with Kate. Some of you might have wondered: Is his absence foreshadowing something terrible? Is the wedding not happening? Will Kate get cold feet and call it off? And in the spirit of Randall and Beth’s worst case scenario game, is the other half of #KaToby going to die?!
To our relief, none of those things happened, and the This Is Us finale ended with the couple becoming Mr. and Mrs. Damon.
But we never got an official answer about why Toby was M.I.A. in the dreams. Thankfully, fans had a theory: It’s because in the alternate reality in which Jack lived, Kate would have never met him.
Growing up, Kate looked up to her father the most.
He was the most important man in her life, and in one of the flashback scenes, we find out that she even asked him if they could get married someday. Jack sweetly explains that that’s not how it works, and she would eventually marry a man who is perfect for her. In the present day, Kate realizes that she’s been hanging onto Jack’s memory for far too long, and in order to move on with Toby, she needs to let go a little. She takes a trip to the tree where she used to hang out with her dad, and scatters her father’s ashes.
The rest of the wedding plays out perfectly: Kevin and Randall walked Kate down the aisle, Jack’s old tools adorned Kate’s bouquet, and #KaToby finally tied the knot. But don’t think for a second that it’s a happily-ever-after for the couple, because it isn’t.
In typical This Is Us fashion, we’re blindsided with a shocking twist: In the final moments of the show, we see Toby in bed, seemingly depressed. Kate tells him, “I just spoke to the doctor, he wants you to come in tomorrow about adjusting your meds.” What does that mean? What’s happening with Toby?!
Seeing as Season 3 won’t come anytime soon, we have months and months to come up with theories. Fans, get to work!