Toby Damon is getting a semi-showcase on This Is Us. The character, played by Chris Sullivan, will be a central focus of the coming episode appropriately titled, “Toby.”
The synopsis of the episode posted by The Futon Critic reads, in part, “Kate and Toby try to keep busy while waiting for big news. ” But the promo for the episode also shows an anxious Toby as a young boy biting his nails, a nervous tic the grown man still has in the present day.
This Is Us fans know that Toby’s moods are constantly up and down as he struggles with depression. The husband of Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) also stopped taking his much-needed medication cold turkey to help with the couple’s fertility chances, a dangerous move he will seemingly regret.
The “Toby” promo, which you can see below, hints that viewers will get a flashback look at some of Toby’s past episodes of depression. But based on the synopsis, Toby’s childhood scenes will be interwoven with the modern day arc about Kate’s fertility treatments. The heartbreaking promo shows Toby having a major breakdown as he desperately tells his wife he needs to get back on his meds right away.
In an interview with E! News, Chrissy Metz gave a small teaser about what fans can expect for Toby and Kate’s baby making journey.
“She just had the egg retrieval and we’re going to see how that’s going to go. I’ve been told it’s going to be positive, so people are not going to be heartbroken, completely, but it won’t be easy.”
In the Toby-centric episode, the first look at the younger version of the character will shed some light on his present-day struggle with depression, Variety reports. Toby’s struggles with depression will play out throughout season 3 and at some point, his parents, played by Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick, will make a return.
This Is Us executive producer Isaac Aptaker said Lauria, best known for playing the Arnold family patriarch on The Wonder Years, was an easy choice to play Toby’s dad.
“We love Dan and we’re massive Wonder Years fans and just huge Dan Lauria fans in general so we knew we wanted to find something for him,” Aptaker told Variety. “He is actually friends with Chris Sullivan from the New York theater world. And Dan and Wendie are also really close, they perform a play together about 9/11. So it was sort of Sulli’s dream that Wendie and Dan would play his parents.”
Executive producer Elizabeth Berger added that Toby is “a flawed but wonderful partner” and promised that viewers will get to see much more of that in the third season of This Is Us.
You can see the promo for the “Toby” episode below.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.