Kate may not be everybody’s favorite character, but she certainly shined in her own story.
This Is Us Season 4 Episode 13 showed Kate at three different stages of life, allowing viewers to see how she developed into what she is today and how hard the situation with Jack and Toby is for her.
It was equal parts heartbreaking and harrowing and was an effective end to the single episode trilogy.
As many viewers predicted, Marc turned out to be an abusive guy who wanted to control Kate and got mad at the drop of a hat.
There were a ton of small signs of trouble in paradise, culminating with Kate being trapped in a speeding car with a pissed off Marc.
Jack: They come across a huge field of colorful flowers. But maybe the flowers are poisonous.
Kate: No, Dad. I like them.
Jack: Sometimes things we like are bad for us.
That car ride was scary for so many reasons.
Kate was literally trapped. They were in the middle of nowhere, the weather was bad, and Marc was driving faster and faster.
Marc’s temper went from 0 to 60 just like his speed did, all because Kate wouldn’t agree to quit her job like he wanted her to do.
It seemed like that was symbolic of the relationship itself. Anything could set Marc off, and then he could lose it and hurt Kate.
The whole speeding car sequence felt like a nightmare. she might have about her relationship with Marc, except it was happening.
We know, of course, that Kate didn’t die that night, but that didn’t stop me from holding my breath and praying that Marc didn’t get her into an accident.
Juxtaposing those scary scenes with the fairy tale Kate and Jack were telling in the past was a brilliant, effective move.
Young Kate was both creative and naive, believing the flowers she loved could not be poisonous and crafting a tale of a little princess looking for her mother.
Jack: Every good story has a hero who wants something, and he or she –
Jack: She has to go on an adventure to get it.
It seemed the older Kate never quite learned the lesson about sometimes wanting things that are bad for her and had fallen into that horrible relationship with Marc as well as her troubled relationship with Toby.
Toby is not like Marc, of course, but it makes sense that Kate would be wary of any problems whatsoever after an abusive relationship like that one.
And throughout all of these relationships, the one constant was Kate’s relationship with Rebecca.
As a little girl, she just wanted her Mommy, and her story ended with the princess being reunited with the queen.
She needed Rebecca just as much when she was older, though, and that’s why her instinct was to call her for help even though she ended up returning to Marc.
Thank goodness Rebecca realized Kate was in trouble!
Kate’s decision to forgive Marc was as realistic as it was painful.
That frightening car ride and Marc’s abandoning Kate made me want to hold her back before she spent any more time with Marc.
But unfortunately, it’s not that easy to separate yourself from that kind of relationship. I’ve been there, so I know how hard it is.
Kate probably downplayed what happened or convinced herself it was her fault.
She was probably grateful, too, that Marc came back so that she wasn’t stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Given those circumstances, it made sense that Kate quickly forgave Marc. At that moment, she was dependent on him to get her to safety and she couldn’t quite process that her boyfriend had done this to her in the first place.
But her instinct was to reach out to Rebecca, and Rebecca picked up on something being wrong. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Kate. You’re fat. I’m ancient. We’re gorgeous.
This was also contrasted with Kate and Rebecca’s relationship in the present.
Rebecca was eager to go to the retreat, and it seemed to do both women good.
Being out and about and involved in intellectually stimulating activities was probably helpful for Rebecca’s memory loss issues, and she even got to give Kate some encouragement.
Kate and Rebecca’s bonding at the retreat were some of their best scenes.
Kate seemed genuinely upset about Rebecca’s memory problems and that provided the opportunity for them to experience some closeness.
It wasn’t surprising that Toby felt left out when Kate returned, especially since she hadn’t really stayed in touch with him.
It didn’t seem like Kate’s marriage was imploding, though. That seemed overdramatic. After all, she’d just got home and didn’t have much of a chance to talk to Toby before Kevin called.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics.
What did you think of this Kate-centered episode?
What do you hope happens next?
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This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.