Was there a new this is us last night?

The Office – Toby returns and Michael freaks out

(Season 5, Episode 9 – “Frame Toby”)

Why, oh why, does Michael hate Toby so much? It borderlines on the hilariously nonsensical because Toby has never really done anything wrong. Sure, he’s a little mousy and probably not the kind of guy who’d be a blast at happy hour after the work day is done, but he’s not evil. Of course, that’s what makes it hilarious. I think we can attribute some percentage of Michael’s horrid behavior to the emotional fallout from Holly’s transfer.

In fact, Toby’s return was pretty much the only plot of the entire episode. Personally, I’m glad to see him back as Michael actually works pretty well with his own Moby-Dick. It was interesting with this episode, because with Toby’s return Dwight settled back into his role as Michael’s lackey. I know he’s never completely abandoned the role, but he’s not been playing it nearly as much this season. Probably distracted by the relationship between Andy and Angela.

But he was back in wingman form for Michael tonight, convincing him to stage a fake drug bust on Toby. Dwight is at some of his best when he’s like this, going along with something and getting himself all excited and into it for really no reason. He has no animosity toward Toby except that he knows Michael doesn’t like him.

In fact, for this episode, things were almost back to the way they were near the beginning. Except for Dwight using his name for his tip-off phone call, there was no Andy Bernard at all. Pam was back at her desk interacting with Jim, Ryan was treating Kelly like shit and Michael was trying to get Toby fired.

It was interesting that Pam put the sign up about the microwave, and more interesting that they emphasized that only Angela thought the sign sensible. Even Jim was “inching away” from her when talking about it. Has her time in New York changed her? Will it start to impact her relationship with Jim? I keep worrying about that because they seem just too perfectly happy still.

As an example, Jim buying his parents’ house without telling her was the perfect opportunity for her to show some doubt or unhappiness, or even just pick a fight. But it didn’t happen; creepy clown picture or no. I’m not rooting for it to happen, because I still really really like the happy Jim-Pam relationship, but I just wonder how long television writers can keep this going with minimal to no tension. Can they let them be happy?

Photo Credit: NBC

Categories: | Episode Reviews | General | The Office | TV Shows |

Clacked by Jason Hughes
on Nov 21, 2008 @ 19:51 EST5EDT

Did ‘The Office’ Just Confirm Toby Was the Scranton Strangler?

The Office has been closed down for years, but not all was resolved. A persistent theory claims the Scranton Strangler is none other than Toby Flenderson, and NBC has even put out a new Making a Murderer-style video hinting as much.

For those understandably in need of a refresher, it was Season 6 of The Office that introduced a recurring gag about the “Scranton Strangler,” a serial killer that drove newspaper coverage and was eventually apprehended. Paul Lieberstein’s downtrodden Toby Flenderson even served as juror on his trial in Season 7, but came to believe they’d convicted an innocent man. Toby attempted to visit the man in prison, but himself was nearly strangled, seemingly settling the matter.

That said, persistent internet sleuths have crafted extensive theories that Toby himself was the killer, having been driven to violence over Jim and Pam (his crush)’s marriage, and his general lot in life. One such compilation of the various clues even went viral on Twitter this week:

Seemingly emboldened by the attention (and perhaps signaling an Office revival to come), NBC got in on the gag with the above Making a Murderer-style video. For the most part, it’s merely a compilation of scenes related to the Scranton Strangler and Toby’s occasionally suspicious behavior, but clearly meant to suggest fans are investigating the right suspect.

If and when NBC gets around to that Office revival, we may finally get answers. Stay tuned in the meantime.

Check Out 100 TV Facts You May Not Know!

A portion of Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) past was revealed in This Is Us after she dug up a photo of her and the boyfriend she had shortly after Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death – Marc (Austin Abrams). While the show was cryptic about the extent of his presence in Number Two’s life, they clearly implied that it wasn’t the ideal relationship. Couple that with a handful of telltale signs, it’s possible that her experience with him was what kicked off her weight gain.

Marc met Kate while she was applying for a job at the same music store he was working in. From the get-go, the guy was creepy – even Kevin (Logan Shroyer) commented on that. He essentially stalked Kate by going through her resume to find out her name and came to her house unannounced where he introduced himself as her boyfriend, despite them barely knowing each other. While she had apprehensions, Kate went along because both his brothers had their girlfriends visiting and she didn’t want to be left out.

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Fast forward to the present time on This Is Us, Kate and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) reminisced on that night they took the images shortly after Jack passed away. The Pearson matriarch admitted that she was trying to convince herself that everything in the family was fine during those trying times, she then proceeded to apologize for not noticing “it.” While the episode never clarified what she was pertaining to, Kate appeased her mom, replying that she didn’t notice “it” as well.

This is clearly the beginning of a brand new This Is Us subplot, but given what we know about Marc, alongside the several clues and insinuations peppered throughout the episode, there’s a chance that he wasn’t the good boyfriend everyone initially thought he was. Perhaps Marc turned out to be abusive which is something that was effectively set up in the show’s latest outing. The fact that he tracked down Kate, went over his head, and introduced himself as her boyfriend was alarming enough, it makes sense why everyone is concerned about her.


Abuse comes in different forms, but whatever it is, it takes a psychological toll on its victim. Before meeting Marc, Kate was seemingly losing a lot of weight, which is emphasized by Hannah Zeile’s current physique in recent This Is Us flashbacks. After years of feeling insecure about her physical appearance, Number Two appeared to be well on her way to shedding some extra pounds during her teenage years, so it’s a mystery why she wasn’t able to keep her progress. One bad relationship may have thrown Kate off her weight-loss journey. This is entirely possible considering that she tends to overeat as a way to cope with stress – an unconscious habit that Toby (Chris Sullivan) pointed out recently. Another possibility is that she didn’t want to be the traditional definition of beautiful by being thin following her break-up with Marc. She intended to gain the weight back, thinking that if she maintains a heavier frame, she won’t attract more unwanted interest from men moving forward. In this case, she may have thought that it’s a form or protection from another possible bad encounter with a boyfriend.


Kate’s body image will continue to be a central element in her story going forward. And with the revelation that Toby has lost a lot of weight, it’ll be interesting how this arc will shape up with baby Jack in their lives. Regardless of how it pans out, given how This Is Us likes to interweave different narratives from different eras, this works well with the aforementioned theory.

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Accidental geek who is perpetually curious, Ana rekindled her love for writing several years back and married it with everything pop culture. The result is a passionate young writer who could ramble (and of course, pen) about films and series multiple hours a day. She has a soft spot for The Lion King, old songs, and home design; is currently obsessed with old sitcoms (The Golden Girls!); and won’t dare watch any horror films although she’s (ironically) dying to see one. Though a bit late to the party and was an actual Force non-believer, she now finds the Star Wars franchise quite fascinating (fun fact: it was a crazy Jar Jar Binks/Sith theory that drew her in).

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This Is Us recap: The biggest moments from the big family meal


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  • NBC


On tonight’s This Is Us, “Storybook Love,” Pearson plot lines are woven around two mirrored dinners. One is set in the era when Rebecca is pregnant with The Big 3 and preparing the first dinner in her and Jack’s new house. The other dinner is in the era right after Jack’s death, when the kids are in college. The lesson embedded in the dinner plot: to move forward, you must embrace the past.

Let’s break down how the dinners portray that lesson:

Image zoom THIS IS US — “Storybook Love” Episode 405 — Pictured: (l-r)Logan Shroyer as Kevin, Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Niles Fitch as Randall, Rachel Wilson as Beth, Hannah Zeile as Kate — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) Ron Batzdorff/NBC


In Pre-Kids Dinner, Rebecca is obsessed with making the perfect meal to start their new lives as a couple. But events around a playfully impatient Jack and a comedy of errors ensue. They’re broken down into meal phases: Hors d’oeuvres, salad, entrée, wine, and pizza, with an event shown in each phase for each dinner.

During Pre-Kids “Hors d’oeuvres,” Rebecca hands a complaining, hungry Jack a cheese stick and hot sauce and says that should tide him over. Cut to Post-Jack Dinner. Kate’s throwing shade at Miguel for being around, and talking smack about Kevin marrying Sophie — that’s the extra special occasion, dropped like a bomb in a voicemail at the end of last episode — and Rebecca’s worried about an appetizer garnish. Then Beth breaks out a housewarming gift: hot sauce. Everyone squirms because Jack loved hot sauce, and it’s painful for them to think about. But Beth forges on and happily tells them her late father loved hot sauce, too. Newlywed Sophie and Kevin then arrive, giddy.

In Pre-Kids “salad,” Rebecca hands a still-starving Jack celery for a “salad.” In the Post-Jack world, Kevin explains he proposed to Sophie after getting a sign: He was walking down the street in N.Y. and came across a theater playing their favorite movie The Princess Bride; at the same time, church bells across the street started ringing and a street vendor selling bracelets walked by. “In that moment,” says Kevin, “I realized I couldn’t wait another second to start our lives together.” Soon Kate’s record store co-worker Mark shows up, uninvited but sweetly. Kate lets him in and Mark introduces himself as Kate’s boyfriend. Later, in the kitchen, the siblings ask one another what they think of their dates. Kate says Beth is perfect, down to her adorable eye beauty mark, and Kevin says Mark is too old for Kate, which makes Kate even madder at her brother than she already is for his surprise marriage. But then Rebecca comes in and breaks up their bickering, demanding they enjoy the special dinner. Somewhere in the midst of everything, we get the first example of partners being on the outside of the Pearsons, which Miguel always talks about with Beth and Toby in the present-day. It’s punctuated comically by Mark asking Miguel who he is.

In Pre-Kids “entrée,” Kate burns the lasagna, but Jack remains optimistic, while in Post-Jack “entrée,” everyone eats quietly, tense. In Pre-Kids “wine,” Jack insists he’s still excited about the lasagna. Post-Jack Dinner Rebecca wonders to Miguel if the family will ever overcome Jack’s death. Miguel tells her, using a wine metaphor, to wait out the bad years and keep believing something better is coming. When we return to Post-Jack Dinner, Rebecca tells the kids what happened next in Pre-Kids Dinner (flashbacks included for viewers). She says that while trying to capture a bird that flew into the house, Jack knocked over the burnt lasagna. He and Rebecca broke out laughing. Rebecca tells the kids, “That’s when it became the perfect night — when we just let it be what it was.” She says they have to be able to remember Jack happily like that and to talk about him because that’s how they will move forward.

Then comes the aftermath of both failed meals: pizza. Jack and Rebecca laughing, kissing, and sharing pizza. Rebecca, the kids, and their significant others smiling in the living room as Rebecca plays a song from The Princess Bride on the piano.

There’s a deeper meaning behind each dinner phase. Hors d’oeuvres represent the introduction of an idea. Salad is the preparation. The dinner is when things go wrong. Wine is accepting that things go wrong. Pizza is the celebration that comes when we embrace how things turned out, the happy resolution.

Each adult Pearson kid, particularly the Pearson men, in this episode, goes through the same journey, interwoven with the dinner scenes.


Kevin’s episode arc is both about his relationship with Nicky and his relationship with Cassidy. He drags Nicky to a hockey game honoring Cassidy for her service, but Nicky storms off during the game. Also unhappy to be there is Cassidy’s soon-to-be ex-husband Ryan, who likewise flees midway through the game. Kevin’s vowed to help Cassidy win Ryan back. (About this, Nicky says to Kevin: “You really do have the strangest relationships with people.” Could anything more perfectly describe Kevin… or all of the Pearsons?) Anyway, Ryan seems to want nothing to do with Kevin or Cassidy.

Kevin’s “hors d’oeuvres” are his ideas for helping Nicky and Cassidy. His “dinner” is the moments Nicky and Ryan leave, angrily. But in the end, both work out to “pizza” level.

When Kevin drops Cassidy and her son off, he confronts Ryan. Ryan tells him he was angry about being at the hockey game because it honored “the thing that broke” his favorite person, Cassidy. Then he tells Kevin to stay away from his wife, and storms off. Cassidy walks up and finds Kevin smiling. Kevin tells her Ryan still likes her. Their mission might work out well after all.

Later, Kevin shows up at Nicky’s. A sober and softer-than-usual Nicky tells Kevin he hates storytelling and people, but he takes out a block of ice cream, in reference to a story Kevin told him earlier in the day about Jack cutting ice cream blocks for the Big 3 like cake. Nicky tells Kevin the ice cream thing came from Nicky and Jack’s father and grandfather. It’s one of the only kind things his father ever did with them. Even Nicky has his “dinner” moment here… he’s embracing the past to honor the present and future, to meet Kevin halfway in building the bond Kevin seeks.


Meanwhile, Randall gets called away from council duties — that’s sure to boil over soon since it’s the second time he’s had to bail on his political work — for an incident with Tess. She had a panic attack at school. Once at home with Tess and Beth, Randall starts telling Tess about his panic attacks growing up — cue flashbacks — but she says she doesn’t want to be anything like him and storms off.

When we return to Beth and Randall, Randall tells Beth that because he didn’t grow up with people who shared his DNA, it was especially exciting for him to see what he’d share with his kids. But he hates that his anxiety issues turned out to be one of those things. Then he also storms off, saddened.

Beth is left to recall that after Randall’s panic attack breakdown in season 1, William told Beth he’d had the same issues growing up. His mother’s solution was to have him look at the bubbles in a glass of seltzer until they all settle.

Soon, Beth drags her husband and daughter back together. She says the thing they both hate having, anxiety, makes them who they are. It’s what makes Randall caring and Tess loyal and determined, so she doesn’t want to hear anything bad about what made “three of her favorite people in the world” so great. Then Beth shows them William’s Seltzer trick.

Sadly, that happy “pizza” moment resolution isn’t the end of the Randall-Beth plot. When Beth tells Randall she found a therapist, he supports the idea for Tess but rudely snaps at Beth, insisting he doesn’t need one. Beth is stunned and upset by his cold dismissal of her concerns. Here comes the next hitch in their sometimes-near-perfect marriage…


This episode is light on adult Kate. She spends the whole day waiting at home for a baby gift from Randall and Kevin. It turns out to be the piano they had in their first post-fire home, the one Rebecca played during that Post-Jack Dinner.

That’s Kate’s whole storyline — until she claims the episode’s last-minute huge cliff-hanger. Adult Kate goes through the photos taken that night of the dinner. Rebecca’s looking over her shoulder. Then Kate sees the photo of her and Mark. Rebecca says, “I was trying so hard to hold it together… I wanted to believe so badly that you kids were happy, I didn’t see what was happening.”

Kate says she didn’t see it either.

Did Mark hurt Kate in some horrid way? Or are they simply referring to some wedge bubbling between the family members? How long until we find out what that’s all about? In any case, it seems adult Kate’s “dinner” and “pizza” moment is yet to be revealed…

Related content:

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  • This Is Us star Jennifer Morrison on Cassidy’s connection to Kevin and Nicky

Episode Recaps

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

  • TV Show
  • 4
  • Drama
  • Tuesdays at 9:00pm
  • 09/20/16
  • Dan Fogelman
  • Milo Ventimiglia,
  • Mandy Moore,
  • Justin Hartley,
  • Sterling K. Brown
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NBC’s This Is Us season four episode 10 didn’t leave us hanging. After Randall realized something was wrong, Rebecca agreed to visiting a doctor. And it turned out Randall was right; the doctor confirmed Rebecca has mild cognitive impairment and requires more testing. The episode also found Kate and Toby continuing to have marital problems while Kevin had issues finding a woman to date.

Up next, season four episode 11 airing on January 21, 2020 at 9pm ET/PT.

This Is Us‘ huge ensemble cast includes Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate, and Justin Hartley as Kevin. Susan Kelechi Watson is Beth Pearson, Chris Sullivan is Toby Damon, and Jon Huertas is Miguel Rivas. Griffin Dunne returns as Jack’s brother, Nicky. Jennifer Morrison guest stars as Cassidy Sharp.

“A Hell of a Week: Part One” Plot – Randall grapples with anxiety.

Series Description, Courtesy of NBC:

“Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. This Is Us chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids Kevin (Hartley), Kate (Metz) and Randall (Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.

From the writer and directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love. comes a smart, modern show that will welcome you into a family you feel you’ve known for years.”

  • Season 4 Episode 2 “The Pool: Part 2” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 4 “Flip a Coin” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 7 “The Dinner and the Date” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 8 “Sorry” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 9 “So Long, Marianne” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 10 “Light and Shadows” Preview
  • Season 4 Episode 12 “A Hell of a Week: Part 2” Preview

Sterling K. Brown as Randall in ‘This Is Us’ season 4 episode 11 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Mandy Moore as Rebecca and Milo Ventimiglia as Jack in season 4 episode 11 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth in season 4 episode 11 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Mandy Moore as Rebecca and Niles Fitch as Randall in season 4 episode 11 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Amanda Leighton as Sophie and Logan Shroyer as Kevin in season 4 episode 11 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The Pearsons Deal With Relationship Woes in ‘This Is Us’ Midseason Return (PHOTOS)

The wait is nearly over. This Is Us resumes its gripping fourth season beginning Tuesday, January 14, and the first images for the episode “Light and Shadows” have arrived.

While details surrounding plotlines remain minimal at the moment, the installment’s logline teases that Kevin (Justin Hartley) will search for romance, Kate (Chrissy Metz) will meet Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) Crossfit friends, and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) will travel to L.A. to be with Rebecca (Mandy Moore).

7 Theories We Have After the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 Fall Finale (PHOTOS)

From that sibling estrangement to Rebecca’s diminishing mental state.

As viewers will recall, a flash forward hinted at an upcoming conflict between the Big 3, likely revolving around Rebecca and her diminishing memory. Meanwhile, some of the images hint at major relationship distress for Rebecca and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Kate and Toby.

For the couple we know makes it in the long run (until one of them — Jack — died), the conflict likely stems from Rebecca’s family and their disapproval of her boyfriend. As for Kate and Toby, a storm was teased for their relationship in the fall finale when she caught negative messages from his Crossfit group about her on Toby’s phone.

ICYMI: Your favorite family is back with a LEGENDary special guest.

See you when #ThisIsUs returns Tuesday, January 14 on @NBC. pic.twitter.com/lV5psJht9j

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) January 9, 2020

Don’t miss the drama when the Pearson family’s story continues this month on This Is Us.

This Is Us, Season 4 Returns, Tuesday, January 14, 9/8c, NBC