This Is Us writers have revealed secrets behind the pressure-cooker episode The Music and The Mirror where Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Toby (Chris Sullivan) were all featured as they struggled with some major life changes.
The Music and The Mirror was the first of three new episodes that will wrap up Season 5 of the NBC series, which will air a shortened season with two episodes less than originally scheduled, due to altered scheduling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jonny Gomez, who wrote the episode, spoke about Beth’s heartbreak during this episode to Entertainment Weekly. “We see how hard it is for her to hang it up again. It’s going to be a very complicated story for her going forward.
Co-executive producer Kevin Falls added, “She’s keeping a stiff upper lip, but like everybody else who’s going through this – they know they’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
Beth’s dreams of expressing her love for the discipline of dance were shattered once again after her new dance studio had to close due to the pandemic.
The series showed how the business was thriving, with a classroom filled with students prior to its closing. Once the pandemic hit, a lesser amount of students attended in person.
Beth soon had to transition to Zoom classes where fewer and fewer students attended until her last day of business when there were only three students. The episode explored Beth’s backstory where she was seen as a dancer before hanging up her dreams of going pro after being told she was not good enough.
Kevin must understand his past to move forward in his future
“Hollywood is one of those weird towns where [there is] a lot of taking you down, but they also love a redemption story. For Kevin, it’s hard to say. His career is probably in a rough state,” said Jonny. “I think he got to a point where he’s realizing he cares about other things more than acting right now. He’s got his own crossroads to decide on.”
Kevin realized that the movie he thought would change his life ended up being a bomb. This left him with a bad reputation in the film industry, coupled with the way he had behaved during previous jobs. This included having a meltdown on the set of his television series The Manny and walking away from a Broadway play before leaving this film to be with Madison during the birth of their twins.
He felt lost as he realized he might have to rebuild trust in his professional career again before a chance encounter with his former flame Zoe (Melanie Liburd) at the film studio. She gave him food for thought when she said he had a tendency to go along with whatever comes his way, always giving in to others in respect to what he wanted.
Toby realized he was not alone
As for Toby, he could not wrap his head around being a stay-at-home dad after being fired from his job of ten years. After attempting and failing to fix a very bad leak in his upstairs shower that had come into the kitchen below, he reluctantly called his father for help.
Toby later learned that when he was a child, his father (Dan Lauria) had also been fired and spent six miserable months in the basement of their home until he found work again. Toby finally found common ground with his dad and felt more connected to him after that admission.
On Toby and Kate, Jonny said: “I think it’s also just grappling with the new status quo, and he and Kate frequently have difficulty communicating. We’ve seen that in the relationship. But I have hope for this couple; I really like this couple.”
“He’s trying to allow Kate to have this but also knows that the money that she’s making can’t replace the money that he was making. They have some pretty major expenses in their life with a new house and a child with special needs. These are expensive things, and I think he’s trying to keep all of that afloat,” Jonny also added.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.