'This Is Us': Kate Pearson Was Never Holding a Real Baby — Here's Why

In This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) finally brought home their new baby from the hospital. However, in all of the scenes with Kate and Toby holding the new baby, it’s not a real baby. Here’s why the actors couldn’t have a live baby during filming.

‘This Is Us’ Kate, and all of the Pearson’s bring home babies

On the Feb. 23, 2021, episode of This Is Us; Kate brought out their new baby girl to meet Toby. She’s cradling Hailey Rose in a wrapped-up blanket and places her in Toby’s arms. They talk about how the birth mother, Ellie (Ashley Johnson), is signing the papers to turn the baby over to them.  

Kate and Toby plan to have an open adoption with Ellie. They want to send her pictures and let her visit the baby. However, Ellie unexpectedly changes her mind on the ride home from the hospital. It’s too difficult for her to see the baby right now, so she asks that they leave her alone.

Kate is devastated that the adoption changed so quickly. She wants her child to know her birth mother because she saw how hard it was for her brother, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), not to know his birth parents. However, Toby reassures her that things will be fine.

This Is Us’ Season 5: COVID-19 changed the script for Kate

Cast member Jon Huertas and co-executive producer Julia Brownell spoke to Entertainment Weekly about how COVID-19 changed the script for This Is Us Season 5. Huertas directed the Feb. 23 episode, so he has first-hand knowledge of pandemic protocols on the set.

“With COVID-19, we weren’t even allowed to shoot our actors with live babies,” Huertas told the outlet. “So now it added another challenge. How do we make sure that we feel a connection between our actors and these tiny babies when we’re not never going to have them in the same room?”

He described what the actors were holding instead of a baby and how they made things work even with the challenging protocols.

“So the challenge was getting the actors to be in that moment, in that place where they’re looking at a substitute,” he continued. “We have these dolls that are very lifelike, but actually feeling a real connection to them and having that hopefully carry over into [post production], and shooting [them] on their own.”

‘This Is Us’ next episode; relatives come to town

The preview for the next episode of This Is Us did not come out yet, but Huertas and Brownell dropped a few hints about it.

“When babies are born, relatives tend to come to town to visit,” Brownell told the outlet. “So you might be treated to some characters from the previous season that you would like to see.”

Fans are hoping that Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) makes an appearance to visit the new babies.

“You might see another era for Miguel and Jack,” Huertas added.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

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