‘This Is Us’ Star Hannah Zeile: Kate & Mark’s Relationship ‘Comes To A Head’ In Next Episode

The Feb. 11 episode of 'This Is Us' shed light on Kate's toxic boyfriend Mark. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Hannah Zeile about what's next for Kate, why she might be 'fearful' of Mark now, and more.

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Kate’s trilogy episode of This Is Us explored teen Kate’s toxic relationship with Mark. As the episode went on, Mark showed his true colors by body-shaming Kate and yelling at her. When he got angry with her for no reason, he called her “fat” and drove away without her. Kate walked around in the cold until she found a payphone and called her mom. She almost told Rebecca what was really going on but stopped herself when Mark showed up and apologized. She got back in the car with him to go to the cabin. Meanwhile, Rebecca has gathered Kevin and Randall to go find Kate because she knows something is wrong.

HollywoodLife talked with Hannah Zeile about where teen Kate’s story goes from here. The next episode is going to be a big one. “This will finally be where it all comes to a head,” Hannah said. “The Pearsons are a close family. They do what they need to do for the ones that they love.”

Hannah opened up about what that heartbreaking payphone scene means for Kate going forward. “I think that the scene where she is at the payphone, almost opens up Rebecca, and then chooses to still keep everything behind closed doors, I think that was almost the breaking point,” Hannah continued. “I think she’s now aware that she’s being mistreated. Taking the final step to open up to her mother about it would have blown it all wide open. So she’s almost there and then she retreats. But I do think that although she gets back in the car with Mark to head to the cabin, you can feel she’s trying because she does still love him. But you can feel that there’s kind of a different energy.”

Kate going back with Mark to the car might have been a shock to some, but Hannah noted that there’s a “slight tinge of just trying to kind of placate because she might be a little fearful as well.”

The episode also featured a devastating scene between Kate and Rebecca. “This whole story arc has been really just heartbreaking. But I think it’s also very been interesting and rewarding and challenging, which I love,” Hannah continued. “We’ve seen throughout the season some of the turbulence between Kate and Rebecca and how Kate’s always felt kind of unworthy concerning her mother because her mother can sing and her mother is beautiful. She’s all the things that Kate feels that she’s not. So I feel like in all the other episodes, that was kind of an implied feeling. Now we see her verbally expressing that her mother really has no room to comment on her relationship because her mother doesn’t understand what it’s like to be heavy and to have people not look at you that way.”

As teen Kate is struggling with her relationship with Mark, adult Kate is struggling with her marriage to Toby. Hannah noted Kate’s past has definitely impacted the present. Kate’s relationship with Mark is “her first definition” of a relationship so she’s “still learning.” Hannah loves the “symmetry” that the writers create for past and present Kate. “Kate right now is struggling in her marriage and feeling insecure and maybe not worthy because Toby’s gotten into great shape and he’s losing weight. He’s interacting with other women at the CrossFit gym. She’s starting to feel insecure and that most definitely can link back to the fact that her first definition of love — her first boyfriend — made her feel insecure, called her fat, and put her in a place where she was constantly not feeling worthy. It seems like those similar feelings are resonating again.” This Is Us season 4 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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