A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5 Review: The Game of Your Life

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This series loves to pull the rug from beneath your feet. Stability only lasts for a moment. 

You can't settle into your feelings long enough before something else happens that may shift everything or bring about an onslaught of new emotions. 

A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5 perfectly exemplified that. There were some unusual and controversial choices, and they won't be everyone's cup of tea, but overall, it was a great hour.

School Play - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

It still feels like the series attempted to move beyond the affair bombshell too quickly, and the way in which most of the characters moved on was inorganic. However, if it made room for this balanced hour that fleshed out all of the characters better, then so be it.

As much as the friends are trying to move on, life won't let them. Katherine's decision was satisfying because of how realistic it was in comparison to before. It makes sense why the series seemingly rushed the amends part, and while it was still clunky, it made the payoff during this hour better.

Related: A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Friday Night Dinner

Delilah's pregnancy is messier and borderline soap operatic, but it also keeps all the characters in that sweet spot where they genuinely want to move past this fissure in their friendship, but circumstances make it challenging.

Making a Deal - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

It's reassuring that it won't be entirely glossed over. I understand how putting most of the friction to bed opened the door for better storylines. Every single one during this hour was so good.

Eddie, Katherine, and Theo's was one of the most enjoyable. Our A Million Little Things Round Table was discussing how they wanted to know more about Eddie and Katherine's marriage. This hour gave us a hint of what could have been, or what should have been.

Frankly, this was the best installment for Eddie's character to date. The series shifting from Eddie's flaws and focusing on his family as a unit including Katherine was refreshing. Giuntoli's natural charm came through, and we saw that as he was attempting to move heaven and earth so Katherine would see Theo in the school play.

The Grand Gesture - A Million Little Things

The best part of his shenanigans was when he incited a working school mom riot after his botched attempt to hide Snow White's poisoned apple fell through. Eddie is in his element as the "primary" parent, and it was fun basking in that without his other infractions looming over the hour.

He is a great dad, and Theo is positively adorable. Also, hats off to Eddie for that fantastic and super impressive tree costume.

More importantly, Katherine and Eddie were able to talk the most during their joined efforts to watch Theo's play then they probably have in years. It's a real shame that it's too little too late now.

Katherine: Dammit! I'm in court all morning.
Eddie: It's going to be OK. I can just film it.
Katherine: You don't get it. I know you think I'm distant. I am just trying to survive. I didn't get to see our son awake yesterday.
Eddie: I know. !e did facetime!
Katherine: Don't say Facetime. Don't you dare say Facetime. It was probably invented by a woman who also didn't get to raise the baby she had. I don't want to go to court. I want to watch my son be a tree.

It's like we finally saw how the two of them could have ended up together and been a happy couple once upon a time. There was a strong possibility that the pair could have reunited by the end of the hour. Didn't it feel that way?

Were you rooting for them? For a moment, I allowed myself to root for them to make things work.

Katherine, who is easily one of my favorite characters, made sense though. It had to be difficult for her seeing Eddie put all this effort into making her feel better now after he had an affair. She probably wondered why he couldn't have done any of that before he cheated.

Making it Work?  - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

And it's true.

Maybe if they had those type of discussions hidden beneath tree metaphors, and Eddie took time to understand the plight of working moms, or realized sooner that Katherine was a guilty working mom who felt left out of her own family instead of some callous robot -- they could have worked things out and strengthen their marriage.

Maybe if Katherine saw how amazing of a dad Eddie is and didn't resent him for it, or she and he addressed Katherine's hurt, anger, and disappointment over Eddie's alcoholism or they went to counseling the second they realized they stopped communicating and working as a team -- things would have worked out for them.

Eddie's affair is the straw that broke the camel's back. It's sad that they couldn't work things out before it happened, and that's how the series got us invested in their marriage and shattered us by ripping it away more permanently in the same installment.

Katherine: Thanks for today.
Eddie: I wanted you to see your son be a tree.
Katherine: I can't be with you anymore. We worked well together today, and it reminded me of what we don't have. This isn't us.
Eddie: Maybe it can be. We were great today
Katherine: Yeah, but instead of making me happy, it made me angry about everything. I don't think I can get past it, and I don't think I should have to. I don't know if I believe in us anymore. I spent so much time trying to figure out why you've done the things you've done, and I realize what I need to figure out is why don't I feel like I deserve more?

Katherine can't move past the affair because it hurts too much. She's right; she shouldn't be expected to let it go and move on. It's not fair to her, and she does deserve better.

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It's everything at once, and while addiction is a real disease and Eddie isn't less of a person for suffering from alcoholism, it does take a toll on loved ones. It's a lot to deal with; it can be too much to deal with, and no one deserves the effects that a loved one's alcoholism has on them either.

On top of that, Katherine had to take on more work when Eddie's band "imploded," so to have him cheat on her with a friend after all of that -- it's not easy to get over, and her line about wondering why she doesn't think she deserves better was powerful.

An Adorable Tree - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

Eddie is confounding. He went from being so in love with Delilah that he was willing to blow up his marriage over her to suddenly seeing the error of his ways and seeing and understanding his wife and her struggles. On a dime, it was like Eddie shifted his feelings back to his wife and genuinely wanted to work things out with her.

I felt for him. Eddie deserves to be happy too, and it's not fair to him to remain in a relationship where his alcoholism and infidelity looms over him like a dark cloud that can't be erased or forgiven.

I'm starting to think one of Eddie's issues is that he's afraid to be alone. I like the place he's in now because he's at the perfect spot in his life to work on himself and be happy because he isn't. I fear Delilah's pregnancy will blow things up again.

Shocking News - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

Eddie loves fatherhood. There was finally a scene where Eddie was supporting Rome, and the topic was fatherhood. Eddie will do whatever it takes to tend to Delilah if that's his kid. I would hate it if he threw himself back into Delilah because a baby is involved.

He and Katherine ended things on a decent note, and he and his friends are doing well, but a love child will screw that all up.

It's also a bit heartbreaking because, after his initial shock and fear, Rome was excited about having a kid. It felt like he viewed it as one more thing to give him a reason to live, which is complicated.

Rome: I know that you're pregnant. I saw the stick.
Regina: It wasn't mine.
Rome: Oh, OK. Whose was it then?
Regina: It's Delilah's.

Rome is another character who needed more focus, and thank the powers that be that he got it during this installment. He went to see Dr. Heller!

The importance of the topics addressed throughout this series is understated and often lost or overshadowed by the drama, but it shouldn't be. I wish more people appreciated what the series is taking on and how bold, compelling, and necessary it is.

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You can't discuss something like mental health and depression without taking on an intersectional approach. Rome's mental illness and the continued focus on the specificity of what it means for him as a black man is thought-provoking, intelligent, and imperative storytelling.

Dr. Heller

Maggie is a fantastic therapist, and another example of that is she knew the importance of setting Rome up with a black male therapist who understood the cultural aspect of Rome facing his depression. It assured that Rome would be more open with someone whom he felt understood him and his position.

In a sense, Rome knows better, but he can't fight the deeply ingrained belief that as a black man with the history of black people and his experiences as a black man in America, he should be stronger because he endures so much already almost like it's in his blood and bones.

Rome: There is a part of me that feels I shouldn't be allowed to tell them that I need help. I should be stronger than that.
Heller: Because you can't be the reason you don't make it.
Rome: What?
Heller: That's how it works, right? You can't be the one in your family tapping out. It's hard enough, between racism, gangs. police messing with us. You can't be the reason you don't make it, am I right?
Rome: I'm supposed to drive over in my Tesla and tell you that my life is bad?
Heller: You have a right to be depressed, Rome. You have a right to acknowledge that you're unhappy.
Rome: But I can't.
Heller: And you have a right to be happy.

Mental illness is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about or acknowledge. It's a boogeyman or "white people problems," and taboo. It's swept under the rug, and if it's out of sight, then it's out of mind.

Rome's father was the embodiment of that problematic aspect of culture. He was a proud man, and you could tell he had his views on what it meant to be "a man." However, while his views were different, he wasn't portrayed as a bad guy for having them which was important.

In his way, he did let Rome know that he does get sad. Rome's mother confirmed as much, and it's safe to say that while it's unspoken, Rome does have a family history of depression.

Heller: Is there a history of depression in your family?
Rome: There's a history of "we don't talk about that" in my family.

Rome's mom reminded him that he should consider Regina, and it's something that he needed to hear. He keeps trying to protect her, but it's more damaging if he isn't open with her.

Rome may not get the chance to tell her about his depression and the fact that he's seeing a therapist because she'll end up finding his anti-depressants first. That should be interesting, and I look forward to how the couple navigates this issue. The strides taken with Rome's storyline was another strong aspect of the hour.

Then there is Maggie and Gary who are probably the best couple on the series right now because of their new love. They were likely responsible for the majority of the tears that may have fallen during "The Game of Your Life."

Five Foot Child  - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

Gary went all out trying to do something nice for Maggie but also manipulated her into telling him about her diagnosis. He meant well, and you can't fault the guy. He was doing so well too until the grape soda incident.

Maggie is a smart cookie, so she pieced together what happened and how Gary knew, and she hoped they could carry on in their happy bubble.

She forgot that Gary's dark humor and all is mostly a coping and defense mechanism and deep down he's the guy that feels all the feels. He hasn't said it, in part because Maggie wouldn't react well, but he has fallen for her.

Maggie: He didn't tell you everything because he doesn't know everything.
Gary: What doesn't he know?
Maggie: I'm done with treatment. I'm not going to fight my cancer.

There is no way in hell he would sit idly by and watch her die without doing anything to talk her into going back to chemo. Gary probably has many fears, but Cancer is where he's the most visibly shaken and terrified. He lives in constant fear that it will return.

You could see how devastated he was that Maggie wasn't fighting. It makes you wonder how many people Gary has lost to this? He's an active part of the support group. He probably saw a lot of people relapse, but this is the first time he allowed himself to get this close.

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It must hurt knowing that he's part of the reason Maggie made her decision. She would much rather spend the time she knows she has left happy. To her, it's better than an undetermined amount of time spent in chemo.

Maggie: You're a numbers guy. You know that I can fight this and have what doctors say is a 30% chance of living, or I could keep doing exactly what I'm doing right now and have a 100% chance of loving the time I have left.
Gary: Wow... I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I really wish you hadn't met me.

The basketball game was the perfect blend of funny and heartbreaking because it was just like both characters to take a casual, seemingly innocuous approach to resolve a life and death issue.

Every second Gary sensed he could lose; you could see the fear in his face. There were a couple of moments where it looked like Maggie wanted him to win or wanted to let him win.

The car scene, however, was the epitome of soul-crushing. Miller and Roday were exceptional during that scene. I was and still am an utter wreck after that.

Gary didn't think he could go through watching Maggie die. He wanted to respect her decision even though he couldn't understand nor agree with it, but it was more than he could bear.

Maggie Makes a Choice - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

Maggie is trying so hard to be strong, but she crumpled to the floor in pure relief when she saw that balloon Gary left her. She doesn't want to do this alone, and Gary has been this bright spot in her life that she didn't expect.

It's going to be a tragedy of epic proportions if Maggie dies before the season is over. It's a complicated issue, and her agency should be respected, but one can't help but hope she changes her mind.

She's such a lovable character, and the Maggie/Gary 'ship is one of the best relationships on the series.

Gary: I can't. I can't do this. I can't watch you die. Please don't ask me to do this. Please ask me to stay so that I'm right here, and we can beat this together.
Maggie: That's not the deal.
Gary: Maggie, don't go. Don't get out of the car. Don't get out of the car!
Maggie: Thank you for a great day. Bye Gary.

Delilah and Sophie's relationship is hard to place because Sophie takes a lot out on her mother, but you can also tell they weren't as close as Sophie and Jon were.

There is still a disconnect when it comes Delilah compared to the other characters. It's hard to explain it, but there is something about her that doesn't resonate.

The one-on-one time she shared with Sophie was needed because Sophie has been struggling. She's the Dixon kid having the toughest time in the wake of Jon's death, and that may be due to how close the two of them were.

Sophie Gets in Trouble - A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5

Sophie was utilized to touch on the religious component that comes up when a Christian or Catholic commits suicide. The series doesn't leave any stone unturned, but it's not heavy-handed in its approach.

Violence is rarely the answer, but no one will lose sleep over Sophie punching Chloe after that comment. Teenagers are the absolute worst. Maybe she'll reconsider what opening her mouth next time.

Sophie taking her anger out on the dummy had to be cathartic, and it's something she should continue if she continues to be aggressive, but the mom-daughter cuddling on the couch and all was sweet.

Delilah: You know Chloe doesn't know where dad is. I don't know where dad is. I wish he was here because I think he would have the answers for us. And I don't know if there is a heaven or a hell, but if there is, I would love to believe that he's in heaven because I refuse to believe he's in hell.
Sophie: I just have all these questions but hardly enough answers.

Sophie is strong and will likely step up more depending on how this pregnancy plays out, but it'll be unfortunate if she learns the truth at this point. She and Delilah are in a good space, but now all of this other stuff may end up happening, and it will ruin their relationship.

Maybe next time we can check back in on the youngest Dixon. A Million Little Things is spinning a lot of plates at once, so Danny taking a backseat for a couple of episodes is feasible, but hopefully, we'll see more of him again soon.

Well, there is plenty to dissect here, Fanatics.

Are you proud of Rome for going to Heller? Did Maggie and Gary give you all the feels? Were you hoping the Savilles could work things out? Hit the comments.

As always, you can watch A Million Little Things online here via TV Fanatic! 

The Game of Your Life Review

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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Katherine: I have to get to court, but my whole office knows that tomorrow morning I will be going to the theater
Theo: But the show is today
Katherine: No it's the eighth. You told me it was the eighth.
Eddie: It is today. It was moved because of the field trip. I thought they emailed both of us
Katherine: No. Apparently, they only emailed the primary parent.
Theo: You're still coming aren't you mommy?

Katherine: Little man, you're going to be spectacular.
Theo: It's just a small part.
Katherine: Small parts? There are no small parts.
Eddie: Mommy's right, bud.