She did it, you guys!
Our girl is finally getting chemo. It was one of many small victors that happened on A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 9 with these characters who we have come to love.
The forward movement on these personal arcs, though glacial, was heartwarming, but there is something that keeps happening with this series that may work against itself.
The series has a way of dazzling us with these characters and the minutiae of their daily lives that it often distracts from the fact that the series is at its halfway point, and there isn't enough payoff for the larger plots that are supposed to be driving the series.
Ashley asked Gary "Who is Barbara Morgan?" and dammit, who is she? We haven't even inched closer to narrowing it down or figuring any of it out. It's supposed to be one of the larger mysteries, but any good mystery would leave some breadcrumbs along the way.
Christina Ochoa is criminally underused in this regard because she only appears to ask a character this question, snoop around for more information, or stand off to the side making cryptic phone calls that barely give an inkling as to what is happening outside of drawing a vague conclusion that Jon was in financial trouble.
I feel like we're spinning the same theories and getting far too little to keep us going. If someone is more attracted to the mystery than they are everything else, I feel for them. I'm enjoying the characters enough where their journeys keep me invested, but I know that isn't the same for everyone.
It's fine that the series wants to explore all of these characters; it's beautiful, but you also can't introduce a couple of mysteries to appeal to people in the pilot and not give the audience much to work with for the rest of the installments. That will lose viewers, and I would hate for this series to lose any viewers.
The aftermath of Ashley and Gary hooking up was a bit of a mixed bag. It was upsetting when A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 8 ended with the two of them at Ashley's apartment. Gary was single, and he stayed true to character and was vulnerable, so his part in it wasn't as bothersome.
Gary: Is there anything, any sign? Was he having financial troubles? Do you think he was having an affair?
Ashley: I wasn't going to say anything, and look, maybe this doesn't mean anything, to begin with, but did Jon ever mention a Barbara Morgan?
Gary: No. No outside of Delilah, you are the only woman in his life.
Who is Barbara Morgan?
Ashley, in part, because we still know little about her, came across as if she had ulterior motives. However, the saving grace of this hookup was that it could have brought Ashley into the fold more, and it could have led to Gary and Ashley working together to sort through this Jon mystery.
It did bring Ashley into the fold again, and she at least came across more likable, or perhaps less irritating throughout this installment, but when given the opportunity to share more with Gary, she gave him nothing.
She asked him about Barbara Morgan, and she alluded to a mystery more than she ever has before, so maybe it's possible that she will still open up to him down the road, but that's still a pacing issue. Get on with it.
If Ashley gave him anything it was an epiphany that Jon had planned his suicide for a long time. Although based on everything that has happened with the restaurant, it felt like something that should have been common knowledge anyway.
As customary for Ashley playing the all-knowing assistant, she knew about Gary's remission anniversary because she was the one who scheduled everything in Jon's life including all the time he spent going to chemo with Gary.
Those flashbacks were fun because we got to see Ron Livingston again. Better yet, we got to see Ron Livingston dancing and rapping, and that was a real joy.
Jon: You may have beaten cancer today Gary but you're not going to beat me
Gary: Correction. We beat cancer.
Jon: Actually I beat cancer. You just got skinny and bald.
Chemo was rough on Gary, but he wasn't exaggerating when he said Jon was the one who got him through it. The others were probably there for Gary as well, we just didn't seem them during these specific flashbacks, but Jon was there all the time.
He was familiar with Gary's chemo roommate (played by the lovable Marissa Jaret Winokur), and he worked alongside that upbeat, scene-stealing nurse Kevin (Jordan R. Coleman) to keep both of them positive.
Two things Gary didn't lose during that time was his beard and his sense of humor. Jon went above and beyond to help Gary fight, so in the name of the episode title, those flashbacks put Gary's attachment to Jon into perspective.
There are a few fans who questioned how Gary could care so much and be so hurt by Jon's death more than everyone else including Jon's wife, and this explained it.
At his lowest point, Jon was the one who convinced him to live, so Gary's anger was different than anyone else's given his unique circumstances. How can someone do everything in their might to convince you to live and then kill themselves?
How can someone who let you know you can always depend on them abandon you? It's not the politically correct questions to ask when someone takes their life, but those are real questions and real feelings that people have.
Roday gifted us with another powerful scene as Gary broke down in front of the group. He was touched by everyone being there, but the most important person to him wasn't there to help him celebrate a milestone he helped him reach.
You, Jon, you went through the whole thing with me. You convinced me to live, and then you left me. We were supposed to go on the little boats together, and it's so stupid! We made plans, and I thought they were the same plans, but I guess they were not. That's what I get for making plans.Gary
It's evident Gary was closest to Jon, and their relationship was different than his relationship with the others. Take the surprise party, for example. The sentiment was sweet, but Gary had every reason to believe that the others forgot.
They all tend to be self-absorbed, and Gary has been the one to take over the role of the friend who checks up on everyone, but the others don't do the same for him. Hell, Ashley was the only one to talk to him after his last outburst.
At least the others stepped up again with Delilah taking the time to talk to Gary and the guys physically comforting their friend. It was comforting as a viewer because Gary has been in so much pain lately. It's about time the others see it.
Fortunately, Gary's emotional breakdown was the last thing that pushed Maggie to go to chemo. It's a lot to ask someone who also went through cancer and chemo to stand by and watch you die from cancer, especially when they just lost their friend.
I could have sworn they said Maggie went to Jon's funeral three weeks ago, but it has been seven weeks, not three, or a month, which is still a short amount of time.
Maggie realized how deep Gary's pain went when it came to this topic after his outburst. She also realized how deep his feelings for her went, and thanks to her confession to that room of college students, she realized how deep her feelings are for him too.
Maggie has been making little revelations along the way thanks to the other characters. Rome helped her a great deal, but during this installment, Delilah helped her as well.
I have so many feelings that I can't process because I am too ashamed to admit that I have them.Maggie
What is it about this woman that draws people in? She's pretty, no doubt, but Pump 6 had to flirt with her and ask her out, eh? It sparked a discussion on Delilah and Jon's marriage and her mixed up feelings about taking off her wedding ring.
I want to feel something for her explanation and her feelings, but I guess I'm past the point of caring. Admittedly, the "everybody thinks I cheated" comment was ... a lot. There is no thinking she cheated. She did cheat.
But this also revisits the question of whether or not Jon knew or cared that she was cheating and with whom, or did they have an open marriage since they were falling apart anyway? Nevertheless, Delilah admitted that Jon abandoned her two years ago.
He threw himself into his work, and he shut down on her and stopped communicating with her. We know he probably started to plan his suicide around that same time, so that would explain some of his behavior.
To Delilah, Jon left her twice. However, looking back, she wonders if she should have separated from him (taken the rings off) two years ago or fought for him. The way she stopped at fought but didn't say "fought harder" reiterates that she sort of let's life happen to her, you know?
The Delilah and Maggie interactions were fruitful, interesting, and a welcome reprieve from her sharing the screen with Eddie.
Delilah has a lot of internal conflicts, but the series would benefit from letting her showcase them more. So Delilah keeps wearing her wedding band, for now, as she sorts through her guilt, grief, and whatever other emotions that baby is exacerbating.
Maggie: When I first met you, you said what you needed was a time machine. Where would you go if you had one?
Delilah: I would go back two years ago. That's when I lost him. When he became distant and buried himself in work. He shut me out. Everybody thinks that I cheated on Jon, but he left me. He left me two years ago for reasons I still don't understand. And he left me seven weeks ago, not for someone, just for nothing. You asked me why I wasn't ready to take my ring off earlier? Because I should have either taken my rings off two years ago or fought for him.
On the other hand, Katherine has taken a step and removed hers. Good for her. Katherine's storyline during this installment was another triumph.
She was not happy. Katherine worked so long and so hard to make partner that she didn't realize along the way that it wasn't what she wanted until it was too late. Perhaps she realized it, but by then, she felt like she invested too much time to back out waste it.
She had to know the partners were going to reject her stipulation, but she went for it anyway. Workplace sexism is grand. There are partners at firms that can carve out tee-time, but heaven forbid the mother wants to take time out of her day to be with her son.
The last thing she needed was Eddie on her case because he got in his feelings about Hunter being there to watch Theo before her mother came to babysit.
Eddie has access to a village of people who help him when he needs it. He left Theo with Gary and Maggie (who spent the most time with Theo that day when Gary was called away), but Katherine couldn't leave Theo with her friend for a few minutes?
They both have to learn how to do things without depending on the other. And Eddie is right about communication, but as Katherine pointed out, he has to practice what he preaches.
The beauty of Katherine turning down partner is she can spend the time with Theo she has been craving for years. That could also mean her being integrated into the group more. Katherine and Gary and Katherine and Gina have had interactions that could be interesting if explored more.
Hunter: What did be say?
Katherine: He said I didn't make partner.
Hunter: Then why are you smiling?
Katherine: Because I got my life back.
It also means she'll have support. Theo will be thrilled, but Eddie and Hunter will be supportive, too. Let the successful co-parenting commence! If they opt for a Splitting Up Together format, it wouldn't be disappointing.
This also frees Eddie up to go on tour and jump back into music. He needs to get back out there and find himself and explore, but hopefully, that doesn't lead him to fall off the wagon. Am I the only one concerned about that?
Eddie has not had any more incidents that allude to him drinking again, but they can't be over, right?
Eddie knows that he can perform sober and kick ass, but what if the temptation is too much? It's nice that he is shifting his focus to something productive. He needs something to put his energy into with so many stressful things happening at once.
Rome is a bit stressed out about his father's reaction to Rome's clinical depression, but he has to give his father time, too. Walter handled it better than expected. He didn't say much when Rome explained what was going on with him and why he had the pills.
He didn't seem like he was disappointed or judgmental; he was processing. Renee implied that Walter suffers from depression as well, so maybe it was difficult for him hearing that his son had the same issues and took certain steps to help.
Psychiatrists, anti-depressants, therapy-- all of it goes against everything Walter himself was raised to believe in or understand. There are generational gaps and a different mindset in how to approach certain topics, so it's going to take time.
Walter: What are these?
Rome: Dad, I tried, man. I tried to be the man you taught me to be. I tried not to ask for help.
Walter: Help for what?
Rome: Sometimes I get really sad for no reason. Actually, a lot of times. I have clinical depression I've had it for a while.
It was sad when Rome took Walter's response as him not being proud of him. He already felt inadequate in his father's presence because he isn't a handyman.
It's disheartening how narrow society likes to view masculinity. "Manly tasks," bottling up emotions and pretending they don't exist, not communicating or sharing, and having a specific skill set and specific jobs are what makes a man a man.
But being vulnerable with those you care about, wearing your heart on your sleeve, being passionate about art, struggling with mental health issues like depression, and being comfortable enough in your sexuality to acknowledge another man is attractive, somehow don't fit the bill. It's harmful, toxic, and a few other things.
Fortunately, Gina was there to give him some encouraging words that he can hold on to, and I'm happy she made him realize how brave he is. Rome got the help that he needed. He isn't too prideful to take his medicine, and he eliminated the things that don't make him happy including his job.
Rome's self-care and mental health should take precedent. Period. That's not something he should be ashamed of, and he stood firm in that stance with Walter. It's slow-going, but this is another fascinating plotline and something the series is doing right.
I spent my whole life proud to be his son. I just want him to be proud to be my dad.Rome
So, over to you guys. How happy are you that Maggie went to chemo? Do you think the pacing of the show is too slow or just right?
Will Rome's father accept the news? Did you expect more to come from Ashley and Gary hooking up?
What did you think about Delilah's wedding band dilemma and insight into her and Jon's marriage? Hit the comments below.
You can watch A Million Little Things online here via TV Fanatic! Check out the slideshow below to see which A Million Little Things moment made it as one of the most Heartwarming Miracles on TV.
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.