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A Million Little Things - Christmas Wishlist - Review - In Love With You

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Even though it has evolved into one of the best shows on TV, A Million Little Things isn't above teasing its audience with the possibility of extra scandal. The closing moments of this episode showed a flashback where Jon brought Ashley to a mysterious apartment. She asks him what they are doing there.
"I'm not the man everyone thinks I am." He opens the door, and what happens next is she goes in for a kiss.

Not that it wouldn't add an interesting wrinkle if Jon had a fling with Ashley, that's simply not happening here. Was Ashley in love with Jon? One hundred percent. It's important to note she's the one who goes to close the door and initiate the kiss, which we do not see him respond to other than by stiffening. The aftermath will probably be mortifying for Ashley. Based on the mailbox she opens in present day, from which overdue notices spill like confetti, this apartment was Jon's. And whatever secrets he was keeping have only just started coming back to haunt his loved ones. If Jon did let Ashley share the burden of his secrets, that seems hella unfair. But if her present day secrecy is because of a promise she made him, it will be easier to swallow.

The episode otherwise focuses on everyone's Christmas preparations, which really highlights just how amazing this cast is. Everyone comes together to help Delilah and the kids decorate. The first arrival is Gary. There is always extra tenderness in his interactions with Delilah, with a strong, protective big-brotherly side coming out. He comes bearing gifts, which he is re-gifting to them. But his priority is getting her to tell the kids about the baby. She is understandably reluctant to introduce another life change. James Roday completely shifts into a softer version of Gary when he acts opposite St├ęphanie Szostak. Gary still has jokes though.
“Then we’re going to get ourselves a Nativity scene sans Jesus, and that’s how we’re going to sneak your baby into this family.”
One of many delightful, humorous bits in this episode's great screenplay.
A trip to the tree lot is holly and jolly until Delilah slips on ice, sending Rome, Eddie, and Gary rushing to her side. This confuses Sophie and Danny. To them, it's more funny than anything else, as long as she's okay. There's a couple tense minutes where the kids are just starting to wonder why everyone is reacting with concern. Rome cuts through it by explaining he once hurt his ankle slipping on ice.
"Me too."
"So did I."
Eddie and Gary chime in with absolute sincerity. It works on both the kids and us by temporarily relieving our anxiety. Though we, of course, spend the remainder of the episode waiting for Delilah to show signs of not being okay. I can't speak for everyone watching the show, but I am very invested in these characters now. And I cannot handle something bad happening to mom or baby! Delilah started experiencing some pain later when she was serving cookies. (Is nothing sacred?)
She quickly bluffed her way out the door with Eddie to go get some sparkling cider she forgot. What Delilah actually forgot was that, because she had been forgetting things lately, Sophie had activated an app to keep track of her mom's phone. Lizzy Greene did some of her best work yet in this episode, but the moment at the hospital stands apart. She's so relieved and bewildered at hearing Delilah is okay that it isn't until the doctor walks away that we see her realize what he said. And she basically stumbles into Delilah's room, curious but not angry.

Even as the Dixon family celebrates, Sophie and Danny knowing about the baby creates a new emotional challenge for Eddie. Minutes before Sophie appeared, Eddie was having a heart-to-heart with Delilah. His drinking meant that he hadn't been a supportive partner for Katherine when Theo was on the way. Now he gets a chance to be that for her. However, as long as they continue to say the baby is Jon's, his ability to do that is limited.
Of all the secrets being kept, this moral dilemma is the most arresting. There's no clear right or wrong here. Sophie has leaned on her bond with Eddie in the wake of her dad's death, and her relationship with Delilah has gotten stronger as well. Learning the truth would so completely destroy her reality I don't think I want her to find out anytime soon. Is it fair she should have to suffer too because of their infidelity? At the same time, there's also the fact that Delilah and Eddie's baby deserves a father too. Their sweet moment in the tree lot where Delilah reminded Eddie that she believed in him signals there might be a long-term future for this couple. That small, beaming smile Eddie gave her was so endearing. But the longer they keep this secret, the more it will hurt everyone they care about when it gets out.
Ironically, Delilah and Eddie's dalliance has most benefited Katherine. She is getting to spend more time with Theo. She got the chance to reevaluate her career goals. The episode begins with her mending Theo's superhero cape, prompting this poignant observation from her son.
“How do you know how to sew, Mom?”
It is not lost on Katherine that there are many things about her their son doesn't know. She begins to tell him how she learned from her grandmother and even lets him try a few stitches on the sewing machine. Grace Park continues to make Katherine one of the show's most fascinating characters. Watching her and Theo mutually learn new things about each other is subtly devastating and uplifting. She helps him a (quite marvelous) gingerbread house. Theo confides in her that "growing up is hard." Tristan Byon nails that cautious, wistful frankness when Theo relates how it's hard that so many things are changing. This inspires Katherine to enlist Eddie to stage a surprise phone call from Santa. A call that also comes with an apology from him about not being there more for her. Eddie continues to wear his wedding ring too, which can be interpreted more as a sign of respect than a wish to reunite. For now, it's enough that they are awkwardly rebuilding a friendship.

Rome and Regina faced a hurdle in their own relationship. A lighthearted frisky interaction took a serious turn when Rome insisted they had to be at Delilah's house on time. Later, Regina volunteered them to retrieve some decorations from a shed, so they could have another chance. Here Rome had to be honest with her that he doesn't feel like himself. He told her part of it was probably the medication and part of it was that he didn't feel like a man with her having to take care of him. It was a rough conversation to have, but the fact he could be that honest and brave with Regina speaks volumes about their bond. Later, Rome tells Regina he wants to get off the medication. Living with depression without medication is, of course, possible. Rome did it before, and, yes, he did almost die. But now he has much more support than he had before. Romany Malco and Christina Moses sell this connection between the Howards so well.

After the emotional roller coaster Gary has been on for the last few episodes, it's a relief to see him closer to his usual self. Delilah masterminds getting him and Maggie in a car together by sending them back to the tree lot for more lights. Without a doubt, one of the most painful parts of the series so far is their first car ride in this episode. Gary is going through the motions of being casual, playing peppy songs and singing along. Maggie sits beside him, with tears burning in her eyes, tears that she is holding back by sheer will. And he pretends not to notice. It hurts and hurts. At the tree lot, though, they find common ground in prevailing over some rude people ahead of them in line. This results in a much more cheerful car ride back to the house. Gary suggests they just be friends, which Maggie protests he won't be able to stick to. She also finds Ashley's scarf, which he jokes belongs to an elderly paramour. Delilah later unknowingly reveals to Maggie it was Ashley's. This upsets Maggie, mostly because she has bottled up a ton of stuff and just needs to get it out.
This time Gary doesn't ignore how she's feeling or how he's feeling. He just goes for broke, lays everything out.
"You want to know why I slept with Ashley? Because I am in love with you."
That should make no sense, but there is total honesty in his voice. Maggie promptly throws up on him. (Allison Miller is phenomenal on this show in every episode, but I have got to give extra points for her authenticity in this scene. It's not some glam spew and still be fresh as a daisy scene. She's still groaning and shaky and miserable for the entire aftermath.) Gary, of course, absolutely freezes. His only instinct is to gently smooth back the hair from around her face. As she starts to cry about messing up his new car, Gary doesn't even seem to register what she's saying. He doesn't see puke. He sees hope. Pushing up her sleeve and seeing the needle mark confirms it. His reaction and his joy make the moment even more heartwarming. And the show has properly built up to this and developed their bond so all the emotional punches hit their mark.
The show heads into midseason with Eddie boarding a tour bus, heading away from his friends and family, with their gentle admonitions ringing in his ears. Gary is at Maggie's side for her chemo, with Jon's painting repaired and hanging on the wall in front of her. And Delilah is at Katherine's front door, asking her for help. She's been served papers that say her family has 21 days to move out of their house.
On that note, don't forget the show is also moving. To a new Thursday night slot starting January 17th.

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