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A Million Little Things - The Rock and The Rosary - Review - Today, Baby

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After an entire season that has dealt with inexplicable tragedies, dealt out countless hugs, and dealt in tough reality, A Million Little Things refuses to go over-the-top as it builds to its first season finale. The show is good primarily because of its commitment to showing us the lives of its characters. It never lets its mysteries and secrets outweigh the focus on human connection. Both “The Rock” and “The Rosary” look to the future, to what the lives of Jon’s friends and family will look like next. They aren’t moving on just from Jon’s death but also wrapping up important yet very difficult chapters in their own lives.

Romany Malco gets wonderful material in these two episodes, starting with a difficult visit from Rome’s younger brother Omar (guest star Jay Pharoah). The two didn’t have the strongest relationship before, so Rome isn’t thrilled when his dad asks him to host Omar for a couple days. His younger brother is more than a little self-absorbed. Rome is extremely annoyed that his father doesn’t question Omar’s life choices as much as he does Rome’s. A couple times he tries to bring up his depression when talking to his brother, but it’s ultimately his dad who spills the beans in a tense family dinner (in the middle of Regina’s restaurant). Rome is more hurt than embarrassed, ultimately confronting his father in the kitchen. But later, surprisingly, Omar reaches out to his brother, admitting that he is getting divorced and opening the door for Rome to share what he has been going through.
Rome also finishes his screenplay but declines Regina’s offer to read it, because he’s not sure it’s ready yet. He takes it along to the hospital where he is waiting with Gary during Maggie’s surgery and misplaces it. (Honestly, that would have given me an instant breakdown.) The young man who picked it up, though, expresses interest in reading the whole thing, sharing how much he loved the story. PJ (Chandler Riggs) shares how he sees himself in the story, which inspires Rome to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to volunteer. It’s both an exciting and a scary new direction for the show to take Rome towards. (Thoughts: Rome was the second person to take one of the Hotline number tabs. Might PJ have been the first person and could this be how their paths cross again?)

While Rome is making forward strides, Regina is wrangling the challenges of her newfound success. Critical reviews can have a big impact on a restaurant, and we see her making the rounds in the restaurant, cheerfully but nervously checking that everyone is enjoying their food. The first review that comes out, though, focuses more on Andrew’s involvement than her cooking. This prompts Regina to very briefly worry that Delilah is valuing his input more than Regina’s. However, Andrew apologizes for overstepping and even sets up an interview that will focus on Regina as the restaurant’s creator and chef. Delilah arranges for Regina to meet a couple of her superfans who used to eat at her old restaurant.
“The Rock” particularly focuses on Delilah having to handle some harder parenting scenarios. She accidentally messes up Danny’s movie date with Elliott by commenting on how cute the boys are. (Such a mom thing to do.) She initially waits for Eddie to help her purchase baby essentials, like the car seat, but ultimately has to do so herself and later tells him the car seat is already installed. She installs the car seat herself, in a moment that’s unexpectedly poignant. It’s important that the show has established Delilah as her own person and separated her as much as possible from Eddie. St├ęphanie Szostak is marvelous, and she puts bravery and love into everything Delilah does and says.

We get to meet another mother for the first time. Melora Hardin guest stars as Maggie’s mom Patricia. She has a highly negative first encounter with Gary, which Rome and Eddie try to help their friend smooth over. (The lightest moment in “The Rosary” comes from watching them despair as Eddie initially fails to mend bridges.) After their friend and fellow cancer patient Linda died, Maggie was both crying and panicking before she went into surgery. Gary reassured her that she would be okay, but he drove back home to get her mom’s rosary after Maggie forgot it. Back at the hospital, he couldn’t find a parking space, and, when he did find one, another driver snatched it up. That driver was, of course, Patricia. Still, they did finally bond when he found her in the chapel. Gary let her know he knew about Chad, and all hearts not stone bled when Patricia sobbed that she couldn’t lose her child (again). They were both at Maggie’s bedside when she woke up. Gary later asked Maggie to move in with him. After all, she’s already packed. He thought she was leaning over the side of the bed to barf again, but she was just writing sticky note of acceptance.
If anything happens to Eddie and Katherine, Maggie and Gary will have Theo moving in with them too. The divorcing couple asked Gary to officially be Theo’s legal guardian were anything dreadful to occur. This wasn’t any kind of foreshadowing, but rather just another step in the increasingly emotionally-charged divorce proceedings. Katherine winds up in a car accident, which is rather scary but ultimately recovers swiftly between episodes. Eddie, clearly feeling some guilt, agrees to give her everything from the house to their dining room table. As the clock counts down on their marriage, Katherine has to wrestle with Theo having a bad attitude, which she handles in a very firm but loving way. She and Eddie share a vulnerable moment that almost turns into something else, but it doesn’t. They sign the divorce papers, and the tone is respectfully devastating, as they put an end to their nine year marriage. If anyone’s futures are unclear, it is Eddie and Katherine’s. He certainly won’t be living with Gary anymore, now that Maggie is moving in. And considering how distraught Katherine was over how she couldn’t have Delilah be Theo’s guardian anymore, it’s tough to realize she has more Delilah-related bombshells in her future.
There is still a mystery out there. Mrs. Nelson (the woman who is most definitely Barbara Morgan) begins watching the Dixon family. After seeing that Delilah is pregnant, it seems that she can't just walk away. She tells her husband this over the phone. She later stops Sophie as she's running and pretends to have met her at the race. Sophie melts right away when "Emma" shares how her husband died when she was pregnant. Emma offers to speak with Delilah about what she's going through, but it's a pretense to get inside the Dixon home. It seems she just wanted to look around, to leave a note for Delilah. But when Delilah unexpectedly comes home, Mrs. Nelson bails, only for Sophie to later recognize her in Jon's photo album. This means that answers are definitely coming in the finale. And the big question isn't what those answers are but how they are going to impact these people, and that is because of how excellent this show's storytelling is.

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