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A Million Little Things - Twelve Seconds and Someday - Review - View From the Painting

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“Someday” skips ahead three months into the future for the opening of Regina and Delilah’s restaurant. Before the show and the characters can move on, there’s unfinished business to be wrapped up in “Twelve Seconds.”

Ashley stalks Jeri (Constance Zimmer) until the other woman, extremely guilt-ridden, gets the subway vote back on the table. At that point, Ashley comes clean to Gary and Delilah. That was never going to be a pleasant conversation, and she has bombshells to drop left and right. Jon had a second life insurance policy, the Rutledge policy, that he named his friends the beneficiaries of, so that the money wouldn’t be taken away as payment for his debts. He also named the unknown Barbara Morgan as the fourth beneficiary. Ashley is clearly in a world of hurt, and Ochoa gives a devastating performance. But the secrets she kept threaten to permanently alienate her from the people who best understand her loss. When Ashley reveals Jon’s letter to Delilah and the children, it’s the final straw for Gary and Delilah who order her to leave. (Stéphanie Szostak hugs that blue envelope close, and tears just fall.) Ashley tells her not to sell the buildings Jon dug himself into a hole for. They will be a worth a fortune, if the subway vote goes through. Ultimately, Delilah decides to not bet on the subway vote, making a deal with a buyer Katherine and Carter found. She wasn’t willing to gamble her family’s financial security. (Katherine mentions that the sale wouldn’t completely cover the debt, but the money owed hasn’t been brought up in the three month flashforward yet.)
Before leaving for Barcelona, Ashley tells Gary that the buildings were more than an investment to Jon. He visits Jon’s apartment with Delilah and makes a startling discovery: the window is the view from the painting Jon gave him. It was also painted by a B. Morgan. This information paired with Jon’s reference that the man he wanted to be died long before he met Delilah suggests a number of sad possibilities. Gary dons his detective hat and tracks down Barbara Morgan’s address. The last name on the door is Nelson, and the woman (Drea de Matteo) who answers says Barbara moved a few years ago. It seems to be a dead end. Later, though, you see her watching Jon’s video apology to Barbara and hear her talking to an offscreen son (Chandler Riggs?), so she just might not be telling the truth. Jon’s story just got much more painful, but his description of how he suffered for years is an accurate recounting of what it’s like to be afflicted with depression. And when he thanks Delilah and the kids in the letter for giving him so much happiness…..

“Twelve Seconds” takes place about a month before Valentine’s Day, and Katherine is ready to start exploring the dating scene. She invites her coworker Hunter over for dinner. Grace Park nails all the associated excitement and nerves that Katherine is feeling. She deserves some romance. It is immensely disappointing when Hunter reveals, the next morning, that he accepted the partner position she was denied. You know that Katherine was actually happy to be turned down, but this is one hundred percent some information he should have dropped the night before. She sends him packing, so upset that she doesn’t clear their breakfast dishes. Eddie sees those when he comes to pick up Theo for a sleepover. That sight combined with the need to get out of limbo for Theo’s sake prompts Eddie to talk to Katherine about officially filing for divorce. In “Someday,” Gary embarks on a new mission to push to Delilah and Eddie back into the dating pool. It’s hard to say for sure if their friends are truly blind to Eddie and Delilah’s unresolved feelings or they suspect those feelings and want to quelch them. Just going off of how Eddie is lost in wonder when he looks at Delilah after three months apart, he is not ready to let go. On the other hand, Delilah gets help with the restaurant licenses from charming restaurant owner Andrew Pollock (James Tupper). They have a very natural chemistry, and he doesn’t flinch when Gary interrogates him about his intentions either. He’s also a widower, and there’s ingredients for a beautiful friendship there.

The restaurant opening hits a snag when Regina makes an unpleasant discovery. Her mother lied about where the investment money came from. It came from her Uncle Neil. The way that Christina Moses falters and has to reach for the counter to support herself coupled with the pain and anger in her face lets you know this is very bad. The scene where Rome and Maggie sit on the bed with Regina and listen to her story is emotional warfare at its most impactful. And how she blamed herself for letting her uncle touch her and tried to convince herself it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maggie compassionately but firmly reminds her she was just a child, and Rome wraps his arms around her. Their support prompts Regina to confront her uncle who is sick in a hospital three hours away. Rome and Maggie travel with her, only for Regina to find her uncle has already died. At first, she grieves that she won’t get closure. Then her mother shows up. Earlier, Regina talked about how her mother first didn’t believe 12 year-old Regina’s account and later tried to make Regina think she misunderstood what happened. Regina prepares to duck out the back way. However, Maggie asks her to consider another possibility, that her mother was a victim too and couldn’t acknowledge her daughter’s pain because it meant recognizing her own. Maggie clearly states this isn’t an excuse, but it can perhaps be somewhere to start anew. Regina walks out to meet her mother and asks the hard questions. Shelly begins to cry, and mother and daughter turn the page.
Maggie is everyone’s rock throughout both episodes, sometimes accompanied by a darling pink wig. She learns that her tumor has shrunk half of the percentage it needs to for her to get the operation, which sends Gary into a gleeful spiral that Maggie does her best to temper. When Rome and Gary hilariously fail to give Sophie good driving lessons, Maggie steps out of her comfort zone to do it herself. The two young women end up bonding over how their parents just want to protect them. Sophie encourages Maggie to tell her parents the truth. It’s not revealed for sure if she did though.

The restaurant opening is a beautiful note to end the episode on, a tapestry of enchanting moments that highlight the emotional bonding and kinesthetic synergy that has developed among this ensemble. Hard to pick a favorite moment. Eddie washing dishes. Maggie sneaking up to snap pictures of Delilah before giving her a hug. Shelly telling Regina how proud she is. For this one night, they are wrapped in a cocoon of love and friendship, safe from all harm.

Little Things:

Rome decides to go back on his medication to make sure he’s able to support Regina. It’s a tough choice, but his devotion to her is incredibly romantic. And his story on the show shouldn't be underrated. Romany Malco is giving a voice to the very real struggles small and big that millions of people try to cope with every day. And Rome's story, while not the same as Jon's in its roots, provides a hopeful alternative.
Jon’s mysteries were the least interesting part of the show for me up to this point. Now, I am desperate to learn the truth about his past.

The scene with Regina revealing she was a survivor was so well done. I sometimes feel that shows will milk stories like this for melodrama, but here it was so organic and honest and delivered a meaningful, valuable message without shouting.

I am furious with Hunter. Just furious.

Allison Miller is priceless.

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