Television

A Million Little Things Season 4 Episode 8 Review: The Things We Keep Inside

Some new chapters will begin for some of the gang when the series returns.

However, as evident by A Million Little Things Season 4 Episode 8, there are always some open-ended chapters that were incomplete, and they’re rearing their heads, too.

It was mostly an understated midseason finale for this series, but the hour had notable heartfelt moments.

It’s starting to wear on the series that they’ve opted to limit large group interactions among the cast and characters. When you have a series that always relied on the majority interacting at once, it becomes more noticeable whenever they stray from that. 

It was an installment where you were more aware than usual that many of the storylines are insular. Most of them don’t overlap and connect anymore. And, of course, they’ll rotate featuring characters in installments, so when a midseason finale happens, it’s more apparent than ever when the entirety of the cast isn’t prominent in it.

It comes with some advantages and disadvantages with storytelling.

In some ways, the stories are tighter, and it means we get in-depth interactions among characters, including some that we don’t see orbiting around each other as often outside of the group.

But then it feels like a dozen different stories are happening with no common link to tie everything together more, and the midseason finale had that vibe.

It’s such a contrast from a group that rallied over someone’s stubbed toe now barely communicating with one another anymore.

Stephen: How do you lose a screwedriver?
Gary: How do you lose your son?

In addition to the reality of filming during a pandemic, it’s not unrealistic that things have shifted in the core group. We need only look at how most of our social lives have changed over the past year and a half, but it’s noticeable all the same.

As said above, the setup has bright spots, and interactions between Eddie and Gina are prime examples. Throughout the series, those are two characters who’ve barely spent time together one-on-one until recently.

You can count on your hand the number of times they’ve spent time together as friends outside of the group. And when you have Giuntoli and Moses sharing the screen like that, it makes you wonder why that is. They have such an easy rapport that’s intriguing.

Gina has struggled to reconnect with Rome since her six-month absence, and naturally, she guessed it had something to do with Cassandra.

In Delilah’s absence, though it’s doubtful she would’ve gotten such an in-depth, honest answer from her the same way as with Eddie, she turned to him. And while she didn’t confide in him in great detail, she provided enough information for him to give her some advice.

Who’d have imagined that Eddie would be the guy who would give her sound advice about marriage and communication, right?

But he’s learned from his mistakes, and he wouldn’t want his friends to repeat the ones he made. Unsurprisingly, someone who has endured as much as he has and come out on the other side of it understands the importance of extending grace.

It’s a mark of Eddie’s growth that he could speak about when things shifted between him and Katherine without any bitterness or redirecting blame. It’s always the little things that say so much.

Sophie: You gonna see her again?
Eddie: Nope. She and I agreed that it’s too complicated.
Sophie: When has that ever stopped you?

Katherine used to kiss him every morning before she left the house, and one day after an argument he took accountability for, she didn’t. Suddenly, that routine that said so much stopped and thus revealed something else about the state of their marriage.

Who’s to say how things would’ve worked out between the pair if they had talked about it then instead of refusing to acknowledge the unspoken shift in their relationship?

It was an insightful, mature way of summing up their marriage and where it went wrong.

Remarkably, a minute-long, casual conversation with Gina did more to aptly describe the dissolution of a marriage and humanizing the parties within it than four seasons worth of Delilah, Eddie, and Katherine drama, confusion, and messiness.

The Howards have always been the pillar couple of this series, and thankfully, they didn’t go in the presumed direction of an affair.

Initially, it seemed like an “a hit dog will holler” situation when Rome had such an explosive reaction to Gina’s observation about his relationship with Cassandra. It wasn’t a stretch for his wife, who had been absent for six months, to wonder about the woman he’s spent all the time with and prioritized over lovemaking.

Things were awkward between the two as they struggled to find their rhythm, and Rome wasn’t showing much interest in her. And to Regina’s credit, she wasn’t offbase about Cassandra.

It was quite the moment when Cassandra admitted that not only did she have feelings for Rome and found him attractive, but she assumed that he was unhappy in his marriage and felt the same.

Cassandra: Well, I wasn’t going to say anything because you are married but –
Rome: What?
Cassandra: I’m attracted to you, and I kind of thought it was mutual. And look, if I have the wrong idea, and you are happily married, nothing is happening between us. but I don’t know. I just kind of get the impression that maybe you’re not that happy.

Cassandra was great for getting Rome that PBS deal for his film, and even when she told him her feelings, it seemed that she was fine backing off if she misread things and keeping them professional.

It was both sad and refreshing that Rome’s conclusion from all of this is that he’s slipped into the habit of pretending to be okay again when he’s unhappy.

To say Rome’s Depression is back would imply that one battling it the way he does — gets rid of it completely. Nevertheless, reintroducing this storyline is a realistic depiction of depression. Fighting chemical imbalances in your brain isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.

I can even appreciate that he effortlessly slipped back into the habit of “pretending” and thus surviving so well that he even duped himself.

And while the series doesn’t precisely address the pandemic much at all anymore, it’s reasonable that the culmination of that global event that altered their lives, Gina’s absence, Tyrell’s departure, all of the changes, — all of it compounded things and had Rome stewing for a bit.

The core of this series was an exploration of mental illness and suicide, so it feels like the series is trying to recenter itself a bit with this.

The Howards are always the couple to watch, and Rome recognizing what was happening to him and communicating with Gina about it was the best and healthiest avenue he could take. Eddie is right about the solid foundation and strength that they have, and they’ll get through this again as they have everything else.

It seems that after seasons of turbulence, Eddie is in a place in his life where he’s doing well, and his work is rewarded. He’s this sounding board for people; he’s become a voice of reason. Eddie is doling out pearls of wisdom and mostly making responsible choices.

Rome: I’m so sorry.
Gina: Did something happen with Cassandra?
Rome: No, nothing happened between us. But you were right, she did have feelings for me, and she thought I did too, and I know why, it’s because I’ve been —
Gina: Rome, talk to me.
Rome: I sold my movie today, and I felt nothing. You came home, and I felt nothing. I’ve been faking it with everybody trying to make it seem like I’m great, but I can’t fake it with you. My depression. It’s back.

He and Sophie have come a long way in their relationship together, and his ability to openly discuss the wounds he inflicted on others with his relationship with Delilah, in hindsight, is pretty great.

Eddie may be the key to bridging the gap between Sophie and Gary whenever she’s ready to forgive him, and he’s the best person to do so as someone who was on the outs with her before, too.

He didn’t want to undermine Sophie’s feelings about what Gary did and how he stole her voice from her on something so profoundly traumatic and personal. However, as a father himself, Eddie could argue that Gary’s urges and impulses were understandable.

Sophie still lionizes Jon because a man who orchestrated so much for his friends out of his love and devotion to them would’ve entertained unscrupulous options for Peter even if he didn’t go through with it. 

Eddie: Look, I know this really isn’t the time, but I just got to say. If someone hurt Theo or Charlie the same way Peter hurt you, I probably would’ve done the same thing Gary did. And if your dad were here, he would’ve too.
Sophie: Gary took my voice away. My dad never would’ve done that.

Sophie’s arc in all of this has been one of the most compelling of the series thus far.

They’ve done a beautiful job of interweaving it into the series, transitioning her from the C-Character arcs as “one of the kids” to a fully-fleshed-out adult who can hold her own with the other characters.

Sophie’s MMI audition was such a significant moment for her, and there were so many things that could’ve derailed it. She stood firm in the face of adversity and amid triggers.

For Sophie, Peter was everywhere, and her audition could’ve gone left when she was out on the stage, primarily upon learning the woman who recommended she return had since departed. But her song, inspired by her conversation with Anna and her owning what happened to her without shame, moved the judges.

It was enough to get her in, and it was only fitting that Sophie got to decide that MMI wasn’t what she wanted after all. I get that; she wanted to know that she could do it after everything that happened.

But now that she got her acceptance and overcame her fears and trauma, it gave her the freedom, solace, and clarity to pursue what her heart desires now.

And apparently, Sophie is forgoing music school to join a band. It’s so strangely full-circle that Sophie’s following in Eddie’s footsteps after their long journey together.

He’s always been her mentor, and they’ve had this connection, and now here she is.

It was hilarious that Delilah wasn’t the first person she thought of sharing her good news with, and Anna was on her mind instead. Although, at least she got to share it with Danny, who looked positively precious with his new hair, and he’s getting so freaking big!

Unsurprisingly, Sophie’s unique bond with Anna and love for Eddie meant she wanted them both to find happiness, particularly with each other. She gave them that first date that they missed out on because of her.

If this is where we are now, and we have to let go of the Savilles, then at least whatever is between Eddie and Anna feels right. They have chemistry, and both of them have gone through a lot.

We don’t even need to know the full extent of what Anna endured to understand that her marriage with Peter wasn’t the best. She spoke a mouthful in simply implying that he was the one who told her she was terrible at the violin and discouraged her from pursuing her musical dreams.

Anna: Do me a favor, promise me that you will always bet on yourself because you are good enough.
Sophie: I will, thank you.

Anna has gone through a lot to get to this point. She’s starting over in her life, and she’s passionate about music, too. She’s down the earth and new, and it’s a fresh start for both her and Eddie. They’re good together.

Love via Darcy eluded Gary, but he has a lifelong bond with Liam.

How difficult do you think it is to deal with your ex-girlfriend’s child coming to your doorstep with familial problems, and your first interaction with the ex and now current beau is via this?

At first, it was annoying that Stephen showed up instead of Darcy, but once he shared that she was on bed rest and started confiding in Gary about how hard it is standing in Gary’s shadow, you felt for the guy.

Gary: Wherever you go, whether we’re together or not, when you wear this, I’m with you.
Liam: But that’s your lucky hat. Are you sure you want me to have it?
Gary: I’m positive. And now it’s your lucky hat.

He’s not a bad man or a jerk. He’s a father doing the best that he can. And it must suck for him to feel as if Gary had a better understanding of his son than he ever has.

Gary’s final goodbye to Liam gave us more closure than Gary’s last scene with Darcy ever did. It shows that when you break up with someone with a child, or hell, even when it comes to their family, it affects them too.

It was impossible to avoid getting misty-eyed when he gave Liam his lucky hat. We know how much he cares about it and how he clings to something that Jon gave him. He’s worn that hat through it all, so it’s a testament to his love for Liam that he gave it to him.

And Gary was barely holding back tears when they hugged.

He even put Stephen’s mind at ease about why he and Darcy broke up, and he gave Stephen a boost of hope and confidence about his reunion with Darcy.

Gary implied that Darcy was Stephen’s Maggie, and it’s no surprise that the very words he shared with Stephen reflected how he felt about Maggie.

He put Stephen at ease, but you can’t say the same for Cam, who has already screamed “placeholder” since he arrived.

The situation with Maggie’s stalker escalated further, and we’re supposed to believe that Justin’s mother, Meredith, is the one who is behind it. But it’s hard to make sense of it all.

She blames Maggie for Justin taking his life, but we don’t have more details on the matter. And how does stalking Maggie change things?

How does proving that Justin had an unhealthy obsession with Maggie prove whatever point Meredith is trying to make?

She was determined to expose Maggie on her radio show after all these years, and it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through when a personal conversation would’ve been sufficient.

Maggie didn’t handle the situation well at all, though. It was too risky to have that taking place on a live show, and she should’ve known better. She couldn’t control where that conversation was going on how Meredith would react.

Stephen: You’re funny, and you helped Darcy with her PTSD, and you were willing to move to Lennox. Why’d you two break up anyway?
Gary: She didn’t tell you, huh?
Stephen: No.
Gary: Well the truth is she realized she wanted to give you two another show. Sometimes two people are meant to be together and no matter what you do, the universe finds a way to make it happen.

They should’ve benched Maggie.

But her boneheaded decision to drive to Meredith’s home to attempt to help her is even worse. It’s not a bright idea at all, and it’s incredibly dangerous. Maggie choosing to be this reckless is annoying.

But at least Gary is there to accompany her.

Cam will not be happy when he learns that he offered to go along with Maggie, and now Gary is accompanying her instead.

Maggie: Gary, if you’re so worried that I’m going to destroy your car than you might as well drive me yourself.
Gary: Maybe I will.
Maggie: If you want to…
Gary: I’m in.

He already has reservations about how close Gary and Maggie are. While she reassured him that they’re only friends now, it seems that now that Gary has packed up his Darcy box and put that relationship behind him, he’s right back to fixating on Maggie and what they had.

He clung to that post-it note like it was the key to his happiness, and we’re right back to Gary pining for Maggie. For the fans of this pairing, you’re probably thrilled at the spark of hope reignited that they’ll find their way back to each other.

And it does say something that they’re the first one that the other calls for things. I mean, Eddie makes a living driving people around these days, and Maggie didn’t call him for a ride.

Gary isn’t the only one with an available car in the friendship group, and Cam probably could’ve arranged for a car, too. Maggie could’ve rented one, but she wanted Gary to know what she was doing because deep down, she hoped and trusted that he would volunteer to go with her.

She’s scared, and she doesn’t want to embark on this journey alone. She wanted to feel safe, and Gary always made her feel that way. Maggie needs to unpack why Gary is still her person even when she’s in a relationship with a man who has confessed his love for her.

As far as cliffhangers go, though, the prospect of romantic complications for Maggie and reigning Gary and Maggie feels a bit redundant, and this bold move to seek out Meredith was too rash to be compelling. Maggie is a whole therapist; why does she make the worst decisions all the time?

Over to you, AMLT Fanatics.

How do you feel about a potential Maggie and Gary reunion? Do you like Eddie and Anna together? What are your thoughts on Rome’s depression arc continuing? Hit the comments.

You can (re)watch A Million Little Things online here via TV Fanatic to hold you over until the series returns!

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

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