It’s probably silly, but of the returning network dramas this year, I found myself most looking forward to the second-season premiere of A Million Little Things, a drama that I hated when it premiered last season but that grew on me over the course of the year until it became my This Is Us, a warm, sometimes funny, sometimes tear-jerky show about a group of friends struggling to come to terms with the suicide of one of their own, as well as the issues that arose from it.
I admit, too, that the mystery playing in the background kept me glued: Why did John kill himself, and what secrets did he leave behind? That mystery was largely resolved by the end of the first season, the Barbara Morgan questions were answered, Maggie’s cancer went into remission, and Ashley exited the series (and is not likely to return).
Moved into a primo slot on ABC after Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays, the second season premiere didn’t so much embark on new storylines as it burned off the fumes of last season. The last secret, meanwhile, was revealed, and it wasn’t really much of a secret to anyone except Kathryn, who learned from Eddie that Delilah’s child is his. Kathryn, who had just asked her estranged husband Eddie to move back in, did not take the news well. In fact, she split town, and I’m not sure how much we’ll even be seeing of Grace Park this season. It was a weird move for the character, too. A few days before, she was ready to sign divorce papers, she was dating, and she’d finally struck the right work-life balance. Now that she knows that what was her nearly soon-to-be-ex-husband impregnated the woman with whom he was having an affair, Kathryn throws all her gains away and abandons her son, Theo, without even a goodbye.
Delilah, meanwhile, did have that baby (she named her Charlotte, or Charlie for short) and all her friends found out that Eddie is the father. They didn’t much care. The only conflict remaining here is that Delilah’s kids don’t yet know that their new baby sister is only their half-sister. However, this show is barely ever about the kids, so I don’t know how much friction that’s going to create. The only worthwhile scene to come out of that arc in this week’s episode was Maggie brilliantly telling off a lactation consultant who wouldn’t stop judging Delilah for her inability to breastfeed.
I should note here, too, that Eddie remains the worst. You can’t tell your wife that the woman you had an affair with is having your baby and then expect your wife to take you back because you promise never to lie to her again starting … now.
Speaking of Maggie, now that her cancer is cured and she’s in a stable, happy relationship with Gary, what’s left for her character? Apparently, getting upset that Gary threw away her cancer meds because she didn’t want to tempt fate, because her breast cancer returned the second time the day after she threw out her cancer meds the first time. It provided for a touching moment between Gary and Maggie in the shower, but it didn’t give rise to much in the way of drama.
Finally, Rome and Regina’s drama is also a continuation of last season’s storyline. He wants a baby. She doesn’t. In the end, he decides that he wants her more than he wants a baby. I’m sure he’ll never waver on that decision, but also: Ugh. Will their entire storyline this season revolve around the will they or won’t they have a baby until someone invariably has an affair? Can we just skip straight to the affair?
The one remnant of John that remains is PJ (The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs), the son of Barbara Morgan, who believes that John is his real father. He’s probably right, and he’s worming his way into the lives of these characters by snooping around in Delilah’s house and seeing Maggie as his therapist. That may eventually come to something, but in the meantime, we have to spend time with a mopey PJ, who I cannot see without thinking, “CORRAAAAL” and remembering that his death on TWD was so weak that he must have done something terrible to piss off the writers.
Alas, the season premiere landed with something of a thud, as the series continued to mine the same exhausted storylines and failed to introduce any new mysteries, question marks, or even characters. I still like the existing characters (except for Eddie) enough to see if the series rebounds, but writer/creator DJ Nash would be wise to shift gears and find some new stories to explore.
Header Image Source: ABC