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The Major Problem that Still Plagues 'A Million Little Things' In Its 5th Season

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 9, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 9, 2023 |


A Million Little Things is one of those series — like Riverdale and (for one season) La Brea that I watch because the recaps generate a fair amount of traffic. At a certain point with a series like this, however, either the traffic wanes or the show becomes more difficult to watch than it’s worth — or both — and I bail, save for the occasional check-in.

That point arrived for A Million Little Things early in season three. Having checked in with the fifth season premiere, I remember exactly why I quit (other than the fact that the writing is bad). There’s a great cast here (James Roday Rodriguez and Alison Miller, in particular), but the problem with A Million Little Things is that it’s a medical drama without a hospital. The entire series is about a friend group who have maxed out the premiums on their health insurance because someone is always sick or dying on this show. It’s the only trick creator DJ Nash seems to have: “What should we do with this character now? Oh, I know! How about a diagnosis?!”

A quick recap: The pilot episode is about the suicide of John Dixon (Ron Livingston). He was depressed. One of his best friends, Rome (Romany Malco), has also been battling severe depression and has suffered several setbacks. Rome’s mom, Renee, died of an aneurysm while she was getting her hair done; now Rome’s father is experiencing the early stages of dementia. Meanwhile, Regina — Rome’s wife — suffered a head injury while protesting during a Black Lives Matter march and it was so debilitating, she had to shut down her restaurant (she now operates a food truck and takes care of their foster son).

Eddie is in a wheelchair because he was hit by a car. When he wasn’t paralyzed, he was in rehab. Maggie and Gary, meanwhile, both had breast cancer and beat it. Maggie’s breast cancer returned, and she beat it again. However, Gary also has cancer again, only now it’s in his lung and it is permanent, although not necessarily terminal. He has a chronic form of lung cancer, which can be kept at bay through treatment but it cannot be eradicated. He cannot beat it, he can only hope to contain it.

Ultimately, it’s why I probably won’t continue watching the rest of the season. The premiere kicks off with Gary going through cancer treatment with his father (Paul Rodriguez) at his side. The episode cuts to a funeral seven months later, and though we are initially led to believe that Gary has died, it’s actually his father. Maggie, meanwhile, is seven months pregnant with her and Gary’s baby, and Gary is videotaping messages for the baby periodically in case he dies. So … Chekhov’s video camera? I’ve seen enough of this series to know exactly how it’s going to end: With everyone sitting around watching and crying over one of Gary’s videos after he has passed. No thank you.

There have been a couple of interesting developments, one compelling and the other laughable. Katherine (Grace Park) is now dating a woman (Cameron Esposito), although the episode still gives off an Eddie-and-Katherine end-game vibe. That should be easier now that Eddie’s girlfriend, Annie, has decided — after being released from prison for killing her husband, a music teacher who sexually assaulted Sophie — to leave town and move in with her sister. Eddie is single and ready to mingle. He’s also an Uber driver. Who doesn’t want to date a recovering alcoholic Uber driver with one kid with an ex-wife he cheated on with his best friend’s wife, who now lives in France with his baby? On the other hand, he did have a minor hit as a musician! Line up, ladies!

Delilah, meanwhile, is indeed still in France, where she’s been with her and Eddie’s (infrequently mentioned) baby since the pandemic hit and Stephanie Szostak left the series. The only thing I couldn’t figure out from the premiere is with whom her children, Sophie and Danny, are living. I do know that Sophie deferred college to tour with her band, which hasn’t worked out (that’s Erica’s storyline in The Goldbergs). Danny is apparently still being defined by his sexuality. The writers are treating him like someone who was gay when they were growing up instead of someone who is gay and in high school in 2023. I’m not trying to minimize what I’m sure is still challenging in many parts of the country, but this is Boston. I live two hours away, and there are more queer kids than not in my son’s high school. Danny’s struggle need not define him.

That catches us up, I believe. I’ll probably check in again after the finale. Here are my predictions over the course of the season: Someone else will receive a grave diagnosis; Rome and Regina will divorce; Katherine and Eddie will reconcile; and Gary will die, leaving Maggie a single mother. Maybe she can move to France and live with Delilah.

Header Image Source: ABC