Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Million Little Things 1x05 Review: "the game of your life" (The Good Fight) [Contributor: Jenn]

(Image credit: ABC)

"the game of your life"
Original Airdate: October 24, 2018

We're all fighting for something — purpose, a promotion, love, belonging. We fight for our voices to be heard and for our marriages to be saved. We fight for silly things and profound things. For most people, when there's something significant at stake, they approach the situation with boxing gloves already on. They're ready for a fight. Even though "the game of your life" tells very different stories, the core of each of them is that people are willing to fight for the things they believe in. So let's take a look at what's worth the sacrifice, shall we?

THE MOST IMPORTANT BASKETBALL GAME


We'll start with Gary and Maggie's story, mostly because it was the most emotionally grounded one in the episode and had some pretty high stakes. As we remember from last week's episode, Gary found out from her ex-boyfriend that Maggie's cancer has returned. So in classic Gary fashion, he creates a special day to get Maggie to open up, instead of just revealing what he already knows. The couple spends most of the afternoon enjoying deep dish pizza... until Gary's cover is blown when Maggie notices he brought grape soda. His silence is telling enough, and Gary earnestly then tells Maggie that he'll be by her side as she fights cancer and goes through treatment.

But that's when Maggie drops her bombshell — she's done with treatments and chemo. If she's going to live or die, it will be on her own terms. James Roday does incredible work in the next scene as Gary earnestly pleads with Maggie to reconsider and finally storms off in anger because Maggie will not relent. He spends the rest of the afternoon angry, until he decides to make a bet with her: if he wins a basketball game they'll play, then she has to go to treatment. Maggie counters that she accepts his terms but if she wins their game, he can't bring up treatment anymore.

And while initially it seems like Gary might win the game, Maggie ends up with the victory! Of course, Gary is upset and the drive home is awkward. But then Gary and Maggie have an incredibly heartbreaking scene. Gary isn't the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. His go-to method of response to most situations is sarcasm. In the car, however, Gary begs and pleads with Maggie to not make him watch her die. I think for the first time, Maggie is incredibly hurt by this abandonment. She knew Gary wouldn't understand her decision, but expected him to stay by her. Gary and Maggie's moment is absolutely heartbreaking. Through tears, she thanks him for the day.

I cried. Obviously. Gary and Maggie's story is so sweet though! It's filled with genuine emotion in which Gary is becoming a better version of himself. With his decision to stay with Maggie at the end of the episode, my only hope is that Maggie continues to grow and let Gary be there for her.

BE THE TREE


Katherine and Eddie's story continues to develop — maybe not in the way Eddie expected though. After Katherine realizes that she'll be late to Theo's play, Eddie decides that he'll figure out a way to stall the play from starting until Katherine arrives. True to his word, Eddie comes through and gets the working moms to pester the principal until Katherine shows up. But when it's time for Theo to go on stage, he confesses that another kid teased him about being a tree. Trees aren't important, he was told. Katherine very sweetly tells Theo that sometimes she feels like a tree, too — a person who plays a very small role in a giant play. But trees matter, she assures him. People need them and the play needs Theo. It's a sweet moment of connection for Katherine and Theo, who you can tell comes to expect that his mom will FaceTime or "try her hardest" to make it to an important event. Eddie is seen as the primary parent, but how does that make Katherine feel? Pretty terrible, obviously. She wants more from her relationship with Theo than being seen as secondary.

At the end of the episode, Katherine and Eddie share a moment. If it was a rom-com, they would have kissed as Eddie wiped soap off her cheek. But Katherine is angry — all she could think of throughout the day was the fact that even though they seemed to click, she knew how broken they were as a couple. And she couldn't move past Eddie's infidelity. Worse though, Katherine wonders aloud why she doesn't feel like she deserves more from her relationship with Eddie. It's a heartbreaking moment for anyone watching who's ever felt that way about a relationship — that we've deserved more than we settle for.

Eddie moves in with Gary at the end of the episode, leaving Katherine to embrace the primary parent role. I'm interested to see how her relationship with Eddie and the rest of the group continues to develop.

A LITERAL FIGHT


Sophie gets suspended for punching a girl in this episode. Obviously Delilah is upset... until Sophie tells her the reason. A girl in Sophie's grade posted a prayer for Jon because she believes anyone who commits suicide is in hell. When Delilah tries to provide platitudes to her daughter, Sophie reminds Delilah that Jon was the only person who took them to church; Delilah doesn't even believe in God. The conflict between Sophie and Delilah in the episode was one that I was afraid the show would take to a trite, theological place. Thankfully, I was wrong. While their conversation about religion lasted exactly one scene, the two spend the rest of the episode being suspended and trying everything they can to make themselves feel better.

They eat junk food. They bring out an old punching dummy and Sophie hits it. They watch movies. But nothing seems to quite cure the feeling that both Sophie and Delilah have inside. That's because the catalyst isn't religion necessarily — it's unanswered questions. Delilah is 43 and doesn't know what she believes about God. Sophie isn't sure either, but both women can't turn to the person who had all the answers for them.

So what do they do now?

Delilah mentions something that initially seems like a throwaway line — a quote from "Rainbow Connection" (which apparently is what Jon would sing to Sophie before she was even born) — and tells her daughter that maybe they'll just have to be okay with not having answers. For now. They'll find them, someday. But it's okay that they don't know things. Their story ends with Sophie digging out her guitar, playing and singing "Rainbow Connection" to comfort her and her mom.

That song is about to become more poignant than we know.

More stuff:
  • We find out who's pregnant in the episode and... dun, dun, dun! It's Delilah. 
  • This episode also features Rome determining whether or not his family has a history of depression. Initially, his father denies experiencing the kind of darkness Rome describes. But Rome's mother catches him before he leaves to tell him otherwise. Turns out, depression is a part of Rome's family history.
  • "I don't want to go to court. I want to watch my son be a tree."
  • "I once backed his car into his OTHER car."
  • "Sure you don't want kids? I'm having a sale."
  • " ... Was that before or after you slept with other members of our friend group?"
  • Well played delaying the school production, Eddie. Well played.
  • WHY DOES GARY HATE DEEP-DISH PIZZA?
  • "I don't know a Tom. I'm Gary with the grape soda."
  • "With all due respect, that is the stupidest thing your face has ever said."
  • "Why don't I feel like I deserve more?"
  • It's cool, James Roday and Allison Miller made me ugly cry.
  • "You're so nonchalantly touching the part of the stick Regina urinated on."
How about that twist, though? Stay tuned for the resolution in next week's episode!

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