Monday, October 15, 2018

A Million Little Things 1x03 Review: "save the date" (The Struggle for Happiness) [Contributor: Jenn]

(Image credit: ABC)

“save the date”
Original Airdate: October 10, 2018

When things unravel, they often unravel badly. And messily. Have you ever experienced that before? Maybe the lies you’ve told or the secrets you’ve kept were stacked up like a poorly-constructed tower of Jenga blocks. But then the structure wobbled and shook — one block wiggled a little too much and the whole thing came crashing down.

A Million Little Things’ title comes from a line in the pilot: “Friendship isn’t one thing ... it’s a million little things.” And with that million little things comes inevitable lies and secrets, too. Friendship isn’t just the cushy, cozy times; it’s the rough stuff you have to wade through. It’s the moments you know you love the other person but you also really, really want to throttle them for the choices they’ve made. It’s the memories and the painful realizations. It’s everything in “save the date,” really. Because in this episode we get the juxtaposition of joy and pain; of intense happiness and also grief.

It’s incredibly real, raw, and ultimately satisfying.


The episode centers around Gary’s birthday, and the fact that each year Jon would do something elaborate to celebrate it. Gary hates his birthday (more on that later), but when Jon’s secret celebration is finally revealed and it’s a Bruins training camp... well, Gary can’t pass that up. There’s just one snafu in this otherwise perfect day — everyone finds out about Eddie and Delilah’s affair.

As someone who hoped this secret wouldn’t get drawn out for the entirety of the season, I’m relieved. I also find Gary and Rome’s reactions to be rather interesting. Until they knew the woman Eddie was sleeping with was Delilah, they were content to let him cheat on his wife; they believed he really cared about this woman and no one seems to be the biggest fan of Katherine to begin with. But when the group realizes who he’s sleeping with, suddenly everything changes because she’s the wife of their deceased friend (and wives are off limits, but only within the friend group? They were okay with Eddie cheating with — possibly, since they didn’t know — someone else’s wife?).

“save the date” is ultimately Gary’s story and so this episode was ultimately James Roday’s masterpiece. We ain’t seen nothing yet (as someone who loved how much of a triple threat he was on Psych — he can act, write, and direct you guys!), but this episode was a start. Gary’s not just devastated by the news; he’s absolutely enraged.

But let’s back up momentarily: how does Gary learn about the affair? When he and Eddie go to Eddie’s house to ask Katherine for a favor, Eddie leaves his phone behind by accident. He re-enters the house to retrieve it, and Katherine had picked up a call — from a hotel, notifying Eddie that they did not find the necklace he was missing. Eddie lies, of course, but Katherine catches him. She puts the pieces together pretty quickly and threatens Eddie, wanting to know the identity of the woman he was sleeping with. Off-camera, he tells her and we see her utter devastation and anger; Katherine is rightly humiliated that someone she was friends with was sleeping with her husband.

And that’s the moment Gary re-enters through the front door, wondering what’s taking Eddie so long.

Eddie’s affair blowing up in his face is sort of satisfying to me, as a viewer. We need to dismantle Eddie and Delilah’s characters in order to figure out who they are apart from the affair. With the secret out in the open, we can finally move into a space where we learn more about who they are and what led them to this. For Eddie? I want to see more of a dimension to his character — give me more about his addiction and what led him to becoming a music teacher. For Delilah? Let’s expand on the idea of loneliness she discussed at the end of the episode.

As you might surmise, the secret blows a hole in Gary’s birthday, but Eddie is persistent. He shows up at the Bruins’ training camp anyway, further angering both Gary and Rome. (And me. C’mon, Eddie, read the room.) While there’s an initial fistfight, Gary, Rome, and Eddie eventually win their scrimmage against the other hockey players.

But Gary — beautifully delivered by Roday — tells Eddie that their little victory doesn’t change anything. He still slept with Delilah, and in real life, there aren’t happy endings like there are in movies. You have to live with the consequences of your actions; Eddie needs to learn that his actions have them.


Since the men find out, the women do too. Regina and Maggie are helping Delilah go through things at Jon’s office (she hasn’t had the strength to do that by herself) when they get the news from their respective partners. Delilah is, at first, hesitant and reserved. But she finally breaks down, frantically searching Jon’s belongings for a note. She yells at the women, demanding that they say what they are all clearly thinking — that she’s the reason Jon’s dead. That he found out about the affair, and that’s why he’s gone.

None of the women say anything, but their silence is probably more telling than anything. They’re hurting and processing Delilah’s revelation too, and as much as they love their friend, they know now that she’s no saint.

Later on, Delilah is at home when Gary stops to visit. He couldn’t be angry at her earlier because she wasn’t in front of him. But his emotional reaction toward her is one of intense disappointment and questioning. And it’s then that we learn something crucial about Jon — he was everything to everyone else. Except Delilah. He planned elaborate parties and cared about the people he loved, but when push came to shove, Delilah felt like she was always the last person to be cared for and about. Gary has never thought about that before. He idolized Jon; everyone did. But Delilah delivers the hard truth — when someone is there for everyone else, they have to make sacrifices somewhere.

Gary delivers a beautiful monologue to Delilah. He talks about how he didn’t always hate his birthday; there was a time he loved it. But then his parents got divorced, and instead of wishing they’d get back together, he just wished everyone would be happy. It’s a wish he continues to this day, and it’s a sweet reminder that Gary really is a soft teddy bear.

“save the date” brought the drama for a lot of our characters, and I’m interested in whether or not the fractured friend group will ever be fully whole again.

And now, bonus points:
  • I’m glad we got a Katherine/Delilah conversation and that Katherine admitted to missing Jon — the only person who would understand why she works as hard as she does. I really want to know more about Katherine, because initially I was put off by her demeanor but now I think there’s more she’s not telling us. Additionally, I’m interested to see whether she stays with Eddie or not.
  • Rome and Maggie bonding is so cute! I just don’t think it’s a good idea that she’s his therapist.
  • In this episode, Rome mentions that he basically pushes through the days and fakes it until he makes it. It’s sad but it’s how a lot of us live our lives.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!


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