by Julian Spivey
The second season finale of ABC’s “A Million Little Things” wrapped on Wednesday, March 26 with what feels like a very unnecessary cliffhanger, but one that will likely make more sense if the show is renewed for a third season – which I’d venture a guess in saying it probably will.
The episode titled “’Til Death Do Us Part,” which is always an ominous show title, revolves around Eddie (David Giuntoli) and Katherine (Grace Park) preparing to renew their vows after a rocky year. But before he can renew his vows Eddie wants to know a major mystery from his past, which the writers felt the need to spring on us out of virtually nowhere in the season’s penultimate episode. We get the feeling something tragic happened to Eddie when he was a teenager at his family’s lake house and in the finale, we figure out the mystery is that Eddie’s teenage girlfriend drowned following a night of alcohol, drugs and partying. This moment is something his being high that night and his memory have repressed until now. This memory almost results in Eddie relapsing after years of sobriety, but upon seeing an older drunk he realizes it’s not a path he wants to go down and leaves the bar. As he’s walking to his vehicle to return home and renew his vows with his wife he’s shockingly hit by a truck.
This really felt like the type of storyline in which writers attempting to find a cliffhanger way to wrap up a season just forced upon the show. Maybe the beginning of season three will prove me wrong, and I do have a feeling as to who is behind the wheel of that truck, but that’s to be seen. It just felt rushed coming to the end of the season.
Despite the fact that season two ends with the question mark of whether or not Eddie is dead the most crushing storyline of the finale featured Rome (Romany Malco) and Regina (Christina Moses) anticipating the delivery of their son via a surrogate only to have Eve make the late decision to keep the child after delivery. It seems like this could be a crushing storyline for the couple next season. The performances by Malco and Moses upon hearing the devastating news were the best of the episode.
For the longest time I thought the second season of “A Million Little Things” would wrap with Gary (James Roday) and Maggie (Allison Miller) reuniting and it turns out this is something that’s also on Maggie’s mind. But, after months of wanting Maggie to take him back Gary has seemingly finally moved on with a new woman, Darcy (Floriana Lima), and in a scene that truly crushes Maggie he tells her that she’s missed her opportunity. The seasons ends with her leaving for Oxford.
As with most dramas just about all of our major characters are left with major question marks going into a potential season three. The question marks revolving around where will Gary and Maggie’s will-they-or-won’t-they reunite storyline and how will Rome and Regina cope with the loss of a baby definitely have me the most intrigued, but I’m sure most fans will be tuning into a season three premiere wanting to know – is Eddie going to live and what’s next for him and his family.
by Julian Spivey
The season four finale of NBC’s “This Is Us” titled “Strangers (Part 2)” featured a few of the show’s typical surprises, but its main focus was on a major estrangement within “The Big Three” that we’ve been expecting since a flash-forward at midseason.
The Pearson siblings have mostly been a tight bunch throughout the show’s four season run with a few minor tiffs, mostly between Randall and Kevin popping up here and there, but season four culminates with a major rift between the two over the health of their mother Rebecca, who’s recently been battling an onset of dementia.
In the penultimate episode of the season Rebecca, played by the excellent Mandy Moore, has decided upon not undergoing experimental treatment, much to the chagrin of Randall (Emmy-winner Sterling K. Brown), who believes he’s the only member of the family who can properly care for his mother, which is the focus of the rift between him and Kevin, played by Justin Hartley who seemingly gets better with each season. At the very end of the previous episode Randall makes a cross-country phone call to Rebecca and essentially guilts her into the special treatment against her wishes.
Via the promos for the finale we expect a major bruhaha featuring the Pearson brothers, but it doesn’t quite lead to the fisticuffs we expect, but the most brutal battle of insults that ultimately hurts much worse than a black eye or two. As the season comes to an end in the present timeline Randall tells Kevin that their father Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia, died ashamed of him. Kevin as a comeback tells Randall that he always considered Jack’s death the worst day of his life, but it turns out the day his parents brought the adopted Randall home actually was the worst. It’s a battle of words that certainly is going to have the relationship of the two brothers strained for some time – and really makes the idea of the storyline between the two in next fall’s fifth season stressful to even think about. The often seen flash-forward to Rebecca’s deathbed at the episode’s end shows that the two eventually makeup – though it’s quite possible it’s taken until that exact moment to do so.
“This Is Us” has always done flashbacks and flash-forwards as well as any show in television history, as well as working secrets and reveals into the plot. For the first time in the show’s running the reveals and secrets of the fourth season finale were only mildly interesting, if not complete letdowns. The episode begins with the introduction of two new characters – one a man likely in his 40s who’s working with a stubborn new horse trying to break it and a woman, likely in her late 20s, working at an art gallery. By the end of the episode we realize the woman is in the future timeline of the Pearson family and is the adult adopted sister of baby Jack with Kate (Chrissie Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) carrying on the Pearson tradition of adoption. The man seems to potentially be a MacGuffin as he turns out to be an obstetrician telling Madison, Kate’s best friend whom Kevin hooked up with episodes back, that she’s pregnant. Unsurprisingly it’s Kevin’s baby. This isn’t really much of a surprise and now Kevin has three potential women in his future – Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson).
The most interesting aspect of the second half of the “This Is Us” season is how the writers kind of make Randall, who’d spent much of the series run as one of the most lovable characters on television, as somewhat of a villain, or at least a dick at times when it comes to his belief that he’s the only one who knows what’s best for his family. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out in the future.
The fourth season finale of “This Is Us” was likely the weakest one thus far, but there’s little doubt in my mind that this is still the best written and best acted drama on network television.