One of the things I love most about this show is how it honors Jon’s memory in different ways. He pops up time and again, watching over his family and friends. In “One Year Later”, the gang comes together to celebrate Jon and have a special dinner on the one year anniversary of his death. The episode is emotional given its inclusion of Jon, and what that means for the characters as they remember him, and reflect on how his death has changed their lives since.
Gary’s dream about not being able to save Jon, and saying goodbye to Maggie, was nothing short of intense. He’s desperate to save his friend, while Jon leisurely continues along, oblivious to his impending fate. Jon disappears, and for most of the episode, a certain anger stays with Gary, and I’m sure the dream had something to do with it.
Gary’s anger at Jon for dying, especially when Jon had criticized Gary’s lifestyle not long before his death, is undeniably strong. He takes out that anger on Eddie and Rome at first at the end of a basketball game, saying some pretty brutal things. Gary’s right in a way-he hasn’t changed much in comparison to his friends. Yet, he has taken a few steps forward, that being his relationship with Maggie and confronting his mother, among other things.
I found it admirable and meaningful that Gary knew exactly what to say to Sophie, who was also suffering. He starts out by talking with her about her strained relationship with Eddie, but turns it into a conversation about Jon. Gary’s words made a breakthrough to Sophie, who doesn’t want to be angry anymore. Not at her father, and not at the world. To heal, she has to forgive.
It was very mature of Gary to confess what he did that added pressure to his relationship with Maggie. Gary’s mission in this episode seemed to be about reparation. Though, it killed me to see both Gary and Maggie talk about how they both screwed up in their relationship and share such a tender moment, only for neither of them to take the initiative to kiss the other. The tone was set for a romantic reunion! Why do they insist on torturing themselves?
Rome and Regina were onboard with the Gary-Maggie drama going too far. It bugs them to see the two separate when it’s clearly meant to be. Rome is surprisingly the first to know Maggie’s headed to England. Though that could place an obstacle on Gary and Maggie having a reunion, Gary works from home now, and thus could pack up and head to England with her if he really wanted to make it work.
Instead, he decides to move on with Darcy, calling it a “fresh start.” Like he wants to forget Maggie, or at least forget the pain he went through from breaking up with her. Regina has to clue in Maggie to Gary’s true feelings, but unless they do something soon, there just won’t be any hope left.
I thought “One Year Later” spent a little too much time trying to work through the Gary and Maggie drama, especially when it was supposed to be about Jon and how his death has impacted everyone over the last year. In a way, it didn’t seem suitable. Yes, life goes on, but it doesn’t have to have one primary focus, especially one that’s become a broken record.
Eddie’s talk with Gary revealed that he, too, recently had a dream about Jon. The dream itself was interesting, finding Eddie drinking out on the water in a little boat, with Jon onboard. Jon falls into the water, and though he reaches for Eddie, Eddie cannot reach him, and Jon sinks. When Eddie does grip a hand, it’s not Jon’s. The dream was filled with symbolism and obviously poked at Eddie’s lingering guilt over his affair with Delilah and the fallout that’s stemmed from it. The dream’s powerful image of Jon slowly sinking, too late to be saved, was painful in the sense that even though Eddie was right there, Jon still slipped away. That image brought out strong emotions, at least in me, over that topic.
Eddie’s performance was one of the best in the episode. Gary suggests that maybe the dream means Eddie needs to repair things with Sophie. I’ve been waiting for some kind of discussion or talk between Eddie and Sophie, given that last time the two really talked Sophie was smashing Eddie’s guitars to bits. Ironically enough, that’s what Eddie talks about. Not his guitars, but music, and how he wants Sophie to continue playing. Trouble is, Sophie has now associated Eddie with music, and has lost all enjoyment for it.
It’s not until Gary talks with her that Sophie changes her tune. One of the most meaningful scenes of “One Year Later” was Sophie showing up on Eddie’s doorstep, and then taking him to the cemetery to visit Jon’s grave. Eddie’s guilt and sorrow pour out of him as he apologizes to his dead friend and adds that he loves him. Eddie has never before been to the grave, so it gives him the closure he needs, and I found it moving that Sophie, despite how angry she’s been with Eddie, realized that that was what he needed most and gave that to him.
While it was nice to see the two make up, I didn’t find it entirely believable. Even though Sophie no longer wants to be angry at him, I didn’t think she’d immediately be friends with Eddie again. Smiling and laughing as they come through the doorway at Delilah’s house with cookies in tow just doesn’t seem likely. All that anger and pain wouldn’t just wash away. Yes, it can diminish, but it takes time to fade away, and Sophie was truly struggling for a long time.
Eddie played a voicemail from Jon for Sophie to hear, so that may have partially influenced Sophie’s new behavior, given Jon said to “love each other” in the message. That, and hearing her father’s voice may have soothed Sophie’s nerves some, even though she looked like she may cry for a moment as she listened. If this is true, that influence would only last so long. Wouldn’t there be residual anger on Sophie’s part? There could be on the horizon.
Eddie not only managed to smooth things over between him and Sophie, but he also played the standout husband this episode. Katherine interviews for a new job, but she’s concerned she’ll end up in the same situation as before in the workplace. He encourages her to open her own office, promising to support her the way she’s supported his dreams all this time. Their bond really has grown impressively strong since working through Eddie’s affair, and this gesture of Eddie’s proves that. Eddie’s supportive nature as he assured Katherine she could follow her dreams was sweet and sincere, and it opened up a new venture for Katherine, and for their marriage. They’re already talking about renewing their vows, which frankly, would be a beautiful and special moment in the show.
Another noteworthy performance comes from Rome. He spends a good portion of “One Year Later” trying to get his father, Walter, to go to therapy, and dealing with their issues once again. His father finds out about the pills Rome nearly swallowed a year ago, and makes Rome feel terrible for it. The guy just doesn’t know how to communicate. I wanted to give Rome a hug, watching him sniffle as he pointed out that instead of his father wanting to make sure he’s okay, he just attacks him.
Rome goes to see Maggie to talk about his father, and the way he acknowledged that she had come into his life “at just the right moment” was touching. It really outlines the friendship that Maggie and Rome have built in the past year, and how much they mean to one another. It also outlines how integral Maggie has become to their group, even though she never knew Jon. It’s a lot like life: sometimes you meet the right people when you need them the most.
Meanwhile, it’s Regina that gets Walter to see the light. While she acknowledges that she understands how Walter feels about not being told of Rome’s suicide attempt, she criticizes Walter for how he’s handled things. Sometimes you need someone else to give you perspective, and Regina’s observation that she believes Walter’s scared to look closely at Rome because he’ll see himself there was striking and memorable. It makes sense. Perhaps father and son are more alike than either realize, and because Regina is less biased, she can see that more clearly. In any case, she gets through to Walter, who makes up with Rome. Not only that, but Walter places stars on the ceiling for his future grandchild, just as he did for Rome when he was a kid. This means a new beginning between father and son in regards to their relationship, and that Walter is willing to change and be there for Rome.
Theo’s toast was one of my favorite parts of “One Year Later”. It honors Jon in the best way. Theo notes that as long as they keep remembering Jon, he’ll never truly be gone. I found it to be an interesting liberty taken by the show to have Theo make that toast, but it worked. Theo’s childhood innocence, and his project on King Tut, perfectly suits his genuine and well thought-out toast. Theo is certainly wise beyond his years.
Rome adds that it seems everyone is in a better place, because of Jon. Not because he died, but because “he convinced us to live.” Earlier, Katherine had said that even though he’s gone, Jon still brings them together. All of these things are true, and it’s a big deal that the show circles back to what started everything along, from their heartbreaks to their rifts to their healing process.
Delilah’s performance, in many ways, stood out from the rest. I could tell she was struggling to keep it together throughout the episode, putting on a happy face, likely for her kids. She ignores calls from Miles, the guy she met in the previous episode, and she talks about Jon on and off. She remembers the good things about her late husband, and notes how she misses who they used to be. She’s saddened by the fact that she doesn’t see him in dreams anymore. At least, until the end of this episode.
Jon appears in the kitchen, telling Delilah to answer Miles’s call. She tells Jon how she feels, and Jon apologizes for breaking his vows and failing to be there for her, telling her that he wants her to be happy and to let him go. Delilah breaks down in tears as a result. The next time we see Delilah, she’s asleep on the couch. Either she’s dreaming of him, or she’s seeing ghosts.
In any case, Jon’s appearance seems to have brought her some peace. Nonetheless, Delilah and Jon’s love is a love lost, a love that deserved a second chance but that will never be. That’s one of the most tragic aspects of the episode, but if anything, the one good thing that comes of this emotional scene is that Delilah got to say her goodbye. Now, she can really grieve. Given the chaos over the past year, she never really had a moment to just say her goodbyes, and now in “One Year Later” she can, which will no doubt open up another personal journey for her.
Despite her heartbreak, Delilah still found the time to do something nice for Katherine, on behalf of Jon, with Regina’s help. She offers up the storage space in hers and Regina’s restaurant for Katherine to open her office, rent-free. That gesture was a big deal, given Katherine was closest to Jon in their group, and in a way, it’s like a gift from him. Plus, it shows that despite what went down between her and Delilah regarding Eddie, they maintained a friendship and Katherine is reassured she has a part in their group. That means more than words can ever say, and Katherine’s joyous reaction was a happy thing to see, giving the episode a bit of an uplift overall.
The mystery of the lake house continues to unfurl as Eddie realizes his dream with Jon, that included a hand with nail polish on it, probably did not belong to Sophie but had something to do with Alex, who was mentioned in the last episode. It appears something sinister surrounds Alex’s death, and he needs his sister to tell him what happened. What does this mean for Eddie and his sister? Will it impact Eddie’s family? Who is Alex, and why is the lake house of great importance?
Catch up on our previous A Million Little Things reviews here.
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While some parts of the plot were unrealistic, the inclusion of Jon and the performances of Delilah, Theo, Eddie, Rome and Sophie stood out given their intensity and how they each found some peace, or in Theo’s case, reassured the group. “One Year Later” was emotional and heavy with storylines, but did a stellar job of balancing everything out.
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