A Million Little Things: Season 2 – Episode 9 ‘Time Stands Still’ REVIEW

In “Time Stands Still”, everyone finally learns their lessons and comes to focus on what’s really important.

a million little things time stands still

Before launching into “Time Stands Still”, a warning is issued regarding the subject matter within the episode. That warning was not enough for the emotional toll that has now infected not just the characters, but likely the audience as well.

Cultured Vultures spoilers

PJ’s storyline was the most dramatic, most heartfelt, and held the most impact in “Time Stands Still.” He easily accepts Jon as his father after finding the results, but has trouble confronting Barbara and Mitch over the truth. Rome has always stuck by PJ, but his dedication to the teenager was especially outstanding in this episode.

The most devastating thing for PJ is finding out that through a massive misunderstanding, the answers he thought he had weren’t true at all. After living on lies, he needed some truth, and when the truth turned out to be a mistake it was enough to send PJ to the edge-literally.

PJ’s performance was deeply emotional. It’s one of those performances that affects you on another level and stays with you long after the episode has ended. The timing was on-point, facial expressions and tone of voice making it that much more realistic.

It made me feel like I was on that rooftop, watching everything go down, and yet frozen in that I could do nothing to ease his pain. Equally significant are the shots the camera provided, giving audiences the same view of the ground below as Rome and PJ as they stand on the rooftop together. It amplified the magnitude of the seriousness of the situation, and just what both men were risking in addition to their emotional performance.

The show started with a man committing suicide, and how his friends and family struggle to process and move forward. We always knew that PJ had depression, and “Time Stands Still” again brought up the topic of how deadly depression can be if not treated properly. I found it interesting that the show came back to its beginnings in that way, and it suited this episode completely.

Rome helping PJ the way he did really demonstrated how far Rome has come from his own dark days – even though he has recently suffered the loss of his mother and has experienced his own battles with depression, Rome’s strength was impenetrable and remarkable. His performance was equally as admirable as PJ’s. Rome’s performance was heroic-perhaps even more heroic than that of Batman in the DC universe, because it was about saving a life in a different kind of way.

I understood why all five people shouldn’t barge in at once, but PJ’s mother should have at least joined Rome on the rooftop. She should have been there to comfort her son and tell him how much she loved him, even if PJ was struggling to trust her he still clearly needed to feel like he belonged to the family he had grown up with.

While Delilah was watching all this, it seemed to change her perspective on her own situation. Witnessing the long-term effects of lying to your child through Barbara’s experience with PJ teaches Delilah a lesson. PJ’s downfall was tough to witness, but it gave Delilah fundamental insight and the motive to tell her children the truth.

Sophie took it the worst, at least as far as the cliffhanger ending allowed the audience to see. The shattering of Eddie’s guitars was an external expression of her internal rage. Perhaps it also symbolizes the disintegration of her world view. Her brokenness was another noteworthy performance in “Time Stands Still.” Sophie’s pain becomes our pain, her performance a gateway of things to come. Her performance ignites a spark of anger within audiences at the wrong done to her, especially when she’s already been through so much.

It was Delilah’s house that PJ chose to go to when he was wandering the streets. This proves that PJ feels a special connection with Jon’s family, one that should persist in future episodes. Now knowing he is not Jon’s son, PJ could be free to date Sophie, who was obviously attracted to him. Whether or not he dates Sophie, PJ will always be a part of the makeshift family Jon has left behind.

Regina and Delilah’s friendship suffered some blows as Delilah was angry at her and Rome for keeping PJ a secret as long as they had, though Regina persists that it was to protect Delilah. Regina has a point, as Delilah had more going on than she could handle lately. Still, Delilah deserved to be privy to the information, so she wouldn’t suffer any more surprises. No matter which way you slice it, it was a no-win situation.

The camera switches views, from a shot of Katherine and Eddie with Gary to Delilah and Regina arguing. It’s almost chaotic, the way it moves, then finally lands on the group in its entirety. The shots here begin by separating the friends, capturing each individual’s anger and pain, then ends with catching everyone together, movement less frenzied as they calm down and begin the path to reparation.

Gary proves to be the mature one that points out that they’re all missing what really matters: their family. Not just the families they have individually, but the family they have amongst themselves.

Gary lays out everything in plain sight, forcing people to confront their demons and to do the right thing for the sake of their family. Gary has worked the hardest to keep their friendships alive and to mend individuals one at a time as they dealt with cancer, divorce or depression. He was there for them all, and it cost him his job. However, as he emphasizes to his friends, he’d do it all over again because they mean more to him than any job would. He never expected anything in return.

The sad thing is that while Gary helps each of them out, and gets them to be a family again, they don’t necessarily return the favor. Gary’s been through a lot over the year himself, he needs a break. Yet, that’s the last thing he gets, especially when he and Maggie break up, devastating them both. Gary’s confession that he wishes Maggie “wanted us the way you used to” is the second heartbreaking moment of the episode as they part ways.

Instead of telling Maggie about his job loss right away, Gary tells his new friend, the elderly woman who originally owned his dog, Colin. His rapport with her was the only comedic break in “Time Stands Still”. Plus, she helps him understand that not all change is bad. Could this conversation have led to his break-up with Maggie in a way? If his relationship was going nowhere with her, he deserved a change, didn’t he?

Change is hard, there’s no getting around that. Maggie moves out, enlisting Eric to help her. In this episode, we discover Eric is withholding some kind of secret from Maggie. What secret, and how will it affect Maggie? Not only is Eric back, but Gary was having drinks with another woman. Are he and Maggie really over each other? Is the break-up temporary? Will they ever be friends again? Only time will tell.

A lot of things are changing. Some for the better, some for the worse. Regina’s mind is changed when she witnesses how Rome is with PJ on the roof. She confesses that she wants to be a mother, to help someone the way Rome helped PJ. Rome and Regina as parents will provide a new dynamic for the show.

“Time Stands Still” offered no time for recovery. The pacing was fast and smooth, delivering one dilemma after another. Only some dilemmas received solutions, while other dilemmas have created entirely new problems. The pacing left no time for reaction or question-it just maintained a rhythm that demanded full attention.

“Time Stands Still” was about saving lives. Literally for PJ, as Rome pulled him away from the edge of a rooftop. It meant saving the lives of the group of friends, who were slowly but surely destroying their friendships and their makeshift family. That’s how the show began, and “Time Stands Still” reminds audiences that this is the most important theme-saving lives and being there for one another. The group may get sidelined, distracted and enveloped in whatever is going on with them, but at the end of the day, it’s about them supporting one another.

This is a major difference compared to the previous episode, “Goodnight”, in which the group was too focused on their petty problems to come together when Rome needed them the most following the loss of his mother. Back then, most of the group were acting like children, throwing the adult version of tantrums to get what they want, especially when it came to the drama between Eddie, Katherine and Delilah . In “Time Stands Still”, everyone finally learns their lessons and focus on what’s really important, from telling the truth to providing support and ultimately, saving a life.

Catch up on our previous A Million Little Things reviews here.

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a million little things time stands still
Everyone has a ways to go before they accomplish the “someday” that Jon envisioned for them. No one is perfect, but cleaning up messes and working things out as best you can is a part of life. With the group now taking that vital first step towards recovery, they’ll be reminded that it’s easier to deal with anything, especially difficult times, when there's family in your corner.