A Million Little Things: Season 2 – Episode 12 ‘Guilty’ REVIEW

A filler episode in the grand scheme of things.

A Million Little Things Season 2 – Episode 12 ‘Guilty’

‘Guilty’ makes things interesting in a couple ways. First, it answers questions for both the audience and the characters. Second, it does take a closer look at guilt, and the fallout because of it.

The strongest performance of the night came from Gary. He starts out acting like a complete jerk, still in his own self-inflicted painful world, forcing himself to watch a movie with his mother in it. It’s Delilah that gets Gary to realize that the problem may not be with others, but with himself, and so they embark on a road trip, along with Rome, for Gary to confront his past in the form of his mother.

His relationship with his mother has been non-existent since he was a kid, but it has impacted his relationships, notably with Maggie. Gary gets the answers he was seeking from his mother once and for all, and comes to realize that it was never him who was the problem, because it was always all about her. The manner in which Gary introduced himself was priceless, and the way he let her go, completely at peace because he’s seen her true colors, is also worth more than words can ever say.

I found it meaningful that his friends knew what he needed in order to be himself again, and that settling things with his mother was what Gary needed to rejoin his true family, that being his friends, and move on. When people become uncertain or he feels a threat, Gary pulls away, and it goes all the way back to his mother’s abandonment of him. Confronting the problem at the source has hopefully broken this self-destructive pattern.

It seems to be working thus far, as when Gary finds out about Maggie’s plight this episode, he shows up to her apartment to tell her he’s sorry, and to check on her. It was painful to watch him go, especially when he refused her invite for tacos, but it still provides the moment that may lead to a potential reconnection between the two in the near-future.

Ultimately, Gary realized that he didn’t give Maggie what she needed, the emotional support she sought regarding her brother’s death, and so she found solace in Eric. It was never about leaving Gary, though he felt like it at the time, and his mother’s abandonment of him exacerbated his feelings, leading to their tragic break-up.

Maggie’s performance, meanwhile, primarily annoyed me. As she shares a conversation with Delilah and Regina about mothers, she makes it all about her, at one point even stating her mother is the worst.

It’s not a competition, and she seems to be sucked into her drama with Eric to the point where she’s ignoring everyone else’s problems, favoring her own. In that way, I worry for Gary, as Maggie’s tendency to look out for herself first seems to mirror his mother’s, and that could be a problem down the line should they get back together. Maggie’s performance with Eric where she finds out he’s lied to her is the one performance that made sense, and it was done well, given her angst, heartbrokenness and obvious croaky voice and red eyes.

I appreciated the flashbacks that were provided in addition to Eric’s story. In them, we get to know his deceased fianceé, and her tragic last moments. Those flashbacks provide the audience a more in-depth look and insight to Eric’s pain, and a deeper understanding as to why he lied about having Maggie’s brother’s heart. It doesn’t excuse his actions, but I have to give props to Jason Ritter’s performance as he portrayed the broken Eric. Eric is consumed with guilt for lying, but the reason why he lied is something of a cliché.

Eric’s reason for lying, that he needed Maggie and had let things go farther than he’d ever intended, is a storyline that’s long overdone. Eric’s dug a deep hole for himself and he’s lied so much he can’t get himself out. Even his confession of love for Maggie is something we saw coming, and it didn’t really add to his performance. Instead, it seemed like another desperate reason for him to stick around when clearly it’ll never work between him and Maggie, especially given the new circumstances. Not to mention he tried packing and leaving without even a goodbye to Maggie, which says a lot about his character and leads me to believe he won’t be missed.

Meanwhile, the twist in the storyline between Regina and her mother was an unexpected surprise. While Regina fears her mother’s judgment regarding her decision to adopt over having a baby of her own, it turns out Regina judges her mother instead. It was something that didn’t necessarily need to happen given things were going so well between them, but as the storyline goes on it makes more sense.

Regina’s mother, who is white, tends to ignore the world while Regina is forced to see it. Regina’s explanation of how she doesn’t get a choice in how the world sees her was a meaningful and convincing performance on her part, as it opens up blind eyes for her mother, and gives the audience a chance to get to know and understand Regina better.

Regina and her mother have always struggled in their relationship, so it was especially touching to see them share a happy moment versus an angst-ridden one. It’s nice when we can see a shift for the better in any relationship, especially a mother-daughter one at this point as the relationship between Delilah and Sophie is at the forefront lately, and is obviously falling apart.

Rome’s quest to out his friend Todd for stealing his script was also a powerful performance. I could feel his anger, frustration and betrayal. It wasn’t hard to be in Rome’s shoes and feel the devastation at not only the fact that his story had been stolen, but his trusted friend wasn’t even willing to admit to it.

Luckily, karma comes in its best form when Rome crashes Todd’s meeting with Isaac (an actor that Todd wants for the movie) and points out that not only did Todd steal his story, but he also changed it from what it truly was. For Rome, who was so ashamed of his depression and near-suicide, it’s a big deal for him to open up about it in front of Todd and someone he doesn’t even know.

Turns out the risk is worth the reward, and Isaac is interested in helping Rome get his real story out in the world. Life can, and does, work like that, but it’s nice to see it play out on-screen and for Rome’s story to be shown in the way it deserves to be shown. I can’t imagine the drama with Todd is over quite yet, as there has to be some fallout from Rome ruining Todd’s chances with Isaac, but for now, it seems the world has been righted from its wrongs.

With all of these storylines happening, I sometimes felt that they were rushed because time had to be spared for other plots, and it seemed there were opportunities for further character portrayal and development lost because of it. It seemed Gary’s interactions with his mother were cut short, and he reached conclusions about seeing her true colors sooner than expected. Plus, Rome’s drama with Todd was also wrapped up quickly, but it does have potential for more exploration down the line.

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A Million Little Things Season 2 – Episode 12 ‘Guilty’
While 'Guilty' answered some questions and provided heartfelt moments, it wasn’t necessarily the standout episode of the season. Some performances lacked, some storylines were rushed, and it seemed more like a filler episode, which could indicate big things happening in the next episode, but kept things a little too mild here.