Is it just me, or did it feel as if we missed an episode?
For at least the first ten minutes of A Million Little Things Season 5 Episode 7, the storylines jumped ahead significantly since we last saw them in A Million Little Things Season 5 Episode 6, making it jarring on multiple fronts.
Understandably, the season will have some time jumps to get to wherever they need the storyline to be for its conclusion, but it’d be nice if we had a better indication of what transpired.
We’re nearly halfway through the season, and it’s still difficult to read what’s in store for many characters. It’s not much of an end in sight for how things will end with them, and more often than not, it feels like we’re aimlessly biding time until the series finale.
Gina’s arc thus far has revolved chiefly around this venture into feeding the unhoused. While it’s a perfectly noble storyline, for a character arc, it’s unsatisfying that she got relegated to something like this.
It feels purposeless, as if they’re giving her some busy work. At this rate, unless the arc is building toward her running for council, which would also come out of nowhere, it’s hard to determine the point of it all.
They inserted this councilwoman Dottie as if we knew her and had background on the character. We weren’t even privy to Gina reaching out to this woman about free food Fridays.
It’s like they simply forgot to show us critical pieces to a meandering plot that sprouted up out of the blue and doesn’t have any legs, real stakes, or much interest.
Unfortunately, thus far, the final season hasn’t done well with Gina’s character at all. She comes across as self-absorbed, tunnel-vison when it comes to her desires at the expense of Rome, and painfully ignorant and naive.
Her lack of awareness about homelessness was grating and made her come across incredibly privileged for someone with a modicum of social consciousness.
And her not seeing through Councile Woman Dottie using that singular event for good press and nothing more was disappointing. And because we know nothing of their relationship, there’s no background we can see or note that explains her naivete.
Gina: Fun fact, your dad just saw me naked.
Gina: Which I prefer to seeing him naked.
Sadly, there’s been about as much sense to Gina’s arc this season as there is an investment in it, which is hovering at zero.
Rome’s arc is incontestably the most consistent and concise storyline the season has produced. He’s struggling with caring for his father and coming to grips with Walter’s Alzheimers.
It was a better hour for Gina with supporting him, but that can be touch and go depending on the day and what distracts her. And he had a rough go of it when Walter took Gina’s keys and disappeared, only to show up at the school believing that he was picking Rome up for practice.
Rome’s moment with Maddox was nice, if for the simple fact that we get these glimpses of Rome as a teacher and some continuity with that story arc.
Maddox is doing well, and his father is making all the necessary strides. It was endearing that Maddox’s experience volunteering at senior living facilities (something that may crop up again if they do put Walter in one) prompted him to share that Walter had a UTI.
He nailed it, which was at the root of Walter’s frequent urination and more recent memory issues.
But they’ve had enough close calls, and Rome is right about this arrangement not working. Walter needs to be somewhere we can have 24/7 care and supervision.
The homecare aide situation didn’t work out, so there are few options anymore. People tend to have strong feelings about facilities and what it means if they put their loved ones in them.
Contrary to what some may believe, it doesn’t wholly mean that someone has given up on their loved ones or is subjecting them to a poor life. Sometimes, it’s the best, healthiest, and ideal option.
They’re not in the position to provide Walter with the type of help that he needs, and at least at a facility, there will be constant access to professionals.
Walter can also have a thriving social life around others his age.
Rome and Walter’s moment in the hallway was beautiful. Rome needed to hear that apology from Walter because he didn’t realize what he put Rome through by making him stay at that school after that racist water cooler incident.
Walter: You know, I probably don’t say it enough, but I am proud of you.
Rome: I appreciate that.
Walter: I’m sorry about my memory.
Rome: Don’t worry. I’m going to remember this for the both of us.
And he also needed to hear that Walter was proud of him, something that Walter doesn’t get around to saying much.
They keep bringing these little bits of storylines and issues from the past around to see what sticks. I didn’t anticipate the water cooler incident to become a prominent moment for Rome in this installment.
Despite what happened when they first introduced it, he still had yet to move past it.
But these bits and moments give us great Walter and Rome scenes. Rome kissing his father on the lips was such a sweet and funny moment. There was something notable about showcasing that type of affection when physical intimacy can be a barrier for men.
Like Rome, they opted to revisit another plot point for Gary and Maggie.
For Gary, interestingly enough, they circled back around to his past heritage and identity issues and introduced his tía to add another layer to his story.
It’s not that we didn’t expect Gary’s identity issues to disappear. Still, it was another one of those cases where it abruptly came out of nowhere, or at least the exploration of it didn’t play out as organically as it should have.
You could see his face fall when the nurse at Javier’s appointment heard his name and immediately started speaking Spanish to Gary.
It’s certainly not uncommon for there to be an issue with non-Spanish-speaking Latine catching flack in the community. It stirred up insecurity in Gary, and it didn’t help that the woman was apparently judging him when she saw Maggie approach.
Gary, you don’t need to speak Spanish to be Mexican. You’re Mexican because you were born into this family. And you can learn Spanish again through teaching Javi.
But for a few reasons, it all just felt so forced. Latinos look like everything under the sun, so the notion that this woman would not bat an eye at Gary but scoff at Maggie is annoying since she couldn’t even reasonably guess whether or not Maggie was a Latina too.
And countless Latinos don’t speak Spanish or fully understand it. With a last name like Mendez, this couldn’t be the first time that Gary has experienced anything like this, so even his reaction to it all felt more contrived than anything.
But it dovetailed into him reuniting with Inez for the first time in years and a deep discussion about why Inez and Javier fell out many years ago.
Instead of much focus going toward Gary’s anger that Inez bailed, depriving him of a female figure in his life in his mother’s absence, it shifted to heritage issues.
Inez disagreed with Gary changing his name and essentially disowning his Mexican heritage. And she couldn’t stick around to see that as a proud Mexican-American woman.
Sadly, with her absence, so went Gary’s exposure to that part of himself. He was shocked to learn that he knew and spoke Spanish as a kid or that Inez used to take care of and read to him.
Clearing the air with Inez now means that Gary can continue getting back in touch with that side of himself and making peace with his past self-hatred and identity issues.
Inez: What’s his name?
Inez: Your father would be so proud of you.
And Javier won’t have the same type of hangups that he did. Javier already loves his great-aunt Inez, and he’ll carry the name with pride and maybe even grow up to speak Spanish, too.
Meanwhile, the hour briefly touched on Maggie’s insecurities as a woman who had a mastectomy not getting to bond with Javier through breastfeeding.
They touched on it with Maggie and Claire but needed to delve deeper into the issue or explore it more.
And this storyline with Eddie was one of the most bizarre. When did Charlie get there? How did the series go from being only two years in five seasons to now being a full four?
Claire: I’m starting to think that’s what motherhood is, just a constant feeling of guilt.
Maggie: In that case I’m crushing it.
Theo has been stuck in the same age for most of the series. However, Charlie is practically in Kindergarten now, and her abrupt presence when we last saw Eddie barely getting to tell Delilah about this desire was jarring.
We got dropped smack dab in the middle of a significant development. And instead of the emphasis being on 4-year-old Charlie visiting Eddie after, I’m assuming, years of onscreen communication, and the storyline shifted toward Eddie and Nicole’s relationship. Why?
It’s already upsetting enough that they’re gearing toward pairing Eddie and the woman who ran him over with a car, paralyzing him, and left the scene together as a romantic couple.
But we spent more time on the two of them navigating their bizarre friendship when neither of them has gotten over what happened and why and how they’re connected instead of showing us Eddie building a relationship with Charlie, his daughter.
Inquisitive Theo felt closer to his actual age this time, and they built things up like him bonding with his sister and also picking up that something was off about Nicole.
He still harbors many feelings about Eddie’s accident and the person responsible for it.
The drama will be if and when he finds out who Nicole is and how she’s connected to Eddie. But there’s no reason for him to know any of that.
The way they made it all intense when he was trying to figure out when Eddie and Nicole met was ludicrous because, as the adults, neither Eddie nor Nicole owed Theo this explanation.
Why they were cowering under the third degree from a child is beyond me.
The tone for most of this hour was off, and it felt like we missed many things.
Outside of some solid moments for Rome, Walter, and maybe Gary, the hour was a mess.
Over to you, AMLT Fanatics. What did you think of Inez? Do you ship Eddie and Nicole? Should they put Walter in an assisted living facility? Sound off below.
You can watch A Million Little Things online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.