A Million Little Things Round Table: Does the Series Address a Delicate Topic Tactfully?

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Tragedy has a way of bringing people together. 

On A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 1, John's death left all of his close ones puzzled because he was the person who seemed to be the most put together.

But did the affair between his best friend and his wife influence him?

A Million Little Things Round Table

Join TV Fanatics Christine Orlando, Rachelle Lewis, and Jack Ori as they discuss that shocking reveal, the mystery behind Ashley, and much more!

What would you grade the season premiere?

Christine: I’m giving it a solid B. I enjoyed these characters and their sometimes complicated relationships. I know a lot of people will compare it to This Is Us, but it reminded me more of the late ’80s series thirtysomething.

I like that it’s dealing with mental illness, cancer, cheating, and suicide. I have friends and family who have had to deal with all of these issues, so these stories resonate for me. There were also just enough twists and turns to pique my curiosity.

Related: A Million Little Things Series Premiere Review: Finding the Reason

Rachelle: I agree with Christine about the premiere being a solid B, as well as the thirtysomething reference. The cast is amazing, the issues are relatable, and there were enough twists to make me want to tune in next week.

I am very intrigued to see where the show goes from the premiere. I also hope they use video or flashbacks to keep Ron Livingston on the show. I am a big fan of his.

Jack: I'm an easy grader. I'll give it an A-. I thought it was solid and like Christine, I enjoyed all the issues brought up and the characters. I'm not sure why people keep comparing it to This is Us because as far as I can see the only thing they have in common is the use of flashbacks.

Anyway, I enjoyed it immensely, though I found it took me a little while to figure out who was who and what was going on. I'm looking forward to seeing how the stories develop over the course of the season.

Do you have any theories about the nature of John and Ashley's relationship? Why is she so secretive?

Christine: The easy answer is that she was his mistress.

John also could have been conducting business in a way he shouldn’t have. Perhaps he knew things were going to hit the fan and that’s part of why he committed suicide, and Ashley was either involved and trying to hide it or just trying to protect his good name. Or it could be all of the above.

Rachelle: I think she was in love with him. I also think she knew he was doing some shady business and because of her love for him, she wants to protect his memory.

Maybe he embezzled money or ran a Ponzi scheme. Ashley could have been in on the shady business dealings too. I don’t think she was his mistress, but she wanted to be.

Jack: I also thought maybe she was his mistress, but the fact that she deleted those files makes me think something else was going on. It seemed like there was a deal gone bad or perhaps some illegal stuff was going on and that was what the catalyst was for his suicide.

What was the most shocking revelation or moment?

Christine: That Delilah is having an affair with Eddie. I never saw that one coming and was completely shocked. I was more than a little ticked off that Eddie was giving her ultimatums right after her husband died. Right now he's the only character I actively dislike.

The second shock was that Lizzy Green from Nickolodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn plays Sophie Dixon, John and Delilah’s daughter. My daughter shouted when she saw her on screen, and it made me jump, so that was a shock for me!

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Rachelle: Ditto. Delilah and Eddie having an affair was a complete shock. His declaration of love for her on the night of the funeral was also shocking. Who does that?

The second for me was Maggie still having breast cancer and not going to her treatments. I think that will develop into a powerful storyline.

Jack: I agree with Rachelle. I was floored that Maggie wasn't in remission at all and was skipping her treatments. For whatever reason, I was more shocked that Eddie was considering drinking than I was about his affair with Delilah, so I guess that counts as a shock for me.

Did John know about Eddie and Delilah?

Christine: It certainly seems that way. If he didn’t, it’s one hell of a coincidence that he called his good friend who happened to be sleeping with his wife right before throwing himself off a building.

Rachelle: I don’t think he did. I believe the show wants us to think he did and assume that is why he killed himself. However, I think based on the way Ashley is acting, that John was too involved in his own work drama to know what was going on with his wife.

Jack: I don't think he did, and I don't get the sense that would've tipped him over the edge. If he did know, he might have called Eddie thinking he would tell him to take care of Delilah before he jumped.

There is some controversy around the show's portrayal of suicide and depression. How do you think they did?

Christine: I think it’s pretty accurate. Often, we don’t know what those around us are really going through, and many people are reluctant to talk about their symptoms of depression or seek help.

Sometimes, I don’t think those going through it realize that there is help available and that things can get better because their depression doesn't allow them to believe it. I think that’s what we saw with some of these characters.

Rachelle: Honestly, I thought they handled it realistically, delicately, and accurately. The “why” question John’s friend kept asking is a genuine reaction to suicide. Also, the shock his friends felt because John gave off the persona of a man with a perfect life was spot on.

Just because someone smiles a lot does not mean they are happy; depression can affect anyone even those we think are the strongest.

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Jack: I agree with all of the above. I worked for a suicide hotline for three years, and this felt very true to what many of the people I spoke with were experiencing. I think that John's persona of having a perfect life might have contributed to his suicidal depression because there was so much pressure to live up to that image.

I also liked that everyone was shocked that Rome had almost committed suicide. It seemed like they all were depressed in some ways, maybe because of John's death, perhaps in general, and I think the fact that there was one suicide and one almost suicide in their group had an impact on everyone.

I also liked that Regina pointed out that her culture discouraged talking about feelings, which is something that is not often discussed when talking about suicide.

What was your favorite scene and/or quote?

Christine: I love how Gary is the cynic of the group. He’s battled cancer, and his snark is like his protective armor. I’m curious to see how he deals with Maggie’s cancer recurrence.

Rachelle: I had two favorite scenes. The first was Gary in the breast cancer support group telling Maggie the stats of men getting breast cancer. It is an important topic that should be addressed more often.

My second scene was when Delilah showed Regina the restaurant space John bought for her before he died. I liked it because it gave the friends a glimmer of hope for the future.

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Jack: I loved the scenes of the women bonding in juxtaposition with the men trying to deal with John's death at the game. I thought that was pretty powerful because it was much easier for the women to talk and support each other. And I love Maggie in general, so I'm interested to see where her cancer story goes!

Do you agree or disagree? Either way, let us know in the comments below! If you missed one of the best new offerings of the Fall, you could watch A Million Little Things online right here via TV Fanatic! 

Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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A Million Little Things Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Maggie: Maybe he just lost sight of the horizon. I was watching this documentary on JFK Jr. You remember when his plane went down? ... Anyway, Kennedy was a novice pilot. He was flying at night, and the clouds came in, and his instruments were telling him which way was up, but he didn't trust them. The truth was right in front of him, and he couldn't see it. He lost sight of the horizon and nosedived, and by the time he realized what was happening, it was too late, and he couldn't pull up.
Gary: What does this have to do--
Maggie: That's depression. Now maybe he wasn't depressed; maybe something else was going on. People keep secrets from loved ones, and sometimes, you don't even know they have these secrets until an event like this happens.

John: Friendship is when you don't care when your buddy throws up in your car when you're taking him back from chemo.
Gary: And yet he keeps mentioning it.
John: Friendship is believing that your friend will one day make his movie.
Rome: What do you think I'm doing?
John: Friendship is holding a friend's hand when she loses her restaurant even though you know she's going to open up a better one. It's the person that you trust with your wallet, and your keys, and your wife, and your kids and it's being able to have the hard conversations and willing to listen. It's a million little things.
Everyone: A million little things.
John: A million little things.