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(Recap) A Million Little Things: Episode 2 "Band of Dads"

A Million Little Things dropped a lot on its viewers during the series premiere last week.  We learned about a suicide, another suicide attempt, infidelity, and two breast cancer battles. The question now becomes, where do we go from here?  Let's discuss episode 2, "Band of Dads."

Warning: Spoilers Ahead



  • First off, a quick thank you to the show's producers for not asking anyone in the cast to try a Boston accent.  That never goes well, and it also turns out that a lot of people who live here don't sound like Mark Wahlberg.


  • The use of the song, "Don't You Forget About Me," feels a little too on-the-nose.  This show has the subtlety of a sledgehammer so far.  It's fair to argue that it needs to make its points loudly right now as it tries to develop its audience, but hopefully we can turn things down a notch and let the messaging breathe a little more organically further down the road.


  • A number of characters are holding onto secrets here.  That's a lot of balls to keep in the air. 


  • It's clear that Rome hasn't suddenly "seen the light" following John's death.  We're hoping that his new therapist Doctor Heller will be a recurring character, because that feels like the show's best chance to talk about depression in a educational manner.


  • Many suicide survivors may find themselves, like Rome, imagining their loved one's final moments, and it is torture.


  • How did it become a tradition for people to bring food in the aftermath of a death?  Even if you have no idea what to say to someone, everyone knows food is always a good call. Also the food spread in the Dixon kitchen looks like something out of a Williams-Sonoma catalog.


  • Is Ashley our villain, or does she think she's just doing what's right to protect John?


  • "Band of Dads" feels like an homage to Ron Livingston starring in HBO's Band of Brothers.


  • Delilah and Eddie's affair gets almost as much time as John's death.  What will A Million Little Things be about by the end of the season?   Why will we be watching?  Will this eventually turn into an updated Thirtysomething?  It's not a complaint, but more curiosity about the evolution of the program.


  • John's final message to Eddie doesn't feel like it rings true.  Maybe we'll learn more about the reasoning behind it as we move forward.  We still have a lot to learn about why John took his own life, especially since it looks like he may have been planning it for years.


  • "Behind every smile is another story."  Much like, "Forget About Me," this is a heavy-handed moment, but hopefully the writing will relax as the show continues.  Putting that to the side, the show does make it clear that you can't judge how a person is doing by what they project to the world.  They may be all smiles and give no indication that anything is wrong, while the reality is something completely different.


  • Nothing against Sam Huntington, but there are already a lot of people in this cast, so we don't need to see much of him as Maggie's ex-boyfriend.


  • Besides we still need more of Eddie's wife, Grace Park, who has only been on-screen for about three minutes through the first two episodes.


  • "I call you, you don't pick up, I worry" was said a bit for laughs, but it also hits a chord.  Even if you're not talking to a friend who has already admitted almost talking their life, a suicide survivor may see the world with a dramatically heightened state of danger.  Their loved one is gone, and they can be hyper-sensitive to losing others.


  • James Roday still has the toughest tight-rope to walk as Gary.  He's clearly there to provide some comic relief, but he's also got to be able to hold his ground for the serious moments like talking to Danny Dixon about his new crush.  So far, Roday seems to be pulling it off.


  • Speaking of the kids, the feelings of abandonment and potential self-blame from Sophie and Danny Dixon were heartbreaking.  We want to see more of these two in future episodes.


Final Thoughts:

"Band of Dads" felt like it generally continued the momentum from the pilot, although adding even more secrets to the pile feels like a risky move.   The biggest strength so far is that this is a likable cast who makes it easy for us to invest our time.  As noted above, we'd like to see A Million Little Things get the chance to breathe and dial things down just a notch.  It sounds like ABC's initial order only called for five episodes, so we'll see if it gets that opportunity.  In the meantime, we'll see you all next week.


A Million Little Things Episode 2 October 4 2018The secrets continue to grow.  (pic via


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