A Million Little Things delivered one of its most powerful episodes to date.
Lizzy Greene was the shining light of A Million Little Things Season 3 Episode 10, as the series explored sexual abuse authentically and profoundly.
Join TV Fanatics Meaghan Frey, Christine Orlando, and Jack Ori as they discuss the hour.
Do you think AMLT succeeded in delivering a conscientious and realistic hour on sexual abuse via Sophie's storyline?
Meaghan: Absolutely. I honestly can't say enough good things about the portrayal of this storyline by everyone involved.
From the writers to the actors, everyone brought their A-game to shed light on a deeply unsettling issue in our society.
Too often, shows get this storyline wrong. Adult and teenage relationships are glorified on television shows 99% of the time. They don't show the abuse of power that is actually taking place as someone is groomed.
Instead, they show it as a "sexy" forbidden relationship, sending the completely wrong message that enables situations like this to occur in the real world.
I honestly haven't been this moved by an episode of television in years. Yes, it was extremely difficult to watch, but it should be.
Aside from how realistic and spot on this episode felt, I give it so much credit for shedding light on the important and overlooked issues of sexual abuse/sexual assault.
From victim blaming, to the judgment of a victim's coping methods, to a victim's own self-blame, these are issues that face all survivors and rarely are portrayed in how they were throughout this episode. I applaud the writers for this.
Christine: Yes! I thought this was very realistic in that her teacher didn't start by making any overt moves. He brought Sophie along slowly, made sure he knew what she wanted, and dangled the carrot in front of her every time she felt uncomfortable.
Predators are good at targeting vulnerable prey, and he knew, with her father gone and her mother away, she was vulnerable.
Jack: As a sexual assault survivor advocate, I can't say enough good things about this!
Way too many shows handle sexual assault poorly.
As much as a part of her knows that what he did was wrong, her brain is working overtime to try to make that not the case. Her entire future is riding in this. She gave up Harvard for her dream of music, and her teacher, a man who she looked up to and trusted, he knew that, he chose her. He knew that her dad died. He knew that her mom was away, and he knew that she couldn't lose anything else right now, so he groomed her. He used her history against her.Maggie
I'm going to kill him.
No, you're not. You're going to take all the anger that you're feeling right now and harness it to help Sophie through this.
Yeah, and then I'm going to kill him.
As Meghan said, many shows glorify adult/teen relationships or otherwise gloss over sexual assault -- I feel like I am forever complaining that non-consensual encounters are depicted as consensual or that the victim is depicted as at fault somehow.
Also, there is too often a tendency to show survivors as just broken with no chance of getting better, which is meant to be empathetic but sends the wrong message.
But A Million Little Things did everything right. I liked that they showed it through Sophie's eyes and how she was so insistent that nothing bad happened that it was almost believable, yet we all knew something DID happen that she wasn't discussing.
Sophie experienced the full range of reactions that many survivors do, and I also liked that it made it clear that sexual assault covers more than forced penetrative sex. Sometimes TV makes it seem like violent rape is the only way people sexually abuse someone, and people need to know that that's not true.
And in addition to the realistic and sensitive storyline, the PSA at the end was also perfect.
On a scale of 1-10, what would you rate the performances?
Meaghan: 10/10. Lizzy Greene blew my mind this week. She played every single one of her scenes to perfection.
From the heartbreaking naivety of what was happening as Peter slowly tried to break down her walls during the grooming process, to the moment of realization that something was wrong, to her desperation to normalize what had happened to her finally admitting the truth.
Lizzy has always been great, but in this episode, she was OUTSTANDING.
Not only was Lizzy a shining star, but Miller, Moses, and Rodriguez brought some of their best acting of the series to the table too. You could tell every actor involved wanted to do justice to this storyline, and they succeeded.
Even Andrew Leeds knocked it out of the park. Sure, his character is despicable, but his portrayal was everything it needed to be. In less talented hands, the nuances necessary to show what Peter was doing and how he was doing it would have been missing.
Christine: Lizzy Greene was amazing. A solid 10. I started watching her on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, & Dawn on Nickelodeon when she was probably about 11.
She was a standout then, and she's grown so much as an actress.
How she subtly showed us all of Sophie's conflicting emotions was masterful. I was genuinely impressed with her performance.
Jack: I was extremely impressed with Lizzy Greene. A definite 10/10 for me, too, for all the reasons everyone said above. And the supporting cast also played their roles well. What an emotional hour!
In Delilah's absence, were Maggie and Gina the best people to listen to Sophie and guide her through coming to grips with what she experienced? Do you think this is the best opening for Delilah's return?
Meaghan: They were the perfect people. Sophie is lucky to have so many strong women in her life to help her through such a difficult time.
Maggie showed exactly how good she is at her job throughout the episode. While Gary knew something was wrong, Maggie could feel the full weight of the trauma that had occurred within just a few minutes.
Gina stepping in and sharing her own trauma was exactly what Sophie needed, as well. Gina is someone that Sophie has a lot of respect for, and Gina sharing that with her can help Sophie feel less alone and help her to realize she did absolutely nothing wrong.
I never thought I would say this, but I really hope they being Delilah home after this. How could she stay away after Sophie suffered such a huge trauma? Sophie needs her mother more than ever now.
Christine: Of course. Maggie is a trained counselor, and Gina knows what it's like to be a victim of abuse.
Sophie was fortunate to have the two of them there. She was also lucky that Gary knew he needed help to deal with this and had Maggie on speed dial.
Maggie recognized Sophie's trauma and knew she had to tread lightly to get the whole story, and Regina understood how and why Sophie was blaming herself. They were a fantastic tag team.
And yes, Delilah should definitely come back now. Her daughter needs her, and I can't imagine Delilah not getting on a plane immediately and coming home.
Jack: Definitely the perfect people. Maggie is a therapist who has probably walked more than one person through something like this, and Gina is a survivor herself.
I thought one of the most powerful moments was when Gina told Sophie that she knew Sophie had done nothing wrong because she hadn't done anything wrong either when it happened to her.
Delilah SHOULD come back and be there for her daughter, but can she? Are international flights allowed at this point in the story?
I've lost track of where they are with the COVID pandemic, especially as it seemed not to be part of the story this week.
Should Gary confront Peter? What are your predictions for how this storyline will play out?
Meaghan: No. Confronting Peter won't solve anything. He will deny it, which will infuriate Gary even more and most likely lead Gary to do something stupid.
What I'm hoping for after we saw them focus on Peter's wife when Gary went to the house is that Gary will go to her with what happened. While she may be reluctant to believe it, deep down, she probably will know it is the truth, and her cooperation could help bring Peter to justice for his crimes.
Christine: No, he shouldn't, but that doesn't mean I don't want to see him beat the crap out of the guy. I really don't think there's enough evidence to press any charges. Sophie could, but then it could come down to a very messy he said, she said.
Telling Peter's wife might help or might backfire. She could kick him out, or she could protect him. It's worth a shot, but there's really no way to know.
What's needed is to track down his other students because he's too good at this for there not to be a pattern here, but finding other kids and parents willing to come forward probably won't be easy.
Jack: No, that's a terrible idea. The only thing it'll accomplish is Gary getting in trouble himself if it gets physical, which it looked like it would from Gary's mood.
I also think Peter's wife will be key to resolving this. Not only does she probably know it's true, but I can't help wondering if Peter is abusing her in some way as well.
Meaghan: Most likely. She and Walter clearly have a great relationship, and the time they spend together seems to be benefiting Walter's grieving process.
Hopefully, the more their relationship grows, the more Walter will begin to heal, and any remaining ice on his end will thaw.
Christine: I think that's just who Walter is. He loves Rome. He's proud of Rome.
Walter is probably pretty vocal about that around other people but cannot share those feelings with his son. I think it's a lifelong pattern, so I'm not sure how much Florence has to do with it.
Jack: I agree with Christine about this. Walter is critical of Rome even though he's also proud of him. That's just how he is.
The scene with Florence reminded me of when my grandmother died because she was also very critical of her family. But at the shiva call after her funeral, all her friends told us how proud she was of us and how she never stopped talking about it. I see Rome and Walter's relationship as being similar to that.
What are your thoughts on Eddie and Jackie's friendship and her brutally honest advice?
Meaghan: To be honest, I almost wish they left Eddie and Rome's storylines out with such a heavy hour. I couldn't fully process them with everything going on with Sophie.
However, Jackie is clearly the type of person Eddie needs in his life right now. People handling him with kid gloves is not going to get him anywhere.
Christine: Eddie needs someone to call him out on his self-pitying crap. Fighting addiction is incredibly hard, and Eddie needs support, but Eddie has a tendency to make things all about him.
He's frequently blind to how much damage he's done to his family and friends, and Jackie is good at reminding him of that.
Jack: As a transgender person, I'm thrilled with the way Jackie is being represented and liked her calling Eddie out on his wrong assumption that she chose to be a woman. I know that wasn't the point of her scenes, but I'm always excited when TV gets transgender issues right.
I think Jackie will be helpful to Eddie. Addiction creates blind spots, and I think Eddie needs someone who will call him on all his BS if he'll ever make permanent changes.
What was your favorite moment of the hour?
Meaghan: Everything involving Sophie. If I had to pick one moment that stood out among all of it, which is so difficult, I would have to give it to when she finally confessed the full extent of what had happened.
Greene's performance during that moment was quiet, understated, and totally, completely devastating. I see incredible things in her future.
Christine: I loved how Maggie immediately realized how serious this was and how she needed to be careful in handling Sophie. She knew just when to back off and when to push forward to get the whole story.
And she knew Regina was her best ally; that's why she sent Gary away but allowed Regina to stay. I was fascinated by every moment of those scenes.
I think I enjoy Maggie the most when she's doing what she does best, her job.
Jack: I was thrilled that Gary called Maggie. That was exactly who Sophie needed.
Everything that followed was so emotional and so well-done. I can't choose a favorite, though I agree with Meghan that if I had to choose one moment, the scene where she told them exactly what had happened was the most powerful.
Is there anything else you'd like to address that we haven't covered?
Meaghan: I wish they had aired this episode before the switch to the new night. I think that, unfortunately, moving it away from its Grey's Anatomy lead-in has hurt viewership, and this episode was so important for people to see.
This is an episode of television that parents should sit down and watch with their kids. Sure, it might be uncomfortable, but it opens up a necessary dialogue.
Christine: Can someone submit Lizzy Greene and Allison Miller for the Emmys? They were both fantastic here, and they deserve recognition.
Jack: I agree with all of the above. I hope this leads to important conversations among viewers. I really wanted to jump into the TV and comfort Sophie myself!
Over to you, AMLT Fanatics.
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A Million Little Things airs Wednesdays on ABC.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.