Eddie's truth is out, and now, we'll have to tune in to see how he and his family and friends pick up the pieces.
Eddie's addiction storyline came to a climax during A Million Little Things Season 3 Episode 8. However, the hour also served as some perfectly timed and much-needed commentary about racism.
It specifically focused on the Anti-Asian sentiment that has increased ten-fold in the wake of the pandemic.
Knowing that series like A Million Little Things, New Amsterdam, and many others had already planned to touch on this bigotry well before #StopAAPIHate and #HateIsAVirus campaigns hit mainstream media is a comfort.
It means that this wouldn't go unacknowledged or swept under the rug, even if it wasn't part of the discussion in society until the murders in Atlanta. These stories aligning with reality and recent events make them powerful upon witnessing them unfold with beloved characters.
Katherine: I know our parents did their best, but I have to do better. I don't want Theo to have to pay the same price.
Alan: Well then maybe it's doing what our parents never did. Talk to him about it.
A Million Little Things has touched on race often with Rome, in particular, and Regina. It was overdue for the series to address issues from Katherine and Theo's perspective as Asian-Americans.
Aside from some throwaway lines and an interpretation of Katherine's breakdown carrying racial and cultural undertones without an overt address, the series mostly managed to move around them.
Theo volleys between being a young and an old ten-year-old, and Katherine and Eddie are notoriously overprotective of him. It's not the least bit surprising that Katherine has tried to shield Theo from racism for as long as she possibly could.
As a result, Theo didn't pick up on his classmate's microaggression about why only Theo needed to wear a mask during their remote school sessions. And he likely didn't recognize why Eddie took a hockey stick to their asshole neighbor's car after the man yelling at him and referenced the "China Flu."
It's a topic to broach, and it does make you wonder what type of conversations Eddie and Katherine had while dating and when they found out they were pregnant. There are unavoidable conversations that naturally happen when you're in an interracial or intercultural relationship.
And particular conversations are imperative when you bring kids into the world. It's an aspect of Katherine and Eddie's relationship that has largely gone unaddressed beyond mentions of the language barrier between Eddie and her mother and the offhand jokes about how Eddie can't handle spicy foods.
Some of Eddie and Katherine's behavior leads one to assume that they didn't delve into the nitty-gritty of that aspect of their lives often. Katherine instantly knew what happened with Theo, but Eddie didn't think about it when he asked her if she was sure that's what it was.
Eddie: Doesn't Connor know that you can't get someone sick over the internet?
Katherine: Of course he knows, Eddie. He said it because he's Asian.
Eddie: Are you sure?
Katherine: Yeah, I'm sure. He probably heard it at home.
Eddie: Then I'm calling the school.
Katherine: No. All it will do is single Theo out, probably make him even more of a target.
He meant well, of course, but Katherine has been an Asian-American woman for her entire life, so it's safe to say she's more knowledgable about discerning these things than an aloof Eddie.
Even their methods for handling the situation varied. Eddie wanted to contact the school, and Katherine didn't want to put a bigger target on Theo to protect him.
It translated over to Eddie, who was also fueled by his pill-popping, resorting to a violent display after their neighbor said something racist. The neighbor was a total dick for what he said. It was enraging to hear him callously sling that bullcrap phrase at a child.
And as per the case with bigotry's absurdity, I found myself bitterly laughing at this man's anti-Asian sentiment while driving a freaking Nissan. Sure, it was satisfying and cathartic in a way that Eddie raged out.
However, it's also a luxury that only a White Eddie has. It's been at least a couple of hours since the incident happened, and for anyone else, the police would've been at the scene minutes later. Eddie would've been in cuffs and thrown into the back of a police car, and there'd be a host of other issues from there.
It's not a surprise if Eddie doesn't face any immediate consequences from that incident as the series rolls into addressing his relapse. It can go either with the series. We've segued into all of this addiction business and have seemingly abandoned the "who hit Eddie?" narrative.
So yeah, it's a stark contrast from when Rome was arrested and thrown into the back of a cop car during A Million Little Things Season 2 Episode 12.
Seeing my dad that angry was scary, and I never understood why he reacted that way until I got older and asked him about it, and that's when he told me. The system treats people like us differently, and once you're in the system, it's really hard to get out, so I did what I had to do to keep you out, son. What I'm trying to say is my dad did that to protect me from something that I didn't understand yet. Sometimes our parents do things we don't understand because they love us. So when you're ready, you should talk to your dad. Tell him how you feel.Rome
It's also why Rome was the perfect person to speak to a young Theo who was too afraid of what he witnessed his father doing to talk to him. The Uncle Rome moments are underrated, and we don't get them nearly as much as Uncle Gary, so when we do, they're such a treat.
And that's when you appreciate this group of individuals who serve as a family to one another. Eddie is a good dad, but there are some conversations that he can't have with Theo with such depth. But Theo's Black uncle, while not Asian-American, is a minority with experience.
Rome could talk to Theo about how it feels to be on the receiving end of racism and how these are things that Theo can and will face in his life. Katherine can speak to matters an Asian-American. Meanwhile, Rome's experience converges with that as a fellow man of color and how to navigate that specific journey.
Rome's story about his father was heartbreaking. Romany Malco is always pure perfection when he gets these emotional types of scenes; this one was special since it had him playing against Tristan Byon, and this a pairing that I would love to see more of in the future.
Gina: Babe, the Vicodin from my wrist surgery is missing. I keep thinking about the pill I found on the floor and how I didn't say anything, how I almost lost you, so I need to know do you have them?
Rome: No, I promise you, I'm OK. I'm not in that place anymore.
Gina: OK but if you didn't take them, who did?
Rome's father refused to allow the police to keep his son handcuffed after a fight another child instigated, and he went to jail for him.
His father is right; as a Black man especially, it would've been impossible for Rome to overcome once immersed in the criminal justice system. It again added another layer to Rome's conversation with Gary in the back of that police car.
Rome was able to connect to Theo, but he also explained Eddie's position as a father. He respected Theo's need for time to process, giving him space while also encouraging him to speak to his father when he's ready. Rome is the best!
Katherine confided in and commiserated with Alan, and there is an intimacy blossoming between those two.
Alan: When I think back to when I was Theo's age, the number of Kung Fu Jackie Chan jokes I heard, my own classmates mimicking my parents' accents behind their back, I may not have known exactly what it was then, but it still hurt.
Katherine: Did you ever talk to your parents about this stuff.
Alan: No. They risked so much moving their lives here just so I could have a good education, just for me to come home and complain about a couple of jokes? I couldn't bother them with that. Those weren't real problems. I can still hear my dad's words, don't cause trouble, just fit in.
Katherine: Don't cause trouble. Work hard. Be successful. You know, Model Minority.
Somehow, they managed to drop in this random character and make him engaging. He and Katherine's scenes are a delight, and the chemistry is there, and it's risky. They haven't crossed any lines yet, but you can tell Katherine is cognizant of the possibility. She stopped herself from offering him leftovers.
Did you catch that subtle moment when Alan opened his computer and covered the family photo? You have to love those touches.
They like spending time with one another, and he serves as a great confidant and friend since she essentially lost Darcy to Gary. It opened the door for her to have conversations like that of being a Model Minority, and she wouldn't have had those types of talks with Darcy.
It was great to have a scene where Katherine and Alan opened up about their lives and what it was like growing up and for their families.
Alan's classmates subjected him to some racist jokes and treatment, but he didn't feel right coming home and telling the parents who worked their asses off to ensure he got a better life and an opportunity to live the American Dream that kids were mean to him.
And you can understand that. It's nothing trivial about what Alan had to deal with, but in comparison to the sacrifices his parents made, he felt that dealing with is the least he could do.
And Katherine could relate. She and her parents didn't talk about those types of things either. Instead, their parents instilled in them that they work hard and keep their hands down; essentially, you don't give anyone a reason to otherize you.
The harmfulness of the Model Minority Myth on full display, putting the onus on the recipients of racism to not give people a reason to be racist. It was a simple conversation, and they didn't get into as much depth as you'd expect, but it did inspire Katherine to do something that embraced their culture.
She got everything together to teach Theo how to make dumplings, and she was so excited about this chance to share their culture. After a day when Theo faced shunning because of his heritage, it's the best time to celebrate it.
All of that went to hell when, after a day of coming to grips with the fact that his addiction was ruling his life, Eddie admitted the truth to Katherine.
Eddie and Delilah are the absolute worst at nearly effing up the Howards' marriage. Delilah damn near wanted Gina to lie to Rome about a pregnancy test that Delilah left in their bathroom, and Eddie had Gina worried that Rome was in a suicidal place again.
Sorry, I stole Gina's pills. I screwed everything up. I need help.Eddie
Initially, Gina's assumption hurt Rome. But after realizing that Eddie had lied to all of them, including Katherine, for months, he recognized the importance of someone checking in out of care and concern.
Eddie's defensiveness put Rome and Gary onto him, and they wasted no time talking things over with each other to figure out their next steps.
They sped through the revelation quickly after spending a large portion of the season dragging out Eddie's secret relapse. After Eddie's car incident and the realization that he scared Theo, he was willing to confess everything to the guys once they arrived.
Most of it was explained offscreen, and Rome went to talk to Theo before he had any significant reaction. Eddie's confession was probably meant to clean it up a bit after he reached new lows in his lying.
Eddie: I was just trying to be the husband and father that I ... dude, what the hell are you doing?
Gary: What the hell are you doing? You've been taking pills for two months and I'm just now hearing about it? The night we buried Jon, we agreed that we would talk. We agreed that we would tell each other everything, even the hard stuff, and I'm only hearing about this because you stole Gina's Vicodin? It's not like you couldn't get me on the phone, Ed. I was ten feet away. All you had to do was say something, anything, instead, you lied.
Gary: I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell anyone cause doing that would mean losing.
Gary delivered with a frustrated reaction, and he didn't pull any punches calling Eddie out on his deceit and failure to reach out for help. It was a satisfying enough scene, and it was the right amount of tough love and "take no bullshit."
But then it fizzled out as Eddie gave some lip service about how hard it was and him trying to be a good husband and dad, and his excuses fell flat.
Eddie has an illness; addiction is a sickness, and he wasn't wrong about his physical pain that fueled this, but there's no way they allow Eddie to sink this low without reaching out for help and then kumbaya through it.
Eddie's reasoning for not telling a soul about his relapse when they would've been sympathetic and helped him early on does not have the desired effect of making him sympathetic here. He had too many chances to have genuine conflict over all of this.
Rome: Hey, listen. When you were over here did you happen to see Gina's Vicodin?
Eddie: Uh, no.
Rome: It's weird. It was right next to the arnica and now it's gone.
Eddie: And you think I took it?
Rome: Did you?
Eddie: Dude this is ridiculous! I'm sitting here in a wheelchair rubbing freaking arnica on my back and my best friend is accusing me of stealing his wife's ills! I don't even take pills, Rome, you know why? Because I'm an alcoholic, which you should know since you helped me get sober, what was that, 11 years ago!
He jumped headfirst into the deceit, manipulation, and gaslighting, and it loses some luster that he knew Rome was onto him before he caved and told the truth.
Now, he has to tell Katherine, and she would and should have sympathy for Eddie at the beginning of this. However, her anger and any negative repercussions on their marriage are justifiable because of the deceit now.
It's not that he was struggling and need help; it's that he didn't confide in her and lied through his teeth for months, and he did it effortlessly without considering an alternative. How do you get past all of that?
If this arc has everyone waving a hand past the extent of what Eddie did in favor of holding his hand through rehab, then it'll feel like a cop-out.
Katherine: How was your day? What is it?
Eddie: Dakota didn't steal my pills. I've been taking them, and now I can't stop.
Darcy's PTSD arc is one that always brews with potential, but now that it seems she's going to a retreat for help, I don't know what to make of it. In hindsight, the problem with Darcy's mental illness arc is that it's still about how it affects Gary and their relationship.
It's not like we follow Darcy to those therapy sessions, or we've seen firsthand how she's working through any of it. All of the hard work of exploring her PTSD is taking place offscreen. It's the downside of giving a storyline like this to a secondary character.
It's only relevant to one of the main characters, so Darcy's arc feels reductive and underdeveloped because of her status.
You have a past and I have a past and when I told you about mine last night you were still here in the morning. It's time to start focusing on the future.Darcy
Instead, we get more focus on how Maggie's presence affects Gary and Darcy's relationship. Fortunately, it seems they're pulling back on the Jealous Darcy, Maggie-obsessed Gary, and Interloper Maggie narrative. However, it often feels as if that changes with the weather, and it's enough to give you whiplash.
For now, Darcy listened to the podcast, and she, as a divorcee with a child, knows what it's like to have remnants of a meaningful relationship, so she didn't judge Gary or assume he was still in love with Maggie because of a ring.
It didn't put a wedge between them, and they seem to be a good place. The same goes for Maggie and Jamie, who have resumed their friends with benefits arrangement.
They're both deluding themselves into thinking that they aren't an actual couple now. But Jamie inserting himself into other people's business as a running gag has gotten old.
We're still friends even if our benefits ran out.Jamie
It was downright awkward that he tried to explain things on Maggie's behalf to Gary while in his underwear on Gary's home. And by the time he came rushing out telling Darcy about the podcast, I wanted to put a muzzle on him.
Jamie and Maggie are cute together, but he's a nuisance with others.
And the Tyrell predictions weren't that far off. He wasn't lying about his mother's job as an EMT. I give Rome credit for clocking all of the little lies and talking them over with Gina.
They handled it well, especially Gina's insistence that she'd bring food to his home and meet his mother. I didn't expect that Tyrell was living in his apartment after his mother got taken by ICE.
That they haven't worked in an ICE plot until its third season, given all the things that AMLT covers, is surprising. They have a lot to figure out about harboring a teenager who is supposed to be in the system.
But for now, Tyrell staying with the Howards was a foregone conclusion.
Over to you, AMLT Fanatics. Do you think they were too easy on Eddie after learning the truth? Is the Gary, Darcy, and Maggie love triangle giving you whiplash? Hit the comments 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.