Most of the Friends of Jon attend a Black Lives Matter protest in this week’s A Million Little Things, which leads to casualties both physical (Regina — though it’s scary, she winds up fine) and emotional (Eddie and Katherine — definitely not fine). The horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers becomes a way for the ABC drama to expand upon its earlier conversations about race.
It’s a sobering hour. Read on for the highlights of “Listen.”
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE | Flo and Walter come to Regina and Rome’s place to meet up with them and Tyrell before heading to Someday, where they’ll rendezvous with everyone else going to the protest. But Walter surprises everyone when he announces that he’s not planning to march, because he doesn’t think it’ll change anything. “If you can find a jackhammer big enough to break up the foundation of this country, then I’ll go,” he says. “Because that’s the only thing that’s going to make a difference.”
Just then, Gary calls and has a bunch of annoying questions about the day’s plan. Rome explodes. “You understand that this isn’t my protest, right?” he snaps. Gary apologizes, saying he was just trying to help. “The last time you tried to help, I ended up in the back of a cop car,” Rome responds, then ends the call. A few minutes later, Rome tells Regina that he’s not going to the protest because he doesn’t trust himself at the moment: If a cop did anything to set him off, it would be BAD. So she gently tells him to do whatever he needs to do.
Before the ladies and Tyrell leave, Rome pulls the teen aside to make sure he doesn’t engage with any law enforcement officials. “There are police out there looking for a reason to take your life,” he says, deadly serious. “Young man, do not give them a reason.”
As Walter and Rome sit on the couch, Rome explains to his dad how part of his depression stems from the sense that the world makes him feel like “an unwanted guest in my own home” and how he wants to protect Tyrell from letting everything he’s feeling get to him. Walter abruptly gets up and says that, actually, he is going to the protest: “I’m going to be there for you.”
OH HI, ALAN! | At Someday, Katherine and Eddie are surprised to see Alan show up — Tyrell invited him. This won’t be awkward at all! Elsewhere in the restaurant, Darcy asks Gary about how he was called “Javier” in the school video they watched in the previous episode. Briefly: He was born Javier Mendez Jr., his dad was a custodian at his elementary school, and the kids made “very racist and awful” jokes about his family as he grew up. In the summer before high school, Gary met a cool camp counselor named Gary and adopted the name on his first day of high school. Darcy points out that while Gary had the option of telling the world how he wanted to be seen, Rome has never had that choice — and maybe that’s where his anger came from earlier on the phone.
The group goes to the protest. Theo gets lost for a minute or two along the way, and when he’s returned thanks to the help of a stranger, the dude assumes Alan is Theo’s dad. Oops! (Later, Eddie apologizes to Katherine for not being more aware of what she and Theo go through as Asian-Americans.)
Everything else goes smoothly… until Walter calls Rome: Regina is hurt and has been taken to the hospital.
‘YOU ARE MY WORLD’ | Here’s what happened: Someone sprayed pepper spray, and everyone started to run. A man fell, and as Regina went to help him, a police officer knocked her down and her head hit the pavement. Rome is beside himself with worry when he arrives at the hospital, and apoplectic when COVID protocols mean he can’t go in and be by Gina’s side. But Tyrell stays calm and asks a nurse to have Regina call Rome from her phone; when she eventually does so, Regina is a little loopy but otherwise fine and about to be released.
After Rome gets off the phone, Walter asks if he’s OK. Rome starts to sob, and Walter hugs him.
Gary swings by Rome’s apartment that night to apologize for not really understanding what his friend has gone through, even after the incident at Sophie’s softball game last season. “Coming here is the start, the start of me trying to do better,” he promises. Rome jokes with him, and they seem OK. Then Rome goes into the bedroom, where Regina is icing the bump on her head, and tells her that her injury gave him a tiny taste of the terror she must’ve felt when she found out that he attempted suicide. “You are my world,” he says, echoing what she told him way back, and they kiss.
SEE YA, DR. STACY | As it turns out, Maggie is not well-suited to doling out therapy in five-minute doses. So her tenure as one of Dr. Stacy’s radio counselors comes to an abrupt end after the producer cuts her off as she’s trying to connect a Black, female listener with a therapist who’d best be able to help her. Maggie quits. Dr. Stacy fumes. And then the producer gets in touch with Maggie to give her the woman’s contact information… as well as a bunch of advertisers who might be interested in sponsoring Maggie’s podcast.