On this week’s episode of A Million Little Things, we open on a flashback of the guys playing ball. We know it’s a memory because Jon’s there. Mid-game, Gary tells the guys he has breast cancer and they laugh it off, thinking it’s some weird joke to make up for the fact he’s losing. Then, Jon first, they realize he’s serious.
Back in the present day, Gary checks his chest and underarm area for bumps. He’s still at Ashley’s place after their hookup at the end of last week’s episode so she’s the first person he tells that it’s the one-year anniversary of him beating cancer. Ashley, of course, already knows, having managed Jon’s calendar so long; Jon would go with Gary to every chemo appointment, you see.
When Gary gets home, he happily tells Ed and Rome about sleeping with Ashley. They start to protest that Jon had always warned them that she was off limits, but Gary argues that he also had told them to be happy so… Eddie can shut up anyway because if anyone was off limits it was clearly Jon’s wife! Anyway, Gary’s still pretty mad at the guys for being okay with watching Maggie die and he ends up yelling at them once again when they both bail on that night’s hockey game. He storms out and goes to his room where he finds the hat Jon gave him to cover his bald head during chemo. In a treatment flashback, we see Gary and Jon bonding with the male nurse and some lady named Linda (who is a classic Linda). Jon and the nurse even perform a rendition of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” complete with pelvic thrusts. Gary vomits…due to the chemo and Jon grows serious, telling him he’s going to beat this.
On the female front, Delilah drives Maggie to a talk she’s doing at a college in western Massachusetts. Speaking to college kids about complicated bereavement is on her bucket list. Both Maggie and Delilah choose to ignore the fact that Mags has a literal bucket list and head off on their road trip. They soon stop at a gas station where a flirty man asks Delilah out, prompting her to wonder if it’s time to take off her wedding ring. If she takes it off, she feels like she’s being unfaithful to Jon once again, if she doesn’t she feels like she’s perpetuating a lie that her marriage was perfect.
When they arrive at the college, Maggie’s speech isn’t getting much attention from the bored students, so she changes tactics and starts discussing her brother’s death instead. She was just 22 when it happened and she’s ashamed to say she felt a moment of relief when she found out he’d died because she could finally stop worrying that he was going to hurt someone else or himself. But in the end, her relief made her feel worse. She shares that she has so many feelings that she hasn’t processed because she’s too ashamed to admit them. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you complicated bereavement at its finest! (Also, not totally sure I’d want Mags as my therapist anymore?) In the car home, Maggie tells D it’s taken her six years to be able to say those things out loud. Maggie then asks Delilah where she’d travel in the past if she had a time machine. Delilah says she’d return to two years ago before Jon became distant and shut her out. She realizes that was when she should’ve taken off her ring or when she should’ve started fighting for him. (Recap continues on page 2.)
Elsewhere, Eddie’s former bandmate stops by to ask him to rejoin the group on tour opening for the Lumineers. Ed doesn’t think he can do it what with parenting Theo and all. Speaking of, the kid’s weird: He puts ketchup and pickles on his waffles while Katherine struggles to find a babysitter for him. In the end, the glorious Hunter comes over to look after Theo. The man also makes grilled cheese. I’m really shipping Hatherine hard. Then Eddie shows up to ruin things. He goes to Katherine’s office all high and mighty and mad that she’s not looking after their son. Katherine puts him in his place and drops in the fact that he never told her D is pregnant. She would’ve liked to have heard that from him. Oh boy, can’t wait until she finds out the baby’s actually Ed’s not Jon’s. Anyway, she’s busy enough for now worrying about being made partner at the firm. She’s worked for this all her life, but when she is offered the position, she says she can only take it if she’s allowed to be off the grid between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to have dinner with her son. Get it, Katherine! Of course, the grumpy and heartless men at the firm say no to this, but in the end, Katherine doesn’t care. Theo is her priority and she’s finally getting her life back. Plus, one very handsome Hunter!!
Over at Gina and Rome’s place, their sink is broken so Gina calls Rome’s dad to fix it. Father and son get to some male bonding over plumbing until Rome’s dad finds his son’s anti-depressants. Rome opens up about his depression, explaining to his father that he’s trying to fix himself. He thinks the pills are working and admits he’s seeing a shrink too. His dad just shows him that the sink is working again and leaves. When Gina gets home, she’s impressed by the working tap. Rome fills her in on the situation with his dad. He says he met the most amazing man of his life when he was 30 seconds old, but that he just doesn’t get his life. He really wanted his dad to be okay with his treatment and proud to be his dad, but Gina says Rome has to respect himself for his dad to respect him. He did that today and she’s proud of him. (Recap continues on page 3.)
Alright back to the heavy (heavier?) stuff. In another chemo flashback, Jon comes to sit with Gary and hang some Boston art on the wall. He and the nurse get into singing again until Gary throws a ball at the CD player (we’re also apparently in 2002), shutting it off. Knowing what we do now about Jon’s death, there’s a tough moment where Jon looks at Gary and tells his friend he will outlive him. He also promises that as soon as Gary gets better they’re going out sailing on the water that’s captured in the painting he just hung. Gary has that picture hanging in his living room now.
Back in the present, Ashley is on the phone trying to convince someone not to pull out of a deal they had with Jon and mentions the fact that they’d be screwing over his family if they did. Yikes. After she hangs up, her phone rings again, but this time it’s Gary. They agree to grab a drink and once they get to the bar, Gary announces he’s cancer free and buys a round of shots for the bar. Gary tells Ashley that back when he was in treatment, he was pretty convinced he was going to die, but Jon was so determined that he wouldn’t. He mentions that Jon had said Gary would outlive him and it dawns on him maybe Jon had already planned his suicide at that point and was trying to tell Gary in some way. Ashley admits that she asks herself the same thing. Gary asks her if there were any signs she noticed or if he had any financial troubles or an affair the gang didn’t know about? Ash brings up Barbara Morgan (that name we saw listed as a beneficiary on Jon’s will all those episodes ago). She recalls that Jon kicked her off a call one time with Barbara and now she’s looking for answers too.
For a minute it seems things are taking an upward swing when Ashley lures Gary back to his place for a surprise “You’re Cancer Free” party (the guys were just faking that they couldn’t make the game that night), but then Gary gets all angry again. When the gang demands a speech, Gary leaves the room. D follows and tells him she loves him and is happy he’s still on this planet. Gary thinks Jon should be here too and Delilah tells him he’s allowed to be angry and so Gary storms back into the room and makes his speech. It goes something along the lines of: Thank you all very much for the party, but I’m angry right now. I’m unbelievably angry, not at you, I’m angry at Jon. He then destroys the painting Jon hung in the chemo room. He’s so mad that Jon fought so hard to keep him alive, convinced him to live and then left him. He starts crying about the little boats they were supposed to take out on the water when he got better but never did and now never will. They made plans and Gary thought they were the same plans, but they were not. Then he gives Maggie a death stare (I know, I know, poor turn of phrase). “That what I get for making plans,” he tells her. The guys gather around Gary and hug him while he cries.
In one last flashback, we see Jon and Gary playing video games on the day Gary beat cancer. In the present, Gary sits on the couch alone. He goes and grabs the hat Jon got him and starts to play. Elsewhere, Katherine takes off her wedding rings and Delilah almost does too, then thinks better of it. Also, Eddie calls Keith and says he’ll go on tour.
AND THEN THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. Gary gets a text from Maggie, simply saying “Hey.” He turns his phone over to ignore it which is the worst thing ever because when the camera draws back on Maggie, we see that she’s in the same room Gary was in last year, listening to that same Macklemore song with the same male nurse because SHE’S GETTING CHEMO!!! Gaggie forever!!
Join me next week to see how long Gary can ignore a text message.