A Million Little Things Series Finale Recap: Goodbye, Gary — Plus, Grade It

A Million Little Things Series Finale Recap: Goodbye, Gary — Plus, Grade It

In 2018, A Million Little Things began its five-season run with a shocking death. In Wednesday’s series finale, it ends with a highly expected, though even more affecting, one.

Yep, Gary dies in the ABC series’ last episode — but not of the lung cancer that has steadily infringed on his health and quality of life for the past few weeks. To find out what went down, and how the remaining Friends of Jon handled it, read on for the highlights of “One Big Thing.” (And make sure to check out our post-episode chat with James Roday Rodriguez and executive producers DJ Nash and Terrence Coli.)

THINGS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE | The hospital bed that the hospice nurse suggested in the previous episode is now smack in the middle of Gary and Maggie’s living room, and Gary is in it. Some time has progressed; he’s no longer able to speak, a side effect of his illness, so he communicates by whiteboard. He doesn’t really want to eat. Colin is curled up at his feet. Maggie and Eddie marvel at Javi, who’s trying out his new walking skills, and act like everything is normal. But it’s not. And when Maggie steps into the kitchen, Gary asks Eddie to call Rome and have him come over as soon as possible.

Then, we flashback to not that long ago, as Rome films Gary busting on Eddie. But eventually Gary grows series, asks Rome to turn off the camera and asks them to help him end his life it if it looks like he’s not beating the cancer. They immediately think he’s kidding, but he’s not. He says when he gives them the signal, they should get in touch with oncology nurse Kevin from the chemotherapy sessions, and he’ll give them the drugs that will “put me out of my misery.”

Rome and Eddie immediately balk. Rome points out that when he wanted to end his life, Gary worked tirelessly to help him see that there was another way. But the intense physical pain that accompanies Stage IV cancer is different from the pain of depression, Gary says — kinda angrily, and also kinda understandably — and he just wants to die with dignity. Also: He doesn’t want Maggie to know. After all, he doesn’t want to die. “This is Plan Z. I just want it to be in place,” he says. Neither of the guys is comfortable with any part of this idea. But Rome grudgingly agrees that they won’t tell Maggie — but he wants to get Gary on video explaining it to her in case Plan C comes to pass. “How will we know it’s time?” Eddie wonders. So they agree upon a codeword: “Rutledge,” which longtime fans will remember was the last name of the person who inspected the elevator where the guys originally met, and was the name of the trust Jon set up to care for his family after his death. “Rutledge”also is what Gary writes on the board during Eddie’s visit.

‘ISN’T THAT WHAT LOVE IS?’ | I get that they’re upset and rattled, but Rome and Eddie lose all their damn sense and stroll right into Kevin’s workplace, talking loudly about the arrangement he and Gary had. Of COURSE he’s not going to whip out some unprescribed morphine and hand it to you right there in the lobby where some doctors are listening, my dudes! He makes it clear to them — as well as anyone within earshot — that he can’t help them, because assisted suicide is illegal in Massachusetts. But he gives them a bag of gelatin snacks, which Rome snatches from the nurse’s hand as he reams him for letting Gary down. But in the parking lot, the guys realize that Kevin did slip the necessary meds into the bag. Their relief at not having to score hard-core drugs on their own then gives way to a new worry: This is real, and Gary is really going to die.

Rome goes to see his dad and winds up crying in his arms. Eddie seeks Katherine’s counsel and she gently reminds him that the decision ultimately is up to Gary: “While we may all have thoughts about it, it is his life.” Theo overhears his parents talking, figures out what’s going on and tells Eddie that he has to help Gary, because he’s suffering. “Sometimes, the right thing to do is really hard,” he says. “Isn’t that what love is?”

GARY WAS HERE | Back at the apartment, while Maggie and Javi are out with Regina, Colin and Greta, Delilah hangs out with Gary. She snuggles up to him in bed and tearfully tells him how much she loves him and how much she’s going to be there for his family when he’s gone. She thanks him for taking care of her kids when she couldn’t, and for encouraging Eddie to follow his heart and make things work with her a second time. Then they engage in a little fart humor. Gross, Gary, but on brand! Then Maggie comes home, readies a wheelchair and announces they’re going on a field trip.

She wheels him out to a nearby fantasy hockey camp billboard hanging on the side of a building, where Greta has grafffiti’d “Gary Was Here” on top of the image — similar to what Gary did for Maggie in the first season. Gary is touched. As Greta, Regina, Colin and Javi look on, Maggie sits in her husband’s lap and they kiss…

… which makes the scene that follows even more heartbreaking. They return home to find a grim-faced Eddie and Rome sitting in the apartment. Off a nod from Gary, they say they’re going to show Maggie a video. “It’s time,” Gary tells her in the video, which sends her into body-heaving sobs.

GOODBYE, GARY | From that point, it’s just a matter of the doing of the thing. They all make Gary comfortable in bed. Regina, who’s mad that Rome kept her in the dark, says a tearful goodbye to Gary and then brings Javi to Katherine’s. Rome is about to hand Gary the laced tea when Maggie takes the mug from Rome’s hand, declaring that if anyone is going to do this, it’s going to be her. Eddie and Rome flank their friend for the last time, then leave for Katherine’s, where Regina, Delilah, Sophie, Danny, Milo, Tyrell, Greta, Theo and Charlie have gathered for the group dinner that Gary hoped would be the way his friends marked his passing.

Back at the apartment, Gary plays one last Made You Look on Maggie – tucking the wipeboard beneath the sheets so she almost sits on it — and she chuckles as she says, “You won.” He shakes his head and whispers, “We won.” (Have I mentioned that an acoustic cover of Wicked’s “For Good” is playing beneath all of this, because even this show’s MUSIC DIRECTOR is determined to end me?!) They clasp hands and Gary takes a drink. The next time we see him, his eyes are closed and he’s no longer responding to Maggie. She cries and whispers to him about how she and Javi are going to be OK, and as the camera pulls back, Colin (OH GOD COLIN) is draped over Gary’s legs, looking gutted — what? HE IS — and whining the saddest pup whine in the world.

SKIPPING AHEAD | Thank goodness, the episode doesn’t end there. After a 15-year flash-forward, we see Javi on his 16th birthday, rewatching the video that Gary recorded for him to mark the occasion. Even though it’s the last one he made, and “I’m gone physically,” Video Gary says, “I’m still here. Our relationship isn’t over.”

As Gary’s voice continues on the soundtrack, we see how the Friends of Jon have fared in the intervening years. Maggie gives Javi a driving lesson. She visits Gary’s grave (which, of course, has “Go B’s!” engraved on it) to tell him that she has a date coming up. Then we hop over to Rome and Regina’s place, where everyone is hanging out to celebrate Javi’s big day. Rome is wearing a Sophie Dixon tour T-shirt. Sophie is pregnant with Tyrell’s kid. Theo is a full-on adult (and played by Lance Lim, Growing Up Fisher). Danny’s hair is bleached blonde on top, and he is there with his husband. Greta and Katherine have a daughter. Delilah and Eddie are still very in love. Bottom line: Everyone seems really happy.

Gary’s voiceover tells JAvi that he needs good friends like the ones Gary found, and he reminds him once more that he’ll always be with his son, “right next to you, loving you.” And then we see Javi at a Bruins game with Theo, Danny and Tyrell. (Side note: Did you catch that cameo by series creator Nash?) The guys take a selfie, just like the original four did in the pilot.

“Oh, mijo?” Gary’s voiceover says in parting, “have a beautiful life.”

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, dial “988” for the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Grade A Million Little Things‘ series finale and final season as a whole via the poll below, then hit the comments to let us know what you thought!

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