A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: DJ Nash Breaks Down that Gut-Wrenching Finale Twist - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: DJ Nash Breaks Down that Gut-Wrenching Finale Twist

June 9, 2021 by  

A Million Little Things season 3 finale spoilers

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS – “justice: part 1”/“justice: part 2” – Sophie seeks justice for her trauma, and Maggie forces Gary to take a hard look at himself and his relationships. Meanwhile, Eddie goes to extreme measures to fight for his family, and Rome and Regina make big changes for their future on the two-hour season finale of “A Million Little Things,” WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season 3 finale, “justice.”]

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS closed out its third season with Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) making a dangerous, reckless move in order to get justice for Sophie (Lizzy Greene).

In the two-part season finale, “justice,” Sophie opted to go to the police to turn in Peter (Andrew Leeds), the music teacher who groomed her. But with minimal physical evidence—and a text from Sophie they worried would taint the case—all the cops could do was start a file so the next time someone came in to report him, there was proof it was a pattern.

For Gary, who had been Sophie’s caretaker at the time—and was the one to beg Peter to give Sophie another chance after her audition went awry—he felt guilt over what happened. And paired with Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) telling Gary she was planning on moving her family to France, plus Gary’s girlfriend, Darcy (Floriana Lima), saying she didn’t want to have a kid with him, he was at the end of his rope.

To alleviate the guilt, Gary made a plan: he went to his father’s house and made it clear he needed an alibi. Then, he blindsided Peter at his home, luring him outside, and putting a bag over his head, before shoving him back into the house.

So what comes next? AMLT creator DJ Nash breaks down the biggest moments and teases the supersized season 4…

Gary has taken a very desperate, but also understandable, step in the finale’s final scenes. What can you share about his mindset in that moment? And given how beloved the character is, what is the line you wanted to toe as writers given how dark this storyline could go?
Yeah, I’m definitely aware of how much people love Gary. At the same time, I’d say nobody loves Gary more than me. He lives in me. I love that character. From the moment I met James Roday Rodriguez, we heard that guy the same way.

The last scene of the show, we were making a series during a pandemic. And we truly…I remember last year, I finished the sound mix an hour before we were not allowed to go to work anymore. I finished season 2 with an hour to spare. So when we went into season 3 during the pandemic, I think we’re telling stories in a really different way, because we never knew [how many we would get through]. When we had the 18 episode order, I was like we’re making six of these. And then I was like, okay, maybe we’re making 12. I never thought we would have the opportunity to make 18. It speaks to our incredible crew up in Vancouver and how amazing Nina Lopez-Corrado, our producing director, has been at shepherding that.

That last scene was one that I [originally] put in episode 12, and it was a scene we were going to potentially have there if that’s all we could make. And then I knew, okay, we’re [getting all the episodes], let’s save it.

And I knew that we had justified that scene from the beginning of our series. We’ve seen Gary’s anger, at times, get the best of him. He took a painting that his friend gave him during chemo and smashed it to the ground. We saw him punch a car in the second season, and the guy comes up and pulls out a gun and thankfully doesn’t shoot him. We saw him go to Eric’s music store, and start pushing Eric around. We have seen him smash the glass on his window, as he drops Sophie off at the airport. There are just times where his anger is, as I said, gets the best of him.

At the same time, we’ve seen Gary from the beginning of our series desperate for a family. In episode 3 when he blows out the birthday cake with Delilah, he talks about the day his mom left. And we’ve seen him have to redefine family. It’s probably why he was willing to go to 41 home games with three strangers he met in an elevator, because he was going to create the family he couldn’t have. And he proposed to Maggie quickly. And he probably has moved faster with Darcy, and he wants to have a family with Darcy, because he’s desperate for this family.

And so when that’s happening, and he learns that Delilah is moving to France and taking the kids with her, he, once again, has a loss of family. It’s on the heels of learning that Darcy doesn’t want to have kids [with him]—the voicemail message she leaves…the timing couldn’t be worse; if he’d received it earlier, maybe things would be different.

Then as all that’s happening, he’s dealing with his guilt, and he feels, correctly or not, like if I hadn’t circled back and said to Peter, hey give this woman one more shot, he never would have looked twice at Sophie. And he told Peter that her dad died. Basically, he gave him the tools to groom her, he feels. So when Sophie doesn’t get the justice she deserves, he takes it upon himself to deliver that just. And to be clear, it’s the wrong choice.

The show tends to pick up from the cliffhangers immediately in the aftermath in the next season premiere. Given the nature of this ending, are you thinking you’ll jump ahead so viewers don’t have to see, exactly, what Gary may have done?
We pick up later that night. And then we uncover everything that happened. So, we’re not jumping ahead six months. We will jump ahead in time later in the season. But for the first four episodes, we stay in the aftermath of the things we set up in act 6, including Tyrell learning he was responsible for his mom’s deportation, Eddie getting a call from the person who, apparently, hit him. Gary going to Peter’s [home]. Sophie making the choice to say Peter’s name [on the podcast].

To look to Eddie’s call, in your mind, does he have any idea who is on the line saying they hit him? And how will that play out next season?
He has no idea. He has no idea. And I think we had no idea writing it. We never resolved that ahead of time. I think what happened was after Alex’s dad left, and we realized it is not someone in a pickup truck, but someone in an SUV but we didn’t know who, we, in some ways, almost forgot about it. We were gonna bring this call in two episodes earlier, and then we realized, oh let’s tell that story beginning of next season. We wanted the audience to experience the story the way Eddie did, which is just as I’m sort of coming to peace [with the accident], moving on and not trying to think about it, [and then] it’s back. And so, it will be back, and back in a lot of ways, because he seems very much at peace. He has a visitation schedule and plan with Katherine. He’s driving a car. He’s shown his true grit. And yet, this information will threaten his mental health, threaten his sobriety, and so many things.

As he’s kind of dealing with that, who is he leaning on? Arguably the two closest people to Eddie are either divorcing him or in the midst of what appears to be a crime…
It’s a really good point. Our whole series about that: with the right group of friends around you, you can get through anything. The question is, right now, who is around Eddie? Katherine will always care about him, but she can’t play that role. Who is going to catch Eddie if and when he falls?

Delilah said she wanted to leave, but she did also have a moment of profound grief that seemed cathartic. Has she changed her mind or is she still moving forward with the move to France?
Interesting. I go back to when we made this one phone call, and it was probably the smartest call of the series I’ve ever made, which was asking Constance Zimmer to say one line in the pilot. And from the moment we did that, it creates this idea of like, “Oh, this isn’t what we think it is.” There’s a sort of jumpiness in our fans to go, “That’s not what it is! That’s not what it is!” And we even play to: you think it’s about Eddie is going to take a drink [in the season 2 finale]. No, he’s hit by a car. It’s right there from the cold open when you think Rome is going to take his life, and no, it’s Jon. So I’m not saying I haven’t fueled the problem.

But right now, it’s really funny, because when there’s a story in front of you, the fans often think it’s not the story. And I experienced it when I watched the finale with my wife, who [knows] nothing of it. And she was like, “Oh, he’s not at Peter’s door.” And even [after she watched], she was like, “He just yelled at him and he left.” It’s so amazing to me, where now the card flip is that there’s no card flip. So in a similar way, she says she’s moving to France. Who says that’s not what’s happening? And what is the fallout from that? And maybe she isn’t moving to France.

This is a situation where it makes sense she’s uncomfortable being in the house, but could the solution be something as simple as moving homes? If the kids don’t want to go, she’s also taking them away from their last connections to Jon, too…
I have a very good friend who lost her husband to suicide. She’s just an incredible person. She’s an incredible mom. She was an incredible wife. She is an incredible person. And I have seen her have dark days, where she feels feelings about losing what she thought was her life partner. Anger, hurt, the sort of resentment that she has to be the one to pick up the pieces. I think, from the moment we started this series, the reaction to Delilah has been somewhat unfair. I know she had an affair. I know she had an affair with her husband’s best friend. But then we learned that there was more to that story, that Jon had pushed away from Delilah before that. I don’t know that we’d had an opportunity in the series before that scene to really examine what’s going on for Delilah.

When she makes the choice to go to France with her dad, she’s talking to Regina, and she’s talking about this suitcase she bought. She talks about how she wanted to have a trip where she wasn’t thinking about him. And I really think that that was a nod to where we knew she was going to be when returned, which is, “I was finally able to go somewhere where I wasn’t the wife of the guy who killed himself or I wasn’t the person who had the affair.” 

I think Delilah is trying to figure out the rest of her life. And it’s the first time she had the chance to realize she might be able to live without living under this cloud. And the kids are obviously paying a price for that. She wasn’t there when Danny came out. She wasn’t there when Sophie was attacked by that a monster. So, there will be fallout. But she’s on this journey. You might think that it’s narcissistic, but as she says to Gary, she’s just trying to survive.

Darcy and Gary ended the season in the not-best place given her initial rejection, followed by her voicemail explaining she was wrong and she’d be open to having a family with him. Excluding the Peter of it all, is there a path forward for them?
Oh, taking what happens with Peter out of this for a second, I think Gary and Darcy are so much in love. I think they have challenges. I think what we purposely…she says to him a few episodes before, “You’re so good to your friends, sometimes I wish I were one of your friends.” And to think that she has come into a relationship with a man who has sort of pre-existing situation with this friend group. She needs to understand that when Maggie has an abortion, Gary feels the need to help her through that. He’s going to help Eddie have a place to live. I think what Gary discovers is Darcy has a pre-existing commitment, as well, to Liam.

So, these two people love each other, they’re joining each other with their lives in progress. Do these lives allow room for the other person? I think where her voicemail message is very much [her] feeling like, “I made these rules and promises to myself before I knew you, and before I knew you would be the person I would do all those things with. You’re fantastic. And all the things I saw you do, the sacrifices you made for your friends, they only further confirm that you’re someone I’d want to be the father of my kid.”

Now, I don’t know if that changes given what happened with Peter. It’s a controlled experiment we’re setting up. What happens over there? When does she and how does she find out about it? What is her response?

A bittersweet element to the finale was Someday closing. What does that—and Rome’s struggles with work—mean for Rome and Regina next season?
That storyline was one that we really, really needed to tell. Not only because it was a restaurant closing, but we had made a decision on day two of the writers’ room this year that we were going to have our storylines effected by COVID, because our show is all about authenticity and how could it not be? So we knew we needed someone to die from COVID in our season. We actually talked about a series regular, we talked about a couple of recurring people. We moved away from them just because we love writing for them, and we didn’t want to lose writing for those characters. Especially with us looking at 20 episodes [in season 4]. [Laughs.]

But we really wanted to honor that story, and it really felt like this would be the right way to do this. I remember thinking like, who would come into that restaurant as it’s closing? And there was something about Dustin, there’s something about the chemistry that Regina had during the blackout with him. It was flirtatious, but it was like a platonic flirtatious, like fun vibe. And I was like, “Oh wouldn’t it be interesting if that person came back?” And our whole show looks at several themes, but I love to examine just when you think you know someone, you don’t So, the idea that he would come in, maybe he separated from his wife—why are we telling the story, are they gonna flirt? What’s going on here? Only to discover that his wife had died of COVID. Earlier in the episode, Rome says to Gina, “How are you doing?” And she says, “Compared to what?”

That’s a question she asked, and that’s the question that Dustin answers. I think that’s a question that we have all gone through this year, where we’re like, “I can’t believe my kids are quarantined for 10% of their life.” But, compared to what? We are still able to be home, having dinner as a family, [I’m able] to provide for my family, [we did] 18 episodes a season; next year we’re back for 20. I think we’re pretty lucky. So, I think that was the purpose of that storyline: to help Regina put everything in perspective. She looked at where she was the end of the season, last year, she was standing in Eve’s hospital, Eve changed her mind [about the adoption], and Regina was denied the family she wanted. This season, it is her family that helps her pick up the pieces.

It’s why we gave the speech to Tyrell, the foster son she didn’t think would be in her life. As Rome said earlier, it’s not a coincidence; you are here for a reason. The reason is to help Gina with the loss of her restaurant, and it’s a beautiful reason.

How much will Tyrell be in next season?
I love that relationships and those stories so much. Adam Swain as Tyrell, I really just love what he does to Romany [Malco (Rome)] and what he does to Christina [Moses (Regina)]. He will absolutely be back. He is in another series, so we’re going to have to work around that, because I didn’t intend for him to be as huge a role in our series as he has been.

Arguably the two people in the best spots at the end of the season were Katherine and Maggie. What’s ahead for them next year?
I love Grace Park. And I have loved putting her in pain. It’s why we did this whole dog gets out episode in the second season—really, the whole episode came to me wanting to put that baby in Katherine’s arms as quickly as possible…I just love her in pain, even when she’s alone, in front of a mirror, trimming her hair. She just plays it so well.

Grace is an incredible partner. I’ve said it before, but identify so much with Katherine. And Grace and I, as we find the Katherine that is in each of us, will call each other and she’ll suggest different things. She had this great suggestion that I’m happy to sort of tip about next year: she was like, Katherine should be done saying the word “should.” And I think it’s such a smart thing. Katherine, she has a little bit of issues stemming from having immigrant parents. She has lived so much of her life by the way she ought to…We’re gonna see Katherine sort of embrace that it’s time for me to look out for me. And we’re gonna see her do that in incredible ways. Obviously there’s an account set up by Carter, we will see her use that. But we’ll also see her jump into this next chapter of her life and fully embrace it in a very positive way.

For Maggie, I think she struggled, after she beat cancer, to figure out what her life was without cancer. It really cost her relationship with Gary. I think she has found this really comfortable level. She found some of it when she was bickering and bumping heads and other parts with Jamie—I’ve never said that before, but I promise you I will say that again. [Laughs.]—that that experience of just when you least expect it, life is in front of you, is something that Maggie discovered, and she brought that home from Oxford. I think it’s why Jamie took himself out of the picture, so he could let her have this life that she promised herself.

I think she’s keeping that promise. She took the podcast. It provided her with reason for being. She was incredible in helping Sophie get through this horrific event that happened to her. And then in the finale, we see her being incredible in giving Sophie the platform to tell her story.

And there’s that part which I relate to Maggie the most, because the experience of being the showrunner on this show has been everywhere I have allowed writers to use our platform to tell underrepresented stories. That’s been amazing.

Next season, Maggie will have some more notoriety with her on-air personality. We will see the comedy, a writer pitched [something] a couple days ago that we can’t wait to do about some of the stuff that happens with Maggie. She gets a little more known—not famous, but a little more know. And we’re excited to see Maggie in this really positive place. [Also] in her relationship with Gary, who she’ll always love; they’ll always love each other. We deliberately had Darcy call Maggie that night because now Maggie is aware that Gary is not where he was supposed to be…


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