A Million Little Things
“Pilot” (Episode 101)
September 26, 2018
I’m not sure there are enough words for me to be able to thoroughly explain my excitement for A Million Little Things. I’ve been awaiting its arrival a little more than 3 months ever since I saw the first trailer. I knew this show was going to be something special. As I saw more & more about the show, I became more and more excited not only was it going to be special but honest, or at least that is my hope for the show. From the Pilot it didn’t disappoint.
A Million Little Things is brought to us by writer and creator DJ Nash (Truth Be Told; Growing Up Fisher). After someone close to Nash took their life, he knew he needed to do something with how he was feeling. Later in the my recap I will touch on a parallel between JFK Jr’s plane crash and depression, this was written by Nash after the loss of his friend trying to understand how he felt. Nash knows where the season will go and has plans for where the series would go if they are lucky enough to be renewed for another season.
This show is going to touch on many heavy hitting topics; it’s not going to be for everyone but give it a chance. AMLT is going to touch on depression, suicide, marriage, friendship, and more — the highs and lows of life.
So now we will begin into the deep dive of A Million Little Things, you’ve been warned spoilers await…
“Friendship isn’t a big thing…it’s a million little things.”
This quote is the first thing we are introduced to as the episode begins. We’ll hear it later but the tone has been set already.
We see Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston) in his office talking on the phone with another business person. He’s putting on cufflinks and adjusting his tie during the call. His assistant Ashley (Christina Ochoa) brings him something and he tell her to take a long lunch. During the call he says he believes everything happens for a reason, he only has a few more minutes to finish the call before he has to get to something else. He lifts a blue envelope and his phone off of his desk, he carries them out to the balcony and sets them on a table.
Change scene we are introduced to Eddie (David Giuntoli) who is on the phone with someone rushing around his bedroom grabbing items and throwing them in a suitcase. He is ready to leave his wife, he wants to be with the person who’s on the other end of the phone call. Eddie knows how long he has to get out of his apartment before his wife Katherine (Grace Park) returns. Pretty much as he’s finishing that sentence you hear someone in his apartment yelling his name; turns out Katherine had to come back home because she left her briefcase. She’s mad Eddie didn’t notice she forgot it and goes on about a few things while being side tracked from her phone not hearing Eddie’s response when she asked if he can pick up their son Theo. When she assumes he can, he says he will. There is obvious tension between Eddie and Katherine, one who wants out and one who is dedicated to her job.
Next we are introduced to Gary (James Roday) who is sitting on the end of an examination table at a Doctor’s office. He nervously waits for the doctor to return. Gary is looking around the exam room where we see posters for breast exams and women and breast cancer awareness ribbons. The camera returns to Gary and he is brushing his hand over his chest. We’ll learn later in the episode that Gary is among the rare 1% of men who get breast cancer. As we’ll hear, many people don’t realize it’s not just women.
His Doctor returns with an x-ray telling Gary he wanted to look over one more thing. Gary flatly responds, “the suspense is killing me, is there anything else killing me?” Before his doctor can responds he receives a phone call which he answers (RUDE); he’s confirming his lunch order. Gary interrupts the doctor — he just wants to know if his cancer is back or not.
Lastly we are introduced to Rome (Romany Malco) who is in his kitchen listening to the news while fighting with himself over a decision. He signs a letter and starts dumping prescription pills on the counter, then goes to the fridge for water but the Brita is empty. (The news is talking about a story of the contaminated water in Michigan) While waiting for the water from the Brita to filter, he gets two calls from Gary which he ignores. Rome takes a handful of pills and fills his glass with water from the tap. Gary calls again. This time Rome answers saying “what?” with the mouthful of pills and not yet taken the drink of water.
“You’re not going to believe this…”
We are back in Jon’s office, on the balcony. He sets his phone on the table. The camera pans to his assistant walking back in from lunch and runs to the balcony but it’s too late … Jon climbed over the edge and already let go.
“… Jon killed himself”
Rome spits the pills he had in his mouth into the sink.
We are brought back to the show with all four friends at a Boston Bruins hockey game. Cheering and yelling. Rome wants a photo of all of them to capture the moment but first, he tells Eddie to hide his hideous necklace (a “yin and yang” – the kind of thing that’s a quarter in a kid’s vending machine). Eddie responds that the necklace is the reason the Bruins are winning.
At that moment Jon joins them with a tray of drinks for everyone (3 beers and a soda for Eddie). Jon hands out the drinks giving each friend a title with what they do or who they are, making them all laugh. Gary picks on Eddie for being a stay at home dad but he quickly reminds his friends, “this stay at home dad used to be in a band who opened for Kings of Leon … right over there” pointing to the other end of the stadium. Rome says again that he wants just one photo of them at the game. He also happens to be recording them when he catches Jon telling Eddie, “life’s too short, just be happy.” As he is saying it, the camera pans out to Rome, Eddie, and Gary sitting around a computer watching the recording Rome had captured. Gary can’t wrap his head around why he would do this — this footage was from just one week ago.
Regina (Christina Moses) hands the guys drinks and mentions how she hasn’t been to church since she went to college but she’ll do it for Jon on Sunday. They continue to talk about how none of them can figure out why Jon would have done this. (With suicide more times than not, you won’t ever find the why because it’s usually more than just one thing). Gary is sampling the food and complimenting how great it is, when Rome and Eddie give him grief because they are for the guests after the funeral. Regina says Gary can have as many as he wants since he’s the one who had to tell Delilah.
The camera focuses in on Gary and then pulls out and we see Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) with Gary walking up to her. Coffee falls to the ground and Delilah collapses in his arms. Moments later, we are brought back to them in the kitchen.
“If any of you have delivering horrific news on your bucket list, take it off it’s not as great as you think.”
Regina tells them about going over to see Delilah, she didn’t know what she would say but she knew she needed to go over there. We see Delilah opening their door and two friends hugging but not saying anything. Again in the kitchen, Regina is talking to the guys, “this doesn’t make any sense. This is Jon, perfect Jon.”
“How do we know he didn’t just fall?” Eddie asks to which is met with some confused faces. Gary responds quickly with how Jon isn’t four. He then proceeds to tell them about his conversation with Ashley when she was telling him what happened. Ashley says the day was normal and everything seemed fine; he was himself. Regina wonders how Jon didn’t even leave a note. We flashback and see Ashley finding the blue envelope from the opening (with Delilah written on it) and Jon’s phone and talking to the police. We see Ashley putting the blue envelope that has been opened into the top drawer of her desk. So we can assume there are things she is trying to cover up.
Delilah is in her bedroom with her kids trying to figure out things for Jon’s funeral. She’s walking around trying to find her sunglasses, their son, Danny (Chance Hurstfield), is deciding which tie Jon would have picked. Their daughter, Sophie (Lizzie Green), is sitting in an armchair in the corner of the room tuning her guitar. Sophie decides she wants to play a song for Jon during the service, Delilah comforts her daughter telling her he would love that. Which is when Danny finds Delilah’s sunglasses on her head.
We cut to Gary’s cancer support group. The group is discussing their struggles with breast cancer (they are all currently in remission). There is awkwardness when a new attendee can’t get passed Gary, a man, is there too.
“Men get breast cancer too.”
Gary meet Maggie. Maggie, Gary. [Ed. Note: They bone literally as soon as possible after the meeting. My favorite TV couple, ever.]
Back to the video Rome is working on for the service in his bedroom while Regina is getting ready for bed. Rome is watching a part of the video where all four of the men are at the bar about to take a shot (soda for Eddie) and Jon is explaining what friendship is.
“Friendship is when you don’t care that your friend threw up in your car on his way back from chemo. Friendship is knowing your friend is going to make his movie. It’s holding the friends hand when she loses her restaurant and knowing she is going to open a better one. It’s the person you trust with your wallet and your keys and your wife and your kids. It’s being able to have the hard conversations and being willing to listen. It’s a million little things.”
To a million little things, they cheers and take the shot. As this part finishes, we are back in Rome’s bedroom and Regina chimes in – they have a trip planned and were going to postpone because of Jon but Regina thinks Jon would still want them to go.
Rome shares the video with Regina. She loves it but what she doesn’t understand is why didn’t Jon share the video with Delilah? Rome still hasn’t shared with Regina to this point that he fought with suicide right before he got the call about Jon. As far as Regina knows, Rome is doing alright, even though we are seeing another battle taking place. Rome agrees that they should go on their vacation.
The Funeral. Eddie is at the front of the church standing at the podium beginning Jon’s eulogy. He makes a crack that he feels as though Jon is going to come barreling through the doors and in enters Gary and Maggie as if they planned it. Eddie tells everyone how Jon believed that everything happens for a reason and how they all met because they were trapped in the same elevator. They bonded over them all being Bruins fans and by the time they were rescued, Jon had convinced them to go in on season tickets, even though he never took their money.
Since then, their friendship became more than Bruin games: Jon convinced Eddie to get sober after his son was born. He was the friend who was always there for them; Eddie apologizes for not being able to help Jon through whatever it was that he was going through and how he can’t figure out what reason this happened for. Eddie leaves the podium and Sophia, Jon’s daughter, gets up and sings a song for her dad.
There is a gathering at Delilah and Jon’s house following the funeral. Ashley, Jon’s assistant, is the first we see interact with Delilah who asks if Jon left a reason why. There is a flashback to Ashley finding the blue envelope and Jon’s phone but just tells Delilah he always was so happy at work. Gary is next and as the blunt comic he is reminds Delilah he doesn’t want to be there which makes Delilah laugh.
Rome, Gary, Eddie, and Regina are all standing together and Rome is trying to get out of Gary where he found Maggie. Betting on him meeting her at support group … he’s right. They of course give Gary a hard time for bringing her to his friends funeral and reception after. Katherine’s talking to Delilah about memories with Jon to Delilah and how he always made her feel included. Bounce back to the group talking and Gary brings Maggie over to them to formally introduce her. From the start, Maggie feels a bit awkward with the introduction after a comment made by Regina. Which is cleared up after Rome explains how Regina and Gary went on ONE very very awkward date. Maggie chimes in about if that date was being so bad, did it end up him bringing her to his friends funeral? To which Regina sings her love for Maggie.
We move to Delilah’s living room to the group of friends sitting down. Delilah is with guests. They are trying to process what happened and why Jon didn’t ask for help. Maggie puts out there, “maybe he just lost sight of the horizon.” Remind you, Maggie didn’t know Jon but it didn’t stop her from sharing. She goes on to tell them about a documentary she saw and gives the best comparison to what depression can be like. (SEE PHOTO BELOW)
–I never have heard such a simple comparison that had such big impact. DJ Nash, the creator of AMLT, actually wrote this comparison when he lost his friend unexpectedly trying to explain to himself what depression is like.–
After Maggie finishes, she explains maybe it wasn’t depression maybe he was keeping too many secrets. Sometimes you don’t even know what the people closest to you are going through until an event like this happens. Gary is surprised and cracks a joke about Maggie moonlighting as a psychologist … which of course is when we find out that her day job is as a clinical psychologist who specializes in depression. Regina gives Gary shit about not knowing the occupation of her funeral plus one. He didn’t.
As they are all getting ready to leave, Rome asks Maggie if he can get her business card because he feels it’s something he could use for his movie. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ phone alarms are going off but not just any phone alarms … there is a Bruins game that night. Jon made them set alarms because he hated waiting for them. Delilah encourages them to still go and how she needs time with her best friend (Regina) and her new friend (Maggie). There is only one problem, the tickets are at Jon’s office.
Now standing at Ashley’s desk, Eddie is trying to give a “bogus” explanation for why they are there but Ashley calls his bluff knowing they are there for the tickets. She takes them into his office to get the tickets. She pushes the doors open and turns on the office light. There is still caution tape over the door which leads to the balcony. No one speaks as they enter, they just look around.
Back at the house, Delilah, Regina, and Maggie are gathered around a fire with glasses of wine talking. Delilah cracks a joke about how Jon would have been so mad she allowed everyone in the house with their shoes on. She giggles and her tone changes and then immediately questions everything. Regina reminds Delilah that she is there for her and whatever she needs.
In the office Eddie asks Ashley if she knows why he did it or if anything was going on? Ashley is upset because everyone keeps asking her that since she spent so much time with him at work, she didn’t know him like they did. Gary picks up Jon’s phone – he hands it Ashley to enter the passcode which of course, she knows. The timing is to prove the point thsat Ashley knew Jon in a personal way that none of them did. She mentions how he was on the business call for a really long time. Gary says it wasn’t his last call tho but she argues with him that it was. Gary says he made a call right after that … to Eddie. You can see Eddie is trying to figure out what was happening during that time. He said he was in a lesson with one of his students and he keeps his phone on silent. Eddie’s mind is now racing, if he would have answered maybe he could have helped? Gary makes him shut those thoughts down and asks Ashley for the tickets.
Around the fire, the ladies are laughing and cracking jokes about Gary. Maggie never thought the first man who would understand what she is going through would be a guy like Gary. Delilah asks if Maggie is scared. She is. Delilah knows that even though Gary tries to be strong and is in remission, he is scared that it could come back. Regina asks if it’s the same for her. It is.
In a bar, a bartender gives Gary and Rome a shot and club soda to Eddie.
“To Jon … and to that tradition he started on the elevator all those years ago.”
They go to cheers but before they can clink their glasses, Gary stops. He doesn’t agree to any of this. He breaks it down that by just going to the home Bruin games, they’ve spent 950 hours together and he still had no idea what was going on with Jon. They don’t talk, they don’t know each other. Eddie tries to fight what he’s saying but Gary keeps going, “you probably don’t even know what color my eyes are…” Gary is frustrated and to that he takes the shot and leaves the bar. “I liked you better when you had cancer,” Rome says taking his shot and following him out of the bar.
Maggie asks Regina about her cooking and if she had her own place? She tells Maggie about how she had one but her business partner got them in over their heads and Jon helped her get out of her lease even before he really knew her. Regina reaches out to Delilah, telling her that because of Jon, one day she will open her own place when she is ready. To that, Delilah tells them to grab their coats they are going on a road trip. Regina asks her what is up?
“It’s the last thing Jon did before he died.”
Going into security at the game, Eddie is trying to plead with Gary about how if he were to have answered the call maybe he could have helped. OR maybe Jon’s death is supposed to be a wake up call and make them realize something. Gary throws in their face how things aren’t going to change … Rome won’t quit his job directing commercials because it pays too much money; Eddie won’t leave his wife because he won’t take the chance on himself. Gary knows they would only change momentarily.
“I’m in love with someone.”
Eddie blurts this out, stopping Rome and Gary in their tracks. He explains that it’s a mom of one of his students and it sort of just happened. They didn’t mean for it too. Eddie tries to get through to Gary, a person who has beaten cancer and can’t see the other side.
“First of all, God didn’t cure my cancer, science did. Secondly, it’s not that I don’t have cancer Ed. It’s that I don’t have cancer right now. The all clear screening I got this week just gives me permission to hold my breath for another three months. Hooray for me.”
Rome had already sat down and he sees the other three seats still open. “God damn it Jon, you had everything.” Gary and Eddie go sit down.
“Everything happens for a reason, tell me one good thing that has come of this,” Gary asks of Eddie.
“If you hadn’t called to tell me about Jon, I would be dead right now.”
Rome, who had been quiet since he sat down, chimes in. He tells them about how he had a mouthful of pills. He tries to reason with how shocking it was and how great his life is. Gary puts his arm around Rome. “Sometimes it’s like I can’t breath, only I’m breathing.” The hurt can be too much so if he takes it away, maybe it will be better. When he finishes, he tells Gary the color of his eyes and falls into his arms and they have a group hug.
Delilah brings Regina to a building and is telling her about the last deal Jon was closing. As they walk up, Regina notices what building it is and mentions how incredible it is. Delilah tells her why Jon fought so hard to get it, “your new restaurant is opening Spring 2019.”
Regina can’t believe he did this for her?!? Jon had been working on it for months and hadn’t even said anything to Rome because he wanted it to be a surprise. Flash to the game where they are cheering for the team and taking selfies. Laughing, have a good time. Eddie pulls out his phone to send a text to an unstored number in his phone.
“I really need to see you. I love you. E.”
The message is received and we see the recipient is Delilah. With that, we flashback to Eddie and Delilah sharing a hotel room. Then bounce back to Delilah joining Maggie and Regina for a glass of wine (which Maggie had just casually brought along from the house). They cheers to Jon.
Back home, Rome is putting something in his desk drawer when he takes out his letter to Regina he wrote when he almost committed suicide. He takes out the tape from the elevator scene and puts it in to hear Jon talking about how he thinks everything happens for a reason.
A front door is being opened by Delilah. It’s Eddie. “You shouldn’t be here,” she says to him. She tells him they can’t do “this,” not now. She questions if maybe Jon knew about them and that’s why he did it.
“What if that’s why he tried to call you?”
Flashback in the hotel room; Eddie gets a call from Jon but doesn’t answer it. Delilah tells him to answer it but Eddie says he will call him back from the car. Not knowing how much their lives were about to change.
The video of Jon in the elevator is playing and the voice over while we see Ashley in Jon’s office with the blue folder he left. She’s on his computer, selecting all the files found under the search “Rutledge” and deleting them.
–So does she know more than she is letting on?–
Maggie returns from a run and listens to a voicemail, “Maggie if we are going to beat this you have to keep to your chemo schedule.”
–Her cancer is back but she hasn’t said anything.–
Eddie walks into his kitchen with a notification that he has a missed call & voicemail from Jon that he hasn’t cleared yet. He pulls a bottle of rum from a paper bag and begins to pour when Theo walks in and stops him in his tracks. Rome is sitting watching the video, smiling as Jon finishes and the fire department finally gets them out of the elevator.
Rome crinkles the letter for Regina. Gary shows up to Maggie’s apartment with a box of Charleston Chews and she wraps her arms around him. Eddie is on the couch playing guitar, singing with his son. Rome is walking out his front door because he got a text from Gary, “come to the door.” He finds the selfie picture from the Bruins game in a frame.
With that, the episode ends and we wait for episode 2 … which you’ll have a recap for by the weekend since I’m behind. [Ed. Note: Grrrrr]
All my feelings for the pilot of A Million Little Things.
Honestly, I’m still at a bit of a loss for words even having seen the second and third episodes. This show hits me in a place no show has been able to in a long time. DJ Nash has created something special. He has a lot of pressure to carry out his vision because this subject matter is something TV usually walks past. But the time has come and I am here for it.
During the Pilot we see what the sudden loss of Jon has on his friends and family. We see how it brings people together. A lot of questions are asked and many we will never get answers to.
I wish I had more to write here because the feelings I am feeling is something I can’t put into words but I hope you are feeling them too. This show isn’t going to be for everyone but for those who watch it, I have a feeling will know exactly what I am talking about.