ABC’s long-running drama A Million Little Things aired its final episode Wednesday night, and in true A Million Little Things fashion, it was a doozy.
Created by D.J. Nash, the beloved series about friendship and found family gave fans ample warning that they’d need tissues on hand for the series finale.
In an excruciating penultimate episode, aptly titled “Tough Stuff,” we jumped forward a year and watched Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) and his pals struggle to come to terms with his deadly cancer diagnosis. The emotional episode was full of goodbyes, breakdowns, and hard truths. But in true A Million Little Things fashion again, it wasn’t all negative. The friends celebrated Javi’s first birthday, and after Maggie (Allison Miller) tracked down the engagement ring Gary proposed to her with earlier in the series, the two finally got married in front of their loved ones.
So how does the series end? Does Gary die? Do we get another time jump? And do the writers bring A Million Little Things‘ story full circle? Decider’s recap of A Million Little Things Season 5, Episode 13 has all the answers. Read on to learn how we leave Gary, Maggie, Rome (Romany Malco), Regina (Christina Moses), Eddie (David Giuntoli), Delilah (Stephanie Szostak), Katherine (Grace Park), Greta (Cameron Esposito), Sophie (Lizzy Greene), Danny (Chance Hurstfield), and Theo (Tristan Byon). But be warned, major A Million Little Things finale spoilers await.
A Million Little Things Ending Explained: Series Finale Recap (Season 5, Episode 13)
A Million Little Things kicked off its “unforgettable” series finale, “One Big Thing,” with Eddie recording video of Javi walking next to Gary’s hospital bed. Unable to talk, Gary writes on a whiteboard to crack jokes and let Maggie know he’s not hungry, but when she steps out of the room to make him one of his beloved PB and ice cream “smoothies,” he writes a message on the board that made Eddie’s face drop. “Are you sure?” Eddie asks before calling Rome and asking him to meet him at his place ASAP. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying? I’ll be right there,” Rome says.
We flash back to a time when Gary was standing, talking, and dragging Eddie on camera for thinking Aaron Burr was a Black man because of Hamilton. After sharing a laugh with Eddie and Rome, he told them to stop filming so he could ask for a favor. “Obviously I’m gonna beat this thing, but if I don’t, I need you two to help me end it,” Gary said, instructing his friends to go see Kevin at the hospital if that time came, so he could give them the drugs they needed.
“I can’t let Maggie watch me suffer and die from the same disease she’s battle twice. It’s called death with dignity and it’s all I want,” Gary said. Referencing the famous elevator scene and saying when they met Jon, he added, “This is it. This is Rutledge.” (The shorthand they had for taking care of Jon’s family.) When Rome and Eddie realized Gary was serious, they agreed under one condition: He had to record a video explaining his “Plan C” to Maggie. When Eddie asked “How will we know it’s time?” the show cuts back to present day and reveals the message Gary wrote on the board: Rutledge.
The guys go see Kevin who’s heartbroken to hear that Gary is in so much pain but says he can’t help them or he could lose his job. He sends them home with a Jello cup, and after a minor car freakout and quick discussion about Euphoria, they realize Kev snuck some pills in the bag after all. Back at Gary’s apartment, Delilah visits him to say her goodbyes. She lies in bed with him, and in between farts and condom jokes, the two share earnest moments while reminiscing about their friendship. “You’re the best friend I ever had…my brother,” D tearfully says. “I want you to know you can count on me. I’m going to be here for Maggie and your son.” She thanks him for everything and he kisses her head to return the love.
While their mom is saying goodbye to Gary, Sophie and Danny are shopping for caskets and Maggie, Regina, and Greta meet up at the part on a mission. When a fan of Regina’s comes over to say she voted for her, we learn she lost the election. But respectfully, WHO has time to think about that right now? This is Gary’s hour!
It wouldn’t be the finale of A Million Little Things without an “oh my god, are they serious?” moment of kismet, and we get our first major one when the Sophie introduces herself to the woman working in the casket shop, who JUST SO HAPPENED to be the same woman who stopped her dad from getting on the flight that crashed on 9/11. If you recall, her name is also Sophie, and Jon and Dee named Sophie after her. Instead of sharing this life-changing anecdote, she simply gives the kids her employee discount on Gary’s casket. OK!
Sophie and Danny seem to be holding up OK, but Eddie and Rome are wrecks. Eddie goes to Katherine to get her opinion on Gary’s request, and after Theo overhears and shares some wisdom beyond his years (classic Theo), Eddie realizes it’s Gary’s life and Gary’s decision to make. Rome goes to see his dad and breaks down crying in his arms. After the two share some honest, vulnerable conversations, Rome is able to leave and come to terms with Gary’s wish. But first, another tearjerking scene! (Don’t worry, this time it’s happy tears.)
Maggie busts Gary out of his hospital bed and wheels him outside for “a field trip.” Once they reach their destination, she says, “You keep insisting that I choose to remember all of the wonderful things we’ve done together, and you’re right. I made you this.” When Gary opens his eyes he sees a “GARY WAS HERE” billboard that Greta painted as a nod to his “MAGGIE WAS HERE” billboard from earlier in the series. Are you crying yet? Same. And there’s so much more episode left.
When the girls bring Gary home, Eddie and Rome are waiting inside to show Maggie the video Gary recorded. “Hey Bloom. If you’re seeing this video it means none of our valiant efforts worked out,” Gary says onscreen. “I know how hard you fought and I hope you know, too. But it’s time.” Maggie breaks down crying and Regina takes Javi to Katherine’s house, where the rest of their friends are comforting each other and preparing a big group dinner to honor Gary’s wishes. After emotional goodbyes and “I love you” exchanges from Gina, Eddie, and Rome, Maggie sits with Gary alone in their bed and in true Gary fashion, he cracks one last epic joke by writing “MADE YOU LOOK” on his board, a nod to their antics earlier in the series. “You won” Maggie says, to which Gary whispers, “We won.” Maggie kisses his head, hands him a mug to drink from, and says, “I want you to know it’s OK. I’m gonna be OK and Javi’s gonna be OK, because we have friends all around us who are gonna help take care of us. So you can let go.” Colin groans as the screen fades to a blur, and back at Katherine and Greta’s house, the friends laugh, cry, and share Gary stories galore.
Before the episode ends, we see one of Gary’s many videos for Javi playing on a TV screen. A teenage boy in a Bruins hat is sitting on a couch watching it, and YEP, you guessed it. That’s Javi watching his 16th birthday video. “Believe it or not, this is my last video for you,” Gary says on the screen. “Even though that may seem sad, I want you to know something I didn’t know until my dad was gone — it’s actually something your mom taught me. Even though I’m gone physically I’m still here. Our relationship isn’t over, it just changes.” As Gary’s voiceover plays, we see a montage of happy scenes. Javi is driving Maggie in the passenger seat. Maggie visits Gary’s grave with a new dog named Daisy and tells him she went on a date on Saturday with a father from Javi’s school. The friends have pizza night and celebrate Javi’s birthday (with age makeup and wigs so we know 15 years have passed).
In the video, Gary tells Javi to surround himself with incredible friends that will become his family and says any time a stranger smiles at him out of nowhere, there’s a decent chance that’s him. In one of the final scenes of the series, Javi is walking to his seat at a Bruins game when a stranger (who is almost certainly A Million Little Things creator D.J. Nash) smiles at him. He takes his seat alongside Danny, Theo, and Tyrell, and they raise their glasses to “the band of dads.”
After a Bruins selfie that brings the series full-circle, we flash back to Gary saying, “Oh, and mijo? Have a beautiful life.” All I can say is good thing I had tissues on hand to dry my a million little tears.
A Million Little Things Season 5, Episode 13 will be available to stream on demand and on Hulu Thursday, May 4.