Not only had Gary’s cancer spread, but he didn’t have long to live on A Million Little Things Season 5 Episode 12.
Which story do you wish had more airtime? See which storylines our round table chose.
Unless the series finale takes a completely unexpected and unrealistic turn, it appears Gary is dying. Are you satisfied with this turn of events?
Jack: If they HAD to do the Gary is dying story, this was the way to do it. But as I said last week, I did not want this.
I can’t help comparing this to This Is Us. On that show, we knew it would end with Rebecca’s death, but we had YEARS to prepare for it. Things went downhill for Gary quickly, and I know that’s how cancer works a lot of times, but it’s just so jarring as well as depressing.
I was hoping for an uplifting finale, not wrapping it up with Gary dying just like Jon did, so now someone else has to step up to be the father figure and central person in the friends’ group.
Jasmine: Not particularly, no. I get it; this series has always been about the highs and lows in life, and its initial premise revolved around suicide.
But this is so dark and bleak, and by now, I feel like too many series and even films have resorted to what hovers on trauma porn in this attempt to manipulate extreme emotions out of the audience, and it’s getting redundant and too bleak for my taste.
I hate how predictable it feels that they’ve gone out of their way for their rendition of “full circle” to the point of it playing out how many have predicted since the beginning.
I’m not thrilled with this trend of sucking the life out of the audience as a mark of one doing their job well; it just always feels so emotionally manipulative to me, but not in a good way. So, I’m very upset by these events.
Gary is the heart, soul, and glue of this series, much like Jon was, and I hate that they’re killing him off so tragically. And while I’m bummed that there’s a shortage of family dramas like This Is Us, and now this going off the air, I’m annoyed that they’re pulling so many moves out of the This Is Us playbook because it’s too formulaic.
I didn’t feel entertained or moved after watching this; I just felt depressed, drained, manipulated, and, frankly, triggered.
Christine: I get that this can be considered a realistic storyline. People die of cancer every day, but it’s horrible to watch, and I don’t find it entertaining.
Although I’ll admit they’re doing it well, I didn’t think the final few episodes wouldn’t be this emotionally exhausting.
I know the show began with suicide, cancer, and depression, but I had hoped it would end in a much more uplifting place.
Do you feel Gary and Maggie’s wedding was worthy of their story, or did fans get short-changed?
Jack: The whole Gary dying arc seems rushed. There were so many time jumps in this episode that I wasn’t sure how long it had been between Gary deciding not to go to Mexico City and the hospice nurse visiting, never mind the wedding.
I felt like the wedding was especially rushed (as was the decision not to go to Mexico City.) I wish we’d had the friend group discussing the idea rather than Maggie springing the ring on Gary two minutes before the end of the episode and then having a very fast ceremony. Or, instead of it being this episode, devote part of the finale to it.
I was never a big fan of Gary/Maggie, and I thought it was super rushed, so I can’t imagine how cheated people who shipped this couple big time must feel!
Jasmine: I agree that everything about this went at warp speed, and that’s another thing that bugged me. We wasted so much time this season on nothingness and filler, and then they crammed and expedited all of this drama into this single episode or these last couple, and it sucks.
I felt the wedding was predictable and sad. I have long since lost interest in this pairing, but I hate that they’re getting married like this. I do feel like their shippers got short-changed. When you think about it, we got two weddings for Katherine out of this series since she and Eddie renewed their vows.
Their wedding was absolutely sweet, but since they were trying to go for our emotional jugular anyway, they could’ve just had Maggie and Gary get married and then him coughing up blood at his own wedding before giving his emotional speech thanking everyone.
Christine: I’m not even a huge fan of Gary and Maggie, and I felt short-changed. This couple didn’t even talk about getting married even though they had a child, but now Maggie found the ring, proposed, and got married all in one episode.
And we couldn’t even hear their vows or any speeches from their fans. This was a couple that hooked up in the series premiere. They deserved a better wedding.
Who will have the most difficulty dealing with Gary’s death?
Jack: I think everyone will work in their own way. Danny is taking it especially hard — he’s now losing his surrogate father on top of Jon’s death, and that’s why it took most of this episode for him to be able to see Gary like this at all.
Everyone has started grieving and coming to terms with Gary’s impending death, but you never know how it will hit you until it actually happens.
Jasmine: I think everyone. But aside from his wife, it’s going to be Danny.
Danny is losing another father figure in his life and in another truly awful way. Gary has shaped so much of Daniel’s life, and now he’s losing him, and it just seems like such a freaking gut-punch for this young queer man who has a history of depression and suicide in his family, like… never mind. I won’t go on a rant.
I also fear for Rome, too. I think he’s come a long way in his journey battling his depression, and he’ll be okay, but it is still one of those things that would just have you on edge and worried about him. Gary freaking knows it, too. His telling Rome to take care of himself gutted me.
Christine: Besides Maggie, who will be completely destroyed by this for quite some time but will hopefully get the most support from her friends, I’ll go with Rome.
Rome’s pattern is to suffer in silence until things get bad. I know he has Regina looking out for him, but losing his dad (who was oddly not even mentioned in this episode) and now Gary could send Rome into a tailspin.
Were you surprised that Delilah and Eddie were considering moving an hour and a half away from the rest of the friend group in Boston?
Jack: No, because with one episode to go, it felt like it would be fitting for them to move away as part of the ending of the series. I was more surprised that Delilah was the one to point out how far away Springfield was, while Eddie thought it was a good idea instead of the other way around.
Jasmine: Respectfully, I still don’t give a solitary damn about Delilah and Eddie. I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t care. But to echo Jack, it’s just strange that Eddie would be the one to want to move an hour and a half away from the group initially since he has more roots and reason to stay in Boston.
And what happened to the money Delilah got from the house? I don’t know, whatever. Glad they have a condo near Maggie.
Christine: This was just weird. First off, why wouldn’t Delilah have money? She just sold this huge house! Was there still that much debt on it, and if so, how could she afford to live in France?
Second, I found it out of character for Eddie to consider moving an hour and a half away from Theo. Is he so consumed by Delilah and Charlie that he’s now satisfied to see Theo every other weekend?
I’m thrilled they decided to be so close to Maggie; she’s going to need them, but that the idea came from Delilah just felt as though they were cramming Delilah’s redemption tour down our throats once again.
What are your thoughts on Greta and Katherine having a baby?
Jack: I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, they married recently. On the other, Katherine already has an almost-teenager, and I’m not sure she’s really thought about whether she wants to start over with a newborn now or what that would entail.
Jasmine: Yeah, I feel like they didn’t have a real plan or discussion. I never envisioned Katherine wanting more kids. It was already a lot that she abruptly changed her mind about marriage.
I also didn’t expect Greta to want kids, and this is something they could’ve spent the season exploring more. I also find, and I hope no one takes offense, the double whammy of a surprisingly traditional wedding AND kids overly heteronormative for their only queer couple.
But I liked that Katherine reassured Greta about having a bipolar child not being a fear of hers, even though I still think they missed too many opportunities to properly explore Greta’s mental illness, like, at all.
Christine: I like the idea, but again, it came out of nowhere and was shoved entirely into one episode. It feels like the writers gave us filler for over half the season and then threw all the good storylines into one installment.
Which storyline do you wish we had seen more of this season?
Jack: Not a story per se, but I’d have liked more Danny/Gary moments, especially with Gary fated to die.
I’d have liked Eddie’s confrontation with Delilah to have played out on-screen rather than jumping immediately to Charlie visiting Eddie and then Delilah returning.
Also, is Walter going to assisted living at the end of his story? We have one episode to go, and ever since he moved, we haven’t seen him at all. I also would have liked more of Rome’s teaching career — we had one or two cameo appearances by students, but that’s it.
Jasmine: I have too many to list. I agree that we needed more of Danny and Gary if Gary ended up dying by the end of the season. Most of Gary’s stuff was just wasted, given that he’d be gone by the series’ end.
I don’t ship Eddie and Delilah at all, BUT if they wanted to do this right, they needed to build it, which included bringing Delilah in sooner, having the confrontation between her and Eddie and Delilah actually taking more accountability, and having a redemption arc of any kind.
I wish they would’ve built up the thing with Gina running with council better, so it didn’t come out of nowhere. Or they could have given her a stronger arc to close the series, like becoming a social worker or something. It’s little things like that.
Christine: On top of what was said above, I’m going with Katherine and Greta! They rushed the wedding, never really explored Greta’s bipolar disorder, and now, out of nowhere, have them planning to have a baby. They had all season to build this story and failed to do it at every turn.
What, if anything, disappointed you about this installment?
Jack: As I mentioned above, the whole Gary thing was so rushed. I felt like we went from him learning his cancer had spread to hospice care in the blink of an eye.
I also thought we lost something by the decision not to go to Mexico City not being explored on screen. They all headed to the gate, then, all of a sudden, they were back and decided not to go. That was a HUGE decision that deserved some screen time.
Jasmine: The Gary thing was too rushed, and I’m disappointed we have this at all, as I’ve said before. I thought the flashforwards made it difficult to figure out how much time had actually passed. It was too heavy and depressing and happening too fast, which made it difficult all around.
Christine: That Gary is dying! How do you go from coughing up blood for the first time at the end of one episode to being in hospice care the next? As much as I hate it, this storyline should have taken at least half the final season, not one installment!
What was your favorite quote, scene, or storyline from “Tough Stuff”?
Jack: I liked that Gary managed to keep his sense of humor despite knowing he was dying and feeling ill and tired most of the time. I liked him and Danny bonding for what is likely the last time.
And I liked Katherine’s comments about having to babyproof their house for Charley and laughing about what a terror she is.
Jasmine: James Roday Rodriguez acted his ass off, and he’s been such a tour-de-force performer throughout this entire series. I enjoyed his performance.
This series was never one to get on the radar for awards; sadly, most network broadcast series fall under the radar in that regard, but if it was, James Roday Rodriguez would be one of the actors on this series who’d walk away with a fistful of awards.
The man deserves all of his flowers for what he’s brought to this role over the years, and I look forward to whatever he takes on next.
Christine: As much as it was another rushed scene, I did love the song they played at the airport. It really helped convey Maggie’s emotional state when she realized that Gary needed to stay with his friends, even if it meant accepting he was going to die.
And I liked how Sophie was there to support her brother. She could have reacted with anger at Danny blowing off saying goodbye to Gary, but she didn’t. She understood they were both dealing with this in different ways and helped Danny work through it as much as she could. The Dixon kids have come a long way.
Now it’s your turn, TV Fanatics. Have you loved or hated the way the series is heading towards the end?
What are you hoping to see in the series finale?
Hit that SHOW COMMENTS BUTTON below to let us know.
Then check out Jasmine’s A Million Little Things Season 5 Episode 12 review and watch A Million Little things online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.