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Gary has two major wins in this week’s A Million Little Things — but, for now at least, he’s only aware of one of them.
Good Thing No. 1: Gary has been cancer-free for an entire year. Woo!
Good Thing No. 2: Maggie changes her mind and starts to undergo chemotherapy, the way Gary’s been badgering her to for the past several episodes.
Now that I think of it, the hour is a series of wins for just about everyone in Jon’s tightly knit group of friends. Eddie makes a decision about his music career. Katherine gets a professional outcome she desired. Heck, Delilah even gets hit on by a former Man in Trees. Everybody wins!
Read on for the highlights of “Perspective.”
JON: CHEMO CHEERLEADER | The morning after his hookup with Ashley, Gary gives himself a breast self-exam in her bathroom: It’s a year since he went into remission, he tells her once he comes out, but she already knows: “Who do you think set Jon’s calendar?” Turns out, Jon attended every one of Gary’s chemotherapy appointments; throughout the episode, we see a bunch of them.
Basically, Jon did everything he could to distract Gary from the terror that accompanies such an insidious disease. This included putting up a painting of the Charles River so that Gary wouldn’t have to look at a blank wall during treatment, and learning all the words to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” which Jon raps along with a jolly nurse. Whenever things get dark, as they do when an impromptu dance party abruptly ends when Gary starts puking, Jon reminds his friend that “You’re going to beat this” and “Just watch: You’re gonna outlive me.”
GAME-TIME DECISIONS | Rome and Eddie are hanging out when Gary returns home. He’s no longer mad about everyone supporting Maggie’s choice to forego cancer treatment — chalk it up to extended afterglow. “You had sex with Ashley?” Eddie says, astonished, noting that Jon said that his assistant was off limits. “You had sex with his wife,” Gary shoots back, which, fair.
Gary doesn’t want to talk about Maggie, despite his friends’ attempts to bring her into the conversation, but he does want to make plans for the Bruins game that evening. Eddie and Rome both bail, saying they’ve got other plans, and that incenses Gary. “One good thing about Jon not being alive is that he doesn’t have to see this,” Gary spits.
HOWDY, PARTNER? | Over at Katherine’s, the working mom is having trouble finding someone to watch Theo while she does some important, lawer-ly thing at work — and she doesn’t want to ask Eddie. So when he stops by the house later that day, he finds Hunter and his son hanging out with Theo. And if Eddie feels threatened, he probably should: Hunter makes a mean TIE fighter-shaped grilled cheese, which is pretty cool.
When Ed confronts his soon-to-be-ex about her choice of babysitter, she points out that Hunter is only there until her mom can show up. And when he notes that they need to work on their communication, she agrees: After all, she found out about Delilah’s baby from Regina, not him. You can see Eddie freak internally for a moment before Katherine says that she knows it’s Jon’s baby. (Phew.)
The thing Katherine is worried about at work, by the way, is her chance at making partner at the firm. And the promotion looks like it’s going to happen… until she says that she needs two hours each night to be home for dinner with Theo. She promises to work late into the evening to make up the time, but the partners’ committee says they need “someone who is fully committed to the job” and gives her the evening to think it over. After she gets off the phone, Hunter can’t figure out why she’s smiling so much if she didn’t get the coveted position. “Because I just got my life back,” she says. Later, Katherine removes her wedding ring and puts it in her jewelry box.
ON THE ROAD | Meanwhile, Delilah chauffeurs Maggie — who apparently recovered just fine from the fall she took at the end of last week’s episode — to western Massachusetts to speak to a college class about complicated bereavement. On the way, they stop to get gas, and a handsome stranger (played by Big Little Lies‘ James Tupper) hits on Delilah until he notices that she’s still wearing her wedding ring.
Once the women are at the school, Maggie realizes her dry talk is boring the students. So she steps out from behind the podium and tells the entire room about Chad and the relief she felt when she found out he’d died. “And that relief just makes me feel worse,” she explains, making herself the poster child for complicated bereavement. She later adds that there are a lot of feelings she hasn’t processed “because I am too ashamed to admit that I have them.”
In the car on the way home, Delilah tells her friend that Jon suddenly got distant two years before his death, and she has no clue why. “Everybody thinks that I cheated on Jon, but he left me,” she says. “And then he left me again seven weeks ago.”
PARTY FOUL (MOOD) | Gary, mad that his friends have abandoned him, takes Ashley to a bar and buys a round of tequila shots for everyone. With horror, he wonders if Jon’s comment about Gary outliving him meant that Jon was trying to tell him about his suicide plans — even that long ago. Ashley says she asks herself the same thing every day: “Was there a side to Jon that we didn’t know?” Then she asks him about Barbara Morgan (you’ll remember her as the strange name on the insurance policy), but Gary says he’s never heard of her.
Eventually, Gary sees the Bruins ring on Ashley’s keys — though that’s really Jon’s, right? — and asks her if she wants to go to the game with him. She says yes… but then fields a secret call and pulls a fast one so they end up back at his place instead of at the arena. Once they enter the apartment, all of his friends are there for a surprise party to celebrate his year of being cancer-free.
Maggie is there, too, and Gary hugs her. But — talk about complicated bereavement — Gary’s got a lot of feelings about everything that’s going on, and they all spill out as he makes a speech to his assembled pals.
“This is all so sweet, but I am so angry at the person who is not here. I am so angry at Jon!” he yells, eventually yanking Jon’s Charles River painting off the wall and breaking the frame over his knee. “You convince me to live, and then you left me!” Eddie says, starting to cry. “We made plans and I thought they were the same plans, and apparently they were not.” He completely falls apart as Eddie moves in to hug him; Rome stands nearby with a hand on his sobbing friend’s shoulder.
THE DESIRED OUTCOME | By the end of the hour, Eddie has decided to take his old bandmate up on his offer to return to Red Ferns and tour as The Lumineers’ opening act. Delilah has chosen to keep wearing her wedding ring. Rome has come clean to his dad about his depression. And Maggie has texted Gary, “Hey,” a brief missive he ignores.
What Gary doesn’t know: Mags sent that from the same treatment center he attended. Yep, she’s started chemo after all.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!