There is one thing I got right in my recent recaps about the season finale of A Million Little Things, and it is that no one would die. The tease suggesting as much came from the show’s creator, DJ Nash, who said the show would “say goodbye” to someone, and as predicted, Gary (and to some extent, Delilah) said goodbye to Jon (or his gravestone), who killed himself in the season premiere.
As for the biggest mystery of the season? Why did Jon take his own life? It was 9/11, all along.
I’ve become a big fan of A Million Little Things over the course of the season, as the well-written and likable cast has grown on me as we’ve gotten to know them (except you, Eddie. You can still go screw). I did not, however, like the pilot, and my biggest complaint with it — as I wrote then — is that the show seemed to want to find the answer for why Jon killed himself, and when it comes to suicide, there is hardly ever one thing. The season finale, at the very least, put that concern to rest, after Maggie — the show’s therapist — explained to Gary (and Delilah) that “there is no one answer” to why a person commits suicide. “There’s no one reason why he did what he did.”
That is the correct answer, and I thank the show for offering it.
There were, however, several reasons why Jon decided to take his life, as revealed in bits over the course of the season. His marriage had fallen apart. He was facing financial ruin. He was unhappy. But this episode answered the question of what was the backdrop to all of that: For 17 years, Jon has been suffering from survivor’s guilt. He and his best friend Dave were meant to fly from Boston to Los Angeles on September 11th, 2001, but Jon narrowly missed the flight. He watched his best friend Dave fly away from the window of the airport terminal.
As for Barbara Morgan’s identity? She wasn’t Jon’s first wife. She and Jon did not have a love child. She was Dave’s best friend, pregnant with Dave’s baby. And when Barbara moved on and married someone else a few months after 9/11, before Jon had properly processed his grief, Jon resented Barbara. But at the same time — in fact, in the airport on the same day that Jon found out that Barbara was engaged — Jon found Delilah.
The final twist, and the reason that Jon left a quarter of his life insurance to Barbara Morgan? To care for Dave’s child, Patrick (Chandler Riggs), who it turns out is that kid in last week’s episode who read Rome’s script (and has since become friendly with Rome). So, why the big secret? Because Barbara didn’t want Patrick to know the truth about his real father — or, rather, she didn’t want Patrick to know that her husband, Mitch, wasn’t Patrick’s real father.
Jon was a good guy all along. Jon didn’t have a shady past. All of his motivations were well-intentioned. He was just depressed and suffering from survivor’s guilt, and that was compounded by the fact that he lost his shirt on a real-estate deal that was designed to save the old apartment he used to share with Dave and Barbara. It was more than one thing.
Was it a little pat? Yeah, sure. Was it tied up a little too neatly? Maybe. Was it effective? Definitely.
But there’s more! Maggie, declared cancer-free, moves in with Gary, which means Eddie has to move out. As expected, he and Katherine also make up and decide — instead of telling Theo that they’re getting a divorce — to give their relationship another go. However, dumb Eddie has to ruin everything at the end of the episode by telling Katherine the truth, that Delilah is pregnant with his child (the episode ends before we see Katherine’s reaction, but it’s not going to be a good one. On the other hand, they’re making this scenario work on Splitting Up Together). Also, Rome decides that he wants a baby, too, but — as Delilah is going back to the delivery room to deliver her baby — Regina tells Rome that she doesn’t want children, which may present some relationship problems next season.
Speaking of next season, Barbara, Mitch, and Patrick are all expected to return, because their storyline — Patrick not knowing that Mitch is not his real father — is expected to mirror the choice Delilah has to make about telling her baby that Eddie is her father and not Jon. I also hope that Mitch dies in the second season premiere and that’s the season-long mystery, because the guy who plays him — Billy Walsh from Entourage — has never not played a scumbag. I don’t know why Patrick hasn’t already picked up on the fact that he’s not his real father — dude has a wicked step-father vibe about him.
And that’s it. That’s season one of A Million Little Things. It was a rocky start, but the show found its way, and turned into a very respectable family drama with a great set of characters. I’ll be back for season 2.
Header Image Source: ABC