Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Thursday, February 28, episode of A Million Little Things.
You thought The Masked Singer included the best kept secret in Hollywood? A Million Little Things just trumped it. The season 1 finale not only revealed Barbara Morgan (yes, it was Drea de Matteo all along), but also revealed one of the many reasons that Jon (Ron Livingston) took his own life – and it was a big one.
Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) sought out the real Barbara Morgan – she had been going by the name of “Emma” – and demanded answers, despite Barbara’s husband Mitch’s refusal. Eventually, Barbara told Mitch that she needed to share and that Delilah would be gone by the time their son Patrick got home. When Mitch left, Barbara came clean to Delilah: Barbara was not with Jon, but actually with Jon’s college roommate Dave before Delilah was in the picture.
Jon convinced Dave to go with him to a real estate conference. In flashbacks, it was revealed that Dave boarded the plane without Jon – he ran to get a bottle of wine – and he ended up missing the flight. The flight attendant Sophie (sound familiar?) wouldn’t let him on the plane since the door had already closed. The flight was American Airlines Flight 11, from Boston to Los Angeles. Ever since that day, September 11, 2001, he blamed himself for Dave’s death.
In March 2001, Jon and Barbara met up at the gate on Dave’s birthday. Barbara was pregnant – with Dave’s baby – and engaged to Mitch, a first responder. Mitch agreed to raise the son as his own – in fact, the kid still didn’t know his father had died. Jon felt she had moved on too fast and they got into a fight; he told her she was “pretending Dave never existed.” In Jon’s goodbye video to Barbara – that she was now showing Delilah – he said he’d never forgive himself for saying that.
He also told Barbara he did find something to live for, just like she told him to – that was the day he met Delilah. In fact, they met at the airport bar and she wrote her phone number on the back of the ticket from September 11 that he couldn’t throw out. He had kept the secret from Delilah, his family and his friends for his whole life – and in turn, tried to save everyone around him. That wasn’t the only big reveal of the episode, though. Barbara and Dave’s son came home at the end and watched Jon’s tape – and it was PJ (Chandler Riggs).
The episode also included news that Maggie (Allison Miller) was in remission (YAY!). Eddie (David Giuntoli) decided to try again at his marriage with Katherine (Grace Park) but at the end, told her had to be honest, seemingly about to tell her about the baby. Plus, Rome (Romany Malco) realized he wanted to have children. However, his wife still did not. At the end of the episode when Delilah went into labor, Regina (Christina Moses) made it clear: “I want to give you everything you want, I do. But I don’t want this.”
After the episode, creator DJ Nash answered all our burning questions – we had a lot.
Us Weekly: Wow. Just wow. Let’s talk about the 9/11 story line to start since no one saw that coming. Can you break down how you came up with that?
DJ Nash: So in the beginning, all of us in the room knew we needed a way to evoke Jon in the pilot? We had Rome play the video from the elevator, which worked but another idea was what if all the guys had missed their flight – flight 11. My producing partner at the time brought up that that would have been part of their story and kind of, overshadowed the whole thing. So, I sat on it. When the writers came together on the first day, I told them everything I knew. One question was: “What broke Jon?” I explained that with depression and suicide, there’s not one thing that breaks you but here is the event that I think changed him. They loved it. We dove into survivors guilt and how Jon had tried to save anything and everything. It was consistent to making sure Rome was there for the dance, it’s why Eddie stropped drinking, it’s why he got Gary through chemo. We had written the first episode, the last episode and then started building toward the middle.
Us: A Million Little Things takes on some very heavy topics. Logistically, how did you approach this one?
DN: I wanted it to be authentic and to be sensitive to the people watching who may have dealt with this in their life. So there’s a lot of stuff to prepare for that; we went to Logan and took pictures of Gate 32, we made sure it looked as close to as possible. We made a real conscious choice in the episode to not show footage of the plane hitting the towers on the TV monitors. We don’t see that, just the scroll on the bottom. You don’t hear it. It’s very subtle. The newspaper front cover, I made sure it was the actual newspaper from that day. When we saw the flight board, the correct flights that were announced around it. We just wanted to be very sensitive, like hopefully we have with the other topics in our show, to the family members who have lost someone. Obviously it’s a difficult episode to watch because it’s the day our country lost its innocence. It’s more difficult for the families of the loved ones who’ve lost people.
We also really needed to make sure people don’t think that the reason Jon killed himself is because of that flight; that’s not right. What’s different is about depression is suicide is that it’s not one reason, it’s bunch of stones, like Maggie said. That’s why we had her explain that. Even though creatively and TV-wise, we’re giving you an answer to the Jon question, that wasn’t the only answer.
Us: When did you tell the cast?
DN: All season long, I’ve told the cast, “You’re only gonna know what your characters would know the week of shooting. For this episode, I knew I wanted them all to experience it at the table read. So, the people who built the airport and got the props, they needed a lead time so I released a script to our crew with a cover letter and the cover letter said, “I want every single person to experience this script in due time. Please don’t share.” So I flew to Vancouver and we did a table read together, and they all read. It was just so moving. When James [Roday], did the scene at the cemetery at the table read, he did a cold read — he hadn’t read it before. He was moved and it was so beautiful, I was like “Just do that rolling.” And he did. I think it’s the best scene he’s done all season.
Us: In a previous episode, you said we’d be saying goodbye to somebody – what did you mean?
DN: So, I did that interview after 4×13 had aired. I said we are going to say goodbye to a character. I was always talking about Ashley (Christina Ocho), but I realized as soon as I said it, people would think it was Maggie and I would never lie to fans of the show. We went into our back order knowing, I want to tease people about Maggie. The tweet I get the most is “Please let people live.” I think where that comes from is people in their real lives who lose people to cancer, they wish they could rewrite that ending.
Us: I was relieved that Eddie decided to tell Kathryn. Can they move past that?
DN: Well he didn’t tell her at the end, but we assume it. That’s a fair assumption. We did actually shoot the second half of that scene. I realized, we’re here, they’re ready, let’s do it. I had already written it. It is great, the two of them are phenomenal together. As for what’s next, I mean, he’s almost home and information comes out that changes everything. Or does it? Does it change anything? Has he done a new violation? That happened months ago, and all he’s doing now is being honest in a way that he should have been months ago. I’m so excited to write that for season 2, because it’s an impossible situation.
Us: Rome and Regina also hit a big turning point. Could this ultimately tear them apart?
DN: So we planted that scene early on, when you think she found the baby hat but actually found the suicide note. This is very, very much based on my own marriage, including the fact that our conversation happened in a car in a car dealership. We got married saying “no kids” and we meant it; we were married for eight years without kids and then she was in the market for a car. We were debating between two cars and I said, “That’s the car you get you’re gonna have kids in the next few years,” and she said, “I think we should get it.” Now our story ended with us happily married almost 20 years, two kids. Thankfully for us, we both changed our mind but for Rome and Regina, right now, they’re in different places. We know something happened to her when she was younger so I’m sure that’s going to be a big part of season 2 and so you wonder, if Rome will change his mind? Or will she? Are they both going to or is this going to be the thing that separates them? I do believe that this story were setting up for season 2 is going to be moving the way the Maggie and Gary story was in season 1. In season 1 for Rome and Regina, depression was the thing they were dealing with. It was Rome’s issue; It wasn’t necessarily the thing between them but right now, they have an issue that’s absolutely between them.
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