For a second consecutive year, the season finale of A Million Little Things ended with the question, Who hit Eddie? The incident, which left Eddie fighting for his life, was the big Season 2 finale cliffhanger. Tonight, Eddie received a call from a woman claiming to be the driver who hit him. And that was not the biggest Season 3 finale cliffhanger.
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Once again, AMLT left someone’s life hanging in the balance; this time, it was music teacher/sexual abuser Peter Benoit. He was attacked at his doorstep by Gary, who put a bag over his head and dragged him inside. In an interview with Deadline, series creator/executive producer DJ Nash discussed both shockers as well as the slew of other developments in tonight’s packed finale. Before we get to that, here is a brief rundown on some of the Season 3 finale highlights.
Gary’s assault on Peter was a culmination of the Sophie storyline, in which she decided to go to the police and file a report so Peter could not harm other girls. Holding the diary of another student of Peter’s, Layla, who had killed herself, Sophie was interviewed by the police, but the detective did not think there was enough evidence to charge Peter, and indicated that a text exchange between Sophie and Peter after the alleged assault might have undermined her case. Gary, who felt responsible as Sophie’s guardian at the time, did not take this well and kicked a trash can in the hallway of the police station.
Already reeling emotionally, Gary was further jolted when Darcy shut down his suggestion that they may start a family by telling him she did not want more kids after he’d agreed to follow her to Lenox where she was moving so her son can be close to his father. Gary then got into a heated conversation with Delilah, who blamed him for not protecting Sophie. That was after Delilah’s older children found out that she was planning to move the entire family to France, something the teens strongly opposed.
The next time we saw Gary he was at his father’s, creating an alibi, leaving his phone and saying goodbye before he headed to Peter’s house. Thus, he did not get Darcy’s voicemail, in which she told him she had changed her mind about kids, praising Gary, who has been the MVP of the group of friends this season, helping everyone, from raising Delilah’s older children while she was in France to taking in Eddie and chaperoning his visits with Theo.
As Gary went all vigilante on Peter, Sophie went after her abuser by telling her story — and revealing his name — on Maggie’s podcast.
In other developments, Eddie and Katherine, who spent most of the episode arguing over custody, came to a workable solution at the end, just before Eddie got the surprise call from the woman confessing to being behind the wheel of the red SUV.
Regina closed the restaurant but not before feeding a young father who had lost his wife to Covid. Rome and their foster son Tyrell continued work on their documentary about systemic racism. It led to Tyrell reconnecting with his mother’s former partner who now has the job Tyrell’s mother was vying for before she got deported. Convinced that the ex-partner had turned her in, Tyrell confronted the guy, with Rome intervening to deescalate the situation. It turned out that Tyrell’s mom took her partner’s car to drive to a FedEx office to mail her son’s summer program application when she was pulled over by cops.
Here is the interview with Nash, in which he also discusses the main theme next season and what is next for all characters (Rome’s documentary will be a smashing success!), reveals that he had considered having a major character die of Covid, teases the return of AMLT favorites and shares his plans for ending the series.
DEADLINE: Let’s start with the second biggest question at the end of this finale. It’s a case of déjà vu because at the end of last year’s finale, we have exactly the same question, who hit Eddie? What can you say about bringing back the mystery?
NASH: We were talking about bringing it back a few episodes before. The reason we didn’t is because it obviously would make a great cliffhanger, but we wanted to, this season, examine Alex’s dad, the reverend, and all those stories. But just when we got you to forget about who did this, the question resurfaces again, and I think that’s true to Eddie’s journey. Just when he is accepting this is my life, and this is what I’m going to do, and I actually am going to find strength in who I am now, it’s upended by that call coming in, and what we will watch next season is everything about Eddie tested by this call, his sobriety, his ability to be the person he wants to be right now.
You sometimes have a settled moment and you’re able to move on, and then something else happens that challenges it, and I think we see that in the finale with Sophie. She is more at peace with what has happened to her than at any point since it happened. She is going to Maggie. She is going from victim to survivor and retelling her story, but as that’s happening, obviously, Gary’s doing something over at Peter’s that’s going to challenge and threaten all that.
DEADLINE: We’ll go through all of those one by one but let’s finish with Eddie’s call. What can you say about the identity of the woman? Have we seen, heard her? I assume we haven’t because some fans would recognized the voice.
NASH: That’s right, yes, and we definitely treated that voice in post. So, yes, it does not appear to be someone we’ve seen. I don’t think that it’s Alex’s sister. It does not appear to be Eddie’s sister, Lindsay, and some of the fan-favorites of who could’ve hit Eddie seem to be off the table. It’s another person, and it sounds also like she has remorse. So, either it was an accident, or it’s something that she did that she regrets doing. It definitely feels as though she feels horrible that this has happened.
DEADLINE: So, you cannot say whether this was an accident or intentional? Why is she contacting Eddie now?
NASH: Yeah, I think I want the fans to experience it the way that the episode leaves it, which, it definitely, definitely feels like this is a person who has great regret for what happened and is probably reaching out, out of guilt. I think guilt is a huge theme that we’ve started to uncover this season. Obviously, it’s leading a couple people to make some not-so-great decisions in our finale, and it’s something that we’ll see our friend group struggle with. There’s healthy guilt and unhealthy guilt, and I think it’s important to draw the distinction between them.
DEADLINE: A tangential question. Why didn’t the police investigate and get to the bottom of that hit? They have access to street cameras. It seems like this this should’ve been resolved by now.
NASH: They did. If you remember, there was an episode where the detective calls and says that they saw a camera that was on a gas station nearby, and it wasn’t a pickup truck, it was an SUV. So, there is an investigation. I think a lot of these investigations… I know, in our own life, there was an accident that happened in our family this year, and I called to say, hey, can we see the street camera to see if we can identify exactly what happened, and we weren’t able to get that.
DEADLINE: I remember that, that’s how we ruled out Reverend Stewart as a suspect. So, can we rule out a connection to Alex backstory now? Can we assume that this is part of a brand-new mystery that is not related to Alex’s death anymore?
NASH: I don’t know that we can rule out, but I’m happy to rule that out for you, right now, yes. This has nothing to do with Alex and the boathouse, and that story and that chapter is behind us.
DEADLINE: One last question about Eddie. I know we discussed this before and said that because of the strength of David Giuntoli’s performance, you wanted to explore more of Eddie in the wheelchair, but is there a possibility that he might begin to recover and start walking next season?
NASH: Yeah. I really am so impressed at the way in which David Giuntoli is approaching this storyline, and his work this season as someone who is in a wheelchair, he’s playing him with just authenticity and true grit from the moment we wanted to tell this story. There’s two writers in the room who have parents who are physically challenged, and as you know, I’m one of them, seeing my dad go to law school blind; he went to law school when I was a kid, and he was 45. I think he wasn’t a dad that you might think someone would be, but he was probably always better, and I think we were really excited to see that strength and to see Theo experience his dad’s true grit.
DEADLINE: You didn’t answer the question. Is there any chance for him to walk next season?
NASH: I think there is as much a chance of him getting out of the chair as there really is for someone who’s in a chair to get out of the chair, which is, it’s really highly unlikely, and in telling that story, I think while that might be an interesting story turn for TV but I want to be really respectful of the community that we’re representing, and I think the likelihood that someone walks again and puts the chapter of a wheelchair behind them after the accident Eddie’s been through is really unlikely, and our show is all about authenticity. So, I can’t say with 100 percent certainly we would never have him have movement and feelings and maybe walk a few steps, but for right now, for this next season, he’s in that wheelchair.
DEADLINE: Okay. Now, to the bigger cliffhanger involving Gary. What exactly is planning to do with Peter and why is he doing it? Clearly, Gary is not going for a quick death.
NASH: Well, I think the why goes back almost to Gary’s childhood. His mom left, he felt this loss of family, and he has, so many times in his life, tried to re-create that. I think it’s one of the reasons went to 41 hockey games a year with a guy he met in an elevator, because he’s just that desperate to have a family, which is probably why he proposed to Maggie earlier than he would have. It’s why he is moving so quickly with Darcy, prepared to move to Lenox and wants to have a family with her. You look at Gary, and he’s like the greatest friend you could ever have, and I think the reason he is so giving is because he’s treating his friends like family because he doesn’t have that family that he once had. When he was taking care of Sophie, he feels like if he hadn’t circled back to talk to Peter, if he hadn’t convinced Peter to give Sophie another chance, she would’ve been out of his world, and because Gary circled back, he gave Peter a lot of the tools to groom her, and I think he carries tremendous guilt of it.
It’s one of the examples of unhealthy guilt that we’re going to follow into next season, and that, combined with Delilah saying she’s moving to France, Darcy, at least leaving him earlier in the episode as though she doesn’t want to have kids with him, he had nothing to lose. I think the anger he’s feeling, the guilt that is overtaking him, and then the nothing to lose attitude is the perfect storm for whatever it is he’s doing over at Peter’s.
In answer to your question of what is he doing at Peter’s, whatever he’s doing is premeditated. He went over to his dad’s and came up with an alibi, and he puts a bag over Peter’s head. It is Gary. It is Peter. That is a bag. He pulls him inside and closes the door. So, that is a mystery, and certainly the question that we’re following next season is what happened over there.
DEADLINE: Will the question be answered in the Season 4 premiere? Will you pick up where you left off in the finale, or will that be something that will be revealed slowly?
NASH: What we’re watching in the first half of next season is how did Gary go from kicking a trash can at a police station to putting a bag over someone’s head. We’ll uncover all of that, and it happens quickly. It’s not at a frustratingly slow pace. We will get to it, and we will learn exactly, is Peter alive or dead? We’ll learn that right in 4-01 and what the fallout is of all of that. It happens right away.
DEADLINE: Moving onto Sophie. For her, doing the podcast feels liberating, but would there be any consequences for her naming her abuser? Peter, he obviously has bigger problems right now with Gary, but will there be anything more to this plotline for Sophie or has she gotten closure by sharing her story?
NASH: It’s a great question. I’m trying to be sensitive with every topic we do, but especially with this one, because it’s loosely based on something that happened to one of the writers in our room, it’s loosely based on something that’s happened to our community and to our world. I think since the #MeToo movement has been here, we’re seeing that there’s different stages that a survivor goes through, but moving from victim to survivor, one, is just acknowledging to someone that something happened.
The other would be acknowledging publicly that something happened, and then this huge step of saying and this is the person who did it. We’ve seen with some high-profile people the ramifications of saying that. It appears that Maggie was not aware that Sophie was going to single out Peter by name in the podcast, and she does, and what does that mean? What is the positive, and what are the potential negative consequences for Sophie of saying that? And all of that sort of power, strength, liberation that Sophie is having in reclaiming her story and reclaiming the power of her life, moving from victim to survivor, that is all potentially undermined by what Gary does over at Peter’s.
DEADLINE: What about Regina, Rome and Tyrell? By the way, another tangent. I have high school kids who are applying to a lot of summer programs, and all applications are done online, not via FedEx. Aside from that, will Tyrell be able to reunite with his birth mother or could he get adopted by Regina and Rome?
NASH: That’s really funny, Nellie, because when I was watching Star Wars with my wife, and she was like, you know, guns don’t make noise in outer space, and I was like, other than that, this is a perfect story, but that’s hilarious. So, I’m sorry, I was all fixated on that. I didn’t hear your question.
DEADLINE: It’s about whether the boy will be able to reunite with his mother. And you mentioned guilt, that clearly will affect Tyrell and the dynamic in his new family.
Nash: Yeah, 100 percent guilt is a big part of our series. He is feeling the guilt, and he now has confirmation that he caused his mother’s deportation. We worked very closely with Define American and with FedEx in bringing this story. I don’t think Regina and Roma will adopt Tyrell because he does have a mother, and she is alive and well. They wouldn’t want to offend her. He has a mom whom he can’t be near because of something he did, and how he processes that guilt, how they help the son that they’re fostering work through that. We saw him immediately want to run out and confront Kyle, and Rome trying to contain that, only to then have to chase after him. So, we’re dealing with someone who might let their feelings and emotions get the best of them, and so, how does Rome be there for his foster son and prevent him from making a mistake the way Rome’s other friend, Gary, did.
DEADLINE: Tyrell reuniting with mom this coming season, possible?
NASH: It’s certainly possible. I want the fans to see how the story plays out, but we did cast that mom, and she’s a fantastic actress, and we’re certainly hoping to see her again.
DEADLINE: Regina, she had a difficult, emotional arc this season, and now she lost the restaurant. Will she be able to revive her dream or owning a restaurant or is that part of her career over?
NASH: We really wanted to make sure, this season, that we tell the story of losing at least one person to Covid because, obviously, so many people were lost. There was a time in this writer’s room where we talked about potentially losing a recurring character or maybe even a series regular to Covid, and I think we felt like, honestly, we love these characters, we don’t want to lose them. That was really a big factor, and also, I think that we wanted to be authentic to the loss that people faced but at the same time not bring too much sadness and pain to that. The story was really deliberate. We wanted, as Regina is losing her dream and her restaurant, to put it in perspective, and earlier in the episode, Rome says ‘How are you doing?’, and she says ‘Compared to what?’
What we gave her for a story throughout the episode was a comparison, to have her realize that she’s doing better than she thought she was doing. Yeah, she lost her restaurant. Yeah, she lost her dream, and I think it’s really easy for us all, right now — I could say I haven’t been able to get to the stage this year, I haven’t been able to go out with friends, but compared to other people, we’re really fortunate. So, we wanted to have Regina have that moment where things are put into perspective At the same time, we also wanted to look at where we were at the end of last season compared to where we are this season. At the end of last season, Eve changes her mind, and Regina is denied the family she wants, whereas at the end of this season, despite losing her restaurant, she’s able to get through that because she is surrounded by her family, and Tyrell comes in and delivers this beautiful speech, and I think that is really the message of our series,. When you surround yourself with the right people, you can get through anything.
DEADLINE: Onto Delilah. Will there be an AMLT spinoff, Delilah in Paris, like Emily in Paris, or is her move doomed, or is she going but only with Charlie?
NASH: That’s what we’re watching. It really appears as though what this woman needs is a fresh start. It really feels like she was suffocating and didn’t even realize how much her level of pain was until she got to France and had a chance to step back and appreciate that. I think in Episode 3, as she’s leaving, buys a suitcase and was talking about how she hasn’t taken a trip without Jon. I think we were setting the table for her discovery in France, and we really wanted to tell that story.
Delilah has done many things in the series that make the fans question her, how good a mom she is, how good a person she is, and we wanted to make sure that we were telling her side of the story. So, that fight that she has with Gary really is that opportunity for us to hear that she went to France, it was supposed to be just for three weeks, and she was going to give her dad, who had memory loss, the last trip of his life, and then he fell, and yes, she was not there for some huge moments for her children, but that’s not out of choice. It’s because the pandemic happened, and so, we just wanted to humanize and continue that theme that I love, which is just when you think you know someone, you don’t.
DEADLINE: You didn’t say anything about her move to France? Is that happening, for her with/without her older children?
NASH: We really want the fans to see how that happens, but what I love about our series is just when people think, oh, it must be a card flip, maybe it’s not.
DEADLINE: Eddie and Katherine, they looked like they were starting to find a way to co-parent. How will their relationship evolve next season with that jolt Eddie got with the call? You hinted that he may relapse as a result.
NASH: I’m happy to say, because I think the finale, the story really depicts this beautifully, that they are not able to be there for each other the way the other person needs them to be, but they are determined to be there for Theo, and they are determined to not let the fact that they are divorced keep them from being the parents they want to be. So, we’re going to watch them have to navigate these very new waters for them, mostly separately, sometimes together, just trying to be everything to Theo that he deserves.
DEADLINE: Looking ahead to Season 4, you mention guilt as a theme, you mentioned the new mystery of the female caller. What else do you have in store? Do you have any other major themes and mysteries that you’re planning?
NASH: Well, certainly, we have what happened behind that door. We’re also following whether or not this family moves to France and if some of them do and some of them don’t and what’s the fallout of how that affects this family. We have the mystery of how did what happened to Peter affect what happens with Gary and Darcy, moving forward. We left the season with Maggie also aware that Gary wasn’t where he was supposed to be, and so, we’ll see how her awareness might affect the story.
We’re also seeing Maggie, who’s found her voice in this podcast, gain some notoriety, and that story is a story we’re tracking next season that has some very funny and fun actors, who are fans of our show, joining our series that we’re excited about, and then, finally, for Rome, his documentary is picking up, and we’ll see him have incredible success. We’re telling that story, and for Regina, her figuring out what the next chapter of her life is going to be and her relying on her friends, who have had to face similar questions, for support and love as she finds that next chapter. That will involve a return of some people who have been in our series before that we have been excited to come back.
DEADLINE: Covid limited your guest actor choices this season. Can you tease any favorites that are coming back? Jason Ritter? You also mentioned new guest stars. Would they be playing themselves as guests on Maggie’s podcasts or will they play characters?
NASH: Well, certainly, Covid has restricted us, and that’s we’re excited about some of the mystery of what happened and where we left things at the end of this season. That’ll get us through, hopefully, the quarantine part of Vancouver, which hopefully will lift before Thanksgiving, at which point, we will be bringing even more guest stars in. We have found, in the last couple seasons, that there are some more high-profile actors who are fans of our show, and I’ve had a conversation with a few of them about coming in and doing parts, and it’s incredible. In fact, there are people who I’m a fan of, and I’m like, you watch our show? That’s awesome.
So, we will see a couple of those people. I can’t say yet who they are, because those deals aren’t closed. In terms of the other part of who, who’s been in our show, who’s coming back, yes, there’s quite a few people who we want to have back. Again, it’s just a question of when we get to that point of the season, are they on other series that allow them to come hang out with us, but we put a pin in some pretty big stories going into season three because of Covid, and those are stories that could wait to be told, and hopefully, now, we can unpin them and bring them back, because we’re doing 20 episodes this year. It’s the biggest season we’ve ever had, and we want each episode to be special.
DEADLINE: Delilah had a love interest at the end of Season 2, played by Parker Young. He disappeared.
NASH: She did, Miles. Parker is on a series (United States of Al), so, that might be difficult to bring back. And maybe…she’s in France. Maybe she meets a guy or a woman in France.
DEADLINE: What about Ron Livingston? We heard him in the finale but will we be able to see him next season?
NASH: I would love to see him in this season. He and I talked about him possibly being in that finale, and for the amount of screen time I would’ve had him and for the amount that I would’ve had to have him quarantine. He’s got kids, and it didn’t feel like I could justify asking him to do that. He was awesome and willing, and I said to him, let’s wait for a future episode. So, I’d love to see him back. With where I want to go with our series, I know, for sure, he’s in it again.
DEADLINE: You have a very serialized show, and you’re going into now Season 4. Are you already mapping out a final arc? Do you know when/how the show is ending?
NASH: I knew what the last season of the show was when I pitched the pilot. So, that’s already mapped out. Every year, when we get together with the new writers, it’s the second or third day, the first thing I do is tell them is how the series ends. So, they’re all aware of that. They know what we’re building towards. What season that will happen in is a conversation that as soon as we get up and running, this season, I want to have with our partners at the studio and the network, just to find what we think is the best length of time to tell this story.
DEADLINE: So, you have the ending ready but you won’t know until the summer whether you should proceed with the idea or shelve it for next season?
NASH: I basically have about the six-episode last segment of our show, and that can fit at the end of any season. With us getting a 20-episode order, it doesn’t feel like that ABC wants this to be our last season. I think there are three things that are balanced, how our fans are and whether we still continue to get the numbers and the Live+ numbers that we get. I think the second factor is just the actors and their desire to keep telling these stories, but the biggest thing is me and the writers and us feeling like do we still have fresh situations that we want to put our characters in. At my heart, in my roots, I am a stand-up comic, and rule number one is leave the audience wanting more.
DEADLINE: How do you feel, do you have more stories? Can you do multiple more seasons?
NASH: There’s no question we have enough to do 20 incredible episodes this season.
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