[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of A Million Little Things. Read at your own risk!]
The last season of A Million Little Things ended with potentially the most jaw-dropping cliffhanger yet, with Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) going to Peter's (Andrew Leeds) house and putting a bag over Peter's head with the intention of avenging Sophie (Lizzy Greene) after Peter sexually assaulted her. The Season 4 premiere picks up shortly after the events at Peter's house, and we discover over the course of the episode that Gary teamed up with Layla's dad to assault Peter, leaving the music teacher in a coma. Before Gary can feel vindicated in his actions, he discovers that Darcy (Floriana Lima) changed her mind and does want to start a family with him and that Sophie had named Peter as her assaulter on Maggie's (Allison Miller) podcast in hopes of turning the public against him. That becomes increasingly harder to do when he's lying unconscious in a hospital bed.
Of course, Gary isn't the only one dealing with drama. Eddie (David Giuntoli) is now obsessed with finding the woman who hit him with her car and left him for dead at the end of Season 2. The obsession comes after the woman called him out of the blue and when he's supposed to be focused on staying sober and committing to co-parenting Theo (Tristan Byon) with Katherine (Grace Park). If Eddie can't get the answer he needs from the mystery woman, it could put his sobriety -- and his relationship with Theo -- at risk.
And Eddie will have one less person to confide in or keep him on the right track because Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) decided to move to France to be closer to her sick father and also raise baby Charlie without the cloud of Jon's (Ron Livingston) death hanging over her. The premiere served as a goodbye episode for Delilah, at least for now, but executive producer DJ Nash promises she will return later this season and helps us unpack the rest of the drama in the Season 4 premiere.
We find out at the end of the episode that Gary may not be directly responsible for whatever has happened to Peter, but he was there and a participant. What can you tell us about how that is going to unfold, and when will we find out the full picture of what happened to Peter that night?
DJ Nash: It happens very soon. You find out very soon. Elizabeth Laime, one of our incredible writers, had a very moving story of her own assault [that we used] last season. She so beautifully shepherded that story, not only in bringing the heart and humanity to it but also in being aware that there are other survivors in the room and just being an ally. I knew because of the pandemic that we might be shut down at any point, so I was trying to think last season of what's the scene that we could shoot now that just in case we had to make any episode the finale, we could? I had this idea of "What if Gary puts [a bag] over Peter's head and closes the door?" That scene could be tacked on anything. I only needed one person to be okay with that and that was Elizabeth. We talked about it and she loved it. She was like, "I love it for a number of reasons. I love it because as a survivor, that sort of secret fantasy can happen. As a writer, I love it because the conflict it's going to bring Gary in this friend group." So we see that happening. We see the conflict. We will watch that fallout. Peter hurt people in many different ways, which is what Sophie says in the podcast. I think we are going to see how much Peter continues to hurt people in this group. Sophie was hoping for a certain validation to come from this podcast and if everyone is feeling bad for this beloved music teacher who's hurt, it's really hard to get that effect. I think Gary is realizing this thing that he did, that he thought he was doing for Sophie, may hurt her even more. That's not to mention the fact that if Darcy had called just an hour before, maybe it wouldn't have happened.
It's obvious that the guilt is already getting to Gary. Is he going to have a positive outlet for that or will he continue to self-destruct, as he is prone to do?
Nash: I think the FBI profile on Gary is not great right now. Between his mom leaving him and the guilt felt over not knowing about Jon['s depression], he's constantly trying to compensate. Let me save Maggie because I couldn't save Jon. I think Gary has this self-destructive need for justice and it's finally come to a head. The question is, is the friend group strong enough to save him?
Speaking of self-destructive people, Eddie has got a bit of an obsession. He wants to find this woman who hit him. What can you say about that journey and its potential to lead him down a path he's now sworn he will never go down again?
Nash: You got it exactly right. He made some big promises at the end of last season, including if he ever drinks or does drugs again, he loses Theo. He was so determined, and is so determined, to be the father he wants to be. With this physical challenge, he's going to potentially be an even more impressive father for Theo. So we have Eddie determined to make amends and do all the things he promised Katherine, himself, Theo, and this friend group. Just when he stopped thinking about who hit him, that person called. What we're going to see is, does that upset the apple cart? Does that cause him to do drugs? We will see him in episodes early on forced to choose between being the father he said he was going to be and getting the answers he so desperately needs.
I want to pivot to Regina, who is losing the restaurant and going through a bit of empty nest syndrome at the same time in the premiere. What does her journey look like this season?
Nash: I think that a lot of Regina's experience this season is sort of "compared to what?" As she tries to pick up the pieces again, she is also aware that she is more fortunate than others. There's a really fun episode early on where she goes and does something, and stumbles into the next chapter for her.
What is the theme of Season 4?
Nash: Forgiveness. It's interesting because you look at some simple things like hopefully Sophie forgiving Gary, or Darcy forgiving Gary, or really Gary forgiving himself, or Eddie forgiving the person who hit him. There's so much that goes into forgiveness and what you get back for being able to do that. There's so much hurt and anger that this friend group has been forced to endure. They find that forgiveness. In the [Season 3] finale, Gary and Delilah go at it big time and in the premiere, they circle back to the same space and forgive. The question is can that idea permit our friend group in the ways it really needs to for them to forgive Gary for what he's done.
I'm glad you brought up Delilah. It looks like we are saying goodbye to her again. What can you say about Stephanie Szostak in the rest of this season?
Nash: [Stephanie] came to me at the beginning of last season and said, "You know, I'm in Connecticut flying to do this show. I used to go home every other weekend for five days or four days. I can't do that because of [Canada]'s two-week quarantine."…I talked to her when she came back for the last two episodes last season and I said, "Hey, where are you for next year?" And she was like, "It's hard for me to be away." So I totally get that. I called the premiere "Family First" because I get it, I respect that. She wants to be in fewer episodes and the only way to really do that and have her still be a member of the friend group was to put her in France, because if she's in town and someone skins their knee and everyone goes to the hospital as they do, it would be hard to explain Delilah's absence. By putting her in France, she can come back and visit whenever it's good for the story creatively, and whenever Stephanie's schedule will allow. She will be back a bunch this season. We already have her in two episodes so far. I will definitely be building towards something at the end of the season with her and it's just a question of what her schedule allows. But if you ask me what I want to do, I want to have her in all episodes. If you asked me as a human, as a friend, and as a fellow parent what I am prepared to do, I will adjust for her.
A Million Little Things continues Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.