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Why, Eric? WHY?!
[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the winter premiere of A Million Little Things. Read at your own risk!]
You think you know someone because your mom tells you they have your dead brother's heart and they are really nice about helping you move when your boyfriend unceremoniously throws you out of his apartment in the midst of your post-cancer, quarter life crisis. It turns out, you can't trust anyone these days, even someone with Jason Ritter's face, because the winter premiere ofA Million Little Things revealed that Eric (Ritter), who has been Maggie's (Allison Miller) lifeline after her break-up with Gary (James Roday), is a big, fat, liar, liar pants on fire. After months of saying he was the recipient of Chad's heart (Maggie's dead younger brother) the final moments of the premiere revealed that Eric has no heart transplant scar and he's been lying since the moment we met him earlier in the season.
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Of course, because this is A Million Little Things, the drama didn't end there. Gary is on a rage-bender since his break-up with Maggie, and it already almost got him killed. Meanwhile, Sophie (Lizzy Greene) reached her breaking point in trying to swallow Eddie (David Giuntoli) and Delilah's (Stephanie Szostak) affair and moved out. She's staying with Rome (Romany Malco) and Gina (Christina Moses) until she can clear her head, which is going to give them a crash course in parenting before their first foster child arrives.
To be honest, the only person having a good time on A Million Little Things right now is Danny (Chance Hurstfield), who had the most adorable first kiss during his school production of Grease. Even he is going to experience some serious heartache in upcoming episodes though, according to showrunner DJ Nash. TV Guide caught up with Nash after a screening of the winter premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Los Angeles to ask him all of our burning questions after that rollercoaster episode.
Why are you trying to make us hate Jason Ritter, DJ? It's rude.
DJ Nash: It's the same reason I tried to make you hate Katherine, because I want to say that every person in the show is guilty and innocent. You don't know everything about [Eric] yet, and once you do, you may not forgive what he's done, but you may understand what he's done.
We now know that he doesn't have Chad's heart. Are we going to find out who does?
Nash: I've never loved shows that made you wait. We do not make you wait, so you will find out a lot very fast.
This is setting up a huge heartbreak for Maggie. Can you tell us what to expect when she inevitably finds out this guy has lied to her?
Nash: I think she's going to, pardon the pun, be heartbroken. I think she's going to realize that, like her mother, she made similar mistakes. That may allow her to have a compassion and understanding towards her mother, and may also make her reevaluate choices she's made in her life. Whether or not it's too late, we don't know...She needed closure, and we all need closure when someone dies. I'm still using this show to have closure about my friend [who committed suicide]. So, for Maggie, that trip to the psychic could have been her closure, but Gary made fun of it. I don't think she would have been seeking Eric, had it not been for the psychic and the possible connection, whether legitimate or not, being taken away from her. So I think she's, like us, just looking to heal. She's making some choices that maybe some people at the Alamo Drafthouse didn't agree with, which is awesome.
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Gary has a bit of a wake-up call in the episode. Will being held at gun point inspire him to do some self-reflecting?
Nash: That's the first step. I think a few chips have to fall and some are even worse than this. It was amazing because the people tonight watching thought he was going to get hit by a car. Then the gun came out and they thought he was going to get shot. I think, not only is that speak to like anything's possible on our show, but it really is more, it speaks to how anything is possible in life and how fragile life is. Gary is going to discover, or be reminded, how fragile life is again and in this case his life.
On a happier note, can we talk about Danny and his precious first kiss with Elliott? Why was that important to place in this episode?
Nash: In our writers room there's at least four members of the LGBTQ community. I have heard their stories of how hard it was to be 12 and gay, and to be 12 and questioning. For them to have the opportunity, and for me as an advocate to have the opportunity, to portray a kiss between two 12-year old boys on broadcast TV -- I don't know if that's happened so far -- that was amazing. It was really amazing, and it really does what I hope our show does, which is make people feel seen.
Will the boost of confidence this has given Danny last for long, especially with his home life in chaos?
Nash: It's going to be hard for him because [Danny]'s family is probably more supportive of him being gay than Elliot's family is. That's probably what led to Elliott being so reserved around Danny initially. So we're going to see just how hard that is to try to take a relationship that you absolutely know and are equal in, in private, and bring it into the public because it doesn't always work out.
How is Sophie going to challenge Rome and Gina's assertion that they want to be parents?Nash: I think it'll make them go, "What did we get into? What are we getting ourselves into?" It will also make them go, "Hey, we can do this." It will make them say, "This is harder than I thought. This is more rewarding than I thought." As Rome said in the SUV in the finale of last season, "I don't want to have a baby. I want to raise the person." As they're with this person, they will very quickly have to deal with a child who is rebellious that they're responsible for.
Delilah has been very gracious about the fallout of telling the kids about the affair. Will that start to fall apart now that Sophie has moved out?
Nash: I think she'll have rage and she'll say, "This is really s---ty." I also think that Delilah is someone who, as a result of what happened with Eddie and John, is taking responsibility for her actions in ways like she never had before. She won't look to pass the buck on this. She will own that she made this bed. Now, to see who's gonna lay in it with her.
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Is the co-parenting of baby Charlie with Eddie and Katherine continue to go smoothly?
Nash: We're doing an episode about [the one year anniversary of John's passing], which will have a profound effect in the group, because not only is it that John is gone and a reminder, but it also is a time for self-reflection to think about how much they've changed in the last year, who they're with and who they're no longer with, and who they wish they were with. And I also think that Delilah is trying to identify and figure out how she's going to handle these parenting challenges as a single mom, and as someone who's parenting with a man who's happily married.
What are you most excited for in the back half of the season?
Nash: We have some really special episodes planned... I'm really excited for you to see the Eric and Maggie story. I'm really excited for you to see Gary's downfall. I'm really excited for you to see Rome and Regina and this road to potential adoption and how that plays out, and who comes into their lives because of it. I'm really excited for you to see Delilah, who has Sophie leave the house as a little girl, and come back as a woman. I'm really excited to see Danny and Elliott, who now have kissed and see what can happen with their relationship. I'm excited for you to see Maggie and Gary admit their feelings to everyone but each other, and maybe have to decide if they're going to admit them to each other. I am particularly excited for you to see the last 90 seconds of the [Season 2] finale.
A Million Little Things airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.