What a heartfelt hour that took us back to that feeling that's so quintessentially A Million Little Things.
Show creator DJ Nash made his directorial debut with A Million Little Things Season 4 Episode 15, so it's no wonder that the hour felt the most like the series we've come to know and love than it has been in some time.
It struck all the right chords and reminded us that this group is not only a family but that there's room for it to be an ever-expanding one.
It only feels right that the hour centered on Gary, who has always felt like the epicenter of the series and the glue that keeps everything together for all intents and purposes.
When he's out of whack, the entire group falls by the wayside, and after years of witnessing how ardently he supports, fights for, and pours his heart into this group of friends-turned-family, it's satisfying to see some of that returned to him.
Gina: You know what I just realized? We have now been to the hospital for everyone in this friend group.
Maggie: Huh. That's true.
Rome: There is a green jello for whoever put it in the order.
We don't see that angle of things enough.
The hour's self-awareness contributed to the humor of it all. It's no secret that the series can lean heavily into the prime-time soapy drama, so it's a blast when the show can make fun of itself for that.
The current version of the core friendship group, Katherine, blessedly solidified her spot in a way that's been long-overdue and well-earned these days; sitting in that waiting room and cracking jokes about how often they find themselves in that hospital was genuinely funny.
It's not a single time over the years where they haven't had to drop everything and rush to the latest catastrophic event that left every single one of them in the hospital at some point or another.
Gary: We were just talking about maybe having a kid in a few years, and now here we are once again holding our breath when we just got back to being us. I just want to be us.
Maggie: We are us.
Gary: I just don't want to be us with cancer.
Even Eddie's casual joking about his accident feels right and belies the level of acceptance devoid of self-loathing and trauma porn that the series struggled with upon the introduction of his paralysis.
And while there's no doubt that all of them would come together, clinging to each other during times of need as they've been known to do, it's always a certainty that Gary would be the one to bring them there without issue.
It's the group scenes and moments that the series has always excelled at, and it's what makes this installment one of the more special in recent seasons because the series has noticeably gotten more insular with its storytelling, bouncing from one to the another, characters in their own bubbles and clusters.
Outside of bigger events, we've rarely seen the entire group together for any significant amount of time. As a result, this installment felt special and like a throwback to the heart and charm of the series.
They managed to balance out the camaraderie and group fill with the individual storylines, as it all converged and dispersed when needed. Thus, it kept your attention without it ever truly waning.
For Gary, it was a nerve-wracking ordeal. In hindsight, the stakes weren't the highest in thinking the series would inflict another painful cancer arc on us with who is arguably the heart and soul of the series.
However, one can appreciate the storyline from the point of capturing the reality of cancer survivors like Gary. He's often discussed how he essentially lives his life holding his breath and hoping that the cancer doesn't return.
While he's talked about it often, it would've been a missed opportunity if we hadn't seen that in action. And, of course, James Roday Rodriguez handled the arc beautifully.
There's a part of me that thinks if I act like my cancer will come back, it won't come back.Gary
He didn't want his friends to coddle him, understandably, but Gary was vulnerable and fearful beneath the joking. Yes, his moments with Maggie were strong in depicting that, but that scene with Rome hit it home.
Rome operates as the most emotionally available male of the friendship group, a heavy-hitter with these types of things, so the choice of Gary confiding in him, admitting brokenly how genuinely terrified he was -- was so raw and emotionally affecting.
It's also the type of thing that worked so well because of the years we've spent with these characters and the understanding of the dynamics and who brings what to the table in them and how they function.
Two weeks and a day of sitting on the edge are frightening, and that was captured well. Fortunately, the news was all good.
While it was a bit disappointing that we didn't get the complete reaction of everyone since this fantastic news got shared in a group chat via Danny, it made way for the intimacy of Maggie and Gary.
They're in it for the long haul, and Gary's cancer scare prompted the two of them to expedite where they are in their relationship further. It only works because of what Gary and Maggie are to each other and how long they've essentially been each other's person.
Life is short, and they know that better than anyone. Gary, who admitted how he's a glass-half-empty kind of guy, jumped at the chance to focus on the positive and living his life instead of waiting for the next horrible thing to happen.
The seize the day type of attitude leaves you wondering if Maggie and Gary will find out that they're pregnant by the end of the season or even go ahead and tie the knot.
Maggie: What are you thinking about, Mendez?
Gary: Thinking about you. All the moments since we broke up that we could've been together. I don't want to waste any more time. I think we should just move back in together.
Maggie: I think we should have a baby.
Of course, predictably, that cancer scare prompted Sophie to get her head out of her ass and see Gary and extend some semblance of forgiveness and grace.
You would think that after everything that she's endured, she'd have heeded the "life's too short" message anyway, but it's a good thing she got it now.
Danny is a real one for calling his sister and ensuring that she made things right with Gary. And let us all hope she was joking about reserving the right to get mad at him again. She made the proper amends to Maggie as well.
And if anyone deserved an apology, it was the woman who stuck by her through some of her darkest days. I can appreciate Sophie acknowledging how she dropped the ball and her word when she bailed on Maggie after promising she'd be as supportive to the woman as she was to her.
Sophie: It's just another reminder that life is short, and I don't have time to not have you in mine. I still don't like what you did, and I never will, but I care about you more than I am mad at you, and if you don't have cancer, I still reserve the right to be mad at you again.
Gary: That's fair. What if I do have cancer, and it's terminal? You just stay the word, and I will kill Peter.
The party was a great way to gather the friends and bring the new characters into the fold again.
Greta's introduction to the group went as well and hilariously as expected. Everyone reacted to Katherine dating a woman exactly as you'd expect them to, right down to Gary making the joke warning Eddie not to sleep with her.
Greta fits into the group effortlessly well, and this installment was a great way to round her out as a character more and give her more depth behind this extension to Katherine.
But Greta getting along with the entire group makes sense when you consider that she really is a female version of Eddie. The "bromance" of sorts between Greta and Eddie and how easily they both can get on Katherine's nerves with that is hilarious, and I could watch those two play off each other and banter for ages.
It was illuminating, too, because Katherine has a type.
Did we know that Katherine is dating a female version of her ex-husband? It's wild when you think about it.
Greta and Katherine's relationship is fascinating, and it seems that Greta also gravitates to the nurturer types. From what she shared, Katherine and her ex-wife are somewhat similar, too.
But the healthy nature of the Katherine, Greta, and Eddie relationship is refreshing. Greta doesn't feel too threatened by how close Katherine and Eddie are to each other. She gets it.
And again, Katherine and Eddie's best friend quality is more apparent now than when they were together.
They dominated game night better than all the couples because they knew each other well.
But Greta can navigate her way within that dynamic because she intimately understands Katherine and, surprisingly, intuitively with Eddie.
Interestingly, she can be instrumental in Katherine and Eddie managing their friendship and family. And she works that without it detracting from her blossoming serious romance with Katherine.
Greta has a kinship with Eddie that exceeded their great hair, strong jawlines, and similar humor. Greta can relate to Eddie's position as a recovering addict who always has to prove himself and that he's stable and okay because of her Bipolar.
No, it's not precisely the same, but, understandably, she relates to people walking around eggshells with her.
When Anna spilled all that wine over Eddie, everyone acted as if he'd spazz out right there.
Katherine buying Eddie his favorite soda for the party had the still married vibe, but honestly, they genuinely love and still care for each other. I don't think they should have to change that or the healthy place they are in their relationship on account of their spouses.
Even Katherine's concern about Anna's drinking came from a sincere place. Even if Katherine wasn't coming across as the caretaking spouse who can't relinquish that role and habit yet, it felt like a legitimate concern she'd have.
Greta: I know how difficult it is to break the habit of taking care of someone. The first couple of weeks after Julia and I split, she texted me every night to make sure that I was taking my meds.
Katherine: But being bipolar and being an alcoholic are two different things.
Greta: You're right. But they are two things where we have to constantly prove to the world we have it under control, which is tough when the people that we love respond like you and Julia do. I'm in a good place. It seems like he is, too, but he'll never be able to prove it to you or himself if you never give him the chance.
And they essentially backed up why her concern was valid when Eddie's AA group reminded him that he shouldn't have been dating before getting that first-year chip.
But while I didn't think Katherine's concern regarding Anna and her voicing them was her overstepping, Greta hit the nail on the head about Katherine and Eddie's relationship and how she always made all the decisions for him and them.
It's something that probably would still crop up in other ways, and while she doesn't have jealousy toward Anna, she's accustomed to being Eddie's person in that regard, and it takes time to adjust to not having access to or control over that part of his life.
Eddie and Katherine have always had a codependency, so the series addressing that a bit was probably due.
Anna is still the outlier here. Her nervous energy leading to her getting drunk at embarrassing herself at the party was enough to make you raise a brow.
It would be something worth paying attention to in the future. If she drinks to calm her nerves to that degree in social situations, it could be an issue down the line.
She was so caught up in trying to make the best third impression that she got progressively more awkward as the night progressed.
We've never witnessed someone step into the friendship group and have this hard of a time. It was difficult to witness.
You sympathize with Anna, especially when Greta fits in effortlessly at the same time. She's aware of how close this group is, and in her desperation to fit into it, she's trying too hard and not doing well.
She should maybe try one-on-one interactions with people before she gets to the full group events so she can get out of her head.
Anna also struggles with how close Katherine and Eddie are and how well they know each other. I think this is a difficult first relationship for her to be in after divorcing her husband.
She's too insecure and fragile. Ironically, Eddie may be in the right frame of mind to date, but it doesn't feel like Anna is right now. And that's one of many reasons why their next step forward in their relationship doesn't feel promising.
Katherine: I'm worried about him relapsing?
Greta: Are you sure that that's the only reason you're upset? Because it seems like this is the first major decision without you since you've gotten divorced, and you're having a hard time letting go.
They've made things official with labels, but there feels like an inevitable conflict brewing. It was the first installment where Eddie and Anna actually felt doomed if you will.
Is it wrong that I found it annoying that Shelly interrupted Gina's game night to confide in her again and then left Gina in a haze of heaviness that prompted her to miss her party to talk to her dad?
The situation was challenging all around. Ron deserved to know the whole truth. I wish they all sat at that table long enough to discuss it thoroughly from the beginning.
But because Ron didn't understand everything just yet, he was entitled to the time and space to process and sit with his feelings. But it was like no one wanted to give him that because of Shelly's feelings.
And obviously, Shelly's feelings about something so horrific are beyond valid and of the utmost importance.
Ron just needed time and space. But he was saying terrible things to and about Shelly at some point, so Gina had to intervene.
By sitting him down and adding more context to what Shelly shared, explaining how her mother blocked out the events that she, too, had experienced at a young age, much like Gina did, Ron better understood
Essentially, it just made you wish they resolved this much sooner. It shouldn't have taken two weeks for this to come to a head.
Dad, look at me; I'm not that little girl anymore. And honestly, for a while, it was really hard to deal with it. To come to terms with it. But who I am now is stronger than I have ever been, and I feel like every minute I spend wondering what could've gone differently gives him the power back. He doesn't deserve that. That's mine. Stop punishing yourself for something you don't deserve to be punished for. It's not your fault, and it's not mom's either.Gina
It was so much needless hurt, pain, and anger in those two weeks that could've been avoided with a simple conversation.
Nevertheless, it was touching when Ron and Shelly sat down again, and he apologized to her and, more importantly, told her that he believed her and didn't blame her.
The only person responsible for what happened was Neil.
Gina's conversation with her father was powerful and empowering for her, and it showed how far she's come as a sexual assault survivor.
And she should be proud of how instrumental she was in mending her broken family after so many years. It's never too late.
It will not be surprising if Ron and Shelly find their way back to each other now. Who doesn't love a second chance at love?
Over to you, AMLT Fanatics. Are you relieved Gary is okay? Are you happy he and Maggie will start their family soon? Sound off below.
You can watch A Million Little Things online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.