The news, while gutted, isn’t as dire as it first appears – we’ll get to that in a moment. First, here’s a rundown of the other main plot points in “The Last Dance:”
* Friends of Jon revealed to Gary and Maggie that they knew about Gary’s illness. Everyone hugs and cries. Later, they also accompany him to his doctor’s appointment, where they all learn that Gary’s cancer will be there for the rest of his life. Maggie bravely makes it clear that they will have to do whatever they can to make her life as long as possible. Then Gary slips up and refers to the baby as “he,” and Maggie confirms it: They’re having a boy.
* At some point during a seven-month time jump, Gary’s father, Javier, dies. From the way the post-burial reception is filmed, it seems for a minute that Gary might be dead. But he did not do it ! Related: Maggie Is Very Pregnant. Gary and Danny reunite with Gene, the guy who loved Douglas, Javier’s deceased war buddy. They share stories about loved ones who have passed away. At one point, Gary begins to sob. Danny thanks Gene for paving the way for him as a gay man. Again, everyone is crying.
* Anna is released from prison. Instead of moving in with Eddie, as he wishes, she decides to make a fresh start by moving in with her sister in another town. They part on good, if sad, terms.
* Rome’s father, Walter, begins to forget things. His girlfriend, Florence, tearfully tells Rome that she is going to end the relationship, because her husband was suffering from dementia, and “I can’t take this trip with him”. Later, Rome begins to see signs that Florence’s fears about Walter might be correct.
* Regina offers Sophie a job at the food truck, and Sophie accepts.
Alright, back to Gary. TVLine spoke with James Roday Rodriguez about what his character will face in the ABC drama’s final season and how the latest diagnosis affects the father-to-be’s outlook on life. Read on to see what he had to say!
TVLINE | Gary receives news at the end of the premiere: his cancer isn’t progressing, but it won’t go away either. Take us inside his head for how he’s going to handle this at the end of the episode and throughout the season.
I say this bearing the responsibility of dramatizing something that so many people have had to deal with for real, affecting families and loved ones and everything: I think there is a weird level of security, maybe -be somewhat macabre, in just knowing that I don’t have to cross my fingers and hope for a green light every six months. Because I think that in itself can create so much anxiety in a human being.
So the diagnosis that “Hey, that’s the deal” is what it is, you know? This gives Gary permission to start living for each moment, not knowing how much he will have left. As opposed to that, “You know what? I can be one of those people who just beats it,” and the energy that goes into it.
TVLINE | Before Maggie got pregnant, do you think Gary realized how much he wanted to be a dad? How much would that mean to him?
I think Gary has played a father figure to so many characters on this show that even though he didn’t look in the mirror and say “I want to be a dad” it’s kind of second nature for him. Being the father of a child whose mother is Maggie is probably the thing he didn’t realize she could be so good at. I think She was the missing piece of that equation for him.
TVLINE | Talk about how the death of Gary’s father hit him early in the season and how that evolves throughout the season.
Well, I think the theme of enjoying life while you have it is definitely completed with the death of his father. Gary probably regrets the times he could have had with his dad, but he didn’t because of little things that didn’t even need to be there. And I think that lesson, that reality, “Wow, I really, really miss my dad, and I really wish I was closer to him,” both inspires him and pushes him to make sure that the same thing does not happen again. arrive with him and his son.
TVLINE | There’s a bit of a fake in the premiere’s post-burial scene: we think Gary might be dead, but he’s his father. Can we anticipate other card reversals, like [series creator] DJ Nash calls them, during the season?
DJ Nash is a bottomless fountain of card flips, and you can expect as many card flips as 13 episodes can deliver.
TVLINE | There is a very significant time jump, seven months, in the first. It looks like we might see Gary and Maggie’s son arrive sooner rather than later. Is this something you can confirm?
What I can confirm is that, to my knowledge, we are going with a traditional human gestation period of nine months for this child. So if the jump is seven months then I think using just basic arithmetic you can assume that our child is not special in that way.
TVLINE | More time jumps in this final season, beyond that one?
I would expect that. It’s always been part of the show’s DNA, whether forward or back.
TVLINE | Is the season fully filmed? Have you finished?
Were not. We still have four or five left. But I think we will continue to play over time. I think the fans also expect us to kind of continue to do the same things that It’s us did. And I think they made time jumps in their last season.
TVLINE | Your son and Maggie’s son will become singers in 2073.
That’s right. Get ready for the big fire episode, everyone. — With reporting by Matt Webb Mitovich