This post contains spoilers for the Jan. 17 episode of A Million Little Things. A Million Little Things is back on a brand new day and time, but its “new year, new schedule” mentality hasn’t changed the show’s quick transitions from lighthearted fun to mind-blowing drama. Jan. 17’s “Secrets and Lies” introduced a relatively peaceful chapter in the gang’s lives, but tension surrounding Jon’s financial trouble lingered as his friends and family ran a race in honor of suicide prevention. Despite their anger with Jon, the group could be one step closer to figuring out his truth. Gary revealed a key detail about the friends’ past, so here’s what “Rutledge” actually means on A Million Little Things.
Until now, Jon’s assistant/possible lover Ashley (Christina Ochoa) was the only one in the know about the Rutledge trust, which first appeared in the form of computer files she deleted at the end of the pilot episode. In Jon’s last letter to Delilah (Stephanie Szostak), which Ashley has yet to give to her boss’ wife, he left instructions on finding a hidden envelope labeled “Rutledge.” The envelope contained a life insurance form listing Eddie, Gary, Rome, and mystery woman Barbara Morgan as beneficiaries. Given that Ashley tried to confront Constance Zimmer’s character at the end of this week’s episode, it looks like fan speculation that Zimmer plays Barbara is valid, but “Secrets and Lies” also revealed Rutledge’s meaning, hinting that the trust may not be as sketchy as it once seemed.
While investigating Jon’s financial history, Katherine (Grace Park) realized that there had been multiple payments to Jon’s loan statements since his death. Tracing the money back to its source account, she then told Gary (James Roday) that Ashley had authorized the transfer of money into the Rutledge trust. Gary recognized the name from when he met Jon, Eddie, and Rome in an elevator. As seen in a flashback of the men’s first encounter, the person who originally inspected their stalled elevator was T. Rutledge, prompting Gary to joke that Rutledge has affected all of their lives.
In the present day, Gary told Katherine that the term “Rutledge” became shorthand among the men for taking care of Jon’s family. As Ashley was seen shredding documents, Gary and Katherine reached her apartment for more information. In a clever twist, Ashley was revealed to be at Jon’s secret apartment rather than the home where she previously hooked up with Gary. While Gary and Katherine failed in finding her at her actual apartment, Ashley faced a neighbor who didn’t know Jon had died.
With the Rutledge definition in mind, it appears that the trust is meant to provide the men and Barbara Morgan with the funds to look after the Dixons. However, it looks like Jon’s apartment equates to him having a double life, which definitely shrivels any ounce of respect his apparent intention behind the trust earned from viewers. Let’s also not forget the ominous video message at the beginning of the episode in which Jon apologized to Barbara. He clearly has a history with this woman, and it’s still unclear whether or not her connection to him will play out in Jon’s favor. Looks like we have a new mystery to solve!
Season 1 of A Million Little Things continues on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.