We’re finally just days away from the heavily anticipated arrival of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life! To celebrate, some of our writers have come together in the unenviable task of choosing their favourite episodes – well, their favourite episodes so far, anyway. It’s surely no mean feat, considering how adored by fans the CW show is. Take a read, see if you agree with our picks, and keep peeled for some other great Gilmore Girls features over the next week!
‘Road Trip to Harvard’ (Season 2, Episode 4)
My favourite episode of Gilmore Girls is without doubt ‘The Road Trip to Harvard’. Ending her engagement with Max Medina, Lorelai decides to hit the road with Rory. After hours of driving in all possible directions without eating, the girls end up in a pretty scary bed and breakfast full of old-fashioned decorations – you’ll wish to never visit something like this. Lorelai soon finds out that they are actually close to Harvard, and surprises Rory with the visit of her most precious dream. There is wit, fun, and a light-hearted feeling when Lorelai realises that Rory fits in perfectly at the university. This episode clearly demonstrates their unique mother and daughter relationship, that they always have each other’s back. And isn’t that what make all the greatness of this show?
words by Lisa Veiber
‘A Tisket, A Tasket’ (Season 2, Episode 13)
There are so many fantastic episodes that I don’t know how this made it into my favourites – is it just the appearance of Jess? Is it because of yet another Stars Hollow tradition taking place? Stars Hollow’s annual charity Picnic Basket Auction is taking place, and Jess chooses to bid on Rory’s basket, outbidding Dean and winning a lunch with Rory. Does he know that they live on takeout, and there’s just a stale PopTart in there? Probably. This leads to an argument between Rory and Dean, and another between Rory and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) about whether or not Rory should be spending time with Jess. I hate it whenever Lorelai and Rory argue, and as much as I dislike Dean as a boyfriend for Rory, he is a good first boyfriend *grumble grumble*.
But there are some heartwarming moments in the episode. Jackson proposes to Sookie; Lane and Mrs. Kim have a heart to heart about dating, and you realise that all Mrs. Kim wants is for Lane to not end up getting hurt; and Rory and Lorelai end on an apology after Lorelai realises she was wrong. It’s a quintessentially Gilmore Girls episode, featuring an almost date between Lorelai and Luke, and worthy of its place in my favourites.
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
‘I Just Can’t Get Started’ (Season 2, Episode 22)
This fan favourite episode sees the wedding of Jackson and Sookie take place, with plenty of drama surrounding the event, ranging from the hilarious — Jackson’s drama over the kilt — to the heartbreaking — Lorelai missing another chance with Christopher. I love this episode so much because of the relationship drama which takes place. It’s enjoyable to see Sookie and Jackson finally get married, and, as a fan of Lorelai and Christopher, it was brilliant to see them give their relationship a second chance. Despite wanting their relationship to work, I still appreciated how the writers teased the fans, before yanking their second chance away as it made the story more interesting. I also really liked Rory and Jess as a couple, and this episode is so important for their story. Jess finally returns to Stars Hollow and Rory sheds the good girl image she has had up until then, and kisses him while still in a relationship with Dean. This is the first big step she makes toward her second relationship, and it is both shocking and enjoyable to watch. In true Gilmore Girls style no-one, be it fan or character, is safe from heartbreak in this episode, as even the happiest of events is marred with heartache and despair.
words by Becca Barnes
‘They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They’ (Season 3, Episode 7)
This Season 3 episode is a classic because it combines all of the things which fans have grown to love about the show, whilst also resolving the key tensions of the season. It mainly revolves around one of the town’s most iconic events, a 24 hour dance marathon, at which everyone is wearing some fantastic costumes. Whilst aesthetically pleasing, it is the focus on relationships which makes this episode so great. Even the less prominent relationships in the show, such as Jackson and Sookie and Lane and Dave, or the friendship between Paris and Rory, get their cut of the screen time. The touching bond between Lorelai and Rory is showcased from the humorous way they both motivate each other throughout, to the heartbreaking scene in which Lorelei holds a crying Rory at the end. And of course, perhaps the best part of this episode, is that it signals the end of Rory’s relationship with Dean, and starts her relationship with Jess, which, regardless of your preferences in terms of Rory’s boyfriends, is an important shift in the show. A sweet, sad and iconic episode, this is a must see for newcomers and old fans alike.
words by Nelly Mair
‘Those Are Strings, Pinocchio’ (Season 3, Episode 22)
I think this may be my favourite episode ever, because it’s just so heartwarming. Rory graduates from Chilton, and the Independence Inn closes, but there are so many exciting things coming for the girls: Yale, backpacking through Europe, and Lorelai and Sookie’s dream of having their own inn is now even closer. There’s lots of side stories in this episode, like Yale tuition and Luke’s new girlfriend (we all know Lorelai is ‘The One’, so who really cares), but the standout moment is Rory’s valedictorian speech. She’s emotional, we’re emotional, even Luke’s emotional. She talks about the two worlds she lives in, one of books, and one “populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything.” And then comes the quote I think sums up the whole series: “My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. Thank you Mom, you are my guidepost for everything.”
Cue FLOODS OF TEARS.
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
‘Raincoats and Recipes’ (Season 4, Episode 22)
The closing episode of Season 4 is seemingly the antithesis of the familiar fast-paced dialogue and quick wit which has accrued Gilmore Girls its notoriety. In an episode of climbs and falls, it is the last ten minutes which strikes the audience with the immovable notion that Lorelai and Rory’s relationship has changed, and may never be the same. Immediately following the nail-bitingly agonising wait and gleefully anticipated first kiss between Luke and Lorelai, the audience is immediately dragged down into the nauseatingly tense confrontation between mother and daughter, following Rory’s infidelity with the very much still married Dean. The importance placed on Rory’s first time subtly reflects Lorelai’s insecurities as a mother and Rory’s prevalent naivety.
For the first time in the series the relationship between Lorelai and Rory is shifted in an irreversible manner and the uncertainty of what will follow, mixed with the heart-wrenching sight of Rory’s breakdown and own uncertainty renders the characters all the more real. Through revealing the imperfections in both the mother-daughter relationship and the almost-perfect Rory, the viewers gain an intimate insight into the frailty and reality of the constructed utopia of Stars Hollow.
words by Lois Saia
Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life drops on Netflix tomorrow (25th November). Ahead of the big event, check out Becca Hellard’s lowdown on how to manage your Gilmore Girls day, or see Rebecca Barnes try to pin down her favourite Rory and Lorelai moments.