It's Gilmore Girls, and I've waited 6 years for this, so of course it gets five stars. An almost perfect conclusion to what was an incredible show.
Probably due to the longer length, at times Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life has dragged on a little – but not ‘Fall’. ‘Fall’ feels the most like the regular Gilmore Girls of old, and beautifully wrapping up the Year in The Life, while also leaving us so many more questions after the ‘Last Four Words’ reveal.
We pick up on Lorelai (Lauren Graham), unable to go on the Wild hike, but ending up having a think about her life regardless, and she phones Emily (Kelly Bishop) with a story about Richard. In ‘Winter’, we heard a drunk Lorelai at Richard’s wedding, unable to come up with a happy memory, instead recalling embarrassing ones and leaving Emily under the notion that Lorelai only wants to humiliate her family. She tells Emily about how when she was dumped on her 13th birthday, and her father found her crying in the mall, bought her a pretzel and took her to the cinema to make her happier. It was her happiest birthday ever, Lorelai tearily tells Emily, in a move that will finally serve to bring her and Emily closer – a moment of uncontrollable tears for me.
The storyline I found myself most invested in was that of Emily’s grief. She went from being married for 50 years to a man she met in college, who she’d built a life with, to being alone. Slowly, she gets rid of the things in her life that didn’t make her happy, learning how to move forward with her life, and ends up in Nantucket at a whaling museum, living with her maid (who she kept throughout the ENTIRE four episodes!) and her family. She seems happy and content, having learnt more about her own personality and interests. Emily becomes her own person and though Richard is still a force in her life, it is a less dominant one, as shown by Emily kissing goodnight a much smaller portrait of him than we saw in ‘Winter’. And the scene of her calling bullshit on the DAR meetings was fantastic!
Gilmore Girls‘ iconic hilarity was at its best in scenes where Luke (Scott Patterson) cooks steak for Paul Anka the Dog, threatening “if you tell anyone about this, we are getting a cat”. Heartwarming scenes finally see Lorelai and Luke back on track, with Luke’s emotional speech telling her: “This right here is all I will ever need, I know I’m not the easiest guy in the world to build a life with and to share a house with but there is no one who will be more here for you than me.” The tears were flowing, and even more so when she proposed to him instead of breaking up with him. Their storyline ended as wrapped up, happy and beautiful as I needed it to be. The secret nighttime wedding in the Kirk-created wonderland, and the whole marriage in general, though beautiful, felt anticlimactic – we’d been waiting for this for years, and it just seemed like a cheap tactic to bring some tension to the revival. I still don’t understand why just Michel (Yanic Truesdale) and Lane (Keiko Agena) were there when Sookie’s in town (also where was Jess?!), though I suppose a huge town party would be difficult because of the large amount of returning cast members. It was nevertheless a delightful resolution to the ‘will they, won’t they’ of the original seasons. While a recreation of Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) goodbye party in ‘Bon Voyage’ with the whole town there would have been lovely, I get how that would just be lazy copying.
Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) is unfortunately only around for one scene, where she made infinite wedding cakes for Lorelai, but she made the revival feel complete – as did Rory bumping into Dean (Jared Padalecki) in Doose’s. I knew he’d be married with kids, but who knew that out of all her exes, he’d be the most over her? He’s much more emotionally mature than her (again, who knew), having actually settled down while Rory is still being the other woman with Logan (Matt Czuchry). I loved the ‘Life and Death Brigade’ scene too – it was ridiculous, outlandish and a perfect goodbye for Rory and Logan.
Moving on to the last four words… It felt throughout Fall that we were being shown a clear path for Rory’s future. Rory was going to write ‘Gilmore Girls’, Jess would publish it, and after he told her he wasn’t over her (come on, after that look through the window he’s clearly still in love with her) they’d live happily ever after. Then – she goes and says THOSE four words. We realise her future is far from certain. Rory, Logan and Jess are mirroring Lorelai, Christopher and Luke, and that feels like a disappointing conclusion. From Episode 1 of original GG, Lorelai has wanted to give Rory the life she didn’t have – she borrowed money from her parents for Rory to go to Chilton, to get into her dream college, but after Rory’s failed career attempt in her twenties she’s now not getting that ending she and Lorelai worked for. Maybe it’s to show us the unpredictability of life, but what those final four words did was make us want more episodes, to see what happens next. It was quite predictable, especially after that conversation with Christopher (David Sutcliffe), and a bit of a cliché. Full. Freaking. Circle.
In general throughout the show I wish we’d had more Lane, less of that awful musical, and that the storylines about the surrogacy and Emily’s cruel letter had gone somewhere, or not been brought up at all. At times the pacing of the episodes felt off – it felt like Rory was always off to get a plane, but then back two scenes later. And I wish we’d had some resolution on Paris (Liza Weil) and Doyle (Danny Strong), aka the Gilmore Girls power couple. To get some Carole King at the end was lovely, even though I was shocked at the last four words, and I do wish we’d had some credits to go with it; but it was still fantastic to hear the song. All we need now is a resolution between Rory and Jess… maybe a season or two next time instead? Oy, with the poodles already.
Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life is available to watch in full on Netflix right now.