Film and TV

Gilmore Girls Recap: Fall of the Wild

Winter, spring, summer, and fall, we're recapping each new episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Come for the coffee, stay for the witty banter and pop culture references.

We begin with Lorelai once again, now in California and preparing to get her Wild on. Lorelai’s need to over-pack handicaps her trekking skills once again, much like it did during her European backpacking trip. She actually reaches out to Luke here, a minor sign that she’s not outright pulling a Medina. After meeting some other Wild-ers, Lorelai discovers this journey — like all of her other reactionary freakouts that drive her away from friends and family — will not be easy. She has a bonding experience with her fellow hikers, who all share the same existential dread that haunts Lorelai.

The next day begins the actual trek, or it would if Lorelai had her permit. One of the funniest exchanges of the episode takes place between Lorelai and a real jerk of a park ranger played by Lauren Graham’s IRL beau (and Parenthood co-star) Peter Krause. Defeated, permitless, unable to hike, Lorelai turns to the most consistent and comforting thing in her life: coffee. But a closed diner prompts Lorelai to take an aimless walk to kill some time during which she discovers a serene meadow. The view inspires a phone call to Emily, sleeping in like a true Gilmore. Lorelai tearfully delivers a story about how her father had nothing better to do than to stalk her at the mall when she ditched school, which somehow passes as the fond memory Emily demanded in the first episode. “That’ll do, Pig,” Emily says, and all is right between them.

Meanwhile, Rory endures another day at the Stars Hollow Gazette with the best new characters of the revival: gun-lusting Esther and coffee-chugging Charlie. She sees a string of bizarrely placed messages by way of pig wrangling and some Halt & Catch Fire bullshit. The surreality increases at night, culminating with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s own version of Across the Universe where Logan and the Life and Death Brigade take Rory for a night on the sleepy town. But with the morning comes clarity, and Rory realizes her relationship with Logan is unsustainable. She finally says goodbye to Mr. Huntzberger for good, but still can’t be asked to give good ol' Paul a call. Rory is an asshole.

The vegetable cult’s parted ways with Liz and TJ, leaving Jess with a free afternoon to bother everyone. Sure, this is level-headed and mature Jess, but he still cannot wash the stink of his youth off. Luke tells his nephew about communication issues with Lorelai, her trip and how severe the implications are, including the fact that she bought hiking boots that aren’t cute but functional. It’s a sign that, yes, Lorelai is leaving Luke, which has him all twisted, forcing Jess to give a half-assed attempt to cheer him up that ultimately falls flat. Because Jess sucks. Jess commits one final act of vandalism by ripping out Luke’s router, leaving a restaurant of angry customers and a potential hit to its Yelputation.

But then Lorelai returns! She left her pack on the side of the road and came back just in time to catch Luke cooking Paul Anka a juicy steak. Is that a New York strip? You enjoy that, Paul Anka. Lorelai is about to reveal what she learned on her trip when Luke cuts her off, begging her not to leave him in the most Luke way possible: with a lot of angry posturing and hand gestures. Lorelai, possibly feeling her life is threatened, acquiesces that they should get married. Lazy-ass, cheap-ass Luke retrieves the original wedding ring he purchased for her and the two kiss, prominently displaying the distinct lack of chemistry between Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson.

We jump to Emily who, despite displaying hints of early onset dementia, truly seems happy for the first time since Richard’s death. Surrounded by Berta and her surrogate family, and with a new piece of ass, she’s finally getting used to the widow’s life. Emily sees off said piece of ass Jack Smith, eager to ditch him and hit the whaling museum by herself. She encounters an incompetent tour guide and plots to destroy his life, starting by taking his job.

Rory returns to her grandparents' house, now empty save for a few rooms and the giant picture of Richard. His presence looms most in his office where Rory goes to begin her book.

Stars Hollow MVP Michel goes over candidates to take over his position with Lorelai, further proving that the lack of Sookie is more than made up for with an abundance of Michel. After being interrupted by the plumber, Lorelai goes for a stroll through the town square and sees the Pretty Pastures retirement home is being shut down. Some gambling nuns attempt to swindle Lorelai into buying the site of a murder scene and a family of badgers, but Lorelai can’t be tricked that easily (though she does consider it). What lengths will she go to so she can keep Michel at the Dragonfly? The nuns inform Lorelai that Katy Perry is also a prospective buyer.

That night, Rory creeps in on Mom to make amends and hopefully swindle Lorelai into approving her book. Everyone wants to swindle Lorelai. Rory presents her with the first few chapters of The Gilmore Girls, her new book, and gives Lorelai the final say on its status.

While there are many benefits to Gilmore Girls being on Netflix now — including the bigger budget and better cameras that enhance the long, intricately blocked takes the show is known for — the best result is the scene with Emily at her last DAR meeting. It’s all a bunch of bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Emily scolds an applying trophy wife with surgical precision and is subsequently kicked out of the DAR. Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

Alex Borstein returns to Stars Hollow as Miss Celine to help with Lorelai’s dress and sexually harass Luke, Rory gets a serious phone call, and Luke does that asshole thing where he casually name-drops old pal Keifer Sutherland.

Rory then meets with her not-so deadbeat dad, Christopher, who proceeds to offer Rory some money after hearing she’s leaving journalism behind. Now is a good time to mention that everyone on this show seems to want to give Rory money, a house, or a job, and all Rory can do is complain about her meeting with Conde Nast being pushed back. Get a grip, Rory, you asshole. Rory notifies Christopher of Lorelai’s impending nuptials and asks him to stay away. Naturally.

Lorelai arrives at Emily’s house and is shocked to find her childhood home is on the market. Emily provides a detailed class in Feng Shui and reveals to Lorelai that she’s moving into a sandcastle in Nantucket. Finally deciding to compete with Katy Perry, Lorelai begs Mommy for more money to buy the nursing home and expand the Dragonfly. Once again, the ball is in Emily’s court. She obliges Lorelai and Luke to her sandcastle home in Nantucket for holiday visits, proving once again that Emily Gilmore always wins.

The show manages to shoehorn in another ex-boyfriend in the form of Dean, who is still the fucking worst. He admits he only has children because Scranton is boring, which is an awful reason to bring life into the world. But we suppose when you’re Dean, there will never be a good reason. Rory tells him she’s writing a book and it will include their relationship, then gives him the most pathetic complement as an ex-flame when she says he made her feel “safe.” Dean returns to make more mediocre episodes of Supernatural.

Melissa McCarthy makes her first appearance on the revival, as Sookie is making a ton of wedding cakes for Lorelai and Luke. While Sookie has taken the last two years off work at the Dragonfly, she still has the gall to use the kitchen to make all of these superfluous cakes. Michel lets her have it for abandoning Lorelai, and then steals her granola. Sookie learns of all of the celebrity chefs who’ve have been working in her kitchen and loses her shit, proceeding to pick a fight with Michel.

Emily rocks a pair of Keds to her new job, forcing the shitty tour guide at the whaling museum to watch as she takes over his job. She terrorizes the children with a gruesome re-enactment of a whale slaughtering.

The day before the wedding, Kirk ambushes the Gilmore residence fresh from his duties to set up the gift table. Only Kirk done pulled a Kirk and claims he went crazy with the glitter gun and fucked everything up. During his tirade, we learn the upstairs bathroom is the best bathroom for puking, a fact verified by both Kirk and Jess. Good to know in a show that’s taken up drinking like Mad Men.

Lorelai gives Rory back her draft of the book and threatens to sue her if it sucks, and then they do that corny thing where they say the name of the show with dramatic pause. Rory gives Jess a hug to thank him for his advice, and Sherman-Palladino gives the Rory and Jess shippers one last cocktease to end the series.

Luke and Lorelai compare their planned flash mobs before they decide to elope, thanks to Reverend Skinner’s late-night bingo sessions. They grab Rory and leave Kirk on the couch before heading to the town square.

Another surreal sequence guides the Girls and Luke to the scene of the wedding, causing Lorelai to text Kirk with words of gratitude. Kirk, the true champion of the Gilmore Girls revival. The girls dance their way to the gazebo where the reverend, Michel, Lane, and Luke await. The scene is interspersed with shots of Emily checking on the deadbeats who have invaded her home, foreshadowing how pissed she will be when she finds out her daughter got married without her knowing (again). Luke and Lorelai kiss and are finally husband and wife.

We return to where it all began, on the steps of the gazebo where Rory and Lorelai pound Champagne and ponder what Luke’s Steely Dan flash mob would look like. Paul finally dumps Rory’s undeserving ass, via text no less.

With no stone unturned, we are left with the Last Four Words of the series between mother and daughter, an exchange that thematically caps off the revival season meant to bring the series full circle, as Rory admits to Lorelai that she’s pregnant. Cut to black, cue “Where You Lead,” and we’ve finally seen the ending that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino always intended.

Sure, it’s a bombshell ending and fans will be left wondering who the father is, but the answer is unimportant in the end. Here we find Rory facing the same pressing weight of future responsibilities that her mother did when she was pregnant and on her own.

But come on, we all know it’s the Wookiee cosplayer.

Rating: Three out of five Emily Bullshits — Rory continues to be The Worst, Lorelai’s mini-freakout wrapped quickly, some awesome Michel scenes and — best of all — NO TAYLOR. The nostalgia did not overstay its welcome.

Best Burn: “There is still a high probability that any outdoor activity motivated by watching a movie is probably going to end in some sort of hospitalization. Just putting it out there.”

Worst Management Decision: Rory not allowing Esther to carry a gun.

Random Notebook Dump: Why does everyone want to give Rory money?
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Joseph Schmidt
Contact: Joseph Schmidt