Warning: This recap for the “Fall” episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life contains storyline and character spoilers.
In which Gilmore Girls fans get everything we ever wanted for Luke, Lorelai, and Emily; Sookie returns; and Rory adds a very big chapter to her Gilmore girls book by bringing the mother/child theme full circle.
She does indeed fly to California to “do Wild,” her motel room bed covered with all the stuff she’s going to try to fit into her ginormous backpack to prepare for her hike. While trying not to think about the sundry “DNA samples” that could be found throughout the room, Lorelai manages to stuff all her supplies in the pack — taking a break to watch an episode of Snapped — and the next morning she lugs it out the door… to run into many other women, equipped with similar packs, who also plan to go Wild-ing. When they get to the start of the trail, however, a park ranger warns them there’s a wicked storm moving in, meaning they may want to start their adventures the next day.
Lorelai’s out to begin the next day, but can’t find her permit, so her hike is postponed again. She heads off to find coffee, and when the local café is closed, she walks around outside waiting for it to open. When she stumbles upon a beautiful vista, she has an emotional reaction. Teary-eyed, she calls Emily, and gives her exactly what she’d so desperately wanted from Lorelai at the post-funeral gathering for Richard. Lorelai tells Emily about her 13th birthday, when she had been cruelly dumped by a boyfriend. She ran out of school and to the mall, where she was surprised and frightened to be confronted by Richard in the food court. But he didn’t yell at her for leaving school; he bought her a giant pretzel, then took her to a pair of movies (Grease for Lorelai, An Unmarried Woman for him, he told Lorelai). He bought her popcorn and Red Hots, and then helped her cover up the blouse she’d worn from Emily’s closet without permission when they got home. They never spoke of the day again, but, sobbing Lorelai tells her mom, “It was the best birthday I ever had.” Emily thanks her, and Lorelai puts her stuffed backpack by a garbage can with a giant sign that says “FREE” and heads back to Stars Hollow.
At home, she surprises Luke in their kitchen, telling him they wouldn’t let her hike, but she figured things out without hiking. Luke interrupts to tell her he’s seen the “bolting signs,” that he knows she’s going to break up with him. She instead tells him she thinks they should get married, on a Sunday, within the month. He gets her old engagement ring — the one he bought from Kirk in the original series — and puts it on her finger.
The icing on the cake, or cakes, many, many cakes: Sookie is back at the Dragonfly, and she surprises Lorelai with her presence and the more than a dozen wedding cakes she has made for her, including a “milestone cake” that has a mini version of Lorelai’s house, baby Rory, Lorelai’s Jeep, and the hospital where she took Sookie to get her fingertip sewn back on the first day they met. It’s an all-too-brief reunion scene, but it ends perfectly when Sookie stars to smell the food of all the chefs that were brought in during her absence, from Roy Choi to Rachel Ray.
Rory’s still toiling away at The Stars Hollow Gazette. On her way to the office one night, she witnesses some strange things (even by Stars Hollow standards): A bird in a tree says her name, and tells her, “Get ready, Rory,” a neon sign flashes from “Flowers” to the word “Tonight,” and when she gets inside the office, Esther says the words “In omnia paratus” to her. So when she turns around and sees a trio of guys wearing gorilla masks standing in the street, she knows her old pals from The Life and Death Brigade have arrived. Outside, she catches up with Finn, Robert, and Colin, who are soon joined by Logan.
The five begin one of the gang’s trademark romps, in Victorian garb and hats, as they frolic through the streets of town, breaking into Doose’s (and throwing a bunch of cash around as compensation), playing golf on the roofs of several buildings, watching Kirk’s most recent film short outdoors, and driving a convertible off to a secret dance club. Rory and Logan dance, then grab a table, where he offers her the key to one of his family’s homes so she can go write her book. He also apologizes about not telling her Odette was moving into his apartment, and she asks if he’s really going to marry Odette. “That’s the dynastic plan,” he tells her. They leave the club and head to a New Hampshire inn, which the guys have bought out for the night (and Colin considers buying for real the next morning). While the other members of the Brigade entertain themselves, Rory and Logan go to his suite. The next morning, he awakens to find her looking out the window. He tells her he wanted it to be special, and she says it was a perfect night. Downstairs, the guys are drinking Finn’s breakfast martinis, and Rory tells each of them goodbye. “Every ride has to end,” she tells Logan, who frames her face with his hands as if he’s taking a photo to remember her by.
She had returned to Logan the key to his family’s house, telling him she knew where she was going to go to write her book. It turns out to be the Gilmore mansion. Emily’s away with her staff, and Rory wanders around the house, remembering special moments with her family, before she goes into Richard’s study, sits down at his desk, and pulls out her laptop.
Three chapters in hand, she shows up to her mom’s house in the middle of the night. Paul Anka rouses Lorelai, who goes to the kitchen to confab with Rory. They each pull out a variety of leftovers and snacks, hug, and it’s revealed they’ve been in contact, via text. Lorelai tells Rory she’s getting married on the first day of the Harvest Festival, which Rory guesses means there will be an open hot dog cart for everyone. Rory also slides across the table a copy of everything she’s written for the book so far, and asks Lorelai to make her a deal: read it, and if she hates it, Rory won’t finish it and will destroy the pages she already wrote. Lorelai later returns the chapters of The Gilmore Girls unread, telling Rory she wants to read it when it’s finished, and joking that if she hates it, she’ll just sue her. She does have one note: “Drop the The. Just Gilmore Girls. It’s cleaner.”
Luke’s Liz and T.J. problem has been handled: Jess informs him that they were deemed too weird for the vegetable cult, which has kicked them out. While Jess is at the diner, he also provides a listening ear to his uncle, who is worried that Lorelai is about to dump him. They’re fighting in public, and she took off on the Wild trip, which he thinks equals a looming break up. “I’m now a guy who snipes at his girl and uses the world ‘oops,’” Luke says. Jess agrees it’s not looking good for the couple.
All’s well that ends well, and Luke and Lorelai’s pre-wedding wedding at the gazebo is perfection. The whole affair also brings out one of the best Luke reveals ever, better than finding out his high school nickname was Butch, or that he once wore a Star Trek T-shirt and moved around town on a skateboard for a whole year. Luke, we learn, is pretty good friends with Kiefer Sutherland. This rando fact comes up when Lorelai asks him which friends he’d like to invite to their wedding. He says Kiefer, who he bonded with when they both went to the same baseball camp years ago. They still go fishing sometimes, he says, blowing Lorelai’s mind, and prompting a whole series of 24 jokes.
She’s still sleeping way later and longer than she used to, but Emily is beginning to think about what she wants her life to be without Richard. She decides to sell the Gilmore mansion, and she’s already purchased a beautiful waterfront estate in Nantucket (where Berta and her whole family have joined her). She’s still spending time with Jack, but the relationship seems ill-fated; when he announces he has to leave Nantucket to go back to the city, Emily is very eager to get him on his way. He thinks it means she’s more understanding than his three wives were; we think Emily’s just a very polite woman.
She makes her move to Nantucket a permanent one, and begins a stint as a docent at the local whaling museum (where she terrifies the children with her detailed, impassioned stories of whale killings). But she also lays down some insurance that she’ll still see plenty of her family. When Lorelai comes to her for money to buy a local property to annex the Dragonfly, Emily says yes… but only if Lorelai will agree that she and Luke will spend two weeks in the summer and one week at Christmas in Nantucket with Emily.
And making it a complete family affair: The Dragonfly addition, which Lorelai thinks will help her create a new opportunity for Michel and keep him from moving to New York to work at the W Hotel, is being funded by the cash Richard willed to Luke to franchise the diner.
Lorelai and Rory
The girls have made up, Rory’s book is being written with Lorelai’s approval, and Luke and Lorelai are married, grabbing Lorelai, Lane, Michel, and Rev. Skinner and getting married at the town gazebo the night before the “official,” public ceremony the next day.
In the morning, as the mother and daughter sit on the steps of the gazebo, we finally hear those four words, the final four words that Gilmore Girls fans have been waiting on for more than a decade:
Rory: “I’m pregnant.”
Elsewhere in Stars Hollow (and beyond):
* Luke’s Diner is dead quiet… someone learned his real WiFi password and shared it with everyone, and all his customers are sitting around like zombies, splitting bagels four ways and sucking up his free Internet access.
* Colin buys the secret dance club The Life and Death Brigade goes to, on the spot, and decrees only Rosemary Clooney music will be played in the club from now on.
* A big part of Emily’s new life after Richard’s death is letting go of a lot of bullshit, a word she uses repeatedly at what turns out to be her final DAR meeting. The DAR leaders are interviewing a potential new applicant, a young, blond, fourth wife who they obviously are not going to admit, and who they are taking way too much delight in toying with. Emily gets up to get a cookie in the middle of the session, but when they continue batting Serena around like farm cats with a field mouse in their paws, Emily just can’t even anymore. “It’s all just a big pile of bullshit,” she announces, letting Serena know they’re only interviewing her to placate her wealthy husband, and that they’re just going to mock her when she leaves. The DAR women pitch a fit, and Emily tells them, I can’t spend any more time on artifice and bullshit.” They kick her out of their mean girls club, to which she responds, “This whole thing is dead to me anyhow,” says the woman whose whole world once revolved around who was poured the first cup of tea at a society club meeting. “It died with Richard.”
* Rory visits Christopher at work: He’s running the Hayden family business now, that thing he’d actively avoided doing for most of his life. He tells her half-sister Gigi is in France, and he’s sorta dating someone named Lana. She tells him Lorelai and Luke are getting married, and he assures her he won’t show up. “Knowing when to admit defeat is one of my better qualities,” he says. After telling her dad about the book she’s writing, Rory gets to the point of her visit: She wants to know how he feels about the fact that Lorelai raised her alone. And she isn’t asking to make him feel bad; she seems to really just want the honest answer to the question. He tells her Lorelai, like her, was a force of nature, and that it’s what was meant to be. Rory seems satisfied with the response, if not a little sad about her dad, and her relationship with him.
* Rory also has another reunion: Dean. They run into each other, literally, when they’re walking around at Doose’s. He’s in town visiting his parents; he lives in Scranton, has three sons, has a daughter on the way, and he’s married to someone named Jenny. He tells Rory his sister Clara is dating a guy he hates, and Rory tells him not to worry, “She’s young, it’s her first love, it’ll probably…” Dean knows all too well the rest of that sentence. But their reunion is a sweet one, with her telling him about her book and that he’ll be portrayed favorably in it, and him telling her to “Pay for it this time” when she holds up a box of cornstarch.
* Speaking of Rory’s exes, Paul is finally one of them. He broke up with her, via text.
* Lorelai and Luke — Luke! — each plan to do flash mob dances at their wedding, she to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” (with all the mob-sters wearing T-shirts with Luke’s face on them), he to Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen.” She gets Miss Patty to change Luke’s song to “Karma Chameleon” without telling Luke.
* The men Rory wanted to marry when she was a kid: Pee-wee Herman, Edward Scissorhands, and Jerry Orbach (Law & Order version).
Questions: We Got a Few
* Who wrote Emily that nasty letter she insisted was from Lorelai? She threw it out there in “Spring,” and it seemed like a story we’d find out more about later, but… someone needs to brush up on his or her Chekov’s gun rule.
* Logan’s definitely the father, right? Rory almost never saw Paul…
* If the Palladinos had been running the show for its final season, and the final four words were the same, would Rory still have turned down Logan’s proposal?
* The pre-wedding wedding we saw on screen was everything, but couldn’t some of the time and money budget for all those pool scenes in “Summer” been diverted so we could have actually seen those flash mob dances to “Karma Chameleon” and “Relax”?
* Jess tells Luke he’s over Rory, but the look on his face as he watches her through the window suggests otherwise. Her book was his idea, he’s the one who knows her well enough to suggest it would be the thing that made her fall back in love with writing… did that draw any new fans to #TeamJess? Is he destined to be her Luke?
* They’ve gotta do another reunion now, right?
Gilmore Gift of Gab
“I feel like I’m standing still. The whole world is moving, and I’m standing completely still.” — Lorelai, while bonding with some of her fellow Wild-ers.
“It was my turn to walk Finn.” — Logan, when Rory asks him why he came to Stars Hollow.
“Stay photogenic, I beg of you.” — Finn, while saying goodbye to Rory.
“The weather is beautiful today. You should have no problems in that area. However, there’s still a high probability that any outdoor activity motivated by watching a movie is probably going to end in some sort of hospitalization.” — Park ranger No. 2, to Lorelai and the other women waiting to go Wild.
“You tell anyone about this, and we are getting a cat.” — Luke, to Paul Anka, after the dog pats Luke’s leg with his paw to get him to cool his steak dinner by blowing on it.
“I should’ve known it would have something to do with coffee. Everything in my life has something to do with coffee. I believe, in a former life, I was coffee.” — Lorelai to Luke, about having her big epiphany while waiting on a coffee shop to open.
“We have been through so much… we’ve watched each other go from person to person. I mean, there was Rachel, and Max and Christopher… I had to watch you marry that guy! It was awful. But we made it here. We made it through all of that.” — Luke to Lorelai, when he thinks she’s about to break up with him.
“Luke, I think we should get married. We’ve waited too long.” — What Lorelai was actually thinking, and said, to Luke.
“Emily, I beg of you, cheese! Richard.” — A note written on the refrigerator chalkboard at Richard and Emily’s house, something Emily is saving, and Rory spotted.
“Ugh, her last name’s a first name. I hate that.” — Michel, about Dragonfly Inn job interviewee Molly Daniel.
“Now, your name is Molly… why?” — Michel, with the first question of Molly’s interview.
“Katy Perry was sniffing around here earlier. She dresses like a hooker, but she comes with cash.” — A nun who run the Pretty Pastures retirement home, when Lorelai asks about the building being for sale after its last resident dies.
“Nothing I’ve ever written has been this easy.” — Rory, giving the first three chapters of her book to Lorelai.
“The diner doesn’t miss you at all. It’s in its underwear, blasting Bob Seger.” — Lorelai to Luke, who says he needs to get back to the diner.
“That you were the greatest boyfriend alive. That you were generous and protective, and kind and strong. That as much as I wish we’d met when I was older and more mature, if I hadn’t had you with me then, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That you taught me what safe feels like.” – Rory, telling Dean what she’ll write about him in her book.
“It’s perfect.” — Lorelai’s text to Kirk, who was worried he had over-decorated the town square for the wedding.
“It feels right.” — Lorelai, on being married to Luke, right after the wedding.
Remember When …
* In “You’ve Been Gilmored,” from the sixth season of the original series, Christopher meets Logan right after finding out Rory is living with her boyfriend at his apartment. It’s actually a re-meet for the fellas… they first saw each other when Christopher walked in on Rory and Logan making out at Emily and Richard’s vow renewal in Season 5. But during their first official meeting in “Gilmored,” Christopher finds out little about Logan except for the fact that he has a cool plasma TV, lives in a fancy apartment with a great view of the Yale campus, and has been kicked out of many prep schools — as had Christopher in his — which leads him to tell Rory she’s got a good man. “Interesting yardstick you’re using,” she tells her dad. When Rory visits Christopher in “Fall,” everything clicks… Logan is her Christopher, that cool, fun, often decent guy who nonetheless isn’t really going to be the strong support she may want him to be. Logan started showing some maturity in his life sooner than Christopher did in his, but basically, Rory isn’t asking Christopher to share his thoughts about allowing Lorelai to raise her just for info for her book; seems clear she was trying to make a decision about her own potential situation as a single mother. And we’re guessing she came to the conclusion that she could, and maybe should, consider having her child without Logan in the mix, especially after Christopher tells her that Lorelai raising her alone was “exactly what was supposed to happen.”
* Emily’s takedown of her old DAR pals is epic, and one of her all-time greatest hits. It recalls, of course, one of her other signature moments, when she told off Logan’s mom, Shira, in the original series, after Shira made Rory feel unwelcome in her home.
* When Logan apologizes to Rory for not telling her Odette had moved in with him, she tells him it’s OK, that they have a “no strings” policy, but it clearly isn’t OK with her. Their relationship is at the stage it was when they first started dating in college, and Rory assured Logan back then she was OK with his no-commitment approach to dating. She wasn’t then, and she isn’t now, which is just another way in which her life has gone backwards.
* Not only did Luke use the original engagement ring again, but it was Lorelai, just like in the original series, who sparked their engagement and mercifully quick wedding in “Fall.”
* Miss Celine, Emily’s favorite designer/seamstress/stylist, prepped Lorelai’s wedding dress and Luke’s wedding suit.
* The song playing during the wonderful wedding montage is Sam Phillips’s “Reflecting Light,” the song that was playing the first time Luke and Lorelai danced, at Liz and T.J.’s wedding.
You’ve Been Gilmore-d:
* Guest stars in “Fall”: Lauren Graham’s Parenthood co-star Jason Ritter as a park ranger; Lauren Graham’s Parenthood co-star and real-life love interest Peter Krause as another park ranger; and Alex Borstein as Miss Celine.
* Music in “Fall”: “With a Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Anderson and Jim Sturgess; “Gotango” by Olof Roter; “Botch-a-Me” by Rosemary Clooney; “Some People” by Bernadette Peters and William Parry; and “Where You Lead” by Carole King and Louise Goffin, the original series theme song that’s played during the final credits of “Fall.”
* Pop culture and cultural references in “Fall”: REI, calliope music, boot throwing, Italian social clubs, Lucy Ricardo, Doctor Who, Starbucks, Trader Joes, boxed wine, Snapple, Vicodin, Lean Cuisine, Eat Pray Love, VitaTops, Yentl, Across the Universe, Martha Stewart, Hugh Grant, Princess Diana, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Hurt Locker, La Dolce Vita, Christian Bale, The Machinist, Hello Kitty, surrogacy, music festivals, The Sound of Music, Ian Schrager, Whoopi Goldberg, Pebble Beach, “My Sharona,” Candy Spelling, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, desnudas, Crunch, Soul Cycle, Tracy Anderson, Brentwood, Equinox, Ben Franklin, Barbara Sinatra, bottle service, Risky Business, Deanna Durbin, Eli Wallach, hora, Kirk Douglas, method acting, Baby Doll, Elia Kazan, Carroll Baker, Jack Bauer, Chloe O’Brian, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, unicorns, Beats by Dre, Ryan Gosling, Starz, Jerry Maguire, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bugsy Siegel, The Godfather, David Mamet, Blackstone Group, Lord of the Rings, Gollum, Little House in the Big Woods, “Welcome to the Jungle,” Bewitched, Guns N’ Roses, Rande Gerber, Jonestown, Kool-Aid, Ina Garten, Right Said Fred, bingo, flash mobs, Donner Pass, and Culture Club.
* The food they ate in “Fall”: freeze-dried meatballs, Pop-Tarts, coffee, wine, ice cream, Chinese food, Red Vines, doughnuts, Coke, 1969 Dom Perignon, and pizza.
* Stars Hollow celebrations in “Fall”: The Harvest Festival, and Luke and Lorelai’s wedding, which happens on November 5, 2016, according to a sign in town. Quick quibble: Lorelai said the wedding would be on a Sunday, but Nov. 5 was actually a Saturday.
* An Unmarried Woman, one of the movies Richard took Lorelai to on her 13th birthday, stars Kelly Bishop.
* Luke went to baseball camp… Scott Patterson was a minor league baseball player for seven years in the ‘80s.
- Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Summer
- Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Spring
- Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Winter
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is streaming on Netflix.