As soon as I saw the Jeep, I was All In.
From the self-aware, tongue-in-cheek machine gun chatter opening to the joyously upbeat Dolly Parton ending, this was Amy Sherman-Palladino at her absolute best.
The scene with Kirk at Emily’s dinner table was simply masterful. Navigating from Kirk’s full-on pottiness (crying in the car loud enough to alert the help) to a serious argument simmering just underneath Rory’s homelessness, to the gasp I’m sure you also gave when Luke approached Richard’s chair… was astonishing. There is nothing on television as emotive, entertaining or enjoyable as this.
It was like the best episodes from the original series where the only reason I wasn’t snorting drink out of my nose is because I’m trying to hear what they were going to say next – and it was scene after scene of laughs and lovely pieces of plot fitting together and characters I loved and missed and are now back in my life. Even the character name-checks (Jess, Sookie, April) made me yelp a little.
Every cameo was a treasure, from the sets to the old props, from Cesar to Gypsy to Lorelai’s Jeep to Hep Alien effortlessly reforming out of thin air, to ‘Dee Dee’ emerging from a London bathroom, to Louise Goffman (Carole King’s daughter, who duetted with Carole King on the original theme song ‘Where You Lead (I Will Follow)’) being chased down the street by the original town troubadour Grant Lee Phillips, who – during the most pleasurable 90 minutes I’ve had in a long time – has space to strum and sing and which, like in The Muppet Show, gave natural pauses to the comedy and oh oh oh, The Drama.
Just when you think we’re tiptoeing – or tap dancing – around dear Ed Herrmann’s death we’re presented with an elephantine 12-foot portrait of Richard Gilmore and then thrown head-on into his funeral and relentlessly into Lorelai’s own portait of her father – initially awkward, then excruciating, then so, so sad. Again this is just genius writing, brave, forceful and brilliant. There are few living writers who can blend comedy, drama and emotion and knit them together like this.
Also, Digger!!! Long-time readers have been supremely patient with my apparently singular affection for Jason Stiles but oh my goodness his little scene with Lorelai is perfection. The setup is exquisitely uncontrived, their history summed up in a brief, honest exchange with a send-off like a hug for everyone who wore out their VHS tapes or burned out their DVD players from endless rewatching.
The only jarring twinge I had was that Emily had the same maid, Berta for at least 4 months. Unheard of, right? It was only then I realised how shook up Emily must have been without Richard. She needed something to be constant and noisy. The character was doubly vindicated when I discovered she was played by Rose Abdoo (Gypsy).
This episode had so much to accomplish and it sent fireworks up at every mark: Pay our respects to Edward Herrmann and the original material, check. Actors up to speed, check. Rory’s relationships moving on, Michel’s sexuality and a flat-screen television rising mercurially out of a cabinet? Check, check, check. Mission accomplished. Those big chrysanthemum fireworks that fill up the sky.
Did you notice that except for a couple of scenes, the entire episode has a frosty Kieslowski-esque blue cast? By my reckoning, Autumn’s going to be pure gold and in Amy’s capable hands I can’t frickin’ wait.
Heh, I nearly forgot to mention Paul. He is a brilliant contrivance and a smart way to kick off that whole shebang. But yeah, she’s really gotta dump that guy.
What were you favourite nods to the original show?
Anyone else wonder if Emily kept the leaf that fell on Richard’s casket?
Have you started knitting a scarf like Rory’s? I bet it’s a thing on Pinterest.
Fave pop culture references? I caught Cyrano (de Bergerac), Def Leppard and I think that one at the end was about Supernatural?
(Apologies if anyone has missed me since news started rolling in for GG:AYITL. I’ve certainly missed you. I’m a real baby when it comes to spoilers and I simply didn’t want to know anything about what might or might not be coming. Call me old fashioned (or just old) but I like a surprise and I was hoping this one would be a doozie. And so far, it is! Also, Arieanna was posting her heart out and a lot of other sites were firing up Gilmore news feeds so I figured you wouldn’t be lonely. Forgive me. I’ve only just watched Winter so I won’t be reading responses or the many months of backlogged messages for a couple of days. Hopefully something will explain Alex Borstein’s odd screen credit as Drella. But I needed to post this because Winter was so stupendously awesome I needed to brainfart and now I’ve used up all my superlatives. Probably speak to you again after the Autumn.)