|"I'm blowing everything - my life, my career. I'm flailing. I don't have a plan, a list or a clue."|
“Sorry, did I accidentally step into 2003?”
This is what Francie says when Paris Geller verbally attacks her, reviving all the history contained in the Chilton wars. Rory’s life is still messy, as she continually attempts to find opportunities all while faking all her enthusiasm in a career that’s really not giving her a shot right now.
When she returns to Chilton, with the ever-successful Paris Geller (check her LinkedIn profile if you don’t believe me) – we see the potential everyone saw in her and how much it diverges with her current situations – both professional and personal. She charms the students, perfectly mixes hope with reality checks and never slips from her façade of stability – but Headmaster Charleston sees through it all, and attempts to give her an opportunity to find that place to settle. Here’s the thing though, Rory has always wanted to be a journalist. Unlike Lorelai, she has never been in a position where she couldn’t put herself first – and whilst she values her stability, she hasn’t got anyone else to consider when it comes to making the best choices. So she tries to stick out with journalism – because it’s evident she feels tied to the career she chose and enjoys the massive highs but other parts obviously don’t help - the fussy, very British Naomi Shropshire, for example.
However, this attitude leaves her crashing again when she realises ‘Sandee Says’ pursuit of her wasn’t actually a job offer – it was a job interview. A magazine she doesn’t even like turns her down, so back to Stars Hollow Rory goes! (Rory will fight you on that assessment, but the girl just threw out all her non Stars-Hollow phones. I don’t think Stars Hollow will be forever, but we’ve seen in the past how much she craves her hometown when she’s struggling because it’s the only place Rory hasn’t been deluged with self-doubt, or even criticism to be entirely honest.)
The show’s exploration of Rory’s career is intriguing to watch. It’s hard for me to assess since I don’t have similar experiences, but I was drawn to the series because I wanted to see how Rory would fare with all her education and goals. Character-wise. Rory Gilmore my favourite. I identified so much with her early storylines, and I’m still one of the only people I know who will defend the showrunner’s choice to have Rory’s first time be with Dean. I don’t defend the action, but I respected how the show built to that climax (no pun intended), and made it clear Rory was prone to making poor decisions and found ways to offset that issue when she was younger. So yes, I’m angry that Rory is the ‘other woman’. I’m angry she doesn’t care about that, that she constantly forgets her steady boyfriend, and that we have moments where she worries about a one-night stand when she’s in a relationship. This character is not someone I recognise, because I don’t think Rory’s selfishness and self-absorption reaches these heights. She was a teenager in the early series, and she made crappy decisions then and during college but I don’t think she’s inherently someone who doesn’t care how other people are affected by her (and Logan’s choices). And we can talk till the ends of the earth how Logan’s relationship is ‘dynastic’, but I don’t care. The writing makes Paul a funny joke, but it feels like an extension of the belief that ‘nice guys finish last’ and to me, that’s not true, but it does not help when a show makes light of it. It was funny he was forgettable, but it messed with me to try and laugh about Rory sleeping with a Wookie, etc. I hear Rory when she says she’s flailing, despite all her lists, her plans and her goals – and there is some very insightful analysis regarding Rory, but at its face value – I’m completely uncomfortable with watching Rory stress about having a one-night stand so ‘late’ in her life when unfortunately, I do remember Paul. That said, there is a correlation between Rory’s professional and romantic successes which is very rare in many characters. Rory seems to need someone to be there, before she feels like she’s not falling apart at the seams, and it’s an interesting character trait which heightens itself in the next episode as she calls Logan subconsciously when she’s feeling low and needs something to guide her.
Which brings me to Logan. I do feel there is character regression going on here and I’m sure it stems primarily from the fact ASP didn’t write Season 7, but Logan was on track. He pulled an ‘anti-Christopher’, if we want to call it that, choosing to leave his father’s firm when he realises he doesn’t want to be a part of the Huntzberger legacy. Admittedly, his understanding of commitment may be a little flawed given his somewhat abrupt proposal – but he grew in Season 7, so I really didn’t expect him to re-enter his father’s orbit once again. I think Rory gave him a worldview he hasn’t experienced, and I’m not sure I can think of an event so major that would’ve catalysed a return to Mitchum’s world – a world which he has hated for a long time, but only found the strength and commitment to escape in Season 7.
Speaking of history, Lorelai and Emily take another stroll down memory lane – but at least this time they’re in a therapist’s office! It’s an uncomfortable experience for all that are watching, but it feels right – that they’re both trying – even if it is at the bare minimum of just attending. What got me interested was the letter Emily insists Lorelai sent on her birthday that Lorelai denies. It’s a shame it’s never addressed again but it raises a key issue in this relationship – miscommunication. Whether Lorelai has repressed a memory of this letter or Emily remembers more heartache in this relationship remains to be seen – but the lack of communication between the two creates barriers that neither can overcome, because quite frankly, both hold on to so much resentment from the past but aren’t entirely sure what they’re angry about because they haven’t addressed them head on. It’s almost a shame therapy doesn’t work out for the two – but Lorelai sticks around, because she’s addressing the issues that Emily brings up every time they fight – commitment. It happened just after the funeral, but dozens of times before that – and I think Lorelai is genuinely scared of losing what she has, of having to wait out for a storm when everything is calm – so I’m glad she talked it out with the therapist (so I’ll maybe let it go she doesn’t tell Luke).
It’s almost like nine years have changed absolutely everything, but the fragile bonds of each character creates a shaky foundation for them to balance on. Nine years on, Emily has become more accepting of Luke – enough to invite him to dinner alone (on Luke’s cellphone, which by the way, goes off and interrupts everyone in the Black, Read and White movie theatre). She invites him to inform him that Richard has left Luke money to franchise Luke’s which he refused to do in Season 5. We all know Luke doesn’t have cash flow problems; he had enough to lend Lorelai $30,000 back in Season 4, etc, etc – but this conversation reminds me of a Gilmore motto. Here’s the conversation from the Pilot:
“I built a life of my own. With no help from anyone.”“And think of where you would’ve been if you had accepted a little help, hmm?"
It’s a concern which rearises in the revival as Emily’s approval of Luke is conditional on him following through with the Gilmore plan. Her approval also wavers consistently, as Luke and Lorelai’s relationship is belittled when Emily needs to prove Lorelai should’ve done better. There’s a tendency amongst all the Gilmores that things have to be done a certain way, evident not only in Emily and Lorelai’s relationship, but also Lorelai and Rory’s – such as the time Lorelai shut Rory out of her life during her Yale dropout period. The Gilmore clan have a disposition towards trusting their own judgement over someone else’s – and now that Luke’s in the family too; he’s being pulled into a world he’s not entirely sure how to handle – especially not when Luke finds out he’s being kept in the dark again (presumably because Lorelai assumes it’s best to stay quiet than open up).
- That contrast between the reactions to Paris and Rory’s lectures: Opposites really do make best friends, don’t they? Also, Paris in meltdown mode is almost goal worthy
- Paris: I miss Doyle. I miss the sex. It was volcanic. I’m untethered; I’m a Mylar balloon floating in the void and I missed my last period. Straight up, is Paris pregnant?! Also, I can’t imagine how Rory feels hearing this – seeing her best friend struggle over a divorce when Rory’s entire life is unrecognisable from what she envisioned.
- “I certainly don’t need to pay someone not to agree with me.” Emily does have a point there.
- “I’m voting for Brexit. It’s just a protest vote. It will never win.” Notable pop culture reference.
- Mr Kim makes a brief appearance (literally).
- “It was supposed to Luke. It was always supposed to be Luke.”
- Mae Whitman appears in one of the lines Rory is interviewing! Lauren Graham’s daughters unite!
- That scene where Luke has to change his shirt because Emily questions it reminds me of the episode where Lorelai made him dress up to talk at Stars Hollow High with her. For all of Emily and Lorelai’s differences, they share far more similarities either would like to admit.
This review was long! I feel like I’m writing the same thing at times, but I’m trying to figure it all out!.