Fall || Gilmore Girls || Review

I've watched 'Fall' at least eight times (5-6 more than any of the other episodes), sat at my laptop at least four of those times trying to find the words to review this episode and came up with nothing unique.

Starting with the first four words? How uncreative of me. Diving straight into each character's storylines? Doesn't do any justice to how much I love this episode, and how it stands out from the other three. Discussing the 'full circle' theme? Relevant, but not where I want to centralise my discussion.

This is the first time writing about 'Gilmore Girls' that I feel unprepared, which is essentially how the episode left me feeling. On my first watch, 'Gilmore Girls' wasn't shining. Its witty dialogue was missing, replaced with humour that was uncomfortable to laugh at and character choices which were questionable at best. 'Gilmore Girls' attempted to stay in its small-town bubble, trying to avoid issues which have arisen in the time GG has been off air - such as racial profiling, diversity in television, attack on safe spaces, discussion of white feminism in contrast to intersectional feminism, etc - which created the impression that these issues aren't important, that we're more invested in the worlds of the Gilmore family than the world around us which needs to be discussed more than ever. 'Fall' does not solve these issues, but instead, it creates and enhances stories so they're worth watching despite its shortfalls.

This was the episode that left me surprised - that was written so exquisitely that my Gilmore emotional dial went into overdrive, an episode that let me enjoy the series without thinking about what the show had been missing in its entire existence.

With that out of the way, let's get reviewing!

It seems fitting now, to discuss the endings and the concept of being 'prepared' and 'ready'.

When the series ended in 2007, Rory was ready to kickstart her career. After a brief obstacle of not having a job, a last minute opportunity popped up for her to write about Barack Obama on his campaign trail to the White House. In the original series, we saw Rory's penchant for preparation - creating lists and long-term plans - a habit which derived itself from the reality that Rory recognised she tended to make poor decisions while impulsive and letting her emotions rule her decision making. It's evident in how she tried to win Dean back in Season 1, kissed Jess at the end of Season 2, slept with a married Dean in Season 5. Her romantic choices were ruled by emotion and tended to end badly, whereas her path to Yale was far more rational - as she selected Yale as a backup because she knew she couldn't rely on one college application, as she read through brochures to prepare herself for any decisions. The end of Season 7 was a significant indication of growth, as Rory learnt to manage and understand the concept of 'calculated risks'. Logan validated Rory's interest in taking chances in Season 5, but until Season 7, she couldn't find a balance between taking risks and just making truly bad decisions. When she embarks on the campaign trail, she's taking a calculated risk for her career, but she's using her emotion more rationally - she's not the one to suggest 'all or nothing' - but she makes it because she's gotten better at not needing to be ready.

The revival challenges this throughout as Rory struggles to make ends meet as a journalist, again making terrible decisions regarding her love life - and when she finally gives herself (okay, Jess gives it but anyway) some direction, a chance to take a risk that will hopefully pay off, she's thrown a curveball.

"I'm pregnant."
 In the eyes of this show, pregnancy is the absolute representation of unpreparedness. Lorelai gets pregnant at 16, Sherry after a breakup with Christopher, Lane's the result of her first time and now Rory - someone whose relationship/casual 'what happens in London, stays in London' with Logan has presumably ended, whose life is in flux and has no home except for boxes still scattered while she returns to her hometown. It's a difficult ending to assess, because quite frankly it isn't one. To us, it's all 'wide open' but for Rory, it must seem like her world is caving in because everything her life has become is not really what anyone expected. I disagree with the ending on principle because I dislike how the ending seems to be a promotion of how everything comes 'full freakin' circle' rather than a comment on Rory's character. I disagree with the concept that Logan is the new Christopher, because I feel he did grow in Season 7. Finally, I disagree with this because it seems like an indictment of making decisions. The concept of full circle leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because it suggests your life is not shaped by the decisions you made, but a predetermined destination (which in this case is prepared by your writer).

But there are ways I'm okay with it too. For starters, Rory and Lorelai's lives are not the same. Rory gets pregnant at the age Lorelai was when the series aired - and although there are remarkable similarities between their lives at the time of pregnancy, it's not simply about that. In my 'Summer' review, I mentioned that Rory internalises Lorelai's expectations of her - and Lorelai has subconciously held on to those expectations. Like us, Lorelai will see more similarities in the pregnancy than differences - and I'm very curious to see how this event challenges their relationship. Lorelai and Rory's relationship is more friend than mother/daughter - but the view Lorelai upholds of her daughter is that she's meant to do 'better' than her. It's a perspective which has threatened this relationship in the past, and if this was to get another bunch of episodes, I'm curious to see how the show addresses the level of complexity of this relationship and how, Lorelai like Emily, will have to learn how to view Rory's life as something Rory has autonomy over, and has the right to decide if she feels she's 'ended up someplace good', not Lorelai. Secondly, pregnancy was a catalyst of growth for Lorelai. Will it have a similar effect on Rory?  If anything, the pregnancy seems to a reminder that Lorelai/Emily share more similarities with Lorelai/Rory than many would like to admit.

Before Rory finds out she's pregnant, however, we revisit the Life and Death Brigade and the original Gilmore home.

When Rory sees weird messages on the Stars Hollow Gazette computer and a message taped to a crow, it's clear that it's only a matter of time before the words 'In Omnia Paratus' are pronounced once again. Despite Rory's breakup with Logan, he and the LDB gang return for a night to give Rory a night to remember. It's a fun montage which pays homage to the world of privilege and rebellion it introduced in the original series. I admit, I struggle to watch LDB scenes because they're just so damn over the top, but it's fun and an excellent reminder of the upper-class Rory belongs to despite the somewhat moderate home she was raised in. The scene also provides another insight into Logan's life - and how it's all part of the 'dynastic plan' to marry the French heiress, Odette. The LDB represents Logan's escapism methods from the expectation he has shouldered, and Rory heightens that even more as he's fallen in love with a woman completely unlike what he's supposed to.  He gives her the option of a sanctuary to finish her book, a book she's probably not writing after arguing with Lorelai, but his offer prompts Rory to remember why she needs to write this book.

And with that she returns to the original Gilmore home - the one that Rory finds sanctuary in to tap into her memories of her life, with Richard Gilmore's presence hovering over her. It's an absolutely stunning piece of cinematography - as the show perfectly melds Rory's current state of confusion with emotional memories of the past, memories which allow Rory to feel like herself again as she begins to retell her upbringing in complete honesty.

It's the last time we see the Gilmore home intact in a way we remember as we later learn Emily Gilmore is selling the house and its furniture that no longer home, to buy a home in Nantucket - The Sandcastle - the first something of Emily's that will say 'Emily Gilmore'. If there's one storyline this revival that has exceeded all expectations - it's Emily Gilmore's. I loved the raw portrayal of a grieving wife, the anger of Emily's that rises to the surface when Lorelai can't conjure a positive memory in 'Winter', the fact Emily can't find ways to get out of bed by 'Summer', the growing resentment towards the DAR as she revels in the loss of her husband of 50 years. I loved seeing Emily form a bond with Berta and her family, and I honestly tear up thinking of how proud Richard Gilmore would be of her - for making it despite not going first, for leaving the 'artifice and bullshit' even though he was unconditionally supportive of her life, for finding and securing her first job at the Whaling Museum (though she may terrify the kids), for purchasing her first home as Emily Gilmore. I loved seeing Emily in Nantucket with a painting of Richard Gilmore hung up to remind us that he's still watching over her. I loved absolutely everything about her storyline - and it's honestly a tribute to Ed Herrmann that is completely deserved.

Speaking of tributes, we should probably talk about Lorelai's heartfelt speech and well, everything surrounding Lorelai. I spoke in earlier reviews how Lorelai not addressing underlying issues always led to her running in some form, and this time, she took it literally. Unsurprisingly, Lorelai is a disaster at the nature thing, resorting to duct taping things to her backpack with the help of fellow hikers but otherwise, representing every awful packer in the world owning a backpack with a nasty case of exploding snacks. She never even gets on the trail - first warned off by Jason Ritter due to bad weather and then Peter Krause when she can't find her permit. (Parenthood fans, there's three obvious Easter eggs! I finished Lauren's new book 'Talking As Fast As I Can' and she mentions Sarah Ramos popping up somewhere too but I haven't found her - so four if you can find them all!) A fruitless search for coffee leads Lorelai to a secluded area with the world right in front of her - and suddenly, Lorelai has the revelation she's been waiting for. It's too goddamn good not to reshare her speech:

"I was thirteen years old. It was my birthday. Roysten St Claire III had broken my heart in front of everyone. I snuck into your closet that morning and took that green beaded top that was your mother's, that you kept so carefully wrapped up in tissue paper in your cedar closet. I was never supposed to touch it but I stole it. And I wore it to school with my Chemin de Fer sailor jeans and I thought no one was as stylish as I was. But Roysten laughed. He said I was cheap. He said the only reason he'd been my boyfriend was because he was mad at Angie Morgan and he wasn't anymore. He called me loud and weird and he said there was a rumour going around that I wasn't actually a Gilmore, that I was the gardener's daughter and that you bought me because you couldn't have children of your own. and I was crushed, and I ran out of class and I ran out of school and I went to the mall. And I was sitting in the food court, wishing I had money to buy a pretzel because I was starving. and I looked up and there was dad - standing in front of me at the mall. He never came to the mall. That day he went to the mall and he was furious. "Why are you in school?" he asked. "Tell me right now, Lorelai. Why aren't you in school?" And I tried to think of a lie that would make sense and I couldn't. All I could think was yesterday I had a boyfriend who loved me and today I didn't. And I started to cry. I just sat there like an idiot bawling. and finally after what seemed like forever, I managed to control myself a little bit and calm down and I waited. I waited for him to yell at me, to ground me to tell me how disappointed he was in me. and nothing came. And finally i got en-enough courage and he was standing there with a pretzel covered with mustard and he handed it to me and said 'let's go'. And he took me to the movies. We saw 'Grease' and 'An Unmarried Woman' - 'something for me and something for him', he said. He bought me popcorn and Red Hots and we sat in the dark and watched. And then he took me home and gave me his sweater to cover up the stolen top and he told you he picked me up from school and taken me to the club for a soda. And that was it. We never discussed it again. It was the best birthday I ever had. I just thought you should know."
Woo! That was a long transcript to note down. Y'all are welcome (But I can't figure out what brand the jeans are). I really wanted to break this down, so let's do it! Let's start with Lorelai being called 'loud and weird'. This is a character we fell in love with, flaws and all. We loved her quirk, her unparalleled ability to bring out an obscure reference and still be massively entertaining. It never completely occurred to me that Lorelai wouldn't have 'fit in' with that personality. It never occurred to me, that as a Gilmore, there was an expectation of her that meant that if she wanted to be herself, she risked being considered not a Gilmore. It's why now, I'm even more glad that she found Stars Hollow - a place that let her be her and fell in love with her because of it, that Luke fell in love with all of her not despite Lorelai's quirk and 'weirdness' because of it. This memory reflects well on her father, but the fact she doesn't mention it until this episode indicates this memory has been repressed - because she doesn't want to dwell on the idea that she's not enough - that she's too weird and loud to be loved. It's Lorelai's best birthday in that it's her best familial memory but it's intertwined with an event which probably defined how Lorelai viewed herself for so long. It's a memory which held less effect when she found a town like Stars Hollow, but one she probably managed to forget because it was the only way to shake that level of hurt and self-doubt she feels when that memory rises up. Additionally, I want to tie this to how she treats Christopher throughout the original series. I sometimes called out Lorelai for never calling Christopher out for being an absentee dad, but I defended her a lot because I kept on discussing Lorelai's internalised insecurities. This speech gives a reference point - as Lorelai's presumably first boyfriend rejected her, a suggestion that she wasn't good enough - not good enough to make Christopher stay, not good enough to be justified in 'encroaching' on Christopher's wandering self. It's this level of judgement directed towards Lorelai that makes her hesitant to call people out, because she still struggles to believe she's worth defending, that she's worth it. And I think at times she comes off as confident but when things get going, that feeling arises - without the memory revealed in 'Fall', that feeling that Lorelai hasn't learnt to overcome. Until, possibly, now.

She's happy with Luke - a revelation that Lorelai makes in 'Spring' but sounds completely doubtful of the consequences of this - like she's constantly waiting for the penny to drop. That speech was cathartic to Lorelai, gives her an opportunity to cling to a positive memory with her father while potentially letting go of the insecurities which have haunted her and make her sure in regards to marrying Luke. Technically, no marriage is still a partnership with love - but for Lorelai, marriage screams not just commitment, but being prepared and ready to handle their flaws together. Their marriage seals the deal - that this relationship is not going to be tipped over by Lorelai's next breakdown, or Luke's next secret daughter (it's been ten years, but this joke might still be raw to some). Also, the wedding montage, tied with 'Reflecting Light' in the background is just magic.

Additional Notes

  • Nitpick: Lorelai says the wedding is 'this month' and on a Sunday. When we see the montage, the wedding is on November 5 - a Saturday, and it's so early in the month Lorelai would've said it's in X days as opposed to 'this month'
  • Loved the parallel of Lorelai asking for money. Also, I would pay good money to see Luke and Lorelai in Nantucket with Emily.
  • Jess deserved better. Wow, never thought I would say that. I honestly feel no character deserves the suffering of pining after someone for so many years. It just seems so agonising!
  • Christopher deserved better. I choked on my own words saying this too!
  • "You look very happy." Truer words never spoken, Emily Gilmore.
  • I wish Emily, Sookie and Jess were at the middle of the night wedding!
  • My fake prediction - Emily keeping a maid - came true!
  • I loved the wedding montage but I also think I would've ADORED some dialogue. It felt so Alice in Wonderland!
  • The theme song comes back after Rory's final announcement. They really wanted to go full circle, didn't they?
  • "BULLSHIT!" is my new aesthetic.
  • Didn't get to discuss in detail - maybe a separate post - #JavaJunkie for life! Luke's speech was EVERYTHING I needed!
  • I'll leave you with a quote from my other favourite show - "I want to be happy, and I want to control my fate." - Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife) 
    • Haven't decided how this fits into my analysis

- I may write more, but I really want to get this posted for y'all so enjoy a fairly comprehensive review! Can't promise anything though, but I'll let y'all know via Instagram!



  1. I kind of got the feeling, especially after rewatching the whole series again recently that Lorelai is an insecure person that hides it well with her own unique personality.

    One of the reasons maybe why Lorelai never called out Christopher for being an absent Dad is because of her relationship with her own father. She maybe felt that Richard was forced to interact with her when she was younger and she would rather Christopher want to form a relationship with Rory than being forced to by his daughter or Lorelai herself.


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