Review of Gilmore Girls Season 5

New beginnings lead to unexpected endings in Gilmore Girls season 5.

Previously on Gilmore Girls…

Rory has slept with a married Dean, while Lorelai and Luke have shared their first kiss and face a crossroads of where to go in their relationship.

Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller (5.01)

Minor continuity error: Kirk didn’t run down the stairs of the inn in the previous episode until Luke and Lorelai had already broken their kiss. They had heard his panicked, night-terror induced yelling that presumably had started from his room and had jumped apart. It’s pretty much impossible that he saw them. The writers pay off the flub well though, which is all you can ask.

It’s always seemed to me like Rory goes to Lane seeking reassurance that she wasn’t in the wrong for sleeping with Dean after Lorelai rightfully condemns her for it. Lane is able to talk to her from the perspective of a friend who doesn’t necessarily hold Rory to a higher standard and who would also get caught up in the excitement of a “first time,” rather than the scandalous details-just as Rory did in the immediate aftermath.

Ironically, Lindsay fits the Donna Reed housewife fantasy to a T in this episode. There are two ways this can be interpreted. Either Lindsay changed herself according to what Dean wanted too late, or Dean wasn’t interested in that fantasy unless it was Rory filling the role. If it’s the latter, there’s something especially insidious about Dean only wanting to domesticate a woman he knew had high ambitions.

Written in the Stars (5.03)

Well, here is Mr. Logan Huntzberger and I have to say, out of the three boyfriends that Rory has throughout the series his is the worst introduction. Even worse than Dean’s creepy “I’ve been watching you” ice-breaker. Anyone whose argument against anything is “It’s a free country!” is automatically the worst. Same goes for men who ask women to call them “Master and Commander.” It’s called overcompensation, Logan.

Tippecanoe and Taylor Too (5.04)

The opening scene of Luke making Lorelai breakfast kinda fulfills the dream Lorelai has from the first episode of season three, sans pregnancy.

Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant (5.06)

I’m glad Danny Strong, the actor who played Doyle, had matured enough in the year or so between the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the start of his role on Gilmore Girls that I rarely see him as his character on Buffy, Jonathan.

When Rory told Jess back in season three’s Swan Song that he must have been the one to start a fight with Dean because “Dean wouldn’t do that”, Jess shot back, “He might get his big white Stetson dirty.” What is Dean wearing in this episode? A big white Stetson.

When Chris left Lorelai at the end of season 2, he said it was because he didn’t want to repeat the mistakes he made with Rory. He didn’t want to just “take off, disappear” again. Except now we find out, he essentially did. He’s been missing from Gigi’s life for the majority of the time that has passed since she was born. He has no idea how to be a father to either of his daughters because he’s never spent sufficient time with them. It’s time for him to step up. Lorelai did for Rory when she was only 16, and now Christopher has to for Gigi at a much more stable point in his life.

You Jump, I Jump, Jack (5.07)

Zach is painfully average next to Lane. She could do better, but she could also do worse. Ah, the classic tale of true love.

Richard tells Luke that he’ll have “Margie” call him with the details of their planned golf outing. As we learned in season two’s episode Help Wanted (2.20), Margie is the name of his old assistant that refused to follow him to his new firm because it meant a downsize in salary. Either she has since changed her mind, or Richard is rudely insisting upon calling his secretary by the wrong name.

How does Rory not find it concerning that Logan has “an eye for dress sizes?”

Why does Rory, or anyone for that matter, have to take major risks in order to “live?” Rory has happily lived through her books. She said as much in her graduation speech in the season three finale. She shouldn’t have to change that to better fit into Logan’s lifestyle. I understand that this particular instance can be attributed to Rory wanting to satisfy her journalistic potential, but it is the entryway to similar thrill-chasing stunts that cannot be justified by Rory’s ambitions.

Wait. The Life and Death Brigade members, at least Logan but probably most if not all of them, are recreational drug users as well as copious drinkers. How has no one died performing/coordinating these stunts?

Emily Says Hello (5.09)

Rory’s speech to Richard about how “It can be nice to go back to something that’s comfortable” betrays the exact mindset that got her into the recent adulterous mess with Dean.

Come Home (5.12)

The way Lane and Zach talk about the Kim household while waiting to be allowed in is reminiscent of how Lorelai, Rory, and now Luke talk about the Gilmore household before Friday night dinners.

Wedding Bell Blues (5.13)

When Rory get defensive about the Life and Death Brigade, it seems suggested from the way it is shot that we’re supposed to be on Lorelai’s side and thus not want Logan’s lifestyle to appeal to Rory.

Kudos where kudos is due: at least Logan is straightforward with Rory about not wanting a relationship.

Say Something (5.14)

Well, the warm fuzzies that accompanied the kudos to Logan were nice while they lasted. He’s a manipulative ass in his last scene of this episode. It’s one thing to make a mistake by not telling Rory about his poker game-a simple thing to inform her of when he invites her over, but oversights happen. It’s another to not admit to his mistake, retell the course of events in his favor, and wrongly place the blame on her shoulders. He makes it out to be like the situation was an all-or-nothing game to be won, but it wasn’t.

See my “Worst Episode” section below for my concerns about how Luke/Lorelai face conflict.

Pulp Friction (5.17)

While my heart breaks for Lorelai when she says that she has concerns that casual dating isn’t suited for Rory but can’t voice them without fear of losing her forever, I can’t help but wonder what has changed since Lorelai was encouraging Rory to casually date last season. Is it because sex has now been thrown into the mix?

But I’m a Gilmore! (5.19)

Doyle just?? Allowed himself into Paris’ dorm while she wasn’t there?? Expecting her to take care of him?? Before they’ve even defined themselves as being in a committed relationship?? Um??

Blame Booze and Melville (5.21)

Luke says in the limo that he hasn’t been drunk in years. He was drunk last season when Jess told him that he gets too involved in everyone else’s business.

Kirk having an abundance of money is the perfect pay-off (ba dum tss) to the running gag of his many jobs for the past five seasons.

It’s not okay that Sookie flat out tells Jackson that he’s going to get a vasectomy immediately without having discussing it with him previously. She even has a big, muscular nurse escort him to ensure that he doesn’t put up a fight. That is coercion.

While Rory’s aptitude for journalism can be debated, Mitchum is not qualified to be the one who discredits her. As Lorelai will say herself in the following episode, Mitchum didn’t read any of Rory’s articles. He didn’t speak to her teachers or seemingly even closely monitor her during the internship. He saw one meeting in which she understandably didn’t speak up because she didn’t think it was her place.

Best Character: Emily Gilmore

To anyone paying attention, the character of Emily Gilmore was groundbreaking in 2000 and dishearteningly still is in 2017. To have a dually likable/unlikable female character over the age of 50 in a major role on a teen-targeting network like the WB was unheard of when Gilmore Girls first premiered, but the series’ emotionally fraught fifth season is when the character shines the brightest. It was the season that depicted once and for all how refreshingly complicated she is on her own, without Richard as a constant extension. We saw her be funny when she told Richard to buy her a boa and take her to Reno, generous when she took Rory with her to Europe, vain when she criticized Luke as a partner for Lorelai, picky when she was picking out an outfit for her first post-separation date, and devastated when she returned from that date to an empty house all before she and Richard reunited halfway through the season. She impressively never lost the respect and due attention that was owed to her by the narrative.

Best Episode: A House Is Not a Home (5.22)

Yes, you read that right. My favorite episode this season isn’t the iconic You Jump, I Jump, Jack or Wedding Bell Blues. It’s A House Is Not a Home, an episode that has tremendous impact to the arcs of the characters and how we perceive them.

Rory’s dropping out of Yale after stealing a yacht is the result of years of forced upon perfectionism that composed her identity, that then crumbled when Mitchum told her she didn’t have it. Her journalistic skills and her path towards becoming a foreign correspondent were the few things left she was sure of after a year of chaos and confusion about who she was and what she was capable of. She has no innate flexibility or adaptability that she can use as crutches when she gets crushed. The season started with her committing adultery because of that lack, and the seasons ends with her upgrading to committing a felony and familial betrayal.

Lorelai and Luke, shaken in the aftermath of what Rory’s done, take a more positive step in their relationship and lives. But is it a positive step? Lorelai is driven to propose by hearing the lengths he would go to for Rory, a reminder of the lengths he’s always gone to for both of them. She needs something to hold onto when the world is spinning around her in the same way that Rory does. Lorelai once said back in season one that a proposal should be planned. It should be a grand romantic gesture akin to a thousand yellow daisies. What does it mean that this proposal wasn’t that?

Worst Episode: But Not As Cute As Pushkin (5.10)

This episode could and would have been fine if future episodes had taken a different turn, but the events that unfold here foreshadow every complaint about narrative/relationship choices I have for the rest of this season and beyond.

Luke and Lorelai’s contrived communication problems are incredibly frustrating considering they have years of close friendship behind them. Lorelai should be confident enough in their relationship to flat out ask Luke the reason behind his conveniently overlooked annual “Dark Day” and to tell him that she bought his boat in what she genuinely believed to be his best long-term interest. Luke, in return, should be able to address the issues he faces in a manner that isn’t abrasive to everyone around him, even innocent bystanders. These interactions hint at what will always lie at the root of their relationship problems. Lorelai has the type of personality that she wants to immediately discuss a problem when it arises. She has faith in her verbal skills’ ability to resolve a problem so long as her conversation partner listens to what she has to say. Luke, however, has the type of personality that causes him to distance himself physically and emotionally from a problem until he is faced with the distinct possibility of losing someone he cares about. Like mother, like daughter; like uncle, like nephew.

Meanwhile, the targeted prank that Logan orchestrates highlights why he is and will be wrong for Rory as a romantic partner. It shows either a complete ignorance or disregard for what Rory values. First of all, Rory hates being caught off guard, especially when in public. She craves preparation so she can have time to decide how to act appropriately in a given set of circumstances. Second of all, Rory hates wasted educational potential. Logan, Colin, and Finn have disrupted precious class time that would have been dedicated to learning. Lastly, Rory is trying to provide a good example for Anna, a student from Chilton, on the day that the prank occurs. Being told to “Give [Logan and Colin] back their balls!” isn’t exactly conducive to that. Rory sums it up herself: “You and me-very different people.”

Final Tallies of Every Time Dean Forrester Was the Worst:

17. Skulking around the Gilmore house post-sex, presumably to see how Lorelai and Rory would react to this latest mistake.

18. Screaming at Lindsay for answering his cell phone right after he cheated on her.

19. Not planning to break up with Lindsay if she hadn’t found Rory’s letter.

20. Childishly getting into a Bop-It fight with Luke.

21. Breaking up with Rory in public AGAIN.

22. Leaving the series-until the revival-with a whimper by bitterly trying to convince Luke that his relationship with Lorelai would never work.

Best Lines (in chronological order):

“Well, then buy me a boa and drive me to Reno because I am open for business.”-Emily in response to Richard’s “Only prostitutes have two glasses of wine at lunch.” (“Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller”)

“It was at Luke’s, it was at lunch, it was a very busy day, the place was packed, and this person -…This person comes tearing into the place in a caffeine frenzy. I was with a customer. She interrupts me, wild-eyed, begging for coffee, so I tell her to wait her turn. Then she starts following me around, talking a mile a minute, saying God knows what. So finally I turn to her, and I tell her she’s being annoying — sit down, shut up, I’ll get to her when I get to her..She asked me what my birthday was. I wouldn’t tell her. She wouldn’t stop talking. I gave in. I told her my birthday. Then she opened up the newspaper to the horoscope page, wrote something down, tore it out, handed it to me. So I’m looking at this piece of paper in my hand, and under ‘Scorpio,’ she had written, ‘you will meet an annoying woman today. Give her coffee and she’ll go away.’ I gave her coffee..She told me to hold on to that horoscope, put it in my wallet, and carry it around with me – [pulls a small scrap of paper from his wallet and holds it out to Lorelai] one day it would bring me luck.”-Luke to Lorelai when she tries to remember how they met. (“Written in the Stars”)

“It’s 11 o’clock at night. Who are you hoping to hook up with now — Spike and Drusilla?”-Rory (“But Not as Cute as Pushkin”)

“I have no words..Oh no, wait. I found some. Jerk, ass, arrogant, inconsiderate, mindless, frat boy, lowlife, buttface miscreant.”-Rory to Logan after his prank in the classroom. (“But Not as Cute as Pushkin”)

“Where the hell were you when she got the chicken pox and would only eat mashed potatoes for a week, or where were you when she graduated high school, or started college? Huh? Who the hell moved her mattress into her dorm, and out of her dorm and back into her dorm again?”-Luke to Christopher (“Wedding Bell Blues”)

“Like I’m Sponge Boy Big Pants or something? I do not entertain children.”-Michel (“Say Something”)

“Luke, will you marry me?”-Lorelai (“A House is Not a Home”)

RANKINGS OF GILMORE GIRLS SEASONS:

  1. Season 2
  2. Season 4
  3. Season 3
  4. Season 5
  5. Season 1

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