Most, if not all, Gilmore Girls fans will choose either season six or season seven as their choice for least favorite season. Not to give the results of my rankings away, but personally, my choice would be season seven. I’ll explain more in-depth in that review, but suffice it to say I find value in the sixth that just isn’t present in the seventh (For one thing, any season that has Jess in it is automatically superior to one that doesn’t). However, though I may not agree, I do understand the opposite perspective.
Lorelai and Rory’s passivity to the events that occur in their own lives is a subtle but pervasive weakness to this season. They both start off having made major decisions, but then go multiple episodes refusing to fight for or work towards what they truly want and allowing themselves to be pushed around by their significant other. This sadly is a pattern not unusual for Rory, but it is for Lorelai, and having both of them succumb to it simultaneously is enough to drive the viewer to frustrated depression in an otherwise lighthearted, warm blanket of a series. It may be realistic, but realism has never been what viewers of Gilmore Girls showed up for. It’s disorienting to have the blanket ripped away.
Previously on Gilmore Girls…
Rory stole a yacht with Logan after being told by his father she doesn’t have what it takes to be a journalist, then dropped out of Yale and moved into the elder Gilmore’s pool house. Seeking comfort, Lorelai proposed to Luke…
New and Improved Lorelai (6.01)
While I have no doubt that Luke and Lorelai belong together, they shouldn’t get engaged because Lorelai “needs to be happy right now.” As I said in my season five review, Lorelai is using Luke and their relationship as an emotional crutch to hold herself up in the aftermath of the turmoil that Rory has caused.
The amount of white privilege that is present in freely being able to throw a mass incarceration themed party is immense. It perfectly encapsulates the thoughtlessness of the world Rory is in danger of falling into with Logan.
Fight Face (6.02)
Rory got 300 hours of community service to be completed over a six month period. That’s about a little more than an hour and a half of service per day. That is not a “full-time job in itself” by any definition.
Twenty-One is the Loneliest Number (6.07)
When Richard shows up at Lorelai’s house to reenlist her in the fight to get Rory back to school, he says, “Rory is turning twenty-one years old…That’s not a child.” Lorelai expresses confidence that Rory can make it back to Yale on her own, to which Richard replies, “Oh, please, she’s twenty-one. I couldn’t tie my shoe at twenty-one.” Um…what? Which one is it, Richard?
Lorelai and Rory have been planning what they would do for Rory’s twenty first birthday since Rory was in kindergarten. How old Lorelai would have been then? Twenty-one.
Rory tells Logan that he has her virtue, so she’s gonna have to buy the next guy a sweater. Is she trying to hide her affair with Dean?
The Perfect Dress (6.11)
The episode opens with Luke asking a newly returned, peppy Lorelai and Rory, “Don’t you two believe in jet lag?” They are returning from Atlantic City. There is no time zone difference between New Jersey and Connecticut, Luke.
Fun catch: Rory’s hands change into a man’s as she’s driving away from her house.
A little weird that Lorelai wants to get married on June third, which was Rory’s court date. Perhaps she wants to redeem the day?
It has always frustrated me that Rory doesn’t include Jess in her hysterical tirade during the therapy session. She’s ranting about how Logan’s “gone, and then he shows up out of the blue…And [blurts out], by the way, I love you.” The callback to Jess is just lying there begging to be said, yet it isn’t. The only explanation I can think of is that her relationship with Jess is the one that most needs to be unpacked in a setting like therapy, which is why the writers didn’t want to even touch it. They were aiming for a comedic scene and didn’t want any seriousness weighing it down.
Just Like Gwen and Gavin (6.12)
Lorelai berates Logan by pointing out that since he’s entered Rory’s life, Rory has been “arrested, convicted, she’s on probation, she’ll have a criminal record unless [they] can get it expunged, she dropped out of school, moved out of [her] house, she didn’t speak to [Lorelai] for five months, three weeks, and sixteen days.” Five months, three weeks, and sixteen days. Between Luke not knowing how time zones work last episode and Lorelai apparently not knowing how many days are in a week, they really are a match made in heaven.
Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting (6.13)
The Friday night dinner scene is a masterpiece BECAUSE it’s such a break from the usual directorial language of the series. It’s a risk that pays off. That’s not even to mention the icing on the cake-the dialogue that is repeated word to word from the pilot by Emily: “When you get pregnant you get married. A child needs a mother and a father.” Halfway through a season that has challenged the viewer’s perception of this series and its characters more than ever before, the repetition of the pilot dialogue is a refresher of the series’ core mission statement of examining that very mindset. Is Lorelai better off for having had a mother AND a father? Is Rory worse? These are questions that will never be definitely answered but always worth exploring.
The Real Paul Anka (6.18)
Nice bit of possibly coincidental continuity: April asks Luke if he ever saw the original Star Trek, to which he responds in the affirmative. Back in season two, Mia, the owner of the Independence Inn, outed Luke as a long-time Trekkie.
The fact that Rory used Logan’s research says in and of itself that she knew he was doing the work for his article. She embarrassed him on purpose out of pettiness and spite. Regardless of whether you feel he deserves it or not, it’s satisfying that she got to outsmart him for once.
Between Gigi in season five’s “Come Home” and Sissy in this episode, Emily has got to stop referring to children who inconvenience her as “it.”
There is a glaring flaw in Rory’s claim that she came to the Open House to cheat on Logan: she’s not the one who initiated the kiss. Jess gave no indication in their last meeting that he was interested in anything more than showing her his book and catching up, so she had no reason to think that he would initiate anything either. The truth is, she didn’t come for that. The kiss that they share, however brief, is genuine on her part. When she laments, “I couldn’t even cheat on him the way he cheated on me,” she’s comparing the self-disgust she feels for just kissing Jess to the seeming lack of it that Logan feels for sleeping with an entire bridal party. Just listen to how beaten down, ashamed, and resigned she sounds when talking about her feelings for and relationship with Logan. She admits that everything but Logan is fixed, rather than arguing that being with Logan doesn’t need fixing. Rory and Jess’ timing is tragically, once again, off. As he succinctly summarizes before she flees, “It is what it is. You. Me.”
Super Cool Party People (6.20)
All the hate and vitriol that gets aimed towards April for putting a wedge between Lorelai and Luke should actually be aimed towards Anna. What kind of mind-set is,
“Engaged isn’t married. People get engaged all the time?” People get married and divorced all the time too. Waiting until Lorelai and Luke are married won’t drastically reduce the chance that Lorelai could disappear from April’s life eventually, but starting to build a relationship between them before they’re married could help ease the transition for April so she doesn’t feel left out from her father’s life.
Driving Miss Gilmore (6.21)
I strongly believe that Logan and Rory wouldn’t have survived as a couple much longer if he hadn’t gotten into his accident. Any residual negative feelings Rory had towards him after the bridesmaid incident were pushed to the back of her mind so that she could care for him in his time of need.
This episode marks a year since Mitchum told Rory that she didn’t have what it takes to be a journalist, yet she still obsesses over minor, passing, neutral comments that he makes about her. It’s good that she’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t allow his opinions to validate her anymore, but now she needs to move beyond that to total and complete indifference for the sake of her journalistic connections if nothing else. Her phone conversation with the Wall Street Journal writer was embarrassing.
Even though this episode does give one last horrifying detail of Liz’s last pregnancy-“I’m gonna do all the healthy things for me I did not do last time I was pregnant, like not binge drink”- it also ultimately reveals her regret of how poor of a mother she was to Jess. It’s enough to reassure the viewer that this second baby she’s carrying will be okay. He/she will most likely turn out weird, with Liz and TJ as parents, but will be safe and properly cared for.
Lorelai’s breakdown isn’t about April. It’s not even entirely about getting married. It’s about the fact that ever since April came into their lives Luke hasn’t been there for her emotionally. She tried to gap the divide by being there for him with April, but kept being shut out. The ultimatum in this episode was one last cry for help, one last vocalization of what she needed and Luke just…..stammered and stared. He wouldn’t jump, so she jumped without him.
There’s something gut-wrenchingly beautiful about how similar in structure this episode-Lorelai and Luke’s breakup episode- is to last season’s finale-their engagement episode. Some kind of out of the ordinary event is being held by Stars Hollow. Taylor gets fed up and discombobulated. Lorelai is told of undesirable choices made by the people she loves, which springs her into spontaneous, comfort-seeking actions. We’ve come full circle.
Best Character: Jess Mariano
In a season that brings the worst qualities of each of the main characters to the forefront, Jess manages to shine brighter than ever. Since begging Rory to run away with him, he has gotten his life together through his own sheer force of will, talent, and hard work even when the odds were stacked against him, even when he would have had every age-old excuse to fail, including parental neglect and abandonment. He has written a book, gotten a steady job doing something he loves, and has made friends based on mutual respect. He fulfilled his potential and proved everyone in Stars Hollow, with the exclusion of Rory and Luke, wrong.
Best Episode: Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out (6.08)
What makes this episode the best of the season are the intricacies one can only fully understand and appreciate when they think of them in the bigger picture of the series.
Rory’s life in Emily and Richard’s house is meant to serve as a glimpse into the kind of life Lorelai lived for sixteen years. The stifling, spying, constant criticism, manipulation, and sudden mood changes are all aspects of what Lorelai suffered through but are made all the more ridiculous by Rory being 21 rather than 16. Furthermore, Logan is Rory’s forbidden escape from them in the same way Christopher was to Lorelai. Both men come from the upper class world so are respected enough to get close in the proper settings, but represent either past or present troublemaking that draws disdain from the elder Gilmores. The writers go as far as making the parallel between Lorelai and Rory textual in this episode by incorporating Emily’s hotheaded comment to Rory, “Just wait until your father gets home.” The key difference of why the viewer doesn’t feel as sympathetic towards Rory when she speaks unfavorably of the living conditions with her grandparents as we do when Lorelai says the same is because Lorelai didn’t have a choice of living under that roof for those sixteen years. Rory did.
Rory and Jess are what is referred to in literary study as foils-they reflect and contrast each other in order to highlight certain characteristics or possibilities within each other. In their case, they illustrate how the other could have turned out if their teenage mother had made different choices and/or came from different backgrounds. Lorelai came from wealth and privilege but chose to do what she believed was best for her daughter by taking her to Stars Hollow and always prioritizing her, while Liz came from a more middle class background and selfishly chose to leave Stars Hollow for reasons unknown. Rory and Jess are polar opposites in this regard, but at their core they are interconnected in the way yin and yang are. Jess is referring to this phenomenon when he says he knows her better than anyone. He might not have been there to know of all of the events and choices Rory has made since he left, but they share an inherent understanding that no else, not even Lorelai, can usurp. That’s why it’s so fitting that he be the one to get her back to Yale-Jess challenges what Rory is “supposed” to be by his very existence. Who else could get her to turn away from what she thinks she’s supposed to be after Mitchum crushed her and instead reaffirm what she wants to be?
Worst Episode: A Vineyard Valentine (6.15)
Where do I start with why this episode is the worst? Repetitive, unfunny gay jokes? Check. Luke being insufferable almost the entire time? Check. Logan and Rory being sickeningly domestic that’s unearned after the turmoil their relationship has gone through since 6.08? Check. Rory uncharacteristically wanting to go to the gym of all places? Check. Lorelai and Rory obnoxiously somehow getting laundrymen at the gym to give them massages? Check. Luke colluding with Logan to give Lorelai a Valentines present that he didn’t buy himself? Check. The episode ending with Luke still insisting that Lorelai not meet April despite having just reaffirmed that he wants to marry her? Check. It’s all an unlikable, badly written mess.
Best lines (in chronological order):
“I can’t believe Rory’s turning 21. It seems like just yesterday she was crying because you told her Charlotte Bronte couldn’t come to her sleepover because she’s dead.”-Sookie (“Twenty-One is the Loneliest Number”)
“I just wanted to show you [my book] and tell you I couldn’t have done it without you.”-Jess to Rory (“Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out”)
“WHY DID YOU DROP OUT OF YALE?”-Jess knocking sense into Rory in “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out”
“Well, if you expect that muffin to fly back to the kitchen, you better go get it a cape.”-Emily to her maid (“The Prodigal Daughter Returns”)
“Welcome to the SH, bitch!”-Zach to Lane’s uncle, thinking he’s her new boyfriend (“Just Like Gwen and Gavin”)
RANKINGS OF GILMORE GIRLS SEASONS:
- Season 2
- Season 4
- Season 3
- Season 6
- Season 5
- Season 1