This post contains spoilers for all four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Gilmore Girls fans have waited nine years to hear the last four words that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino originally planned for the show, and those who binged all four episodes of Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival on Friday got them:
For most TV shows such a jaw-dropping revelation would indicate there’s another season coming, but that’s probably not the case for Gilmore. After all, Sherman-Palladino has said that those lines were intended to be the final words uttered at the end of the show’s original run. She had always envisioned a cliffhanger, and finally she got it.
If you’re angry, happy, sad or just confused—you’re not alone. Fans wanted to both relive Rory’s childhood and see her flourish as an adult. After viewing the first two installments in the revival, I had previously written that even as Rory strayed from her childhood home, the imperatives of nostalgic storytelling pulled her back. Rory had to contend with the fact that there was a part of her that could never truly grow up. Little did I know the Rory would spend the next episodes constantly yelling at Stars Hollow residents, “I’m not back!” before finding herself in a similar situation to that of Lorelai 32 years ago.
The internet is still trying to process those final words that are both so obvious and yet so illusive. Rory has always been more mature and responsible than Lorelai, so having a baby with an engaged man seems rather out of character. (Sorry, Paul. Logan is the most logical baby daddy.)
Then again, the parallels between Lorelai and Rory’s lives have been well-established. Sherman-Palladino has often said that Logan is Rory’s Christopher. Both are spoiled but kindhearted, initially reckless but grow to be mature and love a ridiculously expensive romantic gesture. (Logan offering Rory a house reminded me of the time Christopher buys Lorelai a restaurant in Paris just so she can eat in the middle of the night. Libraries and 24-hour McDonalds exist, people.)
So there’s a certain circle-of-life logic to Logan impregnating Rory. Other parallel moments abound in this episode: Emily loans Lorelai money in exchange for visits in Nantucket; Luke and Lorelai’s wedding is set to the tune of Sam Phillip’s “Reflecting Light,” the song that Luke and Lorelai danced to at Liz and T.J.’s wedding; A Year in the Life begins and ends with the two Gilmore Girls sitting on the gazebo steps.
Jess, then, would be Rory’s Luke. It’s not a one-to-one comparison. Jess was a troublemaker and Luke a disciplinarian. But that began to change during the original run of the show. By the time we’ve reached A Year in the Life, Jess’ biggest act of rebellion is tossing Luke’s hat on the street. He’s now a mature, caring adult—the stable choice compared to an engaged Logan. And the way Jess moons after Rory towards the end of the show is textbook Luke longing.
Rory will be torn between the two, a revelation that explains her awkward encounter with her father Christopher. Rory did not visit Christopher to tell him about her book. She visited him to ask whether Lorelai made the right decision to raise Rory alone—and implicitly whether Rory should make the same decision for her child.
Of course when Sherman-Palladino first conjured up this ending, she meant it for a 23-year-old Rory, not a 32-year old one. The circumstances were different, and perhaps the baby daddy’s identity would have been, too. But my guess is Logan would still have been the father if this plot had played out nine years ago. Sherman-Palladino could have paired Rory with any of her exes in A Year in the Life and given them fiancées to hamper a relationship, but she picked Logan.
Indeed, A Year in the Life often plays like a re-do of the final, much-maligned season of Gilmore Girls. Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino parted ways with the show before the seventh season over contract disputes. The creators have since claimed in interviews that they never watched it. The Netflix revival tries to erase much of what happened in that final chapter: Why would Logan and Rory be back together after she rejected his proposal at the end of season seven?
(Let’s pause on the issue of Rory and Logan’s affair because it begs a series of questions: After Lorelai and Rory clashed over Rory sleeping with a married Dean, why would Lorelai be so unconcerned with Rory’s ongoing affair with an engaged Logan? Why would Rory be comfortable sleeping with Logan after seeing the fallout from her affair with Dean? And why is a 32-year-old still caught up in her childhood romances?)
Rory and Logan’s reunion can best be explained by the fact that this is where Sherman-Palladino has always wanted Rory to end up—a Yale graduate, pregnant and on the cusp of another love triangle, this time between Logan and Jess. We don’t need to see what happens next because we already watched seven seasons plus four 90-minute episodes of it with Lorelai, Christopher and Luke. That’s how Sherman-Palladino intended to end the story. But depending on the ratings, Netflix may have other ideas.