It's been nine years since we said goodbye to Rory Gilmore as she went off on the campaign trail with Barack Obama, Luke and Lorelai reunited, and Stars Hollow threw one hell of a going away party for the Gilmore Girls.
But that ending wasn't enough.
Longtime fans of the series were unsatisfied. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino had been at the helm of the series for six years. But they left before the show was finished, and the story that they were telling was placed on hold, replaced with stories that felt like the Upside Down of Stranger Things.
Everything looked about right. But everything and everyone was just way off base.
So we flash-forward, nine years later. The stars aligned and the Gilmore Girls are back on Netflix, sans Richard (Edward Herrmann passed away in 2014 leaving a gaping hole in the Gilmore family), with the Palladinos back in the drivers' seats, finally ready to finish the story they started sixteen years ago.
Hitting play on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; Winter filled me with feelings of anxiety. Could Gilmore Girls still feel like Gilmore Girls so many years later?
The simple answer: Yes.
I smell snow.Lorelai
And here we are, Winter in Stars Hollow.
It's easy to fall back in love with the quirky town. Long panning camera shots show us how the town hasn't changed at all, forever trapped in a time capsule. But it has new citizens who are in search of WiFi passwords, and apparently have vested interests in sewage issues.
After a brief catch up with Rory, we learn that she's had some mild success with a piece she wrote being published in the New Yorker. But beyond that, Rory hasn't been very fruitful as a journalist.
She also hasn't put down roots anywhere. Rory's life consists of crashing on her friends' couches as she hops from city to city trying to chase down stories that bigger papers just don't want – at least not from her.
Instead she writes books with crazy drunk women who steal food.
But guys, Rory has a Paul.
He's like a super hero, but his power is that you cant remember him no matter how much time you spend with him. Kind of like every Marvel movie ever.Lorelai
Poor Paul. He never had a chance. (He drinks tea, guys.)
Right away it's pretty clear that Paul isn't the guy for Rory. If he was, Lorelai and Luke would remember his glowing first (and possibly second and third and fourth) impressions.
Long story short, here's what isn't surprising; Rory might have a Paul, but she's still sleeping with Logan Huntzberger. But hey, it's all good. Logan's never been a saint.
Logan's role is a bit confusing. When we left him in Gilmore Girls Season 7, Logan was on his own, no longer working for his father and no longer with Rory, after she turned down his marriage proposal.
We can only assume THIS is the detail of Season 7 that Amy Sherman-Palladino has said she was ignoring, because Logan is working with his father in London, and he and Rory have a Vegas-rules relationship.
How will Rory and Logan's arrangement work as the story progresses through the year? That's for future reviews.
I'll jump from the youngest Gilmore girl to the oldest.
Your father was a great man, a pillar of the community – a man amongst men.Emily
Emily's story is hard to handle, mainly because of the absence of Richard. While not in any scenes, his presence looms large. And not just in a comically huge painting.
Richard's death puts a lot of things into perspective for Emily and Lorelai, though neither is ready to actually handle those things.
Emily has always been Richard Gilmore's wife. It's impossible to consider a world where she isn't handling his appointments and arrangements. But here we are, and Emily is alone.
Emily now needs to figure out how to be someone on her own, how to be Emily. But rather than do that, she'd rather push anger towards Lorelai, a coping mechanism that feels comfortable to her, like a warm blanket.
Lorelai needs to grieve her father's death just as much as Emily, but can't. The layers of complicated relationships and years of discontent and disconnect have made it challenging for Lorelai to communicate with her mother and father, or communicate about them.
So when Lorelai has no words to say about her father at a private impromptu memorial over drinks, Emily is crushed.
Emily: How dare you call me an idiot! I just lost my husband!
Loreali: I just lost my father!
Emily: And you couldn't care less.
In order to deal with Richard's loss, and how to mend the broken relationship with her daughter, Emily decides to do the unthinkable – well, for Emily Gilmore.
She asks Lorelai to go to therapy.
This is what I'm most looking forward to. These are two women who've needed to hash out their feelings with help for decades. I anticipate these to be the scenes I will love most in the Netflix revival.
Now, let's get to the topic you're most interested in.
Emily: You ever do anything unless its exactly what you want to do – you never have. You blow through life like a natural disaster, knocking down everything and everyone in your path. I wonder if Luke knew what he was getting into with you.
Emily: Did you ever even ask him what he wanted? Where he wanted to live? If he wanted children? I'm sure none of that mattered to Lorelai Gilmore, nothing ever matters to her except what she wants and what she feels.
Luke and Lorelai aren't married.
They're happy. They live together in a partnership, perfectly in sync, but somehow out of sync.
Something is missing between them, and once again, it's a lack of communication.
Side note: Did Luke learn ANYTHING from the April situation? Communication is key, man.
Lorelai never considered that Luke may have wanted more kids. Of course he wanted kids. Remember the dance marathon? Luke told Lorelai he would want kids, if it was the right person. That it would be a discussion.
The idea of Luke and Lorelai raising a child this late in life seems off – but leave it to superstar fertility specialist Paris Gellar to do her damnedest to make it happen. Lorelai is a VIP to her, after all. Luke: Nobody gets to have everything they want in life. Overall, I think I did pretty good.
He did. It's true. Luke and Lorelai have managed to be everything that they ever wanted to each other – they've just lacked that one commitment, that one thing that solidifies their relationship.
But Lorelai misses that. She thinks a baby will solve everything. She's wrong, of course. But she's willing to try.
I have a feeling that Luke and Lorelai's communicative breakdown will be very important moving forward.
Paris: Frankly, it was over the moment he wanted to do something creative.
Rory: Wow. You and Doyle split.
Paris: Well, he's a screenwriter now, Rory. Have you been to the movies lately?
Rory: I know.
Paris: Suddenly he's in jeans and wearing $200 faded rock t-shirts with bands on them he's never seen. He's flying out to 'the coast' as if this is not a coast. He's drinking vodka because it has less carbs. And then he started selling things and then I realized, 'Oh. This is going to stick.'
Rory: I am so sorry.
Paris: It's fine. I'll kill him in court.
While it's a heartbreaking thought that Paris and Doyle are getting a divorce, the small nods to Liza Weil and Danny Strong's new projects made me laugh.
But guys, Paris and Doyle were supposed to rule the world together. Perhaps the most heartbreaking news to come from this episode is knowing that they've consciously uncoupled.
On the other hand, how perfect is it that Paris would find a comfortable career in fertility? Demanding the best from clients and surrogates, matching people to every specification possible – it all reeks of Paris.
I just hate that she's doing it without Doyle.
My biggest complaint of the hour would be too much Kirk.
Kirk was always excellent comic relief in small doses, but for whatever reason, it felt like his Ooober story took forever to get through. I wanted to like his appearance at Friday Night Dinner, but it gave us more Kirk than necessary for an episode of Gilmore Girls.
Maybe we'll see a more scaled back Kirk in the upcoming seasons. My fingers are certainly crossed.
This is where “Winter” leaves us.
Lorelai's small-town life with Luke may no longer be enough for her. Emily's new journey is about to begin. And Rory's messy ties are bound to be unwound.
All three Gilmore women are on the precipice of change.
Their dark grieving period is, hopefully, over. “Spring” is coming, after all.
What did you think of the return of the Gilmores? Did “Winter” leave you satisfied and wanting more? Who were you most happy to be reunited with? Will Luke and Lorelai make it work? Sound off below!
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is streaming now on Netflix.