Gilmore Girls Season 8 Episode 4 Review: Fall

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Full freaking circle.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; Fall brings Rory, Lorelai, and Emily to their new paths after a year of change.

There are some finales that go down in history for their perfection, for the careful care that's paid to find a balance that gives fans what they want, while also serving the characters whom they took a long journey with.

In the Kitchen - Gilmore Girls

Not every show can have an ending like Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Breaking Bad.

Some shows suffer from the creator staying devoted to an ending before the story is finished being told. (We all remember the divisive How I Met Your Mother Finale.)

“Fall” gives viewers many beautiful tear inducing moments, and special nods to the magic that was the core of Gilmore Girls.

Dean: What are you gonna you say?
Rory: That you were the greatest boyfriend alive. That you were, um, generous and protective and kind and strong. That as much as I wish we'd met when I was older and more mature, I know that if I hadn't have had you with me when I did, I wouldn't be the person I am today. That you taught me what safe feels like.
Dean: Okay.

Rory is reunited with Dean in a Doose's Market exchange that brought me to tears. He's doing well, married with three kids, and a fourth on the way, living in Scranton. Good for Dean.

I admit, I was most worried about Dean post-Rory. I feared that he would live out his days continuing to be depressed because his first love got away. 

But Dean did really well for himself. This scene between he and Rory was the closure I needed between them years ago, but it was also closure I don't think could have been achieved this well back then. Years and maturity made this the best reunion with one of Rory's former loves.

Sookie returns to give Lorelai the perfect wedding cake.

Guest star Melissa McCarthy stepped right back into character, and while her time was too brief in Stars Hollow, it also completed the revival, as her absence would have been felt as equally as Edward Herrmann's.

Emily calls bullshit on the DAR in a scene that may be the greatest of Emily's in the series.

We watch Lorelai and Luke exchange vows as “Reflecting Light” plays over their ceremony. I unexpectedly shed tears over the entire sequence. This was the happy ending Lorelai Gilmore has been for waiting for 16 years.

We do one last stunt with the Life and Death Brigade before Logan Huntzberger walks out of Rory's life forever (maybe).

I went to the mall. And I was sitting in the food court, wishing I had some 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 aren't you in school?' he asked, 'Tell me right now Lorelai, why aren't you in school,' and I tried to think of something, some lie that would make sense. But I couldn't. All I could think was that 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 for a little bit I calmed down and I waited. I waited for him to yell at me to punish me to ground me forever, to tell me how disappointed her was in me. And nothing came. And I finally got up enough courage to look up at him and he was standing there with a pretzel.

Lorelai

And Emily and Lorelai finally meet in the middle, as Lauren Graham gives the performance of her career in a monologue where she calls Emily to tell her the story of her best day ever with her father.

All of these things should be the stories I gush over.

But this finale isn't Cheers. It's not Breaking Bad.

Unfortunately, it's the equivalent of the divisive ending from How I Met Your Mother.

Fans have long clamored over the final four words, the words that Amy Sherman-Palladino has long said we the words she intended on ending the series on right from the beginning.

For years, we guessed. “Coffee at Luke's? Sure,” “I love you mom,” and “Please, Luke, please please,” were all popular choices. The words that end the series are not only a cliffhanger, but somehow leave a darkness over Gilmore Girls.

Rory: Mom?
Lorelai: Yeah?
Rory: I'm pregnant.

Full circle, indeed.

Now here's the thing about this ending: maybe it would have worked better nine years ago. Maybe if we had seen Season 7 told in its entirety by its creator, that ending would have fallen in line and made complete sense.

But nine years later, it just feels off.

And before your mind drifts there, know that this isn't about the lack of closure for those of us who fall on Team Logan or Team Jess.

It's really about those of us who fall on Team Rory and Team Lorelai.

The entire setup shows Rory, Jess, and Logan mirroring the roles that Lorelai, Luke, and Christopher played over the course of the series.

Rory: But do you think it was the right decision, that she raised me alone?
Christopher: I think it was exactly what was supposed to happen, and I think she would back me up on that.

Rory's conversation with her father in “Fall” left me feeling empty, as someone who really loved Christopher's arc over the series. When Rory asked him if he felt like he missed out by not raising her, his response was like a knife to the heart for Rory.

Because he didn't regret it. He told her it worked out the way it was supposed to, reminding her that he loved her very much, but that he knew that Rory and Lorelai had something special.

So what does this mean for Logan and Rory, and Logan's role in raising their child?

Well, it would seem that Rory's conversation with Christopher was designed to help her decide whether or not she was raising a child alone, like her mother did.

And as for the Jess of it all, Luke asked Jess point blank if he was still in love with Rory. He said no, but as he gazed at her longingly through the window, it was obvious that he lied. He'd pine after Rory the same way that Luke pined after Lorelai forever.

That's the problem.

The basis of the series is that Lorelai wants to give Rory a life different from her own. That's why she wants her to go to Chilton. It's why she borrows money from her parents and establishes Friday Night Dinners.

But with this story, and Rory's failed career in journalism (let's face it, she tanked), it seems that Rory isn't going to live the life that Lorelai was desperate for her to have. And it's really tragic in the scope of the show.

Granted, the screen cuts to black after that. There's obviously a lot of story left to tell.

But if this was the ending that was always intended, I have to think that this is the finite ending.

And as a Gilmore Girls fan from day one, if I'm being honest it's a disappointing cap to put on such an exquisite work of art, one I feel that Gilmore Girls is.

This whole thing is dead to me anyhow. It died with Richard.

Emily

Overall, Emily is the Gilmore girl who benefited most from this revival.

We watched Emily grow into her own, a woman who could live as Emily Gilmore and not as Mrs. Richard Gilmore.

We cheered her on as she said goodbye to everything she owned, moved to Nantucket, and started giving talks at the Whaling Museum.

And we had the pleasure of watching Emily and Lorelai finally reach a place of closure and acceptance of one another. That's the story I most wanted to see, and the one I felt was best served by this revival.

Overall, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life gave fans answers that they've needed for years. There are many things to celebrate about the revival.

Now we sit back, with fingers crossed waiting for more, because a pregnancy announcement just can't be how we say goodbye to Rory and Lorelai.

What did you think of Gilmore Girls return? Were the final four words what you hoped they'd be? Are you glad that Luke and Lorelai finally got married? Was Sookie's return everything you'd hoped for? Are you disappointing in Rory's story, or happy with it?

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is available for streaming now on Netflix, but you can watch Gilmore Girls right here at TV Fanatic!

Fall Review

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Gilmore Girls Season 8 Episode 4 Quotes

I went to the mall. And I was sitting in the food court, wishing I had some 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 aren't you in school?' he asked, 'Tell me right now Lorelai, why aren't you in school,' and I tried to think of something, some lie that would make sense. But I couldn't. All I could think was that 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 for a little bit I calmed down and I waited. I waited for him to yell at me to punish me to ground me forever, to tell me how disappointed her was in me. And nothing came. And I finally got up enough courage to look up at him and he was standing there with a pretzel.

Lorelai

Dean: What are you gonna you say?
Rory: That you were the greatest boyfriend alive. That you were, um, generous and protective and kind and strong. That as much as I wish we'd met when I was older and more mature, I know that if I hadn't have had you with me when I did, I wouldn't be the person I am today. That you taught me what safe feels like.
Dean: Okay.