Gilmore Girls: Bon Voyage (series finale)
(S07E22) This may not have been the way Gilmore Girls was originally supposed to end, but, as it turned out, it was a pretty good way for it to go out.
When I think about it, ending the show in such a "rip off the Band-Aid" fashion was best for everyone, including the fans. We had only two weeks to cope with the show's departure, knowing that the finale was already shot and ready to go. Nothing we could do or say was going to change how we were going to leave Lorelai, Rory, Luke, and the rest of the folks in the Gilmore world. Because of that, there was no speculation, no guessing. And there were also no grand moments, supreme life changes, and the obligatory scenes of someone looking back on an empty room before turning out the lights. It was very understated. And very satisfying.
So we didn't see Luke and Lorelai get married. So what? Yes, this finale was scripted to serve as a season finale if the show happened to go another year, leaving doors open and story possibilities to explore. But, you know, sometimes the best thing to do is to leave those possibilities unexplored. The only thing that's really final in life is... well, you know. So TV show finales don't need to be final either; they should assume the viewers would assume that these people's lives go on in some fictional land; we just won't be there to see it.
That's what we got here. Actually, there was quite a bit of finality in this episode and in the one or two before these, at least in the case of people making life transitions. Zack is going to go on tour while Lane stays home with the twins, for instance. Logan's history, off to San Fran to make his millions. Paris is going to Harvard med, with Doyle in tow. And, as we found out this week, Rory is going to follow the Barack Obama campaign around for an online magazine (though I thought it would have been more interesting if Rory was assigned to follow around Mitt Romney).
The only thing left hanging was Luke and Lorelai. But, then again, we already saw them engaged, and that was near torture to watch. Why have us go through that again? No, this was a good way to end; he goes the extra ten miles to get Rory's party together, she finds out, he tells her, "I just want to see you happy," they kiss, fade to black. We can assume the rest. Yes, Lor said earlier that she wanted a guy who knew how to feel -- and finally admitted that the karaoke performance she directed toward Luke meant exactly what everyone thought it did -- but I think what Luke demonstrated was more than enough to prove that he's at least trying to meet her half-way. Even though the kiss was ruined a bit by the CW's promotion hacks, who showed it during last week's coming attractions, it was still very satisfying to watch. It's too bad they didn't get to this a few weeks earlier.
The party was a good opportunity to bring the town together. Babette's ankles predicting rain. Kirk's DJ'ing and sash-sewing skills. Miss Patty and her Miss Pattiness. Jackson and his fruits and veggies. Sookie with her constant cheer. Taylor and his humbuggery. And it was a good opportunity to do a little goofy humor, like when Luke and the town tried to set up in the square, saw Lor and Rory talking about fanny packs, and tiptoed away in unison. Also funny was the Gilmore girls' attempt to quickly recreate the graduation for Babette, Patty, Lulu, and Kirk at the diner, right down to Rory's line that she graduated "summa cum Luke."
The party even got to Richard and Emily... well, at least Richard. He was actually moved by the fact that the entire town came out to pay tribute as much to Lorelai's raising of Rory than to Rory herself. And Emily... boy, I think I'm going to miss her the most. All the eye rolling and berating Richard about being a post-heartattack emotional mess didn't hide the fact that she was concerned that Lor was going to stop going to those Friday night dinners. Quite a nice way for the writers to tease that fact out, with Emily mentioning that Lor should add a spa to the Dragonfly, right at the top of the episode. By the end of the episode, though, we knew where she was going; proposing the loan, saying they could get together periodically to work it out. Give Lorelai credit for being mature and saying she'll keep coming because she's "used to it." Despite the blue-blooded bickering, back-and-forth snideness, and lack of outer emotions, we know that Emily wants to Lor to be in her life, and not just because Rory is around. I think that came full circle tonight.
Lane's speech to Rory about why everyone thinks she'll do great was well-done. Rory voiced what I think every viewer has thought about her at one time or another: why does everyone always think she'll do so well at everything? I liked Lane's answer: it's not because she'll excel at everything right away, but it's because she'll be able to know how to make the right adjustments in order to succeed. That's Rory in a nutshell; as hard a worker as she is intelligent. She may be freaking out over being on the campaign bus, but she'll do fine. Maybe she'll make a Obama documentary just like Nancy Pelosi's daughter made when she followed Dubya around on the campaign trail.
Speaking of journalists... who thought that Christiane Amanpour was going to be the one who eventually led Rory to that job? You know, meet the promising Yale grad, give her a business card, then all of a sudden Rory has an interview. That's how I thought it would happen. I'm glad it didn't, though; Rory's working for an online magazine, working her way up from the bottom (almost the bottom... she doesn't have to fetch coffee for anyone). It showed that not everything will be handed to her... and she's OK with that.
It was fitting that Rory's role model waited all the way to the finale to appear on the show. And it was also a good way to get Michel one last condescending monologue, this time reciting Lor's embarrassing behavior in front of celebrity guests. Who knew that many A- and B-listers came through Stars Hollow?
Nice job by Lauren Graham, as usual. What was going through her head in the scene where she finally lost it while watching Rory sleep? Was she thinking it was the end by that point? Anyway, she's been on fire acting-wise since at least the karaoke scene, if not before. Will she finally win an Emmy? Probably not. But damn if she didn't earn one tonight.
On to the final scene. Nice parallel to the first season (the pilot, maybe?) with the camera panning back on Lorelai and Rory talking over coffee in an empty Luke's, Luke happily serving them. Only this time, Rory's going to Iowa, and Lorelai is wearing that necklace Luke got from Liz. Very subtle way to show that connection; a "nice necklace" and a subtle glance between the rekindled lovers.
It was all very low-key and laid-back. It was as understated a finale as I've seen in many years -- probably because it was only semi-planned as a finale -- but in this case, I think it was appropriate. Funny, emotionally satisfying, and it leaves the viewer wanting to see what happens next in these people's lives. You really can't ask for more. Considering how hard I've been on the show all season, it's good to see it's going out on a high note. I'm giving it a 7.
I've been a fan of this show since the second season, and, recent flaws and all, I'm going to miss it dearly. Thanks to Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Keiko Agena, Edward Hermann, Melissa McCarthy, and the rest of the cast for making Tuesday nights something to look forward to for seven years. And a special thanks goes out to Amy Sherman-Palladino for creating the warm, homey, quirky world of Stars Hollow and giving the show's stars such a river of great dialogue to say. A show as uniquely funny and emotional as Gilmore Girls won't come around for quite a long time.
|1 - Worst||86 (4.2%)|
|7 - Best||1307 (63.4%)|