Today I am happy to share the virtual microphone with friends and fellow novelists Rachel Hauck and Katie Ganshert – award-winning authors and all-around fantastic people. We’re tripling up for a review and reaction of Netflix’s long awaited and finally released A Year in the Life and hoping you will add to the conversation in the comments. It’s a long post, friends, but I think you’ll find we have hit on all the thoughts that might be vexing you if you’ve watched the reunion series.
Before I launch into my theory-laden thoughts on the Gilmore Girls reunion and invite Rachel and Katie to chime in, you need to know two things. First, gigantic spoiler alert. Huge. If you haven’t watched the four-episode series yet, and the Gilmore story matters to you, you need to hightail it out of here for now and come back when you’ve seen it. Second, I’m not exactly a true GG devotee. I didn’t watch the series when it ran back in the day and I consumed all seven seasons in the span of three months. I wanted to find out why there was so much hype about the reunion, and many good friends love the Gilmore girls. Truth be told, I felt like I had missed out on something unique and wonderful and I wanted to know what it was. After watching most of those 150+ previous episodes (I confess sometimes I fast-forwarded past the who-cares side stories. There were lots of those…) I’m still not a devotee, not like some. I can’t quite understand or embrace these characters’ community penchant for being dishonest and deceptive with each other and their parallel inability to forgive quickly and learn from their mistakes. Still, I became emotionally invested and I wanted to see where the writers of the show would take the Gilmores nearly ten years after the last episode aired.
Here’s my take:
I’m pretty sure there will be some who will be quite content with how the Gilmore Girls series was forever wrapped up with “A Year in the Life,” some will be likewise forever perplexed and some will be, like, “Nooooo!”
Without going into all the reasons why I am actually okay with what the writers decided to do, let me just say I’m one of those people who likes imagining what the future holds for characters I care about. I don’t always need an epilogue or a denouement or all the loose ends neatly tied up in a bow. For example, I have always been satisfied with how Gone With the Wind ended. Did Scarlett get Rhett back? Well, did she? The reader is invited – has always been invited – to imagine what Scarlett was able to accomplish in the days and months and years after the book ended. The reader gets to pick the result. The result she wants for Scarlett. The result she wants for herself.
I think the same is now and endlessly true for the Gilmore girls, specifically Rory Gilmore. The writers could have paired her up at the end with Logan and fully infuriated the Team Jess fans, or with Jess and massively disappointed the Loganites. So they did neither. We viewers will choose. Do you want Rory to end up with Logan? She can. She can tell Logan she’s expecting his child (yes, it must be his then, and not the one-night-stand Wookiie’s). He will break off his engagement to Odette and he and Rory will at last be together. If that’s you, just keep in mind that despite their obvious chemistry, Logan is a man who sleeps around on his fiancé. If you want her to end up with Jess, she can decide she doesn’t want to know if the child is Logan’s or not and can confide in Jess, who, despite what he said to Luke at the end there, clearly still loves her. He can be the one to step in to take care of Rory and be the dad to the child she carries. Or Rory can go it alone like her mother did. This is after all, why she went to her father to find out if he had any regrets that she was raised only by her mother.
So you have three options. Three doors. Which does Rory choose? Well, that’s up to you. And I’m not unhappy that it is.
Rachel and Katie, what is your take on all of this?
RACHEL: Let me just state something for the record: I knew Rory was pregnant the moment she asked Chris how he felt about not being a part of her upbringing. Just wanted to get that out there. Now, I’m rolling up my sleeves. It’s down to Logan vs. Jess.
In order to have a fair discussion, we have to set aside all of our personal preferences. If you’re the bad-boy, leather wearing, motorcycle loving kind, forget that’s why you love Jess. The same thing if you go for the bad boy, preppy, Mercedes driving, yacht stealing, rich boy. Also, lay aside your moral prejudices. Both men have faults.
The first question is: Who changed for Rory?
I have to give this to Logan. When Rory and Logan first hooked up, literally, he was honest with her. He didn’t want a girlfriend. But when Rory couldn’t take sharing him any longer, Logan stepped up and changed to be with her. Jess ran away. His changes never came from being with Rory but from plain old growing up.
Second important question: Who caused Rory to change?
Logan introduced Rory to a new world. The world of the upper class that was part of her DNA. While Lorelai fled the DAR, the country club and Friday night cocktail parties, Emily and Richard brought Rory in. It was in this season that brand new opportunities opened up for her. Logan mentored and protected Rory through Yale. A life she chose. She pursued the Life and Death Brigade. She pursued Logan. Logan caused Rory to see herself as something beyond a book geek and small town girl.
Jess, on the other hand, confronted Rory in her dorm room, demanding she choose Yale or him. He selfishly wanted her to run away, leaving everything behind that she’d worked so hard to achieve. He ignored her most of her dreams, only seeing what he wanted. He wasn’t willing to change, preferring to draw her into his mapless world. He never understood or respected the country club aspect of Rory’s life.
Next question: Who encouraged Rory’s dreams?
Logan earns the highest points here. He was there for her that dreadful night the Yale Daily News almost didn’t go to press! He encouraged her as editor and as a writer. His nickname, Ace, spoke right to her passion and destiny. Logan’s family had the connections Rory wanted and needed—though she turned them down—to do what she loved. Logan understood the journalist in her.
Jess was not a part of Rory’s transformation. He never supported who she was becoming. I know Team Jess will say he encouraged her to write, even gave her the idea to write the Gilmore Girls book, but that’s just being a friend. I’ll give you he was that!
Continuing with the questions: What did they have in common?
While Logan was not from a small town, he stood at the entrance to Rory’s move into a broader and higher class life. Logan and Rory had Yale, friends, and a similar social circle. His parents were friends with her grandparents. Jess understood the Stars Hollow Rory. Sometimes. I recall him challenging her to get out of the backwards, hick place. Other than the love of books, Jess and Rory never seemed to have much in common.
Don’t overlook this question: Whom did Rory say she loved? Logan. Don’t overlook this question either: Who said he loved her back? Logan. The answer to this question shouldn’t surprise you: Whom did Rory pursue when she had a chance? Logan.
When she met Jess at his coffee shop/bookstore/artist hangout, Rory had a chance to choose Jess. But she did not accept his subtle invitation to be with him. She wanted Logan. She’s always wanted Logan.
A question worth asking: Who has the best ABS? Logan! Come on … please.
Logan is Rory’s Luke
- Luke gets Lorelai’s snappy repartee and coffee addiction.
- Logan gets Rory’s. And banters back.
- Luke has always loved Lorelai. Logan has always loved Rory. Even though he’s engaged to Odette, there was a sense he wanted Rory to confess her love for him.
- Luke proposed to Lorelai. Logan proposed to Rory.
- Luke has a hard time expressing his feelings. Logan has a hard time expressing his feelings. Lorelai said, “I love you,” first. Rory said, “I love you,” first.
- Lorelai went from the country club to Stars Hollow to Luke.
- Rory went from Stars Hollow to the country club (Yale) to Logan.
- Luke has this odd loyalty to his family even though they drive him crazy.
- Logan has the same odd loyalty.
Jess is Rory’s Christopher
- Christopher was selfish, abandoning Lorelai to raise Rory alone. Same with Jess. He was selfish, angry, and abandoned Rory when things didn’t go his way.
- Christopher never really knew what he wanted to do or who he wanted to be. Same with Jess. Though both figured it out in the end.
- Christopher hated the country club set. Jess hated the country club set.
- Christopher understood Lorelai because they had a history. But he never knew how to take her where she wanted to go. Jess understood Rory wanted to spread her wings and fly, but not how to get her there.
- Christopher was the man who would always be in and out of Lorelai’s life. Jess is that same man to Rory.
- Christopher missed the monumental moments in Lorelai’s life. Jess missed Rory’s.
Susan: Rach, you almost have me thinking Rory and Logan are destined for each other. Almost. One thing still niggles at me big time. I will share what it is in the Q and A at the end. But let’s hear from Katie.
Katie: I, personally, think the end was a genius move. Because from now until Jesus returns, this will be the ongoing debate amongst Gilmore fans. Who does Rory end up with? Nobody gets to say they are unequivocally right (unless Amy comes out and gives us an answer, which would honestly make me quite sad).
As Susan says, we have three doors. Three possibilities. I’ve developed my own theory. But first, we must address the conundrum that is Rory.
As much as I loved the revival as a whole, I was mostly baffled by 32-year old Rory Gilmore. I never believed for a second that this is where we’d find her in her thirties. The girl who knew what she wanted to be since … forever? Driven, principled, type-A Rory? Yes, I know. She had her lost, aimless moments and her fair share of giant mistakes, but that was when she was barely twenty.
I mean, for real. What has she even been doing for the past ten years? Writing that article for the New Yorker?
I don’t really get it, and I think the foreignness of this new Rory makes our postulating all the more tricky, since we’re not really sure who she is anymore. With that said, let’s move on.
I have no idea why the words, “Mom, I’m pregnant” left my mouth so hugely agape. The entirety of the revival’s theme was the cyclical nature of our lives, and Rory falling pregnant outside of wedlock—faced with the same decision her mother was faced with—is very much cyclical. But shock me, it did.
Originally (once I picked my jaw up off the floor), I thought, “Logan is her Christopher.” And you know what? I was completely okay with that scenario. I’ve al ways been a big fan of Christopher. I love the relationship he and Lorelei have. I love that no matter who Lorelei chooses, Christopher will always be a part of her life. If that was the role Logan was destined to fill, then that was okay. More than okay, actually. It seemed to really fit. Until I woke up the next morning with a niggling thought in my head.
I kept returning to that scene—the one between Rory and Christopher. Unlike Rachel, I had no inkling that Rory was pregnant at the time. All I knew was that I was delighted to finally see Christopher, and also, what aging potion has he been drinking? That scene kept budging up, front and center, in my mind.
I remember watching it, perplexed. Because up until that moment, Rory never struck me as a girl with daddy-issues. She seemed content with Christopher’s role in her life. Sure, their relationship had its ups and its downs, but never once did I think that Rory was in want of more. Lorelei was her everything. Then the scene unfolds, and suddenly, I see Rory in a different light.
Christopher keeps insisting that his lack of involvement was the way it was meant to be. Lorelei and Rory were “in the cards”. And all the while, Rory looks wholly unconvinced. That’s why the scene was so jarring to me. I remember thinking, “She doesn’t agree with him. Rory Gilmore doesn’t think her mom made the right choice.”
Without knowing yet that Rory was contemplating the future of her own child, the whole thing was a mind-scratcher. Why, at 32, is she all of a sudden doubting her mother’s decision? And this is where my theory comes in: It’s one thing for Lorelei to raise her child on her own. It’s another thing for Rory, who grew up without a father, to choose that same path.
Yes, the revival was about coming full circle. But coming full circle doesn’t mean Rory must turn into a carbon copy of her mother. In fact, I think the idea of her choosing a different path from her mother carries more poignancy. Rory can’t help but wonder, “What if?”
What if Lorelei wouldn’t have been so determined to do this thing on her own? Who knows! Maybe Rory wouldn’t be living at home at the age of 32, under the delusion that writing a book is somehow going to pay any of the bills.
I’m increasingly convinced that Rory is going to tell Logan. That Rory wants to tell Logan. Because love it or hate it, Rory loves Logan. And Logan (who is afraid to ask her for more, given her rejection at the end of S7) would never leave her to raise a kid on her own.
This is the door I’m choosing to walk through.
In my happy place, the Rory and Logan ship will finally set sail. And this ship will not sink. But even if it did, “You jump, I jump, Jack.”
SUSAN: Katie, you’ve nailed a point so perfectly; the one thing that now makes me think that maybe there is a future for Rory that begins with a fourth door. Such thought-provoking commentary naturally leads to questions and ponderings! Before we turn over the mike to you, dear readers, let’s have a short Q & A to set the stage for an even more lively comments section:
So, Katie and Rachel, I can see that you are both Team Logan fans. Does it concern you that Logan isn’t huge on fidelity? If he and Rory were to marry, what would this marriage look like in ten years? Or do you see them quasi-partnered but not married and therefore okay with occasional sleeps with other people?
RACHEL: I think that should be a concern for sure! But Logan and Rory’s affair points to the fact they still love each other. Odette doesn’t know what she’s up against. Logan has never been faithful to anyone BUT Rory. He sorta cheated on her once when they were “taking a break,” and he bitterly regretted it. So when it comes to Rory, Logan would be faithful. To be fair, they’re both dogs for cheating together on Odette. “Run, Odette, Run!!”
KATIE: Here’s the thing. It became obvious that his engagement to Odette wasn’t under any pretense of love. He called it the dynastic plan, or something like that. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to imagine that it was just as much a dynastic move on Odette’s side. Perhaps the two had an understanding. Maybe Odette had her own “Rory”. Still totally messed up, for sure. But it’s what Amy Sherman-Palladino gave us. And since Rory refuses to bring up marriage, since she never once (that we can see) asks Logan to leave Odette and be with her, gun-shy Logan isn’t going to be the one to push. Not after Rory’s rejection at the end of S7. I think Logan is capable of committing. I think he’s still hopelessly in love with Rory. With that said, did the entire cheating situation make me horribly uncomfortable? Heck to the yes. I didn’t like it one bit.
What do you think, Rachel and Susan? Did you find 32-year old Rory believable?
RACHEL: She was not believable. In fact, author great Susan May Warren and I were talking about Rory and felt she became younger as the show went on! She seemed more mature at 15 than at 32.
First, for a seasoned journalist her career should’ve been more established. After all she is THE Rory Gilmore. The girl who edited the Yale Daily New and used the word “hubris” correctly on a Ivy League panel. She seemed lost. Unsure. Went into interviews without confidence, seemingly unprepared.
She was supposed to be so busy she never lived in her Brooklyn apartment yet at the end of the day, she had no jobs, lead or connections. The crazy celebrity book she was working on couldn’t have been her only opportunity. I never really understood that story line OR why she constantly traveled to London.
I feel like the writers were never really ready to let Rory grow up. I also didn’t buy she wanted to live “footloose and fancy free” at 32. Her personality likes stability, planning, knowing her future. I get show as willing to throw caution to the wind after college, but not “again” at 32.
I’d love more episodes seeing her raising her daughter and decided to MARRY Logan. Not another Lorelai story but one that creates a cohesive family like Emily and Richard.
SUSAN: This is a great question because it gets to the heart of why I think there might be a fourth door here. And that door is located in Christopher’s office. You are absolutely right, Katie. Rory doesn’t leave that office satisfied with the answer her father gives her. She is troubled when he hands her the coffee (of course, there is coffee) at the beginning of this scene and she’s still troubled when she leaves. His answer doesn’t give her the clarity she is desperate for and underscores why I am neither Team Jess or Team Logan or Team Rory solo. What I get out of this scene is that Rory clearly doesn’t believe she was meant to be raised without a father’s daily influence. She is wondering, as am I, if she would have made different choices if Christopher had had a more direct role in her life. Rory began to unravel for me when at 19 she lost her virginity to a married man. She continued to unravel, such that thirteen years later Yale-educated Rory is now homeless, unemployed, direction-less, alone, and having an affair with a man engaged to be married to someone else. I barely recognize this Rory from the 15-year-old schoolgirl I met in Season One. And in Christopher’s office, she realizes she doesn’t recognize this woman either. The fourth door could be that Rory will fall in love with the kind of man who will reconnect her to the woman she might have been if she’d had the fullness of a loving dad’s presence in her life. That man is neither Jess or Logan. That man will partner with her in life and marriage and with raising this child. That man will make the 150 episodes and Rory’s depressing decline worth the watching. The people who love us best bring out the best in us. She has yet to meet the man who loves her best. But I believe it’s possible she will.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! Dear community of followers, we want to hear from you! Please, please join the conversation in the comments section and let us know your thoughts, and visit Rachel’s and Katie’s blogs to read the comments on this blog post from their reading audience. We want to hear from you!