Looking Back on Gilmore Girls, Season 5 Finale

GILMORE GIRLS: 5.22 “A House Is Not a Home”

Once great thing about summer is that I get to spend some time watching some old favorites. I’ve been walking JC through Gilmore Girls. We’ve just finished season five, and I haven’t seen that finale since it was first aired. I kind-of forgot the shock it brings.

I’ve spent some time discussing Rory on this site (well, at least one blog post). While she had some reckless decisions this season from someone we typically think of as rational and down-to-earth, I contend that her actions aren’t all that out of character for her. But that’s not the real point here.

The real point is how much this episode was really a punch in the stomach for our favorite characters, namely, Lorelai. After Rory stole the boat (and got caught), she decided that she wasn’t going back to Yale. Lorelai wouldn’t have it, and she went to her parents for help. After all we’ve gone through this season, we’ve finally moved through our ups and downs with Emily and Richard. Lorelai and Richard are probably experiencing the best father/daughter relationship they’ve ever had, and Emily and Lorelai are frankly getting along (which is all you can really ask for, considering). So you almost forget who they are when they agree to help Lorelai point Rory back in the right direction.

But then, we forget that soft spot in Richard’s heart when he sees Rory cry. Suddenly, at Friday night dinner, Lorelai is blindsided by the two people she trusted — her supposed allies — turning against her. They’ve decided: Rory will take a break from Yale. She will live in the pool house with them. And they will piece her life back together.

The look on Lorelai’s face. The shock and disbelief. It was the same experience we all were feeling as we felt that moment. This was taking Rory off-track. This wasn’t right. And it was the ultimate betrayal.

But the worst? Seeing Rory unpacking her belongings, not even telling her mother what she’s chosen to do. Rory’s moving in with her grandparents, choosing the life that Lorelai never wanted from her, another betrayal.

It was certainly a twist that no one saw coming, Lorelai and viewers alike. There was only one thing that could help that moment of darkness and disappointment, that hollowed out feeling in the viewers’ chests as they saw the mother and daughter break apart. And that was five little words:

Luke, will you marry me?

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