Directing and writing credits:
"Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels" is directed by Chris Long, written by Amy Sherman-Palladino. These are Long's previous episodes:

"Presenting Lorelai Gilmore" - Christopher cements his fuckboy status.
"The Bracebridge Dinner" - Rory and Lorelai make a very respectable Björk snowwoman.
"Help Wanted" - Richard is capable of running a successful business but doesn't understand how to buy office supplies.
"Haunted Leg" - Unfortunately, this is one of those Francie/Chilton student government episodes.
"Swan Song" - Jess lies about his swan attack injury because it's "embarrassing" 🙄
"A Tale of Poes and Fire" - Rory's going to Yale! Lorelai's on the fast-track to bankruptcy!
"The Lorelais' First Day at Yale" - I want a life coach who can help me find a kickass gynecologist.
"Chicken or Beef?" - Dean douses his trash fire life in gasoline and lights a match.

The big ASP news right now is "Ninth Street Women," the new show she's developing for Amazon with Daniel. It's an adaptation of Mary Gabriel's 2018 biography and sounds 🔥

Most batshit crazy outfit:
This pink turtleneck, blue puffer jacket, striped scarf "meh" fest is not one of Lorelai's worst, but is certainly ugly. Everything is slightly too small for her, the scarf is stupidly long, and I agree with Emily ... she should cut her fucking hair because it does not look healthy.

Liz's hair is likewise disastrous.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I understand the impulse but hate when Lorelai confronts Jess at Gypsy's. She needs to stay out of Rory's shit and let her fight her own battles. Nothing is more embarrassing than having your mom tell your ex-boyfriend, "She has moved on and she is very happy." Sure, Jan.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Sookie's not in this episode (new baby, blah blah). Lane pops up a few times and is treated relatively well throughout. She comes home with Rory for the weekend and sleeps on the couch at the Gilmore residence. Doesn't Rory have a trundle bed? In her defense, maybe she needs some separation from Lane. I love my friends but putting up with a weeks-long dorm guest would drive anyone bananas.

Best literary or pop culture references:
It's not exactly the best, but Lorelai's Sylvia Plath insensitivity is certainly memorable. As she and Rory enjoy Pop-Tarts and coffee by their open stove for warmth, Lorelai says, "Hey, did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn't crazy, she was just cold?" Does Lorelai think that Sylvia cooked herself to death?

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk is in charge of the Firelight Festival and can't handle the stress. He doesn't know how to use a walkie-talkie, allows the Morrissey kids to steal the bonfire, and spends most of the episode shouting at people. Babette has the girls over for hot chocolate and reveals that Kirk also "treed himself" trying to demonstrate how to hang the stars. She says, "It took the fire department and two cans of tuna to get him down." Kirk 4 president.

Dude has clearly been taking style tips from Mr. Rogers.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Jess is a little asshole, but his snapbacks about TJ (Michael DeLuise) are spot-on:

Luke: But we didn't come up with a solution.
Jess: A solution to what?
Luke: Are we having the same conversation? A solution to him.
Jess: A solution would have been birth control. Too late, move on.

I'm with Jess on this one. There's nothing anyone could do to make TJ a) smarter or b) more palatable. He has the personality of a golden retriever with a severe brain injury.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Jess is still reading "Billy Budd and Other Tales," his back pocket book by Herman Melville. He's also seen in Stars Hollow Books with a copy of Al Franken's "Lies & the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair & Balanced Look at the Right." The last time we saw Rory with a legit book (not Lane's fake Jesus garbage or a textbook) was in E4, "Chicken or Beef?" 🙊

Best song of the episode:
"Mona Lisa" by Grant Lee Phillips is the only song we hear (and one of my favorites).

As a teenage moron, I was obsessed with this episode. I thought Jess' declaration of love was sooo romantic and not at all manipulative; as an adult, I'm not as impressed. As much as I hate to admit it, meeting Liz and TJ does make me more sympathetic toward Jess. Of course he has no clue how to express his feelings and treats people like shit in order to free himself from potential rejection ... look at the trash pile that raised him and the men she chooses to date (assuming TJ is par for the course). We'll dive deeper later, but first let's focus on Rory and Lorelai.

Rory's home from Yale for the Firelight Festival and the house is freezing because Lorelai accidentally broke a window. Instead of hiring someone to fix it, she decides that she'll wait until Luke, her unpaid handyman, is available. She and Rory sit next to the open oven, shivering and fake eating Pop-Tarts, joking about Sylvia Plath and Jess. It's one of those coveted mother/daughter moments where it's insanely clear that yes, these two assholes are definitely related.

I guess Lorelai is a big fan of the mudflap girl.

Since Rory knows Jess is in town (they saw him freezing in his car in E12), she initially makes it a point to avoid him. Instead of grabbing breakfast at Luke's, she has a cherry danish and coffee at Weston's. It's too bad SH is fucking tiny, making it impossible to avoid anyone unless you sit inside your own house all day. Rory spots Jess, reading Melville at one of the tables, as she turns to fill her cup from one of the carafes (ew). She later runs into him at the bookstore, which isn't a shocking place for Jess, apparent Al Franken fan, to appear. In both instances, he leaves as soon as he spots her.

Their final encounter occurs at the Firelight Festival, an unlikely place for Jess to show his face since it is a rule that he must hate anything mainstream. This time, Rory spots him and runs off immediately while screaming, "My town! I leave!" Her running gait is one of the weirdest I've ever seen. Jess asks her a question that is also on my mind: "Where did you learn to run like that?" Her arms flop around haphazardly while her feet bend nearly backwards. The whole ordeal is painful and I'm glad it only lasts ~25 seconds.

Finally, after an entire year of sad silence, Rory confronts Jess with a solid speech:

"You know, I have actually thought about this moment. A lot. What would Jess say to me I ever saw him again? I mean, he just took off, no note, no call, nothing, how could he explain that? And then a year goes by. No word, nothing, so he couldn't possibly have a good excuse for that, right? I have imagined hundreds of different scenarios with a hundred different great last parting lines, and I have to tell you that I am actually very curious to see which way this is going to go."

Jess Mariano: giving ladies a false sense of "romance" from 2001-2004.

Jess tells Rory he loves her and then drives off as she stands alone in stunned silence. It's an awful move that shows nothing has changed; Jess is just as immature and emotionally stunted now as he was two years ago. Instead of apologizing for his past behavior and exhibiting vulnerability, he goes for an undeserved mic drop moment and doesn't even wait for a response. Rory should have punched him in the taint.

I loathe young Jess but can't imagine what it would be like to grow up with Liz as a mom. On the surface, she seems like a harmless hippie who collects crystals and talks to anyone who will listen about how reiki changed her life. Based on what we know about her, she's also the type of person who is so absorbed in her own shit/gross relationships that she has zero interest in parenting. Imagine watching your mom fawn all over some barely literate TJ-esque guy while nothing you do (good or bad) captures her attention. The new and improved Jess who reappears in S6 must be the result of extensive psychotherapy.

Jess and Luke's relationship is one of the few that "GG" really nails. Jess is ungrateful as hell and clearly hurts Luke's feelings during his "you make everything worse" speech but no matter how many hateful things he says, Luke never gives up on him or stops wanting to help (the envelope full of cash). Luke has his own emotional deficiencies to work on, but I appreciate how hard he tries to surpass them with Jess. A more careless person would have written Jess off a long time ago, but that's not how Luke operates.

I guess he's trying to elevate his cut hand, but how the fuck is this comfortable?

As time moves on in the "GG" universe, it becomes more difficult for me to believe that Luke and Lorelai wouldn't have at least kissed by now. When Lorelai runs into Liz, she's initially mistaken for Luke's wife because she looks "like his type." After clarifying that she's just his "friend and customer" the two have this exchange:

Liz: Luke did what he could. He always does. He's like my hero, you know. Like one of those Greek gods with the golden helmets and the shields and the sandals.
Lorelai: And the little white toga dresses.
Liz: I sound silly.
Lorelai: No, you don't. Take it from someone who's run to Luke many a time. He's definitely one of the good ones. Maybe THE good one.

Before Liz leaves, she gives Luke a pair of earrings that she made and tells him "You can give them to your wife. Or Lorelai. Whoever." We've already established that Liz is kind of a spacey hippie but even she can immediately spot Luke's Lorelai boner.

Since the show is still trying to make Jason happen, we're forced to watch a scene from the rare manuscripts acquisition fundraiser where he and Lorelai are told to pretend to be a couple. It doesn't make much sense, but I guess there are some kind of male/female quotas that Emily is trying to fill? The writers were really phoning it in with this whole conceit.

I still don't understand the "Nag Hammadi" joke and I'm not sure I ever will.

Random observations:

  • Lane is now couchsurfing at Lorelai's and still not talking to her mother.
  • "Got a handful of Barbie" will forever be one of my favorite lines from this show. Scott Patterson really nails that line reading. It's even better than Kelly Bishop's pained "I need a gimlet" screech.
  • The elder Gilmores don't give a shit about your funeral arrangements and expect you to change everything to attend a fundraiser.
  • If TJ somehow wormed his way into my family, I would be forced to stage an "accident." Like ... whoops, I put my foot on the gas instead of the break and now TJ is dead. I would happily take an involuntary manslaughter charge in exchange for his eternal silence.
  • I hate the stupid quilt hanging on the wall by Lorelai's staircase. I bet it's been hanging there for years and has never been washed.
  • Babe Wellington and Loretta Bobbins are two of Emily's rich acquaintances.
  • Luke is okay with Styx and REO Speedwagon, but Journey is apparently too much for him. I don't know what to make of this.
  • Did you notice that Jess tells Rory he loves her right near the gas pump where they had their second kiss?