Directing and writing credits:
"Come Home" is directed by Kenny Ortega, written by Jessica Queller. Here are Ortega's previous credits:

"They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" - A series highlight, no question.
"A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" - I want drunk Sookie to attend all of my Thanksgiving dinners.
"Face-Off" - Where's the footage of Rory moshing at the Distillers' concert?
"A Family Matter" - We finally get to meet Liz, Luke's sister and one of my most hated characters.
"Written in the Stars" - Asher Fleming is dead, but not because of Paris' vagina.
"You Jump, I Jump, Jack" - Logan, a dude who has grown up with more privilege than most can even imagine, gives Rory a lecture about how "sheltered" her life is.
"Emily Says Hello" - Pregnant Sookie is obsessed with mixing niche vegetables and milk chocolate.

Queller has been working as a producer on "GG" since S4, but this is her first (and only) writing credit. If there's a WB teen drama that you enjoyed in the early 2000's, chances are good that Queller was involved. She worked on "Felicity," "Gossip Girl," "One Tree Hill," and "The Carrie Diaries." She also published a memoir called "Pretty Is What Changes," about testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation and deciding to undergo a mastectomy (a la Jane in "The Bold Type"). Queller is currently an executive producer on "Supergirl."

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Prepare yourself for a bonanza of inappropriate scarf-wearing because this episode has it in spades. We'll start with the least offensive examples first.

Zack's hat and shiny leather jacket are all kinds of wtf.

Although neither adhere to my style standards, I'm okay with these scarf choices. Both are appropriate enough for winter in Connecticut. The thin/useless frippery that Rory and Lorelai sport at Friday night dinner? Not so much.

WHY EVEN BOTHER, LADIES?

Brian and Rory both sport dumb over the shoulder looks that I dislike but can't technically knock because I'm sure they are warm.

I can't get a good shot of Brian, so you'll just have to trust me.

The worst offender by far is Simon McLane and his "rich man at a fancy event" drape. I've never understood this style choice. It doesn't add warmth or panache to the overall ensemble and its enduring popularity is baffling. It makes sense if the purpose is to incorporate a pop of color or an additional pattern, but Simon's choice serves neither of those purposes.

A cup of plain yogurt masquerading as a human.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
As mentioned in the "But Not as Cute as Pushkin" comments section, Rory doesn't really show interest in Logan until Seymour Hersh's name is bandied about in the newsroom by Doyle. When they first meet outside of her dorm room in "Written in the Stars," Rory isn't exactly thrilled with his attitude and gives him a sanctimonious lecture about acting like a snob. In "Norman Mailer, I'm Pregnant!" Doyle mentions that Logan's dad is Mitchum Huntzberger, "the newspaper magnate," which immediately piques her interest. I'm honestly not sure if this makes her relationship with Logan more or less annoying.

The Dragonfly Inn's "sexual harassment" seminar proves that Lorelai is a shitty boss who takes nothing seriously. If I were her employee, I would probably start stealing things from the inn as a small act of retaliation against her incompetence. The missing Toblerones? That would be me. When I worked at Macy's in high school, I used to steal Godiva chocolate bars whenever management pissed me off. Fuck the corporate overlords ✊🏻

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Rory doesn't have any substantial interactions with Lane or Paris. Lorelai is a good friend to Sookie by supporting her need for alone time and advising her to tell Jackson how she feels. I can't imagine being in the type of marriage where I didn't feel comfortable telling my husband to fuck off for an hour so that I can watch "Dark Shadows" and eat chocolate in peace.

This BFF moment is brought to you by "Dark Shadows."

Best literary or pop culture references:
Apparently, Mrs. Kim has been hanging on to Lane's old Madonna t-shirt because "little whore's face good to scrub scum." Yikes. I always thought she was saying "little horse face" but there is no horse on the shirt in question, which is from Madonna's 1985 "The Virgin" tour and could probably sell for $200+ on eBay. I like Kyon's heavy skepticism when Lane claims, "I wore this, ironically, by the way. I was never into her. Not my thing."

My dad would definitely agree with Mrs. Kim's "all t-shirts are dust rags" mentality. Many of my concert and race t-shirts were used for cleaning, often long before I was done wearing them.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk crashes a staff meeting at the Dragonfly and complains that there is no food spread, which is valid. After Lorelai yells at him for doing this, he's found assembling the bouquet garni in Sookie's kitchen. He tells Lorelai, "I thought I might want to work on a kitchen staff someday, and I figured this was a good place to learn." Later, he's seen taking messages at the reception desk. I have no choice but to respect the hustle.

Kirk is one industrious motherfucker.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
I love when Mrs. Kim shows up unexpectedly at the Hep Alien band practice, calls their music "noise," and breezily doles out pointed criticism.

Mrs. Kim: You couldn’t even hear me over that noise.
Lane: That noise is my passion, Mama, and you’re keeping me from it.
Mrs. Kim: β€˜E’ string was flat, too.

In the finale, we find out that Mrs. Kim was once a member of "an all-girl Christian tambourine band," so this checks out.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Rory and Logan have this back-and-forth at the pub after he mentions his dad's newspaper soiree:

Rory: How can meeting Seymour Hersh be boring? I love him. I read "My Lai Four" when I was twelve and I’ve been obsessed with him ever since.
Logan: You read a book about the My Lai massacre when you were twelve?
Rory: Well, I polished off Nancy Drew that year too.

I want to make a snarky comment here, but young Lindsay was just as horrible.

I have nightmares about Rory's horrible posture in this pub scene.

Best song of the episode:
"Six Months in a Leaky Boat" by Split Enz plays in the pub during Logan and Rory's final meeting. I prefer the cover by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, but the original is solid.

Thoughts:
This episode has it all: cute interactions between Luke and Lorelai, nervous Rory struggling to make a good impression on someone of "importance," a Lane subplot, and a healthy dose of Miss Celine. We open on a scene that reveals some important information: Lorelai prefers cinnamon toothpaste, whereas Luke prefers "striped." How will these two ever make it as a couple with such oppositional preferences?

Their second hot debate involves the idea of a TV in the bedroom. In all fairness, my partner and I have gone back-and-forth on this topic since the beginning of our relationship. Luke says that "watching TV in bed screws up your REM sleep." Lorelai counters by mentioning "Charlie Rose, Jon Stewart, [and] Pink Lady and Jeff." I have to side with Lorelai. I find it very comforting to fall asleep to late night TV (or true crime podcasts). As soon as I hear the opening lines of Seth Meyers' "A Closer Look," I am not long for this dimension.

Does Luke still have trophies on display from his high school athlete days? Sad.

By the end of the episode, Luke caves and buys a TV because he realizes how happy it makes Lorelai. If she's going to bed ultra-early to accommodate his delivery schedule, he can fulfill her minor request. It's a nice relationship compromise that is tinged with melancholy for anyone who knows what's on the horizon.

As Luke and Lorelai settle into the cozy phase of their relationship, Rory struggles to lock down some d of her own. After his Seymour Hersh ties have been established c/o Doyle, Rory jumps at the chance to do Logan a favor. Doyle has assigned Logan a story on "the student uproar over Assistant Professor Warrick resigning" but has zero confidence that he'll finish it. Rory meets up with Logan at the pub to share some of her notes from a previous overlapping story. Logan makes fun of her in a flirty "man, Ace" way that I find disgusting. Rory blushes and tries to act like less of a nerd than she is IRL. More than anything, they talk about Mitchum, which is a strange angle for Rory to take, especially after Logan describes him as a "bully."

Cute turtleneck, Rory. Too bad Seymour Hersh isn't going to see it.

Despite Rory's hardcore angling for an invite to the Hersh shindig, Logan either doesn't get the hint or chooses to ignore it. Rory, who made the mistake of mentioning a potential Friday night "man thing," is forced to show up for dinner and field Lorelai's questions about what happened. Gf isn't used to rejection and it's obvious that Logan's purported lack of interest has gotten under her skin. Is Rory a) legitimately into Logan, b) intrigued by his connections, or c) desperate to prove to herself that she can get anything she wants if she puts in the effort? Something is going on here and it's not entirely healthy!

After many episodes of zero progress, the writers finally throw Lane a bone and give her a B story that I don't hate. After seeing some band photos of herself looking like "the Korean Buddy Holly," Lane decides to start wearing contacts. Zack, aka charismaless Andy Dwyer, decides that he doesn't like this change because "You’re the first smart girl I’ve ever gone out with, and the glasses are a big part of that." Jesus Christ, dude. At least have the self-awareness to keep misguided comments like that to yourself.

Lane Kim: cute with and without glasses!

When Mrs. Kim shows up to Hep Alien's practice to invite Lane to Lunar New Year dinner, she agrees to attend only if the entire band can come. Surprisingly, Mrs. Kim acquiesces and everyone gets to party down with slimy food and gayageums. Brian and Kyon get along swimmingly and spend a portion of the dinner shyly smiling at each other. I'm approximately 10,000x more invested in their budding flirtation than I am in Zack and Lane's stale relationship. Mrs. Kim is cold toward Zack for most of the night until they connect over how much they miss Lane's glasses. How nice that these two control freaks were able to find common ground over their desire to police a young woman's appearance πŸ˜’

The final – and most important -- topic of discussion is Emily and Richard's reunion. The vibe between them initially seems light and friendly as they go over social calendars together. They even make plans to attend the Modern Museum gala since both of their friends, Sugar Farthington (lol rich people) and Martin Foreman (the actor?), are involved. Unfortunately, the friendliness dissipates when Richard finds out about Emily's tryst with Simon McLane during a business meeting. Maybe rich business bros play by different rules, but I can't imagine suggesting that a work colleague should avoid hiring someone because of assumed personal conflicts.

Maybe Emily and Richard have an open marriage! What do these two ass clowns know?

What transpires is so disgusting that it reminds me of all the reasons why I dislike Richard Gilmore. Instead of talking to Emily about Simon, Richard freaks out when he sees them talking in the valet line at the gala and rams into Emily's car. If I wanted to explain toxic masculinity to someone, I would just show them this scene. After the smash, Richard immediately starts gaslighting Emily by telling her, "You were just in a car accident, Emily. You can’t go to a party after having been in an accident. Let’s go." Proving that she suffers no fools, Emily later uses this line against him when he tries to finally discuss the Simon incident. She smoothly tells him, "Richard, I was just in an accident. Now is hardly the time to discuss this." These two psychos were made for each other!

At Friday night dinner, they announce their reconciliation (which took place yesterday, last night, and this morning – ginchy!) and plans for a massive vow renewal/40th wedding celebration. Miss Celine pops up in a room overflowing with wedding gowns, spouting off countless flawless lines like "Olive oil on the inside and on the outside. Anna Magnani taught me that." Emily spends money on a lot of pointless shit, but Miss Celine is worth every penny.

"Ah, there can’t be too much lace, as long as it’s Italian. What do you think, Natalie?"

The episode ends on a bizarre note when Emily shows up at Christopher's apartment apropos of nothing and gives him a big speech about how he needs to win Lorelai back. This is something the show has laid zero groundwork for, especially considering that Christopher has had zero interactions with the elder Gilmores this season. I guess the show wants us to think that since Emily's relationship drama is settled, she can focus her energy on making Lorelai "happy." Or maybe this renewed focus on weddings has her thinking about Lorelai's future? Either way, the rationale is tenuous at best. We'll go deeper in the next episode, which is the 100th of the series, meaning that I've written 99 of these fuckers so far. Imagine if I had put all of that time into doing something useful ...

Random observations:

  • I don't understand why the Dragonfly has a staff of at least 15 people while Luke runs a diner with 2 employees.
  • Why is Lorelai reading (and retaining information from) Luke's oven manual? Doesn't he have some Tom Clancy paperbacks or Jess remnants lying around?
  • Sookie imagines that the inn's ghost might be "a lonely spinster that never married." Sookie needs to strike this derogatory word from her vocabulary.
  • The Andy Dwyer comment came from my husband.
  • Richard and Emily talk about firing Robert (Ed Brigadier), Richard's valet, when he's barely out of the room. EAT THE RICH.
  • I'm picturing Sugar Farthington as less cool Patsy Stone type who doesn't go anywhere without her poodle named Regina and a flask full of vodka.
Swap the Stoli with Grey Goose and put it in a crystal tumbler on rocks.
  • Luke doesn't approve of the manicotti at Al's Pancake World because it's "square and flat and blue." How many times have these people gotten food poisoning from Al's and kept coming back for more?
  • Jackson runs into Lorelai on the street with Davey in tow and explains, "We’re having a little Davey-Daddy night tonight. Just the men being manly. Want to punch me in the stomach?" After Lorelai declines the punch (big mistake) and their conversation is over, Jackson turns to Davey and says, "Okay, son. I think it’s time to get you laid." Because that's what men do when they're being manly: punch each other and troll for someone to fuck 🀨