Directing and writing credits:
“The Long Morrow” is directed by Lee Shallat Chemel and written by new S7 showrunner, David S. Rosenthal. Chemel previously worked on the following episodes and will pop up several more times over the course of this season:
"Tippecanoe and Taylor, Too" - Lane's brain parasite compels her to express romantic feelings for Zack.
"I'm OK, You're OK" - Lane's brain parasite compels her to excitedly share her Zack engagement news with Rory and Lorelai.
Can someone please get Lane medicine to vanquish her brain worms before she does something that can't be undone? Whoops, too late.
Rosenthal's previous writing credits include the following:
Most batshit crazy outfit:
This outfit took Lulu from quirky elementary school teacher to Loonette the Clown in 0.5 seconds. The patterns clash horribly and I don't understand what would have possessed her to buy this ... vest? Sleeveless button-down shirt? Whatever it is that she's layered on top of her Charlotte Russe bargain bin camisole. On the bottom, she's wearing a puffy grey knee-length skirt and wedge sandals that tie at the ankle. I could maybe excuse this outfit if her house were on fire and these were the only clothes she could find before exiting but honestly, running out into the street naked would have been a better move.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Again, both women are super annoying, so this section will focus solely on minor offenses. Instead of admitting to Logan that his rocket gift is pointless and confusing, Rory wastes days trying to figure out what it could possibly mean. She should have consulted her very detailed journal entries 🙄 for clues instead of Googling "rocket Logan" and "Logan rocket" as if the internet somehow has the ability to search her own brain.
Lorelai is the type of person who makes a minor crisis, like getting hit in the eye with a racquetball, into a major ordeal. Someone with healthy coping skills would ice it for a few hours and move on with their day. Lorelai, on the other hand, doesn't have ice in her house because, as she tells Rory, "You know I don't cook." Instead, she demands a grocery run to acquire steak, frozen peas, ice cream, and an eye patch. It's moments like this when I think about how much more tolerable Lorelai would be if she were an occasional stoner. She would still do and say dumb shit, but at a much more reasonable clip.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
Rory remains chill upon discovering that Paris has commandeered the Yale Daily News office for her "scare the stupid out of you" SAT tutoring business. She likewise refrains from scoffing when Paris hits her with this brazen reveal and subsequent offer:
"I was gonna spend the summer tutoring for the Princeton review, but then I found they charge these little morons $60 an hour and only pay their tutors $20. So I figured, "Who needs the Princeton review?" I can open up my own shop. I've already subcontracted out to three other student tutors, and I've got more prospects lined up. I'm gonna make a fortune. Hey, are you interested? The pay's $15 an hour."
Sookie predictably doles out bad advice on how to handle the Luke situation. She and Lorelai have one of those friendships where, instead of telling each other the truth and pushing for growth, they mutually support each other's bad decisions. Sookie insists that Lorelai doesn't need to tell Luke what happened with Christopher and that her actions don't necessarily signal the end of the relationship, which ... bitch, how would you feel if Jackson had depression sex with the mother of his hypothetical love child and then acted as if nothing had happened? I don't understand how Sookie is advocating for this secrecy after the Richard and Emily vow renewal fiasco.
While watching this exchange at the inn unfold, my husband was like, 'There are so many reversals in this conversation between who is the healthy one and who is dysfunctional." This is not a bad way to sum up "Gilmore Girls" as a whole.
Best literary or pop culture references:
I love that Kirk's Thunderbird crash made Rory suddenly appreciate the "Fast & Furious" franchise (says this person who would swiftly choose death over one minute of "Tokyo Drift").
Stars Hollow weirdness:
The idea of having a neighbor who is comfortable enough to wash their intimates at my house makes my skin crawl. It seems like a bridge too far even for Lorelai, who forces Babette out before her panties are dry.
The other big townie shenanigan revolves around the unveiling of Stars Hollow's first red light camera. Kirk, playing the ceremonial first lawbreaker, drives Taylor's 1964 T-Bird through the street with reckless abandon. As the camera flashes to take his photograph, he is temporarily blinded and careens off the road, right into the front window of Luke's Diner. It is the "GG" equivalent of this scene and I'm sure Daniel Palladino is angry that he didn't think of it himself:
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
I won't lie: I find it sexually titillating when Paris asks Kaitlyn (Amanda Thorp) if she knows what "diffident" means and then in response to her blank stare, reassures, "That's okay. That knowledge isn't really required in the retail doughnut-distribution industry." I guess my kink is having stern, beautiful women insult my intelligence. What does that say about me?
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
I imagine this book-heavy episode is Rosenthal's effort to establish his "GG" credibility. Post-Luke breakup, Lorelai collects all the objects that remind her of him, including Cormac McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses" (1992) and "No Country for Old Men" (2005), along with Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" (1965). These are the exact kind of books I imagine Luke reading in some alternate dimension where he's 75% more cultured. She also gets rid of a book that Luke recommended for her: "Hammerhead Sharks: Demons of the Deep," which is weirdly absent from the internet. It doesn't look fake, though.
With the house decluttered of all Luke-related belongings, Rory notes that it's very "Thoreau, Walden Pond." She could be specifically referencing "Walden" (1854) or more generally speaking of Thoreau's time there. This is an aside, but my favorite Thoreau portrayal is John Mulaney's in S1 of "Dickinson." He really imbues Thoreau with the hypocritical pretension that social media insists he must have possessed. (Rebecca Solnit disagrees.)
Gypsy references George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1949) — "Big Brother is watching" — at the red light ceremony as if this new method of surveillance is somehow worse than Taylor's lawn height rules.
Towards the end of the episode, Lorelai is seen in bed with Jane Fonda's memoir, "My Life So Far" (1985). This is the perfect book to read while in the throes of heartache. If Fonda could get over her ex-husbands and reach some level of self-actualization, so can Lorelai.
Best song of the episode:
Sookie does a sad rendition of Queen's "We Are the Champions" after crushing Michel in an arm wrestling contest. She says all of her forearm strength comes from years of whisking, which I believe. I made Claire Saffitz's Malted "Forever" Brownies and whisking that thick-ass batter was no joke (but well worth it).
Is this a memorable season opener? Not exactly. But it at least feels in line with the world that Amy and Dan created. The dialogue isn't as snappy and some of the B plots are very "it's mid-season and we're phoning it in," but I give it a C+. It's hard to construct something fabulous with Luke and Lorelai estranged, Logan in London, and the elder Gilmores entirely absent.
"The Long Morrow" picks up where we left off in "Partings." Rory rolls out of bed in Logan's Union Jack-clad apartment and finds his dumb rocket gift in a long gold box with a red ribbon. One billion half-baked Google searches later, she figures out that it's a reference to an episode of "The Twilight Zone" (also called "The Long Morrow") that they once watched together. It's one of those variations on "The Gift of the Magi" where people do well-meaning things in the name of love that ultimately don't work out in their favor. Apparently, this is Logan's convoluted way of telling Rory that he loves her. It would have been cute if she immediately remembered the significance and didn't need to consult rocketchamp465, who I picture as a sadder version of Elon Musk.
The most disturbing aspect of the Rory/Logan dynamic is the complete lack of clear communication about where the relationship stands. Instead of buying an object that will be donated to Goodwill in approximately three years, Logan could have told Rory that he wants to remain exclusive while in London. Instead of pretending to understand his obscure gesture of affection, Rory could have asked for an explanation. The same logic applies to Rory's upcoming visit. Why not simply tell Logan that she wants to see him sooner than Christmas? She stresses herself out with hypothetical problems that could easily be solved with a brief conversation. I remember being this way in my early twenties but as an adult, it's hard to wrap my head around the depth of this emotional immaturity.
To her credit, Lorelai gives (mostly) sound advice, prompting Rory to call Logan and tell him how she feels/what she wants. On some level, Lorelai must recognize her own communication failures with Luke, despite insisting there's nothing left to say. After rage-fucking Christopher, she wakes up in his bed, gingerly removes his hand from her body, and hits him with an uncomfortable, kitten-voiced "Hey." It's strange to me that Chris never once asks about Luke. Lorelai is someone he's been pining for since he ruined their rekindling by accidentally impregnating another woman. It would be logical to ask for details on her engagement to safeguard his own feelings, but his horniness knows no bounds. Either that, or his TBI has turned him into the human version of a golden retriever.
Lorelai's first interaction with Luke on the way to the Dragonfly is brusque and avoidant. Everything he says is a reasonable response to her diner outburst — that she didn't give him a chance to think and that he's now ready to talk — but there's no clean way to come back from her string of nonsensical decisions. When Rory shows up at the inn in her own sullen mood, Lorelai admits that she are Luke are over but insists she isn't ready to talk about it. In an attempt to distract themselves with one of Michel's favorite hobbies, they decide to "play" racquetball. The scene of them talking on the floor of the court reminds me of "Speed" (1994). It's like someone is sitting outside of the frame with a gun, holding a sign that says, "If you stop talking, I'll blast both of you." There's no other explanation for the long string of never-ending rocket word salad.
Back at home, Lorelai's "compartmentalize and go forth" mentality continues. Taking a note out of Rory's breakup book, she cleanses the house of all Luke-adjacent ephemera (including Bop-It). When Rory returns from procuring eye injury supplies and describes Kirk's Evel Knievel stunt at the diner, Lorelai's response is flat and detached. The wild swing from her erratic ultimatum to this current emotional numbness is concerning. Both states are avoidant and self-sabotaging, practically begging for intervention from a mental health professional. Why didn't Lorelai get Carolyn's number after their impromptu car session? I can't believe that boundary-less bitch would have let her loose without so much as a business card.
The final scene between Luke and Lorelai would be devastating if I still gave a shit about either of these characters. Luke shows up with his truck packed to the gills in preparation for a Maryland elopement. He did a bunch of research and made several plans with the hopes that one of them works for Lorelai. He tells her,
"It's like my life isn't even real to me unless you're there, and you're in it, and I'm sharing it with you. And I don't know what I was waiting for, and I don't know what I was scared of, but I'm not. I'm not scared, and I'm not waiting. I'm here."
To make him comprehend the gravity of the situation, Lorelai blurts out the Christopher bonetown news, which predictably sends Luke away in a cloud of rage. What Lorelai did with Chris was inexcusably misguided and I don't blame Luke for feeling immediately triggered; however, his actions in the next episode make it hard to continue empathizing with him.
- When Lorelai awkwardly leaves Chris' apartment and the opening credits start to roll, it reminds me of one of those awkward local news transitions that go from a puppy adoption story to a breaking triple homicide.
- Chris has a quad of G.G. baby pictures in his bedroom. I realize this is his daughter, but it's still creepy. Nothing this man does ever feels above board.
- "Wealthy, good-looking, hedonistic heir to billion-dollar, multinational media conglomerate moves to London and spends nights pining away for his college girlfriend? Who's watching that movie?" The writers may have missed the mark several times in S7, but at least they never did Paris Geller dirty.
- Angry, sad Luke is back to his old customer service fuckery. When someone notes that they asked for their eggs scrambled, Luke grabs a fork and swirls the sunny-side eggs around menacingly.
- Ah, yes ... Heathrow Airport!
- Products spotted in Lorelai's bathroom: Gillette Fusion shave gel (Luke's), Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 for combination/oily skin, and maybe a Victoria's Secret Love Spell body mist.
- The sad moment when Rory and Luke make eye contact and wave at each other through the diner window is reminiscent of the limo scene in "Say Something."
- I love that Logan's secretary is named Stephen.