Directing and writing credits:
“Gilmore Girls Only” is directed by Lee Shallat Chemel and written by David Babcock. Chemel was last seen on "I'm a Kayak, Hear Me Roar," one of the better S7 episodes. Every time I visit her IMDb page, I think about how Photoshopped these glasses look:
Babcock most recently wrote "To Whom it May Concern." While I'm sure it's not completely his fault, I blame him for making Sookie and Jackson's relationship even more toxic by throwing reproductive coercion into the mix.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Only Lorelai Gilmore would wear a (too tight) court jester-print dress with a titty tie to someone's wedding. Paired with knee-high black suede boots, the outfit makes me question what season it is, especially next to Rory's Easter egg hunt/flower girl dress.
I appreciate that Mia (Kathy Baker) goes for an unconventional bridal look, but a bow on the chest and a bow at the waist is too many fucking bows. The necklace looks like something Liz would make, which you hopefully know is an insult.
Every blazer Rory tries on in the opening scene is at least one size too small. She should have taken Emily shopping with her instead of Lorelai. Say what you will about her penchant for tweed, at least Miss Celine taught her the power of impeccable tailoring. Also, I refuse to believe Emily would exit the room with a raw food evangelist who dresses like this:
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Mia is hellbent on derailing Emily's spa plans and forcing her to attend a wedding that no amount of alcohol will make enjoyable. While on the phone with her, Lorelai explains that Emily has prior obligations, but Rory intervenes and cheerfully accepts the invitation on her behalf. I would murder someone if they did this to me. No sane person would rather listen to Donna blather on about Keith Raniere's superhuman intelligence when they could be getting a salt scrub.
Emily is not always the most encouraging person, but at least she doesn't try guilting Rory into accepting a local job and engaging in a codependent relationship forever. I guess Lorelai is "joking," but I found this exchange (and a similar one in the opening scene) triggering:
Rory: I'm setting up interviews at different newspapers — The Seattle Times, The Detroit Free Press, San Francisco Chronicle.
Emily: Well, I'm not sure about the Seattle paper, and the Chronicle is dreadful, but the Detroit paper is quite reputable.
Lorelai: You know what else a reputable paper is? The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Hartford Courant.
Rory: Yes, and only a short drive away from Stars Hollow.
Lorelai: Oh, well, that never occurred to me, but now that you mention it, yeah.
The transition to adult life is hard enough without a parent saying shit like this. Either learn to be supportive or shut the fuck up.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
My husband found Rory's reaction to Lane's baby news lackluster, but let's face it: other people's children aren't that exciting. I don't buy that Paris (who is mentioned, not seen) would provide Rory's whereabouts to "New England's favorite whorehound." This detail feels inaccurate and I reject it as canon.
I wonder if Sookie is pissed that Donna made Mia's wedding guest list over her. She's probably too busy cooking up passive aggressive torture methods for Jackson to give it much thought.
Best literary or pop culture references:
The S7 writers' room must have had a collective boner for "The Lake House" (2006) because it's mentioned multiple times in different contexts. "Hitch" (2005) and "The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006) are two other motel movie options that pique Emily's interest because of her Will Smith crush. She probably would have found the slap sexy because old white boomers often love that brand of toxic masculinity.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
At the diner, Kirk berates Zack for letting the juice from his pickles leach over to his grilled cheese. Zack is about to grab a pencil and take notes on Lane's French fry dam technique when Luke declares, "It's all going to the same place inside that dark, strange body of yours, Kirk. Now eat it." This brief glimpse of OG grouchy (but not bitter) Luke makes me think of what could have been had April not caused a glitch in the matrix. Luke has been a shell of his former self since mid-S6 and it's nice to see him revert back to his pre-hideous polka dot tablecloth days.
Jonathan Spencer, an actor who has been in a few episodes, is finally identified as Bill. Luke takes away his pie after he calls Zack a "goofball" and then gives it back when he hastily abandons the diner a la "Forgiveness and Stuff" to drive Zack to the hospital.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
If Emily thought I was unsophisticated enough to not know that chardonnay is "the clear one," my self-esteem would plummet. Luckily, it's hard to take a diss like that seriously when it comes from people ordering "a hot dog for the table."
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Lorelai says her weekly computer lesson with Emily is "no 'Tuesdays with Morrie.'" Would it be more enjoyable if one of them was actively dying of ALS? In all seriousness, how is this piece of shit one of the bestselling memoirs of all time? As someone on Goodreads said, "It was like stapling together eighty greeting cards and reading them straight through." It was previously mentioned in "Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers," which gives you a sense of its chokehold on the zeitgeist.
Best song of the episode:
Zack and Lane play the Pernice Brothers' "Conscience Clean (I Went to Spain)" during the weird dinner at their house where they explain to Luke that sex has the power to induce labor. This band has never done much for me personally, but it makes for inoffensive dinner music and is a subtle callback to "Partings," where Joe Pernice plays one of the troubadours.
Later, Zack makes Luke a mixtape of some newer music he thought his surrogate papa might enjoy, including My Morning Jacket and Wolfmother. I'm a little surprised by these choices since we all know Luke is a Jethro Tull flute man. I would have introduced him to The Decemberists, The Kinks, and maybe some Heart because you know he isn't hip to the magic of Ann Wilson. I like when he looks the CD over and mutters to himself, "Who knows, maybe I'll really get into Wolfmother." Jess would be so proud.
It pains me to waste time thinking about such a dull, inconsequential episode. The writers should have pivoted away from the wedding idea when they realized the original Mia (Elizabeth Franz) wasn't available and would need to be recast. That should have served as a sign from the universe to come up with something more interesting, like maybe Rory has a minor freakout over Lane becoming a mom or Emily has a come to Jesus moment with Richard regarding his shitty post-surgery behavior. With only six episodes left in the series, it seems like the writers would want to start upping the ante on some previously established themes and characterizations instead of wasting time on an "Emily in Wonderland" redux.
"Gilmore Girls Only" begins with Lorelai and Rory in the dressing room of what I can only assume is a depressing suburban Macy's. Rory needs a suit for upcoming newspaper interviews, which Lorelai urges should only take place in the tri-state area. It makes sense that Lorelai would struggle with the idea of Rory living far away, but a more self-aware parent would refrain from voicing sentiments that might discourage their kid. Because Lorelai is not that evolved, she continues her barrage of neediness by pushing Rory to attend Mia's wedding in North Carolina. When promises of a Waffle Ranch pit stop don't entice her, Lorelai ratchets up the manipulation by citing her recent divorce as the sudden need for a plus-one. Although Rory eventually accepts the invite, she holds firm to her boundaries until Logan pisses her off so much that she needs an escape.
It turns out, my annoyance with Rory's passivity was short-lived because she gently tears Logan a new asshole over his Peter Pan regression. Her comments aren't at Paris Geller-level, but they're blunt in a way we haven't frequently seen from her. Watching the series this time around, I definitely have more empathy for Logan. After disappointing his father for years by not living up to his potential, he finally does something right and briefly gets to experience the conditional love that comes with it. When his half-baked business deal implodes, he knows a Mitchum Huntzberger shit storm is coming his way. The hole he climbed out of post-Yale is now deeper than it's ever been and the amount of groveling he must do to get back where he was is daunting. Rory is right, though: Dude needs to stop snorting lines in Vegas and face his problems like an adult.
When Rory calls Lorelai to tell her that she's coming to the wedding, Emily, who is within earshot, invites herself. There's no way in hell Kiki Saltberry's radiant glow would propel Emily to drive eight hundred miles in a car, but I'll suspend my disbelief. The whole convoluted ordeal is almost worth it for the callback to Emily's DWI, which she uses as an excuse for her slow driving before hypocritically downing a glass of wine at lunch. It's jarring to see these road trip scenes shot without rear projection, but with a camera strapped to the front of the car, Jason Bourne-style. I half-expected Emily to roll into Winky's with a rolled up magazine screaming, "Who sent you?" The "GG" shooting style is rarely adventurous so any deviation is notable.
During the trip, Emily is visibly irritated by all the gushing Mia talk and inserts a few petty barbs when opportunities arise. Part of me doesn't blame her because a person can only listen to so many shitty poems and stories about "skirfs" before they're pushed to the brink. All things considered, Emily's attitude at the wedding (which Mia browbeats her into attending) is better than anticipated. She's bored and aloof, but doesn't cause a scene or take her jealousy out on Lorelai and Rory.
Mia, who is too generically "good" to feel like a real person, gives Emily all kinds of grace, noting how painful it must be to think back on the years without Lorelai and Rory. With change looming c/o Rory's graduation, Lorelai more acutely understands how her mother must have felt during their estrangement. Toward the end of the episode, the two have a nice scene together where Lorelai validates Emily's hurt feelings without compromising her own integrity. Mia and Emily also bond over Rory growing older and becoming an impressive, confident person. When Logan unexpectedly shows up at the wedding and Rory goes outside to see him, both women observe the interaction from the window. Mia worries about Rory getting her heart broken, but Emily assures her, "If anyone does any heartbreaking, it will be Rory." This foreshadowing for what's to come makes me feel even more depressed about Rory's "AYitL" trajectory.
Rory is initially annoyed by Logan's impromptu arrival at Mia's wedding, but softens once he apologizes for sucking and reveals he's no longer working for the Huntzbergers. Per their previous fight, Logan is finally facing his problems and making active changes to rectify them. It pains me to admit this (and maybe I've said it before), but I think Rory and Logan have the healthiest romantic relationship on this show. They're not perfect by any means, but they take criticism from each other seriously and work to improve themselves for the sake of their partnership, especially in this final season. It makes sense to me that they would eventually get back together as adults after both had firmly established careers and more bandwidth for compromise. It's too bad "AYitL" didn't go that route, but we'll discuss those missteps in depth when the time comes.
The whole godfather subplot brings up several delicious details, including Zack's abandonment by his own father. He tells Luke, "My old man ran off when I was like ten — no note, no nothing." Little did Zack know, there was a note, he was just too stupid to read it. It said,
Your mom is great and I really don't want to leave, but I can't stand being around you. Don't try to find me; I'm dust in the wind.
Once Luke accepts the godfather role, Zack clings to him like a genital wart, showing up at the diner early and ruining his quiet time with questions about circumcision. "So, you being a guy, I figured I could use your input on this. You know, penis-wise. What's yours like, what do you like to see on others, and can we touch tips?" Initially, my husband thought Zack was jealous of his future kids and trying to co-opt Luke as his own godfather, but it turns out he was just panicking about finding his "dad mode." All I can do is sigh and hope that Zack's IQ miraculously increases twenty points before the birth of his children.
- Pro-tip: Do not, under any circumstances, describe a pregnant woman as a "giant piñata, just waiting for some kid to take a mallet to her stomach and free the goodies inside" because EW.
- Upon seeing a photo of the twins, Emily remarks, "I'm sure that little camera distorts their faces." Lane's birth canal is the more likely culprit, but sure ... let's blame the Sidekick.
- The unidentifiable early aughts technology in Logan's apartment has multiplied. Along with the maybe (?) videophone, there's now this thing:
- Did Lorelai win a panda from Winky's crane machine or not? She probably did and then left it in Emily's car along with her doggy bag full of $12.95 lobster.
- Richard makes a brief, tracksuit-clad appearance and in Mike Pence-fashion, refers to Emily as "mother." This man did not deserve a second chance at life.
- Who the fuck is this and why did Mia invite him to her wedding? I would have made up a fake excuse to GTFO as soon as he started yammering on about the female fat layer.
- One perk of aging is reaching the point where you can ask a random man to fetch you a glass of water in the middle of an event without looking like an entitled bitch. It's the WASP-equivalent to making someone give up their seat on public transit.
- Did you recognize Kathy Baker as Jenna Rink's mom from "13 Going on 30" (2004) and Joyce from "Edward Scissorhands" (1990)?