Directing and writing credits:
“Unto the Breach” is directed by Lee Shallat Chemel, written by David Babcock and Jennie Snyder Urman. Chemel, the de facto director of S7, and Urman were last seen on "It's Just Like Riding a Bike," the one where Sookie forgives Jackson's penis lies in lieu of poisoning him like a sensible person. Babcock wrote "Gilmore Girls Only," one of the most boring episodes of the season that I won't bother to rehash. "Unto the Breach" gives me a bit of tonal whiplash, but Rory's graduation always makes me cry because I can't stand the thought of her and Paris parting. In my mind, they are roommates forever, pushing each other to new and exciting career pinnacles. Rory would have never experienced her "AYitL" slump with Paris by her side.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Based on the last three episodes of the season, I can confidently say that Lorelai recently spent a few hours digging through the clearance bins at Anthropologie. I hate everything about this vaguely Asian-inspired top, but especially the flouncy ruffle at the end of the overly long sleeves.
The Barbie pink (DVF?) wrap dress she wears to Rory's graduation is no better. The sleeve length is once again awkward, the bust is ill-fitting, the color is garish, and I don't like the chain-link gold costume jewelry necklace that looks straight out of Forever 21. It also doesn't help that the dress's waist tie often hangs down awkwardly, giving tampon string vibes.
I tend to give free passes for pregnancy-related fashion crimes; however, I can't pretend I didn't see Sookie's pale pink Crocs absolutely decimating the hem of her jeans. By my count, Sookie has two pairs of Crocs: the same classic clogs in pink and orange. I have no problem with hideous functional shoes (Keens, Crocs, Birkenstocks, Hokas, Danskos). Sookie is a chef and comfort should be a top priority. If she insists on wearing them casually with jeans, she should choose a pair that doesn't drag on the ground. Horrifyingly, this was an acceptable style at the time and according to Vogue, it's making a comeback. Unless you're a rich person who never walks anywhere, I don't recommend it.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Maybe Rory doesn't want to overshadow graduation with her engagement news or hear Paris's take on how marrying Logan is not part of Operation Finish Line, but it's weird that she doesn't mention the proposal to friends. She's desperate to hear Lorelai's opinion, so why not get some advice from peers? She and Paris just had a great conversation about how unwilling they are to compromise career goals for relationships. As harsh as Paris can be sometimes, I think she would have been a good sounding board.
I hate the conversation where Lorelai and Luke use Logan's proposal to talk in not-so-coded terms about their own dysfunction. Not only is it lazy writing, it makes me actively root against their eventual reunion. What happened to the "Hay Bale Maze" honesty? These two obviously still have feelings for each other and should figure out what to do about them without using secret hat messages and public karaoke serenades.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
Aside from the time she told Logan no one would miss him if he died, this is the most openly appreciative we've ever seen Rory act toward Paris. Imagine if, in "AYitL," we saw the picture of grumpy Paris packing up the apartment somewhere in Rory's childhood bedroom. If the Palladinos cared about paying fan service, this is the Easter egg they would have given us. Many aspects of "GG" have aged poorly, but this rivalry turned friendship is evergreen.
Lorelai treats Sookie as her own flesh and blood Alexa, giving her so many to-list items to memorize that she invents a tedious acronym to keep them all straight. Also, am I crazy or do they arrive at Weston's Bakery to pick up a cake and leave sans cake?
Best literary or pop culture references:
After Emily dismisses graduation speaker Milan Kundera as boring, Lorelai jokes that maybe it's a cultural thing and he's actually "the Robin Williams of the Czech Republic." I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume the man who writes about rape fantasies with great frequency is not exactly a fun time in his native language. I'll take Yale graduate Henry Winkler any day!
Stars Hollow weirdness:
The SH denizens are appropriately unenthused when Kirk decides to suspend himself above the town square in a lucite box a la David Blaine. They're too worried about missing Rory's graduation to give this Marina Abramovic wannabe any attention. It's embarrassing to watch the writers scrape the bottom of the barrel with these S7 Kirk storylines and while I'm happy we're almost finished, we still have Oober and Petal the pig on the horizon.
When Lorelai shows up at Luke's post-karaoke serenade, Babette and Patty immediately conclude she's there to suck his dick. As she reassures them the song meant nothing, Luke walks downstairs and grouchily overhears her denial. Someone needs to get these people hooked on "Friday Night Lights" so they have something to do that doesn't involve a banal fascination with their neighbors' relationship.
Oh, and Taylor's leg is in a cast because he slipped and fell while soaking in his pedi-spa. If there were any justice in this world, he would have conked his head on the way down and died of a subdural hematoma.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Emily, aghast at Rory's engagement hesitation, says, "He's a Huntzberger. An offer like this doesn't come around every day." Lorelai quickly retorts, "It's a marriage proposal, not a sale on linens." This is the perfect response to someone who sees marriage not simply as a commitment to a loving partner but as social cementation. If you can't get one of those insufferable wedding announcements in The New York Times, why fucking bother?
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Lorelai makes a joke involving Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1984), which I read for an English seminar during my sophomore year of college. The only thing I retained is a vivid description of a butthole that has been seared into my brain for the past fourteen years. You'll have to perform your own Google search if you want to read it, but it includes the phrase "healthy orb."
The only book I can identify from Paris's huge stack is Robert Dallek's "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963" (2003), which was probably purchased for a political science class. The episode title, which Paris says to Rory before receiving their diplomas, is a quote from Shakespeare's "Henry V." Writing tip: If you want your character to sound smart, just make them quote Shakespeare. It works like a charm every time.
Best song of the episode:
Emily and Richard's rendition of Cole Porter's "You're the Top" is one of the most adorable scenes in "GG" history. "Newspaper editor. Phi Beta Kappa, wow!" All my grandparents ever did was passive aggressively remark upon my physical appearance and life choices. For as much as I criticize the elder Gilmores' cold, waspish ways, their affection for Rory is undeniable.
I wonder what the Palladinos originally had planned for post-grad Rory. If we're to believe the last four words of "AYitL" were once intended for S7, what was the context surrounding them? I could totally see the relationship with Logan coming to an end, quickly followed by this dumbass reveal in the finale:
Rory: I'm pregnant.
Then, because abortion doesn't exist in this bizarro universe, Rory becomes a young mom while Logan fucks off to California a la Chris, eventually maturing and spending the rest of his days trying to win her back while she raises their daughter solo. Thankfully, David S. Rosenthal lets Rory embrace an uncertain future instead of tying her to a dipshit college boyfriend forever. He might have ruined Lane's life, but at least Rory escapes the oppressive clutches of forced motherhood. While they aren't perfect, I count the last three episodes of this season as a win because they deal Rory a disappointing rejection that she weathers like a mature adult who has moved past the impulsive boat theft phase.
College graduation can feel deeply unsettling, especially for someone who doesn't yet know what their next chapter holds. For extensive planners like Rory, this unpredictability can lead to rash decisions made solely to quash the unknown. I know several aspiring artists who spent senior year panic applying to graduate schools because of the creeping fear that maybe they weren't good enough to eke out a stable career. Friends moved in with lackluster significant others to avoid the fear of moving to a new city alone. All kinds of shitty choices were made to lend structure to what is commonly a scary, amorphous time. Trusting herself to figure it out solo when an easy alternative awaits is no small feat.
Despite the Reston Fellowship setback, Rory is in high spirits over graduation week. Even when Paris threatens her with small claims court, all she can do is snap photos and revel in preemptive nostalgia. There's no C-SPAN meltdown that requires someone to swoop in and save her from herself. When Logan proposes, which he does in a manner that even Chris finds distasteful, it's like he's throwing Rory a life preserver that she doesn't want or need. It's not a next step they've discussed and mutually agreed upon, but a half-baked ultimatum disguised as an enticing possibility.
As previously noted, Logan isn't stupid enough to think this grand gesture will work out in his favor after three years of knowing Rory. She's a quiet, considerate planner, not someone who lets a man dictate the shape of her career before it's even begun. Nice try with the "You Jump, I Jump, Jack" reference, though! Lame plot device aside, watching Rory decline the proposal and forge her own path is pretty rewarding. She loves Logan but is smart enough to recognize that she's not ready to compromise big goals in deference to their relationship. Especially in the early 2000s, it's not a move we often saw women make on screen.
To Lorelai's credit, she refuses to give Rory her opinion on the situation, no matter how much she begs on their "Sex and the City"-esque carriage ride. Her only advice is to think it over for a few days as the shock subsides. Throughout this recap project, I've read Lorelai's parenting style to filth. She's not horrible, but certainly not the absolute best mom per every shitty internet listicle. Like many parents IRL, she makes mistakes that her kid will spend several adult decades unraveling; she does not deserve to be placed on a pedestal. One of her best qualities is realizing that her job as mom is over and it's time to recalibrate her relationship with Rory. Weird guilt trip from Mia's wedding aside, Lorelai seems committed to providing support without exerting undue influence.
Between tearful goodbyes to Paris, the Logan breakup, and Lorelai's "Yay, Rory" moment, graduation day is an emotional affair. Much like a wedding, it's a celebratory day tinged with the melancholy that always accompanies milestone achievements. First there were the high school years, then college, now ___? As viewers, we're left with the same uneasiness as the characters.
When this episode first aired, the show's cancellation had just been announced and I remember mourning the lack of closure. I felt like I had grown up alongside Rory and needed to know what the future held for her so that I could plan my own life in tandem. It's strange that a TV show held this much sway over me, but I guess that's the power of seeing a version of yourself represented in popular media. Rory Gilmore brought visibility to obsessive, bookish nerds everywhere and for that, we salute her
- Rory's sentimental, "Let me take photos of Doyle packing up the toaster" attitude is reminiscent of Logan's graduation day when she documented his pre-processional morning shower.
- What would "turn[ing] up the intensity" even look like for Paris? She'd need to go full Stevie Nicks, spending her entire trust fund on cocaine and then, post-fellowship, on fixing the dime-sized hole in her nose.
- In another previous episode callback, Luke acquires a piece of jewelry from Liz that he swears is not for Lorelai even though it obviously is.
- Lol at the women who are like, "I just can't believe you're old enough to have a daughter in college" and beg Lorelai to drop her skincare routine. It's called teen pregnancy, hunny! Botox is cheaper.
- Luke somehow knows "I Will Always Love You" is Whitney Houston, not Cyndi Lauper. Either Lorelai trained him well or enough town gossipers have mentioned it that he's retained the information.
- Where did Emily meet Sylvia Rosenblatt, the friend who almost successfully taught her the word "schvitzing"? I think Benedetta came to her in a dream and introduced them.
- Is Brad from Nordstrom back on the piano!? It looks like Brad Ellis is the Palladinos' go-to pianist because he's in multiple episodes of the OG series, along with "A Year in the Life" and "Bunheads."
- Rory previously wore this Lily McNeal cashmere sweater in "Blame Booze and Melville." By my lowball estimation, she wears seven argyle sweaters over the course of the series. This one is my least favorite.
- Lorelai has given Rory the "don't drink to excess speech" several times: by example at Lane's wedding, explicitly after the Founder's Day punch fiasco, and pre-freshman year spring break. This show is basically an extended D.A.R.E. campaign.
- One of the DAR women tells Rory, "You wouldn't believe your generation's apathy when it comes to such things as the preservation of this nation's history," which feels like a "We hate Black people" dog whistle. Realistic!
- Does David Blaine makes anyone else think of this video?