Title: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life E04 “Fall”
Released: 2016
Series:  Gilmore Girls

Drinks Taken: 10
Cups of Coffee: 

Read the “Winter” recap“Spring” recap and “Summer” recap.

Holy wow, what a roller coaster. “Fall” is the perfect way to end Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a beautiful conclusion to this wonderful story, and it’s also SO MADDENING and completely shocking. I actually gasped aloud at the final four words – but truth be told, I guess there’s no other way to end this story we love so well. 

So let’s end it right.

Emily, Lorelai, and Rory Gilmore all with drinks in their hands

The Gilmore Girls Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

Lorelai or Rory drinks coffee.
Emily gets flustered by Lorelai’s bizarre sense of humor.
Sookie is controlling about food.
Paris is controlling about anything.
Michel snubs a customer.
Luke is crotchety.
Taylor has an absurd scheme for Stars Hollow.
The girls acquire massive amounts of food and then fail to take even one bite.

Drink twice every time:

Kirk has a new job.
You see a town troubadour.
Emily gets a new maid.

Rory and Lorelai are still fighting, and she’s crashing at Lane’s and working at the Stars Hollow Gazette and still feeling rootless. But then she starts seeing signs – actual signs, like a bird calling her name – and suddenly Stars Hollow is foggy, and spooky, and the Life & Death Brigade have shown up! And yes, that means Logan, too. They take her on a wild ride, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to be specific, in a gorgeous, musical spectacle that Amy Sherman-Palladino directed the hell out of. Logan is perfect, and offers her a house in Maine to write in (though he does NOT offer to leave his fiancee, so maybe he’s not quite perfect, and also this show is so casual with cheating), and they have one last night together before Rory tells him goodbye, and that she knows where she wants to write. She heads to Emily’s house and writes in Richard’s office, and it’s exactly as it should be. The first three chapters of “The Gilmore Girls” flow out of her, and she offers them to Lorelai to read, with a promise: if Lorelai reads the chapters and still doesn’t want Rory to write the book, she won’t. After some time and reflection, Lorelai tells Rory she won’t read the chapters, but to go ahead and write the book anyway. She’ll read it when Rory’s done. Rory has one more exchange with Jess, where she tells him she’s started the book and he’s pleased, and then we see him staring longingly after her, clearly still carrying a torch. 

Lorelai starts out on her Wild adventure, but after some mishaps with her backpack and her permit, she finds what she’s really looking for without even having to hike: a beautiful view, and some clarity. She calls Emily and tells her a kind memory of her father, almost a year after Emily asked her to do so at Richard’s funeral. It’s a beautiful story of Lorelai’s thirteenth birthday, when a boy broke her heart and she ran away from school and ran into Richard at the mall. She cried and was so scared she was in trouble, but her dad just bought her a pretzel, took her to two movies and never told Emily. Emily is so, so touched that Lorelai shared this with her. The scene is heartbreaking, and Lauren Graham is astonishing in it. Please let this be the year she wins an Emmy for Gilmore Girls

Lorelai abandons her backpack and goes home to tell Luke something – but Luke, who has been quietly going insane for days without Lorelai, doesn’t let her. He thinks she’s leaving him, and he gives the most gorgeous speech about why she shouldn’t – because he loves her, and he’ll always love her, and he’s always loved her, and they’ve been though so much together, and he’ll never, ever leave her. “This, right here, is all I will ever need.” IT IS PERFECT. Lorelai finally stops him – she’s here to tell him she thinks they should get married, finally. This month, on a Sunday. It’s all been settled. Luke is overjoyed, and runs directly to where he’s been keeping Lorelai’s first engagement ring. “I should probably get a better one, a newer one.” “Don’t you dare.” It’s so lovely!! They do get married, but the night before their big wedding, they decide to elope, because they want to have the ceremony to themselves before the big party where they’ve BOTH planned flash mobs. They get married with Rory, Lane and Michel by their sides, and I cry. AND Lorelai’s whole professional situation is straightened out, too – she’s going to use Luke’s franchise trust fund to expand the inn, annexing an old folks home that’s recently gone up for sale, and Michel will stay and help her run it and SOOKIE’S BACK, YOU GUYS. Everything is as it should be. 

Finally: Emily has HAD IT. She has no energy in her life left for Ray Wise or the DAR, for “artifice or bullshit.” Yes, Emily has learned a new word, and that word is “bullshit.” And she uses it generously at a DAR meeting, telling off the old biddies and strutting out munching on a cookie like the sassiest queen on Planet Earth. She knows what she wants – she’s always loved summering in Nantucket with Richard, and she buys the house they once rented, sells their home in Hartford, spends her evenings drinking wine and looking at the stars and SPENDS HER DAYS IN KEDS WORKING AS A DOCENT AT THE WHALING MUSEUM. It is PERFECT. When Lorelai asks for money for the inn expansion in a scene that exactly mirrors the pilot, Emily only has one caveat, of course: that Lorelai and Luke spend two weeks every summer in Nantucket, and one week every Christmas. You know, I bet Luke will like Nantucket. Lorelai seems happy about this caveat, and toasts with her mom to the “circle of life.”

The circle of life, indeed. Because here’s how A Year in the Life ends: Lorelai and Rory are sitting in Stars Hollow’s town square drinking champagne after the secret wedding. Whatshisname Paul texts Rory and breaks up with her, good for him, and then the Gilmore girls share their final words: 



“I’m pregnant.” 

How many times did I have to drink? 


How many cups of coffee did the Gilmore girls drink? 


Okay, so those four final words

I know, I’m freaking out, too. What does this mean for Rory, for her book, for Logan, for Jess? How will Lorelai handle this bombshell, how will Emily? But here’s the deal: Gilmore Girls has always been about one thing: life happens when it happens, without any care for our plans or preferences, and the most beautiful messes come out of that one incontrovertible fact. Rory will finish her book. It will be a great, great book. She and Lorelai and Emily will be there for each other always. The rest of it – well, we can all have our own ideas about that.


Lorelai has one perfect note about Rory’s draft of “The Gilmore Girls”: “Drop the ‘the.’ Just ‘Gilmore Girls.’ It’s cleaner.”

Sookie’s best dish of the episode

She’s made about a dozen different wedding cakes for Lorelai to try, including Lorelai’s “milestone” cake that is a tiny Stars Hollow filled with little marzipan mishaps. It’s so good to see her, and she and Lorelai feel just exactly right together. “Still best friends?” “Still best friends.” I’m so glad she’s back! Also she can smell every chef who’s been in her kitchen since she’s been gone, because she is terrifying.

Kirk insanity

He’s panicking because he’s in charge of decorating the town square for Luke and Lorelai’s wedding, and he believes he ruined it. He wants to throw up in Lorelai’s upstairs bathroom, because the downstairs bathroom tile is too tough on his knees, a fact Lorelai already knows about him. But oh man, listen to this: when Lorelai and Luke head to the town square for their secret ceremony, Kirk has transformed it into the most beautiful, magical, whimsical fairy land possible. Lorelai texts Kirk “It is PERFECT” and Kirk looks satisfied. What a charming goodbye for this bizarre doofus.

Michel madness

He’s auditioning his replacement and of course no one is good enough. I’m so glad he’s not going anywhere! Especially now that Sookie’s fat-free magic granola is back.

Best cameos

Both of Lauren Graham’s former co-stars (and one current boyfriend), Peter Krause and Jason Ritter, show up. As well as Bunheads‘ Stacey Oristano and Alex Borstein as Miss Celine!! She’s designing Lorelai’s wedding dress, of course.

Poor Christopher

He gets a cameo just for Rory to grill him on why he was such a lax dad. It’s a fair point, but I feel kinda bad for the guy. He doesn’t seem to care too much, though, because he’s Christopher. 

Congrats, Dean

He’s only here a minute, but it’s an awfully nice minute. Rory runs into him at Doose’s, and he’s happily married with kids, and he and Rory have a very nice rapport. She asks if she can write about him for her book, and when he asks what she’ll say, she gives a great speech: she’ll say that he was kind, and generous, and the best possible boyfriend. “You taught me what safe feels like.” That’s nice.

The flash mobs

Lorelai’s is to Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Luke’s is to Steely Dan. That’s all we need to know about Luke and Lorelai.

Most surprising news

You guys. EMILY HAS KEPT THE SAME MAID FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. Berta even moves to Nantucket with her!

Second most surprising news

Luke is fishing buddies with Kiefer Sutherland!

Best pop culture reference

Five by five.” YES.

Rory’s childhood crushes

Pee-Wee Herman, Edward Scissorhands and Jerry Orbach from Law & Order. I approve.

Lorelai’s best line

When Sookie points out on the milestone cake “You and Rory, made of frosting,” Lorelai replies, “Just like in real life.”

Emily’s best line

Of her new home: “The previous owners called it the Clam Shack. I guess ‘Vagina House’ was taken.” I LOVE THIS NEW EMILY.

Michel’s best line

 “Your name is Molly. Why.”

Dean’s best line

When Rory tells him she’s writing a book, he says, “Well, you’ve read ‘em all, so I guess that’s all there’s left to do.”

Sookie’s best line

“That was pornographic.”

Jess’ best line

“Communication problems? Never had experience with that myself.” 

So that’s it. We did it. And hey…we never heard “Where You Lead,” did we? Guess it’s time to start the whole series back over again

Give me your theories on Rory’s future (and Lorelai’s and Emily’s, though they seem pretty settled) in the comments!


Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.