Title: Gilmore Girls S4.E15 “Scene in a Mall”
Gilmore Girls S4.E16 “The Reigning Lorelai”
Released: 2004
Series:  Gilmore Girls

Drinks Taken: 20
Cups of Coffee: 6

Last week, on Gilmore Girls

We’re on Week 28 of our Rewatch Project, and herein we are gifted with two phenomenal freak-outs from the usually reserved Emily Gilmore, so let’s dive in!

But first! A reminder of our drinking game rules. 

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. 

On to the episodes!

4.15 “Scene in a Mall”

This episode picks up right where last week‘s left off, with Lorelai and Rory still so busy they can scarcely see each other. At least they’re keeping up a vibrant email relationship, however!

Speaking of Luke, as Lorelai sits at his counter he, with utmost stoicism, slides over an envelope. What’s in the envelope? Oh, no big deal, just A CHECK FOR THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. After she sobbed that she was planning on asking Luke for a loan last week, that sexy mensch made it happen with a quickness. Of course Lorelai intended to sit him down over a professional meal and discuss the terms, but Luke just wants to loan her the money for very little interest (he insists on her paying less than she offers), and also he doesn’t want to talk about it after it’s done. Good jeezy chreezy, I love this man. He is always there when Lorelai needs him, and he wants zero credit for it. But also, HE’S RICH. I mean, pretty rich. He can drop thirty grand without batting an eye, and that makes him even handsomer to me, okay? I’m not proud of it. 

So to make up for their negligible time together of late, Lorelai and Rory play hookie and meet at the mall for some window-shopping, because they’re both broke. While they’re enjoying their time together, they realize that window-shopping is actually the worst because all it does is make you sad that you can’t buy the pretty, pretty items you covet. Fortunately, they run into Emily, who is on a tear. Richard’s been neglecting her lately in favor of his business, and he refuses to shave his mustache and makes a dismissive comment about how much Emily shops, so she does some DAMAGE at the mall to get back at him. She buys Lorelai and Rory pretty much everything their eyes accidentally light upon, and while I would enjoy that part of her panic attack, Emily’s clearly losing it. After a Rain Man-style blowout in a department store, Lorelai and Rory take Emily to the food court and calm her down. Lorelai convinces Emily to talk to Richard about the way she’s been feeling, but the episode ends with her sitting unhappily at the table with him, not saying a word. 

But before that – Lane gets her own apartment! Well, with Zack and Brian, who very sweetly agree to sleep on bunkbeds in the middle of the living room so Lane can have her own room. She and Mrs. Kim are still sharing a regrettable silence, and none of the new roommates own anything practical like a bowl or a towel, but when Zack and Brian show Lane that they saved her a shelf, she hugs them and vows, “This is gonna work.”

And finally – when Rory meets Lorelai at the inn, she runs into Dean first, right before Lindsay and her mother arrive with Dean’s daily picnic lunch. He seems content enough with Lindsay, but over the moon to see Rory, and later Luke encounters Dean at the arcade where he apparently spends a lot of time just trying to get out of the house. As they chat, Luke notices Dean staring moonily out the window at Rory, and he looks crushed for him. It’s interesting that when Dean and Rory were together, Luke never approved of him, but if there’s something Luke will always understand, it’s pining over a Gilmore gal. 

How many times do I have to drink?


How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?


Flirtation quota

In addition to the heart-melting scene with the check, Luke is just being very smiley and flirty with Lorelai, who calls him her knight in shining armor. She’s not wrong about that. Rory and Dean are moderately flirty at the inn before Lindsay arrives, as he teaches her how to use his hammer. 

And when she arrives with a rose in her lapel so she and Lorelai can recognize each other after such a long absence, Dean correctly guesses that it’s an inside joke for her mom. I do like how much Dean gets – and admires – Rory’s relationship with Lorelai, in a way none of her other boyfriends do. (Certainly not Jess!)

Oh and speaking of the rose – after the shopping marathon, as Lorelai and Rory are unwinding at Luke’s, Lorelai hands him her rose and he sniffs it idly as he walks off. SIGH.

Best/most dated pop culture reference

Two here: first, Emily is very put out by the fact that Digger and Richard ran into Moby at a new restaurant. Lorelai is more stymied by the news. But also, Zack and Brian are arguing over their shared shelf space because Zack thinks Brian’s Futurama action figures take up too much room, and I HAVE THOSE EXACT ACTION FIGURES. Same packaging and everything! I’m very excited about this. 

Sookie’s best dish of the episode/Michel madness


Lorelai’s craziest outfit

Oh pink hoodie, what hath you wrought? If Luke can flirt with her in this thing, with that hair, then you know it’s true love.

Outfit MVP

I looove Rory’s freshman attire, mostly because it is a fancier and better version of my own freshman attire. Patterned tights! Boots! Mini-skirt! Lots of scarves! This was my uniform. 

Kirk insanity

Kirk has become a dog walker! (Drink!) It goes about as well as anything Kirk does.

Best Gilmore Gal witticism

Lorelai, being dramatic on the phone about how long it’s been since she’s seen Rory: “What do you look like? Do you look the same?” Rory: “Hold on. My nose ring is itching.”

Random observation

The best part of this episode, aside from every second with Luke, is when Emily overhears Lorelai taking a business call at the food court. I love their exchange. 

Emily: “You were very forceful.”

Lorelai: “Was I?”

Emily: “Very in command. I like how you handled it.”

Lorelai: “Well, I learned from the best.”

Emily: “From whom?”

Lorelai: “From the lady eating her hamburger with a knife and fork. That’s whom.”

Later, as Rory approaches and asks, “What’d I miss?”, Emily replies: “I was just admiring your mother’s life,” and Rory adds: “Oh, I do that daily.” 

Lorelai looks so touched, and after her breakdown last week, it must mean so much to her to see how deeply her mother and daughter admire her for everything she’s accomplished.

4.16 “The Reigning Lorelai”

Richard’s still treating Emily as an afterthought, opting to play golf with some business buddies instead of attending the funeral of her very good friend, Sweetie. But when Trix quite suddenly passes, Richard surrenders his position of stately businessman and spends much of the episode in a robe, crying in his study. He’s especially grief-stricken because the last words they shared were in anger, and I feel awful for him. Edward Herrmann is incredible in this episode, and the scene where he sobs to Lorelai gets me every time. 

Emily snaps into action, taking care of the innumerable details Trix insisted on for her funeral (including a demand for half of her ashes to be held in an urn on Richard and Emily’s mantle, egads), and only reluctantly allowing Lorelai to help her with her “system.” She’s being great, catering to every posthumous whim of her imperious mother-in-law, when she discovers among Trix’s papers the carbon of a letter she sent to Richard the night before his wedding to Emily. Here’s what the letter said: 

My Dearest Richard,

It is with heavy heart that I write you this letter tonight, but I cannot stand by and let you make a terrible mistake. Until now, I had thought, hoped, prayed that you would come to the same conclusion that I have. But you have not, and therefore, I feel it is my duty as your mother to beg you to reconsider your impending marriage. I’m sure that Emily is a very suitable woman for someone, but not for you. She will not be able to make you happy. She does not have the Gilmore stamina or spark. She is simply not a Gilmore.

I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your breakup with Pennilyn Lott, but it is still my belief that she is much better suited for you than Emily. I know that the timing of this is particularly awkward, since you are to be married tomorrow. But your happiness is too important to me, so timing be damned.

God, Trix was the WORST. I mean, I love her, but she’s the worst. Emily goes completely haywire, changing into her robe, day drinking and smoking and reading a bodice-ripper, babbling about Pennilyn Lott and leaving all of the funereal details to Lorelai, who of course handles everything perfectly because she always crushes in a crisis. She gets a little weepy and frantic in Victoria’s Secret, trying to pick out the appropriate underwear for her deceased grandmother, but who wouldn’t under those circumstances? Finally, the day of the funeral, Emily and Richard get their stuff together enough to attend in respectable fashion, and during the wake Richard tells Emily, in lieu of thanking her for everything she’s done for him, that he doesn’t think the mantle is an appropriate place for Trix’s ashes. They hug sweetly, and Lorelai looks relieved. 

Rory is trying to help her mom (who, much like her own mother, keeps telling Rory she can’t mess with her “system”) and comfort her grandparents and deal with her conflicted feelings about her great-grandmother, and Doyle is so great about it, allowing her to use the Yale newsroom computer to craft Trix’s obituary in spite of his very strict rules about personal use of newsroom computers. He lost his grandmother in December, and he’s still heartbroken over it, and he wants Rory to take her time to learn more about Trix. I love Doyle! Rory and Lorelai are also trying to process the information that Trix’s maiden name was Gilmore – she was married to her second cousin! They are WIGGING at this news. Rory now thinks it’s creepy that they have such similar eyes, like it’s an incest-related defect or something.

The episode ends with Lorelai’s revelation that she’s now the reigning Lorelai:

How many times do I have to drink?


How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?


Flirtation quota

None whatsoever – I mean, there’s a funeral afoot, for pete’s sake. But I will use this space to point out two things:

Luke spent this entire episode fighting with Nicole, which means it’s FINALLY the twilight period for these two. And you know what that means…

And speaking of twilight periods, Digger tells Lorelai he’s not attending Trix’s funeral just because he hates funerals and feelings. Never mind that this is a crazy way to behave, and never mind that Lorelai wants him to be there for Richard’s sake: it’s his girlfriend’s grandmother! My patience with Digger is wearing thin.

Best/most dated pop culture reference

When Emily tells Lorelai that she’s packed up Trix’s bar glasses because they belong in the family and Richard’s cousin Marilyn has had her eye on them, Lorelai gasps, “Dad’s got a Winona in the family? How cool!”

Sookie’s best dish of the episode

Richard craves mock turtle soup as soon as he hears about Trix’s death, and that makes sense to me because I’ve also had strange, specific cravings in the wake of heartbreaking news. Sookie whips some up for him, which is crazy because this is how you make mock turtle soup: 

Take a large calf’s head. Scald off the hair. Boil it until the horn is tender, then cut it into slices about the size of your finger, with as little lean as possible. Have ready three pints of good mutton or veal broth, put in it half a pint of Madeira wine, half a teaspoonful of thyme, pepper, a large onion, and the peel of a lemon chop’t very small. A ¼ of a pint of oysters chop’t very small, and their liquor; a little salt, the juice of two large onions, some sweet herbs, and the brains chop’t. Stand all these together for about an hour, and send it up to the table with the forcemeat balls made small and the yolks of hard eggs.

Lorelai’s craziest outfit

She has so many terrible pink shirts.

Outfit MVP

Emily may be losing her mind after reading Trix’s letter, but she’s looking very stylish as she does so. 

Kirk insanity

As Lorelai’s being nosy and trying to figure out what Luke and Nicole are saying to each other across the street, Kirk claims he can read lips. “My girlfriend taught me. It’s so we can have quiet time and keep the conversation going at the same time.” Of course, what he thinks Nicole is saying is “Hardwood sponge is the authority of the hostile biographer,” so he’s not being all that helpful. 

Michel madness

He’s desperately trying to record the Westminster dog show at Sookie’s so he can coo at the Chow Chow puppies onscreen. “Ugh. I could just kill my cable provider. No Westminster dog show, but please enjoy Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle 24 hours a day.” Aww, and after he hears about Trix, he is so sweet to Lorelai and gives her a hug. Of course it’s horrifically awkward and they both agree to never try it again, but it’s a nice gesture. 

Best Gilmore Gal witticism

At the point in the letter when Emily reads, “She is simply not a Gilmore,” Lorelai interjects, “Well, sure, ’cause you weren’t directly related to him.”

Random observation

Cousin Marilyn – the would-be bar glass pilferer – is played by Marion Ross, who also plays Trix! It’s fun to see her trying on this vibrant, loosey-goosey personality after Trix’s austerity. 

That’s it for this week! Next week we’re covering “Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist” and “Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom!”, and those are BIG episodes, so meet us back here next Wednesday morning for SPRING BREEEEAK!

And I leave you with a question, dear FYA readers: can we just discuss how incredible Kelly Bishop is as Emily Gilmore? These are two very important episodes for her, and even more than usual I’m moved by her immense talent and the depth she brings to this role. 

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.