Gilmore Girls S4.E22 “Raincoats and Recipes”
Drinks Taken: 20
Cups of Coffee: 3
OKAY WE HAVE ARRIVED. This is the end of Season 4, the point at which we must all take a moment of silence to thank the heavens that once upon a time, not so very long ago, we were blessed with two episodes of television as utterly perfect as the episodes that conclude this most glorious season.
To join me, as she does with every season finale, I have my bestie Mandy Jeronimus: the OG Gilmore Girls expert and Luke-in-a-girl’s-body. (She’s crotchety and she can fix stuff.) We IM’ed during these two episodes and collaborated on all category decisions, and I will paste our emotionally heightened exchanges during the most pertinent moments of both eps.
So let’s get to it! But first…
A reminder of our drinking game rules.
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!
4.21 “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights”
Liz and TJ’s wedding is upon us and everyone is all aflutter. Luke and Jess are getting along quite sweetly, partially because Jess has been reading Luke’s self-help book from last week. It’s working very, very well, as they’re communicating with each other and with everyone around them. They don’t even gay-panic when a stripper stops by Luke’s diner for Liz’s super random midday bachelorette party (and I love that Jess knows what’s happening but Luke doesn’t), or when TJ is wearing nothing but tights in front of them as he prepares for his Renaissance wedding. (Mandy: “Bluh! I just got gayer.”)
Meanwhile, Rory’s wrapping up her last classes of her freshman year, and she’s stuck on campus longer than everybody else because she has a Saturday final. This week every human on earth is making her feel like a loser for her yearlong dating dry spell, especially Tana with her photo collage of all the dorm couples – and one pic of Rory and the cafeteria ladies. (Mandy and I agree that we’ll miss Tana. We may be the only ones.) So Rory’s guard is down when she allows herself to get set up by her grandmother on a blind date with…Duncan Kane! Yes, Teddy Dunn stops by for an episode of Gilmore Girls (and GG’s Logan also popped in to visit Veronica Mars‘ Logan the following season), and while he seems very charming at first, he…isn’t. He brings Rory to a bar with a bunch of frat bros and they brag about being good drunk drivers (jeezy chreezy) and do shots and talk about fantasy sports and crawl pubs. Rory blows off Duncan and then realizes she doesn’t have any cash to get home so…she calls Dean. He rushes to Hartford and spends the evening flirting with Rory on what looks very much like a date. He’s still married, in case you forgot. You could be forgiven for forgetting, because Dean and Rory certainly have. Here’s an excerpt from Mandy’s and my chat during this point in the episode:
Mandy: Meanwhile, in Bad Choice Town…
Meredith: You mean Rory calling Dean, or Dean having that wimpy mustache?
Mandy: A little of column A… Poor Dean. He’s miserable. I don’t like the blown out bridge this train is careening toward, but I do feel bad for him.
Meredith: WELP, that’s what happens when you get married at 18 like a big tall hot idiot.
Mandy: Oh, Rory…Don’t do it.
Meredith: DON’T DO THAT. You didn’t have ANYBODY else to call?
Meredith: STOP THAT GAH DON’T DO THAT
As Dean and Rory are ill-advisedly reconciling, so are two people whom we actually WANT to reunite: Mrs. Kim and Lane! Lorelai gives some welcome advice to Mrs. Kim and, shockingly, Mrs. Kim follows it, visiting Lane’s apartment in an effort to try and repair their relationship. At first she completely wigs at the fact that Brian and Zack are living there as well, even though these sweet fellas dressed up in shirt sleeves and ties and say “ma’am” a lot and offer her a veritable buffet of teas, but Lorelai calms her down and she returns to Lane’s apartment, silently accepting Lane’s new lifestyle at last. Hooray!
Mandy: Look at the boys in ties!
Meredith: These boys in their ties! What sweeties.
Mandy: She’s so scandalized!!!
Meredith: But they’re trying so hard.
Mandy: Baby steps. Korea wasn’t built in a day.
Meredith: I really like that Mrs. Kim went to Lorelai. She’s making such an effort and knows what a good relationship Lorelai has with her daughter.
Mandy: Lorelai talked her down like a champ, too. Every mom should hope that their daughter has male roommates. The Taos boys [Mandy’s college co-op] were always escorting me after dark and such.
Meredith: Right? And nobody ever sleeps with their roommates. I had tons of boy roomies, never slept with any of them.
Okay, I’ve been delaying the good part because I’m MEAN. So Lorelai and Luke meet for Liz’s wedding, and it’s immediately wonderful. He tells her how beautiful she looks (she does) and they can’t stop giggling together at all the Renaissance tomfoolery, but they also take the time to be touched at how happy and in love Liz and TJ are. There’s a brief moment of awkwardness when Lorelai makes fun of the book she saw Jess reading – Luke’s book, of course – but thanks to the COMMUNICATION SKILLS Luke learned FROM THE BOOK, they breeze past it pretty quickly. And then…Luke asks Lorelai to dance. She’s flustered and surprised and can’t stop smiling, he’s calm and confident and sweet, they waltz together beautifully and it’s the most romantic, comfortable, gorgeous few moments that I wish would never end.
Mandy: Oh! Do it! Do it! DO IT!
Meredith: eeeeee. omg she’s so nervous and butterfly-y
Mandy: She’s bashful, almost! He’s kind of good!
Meredith: She can barely look at him! He’s totally good. I’m dying.
Mandy: Oh, man… Oh, man… Get closer! Put your head on his shoulder or something.
Meredith: Stop leaving room for Jesus!
Mandy: She did it! She’s leaning on his shoulder. It counts.
After the wedding, Luke walks Lorelai home and they’re both glowing, recounting the evening. Lorelai says the dance was her favorite part of the night, and Luke beams. Just as she’s about to head inside her house, Luke says, “We should do it again sometime.” Lorelai makes a joke about going to another wedding, and Luke says he just meant they should have fun together again soon – specifically Sunday, at a movie. He’s still so smooth and straightforward and casual here! And Lorelai’s still so stammery! I love it. She agrees, uncertainly but happily, and Luke walks away, grinning to himself.
Mandy: Ahhh! He walked her home!
Mandy: AHHH! He asked her again! A date!
Meredith: HE IS ASKING HER OUT FOR REAL. She is so unnerved! He is so proud of himself!
Mandy: He’s *kind of* not being clear that it’s a date, though. I mean, WAY SWOONY, but still.
Meredith: I think he’s being clear, plenty clear, just in a cool, no-pressure kinda way.
Mandy: With Lorelai, you need to be rather clear.
Luke heads home, where he meets up with Jess. Jess tells him he wants to pay him back for all the money he’s borrowed, and thanks him for everything Luke’s done for him. It’s REALLY sweet. Luke tells him he doesn’t need to thank him, and Jess references the book, saying, “In a relationship – any relationship – it’s important to let the other person know you appreciate them so you don’t create barriers that delay any hope for reciprocation.” Luke SLAYS ME with his response, “You’re hoping for reciprocation? You got it. I’m here, Jess. I’m always here.” They hug, I cry, even Mandy maybe mists up a bit.
Mandy: What IS this book? Everyone is communicating like all get out!
Meredith: FINALLY JESS THANKS LUKE. god, FINALLY. He is such a better person all of a sudden. This book works miracles. I have some people I need to give it to.
Mandy: I like that the relationship he wanted to fix was his with Luke.
Meredith: THEY HUGGED, TEARS
Mandy: Luke had a banner night.
Meredith: He sure did. He earned it. He’s had a rough year.
Unfortunately, Jess’ relationship with Luke isn’t the only one he wants to fix – he drives straight to Yale where he runs into Rory AND DEAN and it’s awkward Season Two weirdness redux. Rory sends Dean on his way rather abruptly and lets Jess into her dorm room, where he proceeds to ask her TELL her to quit school and run away with him because he knows she loves him like he loves her or some such silliness. As much as I like Jess for most of this episode, and I really do, he doesn’t end on a high note. Rory tells him no very sternly, and, looking dejected, he leaves.
Meredith: This is so messy, what’s happening right now
Mandy: So messy. At least the boys don’t fight.
Meredith: AUGHHH this is terrible that she has to do it all over again, make Dean leave for Jess. This is such a shitty, stupid proposition. “Leave Yale!”
Mandy: I’m upset with both of these boys. Logan should show up early. “Leave Yale. Do things MY way!”
Meredith: I mean, she does that later, but not yet. “You’re ready! You want this!” Quit telling her what she wants, dude.
Mandy: That’s on HER terms. She changes HER plan because SHE wants to. Say no! Yay!
Meredith: Good for you, girl!
Mandy: Pee break?
How many times do I have to drink?
How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?
ZERO. I’m serious, zilch.
This whole episode is one big flirtation quota. Some of it wise, some of it very, very unwise.
Best/most dated pop culture reference
About one of Liz’s Renaissance bridesmaids, Luke asks, “Does she remind you of someone?” Lorelai: “Can you say Leslie Van Houten?”
Sookie’s best dish of the episode/Lorelai’s craziest outfit
These two ladies tie; they’re both stunning. Miss Patty’s caftan looks okay too, I guess.
We learn that he has 43 jobs, and yet he’s mad at Miss Patty for giving the maypole choreography gig to someone else. He keeps haranguing her until Lorelai warns him off, reminding him of the time Miss Patty kicked his ass. I would have liked to see that.
Neither he nor Sookie makes any attempt to rectify the situation when Cletus the horse is accidentally let into the Dragonfly sitting room.
Best Gilmore Gal witticism
We both laughed hardest at this exchange between Lorelai and Mrs. Kim, regarding an antique door knocker Lorelai wants to purchase:
Mrs. Kim: “Good price, seeing as how it may have belonged to James Madison. It was commonly known that James Madison liked big knockers.”
Lorelai: “I bet a lot of the founding fathers liked big knockers… I’m sorry for laughing. I’d explain if I could.”
Mrs. Kim: “It’s a double entendre. I’ve been in this country 20 years. I get things.”
Lorelai: “I never doubted.”
Despite the rather dismal way he ended the episode, I want to say more about how thoughtful and mature Jess is this week. He’s really sweet, not even a little surly at the wedding, walking Liz down the aisle and allowing his mom to brag on him without rolling his eyes, and he’s great with Luke the entire ep, not just their heartwarming exchange at the end. This is the first step toward Season 6 Jess, and Jess-lovers and Jess-haters alike can all agree that Season 6 Jess is pretty great.
4.22 “Raincoats and Recipes”
God, just look at that picture, will you?
Okay! Rory’s home for the summer and all wired on her finals schedule, a phenomenon I remember too clearly. After she sleeps half the day away, she meets Lorelai at Luke’s where Lorelai is carefully surveying Luke for weirdness while acting TREMENDOUSLY weird herself. Seriously, these two episodes where Lorelai is so spazzy and unsure around Luke are my favorites. She tells Rory she thinks she and Luke are dating but isn’t sure, Rory tells her it certainly sounds like they are and then Lorelai does this amazing pratfall over one of the tables while trying to play it cool.
Anyway, she’s got too much on her plate right now to figure it all out with the Dragonfly’s soft open at hand! All of our favorites from Stars Hollow are staying at the Inn to test out the rooms, amenities and customer service, and Lorelai also uses the opportunity to Parent Trap Richard and Emily, who still haven’t admitted to her that they’ve separated. She plans for them to lodge in the romantic bungalow and hopes they’ll emerge reunited. Aww.
Finally, it’s opening day at the Dragonfly! Everyone rides up to the Dragonfly in pretty little golf carts as the staff scurries to take everyone’s luggage, and Lorelai, Sookie and Michel take one second to be proud of themselves for achieving their decades-long dream. “This is gonna work,” Lorelai says to herself with a little smile.
Mandy: AHHH! The Dragonfly is opening!
Meredith: This is so exciting!!
Mandy: They’re so good at this. Such nice touches. Golf carts, horses, fountains…
Meredith: I’m tearing up, this is such a big moment.
Mandy: If it’s true that I really am one of the Chosen People, this is what my heaven will look like. I’m puffed with pride. I don’t cry QUITE yet. Rory just killed my buzz…
So how did Rory kill Mandy’s buzz? Well, during her mom’s most important moment, Rory sneaked off to talk to Dean. He’s been avoiding her since she sent him on his merry little way when Jess arrived the night before, and she falls all over herself to tell him that she only did that so she could have the privacy to reject Jess. She asks Dean why he cares so much, and they keep moving closer and closer to each other as he tells her that he cares about her and doesn’t want her with Jess because he treated her badly. Despite Dean’s heinous mustache, and despite the fact that this is all the worst and grossest idea ever, I have to admit the chemistry is very hot here. I HATE IT, but it’s hot.
Meredith: He looks terrible here.
Mandy: He should. He’s having a rough time! I feel awful for him this whole season. Until this episode.
Meredith: WHY is she explaining herself here? HE’S MARRIED.
Mandy: Don’t get closer. Stop getting closer. I’m Team Good Choices.
Meredith: This is awful but also kind of hot.
Mandy: I’m pretending that it’s not. My grandpa morals are overriding my mojo.
Meredith: I mean, story-wise it’s terrible, choices-wise the worst, but chemistry-wise: YES. But still no. nonono.
[as Tom enters, breaking up their almost-kiss]
Mandy: That was the Universe, telling you to slow your roll.
Meredith: Listen to the universe!!!
The universe does NOT tell Lorelai and Luke to slow their roll – they’ve been slowing it long enough. Time to speed it up, and Luke seems to know it, because he arrives at the Dragonfly with a lovely bouquet of flowers for Lorelai, and I DIE. Lorelai is completely unnerved in the giddiest way possible, and as she turns to walk back to her desk she walks directly into a door that’s about to be installed. Oh man, Lauren Graham’s physical comedy in this episode is PRICELESS. As Luke frets over her, she tells him it’s just a “bit” she’s doing, because *snapping her fingers like a jazzy comedian* “We’re going to be the comedy inn.” I wish there were a way for me to express to you on paper how funny this is.
Mandy: HE HAS FLOWERS!
Meredith: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee flowers. AND HE GOT A HAIRCUT.
Mandy: Not just roses. Hah! So good!
Meredith: hahaha I LOVE NERVOUS LORELAI
Mandy: This door gag is really giving me enjoyment.
Meredith: Her “comedy inn” snapping cracked me up too.
Everything is going very smoothly with the test run, except that Lorelai’s parents are furious with her for forcing them together in the bungalow. They finally admit that they’ve separated and leave in a huff, and Lorelai looks sad for a moment but soldiers on because Digger has arrived out of nowhere to win Lorelai back. “Lorelai, I’ve been sitting in my apartment for two weeks staring at a dead plant that you gave me. Now I know we can work this out. I am not leaving until we do.” While the sentiment is nice, the timing is terrible, and I don’t understand why Lorelai not only allows him to sit in the lobby but brings him dinner and hears him out. I don’t hate Digger – I rather like him – but Luke is there, and he can tell something’s going on, and he brought her flowers, and Digger just needs to go away now and let Luke and Lorelai have their moment.
Especially when Luke goes to Digger to investigate, and Digger tells Luke that he and Lorelai are CURRENTLY dating (untrue), and Luke looks so crushed. “We hit a rough patch, but we’re working through it. When it’s right, it’s right, and Lorelai and I are right.” Luke is stricken.
Mandy: GO AWAY!
Meredith: WHAT a shitty time to show up, Digger. Do this ANY OTHER TIME. She’s trying to open a business here.
Mandy: He’s just… He thinks he’s being persistent, but it’s reading as pushy.
Meredith: And it’s so inconsiderate, distracting her at such an important time.
Mandy: Honestly, though… I’m kind of glad Digger showed up. I think Luke needed an impetus to go ahead and kiss her.
Meredith: You’re right! Good call.
Mandy: Yes. When it’s right, it IS right. YOU’RE not right, you dude named after picking your nose.
Meredith: Is that how he got the name?? I thought he was like digging holes in the backyard
Luke, straightforward communicator that he suddenly is, confronts Lorelai immediately. He can’t believe she let him make all of these romantic gestures when she had a boyfriend. Lorelai maintains that she is NOT taken, and…let’s just let the scene speak for itself, okay? Even the part where Kirk runs by, naked with his night terrors – we’ll just let that speak for itself.
Okay, let’s gif it now!
One more, for posterity’s sake.
I think we can all agree that this is the single greatest kiss in the record of fictional television relationships. What a buildup for these two, with a journey that was excruciatingly slow for four and a half seasons and then all of a sudden, we get this breathtaking momentum over the last couple of episodes until this incredible, earth-shattering, inevitable…kiss. And what a kiss.
Mandy: KISS! KISS! YAY!!!! I’m misting up. “Will you just stand still?”
Meredith: AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Best kiss in TV history.
Mandy: That caps the moment! Now…
Meredith: Goddammit Kirk!
Mandy:…moment is ruined.
We thought the moment was ruined before? Let’s check in with Rory. She’s back at the house gathering CDs for the Dragonfly when Dean stops by. He tells her it isn’t working with Lindsay, that they’re both unhappy, and then all of a sudden they’re kissing…and then they’re kissing on the bed. Later, Lorelai runs into the house, eager to tell Rory everything about Luke, and Rory and Dean stumble out of the room, clearly post-coitally disheveled. Lorelai looks DEVASTATED, and Dean skidaddles. Lorelai tears into Rory, but calmly, just overwhelmingly disappointed in the daughter she thought she knew. She calls Rory out on all of the right things: she’s the other woman, Dean cheated on Lindsay and Rory cheated with him, this is the worst way she could lose her virginity – but Rory keeps maintaining that Dean loves her and was her boyfriend first, which is such a childish defense. Finally she tells Lorelai that she hates her for “ruining this” for her, and she runs out to call Dean…but Lindsay answers. She hangs up, crying, and we see Lorelai walk up behind her as the episode ends.
Mandy: NO! Don’t let him in!
Meredith: STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. She looks crazy gorgeous here, but STOP IT.
Mandy: WHERE DOES YOUR WIFE THINK YOU ARE???? I hate cheating. I hate it so much.
Meredith: It’s the worst thing. JUST MAKE A DECISION. Break up with Lindsay if you want Rory so badly! Or, you know, divorce her. Not break up. Because YOU’RE MARRIED.
Mandy: Vehemently agreed. If you’re not happy, go home and talk to her. If you decide after talking that you need to get divorced, then get divorced. Then, if you decide you still want Rory, and she still wants you, then go on a date. Don’t take her virginity in her childhood bedroom while you’re still married.
Meredith: This is the worst. That part wasn’t hot at all. Just sad and gross.
Mandy: Lorelai is exactly proportionately disappointed in Rory.
Meredith: She handles this perfectly. Poor Lorelai. UGH. Lorelai’s face.
Mandy: The perfect face. She is an incredible actor.
Meredith: It’s such bullshit she never even got an Emmy nod.
Mandy: No kidding. WB stigma.
[as Rory assures Lorelai that she and Dean “were safe”]
Mandy: Why did they have condoms????? That denotes forethought. HE’S MARRIED.
Meredith: “He was my boyfriend first” – good lord
Mandy: Rory does not spread her wings very well. When she tries to step away from Lorelai, she never knows how to do it subtly.
Rory is the mistress who just hung up on his wife.
Meredith: AHHHHHHH such a crazy amazing roller coaster episode.
Mandy: I love that ASP is not afraid to end a season like that, with a heavy note after something so amazing. A less nimble storyteller would’ve faded to black on their kiss.
Meredith: And then just the shot of Lorelai’s shoes in the background as Rory cries in the front yard? So good.
Mandy: So good. Even though she doesn’t approve, she’s there for her.
How many times do I have to drink?
How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?
Of course there’s the kiss and the flowers and everything else, but the moment I’m going to honor right now is when Luke’s sitting at the table with Babette and Miss Patty (in their robes) and he just smiles up at Lorelai, his eyes crinkling, and she’s so fluttery that she runs straight into a server. Boy, that man can smile. And Lauren Graham is so good at running into stuff.
Rory and Dean flirt too, but it’s ILLICIT flirting and therefore we shall ignore it.
Best/most dated pop culture reference
As Rory is telling Lane about her bad date with Duncan Kane the night before, Lane asks: “He was that bad?” Rory: “James Spader in Pretty in Pink.” Lane: “You could have just stopped at James Spader.”
Sookie’s best dish of the episode
There are tons of beautiful plates being ushered around everywhere, but no menu items are specified! However, since the zucchini seemed to be revived last week, I think we can all assume that her zucchini soup was a hit.
Lorelai’s craziest outfit
Is that a pygmy puff on her shirt?
Lulu! I love this dress, and I love Lulu. Lorelai ain’t kidding when she tells her, “Kirk’s lucky to have found you, Lulu.”
He has night terrors! He and Lulu have had LOTS of sex, don’t worry, but they’ve never spent the night together before the Dragonfly because he’s afraid he’ll harm her. He tasks Luke with intervening if he hears any screaming…or Russian.
Michel really, really wants to reserve a room for Paw Paw and Chin Chin (his chows) during opening weekend, but Lorelai refuses “because I’m mad with power.”
Best Gilmore Gal witticism
After Lane and Rory try out Zack and Brian’s video game system and remain unimpressed, Rory: “So this is what teenage boys are doing instead of watching television?” Lane: “Apparently.” Rory: “Seems like a lateral move.”
Of course I’m disappointed in Rory and disgusted with Dean, but let’s focus on what really matters here, okay people?
So there you have it! Two of the best episodes ending one of the best seasons of all time, and I’m so happy to have had Mandy join me for such a milestone. Next week I’ll be back with the first two eps of Season Five – “Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller” and “A Messenger, Nothing More” – so meet me here next Wednesday morning as we continue our inexorable trek through every episode of Gilmore Girls!
And I leave you with a question, dear FYA readers: what’s your favorite episode of Season 4? (Mine’s “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights.” The flirting, ye gods, the flirting!)