Title: Gilmore Girls S6.E07 “Twenty-One Is the Loneliest Number”
Gilmore Girls S6.E08 “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out”
Released: 2005
Series:  Gilmore Girls

Drinks Taken: 22
Cups of Coffee: 5

Last week, on Gilmore Girls

Okay, FINALLY, we have reached the last two episodes I have to recap of Lorelai and Rory’s estrangement. I hate hate HATE when these gals aren’t together, and it’s made my weekly joy feel like a weekly chore. We’re nearly there!

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!

6.7 “Twenty-One Is the Loneliest Number”

It’s Rory’s 21st birthday, and both girls are feeling their separation more than ever. They each reflect fondly on the plans they’ve long held for her birthday, using almost identical language to their various fellas.

Rory’s been thinking about her mom so much that she has a dream that flashes back to the speech Lorelai made when she crawled into bed with Rory for her 16th birthday, only Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright makes an amazing cameo and says all of Lorelai’s lines instead: 

Naturally, Emily’s plans for Rory’s birthday are more lace-trimmed invitations to a posh party than Atlantic City, and Rory goes along rather begrudgingly. She’s not being outwardly ungrateful just yet, but the seams are starting to show. Richard and Emily fear that Rory’s upcoming birthday means she might think about starting to have sex soon, so they ask a local reverend to drop by and talk her out of it. Rory makes it clear that she lost her virginity some time ago (we see a flash of stubborn Lorelai rebellion in this scene, and I kind of love it), and Richard and Emily wig BIG time. Emily fills the pool house with junk and makes Rory move into her old bedroom in the big house, and Richard just hides in his office forever. 

Rory, clearly wanting the estrangement to end, asks Emily to send an invitation to Lorelai, and Lorelai doesn’t respond because she assumes it’s an Emily move. Rory calls the diner and yells at Luke to yell at Lorelai that it’s rude not to RSVP. Luke is dismayed that Rory yelled and said the word “hell,” but Lorelai is just so pleased that she called. She knows it’s progress! Her reaction in this scene is so wonderful. This episode made me tear up about seven times, and this was the first. 

Lorelai and Luke head to the party, and while they’re grossed out by the general ostentation and by The Rory, the super-pink cocktail Emily has the bartender make in Rory’s honor (champagne, vodka, pineapple juice and grenadine, yikes), and despite the rudeness with which Emily still treats Luke, it’s a good evening because Rory and Lorelai share some lovely conversation. Lorelai: “Your drink is disgusting.” Rory: “Tell me about it.” Lorelai: “I got a dog.” Rory: “WHAT?” Lorelai: “Stop, he’s fine.” While it’s just small talk and catching up, they’re both so clearly yearning to reconcile, and it makes me cry over and over. 

Richard’s also bumming me out, stewing in his office and blaming himself for the fact that he spent forty thousand dollars (?!) to renovate Rory’s “sex house.” Lorelai very kindly lets him off the hook, but Emily is furious when she realizes his concern is that Rory’s turning into her. “Running around with Logan, joining the DAR, planning parties. Fund-raisers and tea parties? It’s frivolous and meaningless. She has more to do, more to be. I don’t want that life for her.” Emily: “You mean my life. You don’t want her to be me.” I’d feel bad for Emily, but since she just said, right in front of Lorelai, “We have not failed. We have not failed until that girl comes home pregnant. Then we’ve failed!”, my sympathy is waning. 

Other party tidbits: Lane (or as Emily calls her, “Rory’s Asian friend”) and Zack meet Logan, and it’s cute. Paris has been named the editor of the Yale Daily News, and she forces Doyle to share the following exchange in front of every single person at the party: “Last year I was sleeping with the editor…” “…and this year, I am!” (Rory and Lorelai both seem a little sad at the news, knowing that it could have been Rory if she weren’t such a shiftless layabout.) Luke gives Rory a beautiful pearl necklace that once belonged to his mother and makes me cry again. And Emily sees the engagement ring on Lorelai’s finger and looks FURIOUS, and that part doesn’t make me cry because shut up, Emily. 

How many times do I have to drink?


How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?


Flirtation quota

Logan and Rory are hard-core making out all over the place until Emily moves her into the big house, and he’s very sweetly supportive of her as she confesses how much she misses her mom. On the Luke and Lorelai front, it’s Halloween season and Maury and Babette are bored with Lorelai’s usual caramel apple decorations, so she decides to do a crazy skit with Luke involving electrocuting him, putting him on an autopsy table and pulling link sausages out of his guts. Luke, naturally, refuses – until he sees how sad Lorelai is after the birthday party, and he kindly agrees to do it. I love him. Also, he makes her fried chicken for no reason. I loooove him.

Best/most dated pop culture reference

Lorelai, planning the skit out to Luke: “I want to be a mad scientist. I’m gonna come out in a blood-stained white lab coat and freaky makeup and big, giant, Don King kind of hairdo, and I’m going to turn the whole front yard into my laboratory. I’m gonna have a huge electric chair and an operating table and test tubes and wires. But you haven’t heard the half of it, okay? And so I come out and I do mad scientist banter, like, ‘Hey, who here is from Bellevue?’ and ‘Girl, Interrupted? Now that’s my idea of a feel-good movie.’ I’ll work on it.”

Sookie’s best dish of the episode

Well, she helps Lorelai pick out the grossest link sausages to pull out of Luke’s guts. True friendship!

Lorelai’s craziest outfit

This ugly, patterned, sequined, stretchy shirt.

Outfit MVP

Emily should actually get the credit for this lovely party dress, since she picked it out for Rory and laid it across her bed so Rory would know to wear it. I know that’s imperious behavior, but it’s also a really nice dress.

Kirk insanity/ Michel madness


Best Gilmore Gal witticism

Lorelai, annoyed with something her father said: “That was a low blow, bringing up Rory’s birthday like that. ‘She’s turning twenty-one, Lorelai. Did you know that?’ Pfft. Of course I know that! I was there when she was turning nothing. I know she’s turning twenty-one.”

Random observation

I’m sort of amazed that Richard and Emily are so out of touch as to assume that Rory is still a virgin. She’s 20, she’s had multiple hot boyfriends, Logan’s always in the pool house with her, and their daughter got pregnant when she was 16. How can they not realize this was a possibility?

6.8 “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out”

SEASON 6 JESS IS HERE. He drops by, conveniently, just as Logan’s acting like a dick, getting way too drunk and grumpy because his dad has been pressuring him more than usual lately. Jess shows up at Richard and Emily’s house (after hearing from Luke that’s where he’d find Rory), because he wants to show her the BOOK HE WROTE and tell her that she inspired him to write it. He’s gotten a haircut and he looks great and he and Rory share a really sweet scene – but we can tell how mortified she is to be living with her grandparents and working for the DAR while Jess has his act together, living in Philly and working at the printing press that published his novel. She keeps saying “it’s temporary,” and Jess lets it go. They make plans for dinner the following night, but Logan comes home early and is immediately super threatened around Jess, acting like a possessive creep. They all go out together, and Logan spends the entire time mocking Jess for no real reason until Jess storms off. Rory follows him, and he gives her the come to Jesus talk we’ve all been wanting to give Rory for MONTHS: 

YES. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, JESS. I never thought I’d say it! Although Rory gets pretty defensive here, and then goes inside and yells at Logan (who deserves it for being a jerk tonight, but she’s blaming him for her months of slackery which is 100% her choice), we all know it’s making an impression on Rory – particularly as she starts losing her temper more and more frequently with Emily, who’s constantly underfoot, and with the DAR, which seems to have lost some of its luster. C’mon, Rory – CONNECT THE DOTS. She’s almost there: “I’m palling with my grandmother and being waited on by a maid. I come home, and my shoes are magically shined. My clothes are magically clean, ironed and laid out. My bed is magically turned down. I’m in the DAR? I’m going to meetings and teas and cocktail parties?” Yeah, man. We know. So she spends the night at Lane’s, and then yells at poor Emily in front of everyone at the DAR function. She’s almost there. 

Meanwhile, Lorelai and Luke have been trying to pick out paint colors for the house, and Lorelai is predictably indecisive about it. She picks out paint colors for every other home and business in town but cannot decide on her own – even with Babette’s flustered help. Luke has started sponsoring a girls’ soccer team, and he’s all cute and excited about it – until he sees what blood-lusty little heathens these soccer players are. It’s a nothing, throwaway plot, but I like it, because Luke is just so damned adorable. 

And finally, Paul Anka has been moving Lorelai’s shoes all over the house, and then he gets sick, and she’s a wreck about it, staying up all night, tearfully watching over him and blaming herself for not seeing that the shoes were a message for her to get dressed and take him to the vet. He’s going to be okay, and it’s pretty clear as Lorelai murmurs, “I did this wrong. I did this all wrong. How could I have let this happen? How did I not see it coming? How didn’t I step in and do something, and…why can’t I fix these things?” that she’s talking about more than Paul Anka. 

How many times do I have to drink?


How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?


Flirtation quota

Rory and Jess still have smoking hot chemistry, and hello, he came by to tell her she inspired his book! And Luke is so wonderfully comforting when Lorelai needs him, kissing her on the forehead and telling her everything’s going to be okay. 

Best/most dated pop culture reference

Lorelai asks Paul Anka to help her choose her paint colors, and he “chooses” (by licking) dark magenta for the walls, ceilings and baseboards. “You’ve got the Queer Eye, my friend.” 

Sookie’s best dish of the episode/Kirk insanity/Michel madness


Lorelai’s craziest outfit

Another stretchy patterned shirt, this time with puffy vest!

Outfit MVP

Well, at least she looks good for Jess. 

Best Gilmore Gal witticism

Of the monstrously violent little soccer players, Lorelai: “Who is their coach? Sam Peckinpah?”

Random observation

While I’m so glad Rory is finally realizing that she’s not living the life she wants, I hate the way she takes it out on Emily, who has done nothing but try to support her through all of this (in her own pushy Emily way). Their fight at the DAR function is especially brutal, as Emily says: “You are becoming more like your mother with every passing day,” and Rory counters: “And you are becoming more like my mother’s mother with every passing day.” Ouch, Rory. While she’s close to having the revelation we’ve all been waiting for, she’s still blaming Logan and Emily instead of herself, and that means she still has some maturing to do. 

And that’s it for this week! Meet me back here next Wednesday morning as we cover “The Prodigal Daughter Returns” and “He’s Slippin’ ‘Em Bread… Dig?”, which will be the most confusing combination of happy and sad Gilmore Girls developments we’ve ever had. 

And I leave you with a question, dear FYA readers: what do you think of the fight between Rory and Emily? Can you see where Rory’s coming from, or do you feel, like I do, that she’s needlessly harsh to Emily? 

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.