There’s no denying that one of the most anticipated Netflix shows this year has been the revival of the Gilmore Girls property; let’s get caught up on the first two episodes in the four-episode season with a Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life recap of “Winter.” If you read our spoiler of “Winter,” you knew pretty much what was going to happen, but the devil, as they say, is in the details.
“Winter” opens up with a series of voice-overs that highlight some of the best episodes from the seven seasons (“I love you, you idiot!,” and “How many cups have you had this morning?”), ending with Lauren Graham saying, “I smell snow…”
The familiar opening music begins, and then there’s a slow-panning shot to Lorelai sitting on the steps of the gazebo in the middle of the Star’s Hollow commons, taking a deep breath, and we’re home again. Rory comes up behind her and plops down. Cue the fast talking, and it’s like only a week has passed, not the almost-decade since Rory left on her political junket. A joke about how it’s been a while since Rory has done this gives a subtle nod to the time passing, and then it’s off to an abbreviated town tour.
After a brief catch-up on what’s been going on in town (Le Chat closed, parking meters have come and gone, and Taylor is trying to get a town sewer system), Rory gets a phone call on one of her three phones and runs around trying to get reception. She finally finds it next to the produce case in Doose’s, where she juggles a conversation with Lane, talking on the phone, and handing out cabbages. It’s like we never left Star’s Hollow.
Outside, Lorelai runs into Kirk, who has a pet pig named Petal. Apparently, when he and Lulu were discussing having a kid, the town chipped in and bought them a pet pig, which, hopefully bought the town a couple of years. That Lulu and Kirk having a kid would be a disaster is sort of a given, but it would probably be a great kid, because it would be raised by the entire town at some point.
Lorelai and Rory head home and there’s Luke, cooking away in the kitchen; two separate main courses, mac and cheese, and parmesan cutlets with garlic bread. No tater tots, however, even if they do go great in tacos.
A short while later, a dinner guest arrives. Paul, Rory’s boyfriend, shows up, and nobody remembers him. This is a running gag throughout all four episodes, and it’s used sparingly enough that it’s still funny. Trust Luke to remember the wrench, though.
Luke and Lorelai head to bed, with some Gilmore Girl-level bed talk about how Rory could hear the two of them rollicking. After they go to bed, Lorelai wakes up from a recurring nightmare about a dirty bathroom. She hears some tapping from somewhere in the house (I had some horrified concern that it was Rory and Paul rollicking). Turns out it’s Rory in the kitchen, doing stress tap dancing. Yes. Tap dancing to relieve stress.
The next day, Rory leaves on a plane to London (cue another Paul bit), where we learn that Paul drinks tea. Seriously, how did Rory end up with this guy? We follow Lorelai to the Dragonfly, where we get confirmation of what we all really knew. Michel’s husband, Frederick, wants children, while the thought of them sends Michel into conniptions.
We also find out what happened to Sookie. She went on a retreat for a six-month sabbatical and ended up staying for a year. Lorelai says she’s developing food-growing techniques to help people who eat them, while Michel is less kind.
“She’s squatting in a cabin with no phone service, trying to grow a pineapple out of a coat rack!” she proclaims.
Later that day, Lorelai is forced to take Kurt’s new ride-sharing venture, Öööber (not to be mistaken with Uber), to her mother’s house for the weekly Friday night dinner. His ride service comes complete with complementary water in a Brita-filter pitcher, and music in the form of Kurt singing any song as long as it’s by The Carpenters.
Lorelai arrives at her mother’s house just as Kurt’s car dies. Rory arrives a few minutes later, and we meet Emily’s new maid and an entire new family that has moved in. Emily shows off a new portrait of Richard, but it’s so big that it covers almost an entire wall. Lorelai pesters her mom until Emily breaks down and admits it was a mistake, while sniping at Lorelai.
“I’m a screw up! I admit it! Just please, don’t let this be the only thing you remember to say at my funeral!”
Cue a flashback to Richard’s funeral, where Digger makes an appearance. Apparently, after Luke drove Rory to the airport, a very drunk Lorelai was coerced into sharing her favorite Richard story. A panicked Lorelai (and that’s never a good thing) comes up with a story where Lorelai was left in a steam trunk when her dad went on a business trip, and another tale of him walking in on her and Teddy Wiedemier III rollicking. If ever there is a way to kill a conversation, Lorelai can find it.
After the guests leave, Emily and Lorelai have a fight in the kitchen. Emily accuses Lorelai of premeditating the entire thing, while a flustered Lorelai tries to assure her mother that it was a combination of drinking her weight in scotch, and being surprised. Emily calls Lorelai a natural disaster, and starts in on Lorelai’s relationship with Luke. Did Lorelai ever ask Luke what he wanted? Emily kicks Lorelai out of her house, and here we are, full-freaking circle.
Back in the present, everyone is at the Friday night dinner, including Kirk. Luke shows up to take everyone home, and along the way, Lorelai asks if he wants more kids. Luke says that he had thought about it in the past, but that now he doesn’t. Of course Lorelai can’t help but think that he’s missing out on something, so she makes an appointment for them at a surrogacy clinic.
The surrogacy and fertility clinic, Dynasty Makers, is run by none other than Paris Gellar, who takes a personal hand in helping them select the perfect candidate. Luke seems out of his depth, pointing out that he doesn’t want to have sex with any of these women. And when Paris mentions that Neil Patrick Harris is a client, Luke is out the door, heading for the hills. No adoption, no surrogacy, and that means no kids.
Flash to Rory in London, meeting up with Naomi (played by Alex Kingston), the person she wrote her New Yorker piece about. It’s a fairly humorous scene, with plenty of nods to Doctor Who for those of you paying attention.
Of course, that’s just a detail when we find out that Rory is staying with Logan (score one for Team Logan) and still sleeping with him in an open relationship. He’s still engaged to Odette, who lives in Paris, so Logan and Rory have a set of “Vegas rules” for their relationship. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. However, remember that the last time they did this, it didn’t end well.
The following day, Rory is back in Star’s Hollow and bumps into Paris, who has brought two of her top surrogates by Luke’s Diner. She tells them to close the deal, and that isn’t threatening or ominous at all. Paris talks about how she’s getting divorced from Doyle, who apparently is now a big screenwriter and has gone a little hipster on her.
Taylor comes in to Luke’s and asks him for testimonial on the transition from septic tanks to a town-wide sewer system. Luke blows him off and Taylor explodes into a rant. Watching him go off on everything and everyone around him is hilarious and a sober reminder that Lorelai and Rory aren’t the only fast talkers on the show. A sympathetic Luke follows Taylor as he leaves and gives him what he asked for.
Worried about her mother, Lorelai swings by her house to check up on her, finding Emily in a Candie’s T-shirt and jeans. She’s taking decluttering advice and throwing everything out that doesn’t bring her joy. Which is everything. Lorelai tells her that nothing will bring her joy right now, and suggests talking to a therapist.
The next day, Luke and Lorelai come to the realization and agreement that they aren’t going to go the surrogacy route. No kids, just drinks. They meet Kirk, who has put an end to Öööber, and tells them that if they see any handsome attorneys from Uber, that it was Dirk who ran that business and so recklessly violated trademark laws. Oh, Kirk. On to your next job, I suppose.
Emily calls Lorelai and tells her that she has found a therapist. Emily invites Lorelai to stop by, and Lorelai agrees while Luke sighs in the background. After Lorelai gets off the phone, Luke reminds Lorelai that she is now going to therapy with her mother. Lorelai protests until the realization truck hits her and says, “Oh crap. I’m going to therapy with my mother.”
This episode was a great return to Star’s Hollow and a nice way to show how everything has changed. Despite some rough patches, the show continues to charm, and I’m even more impressed with Kelly Bishop’s acting as Emily Gilmore than ever.
Next: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Episode 2,Spring.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
[Featured Image by Netflix]