This is part three of the four-part Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life spoiler laden recaps for all four episodes. If you’re looking for the earlier episodes, Part 1, “Winter,” is here, and Part 2, “Spring,” is here. This recap is all about Episode 3, “Summer.”
“Summer” starts off with a quintessential summertime activity: sitting by a pool, sunbathing, and people watching. After all, haven’t we all done this? Also, where has the pool been in Stars Hollow all this time? Does it double as a skating rink in the winter? Everyone is nice, welcoming Rory back to Stars Hollow, and she is quick to retort every time that she is not back. She’s just here for the time being.
Soon enough it’s dinner time at the Danes-Gilmore house, and guess who else is here for the time being? April Nardini, clueless as ever, and missing the witty jokes that Lorelai throws her way about Noam Chomsky (To Noam is to love him), and references to Annie Hall. Later, as Luke and Lorelai watch the first episode and half of The Returned(The French version, of course), April has a minor freakout in Rory’s room. April admits that she has smoked pot once (but oh my goodness, the cheese she ate afterwards) and never met Noam Chomsky.
Out in the living room, Lorelai and Luke talk a bit, with Lorelai calming Luke down by telling him that Rory has a handle on the entire situation. Luke says that April wants to go on a trip to Germany, which Luke will pay for. Lorelai offers to chip in, noting that Luke has already paid for part of MIT and grad school, but Luke will have none of it. April is his kid, after all, and he’s handling it.
Rory heads outside to call Logan and broach the topic of maybe heading out to London to see him a little early. After all, she’s got nothing else on her plate. Logan says sure, she can stay in a hotel, her favorite one. Rory puts two and two together and realizes that Odette is in town. After some prying, it’s revealed that Odette has actually moved in with Logan. Rory doesn’t know quite what to make of it, and is further unsettled by Logan’s assurance that they can keep the arrangement the same. And when Rory heads out to London as originally planned, they can figure out things then.
The next day, Taylor announces that they are going to put on a Stars Hollow musical with lyrics by Taylor and music and direction by a new townie named Nat Compton. Lorelai, Babette, Tom, Gypsy, and Sophie (played by Carole King) all volunteer to be part of a musical advisory committee to preview the show and give suggestions. In a last bit of news, Taylor announces that The Stars Hollow Gazette is closing its doors after 89 years now that the editor has retired. Rory objects, but is dismissed by Taylor and seemingly everyone else in town.
The next day, Rory laments that there’s no paper to cover the auditions for the musical. She heads to Taylor and volunteers to take over as editor. After all, she has the qualifications and she comes cheap. As in, she’s going to do it for free. Taylor accepts and introduces her to her staff: Esther and Charlie, both of whom seem to have been at the Gazette since it was founded.
That night, Rory gets to work, while Lorelai and Michel have drinks at The Secret Bar. The secret bar is located in a blind alley right next to the Gazette’s offices where everyone hides behind a gate whenever Taylor comes near. Michel gives his three-month notice to Lorelai, lamenting that there’s no room for growth at The Dragonfly.
Rory gets her first issue of the Gazette out, but finds out that she has to do the deliveries of the paper on her own. She dragoons Lorelai into helping, as Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” plays in the background. As the deliveries continue, Rory fields complaints about the missing poem from the front page and deals with Doyle griping about Rory trimming his review of The Jungle Book.
The next morning, all deliveries accomplished, both mom and daughter are nursing some sore feet, talking about what they ordered for dinner the previous night. In Gilmore tradition, it was Chinese, Greek, and Italian, with a side of hot dogs.
Rory gives Emily a call, and discovers that she is still in bed. What is Emily Gilmore doing still in bed at noon? Emily then pretends that someone is at the door and tells Rory that she has to go. How different is Emily these days?
Rory limps to the Gazette, while Lorelai hobbles to her preview of the Stars Hollow Musical.
Let’s just say that this isn’t Wicked or any other traditional Broadway show. Apparently, there’s a time travel element, multiple costume changes, and even a rap, because heck, if Hamilton can do it, so can Taylor. Everyone seems to love it, but Lorelai can only look on with alternating looks of horror and confusion. There are several musical numbers, and the show finishes with a round of ABBA’s “Waterloo.”
In the critique meeting afterwards, everyone loves it, calling it fantastic. Everyone, except Lorelai, who asks all the questions we have. What the heck is this musical all about? What’s with the songs? Taylor brings up a small point that the eight-song ABBA finale won’t be allowed because of copyright difficulties. Sophie heads to the piano and belts out a bit of “I Feel The Earth Move,” but is dismissed by Taylor as not catchy enough.
Rory heads to see Emily and finds out that Emily has changed a lot more than previously thought. She eats on a TV table in front of a television in the living room? Emily Gilmore? Rory tells her that she needs to get out and do something other than DAR or errands.
Emily emails Lorelai and lets her know that they need to meet at Richard’s grave to approve headstone number five. The first four were all wrong for various reasons – no quotation marks, no attribution, falling off of the truck, it’s an issue. Rory heads back to the Gazette and guess who wanders in? JESS!
He’s in town to help Luke get his mom and TJ out of a cult they inadvertently joined in their quest for fresh vegetables. Over a working lunch, Rory laments her current wandering existence.
“I could have been a contender. I’m broke. Busted. I have no apartment, no car. Hell, my license expired three months ago…I have no job. I have no credit. I have no underwear!”
Jess does what he does best and gets Rory to think, telling her she needs to write what she’s passionate about. Write a book about her mom and her. It’s story that only she can tell, after all. Jess leaves, and there’s a terrific scene of him interacting with Luke. No words are spoken, but the five second scene shouts volumes about their relationship.
Rory looks thoughtful about Jess’ advice and starts to look through old microfiche of the Gazette. She finds the article that started it all, aptly titled, “Teen Mom Lorelai Gilmore Arrives in Stars Hollow, Takes Job at Independence Inn.”
Cut to a week later, and Lorelai is standing outside her mom’s house, frantically texting Rory. She heads inside to find Emily entertaining Jack Smith, an old friend of her dad’s. He made a pitcher of gimlets from a vodka he brought back from Russia, and Lorelai is obviously uncomfortable. After some uncomfortable conversation, Lorelai tells Emily that it’s weird to see her moving on. Emily takes it the wrong way and starts a fight. She tells Lorelai that she understands, because now that she’s moving on, she’s someone else’s problem. Lorelai looks on in confusion while Emily insists that just because she’s entertaining Jack doesn’t mean she’s forgetting about Richard. With smug satisfaction, Emily tells Lorelai about her time with Luke, looking at properties, sussing out that Luke never told Lorelai.
They all head to the cemetery where they meet Rory. Of course, there’s something wrong with the headstone. Single quotation marks instead of double this time. Emily goes to see what is happening and Rory and Lorelai arrange flowers on Richard’s grave.
Rory breaks the news to Lorelai that she’s going to write a book about them. “It’s about me and you. It’s about our relationship…it’s about our journey, and the journey you took before I was born.”
Lorelai doesn’t like it, seeing it as an intrusion, saying no. She doesn’t want Rory to write it, and when she hears that Jess prompted the idea, Lorelai goes on the attack. Rory defends herself, saying that this is what she’s supposed to do. Harsh words are spoken while neither one wants to give in, and Rory leaves Lorelai standing in the graveyard.
Lorelai heads to Luke’s Diner and promptly starts a fight, asking him why she wasn’t told about him looking at franchise locations. Luke counters by asking where she was during the hours she was supposed to be at therapy. Luke says that they had a deal. Lorelai keeps her crazy family away from him, he keeps his crazy family away from her. Lorelai retorts in disbelief, wondering if that’s how two partners are supposed to be. When did they start to have this separation?
Luke tells her that he doesn’t know. He just went along with it. Lorelai set everything up and he went along, and that’s how it works. Luke storms out, heading to The Dragonfly to take muffins out of the oven because the chef that was supposed to be there isn’t going to show up.
The next morning, Rory is talking to Lane about what happened and starts reflexively calling Logan. Lane tells Rory that Lorelai will eventually come around, but Rory says that her mom looked at her the way she looks at Emily. That hurts. Logan calls back and talks to Rory. Logan says he has to head outside because Odette is there. Rory and Logan break up over the phone, except they can’t break up, because they were nothing.
Taylor sends Lorelai a message that there’s a new song for the musical, and she should come by, but “…please, leave the ‘tude at home.”
The song is sung by Violet, and the lyrics speak directly to Lorelai, moving her to tears.
“Oh, I am not unbreakable. I am breaking right now. I need to be unbreakable. Somehow. It’s never…or now.”
She heads home and tells Luke that she has to go away for a while. She’s going to do Wild, the book version. She’s going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, at least part of it. Luke points out that she’s going to have to sleep on the ground, and there will be bugs and dirt and she’ll have to cook her own food. Luke asks why she’s going, and Lorelai simply responds, “Because it’s never. Or now.”
“Summer” ended on a somber note, feeling much like Seasons 4 and 5 when Lorelai and Rory were on the outs after Rory’s affair with Dean. There’s more buildup in this episode, which means that the final episode is going to have to pay off in a big way. While the musical scenes were a little long, and certainly could have been cut to show more Jess, they showed just how strange our little favorite corner of the world really is.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is available to stream on Netflix wherever Netflix is available
[Featured Image by Netflix]