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Despite Presence of Entertainers, "Gilmore Girls" Fails to Entertain

Amy and Daniel have officially left the building.

I have to say that I was completely underwhelmed by last night's season finale of Gilmore Girls ("Partings"). Perhaps part of it was my own fault for having built up the 62-minute episode, which served as the last to be written and directed under the guidance of Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband writer/producer Daniel Palladino, into some monumental occasion. I have been dreading this moment since I heard the news that they wouldn't be returning with the show next season when Gilmore Girls moves over to the new CW network.

On the other hand, Gilmore Girls season finales tend to be emotional, heart-breaking affairs... and this wasn't really either of those things, especially compared to last season's cliffhanger finale (with Rory dropping out of Yale and moving in with Richard and Emily). What it seemed like instead was an excuse for Amy and Daniel to invite all of their friends over to participate in what could have been any other regular episode of the series. Yes, it was great seeing Sam Phillips and Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, et al, playing would-be town troubadours after their own town singer (the amazing Grant Lee Phillips) hits it big. But too much time was spent on the singers, um, singing and Taylor's reaction, rather than on our main characters and their situations. And the troubadour storyline never paid off in any way--much less a meaningful one--for it to warrant so much precious screen time.

It also robbed us of any reaction shot from Luke after he turns down Lorelai's demand that they elope and Lorelai storms off into the night. Should we have seen that very important, crucial shot rather than a lingering shot of the incandescent Sam Phillips singing her song, "Taking Pictures"? This season has been building to a confrontation between the two of them, especially as Lorelai has uncharacteristically kept her mouth shut about everything that's been pushing them apart. She finally stands up for herself and says that Luke's newfound daughter April needs to fit into their lives and not the other way around... and if Luke can't commit to her right now, then there's nothing left between them. We see Lorelai's pained, desperate expression but Luke's is left up to the imagination of the viewer. Does he run after Lorelai? Does he storm back into the diner and slam the door? Does he stand there, sadly, realizing that he's lost the best thing in his life?

We'll never know... until at least next season. But by then he'll have learned that Lorelai slept with Rory's dad Christopher, a development that Lorelai didn't seem so sure was a good thing, judging from her vacant expression at the end of the episode (an echo of the one from the finale's opening shot). While I've come around to Christopher once again since he's matured and grown up, Lorelai doesn't seem to be so certain. I've grown apathetic towards Luke after his awful behavior this year and I think that Lorelai and Christopher could finally be happy together; they're finally nearly equals.

Rory tearfully kissed Logan goodbye as he departed for his indentured servitude--I mean, a year in London running one of his father's newspapers. I understand that Logan has to grow up and mature--no more wearing gorilla masks and jumping out of airplanes as Mitchum put it--but my only fear is that Logan will become his father. After all, that shot of Logan standing in the elevator made him look too eerily like Mitchum to ignore the similarities in their situations and countenances. (I also told my girlfriend that, if I were leaving for London for a year, that I'd rather spend the evening with her than 100 of my closest friends at a hastily thrown together yet exceptionally elaborate British-themed party.)

Usually Amy's episodes are funny in the first half and emotional in the second, but I didn't really feel that either was true last night. The scenes with Emily and Richard attempting to fix Christopher up with Caroline (guest star Melora Hardin of The Office) were far too on the nose and weren't as humorous and whip-smart as I would have expected. And the second half of the episode felt oddly static, as though not very much had happened. There was no resolution of the fact that Emily printed a wedding announcement in the paper for Lorelai's supposed June wedding and that their entire family was still under the impression that the wedding was on. And what of Richard and Emily's plans to buy Luke and Lorelai a house as a wedding present? No mention whatsoever, aside from a comment from Lorelai to Emily that Luke was "working" and things were "fine."

What's happened to this show? I feel cheated by the lack of any meaningful resolution or even a dramatic cliffhanger in this season finale. (We've all sensed for several episodes now that Lorelai would sleep with Chris, so that was hardly a shocker of an ending.) I don't have high hopes for next year and, after this rather mediocre season, the finale didn't lead me to believe that things would improve without Amy and Daniel at the rudder.

So for now, we bid adieu to Stars Hollow and the Palladinos. And at the very least, I can sat that I have my Gilmore Girls DVDs to keep me company. I just wish that were enough...


Anonymous said…
You read my mind re: Logan's last night party. It seemed out of character for Rory to throw him a party rather than insist on a night alone w/him. Then again, the party was already planned before she knew that Mitch was going to take up all her alone time (though really, she should have suspected...)
Jace Lacob said…
Actually, Rory mentioned to Lorelai that she was taking him to some Italian restaurant where they have Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling and the mom-and-pop owners always get into arguments after 8:00... it wasn't until later that she called Finn and... the other one.

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