While the episode is a bit hit and miss, it largely succeeds in amusing the audience.
As we reach Summer in the world of the Gilmore women, we see them facing problems in their personal and professional lives. In attempting to fix these problems, they find themselves making some even worse.
The episode’s focus is on Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) struggles with the disappointment of moving back into her old room, having achieved little in her career. She attempts to soothe her fears by insistently telling everyone that she is not back for good, and that her visit is only temporary – however, with no plans for the future, it seems like it might be Rory who is mistaken, rather than everyone else. Her chances of leaving Stars Hollow seem even more unlikely after she takes on the role of editor for The Stars Hollow Gazette, the old local paper that Rory loves but which offers her little in the way of a career.
Luke’s daughter April (Vanessa Marano) is in a similar position as she struggles to find her place in the world. Though she initially seems different from the innocent little girl we met 9 years ago, what with the nose ring, pot smoking and anti-establishment beliefs, April remains a sweet girl who just wants to be liked. Since we last met her she has grown into a young women, attending college at MIT, and while she has achieved academic success, it seems success in her social life has so far alluded her. Upon seeing Rory in her old room, a woman who has failed to achieve success despite having every opportunity given her, April begins to panic, presumably out of fear of ending the same way. While she suffers from a panic attack, it is annoying to see the lack of empathy that Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory have for April. Rory seems completely disinterested in April’s concerns, and barely conceals her boredom while April struggles to calm down. Instead of comforting April, she chooses to text Lorelai, who shows an equal lack of compassion in finding the whole thing amusing. It is disappointing to see the writers take this angle on the situation; while the Gilmore women could be selfish, they were never purposefully and unforgivably cruel. A similar event in which this newfound cruelty is shown is in the pool scenes in the episode, where the two women make fun of the hefty characters in the show. Their jokes are not only unkind, but add nothing to the story, therefore making pointless moments which only succeed in making the audience start to dislike Rory and Lorelai.
While Luke (Scott Patterson) has never been the happiest or bounciest character in Gilmore Girls, he seems to be having a particularly difficult time in this episode. He constantly appears tired, bored and altogether unhappy. There seems to be no fight left in him, much to the disappointment of the fans who had hoped that, by this point in his life, he and Lorelai would finally be happy. Lorelai appears to be in a very similar position, struggling to find joy in either her personal or professional life. As such it is incredibly annoying, though also very fitting, that they fail to communicate, instead going through the motions and hoping things get better. This obviously doesn’t work, leading Lorelai to behave in the most un-Lorelai like way possible and fly to California to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, after finding inspiration in the book Wild.
Rory and Logan’s (Matt Czuchry) affair hits a rough patch in Summer, as Rory’s jealousy of Odette consumes her. After finding out that Logan’s fiancee has moved in with him, she decides that she can no longer be the other women, and she ends their relationship. While this wins her the support of the fans, as she has finally broken off a relationship that many were uncomfortable with, it brings its own set of problems as she now has one less person in her life that helped encourage her to fight for her dreams. Without this support there is a risk that Rory will continue to float aimlessly, and will lose her self belief and confidence. However, this role is quickly taken up by Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), who still seems to have a soft place for Rory in his heart. Typically supportive, he gives Rory some brilliant advice, giving her a new goal to work towards.
The most bizarre part of the whole episode is the musical, which, though amusing, seems random and ill fitted for the episode. Presumably included for Boneheads fans, it made little improvement to the episode and annoyed many fans who felt time in the episode had been wasted. Overall, the episode is amusing but undeniably has holes, with some of the storylines still not working very well and with some questionable humour being used. While it is reminiscent of the original show, it still hasn’t quite got there. Hopefully the final episode will be more successful.
Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life is available to watch right now on Netflix. If you haven’t got round to it yet, check out our writers’ favourite episodes so far, the best Rory and Lorelai moments, and how to prepare for your revival binge-watch.