And with that brief exchange, people all over the world collectively lost their minds. Or I did, at least. And everyone watching with me. Those were the legendary four words we’ve been waiting ten years to hear? That was the perfect ending Amy Sherman-Palladino had always envisioned? What does this mean? How could we possibly leave the Gilmore Girls now?
I will say, as time has passed, my satisfaction with the ending has increased. It does bring the story full circle and it creates some interesting (and debatable) parallels between the men in Lorelai and Rory’s lives that may indicate what the future holds for the mom-to-be; perhaps this is enough closure, though it might not be as much as I wanted.
I think the big reason why the ending left me so unsettled actually had little to do with the ending itself, and more to do with the way it was edited. The audience was given no time to absorb the information. It was “I’m pregnant,” Lorelei’s stunned face, cut to black. I honestly thought my computer had skipped for a second.
Not only did we have to process this huge news, we also had to process that we’d reached the end, all in the exact same moment. A few extra beats watching Lorelai process and/or Rory waiting nervously, or even just fade to black instead of cut to black could have gone a long way toward transitioning us from “OMG RORY’S PREGNANT!” to “NOOO! IT CAN’T BE OVER!”
As I had time to think about it, however, I appreciate the full circle element from a story-telling point of view. It ties the past to the present nicely and gives us indications of what’s to come, even if we didn’t get clear answers. It did make me wonder, though, how this could have been Amy Sherman-Palladino’s plan all along.
When the series originally ended, Rory was just graduating from Yale. Had Sherman-Palladino stayed with the series that final year, would Rory have become pregnant then? Or would we have had a time jump incorporated in our final season, as shows like Parks and Rec. and How I Met Your Mother have done, and seen Rory pregnant as a woman in her late twenties or early thirties? And what if the show had ended before that? Had Sherman-Palladino been prepared to write Rory pregnant at eighteen?
These questions trouble me because these final four words have different implications for the series depending on Rory’s age. Let’s say the show hadn’t been renewed for Season Four; Would Rory have lost her virginity to Jess and announced her pregnancy to Lorelai after her high school graduation? That wouldn’t have done good things for their relationship, and it would have pretty much destroyed both her and her mother’s relationships with Emily and Richard. Not only is it a bummer way to say good-bye, but it negates any growth this family has had; teenage pregnancy is their square one.
Or how about if Sherman-Palladino had stayed for the final season? Would Rory have accepted Logan’s proposal because she was pregnant? Emily & Richard would have been satisfied, but I could easily imagine Lorelai’s doubts written all over her face, wondering if Rory would be saying yes if she weren’t pregnant. She and Rory might even fight about it. Another bummer, though at least this one doesn’t totally negate all that’s come before it.
Lorelai’s main goal is to see Rory fulfill her potential and achieve all the things she missed out on when she became pregnant at sixteen. The younger Rory is when the final four words are spoken, the bigger Lorelai’s failure, and the more Gilmore Girls becomes a tragedy instead of a dramedy.
The only way I can feel okay knowing this was always the end-goal is if I believe the timing was also always part of the goal. Whether she hoped the series really would go that long or she planned to do a time jump, I have to believe that Amy Sherman-Palladino always intended to end with an adult and independent Rory announcing her pregnancy, because changing the timing changes the rest of the story too drastically. And if such a drastic change doesn’t matter to the creator, then why did I bother investing in seven seasons of her story?
Assuming that I did not waste my time, and that the ride to the ending mattered as much as the ending itself, let’s analyze what those last four words imply.
Logan is the father. She couldn’t even remember to break up with Paul, I doubt they saw each other enough to make a baby. The Wookie happened in Spring, her announcement is in Fall, which means she’d be 4-6 months along…I’m just not buying that math.
Then there’s her conversation with Christopher. When viewed in context with the last four words, it’s clear that Rory is drawing parallels with her parents’ situation and hers. Should she tell the father? Should she let him be involved in her life and their child’s? She doesn’t even know Wookie’s name, she couldn’t contact him if she wanted to, so I’d say that rules him out.
No, she’s wondering because the father is someone with whom she could see a future, but doesn’t know if she wants one; someone who might or might not be a reliable father, just like Lorelai presumably felt about teenage Christopher. Just like Rory feels about Logan. After all, if she didn’t have doubts about him, wouldn’t she have pushed him to dump his fiancée at some point? Logan is almost undoubtedly the father.
The question is, what does this mean for their future? Let’s break this down.
- Logan still loves Rory. I think his Life & Death Brigade gesture proves that. He wants her in his life…the tricky part is finding a place for her. I’m guessing they started their whole “What happens in London” dynamic after he was engaged, because I don’t think Logan would get that serious with someone while seeing Rory, even though she’s keeping him at a distance. Rory is the first girl he was willing to get serious and commit to; he even wanted to marry her. My guess is he would have welcomed her back into his life whenever she wanted, but he would have let her define the relationship. Once bitten, twice shy. He might have dated other women if Rory had pushed the friends with benefits on him, but he wouldn’t have proposed to one of them for fear of pushing Rory away.
- Rory doesn’t trust Logan. I mean, the guy is cheating on his fiancée with her, so she has reason. But not only that, the first time we see the two of them together, she asks about the risk of seeing other women’s belongings in his closet. She assumes he sees her not as the other woman, but as one of many.
- We know nothing about Odette, Logan’s fiancée. Why is he with her? Does he actually care about her? Probably not as much as he cares about Rory, or he wouldn’t be trying so hard to hang on to Rory. My guess is this is a marriage his family is pushing for, either for business or social reasons, possibly both. This would explain why Logan’s final offer to Rory is not to leave Odette for her, but to give her some family property so she doesn’t feel as cheap as she would meeting him in a hotel (oh, and also to give her a place to write).
So what does all this mean? By my calculations, whether Rory tells Logan about the baby or not, they will not end up together. He will go through with his marriage (assuming Odette doesn’t leave him) because his family expects him to. Rory will continue keeping him at a distance and the fact that the entire Atlantic Ocean is between them will help her with that. She might or might not hold it against him when he goes through with his wedding. The distance, both physical and emotional, will give Logan excuses not to be involved with his child when in reality he will be at least a little secretly relieved because it’s a point of tension in his marriage and amongst his family and easier to ignore (much like Christopher).
Rory will either move in with Lorelai and Luke, or if she does keep to her plan of moving to Brooklyn, she’ll be spending a lot of time with them, because she will need help learning to take care of a baby. Let’s face it, Rory’s a bit of a mess. Her disastrous job interview proved it.
Rory will continue working on her memoir, which will open doors for her once published (and Jess will absolutely publish it even if no one else will), creating a path for her to support herself and her child, though it might not always be an easy one.
Depending on whether Emily’s new life has mellowed her any, she could be anywhere from mildly annoyed to extremely aggravated that Rory won’t marry the father of her child. She will probably blame Lorelai to some degree. She probably won’t be thrilled with some of the details Rory shares about her in her memoir. She probably won’t be happy with some of the details she learns about Lorelai from the memoir. Many irritated messages will be left on Lorelei’s answering machine, but ultimately she’ll get over it. Or, more likely, file it away as ammunition for the next time they fight.
Based on the recurring theme of life coming full circle, if Logan is Rory’s Christopher, then Jess must be her Luke. He supports her when she’s feeling lost, he is clearly pining for her, and he has the whole surly demeanor thing going for him.
Based on this evidence, it would seem as though we are to assume Rory and Jess will ultimately end up together (though I’m sure Logan’s eventual divorce and reappearance will cause tension and drive a temporary wedge between them, because full circle right?)
I would love to see more and find out what happens next with Rory, but there is also a part of me that would be a little disappointed if there were more. If this was the ending Gilmore Girls was always meant to have, bringing everything full circle, how can it keep going from there without ruining that? And if there were more episodes, we’d need a new ending, but what else could live up to this kind of excitement and speculation?
All in all, I’m satisfied with the ending we got for Gilmore Girls, though I admit it took me time to get there. I didn’t get the total sense of closure I expected, but at the same time, this is an ending that will stick with me, not fade away as a story over and done with.