Warning: This recap will tell you what happens in the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life‘s second episode, “Spring.” If you don’t want to know, click elsewhere.
Remember how Rory lost her mind a little during that rough patch a few years back? She fought with Lorelai, ditched Yale and moved into her grandparents’ pool house, only to spend her days organizing parties for the Daughters of the American Revolution?
Well, add in “one-night stand with a Wookiee,” and you’ve got a pretty accurate idea of the Rory Gilmore Freak-Out Level we’re at in the Gilmore Girls‘ revival’s second installment, “Spring.” (Click here for a recap of the first episode.)
A Year in the Life‘s second episode finds the youngest Gilmore in a place she’s visited before but probably thought she’d never see again: mediocrity. Though her New Yorker piece has opened doors, most of them aren’t leading anywhere — at least not yet — and after a series of professional letdowns (and a big personal one), she’s “flailing,” she cries to Lorelai in the aftermath of the aforementioned intergalactic hook-up with a cosplayer, “and I don’t have a plan or a list or a clue.”
“Spring” brings us right to the ledge of Rory’s undoing and then has us hop off alongside her. She gets angry. She shouts silly things. She makes desperate phone calls to magazine editors. She loses a job she deems beneath her. And finally, she moves back home in a flurry of self-disgust, surprising her mom (who’s got some unhappiness of her own we’ll address momentarily).
For those of us who like our Rory a little ruffled, a little frazzled, a little less serene and a lot more relatable, the development is a godsend: We’ve got two more episodes to watch our girl figure it all out! (Not to mention, the last time Rory needed to be reminded of how amazing she was, Jess showed up like a hunky Jiminy Cricket. Dare we hope Mr. Mariano graces us with his presence in the next episode?)
Read on for the highlights of “Spring.”
ANALYZE THIS | We open on Lorelai and Emily silently sitting across from their therapist, Claudia, in the session alluded to at the end of Episode 1. Claudia doesn’t mind that her clients aren’t talking, because “A lot is being said in the silences.” (Heh.) That makes both Gilmores wonder what she’s writing in her notes. Is she keeping score? “Who’s winning?” Lorelai wonders, and Emily soon joins her in demanding to know who’s on top.
When the hour is up, Lorelai says she’s never coming back… until Emily calls herself a “raw nerve appealing to my only child to help me through this period.” So, guess who’s got a regular double date with Claudia?
In subsequent visits, we see the pair in various forms: cackling with laughter, icing each other out, and addressing past wrongs both real (yes, Emily is very much still angry with her daughter for getting pregnant and then leaving without any notice) and imagined (Emily is ripped about a birthday letter she thinks Lorelai sent one year, though Lorelai says she never wrote one). And when I start to get a little sad that Emily is still holding on to so much anger about Lorelai’s pregnancy after all these years, I distract myself by focusing on Lorelai’s pretty, pretty wrap dresses. I’ve even missed the wrap dresses!
Emily quits after six joint sessions, mainly because Lorelai hasn’t changed at all. But Lorelai learns this as she shows up for an appointment, so she winds up staying. And talking. That’s how we learn how Richard died — another heart attack, which put him into the intensive care unit before he passed — and that his last words, “Get the hell away from me!” were directed at some nurses. As such, neither Lorelai nor her mom got a proper goodbye with him.
And when the topic of Luke and Lorelai not being married comes up, Lorelai jokes that she’s not interested in formal commitment because “I just don’t do things like my mother.” But it’s not a joke. And when Claudia asks about her relationship, Lorelai responds, “We’re happy. He’s very happy. Luke and I are happy.” Uh, once more with feeling, please?
Need more signs that there’s trouble in Stars Hollow-dise? Later, as they tour properties for Luke to franchise his diner, thanks to a trust from Richard’s will that the flannelled one does not want, Luke learns from Emily that she’s stopped attending sessions… though when he asks Lorelai how the appointment went, she lies and says her mother was there. He lets her think he believes her. Oh guys, this is not good. How about we touch on some lighter fare before heading into Rory’s Sturm und Drang, ok?
TALK OF THE TOWN | The International Food Festival is set up in the center of town at the start of the episode, and that’s where we run into Lane, Mrs. Kim and a new crop of Korean choir members, and… wait, that’s Mr. Kim! I feel like I just saw Elvis riding Bigfoot’s shoulders!
A while later, we watch as Lorelai and Luke attend town meeting. Taylor is in his element when he sadly announces that Stars Hollow’s first gay pride parade will have to be cancelled because the town only has three gay people in it. Of all the many very funny pieces that make up this scene, I am most amused by Luke having absolutely no idea what is going on and by Gypsy using the opportunity to discern whether or not Taylor prefers the company of men. (If you’re wondering, it seems like he does not.) Also funny: Taylor’s reference to his “little birds” informants. How very Varys of him!
Over at the Dragonfly, which is filled with B-list actors from a movie shoot in a nearby town, Michel complains that they’re not getting A-listers because their rooms are too small, and the inn doesn’t have a gym, spa or mini-fridges. A bummed Lorelai goes into the kitchen to shoot the breeze with the newest chef in residence, Rachael Ray; I’m sorry that I can’t remember much of what is said, but Ray’s tendency to act with her hands is so distracting, I really can’t be held accountable. Something about “sammies”? Anyway, Lorelai fires her, because none of the actors are eating her food. Ray points out that they probably wouldn’t eat anyone’s food, but whatever.
And in other surprising cameos news: Lorelai has a dream about her dog Paul Anka, in which the role of Paul Anka is played by the actual Paul Anka.
I’M WILLING TO WAIT FOR IT | OK, on to Rory. She’s being courted for a job by the founder of a site called SandeeSays, which seems like a nascent BuzzFeed with a feminine bent. The founder, Sandee, is played by Bunheads alum Julia Goldani Telles, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Amy Sherman-Palladino loves her people! Sandee’s aggressive campaign to get Rory on staff only serves to push the journalism snob father away. Remind me: How’s that meeting with Condé Nast coming again, Rory?
Oh right, it’s been pushed back. Again. And after the book deal with the not-just-fun-crazy-but-actually-crazy Naomi Shropshire falls through, Rory realizes that she’s rapidly running out of leads. So she cold-calls a GQ editor with whom she took a meeting and agrees to write a silly, on-spec story about waiting in lines in New York.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before all of this goes down, Rory returns to Chilton — as does Paris — to speak to current students. The headmaster wonders if Rory has ever considered getting a masters and teaching at the school; while flattered, Rory all but leaves skid marks trying to distance herself from the idea.
But all of this pales in comparison to the absolute freak out Paris has when she thinks she sees Tristan. She drags Rory into the girls’ room and reveals that she feels like she’s “a phony,” right down to the empty briefcase she’s carrying to make people think she’s important. Liza Weil’s athletic lunge at the door is hilarious; the brief appearance by Francie, against whom Paris still holds a grudge, is a hoot. Also? I kinda forgot how exhausting peak Paris is.
THIS ISN’T THE RORY YOU’RE LOOKING FOR | You might be wondering about Logan. He’s still doing his golden boy thing in London… and he’s engaged to a French woman named Odette. Yes, Rory knows — though if she didn’t, a run-in with Logan’s dad would’ve changed that right quick. I am unabashedly not #TeamLogan; let’s just say that the scene where he takes a late-night call from Rory while Odette is snoozing in his bed does nothing to change my affiliation.
Rory carries on like everything is great, bringing Lorelai to New York with her so she can do some reporting for the GQ piece. This little section of the episode features cameos by Parenthood‘s Mae Whitman, who plays a woman waiting in line for some trendy new baked good, and TVLine’s own Michael Ausiello, who — as you may already know — plays a devastatingly handsome and incredibly intriguing guy eating salad in a stairwell. I hear there’s already Emmy buzz afoot.
Eventually, Lorelai goes back to the hotel to rest. And when Rory follows hours later, she walks in and agitatedly announces, “I slept with a Wookiee.” (Ha!) It was a one-night stand that stemmed from getting too chummy (and drinking too much) with some cosplayers she met while reporting, but the incident just lights a fuse that turns Rory’s constant, low-level anxiety about the future into a full-on freak-out explosion.
“I have no career, no apartment,” a flustered Rory says as she paces the room. And when she complains that her love life is a mess, she has to clarify that she’s referring to Logan — then plays it like Lorelai should have known that she was still seeing him. (Side note: Lorelai takes that revelation — as well as the fact that her kid and best friend has been lying to her for a while — a lot better than I thought she would have.)
“I’m just feeling very lost these days,” Rory continues. “I’m just a big, fat, Wookiee-humping loser with no future.” Of course Lorelai bucks her up and suggests that maybe she go see what SandeeSays has to say. “Go, work. Be wanted. Be adored. So what it’s not The Washington Post? You’ve got time.”
Too bad Lorelai doesn’t add “And maybe prepare a little for that meeting?” to her list of advice, because Rory rolls into SandeeSays like she’s doing them a favor. And when the (admittedly) ridiculous founder asks her to toss out a few ideas for future stories, Rory’s got nothing and she flounders, HARD. It ends quickly, and Rory’s not even out of the lobby before Sandee calls to tell her they’re going in another direction. This leads to a shouting match that ends with Rory yelling, “Get Shorty!” (There’s context, but we’ve gotta wrap up this puppy and get on to “Summer,” right?)
Lorelai is watching the movie Swing Time at home when Rory shows up, unannounced, with her things. “Moving home!” she angrily shouts. “Pick Yourself Up” from the movie’s soundtrack plays in the background: “”I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.”
Now it’s your turn. Grade “Spring” via the poll below, then hit the comments to let us know what you thought of the episode!