Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life Recap Episode 3 Summer

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: The 'Summer' of Their Discontent

Warning: This recap will tell you what happens in the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life‘s third episode, “Summer.” If you don’t want to know, click elsewhere.

Sure, it’s “Summer,” but does anyone else feel a chill in the air?

Because even though Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life‘s third episode takes place during the warmest months of the year, its fourth act has a chilling effect on the Rory-Lorelai relationship.

Rory ends things with Logan and finds her professional groove… only to be derailed by her mother. And Lorelai finally confronts the fact that her relationship with Luke — and, let’s be honest, her relationship with herself — is long overdue for some serious examination; things are so bad, she needs time alone in the woods to sort it all out.

Lorelai? In the woods? And the catalyst for her realization was a ballad from Taylor’s bizarre/beloved Stars Hollow: The Musical? Yeah, that’s how low our girls are as the revival’s third installment comes to a close. But there’s also Jess! And Carole King! And ABBA! (And if you need to catch up, check out recaps of Episode 1 here and Episode 2 here.)

I have a feeling it’s all going to be OK by the time “Fall” finishes. (And just in case you were wondering, I’m recapping these episodes immediately after I watch each one, so I’m no more in the know at the end of each installment than you are.)

So without further ado, here are the highlights of “Summer.”

‘I’M NOT BACK!’ | Rory and Lorelai sit in lounge chairs at the Stars Hollow municipal pool, fully dressed and kvetching about the heat. They’re also in agreement about the undesirability of dunking one’s self in pool water. And when just about everyone who passes by welcomes Rory back to town, the younger Gilmore staunchly replies, “I’m not back!”

But guess who is? Luke’s daughter, April, who’s every bit as annoying as you remember her. She’s a 22-year-old, nose-ringed wannabe revolutionary who recently graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lies about meeting Noam Chomsky. Sample dialogue: “I only watch German silent films.” Don’t bother rolling your eyes, because Lorelai’s already doing it for you. (With love!)

Luke and Lorelai later discuss April’s proposed trip to Germany later in the summer. She wants to kick in to help him pay for it, but he refuses. “April’s mine. I got it,” he says, all gruff and weird and Luke-like.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT | If Rory seems a little on edge, it’s because she’s still no closer to a job, and now Logan’s French fiancée has moved into his apartment — meaning that when Rory visits, she’ll have to hang out at a hotel like the side piece that she is. At town meeting, Babette tells her to cheer up: She can join the 30-Something Gang. “It’s a group of kids, all your age. They’ve been to college, then out in the real world, and it spit ’em out like a stale piece of gum and now they’re back in their old rooms, like you!” she shouts. And look, Bunheads‘ Bailey De Young is one of the gang!

Rory, of course, thinks this is an abhorrent idea. She needs purpose. She needs a project. So when Taylor announces that the Stars Hollow Gazette is closing after almost 90 years in print, Rory steps up and says she’ll serve as editor. The paper’s staff consists of two elderly employees and its technology hasn’t been updated since the 1980s, and she literally has to deliver her first edition by hand, but it’s something to do.

One night while Rory’s at the office, Michel and Lorelai get a drink at the town’s secret bar at his request. What she feared is coming to pass: He’s leaving the Dragonfly for a job in New York, and they’re both really sad about it. (Side note: It surprises me that I am, too.) It’s also nice to see Yanic Truesdale get to play something a little deeper than Michel’s usual sniffy insults. Lorelai cries a bit during the meeting, then heads over to Rory’s to share the sad news. That’s when they both realize that Rory has yet to break up with her easily forgettable boyfriend, Paul. “Let’s have another round tonight,” Rory says, pulling a bottle of booze out of her desk. (#Hamilton!)

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW | And if you liked that Hamilton reference, you’ll probably love Stars Hollow: The Musical, aka an original production Taylor thinks will raise some money for the town. The musical includes the requisite Lin-Manuel Miranda-inspired rap. There is a very puzzling opening number that hints at domestic violence. Smash‘s Christian Borle and Younger‘s Sutton Foster play the actors cast in the lead roles. There are dancing pilgrims. There’s an encore set to ABBA’s “Waterloo.” And Lorelai hates all of it. But she’s the only one. The rest of the production’s advisory board, which includes Carole King’s Sophie, thinks the musical is aces. The small white way, here we come!

JESS FTW! | Did I mention that Liz and T.J. have joined a vegetable cult? Because they have, and when Jess comes to town to talk to Luke about it, he stops by the Gazette to gently usher some sense into Rory’s pretty head. We learn that they haven’t seen each other in four years; sooner than you might think, the conversation turns to how crappy Rory’s life is at the moment. “This is a rut,” he assures her. “It’s only temporary.” Then he suggests that she write a book about her and her mom — “It’s a cool story” — and they share a fond farewell before he saunters out of the office to meet Luke. Oh Rory, of all your former men, you couldn’t have gotten into a repeat romantic entanglement with this one?

THE STORY OF MY LIFE | All of this brings us to the unveiling of Richard’s fifth headstone (thanks to Emily’s perfectionism), an event attended by Rory, Lorelai, Emily and Emily’s new “friend” Jack. Rory is sure that the two are romantically involved — and she is very upset by this idea — but Emily definitively states that she’s “not moving on” from Richard. And it’s in this emotionally charged atmosphere that Emily mentions looking at real estate with Luke… which she quickly and smugly notes is news to her daughter.

So Lorelai is already spinning by the time Rory meets them at the cemetery. And when Rory announces that she’s found her professional purpose in authoring a nonfiction book about her mom and herself, Lorelai flat-out rejects the idea. “No, I don’t want you to write that,” Lorelai tells her shocked kid. “I went through this effort for many, many years making sure people only knew what I wanted them to know. Now you’re going to lay it all out in a book?”

Rory says her mom is overreacting and refuses to give in. “I’m sorry. I have to,” she says. “Without this, it’s grad school or groveling for jobs I don’t want.” And when Lorelai gets all haughty and do-what-you-have-to-do, Rory shuts that down, too. “No, that’s not how you and I work. We don’t do the passive-aggressive thing. That’s how you and your mother work. You’re supposed to be on my side.” Then she takes off.

INTO THE WOODS | Rory makes tracks for Lane’s, where she keeps “accidentally” calling Logan until he calls back wondering what the heck is going on. The conversation doesn’t go well. “So that’s it. We’re breaking up. Except we can’t break up, because we’re nothing,” Rory says, crying and then hanging up. Lane says it best as she comforts her friend: “This adult stuff is hard, isn’t it?”

Things aren’t going much better for Lorelai. She argued with Luke at the diner about everything they didn’t tell each other — he doesn’t believe she’s going to therapy by herself, but he stops short of accusing her of anything specific — and got pulled into a rehearsal of an additional song for the musical on the way home. (I defy anyone to not question his or her life choices just a little after listening to Foster sing the lyrics “It’s never or now.”)

When they finally see each other again at the house, she’s got news. “I’m going away, and I might be gone a while,” she says, on the verge of tears. He doesn’t understand. “I’m going to do Wild,” she explains, referencing the Cheryl Strayed memoir we saw her reading at the pool at the start of the episode. After a bit of back and forth where he reminds her that Wild takes place in the outdoors and that means she’ll have to do a lot of hiking and being among nature, he can’t figure out why she wants to go alone. “Because,” she says, crying, “it’s never or now.”

Now it’s your turn. Grade “Summer” via the poll below, then hit the comments to expand upon your thoughts. 

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. VR says:

    i found the revival very boring. it made me kind of sad to feel so compelled to skip over so many parts. I’m so dismayed by the turn of events in Rory’s life, that she’s just known for one article, and she ends up editing a small-town newsletter. How did her life become such a dull mess? Becoming a mistress to a former boyfriend yet again? I feel like Amy Sherman Palladino and Dan Palladino have taken a beautiful series and turned it into a fluff-y spoof. It would have been better for them to just title it “Gilmore Girls: The Parody.” Terrible dialogue, terrible, a bunch recycled plot points and redundant references to certain events of the past. they really needn’t bother continuing on with the series, which is what seems very likely to happen (unless enough people admit to themselves what a terrible and pointless extension of the Gilmore Girls this series is after watching it. The only thing that’s nice is to see the town again. But it’s mostly devoid of its former magic. Also, Rory has become a dumbed-down ditz, and it’s really rather tragic.

    • Disillusioned says:

      VR, I totally agree with everything you said! I’m so disappointed with the revival. I wish I could erase it from my mind. Emily once told Loralie that she looked like ten cents a dance and that’s how this whole revival feels to me.

      • VR says:

        it’s really just a glorified clown show with a bunch of familiar faces and caricatures of once-loved characters.

        • Disillusioned says:

          For sure. I really thought the Palladinos would do it right, you know, with class and dignity. Berta and family irritated me the most. As if Emily would ever put up with that no matter how deep her grief over Richard. Gah.

          • VR says:

            for me, it was the whole “forgettable boyfriend” scenario that was completely irritating. it seemed so unnecessary and wasn’t even funny, just pathetic. it was weird to have that level of absurdity associated with Rory. It seems like the Palladinos were more focused on silly comedy rather than really developing the characters further. The part where Lorelai flirts her way to getting all the desired goods while Rory stands on those lines was carried slightly too far. Also, Lorelai did not react to Rory’s affair with Logan in an in-depth, expected way. It was just the means for another quip from her. I miss the Lorelai who was more confrontational when it was called for. (i can probably go on and on venting about all the things i disliked)

          • Each episode just keeps getting worse. The musical bit went way too long, any part of the Rory storyline was just glossed over, the Luke/Lorelei storyline is completely predictable; I don’t like where they took the story at all.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think this episode broke me. Have to take a break before I watch Fall.

    • Stacie says:

      This episode broke me because it was stunningly bad. Just incredibly bad. The episode was like the Stars Hallow Musical itself, so bad, yet people like it because it has all the parts of a good show, but in reality it’s really so bad. Between the musical going on for at least 15 minutes, the incredibly self-entitled way Rory is acting, and Lorelai and Luke never figuring things out in 9 years is crazy. I thought Lorelei going to a therapist would have been great, but her therapist becoming crazyish and Lorelei quitting is unfortunate. If this was part of the original series it would have been easily forgotten about. Other than the last 2 minutes of the episode it all was nonsense. I probably am most disappointed that this was 25% of a special that we have waited all these years for. If this was one of 22 episodes then whatever but this was supposed to be significant, and other than a couple minutes here and there it wasn’t. I am sure Fall is fine, I have heard good things, but Summer was pretty dreadful. They must owe Sutton Foster money or something for her to get 15-20 minutes in this show. She was on screen more than about 50% of other people that we actually care about. I don’t get it.

  3. LNJeann says:

    Full-disclosure: I haven’t watched the series yet because I’m still doing holiday stuff with family, but I have read all of the recaps and am starting to read comments from those who have watched the revival. I have to say that I’m a little disappointed with some of the comments. People want Rory to be amazing and have an amazing storyline, but isn’t that a little unrealistic? Maybe it’s because I see a little bit of myself in Rory, but when you grow up being amazing, and then you hit the real world…well the reality is that you flail around a bit, dabble with mediocrity, until you finally settle with pretty good. I think Luke’s words were similar and I think that was the point of Rory’s storyline. She’s just at her flailing around a bit stage. I’m excited to watch the revival tonight, and I already know that I’m on board for more if ASP and Netflix partner up for the future.

    • Disillusioned says:

      Most of the disappointment towards Rory is because she sleeps around.

      • Coop says:

        Uh, did you not watch the original series? It fit the character and her arc of struggling through early adulthood. Rory’s not perfect, nor has she ever been perfect. Expecting her to be in the revival is weird.

        • HristinaB says:

          “Rory’s not perfect” –> except EVERYONE (and their cat) tried to convince us otherwise in the original run. I urge you to count how many times Lorelai kept repeating what a sensible, serious and trustworthy person Rory is, even when it was painfully obvious that she had royally screwed up.

          Trying to find your place in the world is fine. Of course, the original series almost always provided a deus ex machina solution, because it wasn’t really interested in depicting the cold, hard reality of our world (I mean, come on, the mere existence of Stars Hollow was proof that the show wanted to talk about a fluffy, pastel, quirky world that was occasionally plagued by the problems of real people, only those problems ended up being magically solved). The revival changed direction in that aspect and proved that it REALLY can’t do the real world in any sensible and gracious way. Failing to achieve professional greatness at once would be a fine story arc for Rory, but all the other personal stuff, that pathetic Paul joke, how she still needed someone else (Jess… again!) to provide her with a solution to her problems (I truly hated that “damsel in distress” approach just as much as I hated it the first time he came back to her rescue after she had dropped out of Yale), her affair with Logan, even though she was completely aware that he wasn’t available, even her one-night-stand, all that was terrible and it actually made me cringe.

          And I won’t even go to the Luke-Lorelai thing. After her wedding to Christopher in the seventh season, I no longer wanted her and Luke to get together, the magic was gone. And boy, was I right. They are completely unable to communicate in any meaningful way, as if they’ve learned nothing from the past. What could have been a beautiful story of love and companionship was turned into a pile of garbage.

          Still, I liked “Summer” way more that the previous two installments. Didn’t even hate the musical, because it was as absurd and weird as the Stars Hollow Museum Panorama. But Lorelai’s stubbornness about the book and her silly idea of going into the woods to find herself make me really nervous about the last episode. I’m not holding my breath for satisfaction.

      • flutiefan says:

        2 men in a year. God forbid.

        • Sara says:

          three. logan, wookie, paul.

          it’s not the number. they meant sleeping around like cheating on your boyfriend with your ex who also happens to have a fiancee. or cheating on your boyfriend with a random wookie.

    • VR says:

      I sympathize with Rory’s “flailing about stage.” I really do. It just would have been more awesome to have seen her closer to fulfilling her original ambitions. I don’t think it’s that unrealistic. There are people doing amazing things with their lives all the time, especially Ivy League graduates. There’s this rather depressed feeling I felt hanging over the series, just this overall stuckness and stagnancy, a bit of tragedy (and i’m not just talking about Richard’s death). Maybe there’s a bit of darker realism to all that, but it’s still sad. I think there’s a lot of wasted time in the revival, like with whole musical thing. There should have been more time spent developing better dialogue to deepen various connections between characters. There are all these superficial encounters, known characters popping in for a few minutes supposedly after a long period of time interacting with Rory, for example, and there’s just no emotional depth (imo). I found the revival to be more interested in being a continous quip generator and peddler of absurdity and nostalgia than to be a compelling continuation of a dramedy.

  4. LauraB says:

    I want to download the song that Sutton Foster performed at the end, loved it! Does anyone know where can I get it?

  5. Mandy says:

    I was so excited for Sutton Foster to be in the show, but this musical was awful! Way too long!! Maybe it would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so early in the morning when I watched it…was funny what they were going for?

    • Trina says:

      I think we could have got a bit more from the gals if we weren’t subjected to too much of that musical. I mean, really…did we need 10 minutes to understand that it was awful, that Loralei (I always thought it was LorELai, by the way, but that microfiched Stars Hollow Gazette spelled it differently) thought it was awful?! Just have them sing one song about being in love with their brother or sister and then move on to the debrief. We didn’t really have to watch more of that musical than that, and I’m really ticked that I sat there and watched it, thinking I had to because I would miss something.

      • Lizabeth says:

        I could not agree more, Trina. I really disliked that so much time was spent focusing on the silly play. It never made sense to me why it was given so much time. I love the townspeople of Stars Hollow and I guess this was a way to give us a good dose of them (by the way – why was there so little of Miss Patty during all of this. She was noticeably missed.) Due to the nature of the revival, we were basically on a time budget to find out what was happening with our main characters and to have so much focus on the play seemed like a waste to me.

        • Tee says:

          Liz Torres should have. Even utilized more during that musical. I know that Taylor has his finger in everything around town, but all we basically got from Miss Patty was the check-in at the audition!?

  6. Disillusioned says:

    It was nice to see April, though why the Paladinos need to have everyone broken is beyond me. Do they even care about these characters or the fans of the show. Seriously, if they couldn’t come up with anything better than this drivel, they should have cut their losses and left us in peace. The musical was idiotic and simply a filler. The Paladinos are floundering as much as Rory is.

    • melaniedhi says:

      I’m so pissed at what they did with April! Contrarily to Kim in this recap, I loved April and never thought of her as annoying. It just felt like she was high. And I’m pissed that in 10 years Luke didn’t learn anything. How can he say he feels like Rory is a little bit his, but doesn’t want to “share” April.. He should want Lorelai to be kind-of-a-parent to April as well… so the “She’s mine” just brought me back exactly to what broke them up the first time.

  7. Liz says:

    I want a soundtrack released with Sutton’s song! Troubadour’s songs were also really good. And I loved the Hep Alien song!

  8. Jeff says:

    Who is running the Dragonfly while Lorelei is off finding herself?

  9. ChrisGa says:

    Worst episode of the four for me, mostly because the silly, went-on-way-too-long Stars Hollow Musical was the worst part of the whole revival(next to Rory’s other woman status). And even though I’ve always DESPISED Jess, my growing fondness in recent years for Milo Ventimiglia made him a little more palatable for me this go round (I did miss the pornstache/beard MV’s been sporting lately though; he’s like the only man on the planet that can pull off a pornstache and make it look way sexy).

  10. Wooster182 says:

    This episode felt really strange. As a 30 year old fan that was in love with this show as a teen, I was pretty offended by the 30 Something Gang. We’re not all sensitive, homeless juveniles that can’t get a job. Just seemed so out of place and silly.

    • jj says:

      they didn’t claim that all 30 something were sensitve homeless and unemployed. They showed that that’s the case for some 30 somethings. They also showed 30 somethings with families and jobs (Lane, Zack, Dean, Paris, etc).

  11. Coop says:

    As others have said, the musical scene was way too long. It wasn’t funny either, so that easily makes it the worst episode of the four. That’s not to say it wasn’t good otherwise though.

  12. Danielle says:

    The thing that really bugged me in this episode was Sophie being positive. Sophie is not positive…

  13. Leah K says:

    Oh sweet baby Jesus, that musical almost ruined this installment for me. I was thinking, “What a waste of Sutton Foster.” And then there was that last song, which pulled together all the angst in the episode, and that made up for everything else. Sutton Foster singing “It’s Never or Now” was perfection.

    Rory flailing around through the whole revival was realistic. She’s a kid who hadn’t really held a job other than school newspapers (oh and the DAR) and who has had things pretty much made for her. Of course she’s going to have trouble adjusting to life in the “real world.” The affair with Logan had me rolling my eyes a bit because didn’t she learn from being Dean’s side piece?

  14. VR says:

    I’m rewatching the Summer episode, and I’m just laughing at the scene with Jack Smith and Emily. I keep thinking of his evil persona on Twin Peaks, and imagining what a complete Twin Peaks/Stars Hollow mashup would look like.

    • VR says:

      Now watched Fall in full. it’s the best episode. not too over-the-top with absurd humor, but real characters sincerely emoting and carrying on, dialogue that’s more palatable. Christopher looks fantastic, hardly a day older than he looked 9 years ago.

  15. Lizabeth says:

    Summer was my least favorite of the four episodes, but it had a few of my favorite moments of the entire revival.
    When Lorelei was telling Luke about her Wild need, I thought he responded so perfectly that it broke my heart (especially when he asked “why?”). I loved Scott Patterson during this scene (and even more in Fall when Loralei returns). His confusion and fear and sadness seemed so real.
    Another favorite moment was when Jess plopped himself down across from Rory at the Gazette. First of all, I’m unashamedly #teamjess all the way. Second, he’s beautiful. Last, he seems to know Rory in a way the others don’t and it’s romantic and I love him.
    The scene in the cemetery between Loralei and Rory caught me off guard because one of the things I admire about Loralei is her willingness to be real and open about who she is, so for her to not be ok with Rory’s book surprised me, until I realized that it had everything to do with how Emily would view her. I sympathized -empathized even – with her discomfort of the walls she built being taken down.

  16. Martine says:

    Why all that Colin and Finn time and that musical if you can fill it with, for example, more of Lane and here family. Or on the girls themselves?

  17. Jess says:

    “Rory is sure that the two are romantically involved — and she is very upset by this idea —” I think you meant Lorelai.

  18. DD says:

    By the way, Sutton Foster was also in Bunheads…

  19. Eddie Ginsburg says:

    Absolutely the weakest of the bunch. Best reason to suggest giving too much control to creators. The musical act? Waste of time. My favorites in order-Winter Fall Spring Summer. Opinions?

  20. KP MOM says:

    20+ minutes wasted on the musical?. Seriously? We only get 4 episodes and they blow 10% of it on this crap. I want those minutes back. That was excrutiating and awful and seemed to go on and on forever. This was my least favorite season because of that nonsense.

  21. Gailer says:

    Way too spoofy! And that musical! Ah, no, and the 30 crowd were just plain bad