Above screenshot: Gilmore Girls. Below photo: Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images

“The Un-Graduate,” season six, episode three, originally aired 9/27/2005 

With not much else to focus on in these episodes where Lorelai and Rory aren’t speaking and there’s a lot of home renovation and Rory’s doing customer service and working for the DAR, surprising themes emerge. The highlight of this part of GG season six, actually, is Luke and Lorelai and how they’re carving out their relationship. It’s gratifying to see that the witty banter that defined their friendship is intact, and somehow is expanded into something much more meaningful as they craft a life together. Also, without this happiness to focus on, it’s likely that the loss of Rory and her daughter’s current floundering would be too devastating for Lorelai to comprehend.

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With the specter of April looming, and the Palladinos on their way out, you just have to wonder: What was the point of throwing that particular wrench into the idyllic L&L relationship? Why does every TV couple need some sort of conflict? What can’t the relationship itself become the plot point? Lots of times, the will-they/won’t they end doesn’t have to be the death knell. I still appreciated couples like Mindy and Danny and Nick and Jess after they finally got together, and was subsequently frustrated with their shows’ subsequent efforts to screw them up (both were apparently going for the long game, but still). Lorelai and Luke still require the dumbest contrivance imaginable to split them up, and were doing just fine on their own.

The “dilithium crystals” conversation this episode sums this up perfectly. Lorelai is on a classic rant as to how she will be able to take care of Paul Anka and check in a late-arriving wedding party, tossing in the Star Trek reference so that to enable herself to travel in time. Luke seems content just to let Lorelai keep babbling with even more bizarre suggestions as she waits for him to offer to take Paul Anka (“You know my babbling skills are endless!”); he is equally impressed by her talking stamina and the “dilithium crystals” reference. When he smilingly points out the latter, she counters, “Well… sleep with geeks.” In its final two seasons, the show could have done so much more by deepening the pair’s relationship rather than pulling them back into will-they/won’t they territory. As a couple, “The Un-Graduate” proves, Lorelai and Luke worked, and their relationship banter offers the only brief high spots in these early dark days of season six. Also, Luke’s devotion to taking care of Paul Anka after the chocolate incident is about the purest expression of love there is.

“Always A Godmother, Never A God,” season six, episode four, originally aired 10/4/2005 

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Hope you enjoyed those L&L interactions, because other than their argument over ancient videotapes, there is very little to enjoy in the godmother episode. As hinted at the end of “Un-Graduate,” Rory has turned into her grandmother’s mini-me, spying on Constance Betterton and juggling salmon puffs. Luckily she has a palatial pool house to wander around in and host her boyfriend and his freeloading friends.

At least we have the greatest Gilmore cameo in the history of creation: Nick Offerman as Jackson’s brother Bo, who is wholly focused on hitting on Lorelai:

This week in Gilmore entitlement: Lorelai hijacks a christening to make the event all about her rift with Rory, due to the fact that she no longer has Rory’s phone number. Focusing on these hurtful snipes, as the pair did when Lorelai stopped by Rory’s community service, isn’t doing anything to bring them closer together (and we still have four episodes of estrangement to go ). But Rory’s continued cluelessness is really annoying; at least she admits to Logan by the end of the episode that she’s not handling things very well, because no matter how great she is at the old folks’ home or managing garbage pickup, she is flailing, and far from where she wants to be.

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The fact that she ends the episode going off to New York with Logan in a helicopter proves that she has no reasoning for her actions. Instead of actually considering what she wants to do with her life now that she’s no longer going to be a journalist, she’s diving into her community service and DAR events and focusing on Logan, but on nothing else in her life. Even she and Lane realize that their relationship has faltered (although they promise to get it back on track), but a spontaneous trip to new York indicates that Rory is still far from where her mindset needs to be. Halfway through this Lorelai and Rory breakup, this seems like an insanely pointless way to kick off a season, lending weight to the theory that Amy Sherman-Palladino did indeed want to burn it all down on her way out the door.

Stray observations

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  • Nice 21 Jump Street shoutout, guessing for Michael DeLuise’s brother Peter, a.k.a. Penhall.
  • There is no way that Emily Gilmore does not know what a raspberry is.
  • Liza Weil looks especially stunning these two episodes. Also: “In the glass, out of the glass, it’s all just semantics to you, isn’t it?” is a classic hilarious Paris line.
  • 20-year-olds can just drink mimosas out in the open like that? Must be some fancy restaurant.
  • How could Rory possibly pull off a French twist by herself? Why is Sookie at a flea market the day before her kids’ baptism with relatives in town? Who has a baptism on a Friday?
  • Worst Gilmore Girls outfits: Purple four-clubs sweater vest. (Granted, I am opposed to sweater vests on principle.) Bizarre rose-adorned jacket over some sort of camisole.
  • Best Gilmore Girls outfits: The dresses the girls wear to the church were pretty. That peach color looked great on Lauren Graham. That side part still bugs, though.
  • Gilmore Girls outfit cameo: Rory’s loss-of-virginity dress on the hanging rack!
  • “I hate prop comedy.” “We all do, honey.”
  • “Well hello, LG.” Works on two levels!
  • Next week: The Huntzbergers get some long-awaited smackdowns, and Richard finally starts to see the light.

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