Screenshot: Gilmore Girls. (Below photo: Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images)

“Driving Miss Gilmore,” season six, episode 21, originally aired 5/2/2006 

Say goodbye to the Palladinos, everybody. On their way out, they blow up Luke and Lorelai, and ship Logan off to London, but at least they get to incorporate a troubadour frenzy as a last hurrah, with everyone from Sparks to Yo La Tengo to Sonic Youth chiming in.

Before that, though, at least they give us a nice episode with the series’ most flammable pair. The bantering chemistry between Luke and Lorelai pales next to the solid gold dialogue between Lorelai and her mother this episode.

I mean, this exchange alone is brilliant:

“Maureen, this is my daughter Lorelai. She has headaches and that tends to make her babble.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, can I get you some aspirin?’

“No thanks, I’m okay, I’ve had this headache for 38 years.”

Then Emily is so kind about buying the house for Lorelai, I even forgive the show for its lame attempt to make it seem like Lorelai is jealous of her mother’s efforts to fix up Christopher. Emily makes a specific point of telling Lorelai how nice her current house is, just suggesting some more room for Luke. (How much $$ do insurance people make anyway? The single-income Gilmores can afford a whole house for their daughter, and an astronomy building on campus for Rory next episode? Even with the eye-surgery settlement, it seems like a stretch.)

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And then, most importantly, Emily actually comforts Lorelai, as her daughter finally says the words out loud that she’s been dreading for weeks to: That her future with Luke will never really happen. It’s appropriate that Emily is the first person Lorelai says this to: For all of her daughter’s rebellion, Emily really is one of the people Lorelai is closest to. And once Lorelai says it out loud, the end of her relationship with Luke automatically becomes a possible reality, which devastates her.

Compared to all of that, Rory’s attempt to get a correction on that Mitchum quote is as bad as her trying to rewrite her ballet review. For the editor of The Yale Daily News, sometimes it’s really not clear that she knows how journalism works. Paris and Doyle’s Misery-levels of nursemaiding Logan are much more fun.

Luke spends the episode dealing with his pregnant sister and T.J., where his own relationship advice is painfully ironic. Luke cautions T.J. to “tune in to what your partner means, as opposed to what they’re telling you.” But if he actually had any idea of what that actually meant, Lorelai wouldn’t be so upset in the first place. Also, his insistence that “I’m gonna make this okay,” is nothing but classic Luke. How can he even attempt to help another couple when he doesn’t even realize that his own relationship is in shambles? Lorelai is completely ghosting him, for god’s sake.

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So Lorelai ends the episode by spending the first of two nights not in her own bed, with ultimately disastrous results.

“Partings,” season six, episode 22, originally aired 5/9/2006 

Yes, the troubadour invasion is the ultimate in Stars Hollow quirk, but unlike the horrifying Festival Of Living Art, it’s actually entertaining. My favorite, next to Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon rocking out with their daughter, is probably Sparks doing “Perfume”:

And who knew Mary Lynn Rajskub could troubadour it up? (And do any of the Stars Hollow-ites remember her for her role in Kirk’s art movie?):

The troubadours are a brief, necessary respite from the horror of Lorelai blowing up her relationship. Take a lesson from New England WASPs, everyone: Speak up about your problems and concerns before they fester, and then you explode and demand that your fiancée drive off to Maryland and marry you right that instant. I know this has been a recurring theme, but goddamn do we have to give it up to Lauren Graham in that breakup scene:

It’s Luke’s old-man curmudgeon self that prevents him from doing anything that spontaneous—but man, it’s still difficult and riveting to watch. Lorelai’s a bit unhinged in this scene, because she has finally ripped her heart wide open, so achingly vulnerable but also finally fiercely loyal to herself and her own needs. Lauren Graham should just get a bizillion post-show Emmys.

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Someone with no excuses: The creepy Christopher, ladies and gentleman. We know that Christopher is a creep because of the way he rubs “Lor”’s arms in the bathroom and takes advantage of her emotional distress by sleeping with her after she’s just broken up with her fiancée. Who does that, except for the skankiest person alive? I don’t care that he’s pined for her her whole life; he has proven time and time again that he just does not deserve her. I understand why the showrunners made this choice to rip Luke and Lorelai apart irreparably (for awhile), but they really accomplished it in the most heinous way possible. It’s why that final scene is so absolutely horrifying, as a headless Christopher shushes his daughter out of the room (why is Gigi going to school on Saturday?) and slides back into bed with that smug sense of proprietary ownership. No wonder Lorelai looks so horrified: We all are.

In comparison, Rory’s farewell to Logan is rather sweet, really, even if it involves another stupid L&DB party. But in another “well done, show”: Logan asks Rory to tell him not to go to London, but she can’t. Deep down, because she agrees with Mitchum after their standoff in the elevator: Logan needs to stop falling off cliffs and start growing up, and what possibly incentive does he have to do that except for the family business? Which probably makes their separation all the more painful, and maybe points to the fact that they can never really end up together, because Rory is always going to want Logan to be better than he is. And the easy way he ultimately falls into the company line means that he won’t ever really get there.

Season four ends with Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss. Season five ends with a proposal. Season six with the two being ripped apart, with Christopher slithering back into bed with Lorelai like he has any right to be there. I’m trying to remember the shock and horror of the TWOP blogs or something at the time, because that is a super-disturbing image to have to rest your Gilmore Girls love on for three solid months. Fortunately, we only have to wait until next week.

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Stray observations

  • It’s so sad that I knew immediately that the Girls were fighting over Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, even though they never mention their names.
  • Gilmore Girls cameo that isn’t a troubadour: The Office’s Melora Hardin as Lorelai’s makeshift therapist.
  • “Don’t forget to lock the door, I’m leaving my bananas here.” Every one of Emily’s lines in “DMG” is killer. “If I’m willing to pay full price, I deserve to have my bottle say ‘valium’ on it.”
  • This from Michael totally made me laugh: “Oh you just know everything, don’t you, Little Miss I Know Everything.”
  • I may never agree with Logan more than when he tells Rory that her English accent is terrible.
  • No one can ever write for Paris like the Palladinos: “I’m boning up. Pardon the pun.” and “I don’t have a bedpan.” “You got Tupperware?”
  • I think Alexis Bledel might have finally learned how to screen-cry in Rory’s farewell scene with Logan.
  • Best Gilmore Girls outfits: For the Palladinos’ final Friday night dinner, the girls in matching, flattering blue dresses was very much a nice touch.
  • I stand corrected: This episode has another episode in which there is rain on the Gilmore Girls set. So far I have Lane outside Doose’s, Rory and Paris before spring break (Yale, I know), and the final episode.
  • How the troubadours are like mice or ants: “If you feed them, they won’t go away.”
  • Emily’s opinion of Christopher’s haircut is that he looks nice, even though he could be a convict or a masseuse.
  • Next week: The final season begins. I honestly haven’t seen any of S7 since it aired, so am curious to see how this is all going to go down. As I’ve mentioned, the consensus is that Season 7> Season 6. Honestly, I don’t know how the show could get any worse.

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