Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life ahead
Ever since Amy Sherman-Palladino’s beloved TV series Gilmore Girls came to a close in its seventh season – a season that Sherman-Palladino herself was not involved in – the final four words that the showrunner had originally planned for the show’s finale have become something of a legend. Now, thanks to the revival series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which was released on Netflix this week, we finally know what those words were. A few people guessed right, a lot of people guessed wrong, and there are mixed feelings all around.
To recap, from the end of the “Fall” episode, these are the four words that Gilmore Girls fans waited 16 years to hear:
Rory: I’m pregnant.
It might sound like the cliffhanger ending of any soap opera episode, but in many ways those four words bring Gilmore Girls full circle. Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) got pregnant with Rory (Alexis Bledel) at the tender age of 16, much to the horror of her blue-blooded parents, and ran away from her family to live an independent life and raise her daughter as a single parent. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life sees Lorelai’s greatest adventure revisited when Rory decides to write a book about her mother, herself, and their relationship (including that time Lorelai accidentally left Rory in a bucket at the hardware store).
Rory is in her early 30s in A Year in the Life, twice the age that Lorelai was when she got pregnant, but her situation still isn’t ideal. Since the man who is most likely the father (more on that later) is marrying a French heiress, Rory will most likely end up a single mother, like Lorelai was. She doesn’t have a steady job (at least, not one that pays), she doesn’t have her own place to live, and it’s unclear whether or not she ever managed to find her underwear. But while it may not have been planned, her pregnancy certainly makes for a fitting bookend to the series.
The moment at which Rory knows she’s pregnant can be pinpointed at around the time she goes to visit her father, Christopher (David Sutcliffe) – ostensibly to get his blessing for the book. Revisiting the scene in light of the series’ ending revelation, however, it’s clear that Rory is trying to use her mother and father’s relationship as a road map for the decisions that she has to make. Specifically, it seems like Rory is trying to unpack Christopher’s feelings about not being around to raise his first child, to try and figure out how the father of her own child might feel. After all, if Logan (Matt Czuchry) is the father then there’s a good chance he won’t be around to help raise his son or daughter.
Unfortunately for Rory, Christopher’s answers are less than helpful. He minimizes his involvement in the decision making, arguing that, “[Lorelai] did what she wanted to do. I really wasn’t consulted,” and indicating that he never really tried to fight for his place in Rory’s upbringing. In hindsight (with Rory sitting in front of him – a Yale graduate with a New Yorker byline to her name), Christopher believes that the way Lorelai and Rory’s lives played out was “in the cards” and “exactly what was supposed to happen.” However, Rory’s future is still unwritten and it’s unclear whether what worked out well for her mother will also work out well for her.
Incidentally, it’s not the first time that Gilmore Girls has presented this dilemma. In the third season of the original series, Lorelai goes to Rory’s school to give a presentation on Career Day, but ends up facing tough questions from the students about her teen pregnancy. When one girl asks Lorelai if she was sorry she got pregnant, her immediate answer is, “No, it brought me Rory.” Lorelai is later confronted by a gaggle of angry mothers, who accuse her of “preaching to our daughters that it’s OK to get pregnant at 16.” Lorelai fights back, explaining that she only meant: “In my particular circumstances, things worked out OK.”
In short, Christopher cannot help Rory make decisions about her pregnancy, any more than Lorelai could tell the inquisitive Chilton teens how things might work out if they got pregnant. It seems as though the conversation does help Rory, though, because shortly afterwards those four words are spoken.
Who is the Father?
The obvious and most likely answer to this question is Logan – for many reasons, starting with the fact that Amy Sherman-Palladino has said Logan is supposed to be Rory’s Christopher. Speaking to EW, the showrunner said that she and executive producer Daniel Palladino “wanted Rory to date her father” (figuratively speaking) and that, like Christopher, “Logan was charming, smart, and not quite the dependable soul that you need.” Through A Year in the Life, Rory and Logan continue their relationship despite Logan being engaged to a French heiress called Odette. This culminates in Logan sweeping Rory off her feet and away to New Hampshire for a night of revelry with the Life and Death Brigade, and Rory breaking things off with Logan in the morning. This is probably the night when Rory gets pregnant.
However, Logan is not the only potential candidate. There’s also Rory’s boyfriend, Paul (Jack Carpenter), who is preternaturally forgettable to the point where Rory has been with him for three years purely because she can’t keep him in mind for long enough to break up with him. If Rory can forget dinner plans and past dates with poor Paul, it’s plausible that she might also have slept with him in the final weeks of the revival series, and then promptly forgotten about it.
The other alternative candidate is Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia), who stops by Stars Hollow in the summer and then sticks around for Luke and Lorelai’s wedding. It’s implied that Jess has agreed to publish Rory’s book, and a lingering glance through the window indicates that he is not quite over his feelings for her. Did something happen between the two of them off-screen? Even if not, Jess is unattached and could potentially be a part of Rory’s romantic future, regardless of whether or not he is the father.
What’s Next For the Gilmore Girls?
Depending on who you ask, the final four words are either a perfect ending or a tantalizing cliffhanger. While they may have originally been planned as the words that would wrap the series up for good, there probably aren’t many fans who would protest another season of Gilmore Girls, and given the hype surrounding this revival there’s every chance that Netflix would be open to it as well. Still, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino could well choose to leave things there, with Rory and Lorelai sitting on the steps of the Stars Hollow gazebo, and a scary but exciting future in front of them.
Perhaps by design, the ending leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Will Rory choose to keep the baby? If so, will she choose to raise it on her own, like her mother did? Might Lorelai and Luke, who looked into the possibilities of having a baby together, end up raising their grandchild instead? How will Logan (assuming he is the father) react to finding out that Rory is pregnant? Is there still a possibility of romance between Rory and Jess?
Exploring those questions alone would provide more than enough material for another season of Gilmore Girls, but that could end up undermining the poetry of that ending. Regardless of what happens, at least Gilmore Girls‘ creator got the big finale that she always wanted.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is available on Netflix now.
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