[SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched the Gilmore Girls revival episodes, best turn back now - otherwise, enjoy!]
When we last saw Rory, she was gearing up to leave Stars Hollow to report on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for an online publication. Now (9 years later, at 32 years old), Rory is uninspired, without a stable income, and essentially...homeless. So what happened to our career woman who once aspired to be the next Christiane Amanpour?
Apparently not much. When we catch up with Rory in the Netflix revival, it’s clear that her life hasn’t exactly progressed the way that she thought it would. Rory's chosen career path doesn’t seem to be taking her anywhere at this stage (her only claim to journalistic fame being her piece for The New Yorker); she finds herself unable to land a permanent job, proving to her audience that even Rory Gilmore is susceptible to the perils of career instability -- the most poignant indication of this being the moments immediately following her Condé Nast meeting. We see her standing outside of the room looking absolutely crushed – she watches on as her interviewer and his assistant tackle the next seemingly more important order of business without giving a second thought to their meeting. Rory’s physical position just outside the doorway is also heartbreakingly symbolic of her career: everything she’s ever worked for is literally right in front of her, yet she’s still on the outside looking in.
In short: Rory is a hot mess; and this pertains to more than just her career— her love life is nothing short of a disaster too.
What was once so clear to Rory (and to her viewers) has become obscure; she tries to remain optimistic by immersing herself in new opportunities, no matter how uninspired they may be— like taking on stories she has no interest in, or interviewing for a job that she doesn’t even want. Rory's frantic efforts to attain any sort of stability in her career-- even if it is the no-paying gig as the Editor-in-Chief of Stars Hollow Gazette -- is telling of her refusal to admit defeat. We also notice this almost immediately in “Summer” (some context: each episode is named after a season), when Rory responds to every “Welcome back, Rory!” text with a stark, “I’m not back!” Of course, the subtext here is entirely transparent: it isn’t so much about refuting this statement as it is about convincing herself that her stay in Stars Hollow is only temporary.
In short: Rory is a hot mess; and this pertains to more than just her career— her love life is nothing short of a disaster too. Enter: Logan Huntzberger. If you could see me right now as I'm writing this article, you’d see that I just rolled my eyes. Perhaps it’s because of my immense love for Jess Mariano (honestly...it probably is), but I never considered Logan to be the right guy for Rory, and frankly, my sentiment feels all the more justified following the revival.
Rory escapes to Logan both physically and emotionally. Physically because she literally packs up and heads to London to see him, and emotionally because whenever she’s with him, it’s clear that she neither cares about Paul’s feelings (poor Paul), nor can she be bothered to cut the guy loose. Rory runs to Logan to evade her dissatisfaction with her current reality— to take refuge in a love affair and lifestyle so disparate from her own. Their interactions are whimsical and carefree, but we never actually see them take on the “real world” together. Their relationship is a constant honeymoon; a blissful getaway rooted in ignorance, impracticality, and disregard. In many ways, Rory’s relationship with Logan parallels Lorelai’s relationship with Christopher. Just as Lorelai comes to realize that she and Christopher aren’t a good fit, Rory experiences a similar revelation with Logan in “Fall”: in spite of her personal wants, she knows he can never be there for her the way she needs him to be.
But who could be there for her, you ask? Jess Mariano, obviously. Now hear me out skeptics— within minutes of reuniting with Rory after four-ish years, he manages to reignite her passion for writing: “You’re a writer, ruts are normal,” he reassures her. And he was right, because by the end of their conversation she was out of said rut. Just as he had in Season 7, Jess brings Rory clarity; he helps her in any way he can, without hesitation or second thought. He reminds her to write what makes her feel— to write something that only she knows, and his suggestion for her to write a book about her relationship with Lorelai satisfies exactly that. Among all three of her ex-boyfriends, Jess knows Rory the best, sometimes even better than she knows herself.
Despite his claim to Luke that he’s “long over” Rory, it’s clear that he’s still in love with her.
It’s a bold statement, I know. But I’ll gladly cop to it. Jess has a way of getting through to Rory when no one else can, and if there’s one thing the Revival made clear, it’s that if Logan is Christopher, Jess is Luke. He’s the reliable man in Rory’s life— the man she can always turn to and depend on. Despite his claim to Luke that he’s “long over” her, it’s clear that he’s still in love with her, and the way he gazes at her through the window when she isn’t looking definitely proves it. This goes without saying, but... #TeamJessForever.
Which brings us to the gazebo scene and final four minutes of the revival. Now at this point, the hopeless romantic in me is waiting anxiously for the screen to cut to Luke and Jess while Lorelai is giving Rory a pep talk about marriage and finding “the one”— but of course, my expectation couldn’t have been further from reality. Nope. At the end of the series, we are left with the final exchange between Lorelai and Rory that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino had intended to convey nine years ago:
And just like that, the show has come full circle. It’s heartbreaking, of course. At the end of the revival we finally start to see Rory regain control of her life, and however brief it may have been, we were reacquainted with the Rory Gilmore of 9 years ago—the tenacious and self-certain young woman motivated by her drive and ambition. We’d built her up as being too levelheaded and responsible to repeat history, but we were wrong; time and again, Rory has proven to be more flawed than we’d allowed her to be. The pregnancy announcement pushes her towards a crossroads, throwing into question not only the future of her career, but also her budding relationship with Jess and recently ended relationship with Logan. So, where do we go from here and what does this all mean for Rory? Well, keeping to the show’s theme of parallels, you can refer back to the original seven seasons to find out.