Wednesday, May 09, 2007

“You know, I think I’ll get my own avocado tree” – Gilmore Girls

Now that we know this season of Gilmore Girls will be its last, the already sizeable expectations for its final episodes have rocketed to unreachable heights. Those looking for an absolutely perfect Gilmore Girls send-off are likely to be disappointed. Overriding nostalgia and the last couple episodes aside, let us not forget that Gilmore’s seventh season has been a definite disappointment, most especially on a writing level. The dialogue has at no point reached the heights of the Gilmore Girls we love (exemplified by basically every other season, although seasons three, four and five are prime examples). As such, perfection would not be a realistic expectation. That being said, ‘Unto the Breach’ was an effective and very satisfying forty minutes of television, if a little slow for Gilmore’s penultimate episode ever.

That said, there was nothing slow about Rory’s emotional journey throughout the episode. She started the episode on a nostalgia high (I can definitely sympathise with her there) at the end of her time at Yale, but ended it on an entirely new road, with Logan out of the picture and truly no idea of what life was going to bring. I was especially pleased with the handling of her and Logan’s break-up. His actions, if a little unreasonable, were always believable, as was her response. Her gradual journey towards the inevitable answer of ‘No’ was well played. Some might argue that it was a rather sudden turnaround for a relationship that had remained so stable throughout the season, but this didn’t bother me, mostly thanks to the beautifully subtle performances of Alexis Bledel and Matt Czuchry, who both excelled in this episode.

No, my problem was more with Lorelai’s scenes. Just as taking fourteen episodes to round out the Lorelai and Christopher relationship was excessive, so too is waiting until the season finale to bring Lorelai and Luke back together. Yes, the show has always been known to take its time, but that was when the superb dialogue made up for it – in absence of this, Rosenthal would have been better off making up for this weakness by speeding up the plot movement instead of dragging everything out to an unnecessary degree. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m well and truly sick of Lorelai and Luke casting longing glances at each other instead of just TALKING IT OUT. In a perfect example, this week Luke was hurt to hear Lorelai say last week’s song didn’t mean anything and went into sulking mode for the entirety of the episode. Perhaps next week’s finale will make up for it, but to me to me it just reeked of an unnecessary stalling tactic.

Still! As I said, this was a superb episode in all other regards. The graduation scene was very touching; Emily’s constant complaining was hilarious and Richard’s line "This is as much your moment as it is Rory’s" was a nice surprise from a usually unsentimental character. Topping it all, though, was the expression on Lorelai’s face as Rory took her diploma. In a single shot I was reminded of all Lorelai has done all the struggles she has gone through for the sake of Rory’s education and Rory herself. It was a phenomenal piece of acting by Lauren Graham. To say she deserves an Emmy doesn’t even begin to cover her stupendous work throughout Gilmore’s run. But more on that next week, as those lovely Gilmore Girls say ‘Bon Voyage’. Expect some special features on the show by myself, David and Todd, by way of marking the occasion.

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