In Defense of the Original Finale
Back in 2007, Gilmore Girls aired its series finale “Bon Voyage,” and while it’s always hard to say goodbye to a show you’ve grown to love, fans of the series found it difficult for an entirely different reason: they simply didn’t like it. After seven seasons and 153 episodes of humor, hardships, and coffee — lots and lots of coffee — fans were expecting a fond and fitting farewell to Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) but were ultimately disappointed. But while it may not have been the finale — or season — fans wanted, the OG Gilmore Girls finale doesn’t deserve the bad rep it gets. In fact, it actually did a decent job of closing Lorelai and Rory’s chapter, and it deserves a second chance.
Yes, Season 7 of ‘Gilmore Girls’ Had a Rocky Start
Fans were loud about their distaste for the original Gilmore Girls finale, but arguably the issue starts with Season 7 as a whole. There’s a very distinct reason for the noticeable dip in quality and the difference in the characters, and that is the departure of the show’s creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. The pair not only created Gilmore Girls but served as writers for most of the series’ episodes well, so when they departed after Season 6 due to negotiation issues, the series underwent a whole new team of writers that resulted in the final season being largely disregarded by fans. It wasn’t just that the Palladino’s had departed and thus left a noticeable hole, it’s that the new team of writers seemed to take everything already established with these characters we know and love and sort of just… flip it all on its head.
So yes, to say Season 7 of Gilmore Girls as a whole was pretty bad would be a bit of an understatement. But it was never going to be the same without the Palladino’s — that was just a given. They had spent so much time crafting these characters and the world in which they live, that their departure was bound to leave a mark. So it’s almost surprising that the Gilmore Girls finale crossed its T’s as well as it did. Is it perfect? No, certainly not. How could it be when it’s missing the two people who made the show what it is in the first place? But it did at least make up for some of its flaws and closed out the Gilmore girls’ chapter as best as it could, all things considered.
But the Season 7 Finale Gave the Gilmore Girls a Strong Send-Off
The Gilmore Girls finale begins with a rather fitting, full-circle moment of Rory meeting her longtime hero, Christiane Amanpour — which, in and of itself, feels like a fitting moment for the series finale, and sets the stage for what was originally meant to be our last trip to Stars Hollow. The whole plot of the episode revolves around the town throwing a graduation party for Rory before she and Lorelai embark on a month-long trip across the United States. Of course, in true Gilmore Girls fashion, that doesn’t go as planned, and Rory is offered a job as a reporter to cover Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, which will need her to leave in just three days. Not only does Rory’s new job throw a wrench in the town’s plans for a party, but it also devastates Lorelai as she and Rory are forced to shelf their cross-country trip indefinitely. It was never going to be easy seeing the titular Gilmore girls say goodbye, but this is when it became far too real.
As if the episode wasn’t already pulling on your heartstrings, Luke (Scott Patterson) and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) conspire to throw a surprise party for Rory anyway, and they get the entire town in on it, of course. And this is where the magic happens. Throughout the episode, it’s a lot of Rory saying her goodbyes and tying up loose ends as she prepares to embark on her next journey, so to see the townspeople of Stars Hollow come together one last time, especially when it had seemed so unlikely to happen, was a near perfect moment.
The party features an emotional speech from Rory, reminiscent of the one she gave in her Valedictorian speech at Chilton. And it also features a sweet moment between Lorelai and her parents. And after seven seasons of back-and-forth bickering and making up, it was heartwarming to see the three come together in pure peace. To make it even better (and make viewers’ eyes just a little more misty), Lorelai insists on keeping up Friday night dinners as she has gotten used to them.
But what most fans were waiting for, and were starting to worry wouldn’t happen, was the reconciliation between Luke and Lorelai. After the whole mess with Christopher throughout Season 7, fans were longing for Luke and Lorelai to find their way back to one another. After all, we waited nearly 5 years for them to get together, how could we wait another minute? But when they do come together again, it’s about as perfect as it can be. After Sookie tells Lorelai that Luke was the one who organized the party, she goes searching for him and the two meet in the middle of the street. It’s completely natural, like two magnets, and as the music slowly builds in the background, Luke and Lorelai finally kiss again. Sure, it would have been nice to see them get back together earlier in the season, or even earlier in the finale, but it’s a perfect moment between the two. Little is said, they just know, and it’s like they never parted.
But perhaps the best moment of the Gilmore Girls finale comes in the very final shot. After a final emotional moment between mother and daughter, in which Rory tells Lorelai she’s given her all she needs, Lorelai tells her they have a stop to make. Thus, the pair end up at Luke’s diner, and as they pull their usual antics on Luke of pretending to not know what they want, and swap their typical banter over cups of coffee, the camera pans out to mimic the final shot of the very first episode of the series. The one that started it all.
Maybe I’m just overly sentimental, but that shot alone spoke volumes. Even though the rest of the episode worked well too, it felt only natural to end the show in the exact place it started: Just the Gilmore girls, Luke, and their coffee.