Rory Gilmore is not Dorothy Gale

Have we all watched the new Gilmore Girls yet? If you care enough to read this, then I’m going to guess your answer is yes. A lot has already been said about it. It’s been out for a whole five weeks now, and that’s forever in internet time. Like a lot of Gilmore Girls fans, my sister-in-law and I binged it the day it was out. It was our own personal marathon. (In fact she put me to shame by watching most of it from the elliptical due to a fitbit challenge she had going with friends. Meanwhile, I did a bunch of knitting, basically the opposite of a fitbit challenge.) I have feelings about a lot of what went down, but maybe you can tell there’s one thing that really bugged me. Okay there were lots of things, but this one rates its own blog post because I’ve seen the other stuff covered in plenty of places. In a show full of literary allusions and book loving characters, how could the writers so massively fuck this one up?

It’s Fall. The Life and Death Brigade, at least the moderately attractive boy contingent, has descended upon Rory. In the morning, Rory decides she needs to leave it all behind. Logan, the boys, it’s time to grow up and do the adult thing and write a book. Sure. As Rory says her goodbyes, Finn says, “Mother is judging us.” And my heart leapt a little bit. The Wendy-bird is going home! And then Robert makes a Cowardly Lion reference. sigh No. Okay, let’s back up.

Robert, Colin, and Finn appear in steampunk gear and gorilla masks.  I’m a sucker for a man in a waistcoat, so I did love this bit, and would like to run off with these clothes. I especially want to steal the top hat Logan gives Rory.There is a lot of presumable breaking and entering involved. They acquire golf clubs, and use the rooftops as a driving range. We see them straight up break into Doose’s. Sure they throw a lot of money about, but Taylor is going to have a heart attack anyway. There is movie watching in the streets. I have to admit, I do love this dreamy magic realism vibe that is going on in these episodes. And the keyword of what I’m getting to is the magic. They hit a tango club, and then a bed and breakfast, both of which Colin buys, along with a 1983 Colt, apparently. And the Wendy-bird goes home.

This is not Oz, it’s Neverland. Logan is not the wizard, pulling the strings behind the curtain. He’s Peter, flying in through Wendy’s window, begging for stories and taking her away from the world where she is on the cusp of adulthood. Colin, Robert and Finn are lost boys. They don’t grow, they don’t realize that what they needed was within them all along. Colin gets drunk and buys things, and Finn punches Robert for saying he’s from New Zealand. The very first thing they do is play dress up. It’s no pirates and indians, but it’s not nothing, either. There’s no heart, bravery, or brains. They are children out of time.

Even before this little adventure, Rory was jetting off to London quite a bit. Ostensibly it was for work, but thematically, she was flying off to see her Peter. London, of course, is the literal birthplace of Peter Pan. It’s also to the east, Rory was literally flying straight on til morning. How did she pay for those flights? Careful bonus miles management on a level that may as well be pixie dust and happy thoughts.

Rory has never been great with change, especially change that moves her forward in life. Look at her first night at Yale, with Lorelai spending the night. Rory’s never been able to move out of the nursery. She’s never wanted to, really.She’s no Dorothy, wishing for a technicolor world and agency of her own. Lorelai has always provided the color. Agency is what she’s trying to avoid. The adult thing would be to just dump Paul already, but she never does. Why? It would be hard. It would be grown up. So would be putting in any work as a freelance journalist. Suddenly things are harder than working for the school newspaper, and she flounders. (And did Rory ever take any journalism classes? There was lots of English, and game theory and economics with Richard, but not once did we see her take a communications class.)

So the writers went for the story they wanted, even though it isn’t the story Rory is living. Really, that sums up most of my problems with the episodes. The writers were still locked into the story they wanted to tell ten years ago, nevermind that the characters, and actors, have moved on.