Lorelai and Rory run towards each other, like parallel lines which finally cross at some point due to the curvature of the earth. They excitedly jump up and down, both with wonderful news to share. Rory has got back with Dean! Lorelai has had a proposal from Max! Their dating lives converge while both are at their peak, and all is joy, all is light, all is love. The promise of Stars Hollow is fulfilled, and lovers are reunited at last.
This is an oddly complete resolution to a season, which ties everything up into a neat package and gives a fairy tale happy ending to both our protagonists. The reason is that they were not sure if Gilmore Girls would be renewed for another season, and if if this was to be last episode ever, they needed it to also be a possible finale of the show. Of course the show was renewed, and from then on season finales tended to end on cliffhangers, leaving many questions unanswered.
While Rory is arguing with Tristan, Dean appears. He has slowly put together the pieces of the puzzle: Rory came to his house, and made a speech in public about how hard it is express your feelings. From this he correctly deduces that Rory wants to see him, and really does have feelings for him, so he drives to her school to confront her.
Why he didn’t just go to her house is not clear – maybe he was scared to see Lorelai, or word had got around that Luke was spending all his free time, and some time that wasn’t free, hanging around Lorelai’s house. It also seems to have taken him a long time to ponder the two bits of information and arrive at the correct result, as it’s more than a week since the town meeting now.
Luckily security at Chilton is really lax, and nobody tells Dean to get off school property or go find somewhere else to park rather than the main courtyard in front of the building. And luckily Rory happened to come right to where he was waiting, and he even got to rescue her from creepy Tristan.
Rory is glad to see him, and touched to discover that he has a Rory box of memories, the counterpart to her Dean box of memories. She is finally able to say, “I love you“, although she can’t help adding, “… you idiot”, and she kisses Dean.
MAX: We can’t keep getting this close, just to have something completely derail us again. And frankly there’s only one thing I can think of that could solve it.
LORELAI: Break up.
LORELAI: Well, I’m not interested in a murder-suicide kind of thing.
MAX: We should get married.
With the honeymoon period already fading, Lorelai and Max are back to squabbling. Max picked up that there was something between Luke and Lorelai (it seemed as if Luke was just about to confess his feelings to Lorelai before Max came in). Then Lorelai got jealous that Max dated other women while they were apart, and told him that she had sex with Rory’s father on her parents balcony.
When Max says only one thing can solve it, Lorelai immediately suggests that they break up. But what Max has in mind is marriage. The fact that the next option on Lorelai’s list was murder-suicide (suicide always seems to be the default option to relationship problems) shows that she was not ready for this at all.
Lorelai says that Max’s proposal was not romantic enough, and only offered as a way to stop them from fighting. She doesn’t mention that they have only been dating a very short time (about three weeks) since they reunited, and that their relationship is based on little more than physical attraction and sexual compatibility. These would be factors of more concern.
(Rachel picks up her luggage and walks out from behind the counter.)
LUKE: So you’re leaving, huh?
After waltzing into town on a whim in March, Rachel is now out of there after putting in a full seven weeks or so as Luke’s live-in girlfriend and diner assistant. (You can see that she is taking the leather camera case that Luke bought her and Lorelai chose). It’s amazing how little we actually learn about her (not even her surname, or how she came to Stars Hollow in the first place to become Luke’s girlfriend).
Rachel was never a real character, just a plot device. She came to Stars Hollow to remind Lorelai about the Dragonfly, an old inn that now becomes part of Lorelai and Sookie’s goals for the future. She also arrived to help Luke understand that he has feelings for Lorelai, and that he is definitely over Rachel, who he had long held a torch for (in fact, he more or less admitted to Lorelai that he has been in love with a fantasy all these years).
Amazingly, one thing Rachel didn’t come to do was to help Rory with her journalism career. It’s almost unbelievable that Rory got to meet a real-life photojournalist, and one who is also young, cool, and travels the world for her job, covering important political stories, just as Rory longs to do, and not once do we see Rory ask her for advice, or any interaction between them at all, apart from Rachel bringing them food and drinks in the diner.
This would have been the most incredible opportunity for Rory to talk to a freelance journalist, ask about the perks and downsides of the job, managing the day-to-day aspects of such work, the difficulties of travelling to distant and even dangerous locales, the need for being independent and organised, or even the publications that Rachel has sold stories to. It shows a lack of keenness for her future career that is truly disappointing.
Dean brings his little sister to the town meeting, even though he has never been to a meeting on his own, and town meetings don’t seem like something a little girl would enjoy as an outing (they probably aren’t suitable for little girls either, as Taylor tells us that the insults bandied around by disgruntled townsfolk can sometimes be pretty adult-oriented).
The only reason Dean has to attend the meeting is to see (stalk, spy on) Rory, and the only reason he has to bring Clara with him is so that she can confirm that the girl who came to door was definitely Rory – he already saw Rory running away, but only from the back. Clara already said she recognised Rory from photos Dean had in his room, so this is to make completely sure before he takes any action.
It all works out as Dean hoped: Rory is at the meeting with Lorelai and Max, and even stands up and makes a speech about how it’s hard to express your true feelings without looking like an idiot. The speech appears to be targeted specifically at him (it is), so that Dean knows that Rory did return his feelings, but was unable to tell him. To seal the deal, Clara identifies Rory as the girl who came to their house, so he knows that Rory has come looking for him, and she’s been stalking him too.
For some reason, Rory goes through the front hallway cupboard and finds her Dean box. Upon discovering that Lorelai didn’t throw it away after all, she is actually pleased, and kisses Lorelai to say thanks. She goes through the box, now ready to explore her memories and feelings of Dean, rather than push them away.
The items she is shown examining are her dress from the winter formal that she attended with Dean; Colonel Clucker, her stuffed toy rooster that Dean picked up the first time he was in her bedroom; the box of cornstarch she accidentally stole after Dean kissed her; and the home-made leather bracelet that Dean gave her for her sixteenth birthday.
Colonel Clucker may be a callback to the dream about Kentucky Fried Chicken, founded by Colonel Sanders, that Lorelai discussed with her. Perhaps Lorelai’s dream was mildly precognitive, especially as Rory found her Dean box at the back of the hall cupboard? Rory’s dream may have been precognitive as well, since her dream was about accepting her emotions – or perhaps it just showed she was psychologically ready to find the box, and so she did.
Lorelai confronts Dean while is working at the supermarket, and angrily rails at him for hurting Rory. Dean says he is sick of everyone treating him like a criminal, when all he ever did was say, “I love you”, only for Rory to sit there saying nothing in return. Lorelai is too stunned even to apologise to Dean; she just slinks away, clearly with plenty to think about.