Each woman is facing a crossroads in life. Lorelai, now in a full-fledged relationship with Luke (Scott Patterson), is questioning her happily ever after. A sizable inheritance for an expansion of Luke’s Diner is revealed to be Richard’s parting gift to his daughter’s presumed husband, although Emily is happy to remind everybody that they haven’t gotten married yet. Emily is unleashed as a widow in mourning, wearing jeans, Marie Kondo-ing her Connecticut mansion and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy without her other half. She’s made vulnerable by blow of losing a lifelong partner, but still retains the ability to verbally decimate anyone who dares cross her.
“You never do anything unless it’s what you want to do,” Emily seethes at Lorelai in a bitter showdown after she bungles a eulogy at Richard’s wake. “You never have. You blow through life like a natural disaster, knocking down everything and everyone in your path.”
Rory, too, has been affected, but we feel her mourning most acutely in the challenges in her career. See, the great Rory Gilmore is having trouble living up to her potential, bouncing from one freelance journalism gig to another before eventually moving home. We can only imagine that one of the driving forces behind her soul searching is her grandfather’s well-documented expectations of her success. In fact, it’s in his study that she finally discovers her true calling, writing a novel about her family titled Gilmore Girls.
Midway through the first installment we learn that Richard died suddenly due to a massive heart attack. His last words were, “Get the hell away from me,” Lorelai recounts in a therapy session (yes, we get Lorelai and Emily therapy, everybody), leaving his family with little closure and a lot of unresolved anger.
For all the talk of the perpetually chippy “Gilmore” universe, the revival isn’t afraid to go to the dark side, refusing to shy away from the the division and ugliness that can arise after a loved one dies. We witness each of the Gilmore women in a moment of desperation ― Emily’s is wearing jeans, obviously ― but as winter, spring, summer and fall pass, each finds a moment of clarity amid her grief, making them that much more human in the process.