Why the last four words of Gilmore Girls are more meaningful than you think


Back in November 2016, Gilmore Girls made a triumphant return to Netflix with its four-part revival miniseries A Year in the Life. Each 90-minute episode caught us up with Lorelai, Rory, and Emily in a specific season and tracked an important transitional period in their lives.

Rory searched for stability in her personal and professional lives, because neither were going particularly to the plan she had mapped out. Lorelai continued to struggle in her relationship with her mother following the death of her father while also contemplating the future of her relationship with Luke. Meanwhile, Emily sought to discover who she is, and could be, without Richard.

Thankfully, A Year in the Life brought back the original series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who had stepped down as showrunner of the series ahead of the seventh of final season. In the wake of her departure, the series wasn’t able to end as she’d always envisioned, with the storied “last four words” she had teased fans and critics with long ago.

In the final episode of the revival, Lorelai and Rory exchange the last four words: “Mom?” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.” The miniseries ends as a shocked Lorelai processes the information her daughter just dropped on her. Since there’s no additional context following this exchange, the last four words are popularly viewed as a cliffhanger. The people understandably want to know more!

Gilmore Girls

Throughout A Year in the Life, Rory had been maintaining an affair with her college boyfriend Logan, who lived in London and was engaged to another woman. For her part, Rory was also in a relationship with a man named Paul, who she wasn’t serious about and kept forgetting to dump. (To this day, Rory “accidentally” ghosting Paul and stringing him along is a bit aimed for laughs that doesn’t really land. It’s a little too sitcommy.)

Rory also had a one-time hookup with a Wookiee cosplayer in New York City, a turn of events that surprised even Rory and sent her further into a downward spiral about the trajectory of her own life. Our girl was in a bit of a rut, one that she needed to dig herself out of by getting to know herself all over again. That’s something that’s never easy.

After Rory’s pregnancy reveal, the debate about who could be the father commenced. Most went with the most obvious option, which is Logan. Others didn’t rule out the possibility of the Wookiee or Paul (though let’s be serious about Paul). Some even wanted to believe that it could be Jess, but there’s nothing in the series that alludes to the fact that the friendly exes had anything more than a conversation.

But if the cliffhanger of “Who is the father?” has kept you up at night since 2016, it’s basically been unofficially confirmed that Logan is the father of Rory’s baby. Still, and this might be a hot take, I don’t think that the importance of the last four words lies in what happens next more so than what has already happened, especially for Rory.

Gilmore Girls

I don’t believe that the last four words were intended to be a frustrating cliffhanger that desperately leaves us begging for another season of the miniseries. It’s an indicator of what the show had always thematically been about: Mothers and daughters continually surprising each other with the good and bad and the cyclical nature of life.

If you look closely, you can kind of see that Lorelai looks slightly horrified. In her defense, she had gotten married the night before, and they don’t appear to have slept a wink as they welcome the wee hours of the morning in the middle of Stars Hollow. Some celebratory drinks were had, too. When that’s the bomb dropped on you that early, you’d be taken aback, too. A new marriage and grand-motherhood on the same day… She likely had a lot of questions for Rory.

By the final episode, Rory had started to put together the pieces of her life. She started writing a book about her family, taking ownership of the uniqueness of her upbringing and putting her career in her own hands. She had been a ghostwriter, a one-hit New Yorker wonder, and a geographically transient freelancer. Honoring her family in the written word was a natural landing, even with Lorelai’s initial hesitance, and becoming a mother further adds to her understanding Lorelai and Emily and herself all the more.

The fact that the last four words arrived in the revival, when Rory was in her 30s rather than her 20s, packs a bigger punch. It’s still a full-circle ending, but it holds more weight with an older, wiser, but no less still-figuring-it-all-out Rory. The stars aligned for the series to end the right way, the way it was supposed to, with an epilogue that delivers an ending you’ll never forget.

All seven seasons and the revival miniseries of Gilmore Girls are available on Netflix.

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