|I think Lorelai would be proud of this set up|
So on Friday night I set up and watched the first episode of four; Winter. I had a lot of excitement but also a few concerns as in the last few days there were some scenes put out online to promote the release and they were.......quite cheesy! However I remained hopeful and entered into the episode with an open mind. Please forgive my writing if this becomes more stream of consciousness than literary critique because all I dop it write at the moment so I don't have the energy for....grammar ;)
Spoilers from here -
The show opens with a lovely shot of the town and then we find Lorelai in the gazebo. Rory walks up behind her and we get some classic quickfire banter that establishes that Rory is paying a flying visit to town before they go on a walk around the town. I enjoyed this, for the most part, my one criticism was the slight staged feeling.
Firstly, as always they are carrying empty coffee cups, then we see lots of shots of the town and gazebo but it feels slightly small and finally when we get a classic 'I smell snow!' then the snow starts immediately, which......okay they are making a joke that stars hollow is a town in a snow globe but....... previous instances of 'I smell snow!' resulted in a distinct feeling of Lorelai making something normal into something magical. Whereas this iteration felt like they were directly implying some form of magic, which....to my mind misses the point but perhaps others enjoyed this!
So the summary of what we learned in the first episode -
Lorelai and luke are still together and living in Lorelai's house.
Rory is dating someone called Paul, who no-one seems to remember or care about. We also find out that Rory is casually seeing Logan in London and they have some sort of agreement about 'what happens in Vegas (the times they meet up) stays there.'
Emily is trying to come to terms with life without Richard, who died of a heart attack four month before we are joining them
Lorelai is still owner and manager of the Dragon Fly with Michel. However Sookie appears to have taken an extended sebatical and is being temporarily replaced by pop-up restaurants
Rory has had some good success writing but is freelance and running around the world constantly seekign her next job - She just moved out of her Brooklyn apartment to focus on travelling for work
Luke - Stil owning and running luke's diner
We were told that they would all be at a cross-roads and this is clear. Emily is facing life post-richard. Lorelai and Luke appear to be in a limbo of sorts ever since we left them, they still are not married, never had another kid and the ramifications of this appear to hit Lorelai after her father's death and a fight with Emily. Rory has just become essentially homeless and is chasing jobs around the globe with very limited success
My thoughts on Winter
I massively appreciate the reverance and significance that has been given to Richard's death in this episode. As a GG fan the death of Edward Herman in 2014 was hugely upsetting and I can only imagine what those who had worked with him experienced. Therefore the significance of this has not been lost in this iteration and it feels like Richard Gilmore is very present.
Emily's breakdown is beautiful and hilarious. I love that she has taken in her maid's family and is willing to put up with all sorts of antics and communication difficulties in order to maintain the maid who must have been there when Richard was there and also to surround herself with people.
Lorelai's mistake on the night of the funeral, although shocking, is completely in character and is reminiscent of her reaction to his heart-attack in 'Forgiveness and Stuff,' from season 1. However the ramifications of insulting her father at his funeral is pretty severe and the fight between Emily and Lorelai is, in my humble opinion, very justified. It is one of the more difficult parts of Lorelai's character (who I should mention is still my favourite) that she has managed to spend her life prioritzing Rory and yet she remains somewhat selfish and no more than when in relationship with her parents. She still struggles to see past her own pain and her loss at not having had a closer relationship with her father. There were numerous examples from seasons 1-7 that Lorelai could have given as a fondest memory. That said, every example that comes to mind for me has a darker side as well - Richard kicks Christopher's parents out to defend Lorelai, then tells her that he is defending the gilmore name....
Rory's forgettable boyfriend is interesting. I posited in my previous review that commitment with a man would be an issue for Rory as she has never had to move past the oedipal issue. We see here that her behaviour towards men, has become increasingly irresponsible. She is 'dating,' one man for 2 years while sleeping with her ex-boyfriend in London. I suspect and hope that this will develop further into some sort of climactic realisation of her relational issues and possibly a break-through that could facilitate a more grown up relationship for Rory.
Finally Emily's break-down to the point of giving away her belongings, which leads up to her decision to enter therapy, at Lorelai's encouragement, was quite a touching moment and then lead to my favourite scene of the whole episode - Luke and Lorelai standing in the winter wonderland style square, Lorelai being swept away by the magic of snow and the approval of her mother and then agreeing to meet her mothers therapist. I love that Luke had to be the voice of reason and lead Lorelai to the realisation that "Oh crap, I'm going to therapy with my mother!!"
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. There were moments when the illusion was broken slightly but it's also possible that I was looking for them and in my opinion there were far more moments that pulled me in and brought me back to the stars hollow that I loved than illusion breaking moments. At the end of episode one I was very excited to see how this story will develop and I will return with my review of episode two: Spring next week.
Note - All images property of Netflix and Warner Brothers - duplicated here under fair use for review purposes