Screenshot: Gilmore Girls. Below photo: Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images

“Gilmore Girls Only,” season seven, episode 17, originally aired 3/6/2007 

It’s quite a relief that Gilmore Girls season seven has righted itself, now that the deplorable scourge of Christopher Hayden has left us. With the finish line in sight, and Lauren Graham a producer on the show as of “To Whom It May Concern,” the change is palpable. There are a few loose ends to wrap up, and in these two episodes we look back to the girls’ early years with Mia at the Independence Inn, and ahead to Rory’s life after Stars Hollow.

Yes, I will never get enough of Emily Gilmore, but I love the road trip episode. It shows Lorelai giving her mother weekly computer lessons, Emily in an unfamiliar social setting and still being gracious but somehow condescending, and the revisit of an important, unhealed wound among the three generations. Lorelai left her parents to give live in a potting shed in Stars Hollow with her baby, and obviously this time period is still a sore spot for Emily, even with all the time they’ve spent together over these past seven seasons. I love how Mia and Emily both covertly address it without actually doing so (Anybody else choke up at that “Thank you for everything,” “It was my pleasure” exchange? Couldn’t have been just me, right?). And how Lorelai overhears how proud her mother is of Rory, a testament to her own mothering skills. And that Lorelai now realizes how hard it must have been for her mother to be without her. The fact that the three women end up bonding over vending machine snacks and a bad Will Smith movie is both a perfect ending and an unexpected bonus.

Even the B-plot is solid, as Luke—with Lorelai (momentarily) out of his life and April in New Mexico—realizes that he has other ties in town, like Lane and Zack. The Luke/Zack bonding works as well, as Luke is able to talk his new friend down off the ledge from his parenting fears. Especially appreciate how Luke defends Zack to his cranky customer. He could definitely use some more people to hang out with that aren’t Liz and T.J.

“Hay Bale Maze,” season seven, episode 18, originally aired 4/17/2007 

While I enjoy the hay bale maze part of “Hay Bale Maze,” Rory’s quandary over the Providence Journal job drove me crazy. The goal after graduation is to get a job, period. In fact, her turning down a perfectly good job is even more maddening when we consider how unsettled she still is in the revival. That decision could have screwed up her whole journalistic career. Why was it such a life-or-death, one-way-only fatal offer? Who’s to say that she couldn’t have started out in Providence and then worked her way over to The New York Times? I started at a minimum-wage editorial assistant job for a real-estate columnist only a few blocks way where I work now, about five million years ago, is all I’m saying. You never know the way things are going to go.

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Logan talks a big game now that he’s quit his father’s company, but the fact of the matter is that his financial plane and Rory’s are very different. He has a huge trust fund (as does Rory, actually, which is why I could never figure out why she was so broke in the revival) and tons of contacts. If he tried for a job, he would probably get it (well, at least before this major fuckup) or would at least know where to get another one. Rory is outside that world, so Lorelai’s absolutely right when she calls Logan out on it. I really like Matt Czuchry’s vulnerable acting in the kitchen scene, though, as he tries to win his girlfriend’s mother over. (No wonder she never liked Jess; he was the only one of Rory’s boyfriends who didn’t go out of his way to woo her skeptical mother as well.)

Still, I think we can blame Logan’s bloated confidence for causing Rory to turn down the ProJo job, which likely affected her entire career, thanks Logan! There’s a bit of sweet “I told you so” gratification a few episodes later (spoiler for an 11-year-old TV episode) when she calls and tries to get that job back.

We can also thank the hay bale maze for bringing Luke and Lorelai together, to finally talk about the things that drove them apart: Lorelai apologizing for sleeping with Christopher, Luke admitting that he was trying to compartmentalize his life by keeping her away from April, and it just didn’t work. It’s nice to see these two work their way back together, even at this snail’s pace; c’mon, that one episode is called “Written In The Stars” for a reason.

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Stray observations

  • Gilmore Girls wedding outfits: I am conflicted about Lorelai’s purple and green argyle tie dress. Thoughts? Rory’s dress for the wedding was pretty, but kind of frumpy.
  • This week in Gilmore entitlement: Only because I like her so much, but I thought it was pretty funny that Emily asked a total stranger to get her a glass of water. And of course he did it.
  • I just want to walk around saying, “Whatever, I’m Audi 5000” from now on.
  • Aw, grown-up April is so cute.
  • Is that horrible medical show that Matt Czuchry was on cancelled yet? He deserves so much better.
  • “Refrigerators so fancy, magnets won’t even stick to them.” Sometimes Paris dialogue is like poetry.
  • Next week: Karaoke!

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