Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - Winter
By Felix Quinonez Jr.
December 6, 2016
The title card reads “Winter,” which is Lorelai's favorite season. Sam Phillips' famous “La-La-La” score begins playing and just like that, audiences find themselves back in Stars Hollow. Various town residents are seen going about their business. There is a couple carrying shopping bags, a woman with a tray of coffees, a man, half-heartedly shoveling a walkway and a couple, arm in arm, taking a photograph. They break their embrace to walk away, revealing Lorelai sitting on the famous gazebo. She takes a big breath of the winter air, (she really loves winter) takes a sip of her coffee and behind her, Rory is seen walking up the steps before sitting down next to her mom.
It's a beautifully shot, if overly choreographed, scene. On one hand it certainly does call attention to itself and at first it is a bit jarring. But on the other hand, a certain level of artifice has always been a part of the show's charm. Besides, everyone knows that Stars Hollow was, as Lorelai put it, “constructed in a snow globe.”
But without missing a beat, the two engage in a rapid-fire exchange that is the famous Gilmore banter. As always, it's delightful to see these two riff off of each other. But there is also an added element of joy in watching them fall back into the roles they left behind nine years ago.
From there, they go on a town tour that, like a lot of what happens in the first
act, is mostly for the audiences' benefit. It's a neat little trick that's almost as effective as it is transparent. Lorelai brings Rory, and by extension the audience, up to speed. And it is also a nice opportunity to squeeze in a bunch of cameos of the Stars Hollow community. Kirk shows up to announce his new, ridiculous business venture. Taylor is still…well, Taylor.
But the downside of this cameo extravaganza is that it draws attention to the passage of time. Nine years have passed since audiences paid a visit to Stars Hollow, but the characters would have still been in each other's lives. Because of this, things are ostensibly normal. Rory's return from London isn't a momentous event, yet she engages in quite a few awkward expository exchanges. Her “conversation” with Lane (Keiko Agena) at Doose's market is perhaps the worst offender. If they had turned to speak directly into the camera, it wouldn't have made any difference. Of course, this is for the audience's benefit, but it is a bit distracting.
As the tour winds down, the town troubadour is given a nice little moment to shine as the day transitions to night. Finally, the girls make it home to find Luke in the kitchen. And here, again, some of the cracks begin to show. There is something off about the way the kitchen looks. It's seems bright, clean and new. And it feels more like a facsimile than the real thing. Unfortunately, that's a feeling that at times applies to the episode itself.