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Stopping by Stars Hollow: A Critic’s First Watch of 'Gilmore Girls' - Season 1, Episode 19

"My muffin's fine. My muffin wants to know what the fruitcake is doing in the lobby."

My goodness, I feel like a worn out old woman. My back muscles are so sore for absolutely no reason, and I like always all I want to do is take a nap. But, instead of letting the need to nap drag me down we’re going to make brownies and be a good friend a hang out at a bonfire. I’m also gonna be a good writer and critic and fulfill my purpose by finishing my articles instead of playing video games! AND I’m going to apply for more jobs even though I really, really don’t want to fill out an application for the 700th time!

We can do this! Let’s get motivated!

And let’s save the rest of the pep talk for another time because right now we have an errand to run, and we have to stop by Stars Hollow to do it.

Season 1, Episode 19: “Emily in Wonderland”

I love this episode for one scene in particular: Emily visiting the potting shed.

The build-up to this scene is so well done. We see Emily genuinely enjoying herself in the small, unrefined town and watch as her stiff outer shelf softens revealing a more easygoing Emily, one who isn’t afraid to wear worn out sneakers and walk outside for hours with her granddaughter. This sequence gives the audience a true sense of hope that perhaps Emily may see the beauty in Lorelai’s lifestyle and she may have a respect for the life decisions she has made.

And then comes the potting shed.

Rory, in her excitement and innocence, shows Emily the place where her mother raised her. The place where she took her first steps, had her first bath, said her first words: a potting shed in the backyard of the Inn, where the bathtub was separated by a curtain and the corners help potting soil and garden tools.

Emily’s reaction, the subtly of the range of emotion in her face, and the immediate change of demeanor are absolutely stunning. You can almost hear the glass shatter, the breaking of this happy day in a simple moment. Every second of this exchange was brilliant and makes so much sense. Emily warming up to the idea of life in Stars Hollow was too good to be true, and Amy Sherman-Palladino confirmed our suspicion that Emily’s character can only accept Lorelai’s Stars Hollow life if she views it as a destination… not a home for Lorelai. Seeing truly how much a homely town like Stars Hollow did for Lorelai and Rory, where her own mansion and motherly connection couldn’t do the job, destroys Emily.

The truth behind Stars Hollow is that it was more of a home to Lorelai than her mother can ever be, and Emily can’t look in the mirror and accept her faults like that.

It’s amazing how such a small moment can inform the audience of so much character detail and history. Sherman-Palladino can use this moment as a point of new growth for Emily and it’s such a dynamic episode that I can’t wait to see how it informs the rest of the series.

With the season one coming to a close, let’s see how the Gilmore family evolves, what happens between Dean and Rory, what happens between Max and Lorelai… there are a lot of plotlines up in the air, let’s see how Sherman-Palladino ends her juggling routine. Hopefully, it’s with great skill and a flourish rather than just a quick drop of the ball. So let’s move…

Onto Season 1, Episode 20: “P.S. I Lo…”

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Stopping by Stars Hollow: A Critic’s First Watch of 'Gilmore Girls' - Season 1, Episode 19
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