Gilmore Girls

Season 4 Episode 16

The Reigning Lorelai

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 02, 2004 on The WB
out of 10
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252 votes

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Episode Summary

The rift between Emily and Richard widens when he goes on a golf date with clients instead of accompanying his wife to the funeral of her best friend. Doyle goes on a theft and plagiarism rant; Trix dies suddenly and stricken with grief and guilt, Richard is inconsolable; Emily calls it quits on arranging Trix's funeral and drops everything in her daughter's lap after finding a letter in which her mother-in-law pleads with her son on the eve of his wedding to Emily to marry Pennilyn instead; Luke and Nicole have all of Stars Hollow listening in and reading lips as they quarrel; worried about her parents and frantic over fulfilling Trix's exacting requirements for her funeral, Lorelai has a meltdown while shopping for Trix's funereal undies; after the service, cousin Marilyn regales family and friends with tales of Lorelai the First; Emily and Richard finally reach out to each other as he defies one of his mother's last wishes for the sake of his wife.moreless

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  • Trix dies which leads to both Richard and Emily acting extremely different. I'm glad she's gone, an entertaining episode.

    So Trix has finally gone, well she died. This was a good move and it sort of fixed Emily and Richard's marriage problems, well to some degree anyway. It was hilarious to see Emily getting drunk and smoking, she just didn't care anymore and what entertainment it was. As for Richard, he is devastated by his mothers death but there some amusing scenes. But overall in his case, it was quite sad.

    Even Lorelai was affected, we can see this when she has a meltdown when buying some under for her deceased grandmother. That was amusing due to the shop keepers reaction. Jason arrives and is hugged by Richard which shocks him, plus we learn he doesn't go to funerals. This was a long time coming, the death of Trix.

    It was interesting to see the same actress playing someone else, I wonder if we'll see more of her. Rory was nice to Richard and perhaps helped him through the wake. As for her at school, Doyle is funny at times and I admit I'm warming to him. The best part here was when Rory lied and said she was close to her 'grandmother' he then said she could continue with what she was doing and told her he lost his grandmother recently,

    Rory becomes guilty and admits all, funny stuff. Then we have Luke and Nicole. there having obvious problems and it was great to see everyone so interested. Does this mean its over as Nicole obviously states that there place isn't really there place. Personally I'm glad to see the end of this relationship, purely because I want Lorelai and Luke to FINALLY get together.

    So now I'm into the last six episodes of the season, I can't wait!moreless
  • An awesome episode where the elder Lorelai dies and Emily finds out a painful truth. Lorelai the middle sees her parents at their most vunerable.

    This eppy is a critical one. A life changing moment comes when Emily finds out Richard's mother didn't want him to marry her. Lorelai must take over the planning of her grandmother's funeral when her mother decides to forget the whole thing. Suki makes "Mock Turtle Soup" for Richard and he cries when Lorelai brings it to him. Rory feels like she should be sadder, she didn't know her great- grandmother well. While going through her papers, Emily finds a letter she had written to Richard saying he should marry Pennilyn Lott instead of her. She also tells Lorelai that her grandmother married her second cousin. Lorelai for the first time, is becoming her parents keeper when her father cant' or won't do much and her mother sits around in her robe drinking and reading a romance novel.Lorelai suffers from a mini-meltdown while shopping for her grandmother's underwear. Side note: Lorelai and Michele hug for the first and last time in this episode!moreless
  • Trix died...and left a very bad letter behind.

    There are problems in paradise, Luke and Nicole are fighting a lot. And later Lorelai gets a call from her mother letting her knowing that Grandmother Trix died...

    And there comes all the process, the arrangements, the letting people know, getting the papers in order...

    I was so sad for Richard, it must be really hard to lose a parent and he can be worse if the last conversation you had with him was a bad one.Emily is in charge of taking care of everything.

    That letter, it was bad, really bad. Trix never wanted Emily as daughter-in-law, she begged Richard to leave Emily at the alter. And now, the person she would pick for her son is taking care of her funeral...

    That letter changed Emily, that was the wild period, smoking, drinking, sitting like that, dressing like that...

    And Richard, that hug he gave Jason was really incredible.

    It must be a family thing, they love to look crazy in shops lol

    And then she service, all organized by Lorelai. Emily and Richard made up, Lorelai is now the reigning Lorelai and it will passmoreless
  • The death of Lorelai Gilmore (Gran/Trix) and how she left Emily upset after she was dead.

    This episode is hilarious even in the face of death. After Lorelai dies Emily must go through all the stuff and Richard is a complete disaster. I love when Michel and Lorelai hug its so hilarious. The fact that Gran didnt want Emily to marry Richard was half expected but totally unexpected in writing the day before their wedding. When Emily is smoking and is carefree i think it is hilarious because it is really out of character. Also the whole second cousin thing is another funny addition to this seems to be serious episode. It overall helps us learn more about Richards past and a little about his and Emily's.moreless
  • A death in the family...

    The end the "original" Lorelai Gilmore. I thought it was funny that Marion Ross continued on as the cousin "Marylin". Seeing Emily flip out and Richard losing it, is a great departure from the regular up-tight characters. My favorite line from the episode is when a guest tells richard that Rory is lovly and he says, "...Inside and out." A little bit of all the secondary characters appear especialy Michele recording the dog show. This season shows a lot of the same clothes from other seasons. I never noticed it with other shows. I guess these clothes are more noticable.moreless
Sean Gunn

Sean Gunn

Kirk Gleason (Episodes 44 - , recurring previously)

Keiko Agena

Keiko Agena

Lane Kim

Kelly Bishop

Kelly Bishop

Emily Gilmore

Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel

Rory Gilmore

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham

Lorelai Gilmore

Edward Herrmann

Edward Herrmann

Richard Gilmore

Charles C. Stevenson Jr.

Charles C. Stevenson Jr.

Rev. Wilder

Guest Star

Tiffany Fraser

Tiffany Fraser


Guest Star

Gay Storm

Gay Storm


Guest Star

Marion Ross

Marion Ross


Recurring Role

Liz Torres

Liz Torres

Miss Patty

Recurring Role

Danny Strong

Danny Strong


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • While the patrons of Luke's Diner are listening to Luke and Nicole fight, you can see Miss Patty standing a few feet outside the door, waiting for her cue to enter.

    • Given the great friendship Luke and Lorelai share, it's very weird that not once in the entire episode does Luke present his condolences to her.
      He's always there for her, even in season 7 while they're broken up and have nearly zero contacts, he rushes to the hospital to check on her after he finds out that Richard has been admitted.

    • Rory finds out that Gran met Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. These are the same presidents that Forrest Gump met.

    • At the end of the episode Richard says "that the mantle is not the right place for Grans ashes". Obviously an oversight on the writers part because she was Richards mother not grandmother and for that matter he would not have called her mom either because from the first appearance on the show he called her "Trix"

    • Trix's Letter to Richard:
      My dearest Richard it is with heavy heart that I write you this letter tonight but I cannot stand by and let you make a terrible mistake. Until now I had thought, hoped, prayed that you would come to the same conclusion I have. But you have not and therefore I feel it's my duty as your mother to beg you to reconsider your impending marriage. I'm sure that Emily is a very suitable woman for someone but not for you. She will not be able to make you happy. She does not have the Gilmore stamina or spark, she is simply not a Gilmore. I don't know the circumstances surrounding your breakup with Pennilyn Lott but it is still my belief that she is much better suited for you than Emily. I know that the timing of this is particularly awkward, since you are to be married tomorrow but your happiness is too important to me so timing be damned.

    • On the day of Gran's funeral, Emily comes downstairs with a book in her hand and gave Lorelai a synopsis, and then says everything is on the back cover of the book. This is weird because it is a hardcover book, which usually has the information on the inside flap.

    • An interesting note about the name Lorelai. The German origin of the meaning behind the name is "siren" which is definitly descriptive of the Lorelai that Lauren Graham portrays, and the Irish origin of Rory (as long as were speaking of the Reigning Lorelai's) means "spirited and brilliant", which fits Alexis Bledel's character to a T. Makes me wonder if Amy thought of this when creating the names of her characters and the demeanor they would posses, Hmmm...

    • When Lorelai is talking to Emily, who is drinking and smoking, Emily's hair switches from behind her ear to over it in between shots.

    • When Lorelai is about to leave her parents' house after bringing Richard soup, she zips up her jacket in the background as her mother talks on the phone in the foreground. Lorelai's jacket is closed as she walks towards Emily to say goodbye. As she walks out the door, however, her jacket is open and she zips it closed again.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • (Lorelai is having a meltdown at a underwear store)
      Lorelai: Hello the woman is dead, she is dead. she can't tell if it's the right size. She wanted fresh cloths and I'm here buying her fresh cloths so if she has a problem with the size or the strawberry print she can rise from the dead and came back here and yell at me herself. Because, you know what?, if any one could that tough old crazy wonderful broad would be the one. You take VISA right?

    • (Emily and Lorelai are organizing Trix's papers and they run across an old letter)
      Emily: This is to your father. It's a carbon copy of a letter she send to your father.
      Lorelai: Oh it's nice.
      Emily: "My dearest Richard, it's with heavy heart that I write this letter tonight but I can not stand by and let you make a terrible mistake. Until now I've thought, hoped, prayed that you would came to the same conclusion that I have. But you have not and therefor I feel it is my duty as your mother to beg you to reconsider your impending marriage. I'm sure that Emily is a very suitable woman for someone but not for you, she will not be able to make you happy. She does not have the Gilmore stamina or spark, she is simply not a Gilmore."
      Lorelai: Well sure 'cus you weren't directly related to him.
      Emily: "I don't know the circumstances surrounding your break up with Pennilyn Lott but it is still my belief that she is much better suited for you than Emily. I know that the timing of this is particularly awkward since you are to be married tomorrow!!!"
      Lorelai: No way!
      Emily: "But your happiness is to important to me so timing be dammed."
      Lorelai: She wanted dad to leave you in the alter.
      Emily: She begged him to leave me at the alter, she begged in writing and then she saved the carbon.

    • Glen: My month lasts a month. Your month lasts three days. That, people, is the story of my life!!

    • Rory: I cannot believe that story.
      Lorelai: Yeah. Well, trust me, the Brothers Grimm were over in the corner yelling,"No way!,"
      Rory: And she just walked out?
      Rory: Jewelry appraisal?
      Lorelai: Hand it to me.
      Rory: Why don't you just tell me where to put it?
      Lorelai: No. Because, I have a system
      Rory: hm. That letter sounds awful
      Lorelai: It was
      Rory: And really cruel!
      Lorelai: So cruel! So completely cruel that I'm kind of wondering if Gran didn't know Mom was gonna find it.
      Rory: Stop. It's too mean. I don't wanna think that there's that meanness in my genes...I don't wanna inherit something like that.
      Lorelai: Yeah well, who knows what we've inherited from that woman, count your toes lately?
      Rory: What are you talking about?
      Lorelai: Well, I've been saving the best for last.
      Rory: You're kidding
      Lorelai: Do you know what Gran's maiden name was?
      Rory: What?
      Lorelai: Gilmore. Grandpa Charles was her second cousin!
      Rory(completely grossed out): Noo!
      Lorelai: Yes
      Rory: What does that mean about us? What if that's caused, like, a horrible genetic mutation that hasn't shown up yet? Oh! Our eyes!
      Lorelai: What?! We each have two of them!
      Rory: I always thought it was neat that our eyes look kind of similar but now I don't know! Is it creepy??
      Lorelai: I don't know, is it?
      Rory: I think it's creepy
      Lorelai: Okay, just hand me some more stuff and stop staring at my eyes. Come on

    • Lorelai: Oh, and then there's the obituary, I almost forgot about the obituary.
      Rory: What about the obituary?
      Lorelai: The paper wrote something, but Dad thinks it's not good enough. So I have to rewrite her death announcement. I should let Mom do it, I believe it would go "yay".

    • Rory: Snails?
      Emily: Escargot.
      Lorelai: A slimy thing by any other name...

    • Lorelai: Dad had a Winona in the family? How cool.

    • Kirk: I don't know why everybody in this town always thinks I'm crazy.

    • Kirk: I read lips. My girlfriend taught me. It's so we can have quiet time and keep the conversation going at the same time. Okay, she just said, "Hardwood sponge is the authority of the hostile biographer." And then he responded, "Just phone cords to original samovars."

    • Emily: [Gran] is to be cremated and have her ashes divided in two -- half to be buried with her husband in the family crypt, and the other half to be put in an urn and placed on our mantelpiece.
      Lorelai: Half of Gran is going to be on your mantel forever.
      Emily: Staring at me, judging me, disapproving of me.
      Lorelai: So apparently, it's the top half.

    • Lorelai: Keeping the bloodlines closed. Is that what we're calling it?
      Emily: Well, what would you call it?
      Lorelai: Oh, I don't know. How about "Good morning, Appalachia, I got a mighty cute sister and an extra set of toes."

    • Lorelai: I'm happy to do it. I'll bring coffee, a Danish. You've never had so much fun with death in your life.

    • Rory: (flirting with a boy) Yeah, philosophy is one of my favorite subjects right now.
      Lorelai: (walking by) Second cousin.
      Rory: Gotta go.

    • Marilyn: You look absolutely stunning! Please, tell me you're an idiot.
      Lorelai: Well, I have my moments.

    • Jason: Did you see that hug?
      Lorelai Yes, I did.
      Jason: It didn't end!

    • Lorelai: Oh, my God. I delivered Gran's clothes to the funeral home, but I forgot to include underwear.
      Rory: Gran's going commando?

    • Emily: (after Lorelai presses her to reveal why Emily's deceased friend Melinda had the nickname Sweetie) All right, fine. Sweetie's father was a very poor man -- so poor that Sweetie and her four siblings all had to sleep in a hollowed-out tree trunk because the house was only big enough for their parents. One winter, there was no food, so Sweetie crawled out of her trunk, wrapped her feet in newspaper, and walked forty miles in the snow to the nearest town, where she stumbled into a candy store. The owner took pity on her and gave her bags of candy, a dill pickle, and drove her back to her family. He promptly offered a job to her father, who gladly accepted and eventually owned that store and turned it into one of the most important candy emporiums in the world. And that is how she got the name Sweetie. There, how was that?

    • Rory: They're a little nutty.
      Lorelai: Yeah, with extra nuts on top.

    • Jason: And he was crying. I am really, really bad at comforting people. I say completely inappropriate things - bad jokes with words like Nantucket in them.

    • Emily: What do you think Penilyn Lot would do? Personally, I think we just toss some cheese cubes in the coffin, stuff some toothpicks in her mouth, and let the people go to town.

  • NOTES (3)

    • German episode titel: "Ein Trauerfall", meaning "Bereavement".

      French episode title: "La Reine Lorelai", meaning "The Queen Lorelai".

    • In the scene where Michel is trying to tape the dog show, he mentions something about Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle. At the end of that movie, during the bloopers, it shows Bernie Mac's character talking to Melissa McCarthy, who plays Sookie.

    • Recurring guest star Marion Ross, who played Trix, settles into her new role as cousin Marilyn.


    • Doyle: Breeding ground for the next Jayson Blair!

      Jayson Blair worked for the New York Times and was caught committing journalistic fraud. He faked entire interviews, faked quotes, and stole from other newspapers.

    • Doyle: Can you say Stephen Glass?

      Stephen Glass was a reporter for The New Republic and was caught basing stories of fake quotes, sources and events.

    • Rory: Snails?
      Emily: Escargot.
      Lorelai: A slimy thing by any other name...

      Lorelai's line is based on a famous quote from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet says, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Lorelai is implying that no matter what Emily calls them, they are still snails.

    • Lorelai: Dad had a Winona in the family? How cool.

      When Emily tells Lorelai that sometimes things disappear at Gilmore family gatherings Lorelai refers to Winona Rider's 2001 shoplifting escapade in which she was caught stealing at a Saks fifth Avenue.