Gilmore Girls

Season 4 Episode 16

The Reigning Lorelai

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 02, 2004 on The WB

Episode Recap

Sitting at Friday night dinner, Rory and Lorelai are equally repulsed by the escargot sitting on their plates. Emily is sadly reminiscent when she mentions an old friend of hers, Sweetie Nelson, who loved escargot. She tells them that Sweetie passed away yesterday from a lengthy illness. Emily reminds Richard that the funeral is Saturday at noon. Richard is concerned that his golf date with a new client may interfere with his attendance at the funeral. He asks Emily how important it is that he attends. Although Emily tells him it is unimportant, it is clear she is unhappy with Richard's insensitivity.

In the diner, Kirk complains to Lane about his fishy smelling eggs. Lane dismisses his complaint telling him the eggs were not cooked in the fish pan. Lorelai comes into the diner asking for Luke. She wants him to make her a special cheesy quesadilla but he is outside having a very serious discussion with Nicole. Lorelai wishes out loud that she could read lips, so Kirk offers to translate what they are saying, since he is apparently quite proficient at lip reading. When he reads Luke and Nicole's lips, he speaks complete gibberish and suggests they are speaking in code. Lorelai disagrees but Kirk feels pretty confident he is right. As he sits again, Lane brings him new eggs, explaining his other eggs were cooked in the fish pan. Kirk just shakes his head and wonders why no one ever believes him.

At the Yale Daily News, Doyle is on the rampage because of the shoddy work being done in the newsroom of late. He is harassing Rory over his concern that she has plagiarized her article. Rory assures him that she hasn't but he reminds her of the Stephen Glass controversy and tells her he doesn't want the Yale Daily News, to be caught up in its backlash.

At Sookie's and Jackson's house, Sookie and Lorelai are working on some budgets while Michel is attempting to record a dog show on TV. Emily calls with some bad news…Gran has died. Lorelai finds out that Gran had a heart attack. Of course Richard is devastated by the news and Emily is left to take care of the funeral arrangements. Lorelai asks if there is anything she can do to help. Emily explains that Richard has been asking for turtleneck soup and wonders if Lorelai knows what that is. Of course, Lorelai asks Sookie and Sookie suggests it might be mock turtle soup. Emily agrees and Lorelai asks Sookie if she could make it for her. Sookie immediately begins to look for the recipe. Lorelai gets up to go so she can call Rory to tell her the news. After a rather awkward hug from Michel, she leaves.

A while later, Lorelai shows up at her parents' house with a container of mock turtle soup just like grandma used to make. Emily is on the phone busy with the funeral arrangements. She asks Lorelai to take the soup into his den to see if Richard will eat something. Lorelai goes into Richard's den to find him lying on the couch with a scotch in hand obviously in deep mourning. Richard begins to reminisce fondly about his mother and expresses deep regret at the argument they had the last time she saw him. Lorelai attempts to console him but he is inconsolable. When he notices the soup, he seems interested so Lorelai goes to get him a spoon. Emily is delighted that he seems to want to eat something and tells Lorelai to take an apple as well. All of a sudden, Richard storms out of his den. He is infuriated at the obituary written for Trix. It makes no mention of her charity work or her wonderful collections or the traveling she had done. Emily assures Richard that she will take care of it. When offered a spoon for the soup, he says he is no longer hungry and storms back into his den. Emily bemoans the fact that rewriting the obituary is just one more thing she has to do. Of course, Lorelai offers to help but Emily declines her offer. Lorelai decides she must go. As she leaves, Emily reconsiders Lorelai's offer and makes arrangements to meet her at Gran's house the next day to go through some of her papers. Lorelai offers to bring Danish and heads out.

Lorelai calls Rory while she is watching Nigella on TV. Rory excitedly tells her that Nigella is making a raisin cake and a deep-fried bounty bar. She thought she might move in with her and make Nigella her new mommy. When Lorelai tells Rory the sad news, she asks how her grandfather is doing and wonders if there is anything she can do. Lorelai tells her that the funeral is on Friday. Rory promises her that she will be there. She begins to worry that she didn't get a chance to know Gran very well and that she doesn't feel sad enough. Lorelai reassures her that she is a wonderful granddaughter and they say good-bye.

The next day at Gran's house, Lorelai is handing Emily documents from a filing cabinet while Emily decides what has to be done with them. Lorelai implores Emily to teach her the system so that she can be more useful but Emily insists on doing it herself. She is also managing the staff who are packing away some of Gran's things to protect them from Richard's cousin Marilyn and other pilfering relatives. Emily laments Gran's wishes that after her cremation half her ashes are to be buried next to her husband and half are to be placed in an urn on Richard and Emily's mantle. Sadly, Emily will feel her judgment even after death. Lorelai informs Emily that she really knew very little about her grandmother and asks Emily what Gran's maiden name was. Lorelai was confused when Emily told her it was Gilmore but was horrified when Emily clarified that Gran and her husband were second cousins. Lorelai wasn't quite sure what it had done to her gene pool to have grandparents who were so closely related. As Lorelai chatted on, Emily seemed a little distracted. She was reading a letter Gran had sent to Richard the day before their wedding. Emily was chagrined to read that Richard's mother appealed to him to reconsider his marriage to Emily and indicates that Pennilyn Lott would be a more suitable mate. Emily is so angry she decides she will do no more to arrange the funeral and leaves Lorelai to contend with the chaos.

At Lorelai's kitchen table, Lorelai is sorting through Gran's papers while Rory hands them to her. She also wants to know Lorelai's system so that she can help. Lorelai tells Rory about the despicable letter Emily found in Gran's papers. They contemplate how mean spirited such a gesture was and wonder if Gran didn't hope that Emily would eventually find the letter. Rory hopes the kind of cruelty that Gran exhibited isn't genetic. Rory is as horrified to find out that her great-grandparents were second cousins as Lorelai was. Now that Emily is refusing to help with the arrangements Lorelai is listing all the things she has to do. Since Gran wanted to be buried in fresh clothing, she wonders what exactly fresh clothes are. Lorelai also tells Rory about the debacle with the obituary and Rory offers to do it for her. Lorelai gratefully accepts the generous offer.

Lorelai and Sookie stumble over a multitude of bouquets sitting around the door to find Emily on the couch smoking and drinking while she reads her book. Sookie is with Lorelai to set up for Gran's wake but the normally vigilant and detail obsessed Emily has disappeared and a pod Emily is in her place. Emily is still upset about the letter and suggests Lorelai get help from Pennilyn Lott.

At Yale, Rory is talking to Lorelai while she works on the obituary. She is very impressed with Gran's remarkable life and achievements. Rory says good-bye quickly as Doyle walks up to check on what she is doing. After his lecture earlier in the week, he is angry to see Rory working on a personal matter, however, when Rory tells him that she is writing an obituary for her grandmohter, he immediately softens his stance and allows her to continue. He relates a story of his beloved grandmother. This makes Rory feel guilty that she lied about it being her grandmother when in fact it is her great-grandmother and she confesses the truth. Doyle allows her to continue.

In Luke's diner, the patrons are listening to Luke and Nicole, who are up in Luke's apartment, having a rather loud argument. Luke stomps angrily into the diner and begins to take orders; however, Nicole follows, wanting to resolve their conflict. Luke takes her outside to finish their discussion but nothing is resolved and Nicole leaves in disgust.

Lorelai and Rory arrive early for the wake to find Emily is still behaving bizarrely and Richard is walking around in a daze. Rory takes her grandfather upstairs to help him with his tie and Lorelai insists that Emily gets ready for the funeral. As the elder Gilmore's busy themselves with their respective tasks, Lorelai and Rory marvel at the lunacy in the air. To Lorelai's consternation, she realizes that she forgot to send underwear to the funeral home with Gran's fresh clothing and rushes out to buy some.

While at the store picking out the underwear, Lorelai has a bit of a melt down. It seems the pressure of all she has had to do and the sorrow of the circumstances simply became too much. When she arrived back at her parents' home, Emily is sitting and ready for the funeral and Rory is upstairs helping Richard with his tie.

After the funeral, Emily seems to be back to normal; she is making sure that the trays of food and drink get around to Richard and when Lorelai sits next to her, Emily is quick to criticize her fashion choice. The house is full of people comforting Richard and celebrating the long and rich life of the elder Lorelai Gilmore. Emily goes over to Richard to straighten his tie. He informs her that Gran's ashes will not be sitting on their mantle but rather be buried next to her husband. Emily is clearly grateful for such a concession.

We meet Richard's cousin, Marilyn, a flamboyant woman who looks remarkably like a very young Gran. A while later, Lorelai finds Rory sitting by herself…

Lorelai: So, you ditched the cousin? Rory: Yeah, we ran into a sister, and how could I compete? Lorelai: Oh, sure. How are you doing? Rory: I'm feeling sadder about Gran, but feeling sadder is making me feel less guilty about not feeling sad, so things are looking up. Lorelai: Good. So, apparently, I am now the reigning Lorelai. Rory: Huh. I guess you are. Lorelai: It's a lot of responsibility. Rory: Well, sure. Lorelai: It's mostly ceremonial stuff nowadays -- declaring knighthoods, opening supermarkets -- but now and then, you get to banish someone or pose for a stamp. Rory: Neat. And coins. Lorelai: Yeah and coins. You know, someday you'll be the reigning Lorelai. Rory: I don't like that idea. Lorelai: Why not? You get a cape. Rory: Because if I'm the reigning Lorelai, that means you'll be gone. Lorelai: Gone? No, not me. I'll step down way before that. I'm not gonna pull a Queen Elizabeth on you, make you wait around forever, force you to develop interests in polo and architecture. Rory: I am scared of horses. Lorelai: I know that. Rory: So, there's a cape, huh?