It’s already been established here that series finales make me an emotional wreck. There’s something about that beautiful blurring of the line between characters and actors that heightens every moment in a series finale and makes every important beat resonate on a level that feels deeply personal.
Saying goodbye to a television series is like saying goodbye to a part of ourselves, like leaving home. That feeling is perfectly encapsulated in the Gilmore Girls series finale. When Rory talks about leaving Stars Hollow and leaving her mother, she speaks for us as an audience. We knew the day was coming when we’d have to say goodbye to Taylor and Luke and Miss Patty and Lorelai—but that didn’t mean we’d be able to do it without a few tears.
What makes this scene so moving is the way it gives us moments to reflect on so many of the characters we came to love over the course of the series. It begins with such a beautiful moment between Lorelai and her father, a moment that we spent so many years hoping to see. It’s not overly sentimental, but it’s incredibly heartfelt—and it was an emotional moment that felt earned rather than exploitive.
Everything about this scene feels genuine. Rory’s speech was a perfect way to give us one last look at the people and the place that made Gilmore Girls so special. I lose it every time when I look at Luke and think of how much he did for Rory—not just in this episode but throughout the series. He was more of a father to her than Christopher ever was. Luke is the kind of man who would throw together a graduation party in the middle of the night for a young woman who isn’t even his daughter. He’s the kind of man who makes a tent himself because it’s going to rain and he still wants people to be able to celebrate this young woman—and the mother who raised her.
The best thing about Rory’s speech is that it feels real. It’s not long or impossibly eloquent, but it’s filled with so much love for Stars Hollow—the kind of love a person can only have for their hometown. It’s also filled with so much love for her mother, a love so deep that even a Yale graduate can’t articulate it. When Alexis Beldel and Lauren Graham lock eyes at the end of this scene, it’s impossible to remain dry-eyed. You know those tears are real; you know you’re watching these two women say goodbye to each other as much as you’re watching Rory begin the process of saying goodbye to her mom. The love in this scene is so genuine, and that’s what makes it such a special moment.