"What are the final four words?"
It's a question that's plagued Gilmore Girls fans for a decade now. In her exit interview with Michael Ausiello (then of TV Guide, now of TVLine) in April 2006, departing showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino revealed that though she wouldn't be ending Gilmore Girls — she left after the sixth season, and writer David S. Rosenthal took over for season seven — she had an idea in mind of how it should end. More specifically, she knew what the final four words of the series would be.
Those words, of course, were not used in season seven, and despite promising to tell Ausiello what they were, Sherman-Palladino kept them close to chest. She seemed to be waiting for the right opportunity to share them.
Then comes Netflix's Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a revival series made up of four 90-minute installments themed around seasons. In the final episode, "Fall," Sherman-Palladino finally reveals those final four words. So a new question has taken the place of "What are the final four words?" The new question: "What comes next?"
(Editor's note: Spoilers ahead for the entirety of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — including the final four words.)
Of course, the final four words are shared by the titular Gilmore girls, mom Lorelai and daughter Rory. The words themselves are:
Rory: "I'm pregnant."
The father isn't named, but is almost certainly Rory's once-boyfriend, current friend-with-benefits Logan Huntzberger. He is, in many ways, a younger version of Rory's father, Christopher Hayden — wealthy, privileged, devilishly charming. That Rory has gotten pregnant with Logan's child 32 years after Lorelai got pregnant with Rory is surely no accident.
Now, a major caveat: These were always supposed to be the final four words. Who knows who the father would have been if Sherman-Palladino had gotten to use her words in season seven? That said, Rory was with Logan at that point, and only broke up with him at the end of the season, so it's a fair assumption that Logan would also have been the father back then.
In doing this, Sherman-Palladino is signaling that Gilmore Girls is a story about life coming full circle. That idea of a "full circle" is even name-checked a couple of times throughout A Year in the Life (most memorably by Lorelai during a flashback fight with Emily in "Winter"). No one can truly break pattern; history repeats.
It's kind of a dismal thought on the surface, that Rory is making the same mistake her mother once made. But look more closely, and this seems less like a mistake and more like life's funny, tricky poetry. What if Rory made the same choice as her mother — to raise her child alone — but at a time when she was much better equipped for it than Lorelai was at 16? What if she could be a new Lorelai, a successful author and mother forging a whole new path for herself?
Of course, this is all theoretical for the moment. Sherman-Palladino and her cast are not ruling it out, but it remains to be seen what a Year in the Life sequel would even look like. This revival was beautiful, but lightning rarely strikes twice.
If these really are the last four words, with no further Netflix episodes to come, surely many Gilmore Girls fans will be frustrated. This is a cliffhanger in the worst sense, something that leaves fans wanting what comes next. To think that there would be no resolution is a shocking proposition.
But in a way, it would be poetic. Gilmore Girls was about Lorelai and Rory, mother and daughter, friends forever. Rory and her child's story isn't Gilmore Girls — it's another thing, perhaps another series entirely. Those final four words mark the end of this journey. Whether another journey begins onscreen — well, that's for Sherman-Palladino to decide.