"Those are Strings, Pinocchio"
Written by Daniel Palladino; directed by Jamie Babbit

Wearing the backpacks they’re taking with them to Europe, Lorelai and Rory shove past the troubadour on their way to Luke’s. Lorelai complains about the heavy pack and admits that when she pictured them backpacking, she didn’t see them with actual backpacks. (Apparently she was picturing being followed by hot men who would carry everything for them.) Lorelai tries to take her shoes off, since they’re hurting her feet, but Luke stops her. He moves their packs out of the way and Lorelai asks him to come to Europe with them to follow them around and carry their things. Luke says that he and Nicole are going on a cruise together. Lorelai sings a little of the theme to The Love Boat and then notes that a cruise is a good place to propose. Rory adds that cruises equal commitment. Luke says he’s not proposing but Lorelai keeps bugging him. Luke double-checks the time of Rory’s graduation, which he’ll be going to. The girls head home, leaving their packs behind for Luke to store, and complain about their feet hurting. Sookie, Luke, and Lorelai check out the Dragonfly, which Luke says doesn’t look too bad. Upstairs, Kirk looks for mold, which he’s terrified of finding. Luke thinks that Lorelai and Sookie will be able to fix up the inn without spending too much and may have it up and running within five months. Kirk runs out of the inn, having found a mouse.

At Chilton, Paris and Rory wait in line to be taped for the video yearbook. Paris assures Rory that she’s okay with Rory being valedictorian; she’s learned that Ivy League grads who were valedictorians don’t always do well later in life. Paris demands six minutes from the AV guy instead of the permitted two. At the inn, Sookie and Michel lament the fact that there’s only one guest. Michel is also upset that he has towel duty and Sookie is feeling withdrawal from not being able to cook anything. Michel asks Lorelai how long they can continue doing this; Lorelai assures him that things will be back to normal soon. Emily calls to determine whether she and Richard will be sitting with Lorelai at Rory’s graduation. Richard and Emily announce that they want to buy Rory a car. Surprisingly, Lorelai thinks it’s a good idea, as long as it’s a practical car. The inn’s owner Mia’s son tells Lorelai that they need to close off three more rooms, which means they’ll only have two left. He admits to Lorelai that Mia is thinking of selling the inn. Lorelai is upset because she and Rory both basically grew up there. That evening, Lorelai heads to Sookie and Jackson’s house with champagne (and fake champagne for the pregnant Sookie) to celebrate the inn’s closing. Jackson isn’t sure why they should be celebrating, but Lorelai points out that this is a new challenge. She adds that they can’t guy the Dragonfly because Lorelai can’t put in her share of the money anymore. Sookie and Jackson are more focused on the bad parts of the situation.

Taylor leads a town meeting full of bored people. He starts talking about the town’s deer (apparently not for the first time) and Kirk suggests letting wolves out to take care of it. Miss Patty moves that they postpone discussing deer for a year; everyone supports this and Miss Patty adjourns the meeting. Rory arrives just as everyone is leaving but has enough time to look at Lane’s prom photos before Lane has to go back home and continue her grounding. Rory talks to Dean and gives him some advice for his wedding (see “Say Goodnight, Gracie”). She also wants him to pick out his own wedding gift for her to buy for him. Back at home, Rory models her graduation dress for Lorelai and Sookie. Sookie has a job interview the next day but is finding it hard to imagine working somewhere else, and without Lorelai. Lorelai has to admit to Rory that they’re not going to be able to get the Dragonfly. Rory wants to try to make things work, but Lorelai adds that Yale didn’t come through with Rory’s financial aid. She tells Rory that they’ll use the money she got from her investment (see “Happy Birthday, Baby!”) to pay for Yale; Rory refuses and says she’ll get a loan or major in something that will ensure her a large salary. Lorelai won’t let her give up her dream of being a journalist. She tells Rory that she’ll own an inn someday, but right now, Yale is more important.

Rory and Lorelai pack for their trip to Europe. After some bantering about what to bring and what to leave behind, they decide to cancel the trip. Rory heads to her grandparents’ just before graduation and asks them for money for Yale. She promises to pay them back in installments and reinstate Friday night dinners. Richard agrees to pay Rory’s tuition, but he wants the money to be considered a loan and doesn’t want Rory to start paying it back until five years after she graduates. As she leaves, Rory tells her grandparents that Lorelai doesn’t know she came to them. Lorelai and Sookie arrive at Chilton for graduation and spot Luke and Jackson discussing the school’s construction and architecture. Lorelai gets a page and heads to the cafeteria, where Paris is with her nanny and her nanny’s children. Rory tells Lorelai to put in a bid for the Dragonfly because Richard and Emily are paying her tuition. Lorelai warns that there will be strings attached to the money and she doesn’t want Rory to stick to this deal. Rory assures her that she wasn’t manipulated. Lorelai says that she was and didn’t know it - Emily knows that Lorelai will go to Friday night dinners to be with Rory, so Emily wins. Just once, Lorelai wants her and Rory to get what they want and leave Richard and Emily with nothing. Rory repeats that Lorelai needs to go buy the Dragonfly.

On her way back to the courtyard, Lorelai spots Richard and Emily sitting by themselves and gets them to sit with the rest of the group. Richard notes that Christopher isn’t there and Lorelai assures him that they’ll document everything for him. She tells Sookie that they can put in their bid on the Dragonfly after all; Sookie heads off to call their lawyer. Emily and Richard try to avoid sitting right next to Lorelai. As the ceremony beings, Sookie returns and tells Lorelai that she left a message with the real estate agent. She then heads back out of the row to take pictures of Rory. Headmaster Charleston introduces Paris, who will be leading the Pledge of Allegiance, and Paris tells Rory that since the headmaster didn’t respond to the three aspects of the pledge that she wanted to rewrite she’s going to use air quotes. Later in the ceremony, Brad gives a speech and amuses Madeline and Louise by singing “Cherish.” Later in the ceremony, Rory is introduced and Lorelai and Sookie agree not to cry so that they don’t miss anything. Rory gives a nice speech about how she lives in two worlds - one with books and one with people she loves. She talks about her grandparents, then says a lot of wonderful things about Lorelai, making her and Sookie cry.

As Rory and Paris wait for their names to be called so they can get their diplomas Paris notes that she doesn’t know half of the people in their class. Jackson and Luke entertain themselves by asking Richard how much it would cost to insure the whole school. Paris gets her diploma and tells Headmaster Charleston, “No hard feelings.” Rory gets her diploma and she and Lorelai make faces at each other. Emily admonishes Lorelai, who tells her, “I taught her everything I know.” Sookie returns from yet another trip and whispers something to Lorelai, who asks Luke for a pen. Luke tells her to stop assuming that he takes pens everywhere he goes (since she asked him for one in “A Tale of Poes and Fire,” too). Richard gives her one and Lorelai writes, “We got the inn!” on her program and holds it up for Rory to see. After the ceremony, Lorelai tells Rory that her speech made everyone cry, including Luke. Before he leaves, Lorelai tells him to have fun on his trip with Nicole. He admits that they might not go after all; she thinks that her teasing got to him. She encourages him to go and he decides that he was nervous for no reason. Paris and Rory say their goodbyes, telling each other that they hated each other most of the time, then hugging.

Emily and Richard try to present Rory with her graduation gift, but they’ve put a bow on her new car in a parking lot full of cars with bows on them. Emily tells Lorelai that she’ll expect the girls at dinner the Friday after they get back from Europe. Rory gets a phone call, but the person on the other end hangs up. The phone rings again and, sensing that Jess is calling, Rory tells him that she’s going to move on. Lorelai stops by the diner and tells Luke not to get engaged to Nicole on the cruise. Upstairs, Luke wakes up from this dream. Back at Chilton, Lorelai tells Rory that they need to carve their initials into something in the building so that people will know they were there. They find a safety pin and search for the perfect spot. On their way back up the stairs, Lorelai gets Rory to look around for a minute. “It’s not so scary anymore,” Lorelai says. Rory agrees.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Lorelai: “A cruise is a good spot to get down on one knee.”
Luke: “And do my ventriloquist act?”

“I’m not doing his stupid towels. I hate that stupid guy with his stupid newspaper. He’s stupid.” - Sookie

Sookie: (re: Rory’s dress) “Maybe we should bring it in a bit more.”
Rory: “Oh, sure, but first we’ll have to use a medieval torture instrument to crush my ribs and flatten my spinal cord in order to accommodate your sadistic wish there.”
Lorelai: “Don’t use subtlety on us. We’re slow.”

“Here, take a picture of this couch - no one will think we have money after looking at this couch.” - Rory

“We’re the Chilton equivalent of 50 Cent’s posse.” - Lorelai

“My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. As she guided me through these incredible 18 years, I don't know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.” - Rory’s valedictory speech

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