"The Prodigal Daughter Returns"
Written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Lorelai arrives home to find her door chained because Luke was testing it. He wants to celebrate because the work on her house is finally done and all of the guys are gone. Lorelai is a little disappointed that she didn’t get to say goodbye and have a pizza party with them. In the bedroom, Luke shows her that he’s moved in his grandmother’s old bedroom set. He loves it, but she doesn’t tell him that she doesn’t. At the elder Gilmores’, Rory tries to take food up to her room but gets shut down by Emily. At the inn, Sookie tells Lorelai that she needs to go to China because she’s out of ideas for interesting food. Lorelai invites her to a housewarming dinner at her place. Sookie gets that Lorelai isn’t completely thrilled with the results; she tries to use a pots and pans metaphor to get some sympathy on the bedroom set issue. Lorelai wonders why she can’t just let it go, since Luke has done so much for her, but she wants something new. Richard returns home from work to find Finn and Colin moving Rory’s things out for her. At the diner, Lorelai notes that something is different with the nachos - Luke made them with baked chips and low-fat cheese. She then tries to get Lane’s attention, but Lane is trying to avoid her because Rory has moved in with her and Lane isn’t sure she wants Lorelai to know yet.

Lane makes lunch for Rory back at her apartment, but Zack isn’t happy that they have a houseguest using things she didn’t pay for. A guy named Stuart from the Stamford Eagle-Gazette calls to tell Rory that he’ll give her a reference and thinks she would be a good worker, despite whatever Mitchum said about her. Lane confesses that she told Lorelai about Rory’s temporary living arrangements, but Rory doesn’t mind. Lorelai, Sookie, Luke, and Jackson cook at Lorelai’s house and Lorelai takes Sookie upstairs to see the bedroom set. Sookie can’t believe he loves it. The phone rings and the answering picks up as Christopher leaves a message, having not spoken to Lorelai since “Wedding Bell Blues.” He announces that he has some good news and wants Lorelai to call him back. She turns off the machine as Luke approaches, but he’s already heard Christopher’s voice. He asks if she was going to tell him that Christopher called; she says she was and that turning off the machine was just a reflex. Luke thinks that they’ve been talking behind his back for a while, then stops the fight since they have guests. Lorelai thinks it would be ruder to pretend that nothing is wrong but sulk through dinner and make Sookie and Jackson feel uncomfortable.

At dinner, Jackson tries to cheer everyone up with a story, but Luke and Lorelai are still tense with each other. Jackson thinks Luke is jealous because his burgers are more popular. Lorelai and Luke start fighting and Lorelai finally announces that she hates the bedroom set. He storms out and Jackson wonders if he caused the fight by bragging about his burgers. Later, Lorelai finds Luke at his apartment and he tells her that he’s never going to be okay with her having Christopher in her life. She points out that he’ll always be there, since he’s Rory’s father, but promises that she hasn’t heard from him for a year. They promise each other that they won’t keep any more secrets. Rory waits around the newspaper in order to beg Stuart for a job. Instead of having her arrested for harassment, he lets her sit around and wait for him to break down and talk to her. During a rush at the diner, a girl named April Nardini (Vanessa Marano) shows up in an interesting looking bike helmet and tells Luke that she needs a hair sample from him. She explains that for her middle school science fair project, she’s going to take hair from three men and figure out which one is her father. He’s too stunned to keep her from taking his hair and his photo.

At the newspaper, Rory tries to help out and bugs Stuart again. At the inn, Michel tells Lorelai that someone called asking for a reference for Rory. Lorelai asks him for details about the job, but he, of course, doesn’t know anything. Richard calls and tells Lorelai that Emily is missing. She heads to the kitchen and tells Sookie that everything is going crazy with Rory and Emily. She then goes to Lane’s apartment to look for Rory, but she’s not there. Emily calls Lorelai, who goes to meet her at an airplane hangar because she’s thinking about buying a plane. As she measures it, she explains that she’ll be sharing it with a few other people so they can fly wherever they want whenever they want. After some discussion, Emily finally tells Lorelai that she’s tired of being pitied and having her life criticized. She says that everything Rory has done recently is her fault, then lists the ways that she’s tried to take care of her. She adds that Lorelai would have been proud of the way Rory talked to her (see “Let Your Balalaikas Ring Out”). Lorelai tries to convince her that what happened with Rory isn’t the same as what happened with her. “I lost her like I lost you,” Emily laments. Lorelai corrects that Rory was always supposed to be at school, then adds, “And you didn’t lose me.”

Rory leaves her portfolio on Stuart’s desk, and instead of throwing her out of the building, he agrees to talk to her for a few minutes. Luke heads to the science fair, where he learns from April’s booth that he’s the lucky winner of the “Finding My Father: A daughter’s DNA homecoming” project. After learning her name, he realizes that her mother is Anna, whom he hasn’t seen for about 12 years. He assures her that if he’d known about her, he wouldn’t have ignored her. He invites her out for ice cream, but she has to stick around. Rory calls Lorelai at home and happily tells her that she got a job at the newspaper and is also going back to Yale. Moments later, Rory is at the house and the two are happily reuniting. Lorelai runs over to Luke’s for celebratory food, telling him that they can set a wedding date now. He doesn’t tell her about April.


MEMORABLE QUOTES: “Well, if you expect that muffin to fly back to the kitchen, you’d better go and get it a cape!” - Emily

Colin: “I’m Colin McCray.”
Richard: “How wonderful for you.”

Sookie: “I can’t believe you didn’t do anything to the kitchen!”
Lorelai: “What are you talking about? Look at the brand new napkin holder. It used to be a cow. Now it’s a much bigger cow.”

Jackson: “There is no shame in using a charcoal chimney!”
Luke: “It’s a gadget. I don’t do gadgets.”
Jackson: “It takes twice as long.”
Luke: “You got someplace to be?”
Jackson: “No, you just go right ahead and rub those sticks together. I'll just go learn a language or something.”

Lorelai: “Enjoy Wisteria Lane, you major drama queen!”
Luke: “I’m done.”
Lorelai: “Wrap yourself in a towel and trip over a hedge on your way out!”

Jackson: “Was it because I brought up my meat rub?”
Sookie: “Yes. It was.”

Emily: “I’m looking at a plane.”
Lorelai: “Because….”
Emily: “Because you don’t do something like buy a plane without looking at it first. I’m not Elvis.”
Lorelai: “Oh, my mistake. I thought you were. I apologize for sending you all those policeman badges for Christmas.”

“Wow, you sure wrote a lot of things here. Hey, wait, there’s a word in here I know.” - Luke to April

Back to Gilmore Girls episode guides

Back to Fun and Games