Karen Valby
April 18, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Gilmore Girls”: Few surprises at the Spring Fling

With high hopes that you all enjoyed some sort of spring flings during this long hiatus, I’m happy to say that this week’s return to Stars Hollow was mostly a hoot. Lorelai’s hair looks great again (though I’m continually amazed-slash-troubled by that birch tree of a part down her scalp) and she was sporting a nifty trench coat. The townsfolk circled and cut across the episode with refreshing ease. Paris and Doyle had a great back-and-forth about Lactaid, and whether Doyle does or does not need it for his sensitive stomach. (He does, judging from his parting moan about his Corn Flakes.) And Michel scored the best line of the night in his opening scene with Sookie, when he was bemoaning the inclusion of Taylor’s hay bale maze at the annual Spring Fling. ”Don’t people have lives?” he purred disapprovingly. ”Don’t they have televisions and elliptical machines?” Check to the first one, which is why I’m happy to once again have an antidote to the candy-colored sparkle of Dancing With the Stars.

Rory’s bringing Logan home so he can experience some Stars Hollow magic, the kind that puts little kids in bulb costumes for a dance of the daffodils. She’s anxious to hear whether or not a killer interview with The Providence Journal will result in a job offer. He doesn’t appear anxious about the fact that he’s been booted from his daddy’s company-funded pad and has received his first credit card bill in the mail. Lorelai is anxious about whether our dear one has shackled her wagon to a rogue, who she succinctly describes as ”over-coiffed and over-privileged.” When Lorelai was sniffy about Logan to Sookie, she sounded not unlike Sookie when she used to make noises about Christopher. In her dismissal of his character, Lorelai got in a couple good zingers: ”He’s getting on his feet writing in some idea book…I have a dream journal but I don’t use it as evidence of my responsibility!” Mother and beau finally have it out, while Rory discreetly removes herself to pick up some pies (strawberry rhubarb!), over Logan’s blowsy encouragement that Rory pass off a genuine job offer with a 401k to hold out for a better opportunity. Great friction between the two of them!

The last ten minutes of the episode left me sagging though. I’m all for discovering new depths to Logan’s underwritten character. That bit about him refusing to leave the bedroom without first covering up in pajama pants, shirt and socks — ”socks without shoes? This is ridiculous!” — was more intriguing and telling of a moment than we usually get from him. But his speech to Lorelai in the kitchen — his promises that he’s really not a gambler, and he’s hurting on the inside, and he really really wants to work hard at something, something that turns over a fat profit by the time the market closes for the day — wouldn’t have been enough for me to break out the pie and ice cream. Dude wears tapered slacks and says stuff like ”business is like an ocean, you just gotta surf it.” If he’s not a gambler used to winning, what is he, exactly? Was his declaration that he’ll work his future life around Rory’s supposed to be some sort Lloyd Dobler moment but instead of standing in the front yard holding up a boom box, he’s got a Bang & Olufsen cellphone to one ear and hair that’s impervious to rain? I’m all for learning to like the guy despite myself, but it’s going to take better writing than he and Rory looking at a fork in a hay bale maze and together deciding to take the townsquare path less traveled.

And, no surprises here at the Spring Fling. Luke and Lorelai edged closer toward reconciliation. Lorelai, in a hammy nod to her arc of floundering this season, got lost in the maze. Hark, Luke, bearing French fries! Luke apparently went to see some man named Jonathan or Sherman on Tuesday nights at 8 during the hiatus, because he started coming out with words like ”compartmentalizing” in his apology speech to Lorelai. Luke, where are you buddy? So Lor said sorry for boinking Christopher, and he said sorry for using April as an excuse to push her away. Now I’m all for these two crazy kids getting back together, and I’m all for adult men and women speaking to each other in such a self-aware, kind fashion. But there was a strange absence of heat or longing or whatever snap-crackle-pop should accompany these types of things. If I’m going to root for them as a couple, I’d like to believe that their reunion will be sealed with more than a tender punch to the arm.

Oh yeah, and April showed up with waxed eyebrows and dangly earrings and she kept saying the word ”fabulous.” Then she gave Luke a turquoise bracelet. Have fun in New Mexico!

But what do you think? Will Rory and Logan or Luke and Lorelai be the first couple to get engaged? What was your favorite zinger of the evening? Taylor — the most annoying character on TV or a lovable eccentric? Would you have traded salty nuts for a hay bale maze?

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