Richard Gilmore, the beloved grandfather, and father figure in the popular TV series Gilmore Girls, died in Season 7 Episode 14, titled “Farewell, My Pet”.
He suffered a sudden heart attack while teaching a class at Yale, where his granddaughter Rory was a student. His death was a shocking and heartbreaking event for the Gilmore family and the fans of the show.
In this article, we will explore how Richard’s death affected the characters, how the Gilmore Girls revival handled his absence, and what questions and reactions his death raised among the viewers.
The Shocking Death of Richard Gilmore
Richard Gilmore was a successful businessman, a loving husband to Emily, and a proud father to Lorelai and Rory. He had a strong sense of duty, tradition, and integrity, but he also had a soft spot for his family and a witty sense of humor. He often clashed with Lorelai over her life choices, but he always supported her and Rory in their endeavors. He was also a mentor and a friend to many of his colleagues and associates.
Richard had a history of heart problems in the show. He had a mild case of angina in Season 1 Episode 10, titled “Forgiveness and Stuff”, which scared Lorelai and made her realize how much she cared for him. He recovered quickly from that episode and resumed his normal activities. However, in Season 7 Episode 14, he had a more serious heart attack while teaching an economics class at Yale. He collapsed in front of his students and was rushed to the hospital. Rory witnessed the whole scene and called Lorelai and Emily to inform them of the situation. They arrived at the hospital as soon as possible, but it was too late. Richard had passed away.
The Impact of Richard’s Death
Richard’s death devastated his family and friends. Emily was heartbroken by her 50-year-old husband’s death. She suffered with sadness and loneliness and sought new meaning and purpose. Richard’s will, burial arrangements, and valuables were also her responsibility. She grew more autonomous, vulnerable, and emotional.
She was also severely touched by her father’s death. She regretted not knowing him better and not saying anything kind about him at his burial. She also struggled with her profession, relationship with Luke, and desire for another child. Elizabeth tried therapy with Emily, but they had more fights and misunderstandings. She also went on a wild voyage inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild to discover herself and recover.
My grandfather’s passing hurt Rory too. She was close to him since childhood. He supported her academic goals, shared his love of literature and music, and provided her advise. He was also one of the few who understood her journalism goals. His death made her doubt her life path after several career setbacks. Her difficult relationship with Logan, Paul, and Jess was also a problem.
How the Gilmore Girls Revival Handled Richard’s Death?
The Gilmore Girls revival, titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, consisted of four 90-minute episodes that followed the lives of the Gilmore women over the course of one year. The first episode, titled “Winter”, revealed that Richard had died four months prior to the start of the revival. His death was mentioned several times throughout the episode, as well as in the following episodes. The revival showed how each character dealt with their grief in different ways, such as Emily’s painting of Richard, Lorelai’s phone call to Emily after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and Rory’s visit to Richard’s study at Yale.
The revival also paid tribute to Richard by including flashbacks of him from previous seasons of the show, as well as new scenes that showed him interacting with Emily, Lorelai, and Rory. The most memorable scene was when Rory wrote her book about her life with Lorelai in Richard’s study, surrounded by his books and pictures. She titled the book “Gilmore Girls”, honoring both her grandfather and her mother.
Fans’ Reactions and Unanswered Questions Regarding Richard’s Death
Richard’s death was one of the most emotional and impactful events in the Gilmore Girls universe. Fans reacted with sadness, shock, anger, or acceptance, depending on their attachment to the character and their expectations for the revival. Some fans praised the way the revival handled Richard’s death, while others criticized it for being too depressing or unrealistic. Some fans also expressed their curiosity and frustration about some unanswered questions regarding Richard’s death, such as:
- How did Richard’s death affect his business partners and associates, such as Jason “Digger” Stiles, Mitchum Huntzberger, and Floyd Stiles?
- How did Richard’s death affect his friends and acquaintances, such as the members of the DAR, the Yale alumni, and the Friday night dinner guests?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Christopher, Lorelai’s ex-husband and Rory’s father?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Luke, Lorelai’s fiancé and Rory’s surrogate father figure?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Jess, Rory’s ex-boyfriend and Luke’s nephew?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Logan, Rory’s on-and-off boyfriend and Mitchum’s son?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Paris, Rory’s friend and rival at Chilton and Yale?
- How did Richard’s death affect his relationship with Sookie, Lorelai’s best friend and business partner at the Dragonfly Inn?
Richard Gilmore was a complex and influential character in Gilmore Girls. His death had a profound impact on the show and its fans. He will always be remembered as a smart, charming, generous, and loyal man who loved his family and his work. He will always be a part of the Gilmore Girls legacy.