Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 2.05 & 2.06

2.05 “Nick & Nora / Sid & Nancy”

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School is back in session for Rory, and she’s weirdly excited about it! I guess her zest for knowledge and books and cafeteria food transcends the Paris and Max of it all. She tries to speed Lorelai through breakfast at the diner in order to get to school early, but they’re interrupted by Taylor, a troop of Cub Scouts, and a phone call from Luke’s sister.

That’s right. Jess Mariano is coming to town.

Lorelai’s heart is in the right place when she advises a clearly-unsuspecting Luke on how to deal with a 17-year-old malcontent, but Luke’s pride combined with his history of handling things on his own doesn’t exactly make him amenable. She asks how Jess feels about the whole situation, and she’s a little alarmed by the fact that he hasn’t given it any thought, but Luke reassures her that he’s got it handled. In the end, she thinks it’s very sweet and respectable that Luke is doing this because “you take care of family.”

Jess hates Stars Hollow. It’s pretty much his worst nightmare. And as charmed as I am by Stars Hollow, I have to say, I think I’d be similarly horrified if I was coming from an urban upbringing. He treats Lorelai coldly, which means she will hate him for the rest of her life, but that doesn’t stop her from inviting Luke and Jess to her house for dinner the following night… which is when everything changes.

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He immediately takes a liking to Rory, pretty much on first sight. His expression is of bemusement and slight scorn as he surveys Lorelai’s house and encounters Jackson and Sookie, but it softens when he first sees Rory. He’s even more interested when he spots her bookshelf, which tangibly establishes the intellectual connection they will go on to share for the rest of the series: they’re both readers. Of course, then he tries to jailbreak, which Rory deems ridiculous since Stars Hollow basically shuts down after 7 on weeknights. Rory, for her part, interacts with Jess a lot more naturally than she ever interacted with Dean.

“Trust me.” “I don’t even know you.” “Well don’t I look trustworthy?” “Maybe.”

Jess really steps in it when he tries to sneak a beer and then mouths off when Lorelai catches him. He spouts the typical teenage angst about being unwanted and misunderstood, and then Lorelai misguidedly tries to relate her life to his, and when she tries to talk up Luke, Jess accuses her of sleeping with him. Lorelai ends up confronting Luke about it, who is indignant that Lorelai even tried to get involved, and then he gets downright charming when he says maybe Lorelai just got lucky with Rory. “You did get pregnant at sixteen, that doesn’t show the best decision-making skills now does it?”

Lorelai ends up boycotting Luke’s, sorta, by sending Rory in there on danish day. Luke gets a phone call from Taylor who claims that Jess stole money from a donation cup, and while he takes up for Jess, he still interrogates him as they walk from the high school to… well, not sure where, but they end up on the bridge. Luke gets so frustrated that he pushes Jess off the bridge, which is one of the most iconic scenes from the series.

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At least it ends up smoothing over the rift between Luke and Lorelai, since he shows up at her house ranting about jam hands and gnomes and Liz, and Lorelai brings him back down to earth and reassures him that he can do this. It also breaks Luke’s stilted awkwardness around Jess, as he comes home with all sorts of methods to quit smoking, rules, and a promise that he’s going to make sure Jess graduates high school.

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Jess storms out but runs into Rory in town, where he returns a book he stole from her… a book he vandalized under the guise of “adding some notes in the margins.” Rory, book lover, is not outraged by this! Instead she calls him “Dodger” and they share quiet smiles before walking in opposite directions.

At Chilton, Paris tries to strongarm Rory off The Franklin, you know, the newspaper. She tells Rory the wrong start time for their first meeting, then assigns her a really boring story about the repaving of the parking lot. Rory knocks it out of the park, though, and Paris ends up getting shamed by the faculty advisor for not giving Rory a meatier piece. Paris’ solution? Giving Rory the most coveted assignment: an editorial on the teacher of the year, who just so happens to be Max Medina, her almost-stepfather. Oh Paris.

Other notable quotes and moments:

“We were here first!” / “On the planet?” / “Huh?” / “You lose.”

“The kid needs a bed. If you wanna get him something inflatable, make it a blonde.”

– Godfather reference: When Lorelai is questioning Luke about how much he knows about his nephew, she wonders, “What if he turns out to be Fredo?”

– Luke describes Rory as “a lot like Lorelai, but she’s got a slightly tighter grip on reality.”

“Jackson grows fruit, and then scares people with it!”

– Rory’s interview with Max is very sweet. She ends up pausing her recorder and telling him, “I just want you to know, I really wanted you to be my stepfather.” Max replies, “I just want you to know, I really wanted to be your stepfather.”

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“I am in so far over my head that I can’t even see my own hat.” / “Try turning it around.”

“I have no patience for jam hands!” Things I say around toddlers all the time.


2.06 “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore”

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This episode is almost the polar opposite of the previous one. Minimal Jess and Luke, no Chilton, and almost all grandparents. Plus, the return of Christopher!

Things between the grandparents are deteriorating, as the girls encounter Emily and Richard in the middle of a fight when they show up for Friday night dinner. Emily is tired of Richard cancelling their social events, so naturally when her friends suggest Rory come out at the next debutante ball, Emily sees a way to get back into society without having to wait for Richard.

Rory wants to do it, because it’s important to Emily and not that important to her, so why not? And I actually really like that logic, even if Lorelai freaks out a little bit. That’s nothing compared to the small freak-out that Rory has when she realizes that she’s supposed to be presented by her father. Lorelai calls Chris on her behalf, and he’s actually game. He shows up with a Lexus and the Compact Oxford-English Dictionary that he couldn’t buy Rory last time, and Lorelai finds herself attracted to this new and responsible Christopher.

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Dean’s kind of a pill about the whole thing. He’s severely anti-tux, which is a thing I guess, and I wish we knew where these weird opinions came from with him. If it were Jess throwing a fit about tuxes and tails, that would make sense, because we’ve only known him for one episode but he’s clearly of the Leather Jacket Misanthrope league. Dean, on the other hand, participates in jock stuff and dresses like a 2000’s-era Abercrombie kid, so tails aren’t a big leap. He also hates dancing and basically doing anything, but I guess we’re giving him a ton of points for just showing up? Which in my opinion, Rory deserves better than a man who does the bare minimum (and yet that’s all she ever dates, for the entire series — it’s like this big seven-year-long subliminal message that driven, smart women like Rory are too much work for kindly well-meaning men all over the socioeconomic spectrum).

Richard, who has been snarling and grumping his way through the leadup to Rory’s coming out, is in rare form at the ball. He ends up basically yelling that he’s getting phased out at work, and that he resents the pressure Emily puts on him to assimilate into the very society that is determined to render him obsolete. Both women are shocked by his words, and as they watch Rory come down the stairs on her father’s arm, Emily sadly says, “That should’ve been you up there. Nothing is turning out the way it was supposed to.”

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Rory executes her fan-dance perfectly (I mean, not really if you watch the background of the confrontation scene, but the dialogue says she did a good job, so) and afterwards, Dean begs out of post-debutante burgers at Lukes, and while Rory grabs a table, Chris ends up admitting to Lorelai that he has a someone back in Boston. A someone named Sherry. “Poor girl is named after a Journey song, it’s gotta be rough.”

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Lorelai, overcome with sympathy for the position Emily is in, visits her mother at the end of the episode to just “hang.” Emily’s touched, though she doesn’t know how to say so.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Jess messes with Luke by dressing in “uniform” to work in the diner: a plaid shirt and a backwards baseball cap.

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– Twelve pairs of pantyhose. Twelve pairs.

– Christopher made the mistake of asking Luke for a chai latte. I’m pretty sure that’s 85% of the reason Luke ends up punching him in season 7.

– Christopher tells Lorelai, “The fact that [Rory] can’t follow a lead is all you,” and truer words have never been spoken.

“Ladies never get their own eggrolls! Ladies never get their own anything, they don’t even get their own ideas! They just sit helplessly and wait for some young strong man to come by and assist them! They don’t step in puddles, they don’t step over puddles, they can’t even look at puddles! They actually need to be blindfolded and thrown in a sack and carried over puddles!”

“I don’t know about that girl, I don’t know how she’s ever gonna make it in society! At this rate, she’s gonna actually get a job and only marry once!”

“There’s Nan. I’m going to have a little talk with her about the proper height for a taper.” That’s basically the WASP equivalent of a throwdown. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if Emily Gilmore and Lucille Bluth ended up at the same table at a fundraiser.

– The ball is held in the same room as the Chilton prom from last season.

“I left behind a glass slipper and a business card in case the prince is really dumb.”

Next week, fashion show, fashion show, fashion show at lunch! Or at the Independence Inn, anyway, which puts both Michel and Luke in their elements (you’ll see) and takes Lorelai out of hers. Also, there’s a group called The Puffs at Chilton, and spoiler alert: we’re actually supposed to take them seriously. It’s way worse than it sounds. And that’s just the first episode! The second one is inn-centric and it’s secretly one of my favorite episodes. See you then!

Quentin Lance Wasn’t a Very Good Detective After All

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**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.18 of Arrow, “Public Enemy.”**

In the three years since the Arrow has appeared in his city, Quentin Lance, detective-turned-beat-cop-turned-captain, hasn’t figured out his true identity. This is besides the fact that the Arrow’s sidekick was Oliver Queen’s bodyguard, that his other sidekick was Queen’s executive assistant, that his daughter Sara Lance, aka the Canary, was dating Queen when she ran around saving the city, and that his other daughter Laurel, aka the Black Canary, has taken over that mantle.

I’m not sure how we can interpret this other than Quentin being a colossal idiot who is terrible at his job, but hey, at least he probably knew it on some level. Sigh.

It really undermines the incredible pathos that Paul Blackthorne puts into Lance’s storyline in this episode. He’s on a rampage to get to the Arrow because he’s grieving, he’s hurt, and he believes he’s lost everything. He’s reacting irrationally, but in a way that makes sense — he can’t trust Laurel because she burned that bridge, and he’s similarly angry at the man under the hood. In his mind, neither of them did anything to protect his daughter, and they spent the intervening months lying to him about her true fate. It’s awful that his inability to figure out the truth about Oliver has clouded this otherwise compelling story.

Lance is captured by “Race” al Ghul, who not only reveals the Arrow’s identity, but also tells Lance that Sara spent some time on Lian Yu. He announces the Arrow’s identity to the entire city, effectively shutting it down and forcing Oliver to turn himself in. Oliver tries to do it in exchange for immunity for his team, but none of them are thrilled with letting Oliver take the fall.

 

Ray, meanwhile, saves Felicity’s life or whatever. He ends up in the hospital and he’s still SUPER boring there, even on his literal deathbed, as he talks about his “teeny tiny robots” which can break up a blood clot. Then he goes from boring to psychotic in a teeny tiny robot second when he tells Felicity that he loves her. You know. Less than a year after he lost his “beloved” fiancee during Slade’s Mirakuvasion. This is definitely manipulation on his part.

It’s all gonna be okay, though, because Mama Smoak is back! “Hey! At least you finally have a boyfriend!” (Literally my mother. Like. Seriously.) Felicity confides that Ray said he loved her, and Donna lays it out for her: “You don’t love Ray, because you’re in love with Oliver.” She sweetly tells Felicity that it’s time to make a choice.

Roy abruptly goes off the deep end, consumed by sudden and random guilt over everything he’s done. It almost reads as out-of-character until we get to the end of the episode, when he dons the Arrow leathers and reveals that HE, in fact, is the Arrow. (Nice try, Roy, but are you saying that YOU saved YOURSELF from that man on the train back in season 1?)

“Race” al Ghul is still trying to bully Oliver into taking on his mantle, and make no mistake, this is actual bullying. Stephen Amell can tweet his faux-excitement to be “the next R’as!” all he wants, it’s not gonna fool me into thinking this is actually a good turn for him. This show needs a huge reset button for this storyline and I hate that they’ve driven me to the point of actually wanting time travel or Lazarus Pits or anything that will get rid of this stupid “Race” al Ghul storyline once and for all.

By far, one of the best scenes from this dismal season is the one between Lance and Oliver in the back of that van. “Well, was it worth it? All the pain and misery you brought back from that island? Merlyn, Slade Wilson… wouldn’t it be better if you just died there?” Then he goes on a heartbreaking list of the casualties of Oliver’s war: “Tommy. Hilton. Your mother. My daughter. And now you’re set on killing Laurel too.” It’s not fair for him to put all of this on Oliver — Tommy and Sara’s deaths aren’t on his hands, especially as Oliver chose Sara over Shado on Lian Yu — but it really punctuates Lance’s actions in this episode. None of this is fair, but we can see the thread of logic that runs through it all. Oliver IS the common denominator even if he’s not the instigator, and Lance, in his grief and anger, has boiled it down to its most simple solution.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done, huh? What you’ve done to all of us, to the people you claim to care so much about? You’ve made us criminals! You’ve made us liars and victims! You, Mr. Queen, are not a hero! You’re a villain.”

And then —

 

Mmm whatcha saaaay…

Other notes:

– Nyssa is still around! She gives Team Arrow the absolute minimal amount of help when she gives them Maseo’s location, but that’s enough for me! #TeamNyssa

– In the flashbacks, Oliver runs into Shado’s (long-lost, never-mentioned) twin sister, Mei. SUSPICIOUS. This raises so many questions, but until we find out from a third party that Shado definitely had a twin, I’ll remain suspicious.

“If your father were here –” / “He’d be arrested.” Bits of backstory on Felicity’s father.

“You, Harper, Sara, the freak in Central City, the Huntress, I got a new guy flying around the city!” I love Lance’s breakdown of the various Starling City vigilantes.

– I assume something happens to Akio in the flashbacks, prompting Tatsu’s present-day grief and Maseo’s alliance with the League, but they keep dragging it out and it’s getting tiresome. This whole show is tiresome.

TONIGHT: Felicity and the punchable Ray Palmer make appearances in Central City where huge revelations are made, and probably reversed thanks to time travel. So watch The Flash if you need your Felicity fix.

TAX DAY: I just watched the extended promo for this week’s Arrow and while I’m looking forward to an Oliver-and-Roy centric episode, it’s also gonna be heavy on Bootleg Iron Man, so my mental countdown for when Ray goes to his own show has already begun. SPOILER: Supposedly someone will die, too. The internet is rampant with theories from Roy to Diggle, but like I listed above… Akio, to our knowledge, is not alive in the present day. And presumably, his death or disappearance has to happen soon. I haven’t delved too deep into online (okay, Tumblr) theories but I don’t know why people aren’t considering Akio to be a significant death… since it sorta sets Maseo’s, and by extention Oliver’s, current storyline in motion.

Are you excited, or are you dreading it?

Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 2.03 & 2.04

2.03 “Red Light on the Wedding Night”

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It’s been two months since Lorelai and Max’s engagement party, and Max is back from his teaching gig in Toronto. Lorelai and Rory sample wedding cakes at Fran’s even as Rory questions the ethics of doing so, given that Sookie is making the wedding cake. Lorelai is also searching for a photographer, and who better to photograph your wedding than Kirk? If you’re going for a slightly disturbed representation of the most important day of your life, look no further than Kirk. At least she’s only paying the cost of the film plus lunch.

Lorelai proposes that Max sleeps over for the weekend as a “trial run” which is… just an excellent idea. And one that they probably should’ve tried, like, MONTHS ago. Before anyone proposed. Not that this is something everyone needs to do, but this is Lorelai we’re talking about. She’s stuck in her ways, she’s stubborn, and she’s pretty challenging as a roommate. I mean, c’mon. I thought Max was supposed to be smart.

This episode reveals just how much Lorelai has used Rory as a crutch over the years, as Rory proves to be very open to change around the house. It’s Lorelai who sneaks down to Rory’s room on the first night, it’s Lorelai who hasn’t thought about Max’s role in Rory’s life, it’s Lorelai who freaks out a little more every time Max inserts himself into her everyday life.

On the other hand, I can’t totally blame Lorelai for her reluctance to include Max in Rory’s upbringing. Rory IS mostly done being raised, Max has only been in her life for a little over a year, and he spent most of that time as her teacher. He’s still basically a stranger to her, whereas Rory and Lorelai have their own system of parenting down. Sure, he could provide some good perspective, and (hypothetically, in a world where Max and Lorelai actually got married) he could probably diffuse some of their bigger spats as a mostly-impartial husband and stepfather, but still, the core of the parenting would be with Lorelai. Even Luke, later in the series, takes a respectful backseat to Lorelai’s decisions with regard to Rory. The only person who should have a hands-on role in raising Rory is the one person Lorelai hasn’t included in the leadup to the wedding: Christopher.

Luke snarls his opinion on weddings and long-term relationships while Lorelai and Sookie are trying to plan the bachelorette party. It’s cute because he clearly feels strongly about it, but we also know that he would get married in a heartbeat if it meant he got to spend the rest of his life with Lorelai.

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I don’t know why Babette couldn’t be at the bachelorette party, but she would’ve been a lot of fun. It’s okay, though, because Michel (yes, Michel is there) invited Emily, and she’s amazing in this episode. She’s snippy about Lorelai’s tardiness and the fact that Rory is there, but she’s not-so-secretly delighted by the drag club as she regales the party with stories about the days leading up to her wedding to Richard, including the fact that she snuck out of bed every night to try on her wedding dress. This sends all the girls (and Michel) calling their significant others, but Lorelai doesn’t call Max… she calls Christopher. Then she lies to the rest of the party about who she called. Oh Lorelai.

Max gets a little punchy the next day when he tries to drop off something at Lorelai’s house but he still doesn’t have his own set of keys. He ends up snapping at Lorelai about thinking about someone other than herself, and she’s very apologetic but also a little spooked. Things are complicated further when Rory calls her out for calling Christopher from the bachelorette party, leading her to question whether Lorelai really is happy. Then Luke drops off the chuppah. Oh, the chuppah.

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He carved that thing himself. Like, carved it. HOW she didn’t marry Luke on the spot is beyond me, because wow, what a turn on. In a moment of vulnerability, Lorelai asks if Luke really believes all of his negative points about marriage, and wonders whether people can evolve together over time. Luke concludes that if you find the right person, “Marriage can be all right.” Luke, you closet romantic.

Lorelai enters into a manic packing episode after Luke leaves, and she ends up crying to Rory that she doesn’t want to marry Max. Rory asks why, and Lorelai cries, “Because I didn’t want to try on my wedding dress every night!”

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They pack up the Jeep and leave at first light, but they’re stopped by the brand new traffic light that was installed in front of Luke’s diner.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Yes, the C-plot of the episode was Taylor’s insistence that the town needed a traffic light, so Luke, of course, snarled and ranted about it for the entire episode.

– There’s a really adorable scene where Max cooks dinner and the girls are shocked to find that the stove works — that there’s a broiler — that it’s on fire! Max is charmed by them, and he’s pretty easygoing even through movie watching and phone answering.

“This is a felony, you know, corrupting a minor. We’ll all end up in the pokey.” / “He’s right, we’re all going to the poke-ehy.” The one thing I wish this show had developed more was the slight antagonism-cloaked-in-affection that always seemed to exist between Rory and Michel. This was an adorable little exchange.

– Max’s brother is an idiot who tried to jump over a parking meter, effectively ruining his bachelor party.

– Emily is drinking a Manhattan. “I ordered it from that nice fellow dressed as Joan Crawford.”

– Lorelai is very zen about her wedding. “I figured once I got the shoes to match the dress, I was gravy.” Again — later in the series when she’s planning a certain other wedding, the planning goes much differently.

“I think I know what an aneurysm feels like before you have it.” / “Like a baseball the size of a cantaloupe inside your head.” / “Heh. Good one!”

– Lorelai worries about being smited for not being Jewish while using a chuppah, and Luke reassures her, “God would probably have to get a license from Taylor to do any smiting in Stars Hollow on a weekend.”

“No one has ever made me a chuppah before.” / “Well, you only get married once. Theoretically.”


2.04 “Road Trip to Harvard”

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Lorelai is so crazed about this trip that she forbids maps. Luckily Rory pretty much ignores her and sneaks a map because she doesn’t want to sleep in the car. They end up at an inn that one of Lorelai’s friends used to own, but it’s been sold to a cloying and lonely woman who has renamed it “The Cheshire Cat” and has decorated it in the most stuffy, gaudy florals and knick-knacks.

They end up quarantined in their own room because neither of them want to socialize with the Boston dentists who are staying there. They both end up grumpy because they’re starving and I guess being antisocial takes its toll, and they end up in a screaming fight about Max. Rory’s worried that Lorelai’s just running scared, and she brings up some good points about how this was Rory’s life, too, and how she was counting on this marriage. When they finally calm down, Lorelai admits, “I wish I did love him. You have no idea how much.”

The get cornered by the dentists the next morning as they scarf down some scones, but they manage to escape after a few minutes, and Lorelai has the bright idea to drive to Harvard. Lorelai gets mistaken for a student, Rory gets excited about buying coffee, and apparently it’s news to both of them that college campuses have more than one library.

It’s a pretty melancholy episode on the whole, as Lorelai comes face to face with the fact that Rory’s definitely leaving one day, that she’s made for this world which Lorelai never wanted or belonged to. It’s even harder for her when she gets home and finds the whole town treating her with sympathy, and the chuppah is still up in her front yard. She’s really on the verge, which is amazing, because I’d be curled in a ball by this point if I were her.

The hits keep coming at Friday night dinner, when Lorelai tries to break the news to Emily, but Emily freaks out and assumes she eloped. Lorelai finally tells her the wedding is off, and Emily’s first question is, “Who broke it off?” Lorelai assumes it means Emily isn’t surprised, but I actually think Emily was planning a hit on Max if he had been the one to call it off.

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Lorelai doesn’t look happy or settled again until she goes to Luke’s. He beats himself up for leaving the chuppah up on her lawn, and Lorelai reassures him that she wants to keep it. It’s really sweet because I think all along, it was a symbol of Luke, not a symbol of Max. She talks to him about Harvard and how scary it was to see how well Rory assimilated.

“These past few days, so many thoughts about my life then and my life now, what I missed… Thoughts about what I’ll never have, and what I want to have.”

She comes to the conclusion that it’s time to open her inn, and Luke offers his support and assistance, which will prove invaluable in the seasons to come. It’s a very poignant end to a very unsettling episode. Well done, Gilmore Girls. Well done.

Dragonfly, here we come!

Other notable quotes and moments:

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– Poor Sookie was done with the cake when Lorelai called her. “You were a good cake, Clyde. Never should’ve named you.”

“I think we just found the first room in the history of the world that would’ve made Liberace say ‘Whoa, step back, no one’s that gay.’”

– Lorelai wrote “Satanic forces are at work here” in the guest book. Rory says they can’t write that, so she edits it to “Sat and forever am at work here.”

– Lorelai calls Sookie later to check that the entire town has heard the news, and Sookie reports that only one person hasn’t heard: Luke. Sookie breaks the news while she’s still on the phone, but she grins to herself after Lorelai hangs up and Luke announces that everyone’s coffee is on the house.

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– Lorelai reads through a list of Harvard alums: “Henry James. Isn’t that a beer?” / “And a novelist, go on.” / “John Adams. That’s a beer!” / “Our second president!”

“Did you hear? I used ‘existentialist’ in a sentence! I’ve always wanted to do that!”

– I like their scenarios for roommates, especially the fact that if she gets paired with a serial murderer, Rory’s solution is to “sleep with a gat strapped to my ankle,” but if it’s a Linkin Park fan, she’ll just have to drop out.

“I love college! I love Harvard! I love fatalism!” Hahaha

– Lane’s back! And she didn’t hate Korea!

Next week: back to Chilton, the arrival of Jess Mariano, and Rory’s debutante ball!

Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 2.01 & 2.02

2.01 “Sadie, Sadie”

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Welcome to season two of Gilmore Girls, where everything is just a little more polished, a little more hectic, and a lot more Gilmore around here. The season opens with a long panning shot of Stars Hollow, which is bedecked in yellow daisies because realistically, what was Lorelai supposed to do with a thousand yellow daisies? Clearly her gift of a single daisy to Luke at the end of last season was just the beginning of Lorelai’s quest to make sure everyone in town got a bouquet, and I think that’s beautiful.

Rory is clearly more stoked at the idea of Max-and-marriage than Lorelai, which should probably tell us something about Lorelai’s state of mind, but her reluctance is kind of eclipsed by everyone else’s excitement. There’s also the fact that Lorelai hasn’t told Luke yet, and the entire town knows that this is a monumental moment.

Lorelai: “I can’t wait until the movie theater reopens.”

Lorelai: “I can’t wait until the movie theater reopens.”

In a shocking twist, Luke is undeterred by Lorelai’s big news. He’s so undeterred, in fact, that it spooks Lorelai, and then Luke starts peppering her with questions about her future married life, which spooks her even more. Lorelai suddenly realizes just how sudden Max’s proposal really was, and how unprepared she really is for the entire concept of marriage. (Of course, Luke’s plan all along was to rattle Lorelai’s cage; despite his personal feelings for Lorelai and his non-opinion of Max, Luke can obviously tell that Lorelai’s feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing.

Lorelai calls Max in the middle of her weekly dinner at the Elder Gilmores to ask all the questions Luke has already asked, and that’s generally the barometer for when Lorelai’s coming unhinged. Anytime she makes snap decisions on Richard and Emily’s property, it usually ends up going badly… and this is just the first of many for the rest of the series. Anyway, she abruptly accepts Max’s proposal after they resolve exactly nothing, and it’s sweet how excited she and Rory get as they start squealing, much to the irritation of a still-in-the-dark Emily.

Even sweeter is Sookie, who starts crying happy tears when Lorelai breaks the news to her, comparing her to Sadie and saying “You just really deserve this!” It also freaks out Jackson, which is fun.

The second half of the episode is more Rory-centric, as Dean literally appears midway through the episode to establish that he exists. Lorelai might be even happier that Dean is back, since he can change the lightbulbs and replace the empty water bottle. Rory wants Dean to attend her Super Special 3% dinner at the grandparents house next week, and Dean is only slightly hesitant given his last run-in with Emily. And Emily and Richard never expected Rory to bring Dean, because I guess they’re that behind the times.

Emily is immediately cold to Dean until Lorelai not-so-subtly needles her to be nice, and Emily gamely warms up, even chuckling at Dean after Lorelai flusters him. Richard, however, treats Dean like human garbage, and it’s so blatant and awkward that even Emily is uncomfortable with his behavior. Personally, I love these little moments where we see the cracks in Richard’s Nice Guy armor. Lorelai will always believe that her mother is the enemy and her father was just duped along the way, but this isn’t the last time we see Richard demonstrate his class snobbery on a level that even Emily cannot comprehend.

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He gets downright nasty after dinner, when he starts bombarding Dean with questions about his future and makes digs at his unsuitability for Rory. He even issues a dire warning to Rory that “certain people can hold you back!” In all, it’s actually more aggressive and galling than a certain similar season five episode at the Huntzberger house, so file that one away for future use. Rory comes to Dean’s defense, but it ends in a yelling match between Rory and Richard. Lorelai sums it up beautifully to Emily: “Am I crazy? That’s supposed to be us, right?”

Lorelai later explains to Rory that Richard’s reaction had everything to do with the Lorelai-and-Christopher of it all, and very little to do with Rory and Dean as people. In fact, she believes Richard loves Rory even more than he’s loved anyone, ever, and as a result, she’s held to a much higher standard. I think Lorelai is right that Richard is petrified of history repeating itself, but I think that’s also letting him off a little easy. I would think if that were the entire story, Richard would’ve come down harder on Rory instead of attacking Dean. But I think her main objective was to try to smooth things over, and her explanation does a lot to calm Rory’s anger.

Richard is mid-rant about Dean when Emily gets a call from Sookie about Lorelai’s surprise engagement party, except, womp womp, Lorelai still hasn’t told her parents about her pending nuptials. Emily is crushed, and she demands that Richard call Rory and apologize. “Our daughter is getting married. She’s getting married and she didn’t tell us. When Rory decides to get married, I’d like her to tell us.” Oh, it’s so sad.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Rory wants Lorelai to walk down the aisle with a bouquet of “something that smells good.” Lorelai’s contribution: “pot roast!”

– Emily is so excited to see her girls: “Come in, come in, come in!” / “Uh, no.” / “Why?” / “Because… you’re scaring Rory.”

“His head is shaped like a football.” / “It is not!” / “If he fell asleep in the park, someone would try to punt him!”

– Michel is weighing his turkey because he wants to live forever, “Like on Fame?”

– Lane’s getting sent to Korea, and she thinks it might be for forever since it’s a one-way ticket and Mrs. Kim bought her a big suitcase. Spoiler alert: she’s freaking out for no reason, and she ends up having a lot of fun. In my mind, these are all just placeholder non-storylines until Lane finally discovers drumming.

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– The secret to homemade beefaroni: no beef.

– Lorelai pretends she’s gonna share in Rory’s gift, and Lauren Graham’s delivery of “Oh… pens!… All yours!” is one of my favorite things.

“Emily Gilmore, you are one classy broad.”

– Max gives Lorelai a ring at the end of the episode, but it’s too big, haha. Symbolism! Right?


2.02 “Hammers and Veils”

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This isn’t my favorite episode, I think it’s because I like Rory least when she’s all Frazzled Type A Academic With a Victim Complex, and she’s full-throttle in this episode. And Lorelai’s affectations — decorating the hammer, the newspaper veil — only exacerbate the storyline for me. On top of that, Dean is apparently brand-new to dating a Harvard-bound woman, because he chooses to mope around and whine instead of just sucking it up and dealing with the fact that his girlfriend is busy. I guess no one’s really at their best in this episode… except for Paris, who is always at her best because her best is usually her worst.

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Also in top form is Emily Gilmore, who shoves them through dinner at warp speed because she’s so angry at Lorelai for not telling her about her engagement. Lorelai finds a moment to break the news (as Richard has pulled Rory aside to apologize once more for the events in the previous episode) and Emily reacts very coldly to the news, which sends Lorelai spiraling.

She’s distracted all through her dinner date with Max, in which she also drinks heavily, and the whole thing ends with her drunkenly directing him to Emily’s house so that she can confront her mother once and for all.

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She kind of has egg on her face when Emily reveals that she already knew about the engagement thanks to Sookie, but it’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just another case of both of them overreacting. (Max’s most endearing moment comes at the end of this huge fight, when he awkwardly tells Emily that his parents would like to have lunch with her and Richard sometime before the wedding.)

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Lorelai’s engagement party is a town-wide affair, as they take over the entire square and the surrounding streets. Max correctly points out that every single gift is for Lorelai, and they have a sweet scene about his impending two-month teaching gig in Toronto. Still, the party feels incomplete to Lorelai, who finds a moment to slip away and go into Luke’s diner. She asks him to join the party, and when he appears later, she lights up like a Christmas tree.

The episode ends with Lorelai showing up at Emily’s house, asking for her mother’s opinions on veils. She ends up confessing that she doesn’t know how to tell Emily about events in her life. “You think your words don’t have any effect on me, but they do. And I just didn’t want to feel bad about this, so I waited.” What a huge insight into Lorelai’s real feelings on this marriage! And what a nice gesture to try to mend fences with Emily, who proclaims Lorelai’s head much too big for a veil and suggests a tiara. After all: “That’s what I wore.” D’aww.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Madeline apparently forgot that they’re not speaking to Rory, which is adorable.

– Henry Cho still exists! And he’s still interested in Lane! Aww!

– Lorelai, trying to make small talk with Emily: “Hey, whatever happened to Xuxa?”

– Lorelai, during a Luke rant: “You know, the Gettysburg address was only one page long, and that was about a war.”

– Lane is still freaking out about being sent away, and we see her go at the end of the episode.

“Louise, what did I just tell you? Use a grub axe for that!” / “Bite me.”

“I’m not trusting my accessorizing instincts, so tell me what you think.” / “I have no wilderness skills!” / “So you hate the purse?”

Sookie tries to make Michel choose between macarons and chocolate praline cookies, and I’m just like… why not both?

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“It’s a really big night for me tonight, and I don’t know, it just feels like you should be there.” Yeah but maybe he shouldn’t be there as just another guest, Lorelai, hmm?

Next week, it’s a red light on the wedding night and an impromptu road trip to the most upsetting B&B you’ll ever see. Probably. I don’t know your life.

I, Raybot

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**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.17 of Arrow, “Suicidal Tendencies”**

Talk about a polarizing episode.

No really, someone talk about it, because I don’t even know where to begin.

Sigh. Fine. Here goes nothing.

I’m not happy with Arrow, and if you’ve been reading along, I think you’re aware of that. I keep trying to write about it, but it’s exhausting to be this angry over a TV show. It’s just a TV show, right? I mean, now it is. It used to be well-crafted and a real genre-buster, but now, it’s not even formulaic. It’s really not even basic. It’s bad. And no one is willing to listen to us.

I will grant that there is a very vocal and often irrational side to fandom that might drown out the constructive criticism of the show. There are fans of Oliver/Felicity that are so angry about their ship that they’ve taken to all platforms to rant and rage at anyone even remotely related to Arrow production. I understand that it might be easier to lump the entirety of fandom in with that group and pretend that we are all just screaming nonsensically, but at the end of the day, the showrunners are ignoring a very well-spoken and deeply concerned corner of fandom that is just wondering what happened to their once-great show.

I’ve made no secret of my allegiance to Oliver/Felicity — I would call myself a shipper, I think my videos speak for themselves — but on Arrow, I value the story over the ship. I’m willing to lose Oliver/Felicity for a while, to see them in other relationships or just apart, if it means they’re telling a good story. I’m willing to sacrifice romance and true love for characterization. I will always value the team — even including Roy and Laurel — over the ships. That’s because all I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is to watch a good story.

I was willing to watch Oliver choose to be alone, to watch him push Felicity away for her safety, and to watch her rebound with another guy. I’m actually a fan of slow burns in romance, and Oliver/Felicity is rife with so much angst that the slow burn could’ve been great. I was in complete agreement that Felicity deserved a break from the Oliver Queen Angst Show and that she should date a guy with less baggage. But they chose to saddle Felicity with the worst possible character in the history of television* when they brought in Ray Palmer, and all he’s done is dragged down her character and sucked the life out of her.

(*except for Chuck Bass)

I’ve covered Ray’s stalking, his manipulating, his general air of entitlement, and I think I’ve even mentioned that I think he’s dead behind the eyes. He carries himself like he’s handsome and suave but he actually seems like one of those humanoid robots that knows it’s supposed to feel emotions and does its best to manufacture them, but they’re always a little off and ultimately they just creep you out. So we end up watching scene after scene where Felicity should be acting out the plot to I, Robot and kicking Ray in the face Will Smith-style, but instead she’s actually flattered, touched, and flirty with the robot. The more she submits to his programming, the creepier and more upsetting it gets for the fans. In the most recent episode, “Suicidal Tendencies,” she even let him shame her for keeping Oliver’s big secret from him, like she somehow owes Ray her allegiance. She doesn’t. He’s never been completely forthcoming with her, and she’s never revealed Oliver’s secret to anyone unless Oliver’s life was in danger, so why would she owe Ray that truth? Why does he think he’s entitled to it?

He does the same thing to Laurel later in the interrogation room, when he’s trying to tell her that Oliver is the Arrow. Laurel isn’t as susceptible to Ray, possibly she can hear the whirring of his machinery in the quiet of the interrogation room, and when she points out that Oliver was arrested under the same suspicion two years ago, Ray isn’t stymied — he immediately claims that Laurel is similarly compromised because of her past with Oliver. Laurel had demonstrated composure and professionalism with Ray during this conversation, but his first instinct was to treat her like an irrational woman, and he did it all with that smarmy look on his face that we are supposed to find — charming? Endearing? Handsome? (These are times where I find myself wondering, yet again, how differently this all would play out if they’d cast a better actor in this role.)

 

To add insult to injury, Ray shows up for his big fight with Oliver and immediately turns it into some kind of contest over Felicity. Oliver’s literally standing there in leathers with just a bow and arrows as his defense, Ray is standing a head taller than him dressed in metal and looking like a freaking idiot, and he’s crowing “show Felicity what kind of man you really are!” Like Felicity doesn’t know, after three years. Like Oliver’s even worried about Felicity’s opinion. Like Oliver’s not preoccupied with clearing his name, finding and fighting R’as al Ghul, and not letting Felicity’s boyfriend trip over his metal feet and kill himself on accident. This is a fight for survival for Oliver, just like it always has been, but it’s just a game to Ray — and the writers don’t seem to realize that that’s the message they’re sending about Felicity, too. She’s just a game for him as well.

It’s all very comical when Oliver simply disables Ray’s dumb suit, and instead of killing him and putting us out of our misery, he takes his hand and they forge some kind of truce.

Honestly, the writers should’ve course-corrected around the time Oliver fell off that mountain and decided to make Ray Palmer a villain. Screw canon. ATOM is dumb anyway, and Ray Palmer is no Tony Stark. If you can’t get your actor to actually connect with the audience the way you intended, then why not lean into it and pretend that this was your plan all along? Then at least all of his manipulations of Felicity would have pathos instead of just being “Oh tee hee that’s just Ray, he’s such a scoundrel! And also he’ll follow you back to your apartment so take the long way home.” Sure, he’d still be the lamest supervillain to ever supervillain, but… oh wait, no, we still have R’as al Ghul ringing in at Lamest Supervillain, so I guess Ray would get second place. My, how the mighty supervillains have fallen since Slade Wilson was in town.

I don’t even want to get into the lunacy involving Oliver actually considering becoming the new R’as al Ghul, but this show is determined to crash and burn spectacularly, I suppose.

But I have a silver lining for this cloud, and that is Deadshot. Poor guy suffered from PTSD and ended up in jail and losing his family, which is how HIVE got ahold of him and turned him into a sniper for hire. He and Diggle have an unlikely friendship that is downright fun to watch, and Deadshot’s interactions with Carrie Cutter were even better, because he saved her life so now she’s obsessed with him. That might be part of the reason he decided to sacrifice himself for the cause and got blown up with the hospital that the Suicide Squad was trying to save (and that storyline had some of its own WTFness going on) but I’m pretty sure Deadshot is still very much Alive-shot somewhere. It wouldn’t be the first time this show half-heartedly killed off a beloved character only to bring him back three episodes later, would it?

Other fun notes:

– Congratulations to Diggle and Lyla, whose second wedding happened in under three minutes flat! I hope they have a third one only because I wanted to punch their officiant in the face. Ray Palmer ruins everything.

– Diggle seriously Diggle’d this bit, and then Ray was absolutely terrifying:

 

You can’t tell me that second gif doesn’t look like a robot that is searching its programming for an appropriate response to a threat.

– This was not a good Felicity episode, no matter which way you slice it. I tend to be a huge Felicity apologist, I’m willing to forgive a lot of the little character lapses that happened along the Ray Palmer Douchebro Storyline this season, but her behavior in this episode was unrecognizable. The same Felicity that stands up to Oliver time and time again was basically cowering in Ray’s self-righteous indignation. I’m starting to wonder if they hired a writer who hates Felicity.

– Laurel’s trainer is “enthusiastic.” And I like the idea that Nyssa’s still in Starling somewhere, grocery shopping and drinking coffee at cafes.

– Maseo killed an innocent woman at the end of the episode, and his arrow was trained on Felicity before the screen cut to black. They’re raising the stakes for Oliver, that’s for sure.

– If Arrow‘s bumming you out lately, have no fear! Community is back on Yahoo Screen, and it’s actually really good!

Identity Crisis

*Warning: This post contains spoilers to CW’s Arrow Episode 3.16, “The Offer.”*

When I first learned the season three theme for Arrow would be about identity, I did not expect it to become such a mess. However, the writers must have believed the characters would only be able to figure out who they really are, and what they stood for by making them out of character this year. The season has now aired sixteen episodes, and I am only starting to see a glimpse of why I fell in love with the show in the first place. The fact of the matter is the theme fits because the show itself lost its identity this year.

The majority of last week’s episode was a right out mess, but it finally showed us a bit of why I came to love Arrow in the first place with the help of John Diggle and Felicity Smoak. Oliver actually does toy with the idea of becoming Heir to the Demon, and we were able to get some great scenes between the partners on why Oliver became Arrow in the first place. We finally get a glimpse of the man who does not make speeches on top of vehicles to crowds. Instead we get Oliver leaving the police station not expecting a thank you from Quentin Lance.

Oliver has lost focus on why he started his crusade in the first place, he didn’t start to to receive thanks or hero worship.

One of Oliver’s greatest fears is losing the ones closest to him, and Ra’s al Ghul knows it. Oliver has been trying to control everyone’s life around him this season because he believes only he can protect them. However, it has been backfiring on him. He has forgotten to stand by his family and friends instead of in front of them. He needs to support them and not try taking control over their lives thinking it is for the greater good.

The truth is Oliver would only lose his partners if he took Ra’s up on his offer. Luckily Diggle and Felicity are there to give him some cognitive recalibration.

I miss the show I fell in love with, and truly wish for the show to get its act together.

 

Other Observations:

*I will always be grateful for Quentin Lance. He is the only one who has been able to stay in character even though he is trying to remember who he was.

*Yes to the Nyssa and Laurel friendship. Nyssa has only known her life with the League of Assassins, and it would be interesting to see her explore who she is when she is not under her father’s command.

*While Walter may not always be on screen the writers need to include him. He was and still is a father figure to Thea. Yet the show seems to forgotten about how Walter helped raise Thea during her adolescent years.

*Diggle talked to Felicity about the offer. I’m glad these two confide in each other even if it is offscreen.

Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 1.19, 1.20, & 1.21

1.19 “Emily in Wonderland”

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Emily is on the hunt for antique dining chairs, and Rory pipes up with the suggestion to visit Kim’s Antiques, which is in Stars Hollow! Emily has never seen the town before, so Rory decides to make a day of it by giving Emily the “grand tour” while Lorelai is incredibly relieved that she has to work all day.

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It’s an odd day for Emily, who has to wear jogging shoes and ends up making unlikely friends in Mrs. Kim (one of the best scenes of the series is their haggling match) and Michel. Everything is going smoothly until Rory, bless her heart, proudly shows off the potting shed that she and Lorelai had lived in for the first seven or so years of her life. Emily is horrified, and I will always believe that she felt a good deal of guilt when she saw the place, but mostly she felt hurt and bewildered that Lorelai would rather live in a potting shed at the edge of someone else’s property than stay home with Emily and Richard.

She decorates a room in her own home specifically for Rory, which is sweet, and not nearly as manipulative as Lorelai believes it to be. They end up in a fight over it, with Emily getting worked up over Lorelai choosing to live anywhere but at home, and it results in a frosty dinner and some unresolved feelings between mother and daughter.

In Stars Hollow, everyone’s getting used to Rachel being around. It’s a big adjustment for Luke in particular, who can’t bring himself to believe that she’s going to stick around this time. There’s one big reason why I could never bring myself to dislike Rachel, and that is because her photographs are what clued Lorelai (and later Sookie) in to the existence of the Dragonfly Inn. The Dragonfly storyline is my favorite of the show — I love the mechanics, the set, the props, the actual plots around it, and the fact that it’s Lorelai’s pride and joy. I just love every bit of it. And if it weren’t for Rachel, Lorelai might not have seen the Dragonfly to file away for future plans. Thank you, Rachel. You rock.

Lorelai ends up in a wonderland of her own when Rachel invites her up to Luke’s apartment to look at some film negatives. It’s a good bonding moment for Lorelai and Rachel, but they both notice how edgy it makes Luke to have Lorelai on this side of his metaphorical diner counter. Lorelai confronts Luke with her questions head-on, while Rachel retreats in on herself. Luke listens to Lorelai’s advice and offers Rachel a sock drawer and her own set of keys, for which Rachel thanks Lorelai profusely. At the end of the episode, Rory sips some of Luke’s coffee and asks Lorelai, “Does it taste different to you?” Yeah. It does.

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One of my favorite scenes is Rory and Lorelai sitting on a blanket in front of the Dragonfly, watching Sookie run around the property and freaking out about floor space for ovens and plumbing.

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Other notable quotes and moments:

– Rune, who is good in small doses, is hired on as the handyman for the Independence Inn.

– One of the greater injustices of my teen years was enduring the scene where, when given the choice between 98 Degrees, NSync, or the Backstreet Boys, Rory chose NSync. I don’t want to start any circa 2001 fangirl wars here, but c’mon, KTBSPA. (We all know who can stay out of this though.)

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“Just jump in and believe her! Unless, you know, there’s some other reason you don’t want to.” / “Like what?” / “Like… I don’t know.” / “There’s no other reason.” Just another bit of loaded dialogue between Luke and Lorelai that made them so great.

“You hated us that much? You had to take that little girl away, that was bad enough, but to that? To live there? In a shed, like a hobo? I saw it, I saw that horrible little pit you so proudly ran to, I saw what you chose over your own family. You would’ve lived in a gutter, in the street, in a cardboard box, anywhere, as long as you didn’t have to be near us, isn’t that true?”

“Can I ask you a question?” / “Yes, I would date Steven Tyler.” / “Can I ask you a question whose answer won’t horrify me?”


1.20 “P.S. I Lo…”

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Things are still progressing between Max and Lorelai, in case you forgot during the last Luke-filled episode. Lorelai seems like she’s forgotten a little bit, because on the same day she agrees to an in-person date with Max, she’s running around buying gifts for Luke under the guise of buying a birthday present for Rachel.

She returns with a veritable brand new wardrobe for Luke, along with the perfect gifts for Rachel. She browbeats Luke until he relents and tries on some of her purchases, and that’s when Rachel returns to the diner to find Lorelai trying to adjust Luke’s belt. It’s awkward. It’s also funny because I think a lot of this stuff ends up being what Luke wears in later seasons for more formal occasions.

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Lane has been keeping a pretty huge secret from Rory — she’s been cheating on her with Dean! Not true cheating, she’s just his lab partner, and she’s actually pretty great on Rory’s behalf. She admits to Dean that Rory avoids the supermarket, and asks if they’ll ever get back together again, but that’s when Rory comes in unannounced and things go awry.

Things get a little worse for Rory when Max talks to her about her recent breakup with Dean, which is news to Rory because she had no idea that Lorelai and Max were talking again. She ends up taking out her anger on Lane and Lorelai in that order, and she kind of acts like a brat in these scenes. She’s a teenager, so I’ll give her leeway, but at the end of the day, she’s angry that her mother and best friend care too much.

So remember that lovely room Emily decorated specifically for Rory in the last episode? Well good thing it’s there, because that’s exactly where Rory goes after her fight with Lorelai. It hurts Lorelai beyond words, but Emily is actually pretty great. She went to great lengths to make sure Rory would have everything she needed in this sort of scenario, and she’s very accommodating. Richard is downright gleeful that Rory chose tonight to appear — it gets him out of a boring benefit that he never wanted to attend.

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Lorelai, cut off and confused, chooses to vent her frustrations on Dean. Dean, if you remember, is not totally blameless in this, since he sprang that “I love you” on Rory and expected an answer, but he’s still not the villain that everyone thinks he is. Rory has been accidentally running her own manipulations by staying silent on the subject and letting everyone think the worst of Dean, but at least things finally make sense to Lorelai after Dean explodes at her. She goes to comfort Rory and tells her not to be so scared of commitment. It’s not exactly a trait she wants to pass down to her daughter.

In the end, Rory apologizes to Lane, and mother and daughter return home reunited. Lorelai also recommits herself to Max. That’s gonna go really well, you just know it.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– The episode opens with Lorelai and Rory playing a game of 1, 2, 3, He’s Yours — one points out three eligible bachelor-strangers and the other has to choose one to marry, no takebacks. It ends cutely for Lorelai, because Kirk pops up just in time for #3, but it ends sadly for Rory, whose #1 is Dean.

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In a cute bit of symbolism, or perhaps foreshadowing, Luke actually appears at the table right after Rory points out bachelor #2. Technically, he would be Lorelai’s third option… if only Rory had chosen him.

– The Kims are adorable; Lane says she invited Dean over to work on their science project, and Mrs. Kim leans in and threateningly asks, “Reproduction?” and Lane, without missing a beat, replies, “Spores, molds, and fungi.” There is no greater scientific mood killer.

– Dean, about Mrs. Kim: “Has she seen Patton?”

– Lorelai, to a crabby Rory: “Hey, does Up with People know about you?”

– Richard thoughtlessly offers Rory a cocktail, which is just hilarious to me, especially because Emily is scandalized by his lapse of judgement.

“Everything is going to be fine! Richard, say something encouraging.” / “Uh, Rory, I’m sorry you’re upset, but I applaud your timing.”


1.21 “Love, Daises, and Troubadors”

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Oh this episode. It’s iconic, really. It’s got Luke in rare form, Max at his worst and his best, and those dang Gilmore girls running around all crazy. It’s the season finale, and I can’t believe it’s already here!

Lorelai is startled awake by Luke hammering on her porch, because he can’t stand being trapped in his diner and apartment with Rachel, but he doesn’t want to admit it. Lorelai screams at him about the ungodly hour, which ends up waking the whole block, but he disappears before anyone else sees him. It’s cute. He ends up hanging around the house a lot, fixing shingles and porch railings, and Lorelai doesn’t really think about it until Rachel says something to her. Lorelai tries to talk to Luke about it, and he admits that he’s having a lot of trouble with the expectations of being in a couple. He even accidentally lets it slip that in his mind, he’s sort of settling for Rachel.

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Max attends his very first town meeting, and he’s thrilled to watch the spectacle as troubadors argue with each other, Lorelai bickers with Taylor, and Rory stands up and makes a speech. His antenna goes up when Lorelai throws a fry at Luke and offers him her extras.

Luke returns to the diner to find Rachel surrounded by her luggage. She tells him she’s leaving because of Lorelai, because his heart wasn’t in the relationship, and he can’t even finish his sentences as he tries to argue with her. She pauses at the door, and — this is so great — she tells him not to wait too long to tell Lorelai how he feels. And he heeds that advice.

He visits Lorelai the next night to tell her that Rachel left, and we know that he’s going to confess his feelings to Lorelai, but Max shows up for their date and Luke gets all caveman on him, talking about how he fixes things around the house and such. Max fails to rise above it, and it’s pretty embarrassing to watch, and Luke even forgets his toolbox. Lorelai and Max end up fighting over it as Max becomes a little unhinged, talking about how much he dated around while they were broken up, and Max thinks the only way to break their vicious cycle of making up and breaking up is to get married.

“[A proposal] has to be planned! It should be magical! There should be music playing, and romantic lighting, and a subtle build-up to the popping of the question! There should be a thousand yellow daises, and candles, and a horse — and I don’t know what the horse is doing there unless you’re riding it, which seems a little over the top — but it should be more than this!”

Rory finds her Dean box, the box of Dean’s stuff that Lorelai had promised to throw away but had secretly stashed in the hall closet that is sometimes a bathroom. She gets up the courage to go into the market on a day that Dean usually works, but he’s not working, and instead she gets harassed by Taylor who believes she is shoplifting. (Lane later points out, “You have shoplifted there!”) Rory later appears at Dean’s house and scares the crap out of his sister, Clara, who points Rory out at the town meeting after Rory stands up and starts yelling about love and not being able to express it.

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Tristan aggressively asks Rory out by buying tickets to PJ Harvey and, when she says she can’t date him, saying “I give you permission.” He looks a little dejected as she walks away but there’s no amount of lovelorn looks he can give her that will excuse his behavior when he smugly tells Paris, Madeline, and Louise that he’s taking Rory to the concert. This of course puts Paris on the warpath once more, and poor unsuspecting Rory has no idea. She’s bewildered when Madeline and Louise start icing her out and calling her “Mary” once more (“Not virgin. Typhoid.”) and then Paris levels Rory with what she believes to be the truth. She promises to make Rory’s junior year a living hell, both in school and on the newspaper. She pauses with her girl group in a truly amazing shot, and says, “Have a really good summer.”

On the last day of school, Tristan gets downright nasty to Rory, telling her he’s irritated because he believes she’s stringing him along. He steals her books and tells her she can have them back when she agrees to go, and she is so over it that she tells him to keep the books. She walks out and sees Dean standing there beside his truck, but he misreads the situation as he sees Tristan carrying Rory’s books. Totally understandable, it does look bad. But Rory’s so happy to see him that she goes running up to him and asks him why he’s there. She begs him not to leave, and he asks why, and she yells, “Because I love you, you idiot!” and a thousand teenaged hearts were set aflutter.

Lorelai gets to the inn to find it filled with yellow daisies. She’s teary as she calls Max, who… still proposes to her over the phone… but it’s better than what he did the night before! He’s good with words, talking about literature and being a teacher, it’s all very flowery (ha!) prose, but he doesn’t want an answer now. He wants her to think about it.

In her zest to tell Rory, Lorelai runs into Luke, who asks her why she’s so excited. She goes on and on about big news and big things and I think he already knows in that moment, but she can’t tell him before she tells Rory. She leaves him with a single yellow daisy before she runs out of the diner.

Lorelai and Rory run to each other and embrace as they excitedly tell each other their good news. “Our Little Corner of the World” plays over their little reunion, a neat little bookend to the end of the pilot episode.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Michel is suffering from a terrible medical condition known as ennui. Well, he calls it “severe ennui.” Poor guy, I don’t know how he will cope. Lorelai: “Websters defines ‘ennui’ as a lazy soon-to-be-out-of-work French concierge who won’t answer the phone.” Actually the whole exchange is great. “So you’re sleepy?” / “It’s a metaphysical angst.” / “So you wanna go beddy-bye?”

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– Unfortunately Michel also told Sookie about ennui and she thinks she has it too. This is just like last week when Lorelai had to convince Sookie that she doesn’t have a prostate. And to round it all out, “What’s the opposite of ennui?” / “Off-ui. Oh, hey! I’m cured!” If you don’t love Sookie, I don’t know how to talk to you.

– Max is so sweet, buying candy rings for Rory and Lorelai before the town meeting. “The diamonds are actually candy, so you can eat it!” They also adorably trade each other behind his back.

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– Rory and Lorelai named Luke’s toolbox. It sounds dirty, but it’s not. His name is Burt.

– After Max and Luke face off with their grunts and such, Lorelai says, “Just wanted to make sure you two were finished swinging those things around.”

– I love that they kept Chad Michael Murray in the background of the Rory/Dean reunion scene, it was a nice touch to have him back there watching the scene unfold as he held onto Rory’s books. Let that be a lesson to all men. #YesAllMen

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“Am I or am I not the head man in charge of floral deliveries?” / “Yes, and one of the few men I know who would proudly declare that fact.”

Only six more seasons to go! Are you enjoying the ride?