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The GILMORE GIRLS Rewatch Project: A Flashback, A Black Eye And A New Girlfriend

Dean moves on while Jess fights a swan.

The GILMORE GIRLS Rewatch Project: A Flashback, A Black Eye And A New Girlfriend

Follow along the whole rewatch here!

Last week, on Gilmore Girls...

It's Week 19 of our Rewatch Project, and you know what that means? Random flashback! Ever wonder what Lorelai and Christopher looked like when they were teens? No? Well too bad - you're gonna find out anyway.

But first! A reminder of our drinking game rules. 

 The Gilmore Girls Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

Lorelai or Rory drinks coffee.

Emily gets flustered by Lorelai's bizarre sense of humor.

Sookie is controlling about food.

Paris is controlling about anything.

Michel snubs a customer.

Luke is crotchety.

Taylor has an absurd scheme for Stars Hollow.

The girls acquire massive amounts of food and then fail to take even one bite.


Drink twice every time:

Kirk has a new job.

You see a town troubadour.

Emily gets a new maid.

You see a moment from the credits.

On to the episodes!

3.13 "Dear Emily and Richard"

Rory and Lorelai are gearing up for their post-graduation Europe backpacking trip, and Emily and Richard are aghast to learn that they'll be sleeping in hostels. Emily sends Lorelai a bunch of their old Europe travel guides, the ones that Lorelai used to pore over as a teen, and this, combined with the fact that Sherry's having her baby, sends Lorelai spiraling into a vortex of flashbacks, recalling the days that she and Christopher were young and carefree - and then less carefree, and then right up until she runs away from her parents with Rory in her arms. 

I know a lot of people don't like this episode, and it's true - the actors cast as young Lorelai and Christopher look nothing like their older counterparts, and they're also missing a sort of joie de vivre that make present day Lorelai and Christopher so delightful. However, I still enjoy seeing the events we've heard about for so long unfold, and it's especially worth it to see Richard and Emily look like this: 

And these flashbacks lead to something quite nice, a healing moment between Lorelai and Emily. It seems Lor's remembering how much it must have hurt Emily to learn that her daughter ran away with her infant granddaughter (and Kelly Bishop slays me in that scene), so she's really sweet to her during their alone time, and she buys her a DVD player and a bunch of musicals to keep her company while Richard's away on his many business trips. It's a lovely truce between the two, and if we have to sit through some sepia-toned, '80s-garbed flashbacks to get there, I think it's a fair deal.

And yes, a newly blonde Sherry is in the hospital in labor with Gigi, and poor Rory's stuck there by herself until she begs Lorelai to join her. Lorelai can't quite hide her jealousy at seeing an overjoyed Christopher going into the delivery room with Sherry, and they later spend a quiet moment looking over baby Gigi - at which point Lorelai cannot help but point out that Gigi is only second best to Rory. Kind of a rude thing to say to the kid's father on the day of her birth, but we'll let it slide since she's being forced to witness the delivery of the baby that broke up her and Christopher. Oh, and high-strung Sherry keeps trying to work even as she's having contractions, naturally.

It seems as if things are progressing nicely with Luke and Nicole, and Luke cleans up quite well for his new lady friend - a fact that Lorelai certainly notices. I like that Jess is being so encouraging, in his uncouth Jess way, to Luke when it comes to Nicole, and I like that Lorelai doesn't like seeing Luke all handsome and clean-shaven for another woman. He's wearing the sweater Lorelai bought him for his date with Nicole, and I don't know if that bothers Lorelai more or less.

And finally, there's some macho B.S. between Dean and Jess that doesn't make either of them look great, so we'll skip it.

How many times do I have to drink?

12.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

3.

Flirtation quota:

Lorelai doesn't hesitate to tell Luke how nice he looks when she sees him sans scruff and backwards cap, and then they have this adorable handsy fight when he lets Nicole use her cell phone inside the diner - not like Lorelai ever follows that rule, either.

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

About the box of guides Emily sent to the house, Lorelai: "No, sweetie, these aren’t our kind of travel books. These are Paris and Nicky Hilton’s kind of travel books."

Sookie's best dish of the episode:

She makes this golf ball cake! 

Which goes promptly in the garbage after Lorelai informs her that the guest of honor has changed the theme of his retirement party for the umpteenth time.

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

Adult Lorelai's got nothin' on Teen Lorelai! 

Kirk insanity:

He sits silently at the diner counter for four straight hours because his TV's broken at home. 

Michel madness:

Michel's idea for handling the wishy-washy retirement party guy: "So, why don’t we dig a big hole, throw him in, hand everybody a shovel, they take turns covering him up. We go inside, have dinner, the wife gets used to eating alone..."

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

When Lorelai asks Emily if she watches TV when Richard's out of town, Emily replies, "I don’t watch that much television. I don’t find forensic work quite as fascinating as the rest of the world."

Random observation:

Another thing I love from the flashbacks is watching Emily defend Lorelai to Christopher's jerk dad Straub. Straub and Francine keep trying to blame Lorelai, as if Christopher had nothing to do with the pregnancy. Emily points out that they're in this situation together and Straub blusters, "I don't see why. Why should Christopher sacrifice everything we’ve planned for him just because –" and Emily cuts him off, cold as ice: "Choose your words extremely carefully, Straub." Great Emily episode!

3.14 "Swan Song"

The first few times I saw this episode, I always thought of it as one more example of Jess being a jerk. However, to my surprise, this time I found myself thinking he's kind of...cute in this episode? You Jess Advocates are wearing me down! (Nah, not really, he still drives me crazy.) Lorelai is going to New York with Billy Burke, Sookie and Jackson, and Richard's out of town, so Emily manipulates Rory into manipulating Jess into Friday night dinner, just the three of them. He's typically grumpy about it but she woos him into it, and then he shows up half an hour late and with a black eye. Emily is SO WONDERFUL in this episode - doing everything she can to make the evening go smoothly and being sweet as pie to Jess even though he's a monosyllabic dickhead throughout the meal. But Rory certainly isn't helping - she's convinced he got into a fight with Dean, so she keeps bringing up the black eye during dinner, ruining Jess' only opportunity to make a good first impression on Emily. He storms out and Rory stays the night, and when she talks to Lorelai on the phone the next morning and tells her what an angel Emily was, Lorelai thanks Emily - who in turn lets out all of her bottled rage that Lorelai would dare let this hoodlum date her precious granddaughter. 

Jess keeps stomping around and avoiding Rory's calls until Luke gives him a talking to - "Dean had that girl for two years. You have a little fight after two months, you walk out, and it’s over?" Jess finally confesses the source of his black eye - a swan! He was ambushed by a swan! Pretty damn cute. So he takes Luke's advice to heart and makes up REALLY sweetly with Rory, and he even promises to make a better impression "the next time" he goes to Emily's house, which I must admit is a pretty big deal. He prepares to tell Rory the truth about that mean ol' bully of a swan - and then tells her instead he was hit in the face with a football, because he still wants to impress her. Also cute!

Meanwhile, Lorelai has walked in on Jess and Rory doing some pretty horizontal making out, and she starts to wig that Rory is ready for sex with Jess. Rory swears she isn't - until after their hot makeup makeout sesh, and then she tells Lorelai she might be ready to start thinking about it. Lorelai loses her mind but tries to keep her mantle of Cool Mom. 

In other news, Billy Burke is boring. Luke doesn't seem at all jealous when he learns that Lorelai is going to New York with Billy Burke, because it turns out he's gone several times with Nicole! Things sure are getting serious with those two, and gosh, it looks like Luke's a good boyfriend. PAY ATTENTION, LORELAI. 

Finally: Mrs. Kim runs into Dave Rygalski and the rest of the band, and she tells him in front of Zach and Brian that Lane has a crush on him and he should be careful. She also mentions his Christian accompaniment side gig, and Zach and Brian are so dumb that they gloss right over the Lane crush part and think Dave's been trying to hide that he's a Christian from them. 

How many times do I have to drink?

3.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

2.

Flirtation quota:

Lorelai and Billy Burke have ZERO CHEMISTRY. Dean and Rory, however, do have chemistry even while broken up - they spend a little innocent time together at Miss Patty's, and it's pretty cute, I must say. But not nearly as cute as this:

I love book flirting! Rory later agrees to loan Jess the book if he'll come to Friday night dinner, so I think this whole thing was a very wily scheme on her part. 

Also, when Lorelai mentions to Luke that she has to go shopping for winter clothes, he rattles off several of her winter items. He's memorized her wardrobe! <3

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

The above coveted book is this one, by Lawrence Lipton, Venice Beach beatnik father to James Lipton of Inside The Actors Studio fame. Jess: "The guy with the beard?" Rory: "Yeah, the pointy beard. That’s his dad writing at his desk." Jess: "Oh, it’s weird that a weird beatnik-y guy would have a conservative son like that." Rory: "Maybe he’s not that conservative. Maybe at night, he, like, takes off his clothes and parties." Jess: "Aw, man, now get that picture out of my head." You and me both, Jess.

Sookie's best dish of the episode/Michel madness:

Nope. 

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

There were actually a lot of contenders in this ep, but none that reached the insanity of THIS FREAKING HAT.

Also, as you can see, Billy Burke's hair has not improved.

Kirk insanity:

He directs Miss Patty's one-woman production, "Buckle Up, I'm Patty." He has some, uhm, creative changes he'd like to make to Miss Patty's reminiscences. 

Kirk: 'How about if [Bette Davis] says, 'Doll, you’ve got the gams, but I’ve got a body in the trunk of my car.' "

Miss Patty: "Why would she say that?"

Kirk: "Because she’s a murderer. I think it works."

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

I just like the way Lorelai tortures New York bar patrons: "Then we picked the same Dean Martin song on the jukebox twenty-five times and people started complaining, so we picked the Bee Gees’ 'New York Mining Disaster' and they begged for Dean Martin back."

Random observation:

Seriously, what happened? The first time I saw this I wanted to throttle Jess. This time I found myself wanting to throttle Rory a little and give Jess an ice pack and a hug.

3.15 "Face-Off"

Oh don't worry, never mind - I'm right back to wanting to throttle Jess. He's in Ultimate Rebel Dude mode, refusing to call Rory when he said he would and acting like that should be okay with her: "Rory knows I’m not the kind of guy who lives by a schedule." THAT SENTENCE ACTUALLY MAKES ME WANT TO MURDER HIM. Rory, meanwhile, is remembering how Dean always called when he said he would (and, to be fair, way more often than she actually wanted him to, but she's conveniently forgotten that part.) Rory spends 36 hours moping around, waiting for Jess to call, when Lorelai gives her some great advice: "Out of the house! Get out of the house...Look, let’s say he does call. You can’t be the kind of girl that gets all mad in her head and then forgets everything once he deigns to show up, right?" Right! So Rory leaves to meet Lane and Young Chui at the hockey game.

Wait, Young Chui? Yes, Lane and Young Chui are fake dating, because he's really dating a Japanese girl named Karen of whom his parents do not approve. As Lane says, "He's the male me." Karen is super jealous of Lane, but Lane thinks Dave is totally cool with the subterfuge - until Dave sprints a mile just to check on Lane and Young Chui at the hockey game, and Lane realizes Dave is jealous, too. CUTEST CUTEST CUTEST. 

Theirs isn't the only romantic connection at the hockey game - Rory discovers, to her dismay, that Dean is now dating Lindsay from Stars Hollow High. She tries her best to be grown-up about it, and I'm proud of her. She tells Dean how sweet she thinks Lindsay is, and Lindsay does seem sweet. This is Lindsay. 

Rory admits to Lane that yes, deep down she sort of thought Dean would wait around forever for her, but she knows that's unfair. I really think Rory's being great here - she can't help her feelings, but she's doing her best to rise above them. But after a lovely, mature conversation with Dean, she marches over to the phone (pay phone? Doesn't she have a cell phone?) and leaves a message for Jess, telling him she's not about to keep sitting around waiting for him to call. I'm proud of her again - but when she walks outside and sees him standing there, ready to take her to a Distillers' concert HE HADN'T EVEN MENTIONED BEFORE, she does sort of become the girl who forgets everything when the boy deigns to show up. She even tells him to delete his messages when he gets home, and then later that night, as she's lying in bed, she seems to realize that Jess isn't making her happy, and she isn't proud of herself for letting him walk all over her. 

Speaking of being walked all over, Trix is staying a few nights with Richard and Emily and being an EXTRA nightmare to Emily. Poor Emily is being driven insane - until she happens to walk in on Trix and a man in a purple jogging suit macking by the fireplace. She's delighted to have something on the imperious Trix, and though she promises a gently chastising Lorelai that she won't use it against Trix, one more bitchy comment from her mother-in-law and she spills it in front of Trix's friends and Richard. Trix is mortified, Richard is shocked, Lorelai is suppressing laughter - but this wacky melodrama leads to a bit of a truce between Trix and Emily, or at least some grudging respect and honesty on both sides. And thankfully, Richard finds the whole thing hilarious! "I guess I've got a new daddy!"

How many times do I have to drink?

7.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

3.

Flirtation quota:

Other than the massive cuteness of Dave and Lane, not a lot of flirting going on since Jess is being a jerk and Dean has a new girlfriend. But Luke got a haircut! YAY HAIRCUT!

Just so you know, I'm going to continue screen-capping every time Luke gets a haircut. These moments are precious few and we must take note of them.

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

Taylor actually made me laugh out loud, and not at him for once! Taylor: "My dear, do you realize that this is the first time [the hockey team has] been in the regional semifinals in forty-three years?" Rory: "But didn’t we only make it this far because the Litchfield team got food poisoning?" Taylor: "Well, I admit it’s not exactly the plot of Hoosiers, but still it’s very, very exciting."

Sookie's best dish of the episode/Michel madness:

Nope, nada, nuh-huh.

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

Not her worst work, but this doll shirt's kinda weird:

Kirk insanity:

Kirk's the announcer for the hockey game (drink!), even though he knows less than nothing about hockey. And this is his closing monologue after a tragic Stars Hollow High defeat. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, much like the Israelites of yore, the Stars Hollow Minutemen languished in the desert for forty years. But tonight, there was no Promised Land, no New Canaan, only a humiliating five to one defeat at the merciless hands of the West Hartford Wildcats. So it’s back to the desert for the Minutemen, perhaps for another forty years. Of course, by then, I’ll be seventy years old. A lot of the rest of you will probably be dead. Taylor, you’ll be dead. Babette, Miss Patty. . .that man there in the hat."

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

As Lane giggles over Dave's little jealous gesture, Rory: "Just remember, there’s cute jealous and there’s Othello."

Random observation:

Lorelai gives great advice to Emily and to Rory this week - but I think she's overstepping her boundaries by giving advice to Jess on how to be a better boyfriend to Rory. Her heart's in the right place, telling him Rory deserves to be treated better and also trying to help him get out of the doghouse, but she should know by now that Jess does not react well to authority. Plus, when I was in junior high I had a crush on a boy, and he said he'd go to my dance recital and then he never showed up, and later when he called my house my mom answered and proceeded to yell at him and it was TO THIS DAY THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME AND I WILL NEVER GET OVER IT. I doubt Rory would actually appreciate Lorelai's interference here, regardless of how well-meaning it is. 

--

So there you have it! Next week we're covering "The Big One," "A Tale of Poes and Fire" and "Happy Birthday, Baby," which are three super cute episodes of which I heartily approve, so meet me back here next Wednesday morning for the fun!

And I leave you with a question, dear FYA readers: Jess Advocates - please explain your love of Jess in light of recent developments. We're allowed to hate him right now, right? I'm all about liking him later, and even earlier, but right now? Right now I hate him.

Meredith Borders's photo About the Author: Meredith is the Editorial Director of BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. and the Alamo Drafthouse, and the Social Media Director for Fantastic Fest.
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