Matt Grant

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Friday Night Dinners: A Gilmore Girls Digest, Vol. III

We only have four episodes to recap this week. 

Since Katelyn was in Portland visiting friends until Tuesday, we didn't get as much Gilmore Girls in as we'd like. I know, I know, we can't afford to have any lost time, but don't worry, we're coming up with a plan. Even in four episodes, we've come quite a long way since Rory's father, Christopher, rode into town on his motorcycle. Let's dig in.  

Episode 115: Christopher Returns

Luke: So that's...
Lorelai: The man who impregnated me with Rory, yes. 
Luke: He did a good job. 
Lorelai: Impregnating me with Rory? 
Luke: This conversation took a weird turn. 

I am constantly amazed at how much story a typical Gilmore Girls episode can pack into just 43 minutes. So much happens here. 

Rory is over the moon about her father being back, especially since this is the first time he's ever actually come to Stars Hollow. Lorelai is less than enthusiastic, wondering aloud if Christopher really is just in town because he wants to be more in Rory's life, as he claims. He swears to her that he wants to be a part of Rory's life, that his business is doing well, and he's a different person. At first, he at least tries to make good on his promises. He attends a softball game with Rory to watch Dean play, and offers to buy Rory the "compact" Oxford English Dictionary as a "I'm sorry I wasn't here for the first 16 years of your life" present. The first signs that not all is well in Christopherland comes out when his credit card is declined. 

Then things get more complicated when Emily invites Christopher to Friday night dinner, along with his parents, Straub and Francine, who are also in town. Rory has never met her paternal grandparents before, and Lorelai and Christopher aren't thrilled about being in the same room with their parents again. And they were right to worry; Straub and Francine are civil for about three minutes before things take a downward turn and they're insulting Lorelai, and Rory by extension, for ruining Christopher's life. Richard is having none of it, and he throws Straub out in a rage. 

Once the storm has passed, Lorelai thanks her father for defending her, but he quickly sets her straight: he was defending the Gilmore name, not her. In fact, it seems as if Richard is quite upset at the way Lorelai treated her parents after her pregnancy; running away, never calling, practically pretending they didn't exist. He insists she should have done the right thing and married Christopher. "I was sixteen," she says, and not at all ready to be married. It doesn't matter, Richard says, sometimes we make sacrifices to do what's right. 

Hurt and wounded, Lorelai escapes to her balcony, the one place in the house her parents can see her if she's out there. Christopher joins her, and soon they are reminiscing about growing up together, and then one thing leads to another, and....they wind up sleeping together. Yeah. Lorelai freaks out, Christopher wants to do it again, and they all both share an incredibly tense ride home with Rory in the backseat. In the meantime, Lorelai remembers that she's completely stood Luke up over painting his diner. She tries to apologize, but Luke blows her off. 

Then the real bombshell: Chris proposes! In the middle of a fight they are having over their actions, he asks Lorelai to marry him. He says that he is in a much better place, which Lorelai scoffs at. She knows him better than he knows himself. As Christopher rides off, Rory asks about the proposal, which she guessed at; Lorelai tells her that it's still not the right time for them, and it may never be. Rory reluctantly accepts this fact. 

Lorelai then sneaks into Luke's diner and repaints the entire thing for him, which he admits looks nice. He seems a little bummed that he couldn't spend the time painting with her...I think there's something more going on between these two, you guys! 

Episode 116: Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers 

AKA Rachel Returns...

What a shame Elizabeth Barrett Browning wasn't here to witness this. She'd put her head through a wall. - Paris

Things should have been foreboding from the start: Rory gives Dean a copy of Anna Karenina to read, which he's just finished, probably after cheating and looking up the Spark Notes. In case you've forgotten high school English class, things didn't work out too well for Anna and Vronsky.  But it's Stars Hollow's annual Firelight Festival (basically a better version of Valentine's Day), and it's also Rory and Dean's three-month anniversary. Yup, she's actually stayed with this cretin for three months. 

Actually, in untypical Dean fashion, he's actually planned a romantic evening for Rory, a dinner and everything. He's probably trying to make up for that Donna Reed night. Emily lets Rory off the hook for Friday night, but Lorelai better not even think of it. 

Rory and Dean, Jackson and Sookie, even Michel has a date. Lorelai is beginning to feel like the only one without love, so she turns to the one place she can think of to commiserate...Luke's. And it almost works, except as they both poo-poo the idea of perfect soulmates, who walks in the door but...Rachel. Rachel Rachel Luke's Rachel. Lorelai is not happy, because Rachel is pretty and charming and spends her time photographing the fallout of violence in the Middle East. 

Both Gilmore Girls have an interesting Friday night. Lorelai, sans Rory, is surprised to find a blind date awaiting her at her parents' house. When Lorelai confronts Emily about it, Emily admits to trying to set her daughter up, and brings up the fact that Rory is now in a relationship longer than her own mothers'. She drops the mic as she walks out of the room. Lorelai ditches her unflattering date by sneaking out of her bedroom window, with a little cover from Richard. 

Meanwhile, Rory and Dean's date is off to a great start. He takes her to an upscale Italian bistro, and then a junkyard (ummm, what, Dean?) to reveal his real gift for her: a car, custom-built. Rory is speechless, and they share a few kisses in the front of her future car. Then Dean drops his real surprise: "Rory, I love you," he says. She is again speechless, and her hesitancy sets him off. He is disgusted that she needs to think about it, and stalks off to take her home. 

At the festival, Lorelai and Luke catch up and talk about Rachel. She's here to stay, at least for now, and she has told him that she missed him. Lorelai is not sure how she feels about all this, so when she gets home, she calls Max and is about to leave a message on his machine when Rory walks in the front door and announces that it's over between her and Dean. 

Episode 117: The Breakup, Part 2

We could stuff our purses full of Sour Patch Kids and Milk Duds and go see the Stars Hollow elementary school production of Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? - Rory

Rory is heartbroken (God knows why, this is her chance!) but won't tell Lorelai exactly why they broke up. Lorelai has a solution: Rory needs to "wallow," put on her pajamas, eat some junk food, and have a good cry, but Rory refuses. Instead, she throws herself into different tasks. She's obviously avoiding her feelings, but Lorelai won't say this to her. Rory throws all of her Dean-related memories into a box and asks Lorelai to throw them away, but she stashes them in a hall closet instead. 

Everyone in Stars Hollow has of course heard about the breakup, and everyone has it out for Dean, including Luke. When Dean tries to get a cup of coffee at the diner, Luke physically restrains him. Rory asks Dean if he's okay, and he brushes her off. Seeing him just reignites her desire to hide her feelings and she asks Lane to attend a Chilton party at Madeleine's with her. At the party, Tristan is having trouble with his girlfriend, Summer, who seems to be interested in every other guy there than him. Lane finds an attractive Korean boy, Henry, who she is ashamed to admit is the very kind of person her parents would be thrilled for her to fall for. Paris is stomping around, waiting for 10:30pm, when her mother says she can leave. 

While Rory's at the party, Lorelai borrows Sookie's car to go and visit Max. The two can't keep their hands off of each other, and they wind up sleeping together. Talking about what's next for them, they agree to start by talking regularly on the phone. Lorelai isn't sure that she's doing the right thing again, but she agrees. 

When Summer dumps Tristan in front of Rory, and when she goes to comfort him, they share a kiss. Rory breaks down in tears, leaving a bewildered Tristan behind. When Lorelai gets home from her wonderful evening with Max, she finds Rory on the couch, in her pajamas, a great tub of ice cream on her lap. 

Episode 118: The Third Lorelai

Louise: Those who simply wait for information to find them spend a lot of time sitting by the phone. Those who find it themselves have something to say when it rings.
Rory: Nietzsche?
Louise: Dawson.
Rory: My next guess.

The tables have finally turned. Richard's mother, Lorelai (whom he calls Trix), is stopping by in a week, sending Emily in an absolute fervor. Rory's great-grandmother is a real piece of work, and Emily is terrified of her. Of course, Lorelai can't help feeling overjoyed at the prospect of seeing Emily sweat, which Rory chastises her for. 

At Chilton, things are bit awkward between Tristan and Rory, which Paris notices and asks her about. Paris and Rory are apparently becoming quasi-acquaintances. Rory talks to Tristan about why she was upset the other night, and he laments his own relationship problems. She suggests that he's just not dating the right girls, and should find someone smart and driven, someone more like...Paris. He thinks about it, and the next time he sees her, he asks her out. 

Lorelai has to go to two dinners in a row at the Gilmore house, while Rory is let off the hook for studying. At dinner, Trix reveals that she is town to get some affairs in order and has a trust fund for Rory that she wants to give her now, since it would help pay off her debt to Richard and Emily over school. Lorelai is thrilled, but Emily, afraid that this newfound financial independence would keep her out of Lorelai's life forever, tries to talk Lorelai out of it but saying that once Rory has all of this money, she won't need Lorelai anymore. Her tactic works and Lorelai doesn't tell Rory about the fund. 

Paris comes by Rory's house to ask for help with her date, and Rory obliges. The two are getting along splendidly, and the next day, Paris tells her all about how well the date went. Tristan even kissed her goodnight. When Tristan shows up, he admits that he had a good time as friends and that he was glad Rory suggested they go out. Well, that does not sit well with Paris. Not at all. She blows up at Rory in front of everyone, saying that she doesn't want Rory to do her any favors and she doesn't need her discarded boyfriend material. Rory is shocked and asks Tristan why he told Paris the date was her idea, and he admits that he didn't think it was fair to string Paris along when he likes someone else. I wonder who that could be. 

Before Trix leaves, she has tea with Emily and Lorelai, and the two get into an argument over the trust fund. Trix sees that the two of them are not mature enough to handle such money, and decides not to give the money after all. Lorelai admits defeat to her mother, but the two are secretly relieved to still be indebted to one another, since it means that Rory will still need Lorelai and Lorelai will still need Emily...at least for a little while longer. 

Next on Friday Night Dinners: The end of Season One and the start of Season Two! Stay tuned...