POLICEWOMAN: Everyone’s accounted for Taylor. It looks like this is just an elaborate prank.
TAYLOR: But it looks so real. Where’d they get the police tape?
POLICEWOMAN: Kids have their ways.
TAYLOR: Who’d be depraved enough to pull a stupid prank like this?
POLICEWOMAN: Hard to say.
[Rory sees Jess standing across the street smirking as he watches the crowd]
The police officer reassures Taylor that the chalk outline and police tape is just a prank. Somehow, she knows that a child or teenager is responsible. To be fair, Rory also knows – Jess isn’t exactly being subtle here. The police officer seems to be remarkably blasé about someone stealing police tape from the police station. The bizarre way the police behave makes me think that they were in on the prank with Jess, either overtly or tacitly. It’s actually the only way this scene makes any sense.
Once again, one of Jess’ pranks is connected with Rory – it takes place outside the grocery store where her boyfriend works, at a time when he’s doing a shift, so that there’s a good chance of her seeing it. It seems to be a calculated move to get her attention and show off to her, as well as encroaching on her boyfriend’s territory.
In line with the autumnal colours of this episode, Jess wears a dark red tee shirt – Dean is also wearing a red sweater in a bright tone, as if Dean and Jess are the light and dark attractants for Rory (or the public and the private). Red is love and passion, but also aggression and danger, like a red rag to a bull. Both Jess and Dean wear grey sleeveless jackets over their red tops, as if in partial concealment of their feelings. There is nothing on their sleeves – yet.
Jess’s top is a vintage 1980s tee shirt with a Tasman Empire Airways Ltd logo on it – the former name of New Zealand’s flag carrier airline (since 1965, Air New Zealand Ltd). The show keeps connecting Jess with travel, journeys, and flight.
The fire truck going past is also bright red; in fact notice how many things in this scene bear the colour red. It’s a callback to when Rachel was telling Lorelai about her distress in discovering Luke’s romantic preference for Lorelai with the fire department in the background. It’s another painful love triangle situation marked with sinful scarlet, bloody red.
The poster in the background announces another Autumn Festival, nearing the anniversary of Rory and Dean’s first kiss. This suggests that the date is Tuesday 30th October, the day before Halloween. Yes, I know it looks bright and sunny, but that’s because we’re in TV Land, not the real Connecticut!
Does the big number 7 on the fire truck mean that Jess is blessed with luck in his endeavour? Or does it represent the seven days of the week, and the great wheel of time?. It might be a sign that Jess’ time has come. So much can change in just one year.
NOTE: Thank you to reader M for pointing out that the red vehicle is a fire truck or fire engine, not a bus as I incorrectly stated!