The episode begins with Rory and Lorelai sitting at the table with Emily, but unable to begin eating because Richard is not there yet. Emily says that she will never start dinner without Richard unless he’s out of town or seriously ill, but in fact there’s been a few episodes where Emily has started dinner without Richard because he’s been busy or on the phone. And in “Hammers and Veils”, she rushes them to start dinner without Richard because he has an early flight the next day.
What makes it even more unbelievable is that Emily has allowed the cook/maid to serve the meal, and there is actually roast beef and vegetables sitting right on the table in front of them, getting cold. Apparently Emily will serve a meal without Richard, but won’t start eating until he arrives. Emily’s annoyance with Richard’s tardiness is soon weaponised to make everyone else miserable.