“Do you have feelings for this man?”

EMILY: Why do you treat me like I don’t have a clue in the world as to what is going on in your life? Now I’m asking you, as a favour, if you have any respect for me at all as your mother, just tell me. Do you have feelings for this man [Luke]?
LORELAI: I don’t know. Maybe I do. I haven’t given it much thought. Maybe I do.
EMILY: Thank you. I’m glad you were finally honest with me. Now we can discuss what on earth you could possibly be thinking.

Although Sookie has been trying to persuade Lorelai that she likes Luke as more than a friend, it is Emily who finally forces Lorelai to openly admit she might have feelings for him. There is some poignancy that she chooses to open up to her mother before her best friend – and possibly that’s because she knows Emily will slap her down for it, rather than be given encouragement as Sookie would. On some level Lorelai doesn’t want to be pushed toward Luke, she wants to be pushed away, and Emily obliges.

Madrid and Cervantes

RICHARD [of his upcoming trip to Madrid]: I think there’s a nice edition of Cervantes in it for you.
RORY: Gracias.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was a Spanish writer regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world’s greatest novelists. His best known work is Don Quixote, earlier discussed – it is sometimes thought of as the first novel, and is a literary classic.

Richard’s comment suggests that whenever he has to travel to a foreign city on business, he tries to buy Rory a book there by an author associated with that city – Cervantes lived and worked in Madrid for most of his life. We know Richard has already bought her something from Prague, quite possibly a book.

Rory simply replies, “Thank you” in Spanish.

(Richard’s trip to Madrid will be on the 12th of March, suggesting it is now Friday 2nd March. It could be Friday the 9th, but in that case it seems more likely that Richard would have simply said he left on Monday).

Houdini

RORY: Each of us have to follow a chick through its entire growth process. Everything has to be logged. Eating habits, sleeping habits.
LORELAI: Houdini habits.

Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz (1874-1926) was an Austro-Hungarian born American illusionist and stunt performer, known for his sensational escape acts. An international star, Houdini was a headline act in vaudeville for most of his career, and for many years the highest-paid vaudeville performer.

Joan and Melissa Rivers

EMILY: Lorelai, you’re being morbid.
LORELAI: I’m being morbid? … Joan and Melissa Rivers here think I’m being morbid.

Joan Rivers, born Joan Molinsky (1933-2014) was an American comedian, actress, writer, producer, and television host. She was known for her controversial comedic persona, which was often viciously insulting towards celebrities and politicians. Actress Melissa Rivers (born Melissa Rosenberg in 1968) is her daughter, who worked alongside her mother on several occasions.

Joan and Melissa Rivers appeared as themselves in the 1994 television movie Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, which we learn in the next season is favourite viewing for a mocking Lorelai and Rory.

In the film Joan and Melissa recreate the anguish they went through after the suicide of Joan’s husband and Melissa’s father, Edgar Rosenberg – who had often been the butt of his wife’s jokes during her comedy routine, and whose death was also milked for humour by Joan.

Lorelai equates Richard and Emily’s glee at getting their hands on their dead acquaintance’s house at a good price as being in a similar vein of poor taste.

Joan Rivers was one of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s favourite comedians, and her later TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is about a female comedian in the 1950s who is partly inspired by Rivers.

Valium

RORY: Can we go for a weekend [to stay with Richard and Emily]?
LORELAI: We’ll see how much Valium Auntie Sookie can lend Mommy, okay?

A possible confirmation that it was Valium that Sookie gave Lorelai when she hurt her back on the night of Rory’s dance.

It also confirms that Lorelai and Rory aren’t a “democracy”, as she told her daughter in the first episode. Here Rory wants to spend a weekend with her grandparents in Martha’s Vineyard, and they never go because Lorelai doesn’t want to. Rory could have gone by herself, but Lorelai doesn’t facilitate or encourage that either. Rory probably could have forced Lorelai, but if she did that she wouldn’t have been Rory (and she and Lorelai would never have had the close bond they valued so highly).

Touché

LORELAI: The both of you are going directly to hell, I hope you know that.
RICHARD: Well, at least we’ll be well rested.
LORELAI: Touché.

In the sport of fencing, touché is said to acknowledge a hit made by your opponent; it means “touch” in French. In colloquial use, it acknowledges during a conversation that the other person has made a good point at your expense. This is a slight callback to Richard’s fencing prowess in college, mentioned earlier.

The Rental in Martha’s Vineyard

LORELAI: What’s going on?
RICHARD: Oh, your mother and I have just secured a place on Martha’s Vineyard.

Richard and Emily are pleased at the price they got their summer rental on Martha’s Vineyard for, due to the unexpected death of the previous tenant. We don’t know what kind of house it is, except that it is said to be a fine property with a library, and larger grounds than they had before, suggesting something pretty fancy.

Today you could rent a very nice house on Martha’s Vineyard for around $5000 a week in the summer, but a luxury property might be $10 000-$15 000 a week, and one on the waterfront could easily cost around $40 000 a week.