Rory Phones Jess

Rory got a pager message from Dean while she was at dinner, but instead of phoning him back right away, she called Lane’s house (Lane didn’t come to the phone). When she gets home, Lorelai goes for a shower, telling Rory to find a movie for them to watch. It was after 9 pm when they were at dinner, and they talked more and had a half hour drive home, so it must be around 10 pm by now, yet they’re planning to watch a movie as well!

Instead of getting a movie, or phoning Dean back, Rory calls Jess. When we see him, he is reading The Fountainhead, as instructed by Rory. He is also playing with Rory’s bracelet, gazing at it softly with a misty smile. The phone call, ostensibly about literature, is very playful, and this episode marks the beginning of Jess and Rory’s mutual flirtation.

And Rory is still clearly very annoyed by Dean going to Lorelai when they had an issue in their relationship, because she isn’t returning his calls.

Lorelai and Rory Make Up

LORELAI: I got spooked. I know it violates the fabulous cool mom clause we’re supposed to have going but I did and I’m sorry.

After talking to Emily, Lorelai goes straight to Rory to apologise for not being a “fabulous cool mom” about Jess. Even though she’s concerned about Jess, she is going to trust Rory’s judgement. She only asks that Rory be careful, and cut Dean some slack for getting freaked out.

Is Lorelai really neutral, when in her view, Jess needs care and good judgement to proceed, even if he is behaving well, while Dean needs understanding for any of his bad behaviour?

Emily Agrees With Lorelai

EMILY: Don’t back down Lorelai. You took a stand and you are completely in the right here. You absolutely must keep her from that boy. If you need to change her curfew, lock her up, throw away the key, whatever it takes to make sure she doesn’t go astray – you do it. Her judgment cannot be trusted here. She’s a young girl and knows nothing. You are her eyes and her ears and her brain for as long as it takes to make sure she doesn’t make any ridiculous choices in her life.

To Lorelai’s horror, when Emily learns about the problem between Lorelai and Rory, she completely takes her daughter’s side, saying that Rory is a young girl with no experience of the world, and it is Lorelai’s job to make all major decisions for her, until she is old and wise enough to choose for herself. Lorelai has to listen to Emily agree with her that Rory needs to be kept away from Jess, and to realise (again) that she isn’t as different from the controlling Emily as she thought.

Mrs Kim’s Rules

MRS. KIM: You see, this is exactly why I make these rules. You’re too young, too vulnerable. American boys have different values, they don’t understand respect, you get hurt. I do all of this so you don’t get hurt and now here you are hurt. I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all. Who is he, this boy who hurt you?

We can see that no matter how flawed Mrs Kim might be as a parent, and how wrong-headed her restrictions are of Lane, she does love Lane deeply and wants to protect her. She thinks that Lane is unhappy about Henry because she disobeyed Mrs Kim’s rules to keep her safe, while Lane knows she’s unhappy over Henry because her parents set so many rules that she was unable to form a real relationship, even with a boy they would have approved of.

Lorelai and Rory Fight About Jess

EMILY: It’s not nothing. You’ve both been sitting here all night, not saying a word and not even looking at each other. Are you in a fight?
LORELAI: I’m not.
RORY: Please.
LORELAI: Please what? You are the one who’s been freezing me out all week.
RORY: I just haven’t had anything to say.

At Friday Night Dinner, we learn that Lorelai and Rory haven’t been speaking since they argued about Rory’s relationship with Jess. It’s a pattern they tend to get into when they are angry with each other, freezing each other out and refusing to talk things over.

It’s notable that in the scenes we see of them arguing together, Rory never once says what you expect from a girl in her situation: that Jess is only a friend who shares one of her hobbies, and that him buying her basket was just one of his pranks. She reminds Lorelai that she didn’t like Dean at first either, as if she is already thinking of Jess as a replacement for Dean.

Note that Rory is in angry red, and Lorelai in sad black for this scene, a common costume choice for fight scenes on the show.

Cigar Club, Flophouse

EMILY: A cigar club. Can you imagine a more disgusting organization to join? Your grandfather now pays money to sit in an enclosed room with a bunch of other men and blow smoke in each other’s faces. Twice a week he comes home smelling like a flophouse.

This is Richard’s first attempt to reinvent himself after retirement by joining a cigar club, where men gather to buy and smoke cigars together.

In real life, there are many places in Hartford which have cigar bars and lounges. The upmarket Hartford Club [pictured] has a cigar room for guests, and this seems like the sort of place Richard would feel comfortable.

This explains Richard’s absence for Friday Night Dinner, now the writers can’t use his job as an excuse. It does seem a little strange that Lorelai and Rory can never miss Friday Night Dinner except for emergencies or extraordinary circumstances, but Richard can miss it just to smoke a cigar!

A flophouse is American English for a dosshouse: a cheap hotel, hostel, or boarding house designed to house poverty-stricken homeless people. It seems unlikely they would actually smell of expensive cigars.

Sylvester Stallone

LORELAI: I’ve known guys like Jess. He seems cool because he’s got this dangerous vibe and this problem with authority and he’s seen a lot of Sylvester Stallone movies.

Sylvester Stallone, (born Michael Sylvester Stallone in 1946), actor, screenwriter, producer, and director. He won critical acclaim for his co-starring role in The Lords of Flatbush (1974), and gained his greatest critical and commercial success in Rocky (1976). He is the only actor in US cinema history to have starred in a #1 film across six decades.

Lorelai is probably thinking about Stallone’s roles in the Rambo films, beginning with First Blood (1982), and in a slew of other commercially successful but critically panned action films in the 1980s and ’90s, which made Stallone one of the highest-paid action stars of his era.

Amusingly, Milo Ventimiglia (Jess) played Sylvester Stallone’s son in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa. Casting must have agreed that Jess really did have a bit of a Sylvester Stallone vibe.