Rory finally finds the one person in town who will listen and believe her when she says the car accident wasn’t Jess’ fault. It’s a moment where Rory can connect with someone who won’t be angry or blame her for what happened, but won’t blame Jess either. Rory and Luke have very few moments alone together shown in the show, but when we see them, they are always heart-warming.
Rory returns home from Stars Hollow alone, and is outside the diner when Luke returns from his fishing trip. He offers her a coffee and a doughnut, but he’s been away for a week and only just got home – those surprisingly fresh-looking doughnuts must have been sitting on the counter for a week! There’s so much eating of old and expired food on this show.
LANE: Twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday nights at six o’clock, I could come and practice here …
SOPHIE: Please, go home.
LANE: I can’t. I can’t go home until you say yes. I have to rock, I have to! Please, I’m so begging you – let me rock!
Lane begs and pleads and cajoles and bargains, and finally gets Sophie to agree to let her practice twice a week at the music store in the evening. It’s an incredible gift Sophie has given Lane, apparently touched by her overwhelming need to live a musical life and with no one to help her.
Rory gets opportunities handed to her on a platter, while Lane has to beg a virtual stranger to let her practice drums. She’s not getting free lessons, she will have to teach herself, but at least she is going to be allowed to touch some actual drums on a regular basis.
According to Lane, her mother goes to Bible group alone on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 6 pm. In “It Should’ve Been Lorelai”, Lane has to accompany her mother to Bible class every Saturday morning, but Bible class and Bible group seem to be two different things. Perhaps Bible class is for instruction, while Bible group is for discussion. Throw in Thursday evening hymns, and most of the week seems to be taken up with religious activities.
Notice how Lane pleads with Sophie as if in the throes of passionate prayer. I can imagine Lane has prayed constantly for any chance to play music, and after many years, her prayers have been answered.
Previously, Lane said she wanted to live in Philadelphia, but that might have been just to have something to reply to Rory. Now she says she wants to go to New York – but it might be just to keep Sophie talking. It’s not actually possible to tell whether Lane has any ambitions to leave Stars Hollow at all.
Like Sophie, Carole King was born and raised in New York City, and like Sophie, she moved to the country. She moved to a ranch in Sun Valley, Idaho in the 1980s, only selling up a few years ago. Between New York and Idaho, she lived in L.A during the 1970s.
RORY: My wrist hurts and I’m grumpy and I just made a total idiot of myself in there so I just wanna go home.
LORELAI: All right, well, I’ll tell Mom, I’ll drive you.
RORY: No, it’s okay. It’s still early. I can catch my regular bus and . . . you go back in.
How can it be early enough that Rory is still able to catch her regular bus home to Stars Hollow? The scene at KC’s Annex showed Rory and Lorelai in Stars Hollow, and dressed for the party. Rory has already taken her regular bus home from school – that’s how she got home in the first place! She can catch a later bus home, maybe one that leaves around 6 or 6.30 pm instead of between 4 and 4.30 pm, but she cannot possibly catch the same bus home.
RORY: Oh, right, Jess is the Antichrist, I forgot.
Theologically, the Antichrist is a prophesied figure who sets himself up as a false Messiah, but popularly understood to mean anyone who is an opponent of Christianity, with the motive to destroy or damage the church. It’s also used colloquially to mean a person or thing which is fundamentally evil, and an enemy of everything which is good.
RORY: I’m sick of this. I’m sick of everyone treating me like I’m some kind of mindless idiot being led around by a guy … Everyone in my life, including you, is refusing to believe that I was just as responsible for what happened that night as Jess was.
Now she expresses her resentment at being forced into this stifling role, because it means that she can never be granted agency or bear any consequences for her actions. If she gets into a car accident, then it isn’t Rory’s fault – she’s been led astray by “that boy”. Rory is smart enough to see that it means nobody is actually treating her as a person, that her thoughts and actions don’t matter to them – what matters to them is the imaginary Rory they have in their heads of the perfect girl.
Rory explains to Lorelai that she agreed to go for ice cream with Jess, she let him drive the car, she asked him to keep driving instead of going straight back to the diner. She was having fun with Jess, she enjoyed driving with him until the accident occurred, and she knows that she bears at least some of the responsibility for what happened.
Unfortunately, nobody listens to her at all. Lorelai stills blames Jess. Her grandparents still blame Lorelai and Dean. It’s Rory’s tragedy that she is never brought to account for her mistakes and errors, even when she demands it, and eventually this will have big consequences when she becomes an adult.
EMILY: It was that car, wasn’t it? The one her boyfriend made. Richard was dead set against letting her drive that death-mobile.
Richard’s concerns about the car now seem pretty valid. Not that a different car would have stopped Jess from swerving to hit a small animal, but a new car would have had airbags and modern safety features that might have stopped Rory from getting hurt at all in a minor accident. It’s also possible Rory would have been more wary of letting Jess drive a new car. And if Lorelai had forbidden Rory from having a car at all, then obviously there would have been no way for Jess to crash it.
Lorelai wouldn’t let her parents buy Rory a new car when she started attending Chilton, which now seems a bit unfair. She allowed Dean, her seventeen-year-old boyfriend, to build her a car instead, which was actually a much bigger gift from him than a new car from her grandparents, with way more strings attached. To an extent, Emily is justified in her anger, and correct that Lorelai, however unwittingly, helped bring the situation about by the choices she made.
Note that Emily calls a dangerous car a “death-mobile”, in a similar way to Lorelai’s description of a black limo as a “Luca Brasi-mobile“.
EMILY: How did this [Rory’s fractured wrist] happen?
An amusing callback to the previous episode, when Lorelai was trying to think of excuses she could use on her parents to explain why Rory was wearing a cast. All she had come up with was, “Really big bees”. Notice that Rory has a cute bee sticker decoration on her cast, the possible inspiration for this ridiculous lie (or the lie inspired the sticker?).
LORELAI: She [Karen] seems to be working out well.
RICHARD: Well, she’s no . . . Margie, but we’ll see.
Richard comes this close to saying his efficient new secretary, Karen, is “no Lorelai”. Because although Lorelai was just meant to assist Richard get started in his new business, the “help wanted” of the title was, of course, Lorelai herself.
Richard has come to have a new respect for Lorelai as a working woman, after many years of seeing her as a failure. At last he can see that running an inn does actually require business skills! He’s always had a tendency to see the executive manager of an inn as little more than a maid with higher salary.