Jess Fixes Luke’s Toaster

Luke unexpectedly finds his broken toaster at the diner has been fixed. (He was shown trying to mend it himself when Mia arrived, so it was out of action for nearly a week). Jess denies that he had anything to do with it, but Rory gives him an approving smile as he leaves for school.

Jess’ actions symbolise that he is capable of working to fix his relationship with Luke, just as Luke mended and waterproofed Lorelai’s chuppah. It’s yet another scene where Jess is depicted as the mirror image of Luke, and shows he is also good at practical things – he’s not just book smart.

There’s nothing like the thrill of reforming a bad boy, so no wonder Rory looked so pleased with herself. Jess is very careful to look back at her to watch her reaction as well. It’s something else he’s done to make an impression on Rory, and it feels like another piece of his plan falling into place.

Lorelai and Rory’s List of “Enemies”

People who eat crunchy food with their mouths open

People who dog-ear library books

People who spit when they talk (Lorelai spits in Rory’s eye while she’s saying this)

Note that Lorelai, who supposedly never eats fresh fruit unless she feels like she’s coming down with an illness of some kind, is eating a bowl of fruit salad for breakfast. Maybe she’s a bit under the weather?

Emily Confronts Mia

MIA: When Lorelai showed up on my porch that day with a tiny baby in her arms, I thought to myself, what if this were my daughter, and she was cold and scared and needed a place to live? What would I want for her? And then I thought, I’d want her to find somebody to take her in and make her safe and help her find her way.
EMILY: That’s funny. I would’ve wanted her to find someone who would send her home.

Clearly shaken by the news that Mia is visiting Stars Hollow, Emily goes to see her at the Independence. Somehow, in all the years Lorelai and Rory lived at the inn, Emily and Richard never crossed paths with Mia. Perhaps they didn’t visit very often, or perhaps Mia tactfully made herself scarce whenever they came to see their daughter.

To Emily, Mia is the woman who stole her family and stuck them in a potting shed. It’s hard not to have some sympathy for her feelings, but by the time Lorelai left, she was eighteen and a half, and an adult. A young adult, for sure, but still legally capable of making her own decisions and living where she pleased.

Mia would have had no authority to send her back to Emily, and if she had refused to take Lorelai in, she would have gone somewhere else – perhaps somewhere far more hazardous. The truth is, Emily owes Mia for keeping her daughter and granddaughter safe, but she is too angry and proud to ever thank her.

Mia promises to send Emily a box of photos from when Rory was young, but never asks for her address (nor does Emily offer it). Perhaps Lorelai already gave Mia her parents’ address at some time?

Note that Emily wears deep red, with an artificial black rose on her lapel, as a symbol of her rage and mourning. Mia wears funereal black with a circle of pearls in the same position, as if in sympathy with Emily’s feelings (pearls are often a symbol of tears). Mia wears the colours of bereavement that Emily is not quite ready to admit to; she understands the depth of her loss.

Women’s Basketball

LUKE: I asked [Sookie] how your plans were going with the new inn, and she very awkwardly changed the subject to women’s basketball … She’s never shown much interest in sports before … What’s going on with that?
LORELAI: Oh well, you know, women’s basketball is getting super popular. That’s good, I think. The tall girls need an outlet.

Rune thought Lorelai was too tall, even referring to her as a basketball player. Here Lorelai is quick to imply she’s not a “tall girl” who needs the “outlet” of playing basketball. (She’s about an inch shorter than average for a female basketball player).

Luke says that women’s basketball is in season and maybe Lorelai and Sookie could go to a game together. I think he must mean the women’s college basketball tournament (NCAA Division 1), which opens in November, as the professional league, the Women’s National Basketball Association, has a season running from May to September.

Luke Protects and Mends the Chuppah

LORELAI: Thanks for doing this. I didn’t want the rain to destroy your beautiful chuppah. And I looked and looked in the yellow pages and I didn’t see a chuppah waterproofer listing anywhere.

Luke comes over because Lorelai is worried the chuppah Luke made for her wedding to Max might get damaged by rain – apparently this is the first time heavy rain has been expected since August? Or else there’s been so much successive rain that Lorelai is worried about its cumulative effect.

I’m not sure how Luke saved the chuppah from getting wet, possibly some sort of oil or coating to protect it from the elements (there’s a bottle of something in his bucket, but you can’t see the label). He also has to superglue the head of a wooden goat decorating the chuppah back on. It’s a nice symbol of how Luke is willing to maintain and protect his relationship with Lorelai.

As part of that, he asks Lorelai about her fight with Sookie, and listens to her fears about starting her own business, and her grief at losing her connection to the Independence. She speaks of the inn as her “memory home”, where both she and Rory took their first steps, saying it means more to her than her parents’ home (what a kick in the teeth for Emily and Richard!).

Lorelai’s Fight with Emily

EMILY: You can be so harsh sometimes, and I just don’t know where it comes from or what I’ve done to deserve it.
LORELAI: You did nothing … Mia showed up for a visit and I told her about our plans and she’s talking about selling the Independence Inn and it just wigged me out a little. It’s stupid, I don’t know, but that was our home for so long, mine and Rory’s.

During a pretty standard Friday night argument, Emily and Lorelai actually reach out and express their feelings to each other. (It’s interesting that Emily’s perception that Lorelai can be very harsh is exactly how Lorelai must often feel about Emily).

Unfortunately, whenever Lorelai is honest about how she feels, it often has the effect of hurting Emily. In this case, she has to hear that Lorelai thinks of the Independence Inn as she and Rory’s “home”, and is reminded that it’s the place where Rory grew up. Although she forgives Lorelai for her outburst, and says she understands, she is clearly hurt to hear the emotional attachment Lorelai still has to Mia and the Independence.

In this scene, Lorelai makes it sound as if the Independence was their home for many years, even though they only spent two or three years in the potting shed (as Lorelai said it’s where they lived when Rory was a baby). Possibly as Lorelai proved her worth, Mia was able to move she and Rory into more suitable accommodation in the inn, such as staff quarters. It may be that Richard and Emily only began visiting them at the inn after this point, which is why they never knew about the potting shed days.


RORY: I wonder if Grandpa’s still in Akron?
LORELAI: Well for Akron’s sake, I hope he’s moved on to Boise.

Boise is the capital of Idaho, a city with a population of around 240 000. It’s more than two thousand miles from Akron, so not a natural place to “move on to” from there.

David Lynch, previously discussed, grew up in Boise. As he’s Amy Sherman-Palladino’s favourite director, I expect that’s why it rates a mention.