[Later that night, Rory walks into her bedroom, turns out the light and tries to go to sleep. A moment later, she turns the light back on, grabs her Yale brochure from her night table and starts reading it. Upstairs, Lorelai is reading the same brochure in her bedroom.]
The episode ends with both the Gilmore girls reading a Yale brochure, so the viewer can tell that Rory is now seriously considering applying, and Lorelai is also trying to get used to the idea.
The application deadline for Yale is immediately after the New Year, in early January, so Rory has time still to put together a good application.
LORELAI: Ah, thank God. ‘Cause you know what not knowing these things does to me.
The first time Rory kissed Dean, she told Lorelai all about it shortly afterwards. Now, two years later, she says she will tell Lorelai all about her first kiss with Jess, as if Lorelai is a best friend, not her mother. The lack of boundaries here is getting a bit worrying.
LORELAI: Don’t study so much that you get brilliant, go mad, grow a big bald egghead and try to take over the world, okay, ’cause I wanna go shoe shopping this weekend.
Lorelai sounds as if she is referring to the fictional character Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the James Bond novels and films, created by British author Ian Fleming. He is a criminal mastermind and the chief antagonist of the series, instantly recognisable from his bald head. He has been played by several actors, but his portrayal by Donald Pleasance is often thought of as “the classic Blofeld”.
Ernest Blofeld gained degrees political history and economics, and also engineering and radionics, but used his formidable intellect for nefarious purposes. He becomes completely insane by the end of the book series, and is obsessed with gaining world domination.
Ernst Blofeld has been often parodied in film and television, including the character of Dr Evil in the Austin Powers movies.
[Rory is studying on the couch as Lorelai walks into the room with two mugs]
LORELAI: Coffee and Ovaltine.
Ovaltine (originally Ovomaltine), a chocolate milk powder which can either be made into a hot or cold drink. It was developed in Switzerland in 1904, and quickly gained international appeal. By 1915 it was being manufactured in the US, among other countries. The drink is particularly popular in Britain, and the British version is also imported in the US.
It seems that Rory doesn’t have coffee before bed, the way Lorelai does. She may have trouble getting to sleep if she drinks coffee late at night, or the Ovaltine is a comforting childhood ritual.
RORY: I wanna say that I’m sorry … For treating you the way I did. For doing all the things you said I did. I am so, so sorry. It’s all my fault. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You were the most amazing boyfriend in the world. You made me so happy. You made me laugh, you made my mother like you, you were nice to my friends, you protected me, you even came with me to that stupid debutante ball … I really did love you. Please believe that … I don’t wanna talk about him. I just came to tell you that I’m truly sorry that I hurt you, and that I’m going to miss you so much, and I just hope that someday you won’t hate me anymore.
DEAN: I hope so, too.
Rory apologises to Dean, taking complete responsibility for the relationship failing. Dean, of course, lets her, as a sign he really wasn’t the amazing boyfriend she says he was. The rose-coloured glasses seem to have started almost the moment Rory and Dean broke up for the second time, and it is troubling that the first thing she does after kissing her new boyfriend Jess is to tell her old boyfriend how much she misses him.
In an earlier season, Rory’s kiss with Tristan helped show her how deep her feelings were for Dean, and how unhappy she was that they broke up. Her kiss with Jess seems to have triggered something similar – perhaps a realisation that she has never had a chance to grieve for the loss of Dean before moving on with Jess. There’s a part of Rory that cannot let go of Dean, and this will lead to unfortunate consequences.
RORY: Do you remember that girl Butterfly who lived in a tree for a year? I can officially attest that she was nuts.
Rory refers to Julia “Butterfly” Hill (born 1974), environmental activist. She is best known for having lived in a 180 foot tall, roughly 1500-year-old California redwood tree for slightly more than two years between 1997 and 1999. Hill lived in the tree, affectionately known as Luna, to prevent loggers from cutting it down. She is the author of the 2000 book The Legacy of Luna and co-author of One Makes the Difference. Her story has often been alluded to in popular music and culture.
Rory climbs a tree in order to reach Dean while he’s in his bedroom, in the same way she climbed a tree to talk to Lane when she was grounded. There is a slight feeling ofRomeo and Juliet, with Rory taking Romeo’s role in talking to Juliet while she’s on her bedroom balcony.
RORY: No, no. This was . . . you were – are . . . it was wonderful, and I look forward to many similar occurrences in the future, but right now, I have to go. Understand?
JESS: Not at all.
RORY: It’s more fun that way, isn’t it?
Rory has to go straight after the kiss because she is going to see Dean. Jess may not have found that explanation quite so quirky and charming. It feels as if Rory is being emotionally dishonest with Jess right from their first kiss as a couple. Unfortunately, one of the things she may have learned from being with Dean is that it isn’t always safe to be honest with your boyfriend.
Although seriously, apart from plot drama, did Rory really have to see Dean right after her first kiss with her new boyfriend? This also feels like “the games beginning” between Rory and Jess.
A 1992 song by English rock band XTC, written by vocalist Andy Partridge, a track from their album Nonsuch. The album was critically acclaimed, and went to #28 in the UK and #97 in the US, topping Rolling Stone’s College Album Chart.
The lyrics extravagantly describe a man feeling dazzled and even slightly frightened when the woman he loves appears out of nowhere with a beauty compared to the goddess Venus. The song plays during the kiss between Jess and Rory, summing up exactly how Jess feels.
JESS: Well, whatever else happens between us, at least we know that part works.
Rory and Jess leave the diner separately, Jess claiming that he has to pick up a part for his car, while Rory needs to get home and study. As Lorelai knew immediately, that meant they were planning to meet somewhere.
When Rory catches up with Jess, they kiss. It’s not their first kiss – that happened at Sookie’s wedding about six months previously. But it is their first kiss as a couple (closely followed by their second kiss as a couple).
It is two weeks since Rory and Dean broke up, so they haven’t rushed into kissing, probably because Luke walked in on them when they tried before. Jess’ comment makes it clear that the physical attraction between them is not going to be a problem, whatever else might be.
The viewer might note from Jess’ comment that he is expecting other types of problems to come between them, which is remarkably foresighted for a teenage boy, or unusually cynical.
It’s lucky that Jess decided to kiss Rory rather than light his cigarette, because it is dangerous to smoke near gas pumps, because of the flammable gasoline fumes in the air. The risk is low, but most gas stations have a policy not to allow smoking, in order to reduce the risk even further. (Does this underline what a “bad boy” Jess is, or suggest that he never intended to light the cigarette?).
Note that Jess is still carrying cigarettes around, even though Luke told him to give up smoking more than a year ago, at the start of Season 2. This scene strongly implies that he never gave up – he pats his pockets as if searching for a lighter.
It is also possible to read the scene as Jess using the cigarettes as props to look cool when Rory shows up, or as Jess being a reformed smoker who is tempted to begin again, or testing his own resolve.