Rory Kisses Jess

After her father leaves to answer a phone call, Rory suddenly sees Jess, and discovers he has moved back to Stars Hollow. Only a complete idiot would fail to realise it was to see Rory again, and Rory isn’t an idiot. She kisses Jess, warning him not to tell anyone what happened, then runs back to her boyfriend Dean with a cheery, “Welcome home!”.

Yep, falling in love with a Gilmore girl isn’t any picnic. Just ask Dean.

The kiss with Jess in this season finale is a counterpart to the kiss Rory had with Dean in the finale of Season 1 as they reunited after breaking up. The first kiss had Dean looming over Rory and grabbing her almost roughly, as if taking possession of her (Jared Padalecki’s height partly explains this). The kiss with Jess, another reunion, is far more gentle and intimate, much more romantic. It feels more like Rory giving herself to Jess, rather than allowing herself to be taken.

Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia were a real life couple during the filming of the show, which is one reason why it appears far more convincing. They are almost too comfortable together for a first kiss.

Jackson Has to Wear a Kilt to the Wedding

Jackson is dismayed when his father hands him a kilt to wear to his wedding on the weekend. It’s a family tradition, and both Jackson’s father and grandfather were married in kilts, suggesting that the Belleville family have Scottish heritage. (Which made more sense when Jackson’s surname was Melville, which is a Scottish surname, while Belleville is French – although there is a historical relationship between France and Scotland, so it’s not unrealistic either).

I am not able to identify Jackson’s tartan – it looks most like a Buchanan Clan tartan, but I suspect it’s fictional.

Note that Jackson’s father is played by the real life father of Jackson Douglas, the actor who plays Jackson Belleville.

Rory Gets Her Cast Removed

When Rory got her cast put on, the doctor said she would need to keep it on for two weeks, but it’s actually been three weeks since the night of the car accident when she gets the cast removed.

Lorelai takes Rory to Dr Ronald Sue, a specialist in orthopaedic medicine – who has an office in Stars Hollow, quite unbelievably. It feels like in Season 1, the writers tried to create a small town in New England that might be a little quirky, or niche, or even slightly magical, but was still a place you could convince yourself might almost exist.

Now it’s only Season 2, but already they are throwing anything into Stars Hollow that suits the plot, so this little town of less than 10 000 people has multiple takeout options which all deliver, a 24-hour pharmacy, a hospital, and an orthopaedic specialist. It feels like very lazy world-building. In this case it seems especially pointless, because there’s no reason Lorelai couldn’t have picked Rory up from school and taken her to an appointment with Dr Sue in Hartford.

Christopher invites himself to the medical appointment, announcing to everyone with self-importance that he’s “the father”, as if Rory has just been born, or like anyone cares. He’s driven from Boston to watch a minor two-minute medical procedure, and now he … drives back again? That makes perfect sense. Is it a hint he isn’t actually in Boston at this point?

Rory wears a red and black tee shirt which says STRANGE 13 to her appointment, as a nice callback to her Emily the Strange sticker.

Inger

MAID: Dinner’s ready, Mrs. Gilmore.

EMILY: Bless you, Inger. Please go tell Mr. Gilmore. He’s in his den.

Emily’s maid for this week is played by Inger Jackson, who was Alexis Bledel’s stand-in on Gilmore Girls. (A stand-in a person who takes the place of a principal actor for rehearsals, camera blocking, or lighting setups). Inger has a few other minor roles in later seasons.

Lorelai Graduates

The moment arrives, and it is Lorelai’s turn to graduate, after three years of studying business at community college. As her name is read out, we discover for the first time that her middle name is Victoria (oddly enough, the last time we saw the name in the show, it was on a gay bar – The Queen Victoria!).

A popular fan theory is that because Richard named Lorelai after his beloved mother, her middle name of Victoria was chosen by Emily, and was perhaps the name she wishes that Lorelai had. It does seem like Emily to choose a name from royalty.

Richard and Emily look at Lorelai graduating with such pride, and I think feeling glad that they have been included in this important event. They could have been snobbish about her graduating from a community college, or even embarrassed that she doesn’t graduate until her thirties. They could have done the bare minimum; shown up, sat at the back, and given a quick congratulations before going home.

Instead they hire a professional filmmaker to record the ceremony, order dozens of corsages so Lorelai can choose whichever one she likes best, and watch Lorelai graduate with expressions of love and pride. They know how hard she has worked, and the struggles she has been through to graduate, so being there for her big moment is very important.

The writer (Daniel Palladino) has left poor Rory stuck on a bus and unable to get there, but it was so that Lorelai could share this touching moment with Richard and Emily – she gets to graduate as a daughter, not a mother, the way she would have if she’d been sent to Vassar when she was a teenager.

It’s slightly unbelievable Richard and Emily are not more concerned about Rory’s absence from the ceremony, but perhaps they don’t want do anything to ruin Lorelai’s special evening.

Bush League

ZACH: This place stunk. It’s Bush League.

Bush League is American slang for something which is of an inferior standard; unsophisticated, unprofessional, mediocre.

The slang comes from baseball, where the small-town teams below the minor league became informally known as the “bush league”, because of their rural origins, and because they often played on rough fields bordered by bushes. The slang dates to the very early twentieth century.

Note that the role of the repellent Zach is portrayed by Seth MacFarlane, who Daniel Palladino (the writer of this episode) worked with on his animated television sitcom, Family Guy.

Shaun Cassidy

LORELAI: Yeah, I never leave home without all the essentials: mirror, makeup, picture of Shaun Cassidy.

Shaun Cassidy (born 1958), singer, actor, writer, and producer. He is the son of Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones and Tony Award-winning actor Jack Cassidy, the half-brother of David Cassidy from The Partridge Family, and the brother of actor Patrick Cassidy.

While still in high school, he signed a record contract and forged a career as a teen pop idol. His biggest hit was “Da Doo Ron Ron”, which went to #1 in 1977. At the same time, he starred in The Hardy Boys Mysteries on television, and had a role on General Hospital.

During the 1980s and 1990s he concentrated on stage acting, performing on Broadway and in the West End. He wrote his first television pilot in 1995 while appearing in Blood Brothers on Broadway alongside David Cassidy, and has gone on to have a successful career as a screenwriter and TV producer.

Lorelai implies she had a crush on Shaun Cassidy when she was a little girl, although also, a bit oddly, that her make-up routine dates to the same period, when she would have been aged 8 to 12. This actually makes more sense for someone Amy Sherman-Palladino’s age, as she would have been around 14 at the end of Cassidy’s pop star career.

It sometimes feels as if the Palladinos forget that the small age gap between them and their fictional character Lorelai would still make a difference in the childhood years, and they can’t just give Lorelai all Amy’s childhood memories.

Rory Finds Jess

[Jess is reading on a bench as Rory walks up behind him]

RORY: Hi.

JESS: How ya doing?

After all the effort Rory has made to come to New York, apparently on a whim, she seemingly just walks in a side gate of Washington Square Park and finds Jess straight away (Rory is looking pretty fresh for someone who’s been on a bus for hours and just had a long walk). He’s sitting helpfully on a prominent park bench right at the entrance. It is now presumably somewhere between midday and 12.30 pm.

I know Jess was very lucky, phoning Rory when Lorelai was drunk and had the stereo on loudly so they could talk in private, but it’s nothing to Rory’s luck in finding Jess! All she had to go on was that he often hung out in Washington Square Park, and without making any plans to meet at a particular day, place, or time, it looks as if she turns up and Jess is right there. I mean, even if Jess was in the park, it’s ten acres – it could take hours to search for him. And lucky he hadn’t gone to the toilet or to lunch just as she arrived!

It would have been more believable if Rory and Jess had some sort of agreement to meet in New York, but that would have made Rory much more sneaky, treacherous, and selfish. It has to seem completely spontaneous, so that the relationship between Rory and Jess can remain innocent.

None of the scenes in this episode were actually filmed in New York – they were all shot at the Warner Bros lot in California. This scene takes place in New York Park, Burbank. There is no side gate such as the one Rory walks through, and if she approached Washington Square Park straight down Fifth Avenue, she would come to the main entrance, with the famous archway. Needless to say, it doesn’t look like Washington Square Park, and the real park is far more crowded, especially on a sunny spring afternoon around lunchtime.

“Community colleges have ceremonies”

RORY: Well, community colleges have ceremonies.

LORELAI: My community college doesn’t even have a lawn, they won’t necessarily have a ceremony.

Rory is correct: community colleges have graduation ceremonies, like any other college. You don’t need a lawn – they can be held in an auditorium, theatre, gym or even a separate hired venue.

The fact that Lorelai’s college isn’t having one, only her business class as a separate event, is obviously just to fit in with the restrictions of filming the episode.

Mystery Breakfast Spot

LORELAI: We have arrived.

RORY: Arrived where? [looks up] Aw, you are without shame.

Somehow Lorelai has led Rory all the way to Sookie’s house without Rory having the slightest idea where they are going. This is even less believable than the time Lorelai took her right to the very gates of Harvard before Rory suspected where they were. How can Rory not remember where Sookie lives?

Once again, we see that Sookie seems to live a long walk from Lorelai’s house, yet somehow it is too close to get in the car and drive to it. Rory says they are in the opposite direction to the business district, and even wonders if they are walking to the next town, suggesting that Sookie lives on the outskirts of Stars Hollow. Yet the area doesn’t look any more rural than Lorelai and Rory’s street – which makes sense, because in real life, Sookie’s house was right next to Lorelai’s!

Lorelai cannot go to the diner for breakfast, because she and Luke are still in a fight over Jess. The show doesn’t make it clear whether Lorelai arranged in advance to have breakfast at Sookie’s, or if they have turned up unannounced first thing in the morning expecting to be fed (which would not be out of character). Either way, Sookie is delighted to have extra people to cook for.