Swan Attack

JESS: I was attacked by a swan. Okay, you happy? A stupid swan.
LUKE: Now, how ’bout the real story?

Luke professes disbelief that Jess’ black eye came from a swan attack. Swans are notoriously aggressive during breeding season, and can do some damage when provoked – generally of the bruising variety, rather than breaking bones or anything. Breeding season is April to June, and this is February, but if you’re unlucky, swans can attack at any time.

I’m not sure why Luke doesn’t believe Jess at first, nor why Jess is too embarrassed to tell Rory the truth. For that matter, why is everyone so sure that Dean gave Jess the black eye? Had it happened before? Does Dean seem that dangerous? And if she believes Dean did hurt Jess, why is Rory angry at Jess, rather than Dean?

An interesting point to ponder: most swan-related injuries actually occur when the person is running away from the swan – falling over and cutting their knee, or getting a branch in their eye running through trees. (In one unfortunate case, drowning while trying to escape). Is it possible that this is really how Jess got a black eye, and is this why he is so embarrassed?

Swan Song

A swan song is the final performance or activity in a person’s career, because according to folklore, swans sing beautifully just before they die.

Although this episode does have swans in it, they don’t sing, nor does it involve anyone dying, doing a performance, or ending their career. However, this is the source of the episode title.


LANE: Everybody’s still married. It’s like a factory system here. They all come to the weddings, find a spouse, get married and stay that way ’til they die.
RORY: They mate for life, like the loons.

A loon is the American name for the water bird which is otherwise known as a “diver”. Contrary to popular belief, they rarely mate for life.


LUKE: Why didn’t you tell me?
LORELAI: I don’t know. I just felt stupid getting rooked into the thing in the first place, and then . . . plus, you don’t wanna hear about my personal life.

Rook, informal language meaning to cheat or swindle, especially in a game of cards. The word in this sense dates to the 16th century, and is assumed to be after the bird, a member of the crow family, regarded as very cunning.

I can’t see how Lorelai was actually tricked into going fishing – Alex asked if she liked fishing, and she said yes! Maybe she means she tricked herself. After all, she was the only one who was in any way deceptive.


LORELAI: What are you people doing?
LADAWN: We’re watching hummingbirds.
WOMAN: They’re still out there if you wanna scooch in.
MAN: They’re the darndest things. Flap their wings a hundred times a second. It’s an engineering marvel.

The hummingbirds the B&Bers are watching are most likely Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochis colubris), the most common hummingbird in the eastern states of the US, and found during the summer months. Other species of hummingbird have only been rarely sighted in Connecticut. Unfortunately for this episode, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are solitary and aggressive towards others of its kind, so there would not be multiple hummingbirds to see all at once.

This species of hummingbird can flap its wings up to eighty times a second – quite close to a hundred times a second.