“You didn’t say goodbye”

JESS: I mean, you ditched school and everything. That’s so not you. Why’d you do it?

RORY: Because you didn’t say goodbye.

JESS: Oh. Bye, Rory.

RORY: Bye, Jess.

Only at the very end of their time together does Jess ask Rory why she’s come to see him in New York – out of the blue, and skipping school to do so, which Jess recognises as out of character behaviour for the academically minded Rory.

Rory tells him it’s s because he never said goodbye to her before leaving Stars Hollow, as if she just wants closure. Jess says, “Bye, Rory”, to give her what she asked for, and she says, “Bye, Jess”, but the look she gives him through the bus window is so wistful that it seems as if she really wants him to say, “Hello”, to come back into her life. The bashful smile from Jess suggests he can tell that.

Note that Jess never said goodbye to Rory on the phone either, ending their conversation with “See ya”, as if he expected their relationship to continue at some point. That seems to be enough encouragement for Rory to come to New York, as if taking “see ya” as an invitation to come see Jess.

44th Street

TOURIST: Excuse me, I’m so sorry to bother you. Which way is 44th?

RORY: Oh, um, that way.

44th Street is two blocks north of the bus terminal, and Rory has sent the tourist south instead. As Jess says, they will hopefully soon notice that the street numbers are getting smaller rather than bigger, and turn around. (The tourist made a rookie mistake by not asking at least one other person for directions!).

44th Street is in the theatre district, with numerous hotels, clubs and restaurants the tourist may have been looking for. It’s also the site of The Algonquin Hotel, at 59 West 44th Street, so this minor interaction feels like a hidden homage to Dorothy Parker.

The Go-Go’s

JESS: Go-Go’s. You must have that one.

RORY: No, for my mom. This was her favorite group when she was my age, and it’s signed by Belinda. This would be the perfect graduation present. I’ve been looking for something all week long, and I couldn’t find anything and now I have Belinda.

The Go-Go’s, rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1978, the classic line-up consisting of Charlotte Caffey on lead guitar and keyboards, Belinda Carlisle on lead vocals, Gina Schock on drums, Kathy Valentine on bass guitar, and Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar. They are widely considered the most successful all-female rock band of all time.

Originating in the punk scene of the 1970s, their 1981 debut album Beauty and the Beat went to #1 on the Billboard charts – the first (and so far, only) time this has been achieved by an all-female group writing their own material and playing their own instruments. Considered a cornerstone of the new wave movement, it had two major hits – “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got the Beat” (#2). It spent six weeks at the top of the charts, and sold more than two million copies. Their follow-up albums were Vacation (1982) and Talk Show (1984).

The Go-Go’s broke up in 1985 to follow solo careers, and have regrouped several times in order to tour together. Their most recent album is God Bless The Go-Go’s (2001), and they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011. Although their 2016 performance was billed as a farewell tour, they remain active. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

I’m not sure, but I think the album that Rory picks out is their first one, Beauty and the Beat. You can only see the back of it, but it has the same colour scheme as the debut album. It is signed by Belinda Carlisle (born 1958), the band’s lead vocalist. She had a successful solo career in the 1980s, with such hits as “Mad About You”, “I Get Weak”, and “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, the last reaching #1.

Note this is another all-female rock band that Lorelai likes.

“I’ve been hurt before”

JESS: Oh, come on, let me see your withering stare.

RORY: It’s dangerous. I could hurt you.

JESS: I’ve been hurt before.

A serious statement masquerading as a joke. Jess truly has been hurt by life, and he’s probably also been hurt by Rory, and her efforts to keep him at bay and continue seeing Dean, even as it became increasingly clear that she didn’t really want him any more. Jess comes this close to saying, “You’ve hurt me before”. Don’t worry Jess – Rory has more emotional pain in store for you!

Note that Jess and Rory walk past a florist’s, a romantic symbol, but it’s selling balloons – condoms can also be used as balloons. The car driving past has a licence plate of INQ 069 – ink + 69, as if writing and sexual attraction is what’s drawing Rory and Jess together. Sex, romance, reading; the holy trinity of Rory and Jess!

(This is the second licence plate ending with 69 I’ve noticed, so it might be a running joke, although last time it could have been highlighting the sexual attraction between Lorelai and Christopher).

Rory Skips School

Rory walks through Chilton’s front gates with Paris, Paris doing all the talking. As Paris heads to her locker, Rory looks around apprehensively, then walks back through the gates. She’s not only skipping school but also missing out on a meeting of the school paper which she told Lorelai she had after school, meaning she wouldn’t be at the graduation ceremony until 6 pm. This doesn’t seem like something a really keen journalist would do. Perhaps Rory hopes to make it back to school in time for the meeting.

Skipping school for no reason, especially at this crucial point of the school year, seems like something Chilton wouldn’t be very impressed about (let alone Paris). However, we never see Rory face any consequences for it. Perhaps she made up the work she missed, or Lorelai wrote the school a note or something to explain her absence.

Note that even while approaching the school with Paris, Rory is already looking away as if wishing she was somewhere else, or looking for an escape route.

Rory’s Fashion Advice

RORY: Take light layers. Wear your turquoise and tan dress that you just got that’s cool and it’ll look good without your gown on, and wear your turquoise vintagey sweater over it because it’ll look great with the dress and it’ll keep you warm if it’s cold in the auditorium.

LORELAI: You are a fashion genius.

RORY: Well, you’ve taught me everything I know.

Rory’s fashion advice to Lorelai is a callback to “Kiss and Tell” in Season 1, when a panicked Rory can’t decide what to wear for her first date with Dean until Lorelai picks out a top for her. Now it is Rory’s turn to help out her mother when she is too keyed up about graduating to select an outfit.

I’m not sure whether we’re meant to think Rory has become a full-blown fashion expert in the past 18 months, or just that either Gilmore girl is capable of getting the odd brain freeze, and needs the other to help out so they can get dressed. The shows seems to be leaning towards the former, because Rory was so stunned at the way her mother could instantly pick the right top.

Also note, Rory Gilmore’s fashion genius advice – wear layers, no headwear over curls. You got that for free.

Jess Phones Rory

Jess phones Rory out of the blue – conveniently it’s at a time that Lorelai is celebrating the end of her exams and too drunk to notice or care, so they are able to talk privately in Rory’s bedroom. And Lorelai is playing loud music in the living room, so there’s no chance of Lorelai overhearing their conversation. Jess has been extraordinarily lucky in the time he chose to phone up!

It’s now two weeks since Jess left Stars Hollow, and he makes contact with Rory, but neither of them know what to say to each other – and Jess soon says he needs to go when he learns that Lorelai is in the house with Rory. (He’s on a payphone on a pavement, so can’t really talk properly anyway). This intriguing yet unsatisfying phone conversation is what propels Rory into one of her rare, yet surprisingly regular, moments of madness.

Notice that when the phone rings, Lorelai jokes that if it’s Mick Jagger to blow a whistle and hang up. She’s earlier said she wanted to keep her children away from Mick Jagger, and suggests using a whistle to deter him – in other words, activating an anti-rape device designed to raise an alarm and gain people’s attention to your plight. Jess is definitely someone Lorelai wants kept away from her kid, and the suggestion of rape seems like a foreshadowing of later events.

Lorelai and Luke Meet at the Market

LORELAI: Hey Luke, do you think we could –

LUKE: I gotta get back.

After awkwardly running into each other at Doose’s Market, Lorelai attempts a reconciliation, but Luke evades her overture by saying he has to get back to work. He is not ready to forgive her yet, and it’s another sign to Lorelai that Jess being gone has not really solved any of her problems.

I’m not sure what Luke came into the market for, but he’s just left without buying anything, so whatever it was, he didn’t get it!

Note that Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal is shown in the background, which was so prominent in the scene where Lorelai discovers Jess will be moving to Stars Hollow.

“Richard was dead set against letting her drive that deathmobile”

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“.

Bees

EMILY: How did this [Rory’s fractured wrist] happen?

LORELAI: Bees.

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?).