Season 1, Episode 9
Original airing: December 20, 2000
My Rating: 68
This was a pretty great episode and I think a large part of that was the two location focus. There’s a bit at the beginning, but mostly the action is in the Gilmore house with Lorelai and Emily and at the dance with Rory and Dean.
Seeing Lorelai and Emily interact is generally pretty wonderful. The actresses are both fantastic and, even at this early stage, really seem to understand their characters and respective back stories. I loved Emily taking care of Lorelai. It was really touching to see Lorelai realize how much her mother needs to care for her and then allowing her to do so. It was really sweet and shows there were good times between them in the past.
While I wasn’t a fan of the first act in Rory and Dean’s dance story (see the Bad), I thought the rest was pretty well handled. Dean was very sweet at the dance by standing up to Louise and asking Rory to slow dance. And I even liked his face-off with Tristan. Did it look like two stupid boys to me? Heck yeah. Did it seem accurate for both of these alpha male characters to fight over Rory? Double yeah.
I thought the show did a pretty believable job of setting up the ending as well. Rory and Dean ducking in to a safe, warm place like Miss Patty’s felt logical and falling asleep reading is definitely a Rory thing.
Which led to a fantastic rolling fight for the end of the episode! When the stress of Rory’s disappearance got to Emily and Lorelai, they fell right back in on their old patterns. They can get along, but it’s not their ingrained attitudes or behaviors. And I really like that they brought up the fact that Lorelai’s pregnancy was a bad thing at 16, and yet resulted in the wonderful child of Rory. I’ve often thought about how this situation would affect the relationships between all three generations of Gilmores.
I really liked how Lorelai dragged Rory into the fight after Emily left. She’s panicked, stressed out, and, despite arguing for the life she’s built, does not want the same path for Rory. Overall, the final battle felt very realistic from all sides and I think that’s quite an achievement.
While I really liked the majority of this episode, I thought the first third was just awkward. The scene where Rory asks Dean to the dance was really bizarre. I was honestly thrown to think Dean wouldn’t want to go. He’s spent the last eight episodes basically doing everything in his power to spend time with Rory. He’s been very confident and comfortable with himself. So this felt out of the blue and weirdly disinterested. He was actually pretty rude and condescending about the whole thing.
On a more minor note, is Paris really so oblivious? Her rant at Rory was pretty much the definition of contrived and awkward.
While it wasn’t a happy moment, I really liked the whole fight at the end. It brought up complex issues and feelings in a very believable manner between all three Gilmore ladies.
The Bottom Line:
The first act wasn’t very strong, but the majority of this episode was a nice focus on Rory and Dean as a couple and Emily and Lorelai as mother and daughter.