Season 2, Episode 1
Original airing: 10/9/2001
My Rating: 57
This episode picks right up from the finale of Season 1 and it’s full steam ahead with the proposal storyline. I like that Max is living up to his word and giving Lorelai space to think. It makes her eventual acceptance feel more heartfelt.
Rory’s excitement over the proposal really helps sell the whole thing. If she was at all hesitant, it would be really weird for Lorelai to accept. So having both girls on board is very fun and makes for a super cute scene at the first Friday Night Dinner.
I also really like the importance the episode put on Lorelai telling Luke about the whole thing. It was a great touch to have the whole town interested in this moment, though it perhaps crossed the line in to a bit too silly with the literal window watching. But it was still a great scene. Of course, Luke would immediately bring up all the practical questions to spin Lorelai’s head. He does it so craftily, I couldn’t help but smile the whole time.
The final third of the episode fell primarily into The Bad for me, except for the very end. Emily’s reaction to Sookie’s phone call was fantastic and my Favorite Moment.
I was not a fan of Lane’s subplot. While she seems genuinely concerned, Rory doesn’t act at all worried that she’s losing her best friend to Korea for goodness knows how long. And I was not a fan of the luggage shot. It was too ridiculous of a visual and reminded me of a sitcom gag. It just felt very out of place to me in the Gilmore Girls reality.
I was also disappointed by the ring conversation on the phone with Max and Rory. Rory was beyond obvious by repeating everything Max said to Lorelai. And I figured, Max must know! But then his reaction is surprise that Lorelai is listening! Again, it felt like a poorly done sitcom joke. It was too long and drawn out and I didn’t find it humorous at all.
But the entire second Friday Night Dinner was where I really struggled with this episode. I think Lorelai’s eventual explanation is fine (Richard is worried Rory will ditch her future for a guy), but his behavior is out of character and inexcusable. While his reasoning is sound and I think his concerns are valid in his own eyes, I just don’t see him as someone who could stand to be that rude to someone else’s face. He should be much better at hiding his feelings and being subtly subversive. It was the outright pouting and anger that felt so out of place to me. And having it be so bad that even Emily feels the need to step in was just bizarre.
Overall, I think this would have been a much more successful sequence if Richard had been more in control of himself. I know he has a similar reaction during the aborted dinner with Christopher’s parents in S1E15, but it just doesn’t work to turn the same kind of emotion on to a 16 year old boy.
I feel so bad for Sookie to be unwitting bearer of news and conflict for Emily and Lorelai. But this was a great way to reveal the engagement to Emily and help her really stand up for Rory. While she’s moderately supportive at the dinner, this is when she really steps up and tells Richard to suck it up. She’s truly aware that if they want a good lasting relationship with their granddaughter they’ll have to handle things very differently than they did with Lorelai. We’ve seen glimpses of this in past episodes, but here is where it seems to really hit home.
Kelly Bishop’s stoic face to Richard and subsequent break down in the hallway really make this moment a well-acted punch to the gut.
The Bottom Line:
The majority of this episode was great. Having Lorelai work her way through her own thought process (and Luke’s) to her decision on the proposal was really necessary. And Rory’s support of the idea was fantastic. But the subplots with Lane and Dean were really poorly done in my eyes and detracted from the episode as a whole.