Monday, February 23, 2015

Cordia's Review of S2E4 - The Road Trip to Harvard

The Road Trip to Harvard
Season 2, Episode 4
Original airing: October 23, 2001

My Rating: 68

The Good:
As a follow up to the end of the engagement, this episode did alright. I’m really glad there was a scene with Rory expressing her feelings about it all. Rory has a strong point when she states that it was unfair for Lorelai to make a unilateral decision that highly affected both of their lives and then refuse to even discuss it. Rory may be young, but she’s definitely old enough to have a right to know what’s going on in Lorelai’s head when it concerns both of them. Of course, Lorelai shouldn’t get married if she doesn’t love Max, but her refusal to even discuss the situation is extremely irritating. However, when she finally opened up, it was done in a calm manner that gave the admission some impact. I feel as a viewer that she made the right choice, but in a poor manner.

I found the Bed’n’Breakfast scenes to be entertaining, but on the verge of too much. Luckily, Ladon’s crazy had limited screen time and that kept it from becoming overwhelming. Instead, we got to enjoy some quirkiness which would have been missing from the episode with the short time spent in Stars Hollow. The B’n’Bers were really just filling in for Miss Patty this time around.

Sookie and Luke’s reactions to the cancellation of the wedding were spot on. I loved Sookie just cutting up the cake. She knows that when Lorelai makes a decision, that decision is solid. And Luke’s sudden mood change towards Kirk was a great gag. Naturally, he’s thrilled.

It was also nice to see Emily’s reaction and Lorelai’s reaction to her. This could have been the scene we’ve seen over and over where Emily berates Lorelai, which she starts to do when she thinks she’s been left out of another part of Lorelai’s life. But when she learns the wedding is cancelled, she shows a surprising amount of tact. Of course, Lorelai picks a silly bicker over the gift, but it’s much better than the blow up that could have occurred. It’s great to see the show trying to maintain realism in the development of their relationship. And I think after the veil conversation (S2E2), this was a logical moment for them to have.

What I think this episode did best was refocus the audience’s attention on the future for the Gilmore girls. The trip to Harvard was very good. It was great seeing Rory’s excitement about college paired with Lorelai’s empty nest worries. As Luke says to Lorelai, of course she’s excited and sad at the same time! Lorelai and Rory have been joined at the hip since Rory was born and it will be a huge adjustment to be separated by college.

So it’s good to see Lorelai has a plan to avoid wallowing. The idea of an inn co-owned by Sookie and Lorelai has come up before and been a dream. This is an excellent time for it to start becoming reality.

The Bad:
My bad is still my bad/unknown from last week. Lorelai doesn’t mention any kind of conversation with Max. I feel safe assuming at this point that he does know the wedding is off. With the whole town being informed, it would be bizarrely cruel to allow him to show up that weekend expecting to get married. But I still feel like this is a gap in the storyline that could be easily corrected. Either this episode or last episode, Rory could ask Lorelai what Max’s response was and we’d have this issue solved. However, Max has never really been important to the Max and Lorelai storyline. The show has always completely ignored his existence when he isn’t in a particular scene, so I guess this is just par for the course of his treatment. And while I’m not really concerned about Max, his emotions or his reactions, it would be nice to know Lorelai actually broke up with him, and didn’t just run away.

I was not a fan of Lorelai and Rory wandering in to the open dorm room and making themselves at home. I thought this was a touch too far on the level of decency. I could see them poking their heads in and taking a glance, but sitting down on the bed and at the desk to pick up a stranger’s things was creepy. And I thought the lack of reaction from the girl as they were leaving was wrong.

It’s good to see Lane return, but I’m disappointed overall with the summer in Korea storyline. I’m curious if anything will come of this trip. It was a surprisingly detailed storyline over multiple episodes not to have a purpose. If the purpose was supposed to be just a dramatic moment in the Rory and Lane’s friendship, I think the show really dropped the ball. Rory’s complete lack of care in the earlier episodes sucked all the emotion right out of the story, even with Lane’s freakouts. And the impact of them spending three months apart was complete lost by the time jump over those three months in the last summer. For the viewer it’s been two weeks since we saw Lane. And Rory never even mentioned that she missed her best friend. This could have been handled in a much better manner.

Favorite Moment:
It was wonderful to see Rory and Lorelai outside of the Harvard gates. The perspective of the shot really did make Harvard feel appropriately larger than life. This was a great moment to emphasize the first step in realizing Rory’s lifelong dream.

The Bottom Line:

As a follow-up to the wedding storyline, this episode did pretty well. It’s good to get some explanation and emotion from Lorelai, but I still feel the lack of a conversation with Max. However, using the episode as a transition to put our focus on Harvard and the new inn was well done. In the end, we were able to put the wedding in the past and turn our eyes to the future.

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