Red Light on the Wedding Night
Season 2, Episode 3
Original airing: October 16, 2001
My Rating: 54
This episode brings the Max wedding storyline to a relatively satisfying close. The show does a nice job of foreshadowing the breakup with Lorelai’s phone call to Christopher and Luke’s delivery of the chuppa. And Lorelai’s decision makes sense beyond her dress reason as we see her and Max fail to integrate their lives together.
Lorelai and Max’s fights are finally some of the ones we’ve been looking for and haven’t seen in past episodes. Their about reality and how their lives are going to look in the future. Max wants to know his role in being Rory’s step-father and he wants to feel comfortable in the house he’ll be living in. And Lorelai blocks him step by step in an unconscious manner which clearly shows she’s not ready to have him around all the time. This is a rare episode in that we can see Lorelai’s wheel’s turning as she figures some things out. It’s often as Dean describes where the Gilmore girls do crazy things and the why is clear later. This episode actually steps through Lorelai’s realization that marrying Max isn’t actually what she wants to do.
Along with the fights, we have Lorelai calling Christopher in her time of confusion. When she’s concerned about her wedding, she reaches out to Rory’s father. It’s, again, perfectly natural and a great way to show that maybe Max isn’t the guy for her.
My favorite visual notice of the episode was Lorelai and Luke standing under the chuppa on her lawn. This was a wink to the audience about the unresolved relationship and feelings between these two and another great hint that Lorelai would not actually go through with marrying Max.
I also loved Rory’s response to Lorelai fleeing her wedding. She wants to know why, but as soon as she hears the response, she’s completely supportive and on board.
Outside of the wedding plot, I really enjoyed Dean and Rory this week. They are finally starting to feel natural and real as a couple. Their body language is so much better and Dean is responding to Rory as if she’s Rory, and not just some other girl. It was great having him give his bits of wisdom to Max. It finally showcased that Dean is not a complete moron while also showing us just how distant Max is from Lorelai and Rory’s reality. He’s been on plenty of dates with Lorelai, but it doesn’t seem like he’s ever hung out at the house or really been around Rory in a non-school manner. So he hasn’t seen much of the Lorelai and Rory dynamic and how they feed off each other.
Finally, it was great fun to see Taylor in fine form this week. Putting in an unnecessary traffic light just because he can is a great way for this particular busybody to feel important. Taylor always seems to want to fix things that aren’t broken and this little subplot was a great example. It was a very cute joke to indicate that the light will also be the slowest light ever if we extrapolate the amount of time it’s taking for Stars Hollow’s oldest resident to cross the street.
My big problem with this episode is the question not asked at the end. Rory does a great job of finding out why Lorelai doesn’t want to get married, but she doesn’t ask if Lorelai has told Max. I think this is crucial to how much sympathy I’m going to feel for her. If she did, I can totally get behind her decision to flee town and all the comments she’ll get from the people who live there. But if she hasn’t told Max, this is an incredibly cruel and cowardly course of action.
It’s impossible to tell if this is an oversight of the show which will never be addressed or if it’s intended as a kind of cliff hanger. If it’s something that will be handled in the future, I can reserve judgment. If we never hear from Max again, I think this was poorly done.
While it wasn’t the best moment of the episode in terms of story or character, my favorite moment was definitely the visual shot of Luke and Lorelai under the Chuppa. It was fantastic foreshadowing and a great nod to the audience about this particular will they, won’t they situation.
The Bottom Line:
I thought the first part of this episode was great. People’s reactions were honest and natural, I enjoyed Dean’s role (which is very rare), and it wrapped up the first bit of season two quite nicely. However, it’s hard for me to give this glowing praise without knowing if Max knows the wedding is off. Having this one loose thread makes me worry that Lorelai is doing possibly one of the cruelest things she’s ever done by running away, which puts her in a light I’m not ready to handle and completely changes my perception of the entire episode.