Season 2, Episode 13
Original airing: February 5, 2002
My Rating: 68
Jess is finally making his big move and it seems to be working. Dean is being quite helpful by crossing some boundaries with Lorelai. The set up for the final scene worked quite well.
It’s easy to sympathize with Jess in this episode because he’s presented as clever, thoughtful, and connected to Rory. He knows how to push her buttons to get a smile. And his easy going attitude is contrasted with the worst version of Dean. I find this rather impressive because what Jess is doing is actually kind of despicable. Yes, Dean is being irritating, but he’s still in a relationship with Rory which Jess is actively attempting to undermine. The theft of Rory’s bracelet is also pretty bad, especially since he knows it’s a bracelet Dean gave to her and not just a random trinket. And yet, the show is able to present these things as kind of cute and use them in a way that gets me to like Jess and feel connected to his relationship with Rory.
I loved how the episode tricked Lorelai and Luke in to a mini-pseudo-date. Miss Patty’s meddling was a perfect catalyst for Lorelai to turn to the one man she can trust to buy her basket. Watching them have lunch together in the gazebo was adorable.
This was a fantastic resolution to Lane and Henry’s non-relationship. All of Lane’s manipulations have finally caught up with her and, while I feel sad for her, I appreciated Henry having the courage to cut her loose. He’s a nice guy and deserves more than a double honk drive-by relationship. I also loved how the show used Lane’s self-realizations to reveal the relationship to Mrs. Kim. Her reactions were wonderful. On a more meta note, I liked that Lane’s hidden relationship crumbles as Rory seems to be beginning one with Jess. Nice symmetry.
Finally, Jackson and Sookie are adorable. While I thought Sookie’s ditziness was a little heavy handed, it worked for the two of them. Their fight is simple and makes for a nice subplot. It allowed for a fantastic scene between Jackson and Kirk which really played up and expanded on Kirk’s awkward life history. That was an unexpected note. And, of course, it led to perhaps the simplest, most low-key, yet highly emotional screen proposal I can remember. Beautiful.
I found it strange that Dean seems to be taking Jess’ actions as a personal attack against himself instead of pretty obvious attempts to get close to Rory. But Dean doesn’t seem as concerned about Jess sneaking in to Rory’s affections as he does Jess “getting one over” on him, in a sense. It makes Dean’s anger look out of place and awkward.
But that’s really quite secondary to the persistent issue of Dean’s recurrent jealousy. It’s been worn so thin as a plot device it’s practically see-through. As I’ve said in past reviews, if Dean was meant and understood by other characters to be a jealous guy, this would be fine. I wouldn’t like it, but I’d understand it better. But when he’s continually spoken of as being a wonderful, mature boyfriend for Rory, this kind of behavior just doesn’t work. While he has cause in this episode to be upset, he takes it out on the wrong people – namely, Rory and Lorelai. He’s really shooting himself in the foot and it’s a little too obvious to feel organic.
The final shot of Rory sneaking in to her room to talk to Jess on the phone was excellent. It’s a great comment on their relationship. It’s not often we see Rory hide things from Lorelai and now she’s lying and sneaking to do just that. Their phone call is adorable and the sexual tension is pretty strong. There’s an undeniable connection between them. Everything is interestingly underscored by Jess playing with Rory’s bracelet at the same time. As I mentioned above in The Good, the show does a nice job of using something that should be a jerk move (and honestly a bit creepy) to actually make me like Jess more. Out of context, stealing an emotional piece of jewelry from someone is a crappy thing to do. But here, because it’s Jess who’s in to Rory and the bracelet is from Dean, who’s a jerk to Rory in this episode, it totally works.
The Bottom Line:
This was a highly enjoyable episode about relationships. Some are crumbling while others rise and the whole journey was pretty gripping. While I continue to wish Dean’s character on paper would align more with the presentation in each episode, it didn’t overly detract from my experience this time.