Teach Me Tonight
Season 2, Episode 19
Original airing: April 30, 2002
My Rating: 82
When I asked for forward progression on the triangle between Rory, Jess, and Dean, I certainly didn’t expect Jess to be on the losing side! And Dean wasn’t even there!
This was a really interesting twist. Rory finally lets her guard down and Jess immediately (though accidentally) hurts her. This feels like an extremely literal representation of the damage Jess could do to Rory’s feelings if they actually pursued each other.
The lead up to the car crash was very good. Jess is flunking in school because he doesn’t care, so Luke asks the one person Jess respects to be his tutor. Luke’s reasons for asking Rory are pretty much spot on. She’s smart, she’s studious, Jess respects her, she’s on the educational path that Luke wants to encourage Jess to take… it’s all perfect on paper. Of course, in reality, Jess just wants to spend time with Rory and he’d rather do that without the distraction of studying.
Lorelai continues to use her keen mom senses and is against Jess studying with Rory, but her reason is pretty much “I don’t like Jess”. At that point, it’s hard to argue with her simple desire to protect her daughter. But her reverse logic of “I was right because Jess proven me right by hurting Rory” is naturally flawed. Because of this, I was able to be on board with Luke’s defensive nature when Lorelai is yelling at him. The crux of the matter is the car accident was an accident. Rory and Luke know that, but Lorelai doesn’t care. Everyone’s responses to the situation were really good and made excellent sense for their stance on Jess as a person. As an audience member, I empathized and supported everyone at the same time.
I found it very interesting that Rory asked Lorelai to lie to Dean for her. Lorelai seems to oppose it as a means to convince Rory that she shouldn’t be spending time with Jess. She doesn’t seem to acknowledge what Rory actually says about Dean. She states that they both know Dean wouldn’t be happy with Rory spending any time in Jess’ presence. We now have another example of Rory avoiding Dean’s anger by lying to him. We saw it in S2E15 “Lost and Found” about the missing bracelet and again in S2E16 “There’s the Rub” when Dean found Jess and Paris at the Gilmore house. Is the show finally acknowledging that Dean’s responses can be over the top?
I absolutely adore Christopher’s response to the situation. He drops everything, drives through the night, and tracks down his daughter to be at her side. It’s incredibly sweet and shows he can be a good dad when the chips are down. I’m really glad the show resolved the fight Christopher and Lorelai had in S2E14 “It Should Have Been Lorelai”. At the time, I wondered if it would just be ignored depending on the amount of time that would pass before we might see Christopher again. It appears that it has been a persistent issue of Lorelai and Christopher refusing to speak to each other since then.
This was a good way to handle it. With Rory injured, both Christopher and Lorelai realize that nothing else really matters very much. They make up and move on with what needs to be done to help Rory.
The movie story line was very cute and an excellent nonsense background to the heavy drama. Taylor’s glee when he drops the literal book on Lorelai’s movie choices was palpable. It was kind of nice to have a story where Lorelai eats her words by the end. Of course, Kirk gives her the perfect fuel to put her own spin on the occasion. One has to wonder which came first – the idea of making a movie with Kirk in it to put in the show or the actor who played Kirk presenting the movie already made and the show finding an excuse to use it.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this episode. The things that annoyed me were small and rather insignificant. For example, I rolled my eyes when I saw that the hospital was actually called Stars Hollow Hospital. We know that this town is basically the square and some outlying houses and everyone knows everyone else. So the idea of our tiny setting having a hospital is a bit crazy. Why couldn’t this hospital just be in Hartford?
It was also strange to prove Jess is skipping class by having him sneak in to class 15 minutes before the end. Why not show him actually skipping class?
The other little thing was the presentation of the information that Jess has left town. Miss Patty and Babette gossiping about this was fine, but would they really be so incredibly insensitive as to do it five feet from the Gilmore girls? I would have found it more believable if Babette had walked up and asked Lorelai about it directly, perhaps assuming she had more information.
Of course, with Dean gone, I can’t help but wonder what his reaction will be to the events of this episode. The car he built for Rory was smashed while being driven by his rival and Rory was injured in the process. Which will win? Anger at Rory for being with Jess? Anger at Jess for injuring Rory and crashing the car? Concern for Rory’s injury? I honestly have no idea.
I’m also curious to see Emily and Richard’s reaction to Rory’s broken wrist. They often disapprove of Lorelai’s parenting. Will this be a wedge between them?
It was a surprise to hear that Jess was on a bus out of town. After Luke’s speech concerning family, it was an unexpected twist. Was it Jess’ idea? Why did Luke give up on getting Jess to graduate high school? Is Jess going back to his mom? Will she send him right back to Stars Hollow?
Finally, what’s up with Christopher avoiding Sherry’s name like the plague? He wouldn’t even say it out loud and deflected Rory and Lorelai when they brought her up. Trouble in paradise?
The moment that touched me the most was the visual of Lorelai sleeping in Rory’s room, only to awake and find Christopher next to her. It was incredibly sweet.
The Bottom Line:
This was a pretty exciting episode. A lot happened which will likely have some wide repercussions. I enjoyed what occurred with Rory and Jess as well as the events connected to Christopher, Lorelai, and Luke, but I’m also really excited to see how these events continue to affect the characters.