Season 3, Episode 3
Original airing: October 8, 2002
My Rating: 62
There was a lot to like in this episode with the progression of the Harvard storyline, Luke and Taylor’s battle, and Lane’s band storyline.
It’s nice to see Rory going through the steps of achieving her dream to attend Harvard. She’s been preparing for a long time by being a good student and getting in to Chilton. We’ve also seen her work on additional aspects of her education including the school paper and volunteering to help build a house. It’s nice to see it all coming together as her application arrives in the mail.
I wasn’t a huge fan of how we got to the Springsteen lunch (See The Bad), but I liked what resulted from it. The Springsteens were an over-the-top depiction of what life could be like surrounded by highly educated people. They’re over-excited about all things intellectual and it was very interesting to watch Rory be simultaneously drawn in by the conversation and a bit repulsed by the attitudes and mannerisms. It all combined very nicely with her conversation with Carol.
Carol makes Rory think about some really excellent points. Why does she really want to go to Harvard? Is it because it’s been Lorelai’s dream for her since she was born or does she really want to attend? It was nice to see Rory state her intentions but I hope we also see her continuing to ponder this as the stress continues.
Luke and Taylor’s storyline was extremely entertaining. I loved everything from Taylor’s not-so-sneaky photo taking to his underhanded use of Stars Hollow’s impressionable young men to his ridiculous “professional” diorama with the gigantic horse and tiny Jackson. It was all that perfect level of crazy that we sometimes get from Stars Hollow residents. I really liked the tiny moment where Luke gives in on everything because Lorelai gives him puppy eyes and says she wants a soda shop. And the cherry on top was Kirk asking for a job at Luke’s fictional skateboard and bottle shop AND the soda shop. Any opportunity to work for minimum wage, eh, Kirk?
Last, but definitely not least, was the continuation of Lane’s band storyline. Her passion becomes clearer and clearer as we see her blending her love of all styles of music with her drumming. I don’t think she was in a single scene in this episode where she didn’t reference at least a half dozen different bands. Keiko Agena is able to inject such a vibrant love of all things music in to every line she speaks and it’s wonderful to see the character being given opportunities to shine. The introduction of Dave Rygalski was the perfect “meet cute” for the pair. This is an incredibly natural way for Lane to meet her next love interest and creates a perfect reason for her to keep this relationship secret from her mom after the last one blew up in her face concerning Henry.
While I enjoyed some of the, I believe, unintended consequences of the Springsteen lunch, I was not a fan of how the show brought us to that storyline. The most unfortunate part of this is that it feels quite similar to the Season 2 episode – Hammers and Veils. We have the same idea of Rory suddenly discovering she needs an additional edge to get in to Harvard. The frustrating thing about this take on the story is that it seems like Rory would already have significantly researched applying to Harvard and would have known for a long time what she could do to improve her chances of being successful. It just doesn’t fit her academic personality to assume that she hasn’t looked in to what will be an incredibly significant step in achieving her life-long dream.
It also really bothered me that the exposition for this storyline came from the panelists. Their presentation made them seem quite cruel and uncaring about the young people they were supposed to be helping. Their comments are demeaning and heartless.
The other thing that bothered me was Rory and Dean’s conversation at the end of the episode. This feels like the show pointing out more things that are falling apart in their relationship. While I don’t disagree that this is an important conversation, it just didn’t feel to me like one that they were going to have with the level of communication in their relationship. I didn’t find it believable that Dean would bring this up in such a blunt manner and force Rory to discuss it.
I really enjoyed Lane and Dave’s introduction. It was very sweet when she blurted out “I love you! I mean, I love that about you!” They are extremely adorable together.
The Bottom Line:
I loved the subplots in this episode and I thought there was some very interesting subtext to the main plot, but the overall story of “Rory is panicking about Harvard, again” didn’t play out.