One’s Got Class and the Other One Dyes
Season 3, Episode 4
Original airing: 10/15/2002
My Rating: 67
Lane really got to shine this week. She’s joined Dave’s band after the last episode and is pseudo-rocking out in the music store. Her sad panic attack about her mother hearing them from blocks away is wonderfully soothed by Dave. I love when he tells her she won’t be the band’s Pete Best, an excellent Beatles reference saying he won’t leave her behind.
Lane’s attempts to tell her mom about the band were perfectly cut short by Mrs. Kim’s stack of curated college applications. I loved watching Lane channel a small part of Mrs. Kim as she tries to work up the courage to get off the stairs. Her tone of voice and facial expressions when she orders her feet to move really match Mrs. Kim’s style of speaking to her daughter.
All of this spins wonderfully in to Lane’s relatively impulsive decision to dye her hair. It is an excellent rebellion idea because she can’t hide it the way she hides her CD collection in the floor. She undergoes pain and fear in the process of dying her hair and is thrilled with the results. But in the end she realizes she’s not ready for this step and sends Rory back to the store for black hair dye. Her panic when she hears her mother come home is spot on and beautifully acted. I also love how she holds on to the sense of rebellion when Rory points out that her hair may be black, but it’s still dyed.
A few other good things were going on in this episode. It’s always nice to see Luke and Lorelai engaging in heavy flirtation and we got a small bit of illumination on Jess’ feelings about the Rory situation, but both of those stories had more dragging them down than lifting them up.
The biggest problem with Lorelai’s storyline was that it didn’t seem to have a point. We’re introduced to moms and students we’ve never seen who are hyper aggressive in all of their actions. Lorelai is asked to speak because of her success, she comes prepared to discuss her job, and then handles the barrage of personal questions as well as can be expected. After being attacked by some very brazen students, she’s then attacked on the street by those student’s Stepford moms. She stands up to them, as can be expected, and that’s it. What was the point again?
My problem with the Jess, Rory, and Shane storyline stems more from focus issues than anything else. We get lots of repeat information. We already know Rory is uncomfortable around Shane and jealous of her. We also already know she’s struggling with her feelings for Dean. We got an almost exact duplicate conversation with Lane as the one Rory had with Paris in S3E1 “Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days.” Lane and Paris both point out how lucky Rory is to have a nice guy she loves who loves her back and Rory avoids commenting on this both times. It’s not that any of this is inherently bad, we’ve just seen it before and very recently.
I was particularly thrown off by Rory’s interaction with Shane in the beauty shop. She’s incredibly mean and rude to an extent that I don’t think even an upset Rory would be with a virtual stranger. We’ve seen her express some serious frustration at her mom before, but to this random girl whose only link to Rory is that she’s Jess’ new kind-of girlfriend? It doesn’t sit right and I think that’s because this doesn’t feel like something Rory has any remorse about doing.
The show has done this kind of thing with Lorelai several times where she behaves badly and never apologizes or demonstrates an understanding of her poor behavior. Sometimes it feels like the show wants the audience to support a Gilmore girl being mean, cruel, obnoxious, or otherwise poorly behaved just because she’s a Gilmore girl. That’s not really a good reason and it would be nice to see that Rory realizes how awful she was to someone who really didn’t deserve it.
Lane’s story excelled over and over again in this episode, but one of the moments that struck me as the most perfect was Lane’s attempts to talk herself off of the stairs. Keiko Agena does such an amazing job of channeling Mrs. Kim’s mannerisms and showing a little bit of where Lane’s independence and strength comes from.
The Bottom Line:
While I felt Lorelai’s story was forgettable and Rory’s story was largely a retread, Lane’s story really elevated the episode for me. This one is worth watching for the beginnings of the band and the highlights of what Lane will do to achieve her dreams of living her own lifestyle.