Let the Games Begin
Season 3, Episode 8
Original airing: November 19, 2002
My Rating: 78
· Luke’s protective parent rant in the apartment is great fun. He has two teenagers to feel responsible for in this situation and he obviously thinks he’s got everything under control. It’s reminiscent of his earlier assumptions about how easy it would be to turn Jess around when he first arrived. And while he hopes Rory will have a good impression on Jess, he is also worried that Jess will have a bad impression on Rory.
· I really like Rory checking in with Lorelai about how she’s going to treat Jess. She’s fully aware of Lorelai’s preferences in the boyfriend department, so it makes sense that she would want to know how Lorelai intends to behave in this new post-Dean world.
· Richard’s ability to keep the real reason for the trip to Yale under his hat is pretty impressive. Especially when he’s so awkward when the moment comes for the interview. His bit about looking at his watch and being surprised that it happens to be 3:00 is excellent. While I’m frustrated with him as an audience member, I felt this was perfectly in character. He didn’t trust that Lorelai would allow the meeting to happen if there was forewarning, so he just does it without her leave.
· The inter-Gilmore fights were great. Everyone had perfect reasons for feeling the way they did in this moment. Richard knows he can help Rory get in to Yale and that Lorelai will oppose him. Rory is frustrated that she wasn’t given the opportunity to provide the best first impression possible. Lorelai is frustrated that one of her parents has again duped her and overstepped their bounds as grandparent to Rory. And Emily is frustrated that Richard was sneaky and drove another wedge between the grandparents and Lorelai and Rory. It’s very easy to see everyone’s side of the situation and empathize with them all, even if I don’t sympathize with Richard.
· It’s interesting to see Rory and Lorelai giving Yale some serious consideration at the end of the episode. This potentially sets up some intriguing conflicts about which school Rory might end up at and how she will react to this very personal decision after going to Harvard has become so much a part of who she is as a person. And there are the additional stakes of the grandparents possibly pushing for Yale and Christopher possibly pushing for Harvard, due to proximity. We could get some very interesting stories out of this concept.
· While I thought Rory going to apologize to Dean was premature and smacked of the show wanting the audience to forgive Rory, I really liked how Dean handled the situation. I was glad he didn’t forgive her instantly and put the show back on a nicey-nice level. It was actually very emotional to have him close the window in her face and gave him one of his most real moments on the show.
· It’s become unfortunately common for Stars Hollow to have its own time vortex. There were several timing issues in this episode including the question of if the first two scenes happened on Sunday morning right after the dance marathon, or Monday morning the next day. Lorelai mentions the Dean and Rory break up happened the night before, but Rory seems to be headed to school. We also have a direct jump to Friday Night Dinner after this which means Rory and Jess didn’t see or speak to each other for the entire week. That seems pretty unlikely.
· It was adorable, sweet, and completely realistic to have Rory and Jess awkward with each other in their first couple of scenes. They need to reestablish how they interact now that they can freely express their feelings and be together without any barriers. It was really sweet seeing them fumble in the apartment, hold hands, and just whisper “hi.” It felt like a new beginning.
The Bottom Line:
· This was a very good episode. It feels like it could have been a season opener with the way it’s setting up new possibilities and reestablishing relationships between multiple characters. I greatly enjoyed it.