It’s the first day of school and Rory is stressin’. Lane comes into the diner and says that she has found a great record store not far from Chilton. Lane starts to list off the names of albums that she’d like Rory to buy for her. The albums are all very obscure and reflect Lane’s refined and eclectic taste. Lorelai smiles and nods knowingly, pretending to be hip.
Lorelai gets up from the table to buy doughnuts as Taylor comes into the diner leading a boy-scout troupe.
We haven’t talked about Taylor yet. He is a proud citizen of Stars Hollow. At the town meetings he has the role of town selectman. His love for Stars hollow is matched only by his love for administrative procedure.
The boy scouts in his troupe are really obnoxious. Luke is telling one of them off when the phone rings. Everyone in the diner watches as Luke gets more and more angry over the phone.
Some arrangements are being made, but Luke is not happy about them. Arrangements for what? Let’s find out!
We next find Luke walking along the side-walk with his hands full of groceries and supplies. He is carrying so much that he drops a bag full onto the sidewalk. Lorelai is there and offers to help. Then two of them head up to Luke’s apartment.
Luke unloads all of the groceries and Lorelai asks why Luke is buying so many things. It is here where we learn about the phone call from earlier. Luke’s sister has sent her son to live with Luke in order to “straighten him out.” Lorelai scoffs at this, telling Luke that he is not the world’s best communicator, and that he won’t be prepared to take care of a 17 year old who, by the sounds of it, will be a lot of trouble.
During this conversation we learn that Luke’s nephew is named Jess. Lorelai tells Luke that she’s there for him if he needs her. On her way out she asks if Luke remembered to get extra sheets and Luke’s like, “of course I have extra sheets!” But once Lorleai leaves he’s like, “aww man I gotta get some sheets!”
We next join Rory at school. She runs into Paris, Madeline and Louise. I honestly don’t know why Louise and Madeline hang out with Paris.
The 3 of them will be working on the school paper, and Pairs is the chief editor. This does not bode well for Rory. Rory’s dream is to be a journalist and she’s keen to write for the paper too.
Rory goes to Paris and attempts a compromise—they don’t need to be friends but they should at least be good colleagues. Paris seems receptive to this idea, but I think she’s still bitter about the fact that Rory and Tristan kissed at Madeline’s party.
Back in Stars Hollow, we find Luke sitting on a bench waiting for a bus that is just pulling into town. Jess gets off and Luke is there to meet.
He has a very uncharacteristic smile on his face.
Everything we’ve already heard about this bad-apple is confirmed on the first impression: Look at that camouflage under-shirt for Christ’s sake!
Luke is visibly uncomfortable, but Jess seems unconcerned—maybe only a little bit annoyed. I mean, he’s been shipped off without agreeing to the plan. Now he’s stuck in Stars Hollow. Sunshine, floral trees, and gazebos are NOT his style. Again, I draw your attention to the camouflage and the army-surplus duffle bag.
A rocky start.
Luke brings Jess into the diner. Jess is unimpressed. He makes no effort whatsoever toward small-talk. Luke is already at a loss for what to do or say. I really can’t wait for Jess to meet Lorelai.
Luke brings Jess up into the apartment. He gives him the short tour, and tries to lighten the mood by telling Jess that he bought Frosted Flakes. Jess responds sarcastically, “wow, that’s grrrrreat!”
It’s pretty brutal.
Jess empties his bag onto his mattress, picks a book out of the pile and leaves Luke alone in the apt.
Back at Chilton, Rory is about to attend her first newspaper staff meeting. She has arrived 10 minutes before the appointed time. That time was appointed by Paris.
As Rory waits comfortably she hears voices coming from the meeting room. Rory enters.
Awwww snap! The meeting started 45 minutes ago, RORY!
Since Rory is late she is assigned a story that none of the other journalists wanted—a story about how the new parking lot is getting paved. Paris plays the whole thing off like business as usual. Rory does the same.
Refusing to show weakness, Rory says that she’d be happy to do the pavement story. Then when the meeting ends Rory tells Paris that she’s going to write the best goddamned mother-fucking story about pavement that has ever been written.
Then she cheerily says that she’s going to go home and research the history on concrete. Out in the hall Rory is very preoccupied and she doesn’t even notice who she is about to run into.
It’s Mr. Media!
Rory runs and the opposite direction and Mr. Medina gets flustered.
AND PARIS SEES EVERYTHING
Back at the diner Luke is obviously preoccupied. Lorelai is excited to meet Jess, but Luke says that Jess went out and that he doesn’t know where he went. Lorelai tells Luke that he must ask Jess where he is going whenever he goes out because Luke is responsible for him now.
In walks Jess. I’m surprised I could even see him with all that camouflage!!
Jess tries to get past everyone before he has engage in horrible, mind-numbing chit-chat with Lorelai.
Jess leaves quickly and Lorelai says, “so that’s Jess. Very chatty.” Maybe Jess doesn’t like chit-chat—or, more accurately, maybe Jess doesn’t like chit-chat with people who he has already judged to be annoying and uninteresting. Kind of like how Lorelai refused to have chit-chat with the people at the B&B during the dreadful road-trip to Harvard.
But Lorelai is unwilling to accept that there might be someone in the world that thinks that she is lame. She immediately invites both Luke and Jess to The Gilmore Girls’ house for dinner. Just then, Rory enters. She dishes on how much she hates Paris. Lorelai asks if Rory ran into Max, and Rory lies, saying that she hadn’t.
Lorelai smells bull-shit and then Rory tells her all about the incident in the hall-way. Lorelai assures Rory that she would not be upset if Rory talked with Mr. Medina.
Luke goes upstairs to the apartment to find Jess smoking and shuffling a deck of cards.
Luke tells Jess about the dinner at the Gilmores’. Jess leaves.
It’s really brutal
At the next school news-paper meeting the faculty adviser praises Rory’s excellent write-up on the pavement story. The teacher tells Paris that Rory should be getting more substantial stories next time.
How’s that taste?!
Paris tells Rory to do a profile on the teacher who was voted to be the most popular one in school. Mr. Medina!
Later on we’re back at the Gilmore Girls’ house. Sookie and Jackson are in the kitchen because who else would be doing the cooking?
The doorbell rings and it’s Luke and Jess.
And it doesn’t take long for Jess to notice the pictures on the living room mantelpiece.
Pictures of Rory.
Moving right along, Lorelai introduces Jess to Sookie and Jackson. The two of them are enthusing over a truly outstanding lemon.
Lorelai seems a bit concerned that Jess will associate her, Lorelai, with these two people who are not very Rock and Roll. However, Sookie and Jackson get the first genuine smile out of Jess that we’ve seen so far!
And then Jess meets Rory.
The two of them exchange “heys”, and then Jess lets himself into her room and examines her bookshelf. He teases Rory saying, “wow, aren’t we hooked on phonics.” This is the first time that Jess has initiated conversation with anyone. Rory asks him if he likes reading, and he says, “not much”—but we saw him take a book out of his bag at the start of the show!
I’m starting to think that there’s more to Jess than meets the eye!
He pulls a book off the shelf (“Howl” by Ginsberg). Rory offers to loan it to him but he declines. He then goes over to the bedroom window and asks Rory if she wants to bail on dinner with him. Rory convinces him to try and enjoy himself at dinner. They go into the kitchen and Rory offers him a soda. He declines. But as she leaves for the dining room, Jess opens the fridge door and takes a beer outside onto the patio.
What a shit-head! But still..there’s something about him.
Lorelai enters the kitchen but can’t find Jess. So she goes out onto the patio to find Jess opening the beer. She thanks him for the beer and takes a drink.
She then tries to level with him:
“hey man, I’ve been there. Believe me. I’m cool. I’m the cool mom.”
For a second it looks like Lorelai is getting through to him, but then she starts telling Jess how lucky he is to have a great guy like Luke in his life. It’s here when Jess derails Lorelai completely by asking if the two of them are sleeping together.
Lorelai then storms back inside where she finds Luke. She tells Luke that Jess is way more messed up than either of them could have ever predicted: “I didn’t even bust him for opening up a beer—how come he doesn’t think I’m cool? Because I AM COOL!”
Then, Luke actually gets angry at Lorelai for her non-stop condescending towards his parenting abilities.
The two of them leave off like and we next join the Gilmore Girls lingering outside of Luke’s diner on the following morning. Lorelai will not go inside and asks Rory if she’ll go in and order for her. Luke serves Rory but will not give her the extra stuff for Lorelai. Inside the diner Luke receives a telephone call from Taylor who is very upset about something. We won’t find out what until later though because the scene switches to Rory’s school where she’s just about to sit down for her interview with Mr. Medina.
This whole scene is about Rory and Mr. Medina coming to grips with the situation. Needless to say, Rory gets a wonderful and candid interview with Mr. Medina and both of them express how much they wish they could be each others step-father/step-daughter. It’s a really good scene.
Luke is at his wits end. He is waiting for Jess outside of the school and he looks pissed.
Apparently Jess had taken money out of a donation cup that Taylor has set-up in order to fundraise for the repairs of a town bridge. Jess! Just because you’re having a lot of feelings, there’s no excuse for stealing like that, Jess!
The two of them finally have it out with one another.
And then, the best bit of physical comedy to every occur on “The Gilmore Girls” happens when Luke shoves Jess off a board-walk and into a pond!
Later that night Luke goes home and find Jess smoking again. This time, Luke walks up to Jess and empties the contents of a plastic bag onto Jess’ lap. It is full of aids to help someone quit smoking. He then tells Jess that he will not let him throw his life away and that, whether he likes it or not, Luke is going to be there for him and make sure that he graduates high school! Jess leaves the apartment. But I think some of it sunk in you guys!
Both Jess and Rory are walking around Stars Hollow that night and they run into each other. Jess gives Rory a copy of “Howl”. It’s Rory’s copy. Jess had taken it during the dinner party. Rory leafs through the book to find that Jess has written notes in the margins. He’s read this book before—40 times to be precise.
“I thought you said you didn’t read much”
“Well, what is much?”
Hey guys, where’s Dean?
Dean? Dean who? Oh yeah, Dean! He’s that guy who is dating Rory but who we haven’t seen or heard from at all during this entire episode. Umm, I don’t know. I do know one thing though–Dean would definitely not have gotten Rory’s Oliver Twist reference. Trouble brewing, my friends.
Enjoy your weekend!