Here we are, recapping episode two (see Ep 1 here)! Let the drama at Chilton begins! Though, it’s probably nothing to the drama that will no doubt unfold in the Gilmore Girls revival when a pretty girl who ISN’T RORY gets lines and Rory pouts forever.
God, I’m so mean to Rory* AND I LOVE IT (steeples fingers, laughs maniacally, paces around evil lair).
Before the credits, Lorelai paints Rory’s toes red in preparation for Chilton so she can be a “bad girl” underneath her uniform and saddle shoes. Slow your roll, Lorelai, it’s not the end of season five yet, Rory’s got plenty of time to go bad!
After the credits, however, it’s Monday morning and Lorelai is the bad one, having overslept and apparently left all her profesh-looking clothes at the cleaners, so she has to drop Rory off at her first day of Fancy School looking like a rodeo queen, which, depending on whatever fetish the headmaster might be into, might actually give Rory an advantage over her fellow students.
They drive off to Chilton, and while Lorelai is perfectly happy to let Rory go in all alone, Rory insists that she come in to meet the headmaster. Of course, Lorelai can’t step three feet into the courtyard without immediately getting hit on by a Divorced Hot Chilton Dad, who, while ogling Lorelai, promises Rory that he’ll have his daughter look her up, which I’m sure won’t be awkward for Rory or his daughter AT ALL. Rory finally extricates her mother from her meet-cute and they go find the headmaster, walking by some snobby-looking girls who have apparently just finished a movie night marathon of Mean Girls, Heathers, and all the Amber scenes in Clueless.
Once at the headmaster’s office, they make it past a secretary who is most likely Norman Bates’s mother, and go in to find Headmaster Charleston, and…EMILY!
Lorelai is not thrilled, especially when she learns that Emily and the headmaster’s wife, Biddy (FFS people is this a real rich person name that exists?), are BFFs and the headmaster plays golf at the club with Richard every week. Emily and the headmaster are both, of course, EXTREMELY insistent that Lorelai take her coat off and sit down, so she is forced to reveal herself as the Rodeo Queen and neither Charleston nor Emily love her look.
After Lorelai reaches peak embarrassment, she and Emily leave Rory with the headmaster and go to argue about Emily wanting to be involved in Rory’s schooling. Lorelai eventually is like, FINE WHATEVER DO WHAT U WANT I’M AUDI 5000, but it turns out that she’s right to think that Emily’s interference is unnecessary, because back in his office Headmaster Charleston is being a grade-A dick to Rory. Don’t get me wrong, in later eps and seasons I LOVE people being dicks to Rory, but in this case it’s not cool.
After asking Rory about her aspirations (Harvard, then journalism, specifically Christiane Amanpour, because Rory doesn’t know what a shitshow CNN will be by the time she enters the workforce), Charleston basically tells her that he doesn’t give a fuck who her grandparents are and that because she’s a month behind and comes from a small town that she’ll probably fail(?). And while I personally think a hint to Rory not to expect special treatment because of her family name would be appropriate, telling a kid on her first day of school that she is likely to FAIL is not the best plan for any educator who wants to keep his job. It’s not the last time Charleston is an asshole, though, so at least his character is consistent.
Rory goes to the office to complete paperwork, where a student assistant steals her file and passes it out the window to Paris (yay!) and her crew, Madeline and Louise. Paris, worried about potential academic competition, devours Rory’s file and immediately hates her, since, as an aspiring journalist, she’ll probably be going out for the school paper–which is Paris’s bag. Paris laments the fact that they’re letting new kids in and wonders why they would bother. I have an answer for ya, Paris, it’s called MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY HEY HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS THING CALLED MONEY? WE HAVE HERE AT CHILTON AND WE WOULD LIKE MORE PLEASE THANKS BYE.
Back in Stars Hollow, Lorelai gets made fun of for her Rodeo outfit by pretty much everyone, and then once at home Emily calls to offer to buy Rory the entire Chilton merchandise store. It’s cute, but the action is mostly at Chilton, so I’m making a u-turn back to Hartford!
Rory’s in her first class, where Paris knows the answer to every question, making Rory feel like a N00B. Class is interrupted momentarily by the entrance of Tristan Dugray, who’s coming back from
a visit to One Tree Hill seeing his sick grandfather. Next…oh, wait, I know that teacher! The teacher is Dr. Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise! I KNEW I knew that guy!
Ahem. Sorry. Extreme geek moment over.
Anyways, Tristan is intrigued by Rory, asking the forty-year-old man posing as a student in the seat in front of him about her.
Tristan calls her a “Mary,” because she looks virginal, because…sure, ok, whatever.
A note: at no point in the entire episode do I see a non-white student at Chilton, which I guess is not a shock but pretty sad. Even in the early 2000s schools like Chilton made some kind of effort to admit a more diverse student body! Later on in the show I think we meet an Asian student who gets a crush on Lane, but right now I’m having trouble remembering any other non-white Chilton kids. Come on, Hollywood, I know it’s 2000 but you could have done better than this!
After class, Rory gets a ton of study materials (and the shit scared out of her about her workload) from
Dr. Phlox the teacher, and is then promptly accosted by Paris in the hall. Paris informs Rory that this is her school, and the Franklin (the school paper) is her thing, and she’s going to be valedictorian, and they’re never going to be friends and live together at Yale AT ALL NAH NAH NAH I DON’T LIKE YOU! Rory, understandably, is like, -_-, but I giggle because in one of my head canon timelines Rory and Paris end up together lol.
At the Independence Inn, Jackson and Sookie are arguing about produce (peaches, specifically) and it’s cute and I can’t wait for them to get together! Lorelai comes in to bitch about her less-than-impressive Rodeo performance at Chilton, but Michel interrupts to tell Lorelai her mother is on the phone. Emily has bought Rory a parking space at Chilton and wants to buy her a car. Lorelai is like, UGH, so Emily backs off, but I’m sure Rory would be pissed to know her mom is turning down the offer of a car on her behalf.
At Chilton, Tristan introduces himself to Rory in the douchiest way possible, by offering to share his notes from their literature class, and then backing her up against a wall and being skeezy and offering to help her “study.” Rory is icked out, and so am I. I was never team Tristan, he was gross.
Meanwhile, Hot Divorced Chilton Dad has shown up at the Inn to ask Lorelai out. Showing some good sense, she declines, realizing how bad it would be to immediately date one of Rory’s classmate’s father. Not that the day could get any worse for Rory, who, at that moment, pulls too hard on her faulty locker door and knocks into Paris, who drops some sort of model on the floor, destroying it. Rory just went from a bug for Paris to squash to Paris’s Enemy No. 1.
Of course, Rory’s next class is with Paris AND Tristan “Harasser” Dugray. Paris was due to present her busted model to the class, but since she can’t the teacher wants to give her an incomplete. Rory tries to help out, saying she accidentally ruined the project, but Paris doesn’t want her help, which is…dumb? I get Paris wants to be independent, but, girl, Rory speaking up gets you an extension to fix what she accidentally broke. That’s gotta mean something!
Lorelai heads to Luke’s to fuel up on coffee before picking Rory up from school, and of COURSE mentions that Hot Chilton Dad showed up to ask her out because she’s definitely not interested in Luke’s reaction to this information, oh no, not at all! Luke makes this face when she tells him she turned the guy down:
This interesting moment is interrupted when Lorelai receives a call from her neighbor Babette, and goes home to find Kirk (ugh), except he’s calling himself Mick(?) because I guess they hadn’t figured out Sean Gunn’s character/presence on the show yet. Anyways, Kirk-Mick, or Kick, as I’ll call him, is there to install a DSL line at the house, which…did they not have that before? I feel like DSL was ubiquitous in 2000, right? No? I mean, it’s hard to remember as I’ve been personally plugged into the internet via telepathy since 2005. I am one with it. IT FEEDS MY SOUL.
Anyways, Emily has ordered the DSL, and Lorelai goes off to confront her, while at school Rory tries to pass Paris an “I’m sorry, let me help!” note, which, you’ll be SHOCKED to find out, Paris does not accept. Realizing, rather cleverly, the only way to deal with Paris is by blunt force, Rory instead begins calling out correct answers to the teacher’s questions. Paris is not happy to be beaten to the punch.
Lorelai confronts Emily at her hair salon to tell her to butt out of their lives. “I decide how we live, and not you.” As with all Emily/Lorelai scenes, it’s great, and made even greater by Kelly Bishop in a showercap:
Lorelai picks Rory up, and they commiserate about their mutually shitty days. After some pizza with Lane, who then has to go home to endless tofu from Mrs. Kim, Rory rather maturely tells Lorelai that she doesn’t need her help with Paris; she’ll deal with the problem on her own. This just makes me sad, because later in the series Rory seems to lose this ability to figure shit out on her own. How is 16-year-old Rory so much more mature and reasonable than 21-year-old Rory? Did I get stupider from 16 to 21? I feel like I got sort of smarter, though…not by much. I dunno.
They pass Luke’s, and Lorelai asks Rory if she thinks Luke is cute. Rory says Lorelai can’t date Luke because when they break up they won’t be able to eat there anymore. This is prophetic, but it doesn’t detract from the sweet last shot, which is of Luke gazing longingly after Lorelai in front of the diner before closing out as we are la-la-la’ed into the credits.
That’s episode 2! Next week, Rory and Richard go golfing and I die because I love Richard! TTFN!
*To be clear, while I have issues with Rory, I think Alexis Bledel does a great job playing her, in all her incarnations. Any faults with the character are with the writing, not the execution.