Season 2, Episode 4- The Road Trip To Harvard originally aired October 23, 2001. It was written by Daniel Palladino and was directed by Jamie Babbit.
We open this episode with Rory and Lorelei on the road. Lorelei is complaining about forgetting her music, and needing to listen to AC/DC, while Rory needs to have map, and is complaining about how they don’t know where they are and where they’re going.
Lorelei calls Sookie, and asks her to tell Miss Patty, so the entire town has talked Lorelei’s broken engagement out of their system by the time they get back. Lorelei also asks her to not worry about the cake, and would be horribly upset if Sookie had gone to the trouble of making this amazing cake…and what we know is that Sookie has made the cake, because she’s Sookie, but naturally, Lorelei doesn’t know that Sookie already made the cake.
They head to New Hampshire, where Lorelei has a friend who owns a B&B, only to learn that he’s sold it to a woman who has named it the Cheshire Cat and has redecorated it to look like a typical B&B. They decide not to eat dinner, even though they’re hungry, because Lorelei doesn’t want to talk to any of the people staying there. Lorelei and Rory have this…interesting…discussion about the broken engagment. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a fight, but Lorelei and Rory have this talk about Max. Lorelei clearly doesn’t want to talk about it, but Rory really does, and is going on about how Lorelei loves Max but is just scared, and is throwing their life away, and how Lorelei will regret it, and just won’t give it up, even though Lorelei says she doesn’t want to talk about it several times.
I thought this scene was really interesting, because they’re both insistent about talking or not talking about Max, and they aren’t listening to each other. Rory brings up how close they are, and how they’re best friends. I do love their relationship, and how close they are- they really are friends first, mother-daughter second, and this is the first time where you really see them not get along in any way. To a certain extent, Rory has a point- they are close, but at the same time, Lorelei is trying to establish some sort of boundary where her relationships are concerned. And Lorelei has an excellent point when she points out the fact that they’re best friends when they’re at a U2 concert. I get Rory’s upset, but she just really needs to accept that Lorelei doesn’t want to talk about it. They go to bed, and Lorelei says she’s sure about breaking off the engagement and that she wishes she loved Max.
This makes me wonder if she ever loved Max- and if she did, was it really enough to spend the rest of her life with him? I mean, we randomly see them go out on a date but we never see Lorelei completely in love with him and excited about the wedding…it really did feel like she was going through the motions with Max sometimes.
The next morning, Rory apologizes, reads what Lorelei wrote in the guestbook and changes it to make it nicer. They try to escape with no one noticing, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and (to their dismay) actually have to socialize with the other guests. They manage to escape and take a trip to Harvard, where Lorelei takes Rory on a tour of the school, get coffee, sneak into a dorm and wander into a class. Okay, how is it that they manage to sneak into a dorm? I have never lived in one, and while this episode aired just over 12 years ago, you’d think there would be some sort of security…especially at a school like Harvard. Yeah, that’s never mentioned because Lorelei just needs to have Rory in that dorm, but still a little strange.
Rory sits in on a class- which is my least favorite scene in the episode- and it’s just painful to watch. I don’t know if it’s because she’s just wandering around or if it’s because she’s an exceptionally smart high school student pretending to be a college student, but it was still hard to watch.
So, they get back to the Cheshire Cat, and head home, where Lorelei looks like she’s going to cry as she looks at the hoopa. It’s actually seems to be the first time she seems to show some emotion about her engagement. Fast forward to Friday night dinner, where Lorelei did slides of their trip to Harvard. Once it’s over, Emily wants to know why she took a trip so close to her wedding and if Max minded. Lorelei clearly didn’t tell Emily that the wedding is off, and Emily automatically assumes Lorelei eloped so Emily couldn’t see Lorelei get married. She does tell Emily, who says she’ll return the gift. Rory reading while Lorelei is trying to figure out the gift was highly amusing.
After dinner, Rory hangs out with Lane, while Lorelei goes to Luke’s, and asks him about opening a line of credit. I think he’s slightly confused by this question, but Lorelei has decided it’s time to move forward with opening her own inn. She leaves the diner, and calls Sookie to talk about it as she heads home.
Sookie, to Lorelei’s wedding cake: “You were a good cake, Clyde, never should have named you.”
Emily, about Lorelei’s thumb being in a picture: “This one makes me feel just like I’m in your finger.”
Hootie And The Blowfish, AC/DC, Liberace, Alice In Wonderland, Anarchy In The U.K., Louis And Clark
This is probably my least favorite episode of the season…well, so far anyway. Definitely the last season plus the start of season two. There were some things that were a little too hard to believe (Harvard) and other things that were a little irritating (Rory wanting to talk about Max and not leaving it alone, when Lorelei clearly doesn’t want to talk about it). I was bored watching it, and it was an episode that didn’t really stand out the first few times I watched it. It gets 1 mug of coffee.