Teach Me Tonight originally aired April 30, 2002. This episode was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and was directed by Steven Robman.
This episode opens with Rory and Lorelei waiting in line at Taylor’s market. The town movie night is coming up, and when Lorelei learns that Taylor’s showing The Yearling again. Lorelei annoys Taylor into letting her pick the movie.
This episode…doing a short summary of this episode is going to be hard. Good thing I didn’t get too used to doing short episode recaps, but I’ll do what I can!
The short version: Lorelei is planning the big movie night in the town square. I think it’s the annual movie “festival” but movie night seems much more appropriate given there’s only one movie being shown, with a short film by Kirk before the movie. Jess isn’t doing well in school. because he has really bad attendance and doesn’t do his homework when he does bother to show up. So Luke enlists the help of Rory, because Luke thinks Jess might actually listen to Rory, instead of a professional tutor. Dean is out of town, because he really needs to visit his grandma in Chicago, and Rory is worried about telling him that she’s studying with Jess. Lorelei thinks that Rory shouldn’t tutor Jess if Rory feels the need to hide it from Dean. Jess and Rory go out for ice cream on the condition that Jess studies when they get back…and that is when the shit hits the fan.
They get into a car accident, and Rory has minor wrist fracture. Lorelei is- very understandably- upset that Rory is the emergency room because of a car accident in which Jess was driving. While Rory is getting checked out one last time, Lorelei goes in search of Jess. She obviously blames Jess, since he was driving, but she also blames Luke for bringing Jess to Stars Hollow, because his nephew almost killed Rory, which would not have happened had Luke listened to a town full of people who don’t like Jess and who think Jess is a whole lot of trouble. She talks about he kept pushing Jess and Rory together even though he knew it made her nervous and that she (and Luke, for that matter) should have put a stop to it. Especially Luke, because he had an obligation to not only the town, but to her.
Luke is clearly sorry about Rory, but finally tells Lorelei that at least she knows where Rory is okay and where she is, and he has to go find Jess and make sure he’s okay. And that it’s too bad if it cuts into her screaming time. Luke finds Jess at the dock, and they just sit there.
Rory makes it home, we see the very strange short film by Kirk, followed by The Yearling. And it is at the move in the square that we learn that Luke took Jess to the bus station in the middle of the night and sent him home.
I have quite a few thoughts about this episode. I kind of agree with Lorelei when she talks about how if Rory has to hide it from Dean, maybe she shouldn’t be tutoring Jess. They have been having some issues lately, and it seems like her friendship with Jess is a major part in that. Yes, Rory is a good kid and wants to help Jess, but she does it even though she knows it won’t go over well with Dean. At the same time, she shouldn’t have to turn it down because of Dean, so I’m not completely sure what to think. Although…would Rory have agreed if Dean were still in town?
Also: I get Lorelei being really worried about Rory, and I get her being upset in an accident that happened while Jess driving. I get that Lorelei being upset is why she went to the diner and said and did the things she did. I get blaming Luke is just as easy as blaming Jess, so even though I think Jess almost killing Rory is an exaggeration and calling Jess Luke’s punk nephew is a bit…excessive, I totally understand where she’s coming from. Although…Lorelei has hated Jess from the beginning, and she’s not willing to get past that. I am the first to admit that Jess has major issues, and why people don’t like him and he’s easy to blame, but I was sort of glad when Luke finally brought up how she knows Rory is okay.
Chris, about making Lorelei some coffee: “One bag of coffee per cup of water, right?”
Steely Dan, The Clash, School House Rock
The only thing I have to add is that I really liked this episode! It’s what happens after the accident that I find really interesting, and so Teach Me Tonight gets 4 mugs of coffee.