Swan Song originally aired February 11, 2003. This episode was written by Daniel Palladino and was directed by Chris Long.
We open this episode with a Friday night dinner, where Emily has spent quite a bit of time complaining about Trix, her mother-in-law. Emily manages to direct the conversation to Rory’s break-up with Dean and her new relationship with Jess.
Emily wants to meet Jess, so Rory says she’ll ask him. Rory does get Jess to agree, but Jess (being Jess) is resistant to the idea. Lorelei ends up going to New York to see a musical with Alex, Sookie and Jackson, which means it’ll be just Rory and Jess for the next Friday night dinner. Miss Patty happens to need Rory to see her rehearse her one woman show, so Rory finds herself sitting next to Dean for the duration of Miss Patty’s show.
This doesn’t go over well with Jess, who found out on a flier in town, and wishes Rory had told him. Lorelei isn’t happy with Rory’s plan of studying at school before going to Emily’s and then getting a ride home with Jess. The dinner doesn’t go well, and it all starts with Jess showing up late with a black eye. Rory is concerned and wants to know what happened but Jess doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s definitely not in a good mood, because he had to sit in traffic to go to a dinner with Emily (that he didn’t want to go to, of course) and he’s thirsty and wants to eat.
Emily’s making small talk, and Rory keeps pressing the issue of the black eye. She thinks it’s because he got into a fight with Dean, and Jess makes it clear he doesn’t want to talk about it, because he’s trying to make a good impression on Emily for Rory’s sake. And according to Jess, Rory is making that difficult because she keeps bringing up his black eye. She and Jess eventually talk in Richard’s study. Rory is still convinced that Jess and Dean got into a fight, and tries to convince Jess that nothing happened with Dean when they were watching Miss Patty’s show. Jess is trying, but ends up leaving, so Rory has to explain to Emily that he left. Emily is pretty awesome about it…until Lorelei calls Rory to check in, and then goes on a rant about how irresponsible Jess is for thinking cell phones are beneath him.
Rory goes to ask Dean about Jess, where she realizes he didn’t get into a fight with Dean. She keeps trying to call him, but Jess is ignoring her calls. It turns out a swan at the lake attacked him, but Luke doesn’t believe him. They go to the lake, and Jess is glad the dinner is behind him. Until Luke tells him that this probably isn’t going to be the last thing that Jess will have to do. Because by dating a girl like Rory, the whole family is involved, and so are her friends. Luke thinks Jess is jealous of Dean, but Jess thinks Dean is a wuss. Still, it comes up that Rory and Dean were together for a couple years, and Jess can’t just avoid Rory because of a fight a couple months into their relationship.
Because I’m not sure where to fit this in, part of why Lorelei is freaked out about the dinner and Jess driving Rory home is because she’s concerned about Rory having sex. Rory tells Lorelei that she’s too busy to think about it, but later on tells her that she isn’t too busy to think about it. She does promise to talk to Lorelei about it before it happens.
Jess and Rory make up, and Rory apologizes for not trusting Jess. Jess tells her that he got hit in the face when he was playing football with a friend.
There’s also some band stuff! The band needs to add a love song to their set, and Lorelei almost spills the beans about Lane and Dave to the band. Mrs. Kim see Dave with the band in town, and warns him about Lane’s crush on him, and to be careful around her. The band also finds out that Dave has played at the Kim’s church.
So…I have no idea where to start! Let’s see…oh, I know where I’ll start: the Friday night dinner that Jess goes to. I know that Jess doesn’t want to particularly go to a Friday night dinner to meet Emily, but at the same time, you’d think he’d want to get it over with. And I actually respect that Jess does seem to be making an effort even though he didn’t want to be there. Although…it is very Rory to keep bringing up his black eye even though Jess has made it perfectly clear he doesn’t want to talk about it. And given that she thinks Jess is embarrassing her, I’m surprised she didn’t drop it.
Still, Emily seemed to be great about it. At least, she was good about it in front of Rory, and it’s not until she goes on a rant when she’s talking to Lorelei that we know her true feelings.
One thing I thought was interesting was how Emily thought it was refreshing that Jess didn’t have a cell phone, but later tells Lorelei that how irresponsible it is that he doesn’t have one. I know this episode took place over ten years ago, and that cell phones were a thing, but I don’t remember them being as prevalent as they are today.
I’m also not surprised by Jess avoiding Rory after the dinner. And I thought Luke brought up an interesting point in the possibility of Jess being jealous of Dean. I never paid attention to that line before, but it is a possibility. And it really strikes me as how different Dean and Jess are. Because Jess has a lot in common with Rory, but he’s also not the loyal, nice guy to bring home to the family kind of guy that Dean is. As for the assumption that Dean and Jess got into a fight: it seems like Jess seemed slightly surprised by that, but I don’t blame everyone for jumping to that conclusion, given their history. Oh, and why would Jess not tell Rory a swan attacked him? Is it because it’s pretty lame, and he doesn’t think she’d believe it? Because Jess tossing around a football is a bit hard to believe.
As for Rory having/not having time to think about sex…I thought Lorelei’s reaction was really interesting. Lorelei’s a pretty cool mom, and is pretty open about things, and yet Rory thinking about having sex seemed to be a little weird for Lorelei. I’m not sure if it’s because it could be with Jess, or if it just generally freaks her out, or if it’s because Lorelei had Rory so young or what, but Lorelei’s reaction is definitely interesting.
Nothing really jumped out at me enough to be a favorite
Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez, the rabbit from Monty Python
I liked this episode, and it’s a bit more light-hearted than the last episode. It’s kind of hard to live up to the last episode, but it was still fun to watch. This episode gets 3.5 mugs of coffee.