The Big One originally aired February 25, 2003. This episode was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and was directed by Jamie Babbit.
This episode starts off with Rory and Lorelei waiting for Rory’s college acceptance letters. Kirk is the new mail carrier, and is taking his time delivering the mail, sorting it as he goes along his route.
Luke has changed the menus at the diner. They get completely redesigned, and he’s even added a few new dishes, as well as get rid of dishes that no one ordered.
Meanwhile, the Chilton bicentennial is coming up, and there is going to be a speech aired on C-SPAN. Paris thinks that her winning the speech contest will be more satisfying if she beats Rory- which leads to Rory entering the contest. At the inn, Lorelei and Sookie realize that people sending back Sookie’s food because it tastes awful means that Sookie’s pregnant. Sookie tells Jackson, but he crunches numbers, which leaves Sookie feeling like it didn’t go how she wanted it to go.
Lorelei stops to get some allergy medicine on her way to Friday night dinner and runs into Max, who asks about Rory. He’s in town for the Chilton bicentennial events. Lorelei arrives at the Gilmore house to find that Emily is visiting some of her DAR friends who are in the hospital, which means it’s going to be Richard, Rory and Lorelei for the evening. Lorelei tells Rory that she ran into Max. Rory didn’t know he was back in town, since he was on loan somewhere, but she does think Lorelei didn’t treat him well.
Lorelei goes to visit Sookie to see how things are going, and tells her about Max. Sookie agrees with Rory in that he’s a good guy and Lorelei didn’t treat him well. Rory and Paris had such great speeches that they are going to combine their speeches into one awesome one. When working on the speech, Paris announces that she and Jamie had sex, and wants to have a healthy debate with Rory so she can figure out how she should be feeling about it. Paris asks if Rory’s gone all the way with Jess and Dean, which gets Paris wondering why it’s right for her but not for Rory. Rory tells her that it’s different because they’re different, as are Jamie and Jess, and that what’s right for Paris isn’t going to be right for Rory. Lorelei comes in with pizza during this conversation, listening in, before making it obvious she’s there.
And when the C-SPAN-aired speech rolls around, Paris is nowhere to be found until minutes before the speech starts, looking disheveled. We finally learn that Paris didn’t get into Harvard, and she thinks she deserved to get in because of how she’s worked, but is now being punished for having sex.
Also: before the speech starts, Lorelei sees Max and apologizes for not calling him. She feels bad for not talking to him since the engagement was called off, and she really wanted to explain why she called it off. He appreciates it, but it’s not necessary, since he’s moved on and has time to think while he was teaching a class at Stanford.
After Paris has her meltdown, she and Rory are talking. Paris thinks they must really have not liked her if she didn’t get in, especially since generations of Gellar’s have gone to Harvard. She also thinks Jamie won’t think she’s special because she didn’t get into Harvard. Rory knows Paris will do great at whatever schools do accept her and that maybe it’ll be good for her to go to a different school. Lorelei runs into Max again, and they kiss before he leaves. Lorelei and Rory go home to find that Rory has several college acceptance letters.
What I Thought:
There is so much to talk about! Rory getting accepted to everywhere isn’t surprising, but Paris not getting accepted to Harvard is. I actually feel bad for Paris in this episode, mostly because of comparing herself to Rory and because of how Jamie won’t think she’s special. And because not getting into Harvard is a punishment. Although…if Jamie doesn’t think she’s special anymore, than he’s an idiot Paris doesn’t need.
And Paris comparing herself to Rory…I don’t know what to think about this. I mean, it’s very Paris, since she and Rory are on the same level for many, many things, but Rory also makes a good point that they’re different. There is a part of me that thinks maybe Paris isn’t ready to have sex if she needs data to back things up and if she needs to have a debate with Rory to figure out how she should feel. At the same time, though, it’s very Paris to need data and to debate things, and as book-smart as she is, Paris is also kinda socially awkward, which makes it hard to sort out my own feelings about it.
Max and Lorelei is the last thing I wanted to talk about before wrapping things up. I felt like it came out of nowhere, since we haven’t seen him in forever. This around, I’m kind of confused as to why he’s suddenly popping up. It’s nice he’s moved on, and didn’t need the closure, but I found that Lorelei apologizing for not talking to him after she broke off his engagement was odd and annoying. Mostly because it is pretty typical of Lorelei to do what she did and then apologize later. I guess his absence was explained by teaching at Stanford, but what high school English teacher goes from teaching high school English to a class at Stanford? Especially on “loan?” Granted, I’m not in the education field, so my random thoughts about how weird Chilton and Stars Hollow High are could be wrong, but this is another instance where a high school teacher being loaned to a college cross-country seems really out-of-place.
Lorelei: “It was comforting, like deep-fried ham soup.”
Into The Woods, plus other Broadway references
Let’s Wrap It Up:
Overall, this episode is wavering between me thinking it’s okay and me liking it. There are some really interesting conversations and things that happened, but the Max thing really seemed to come out of nowhere, and it seemed a little bit unnecessary. The Big One gets 2.5 mugs of coffee.