"Let the Games Begin"
Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino; directed by Steven Robman

Lorelai and Rory struggle home after the dance marathon (see “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”), having to sit down on a bale of hay to rest their feet. Rory can’t really remember why she agreed to stay up and dance for 24 hours. They try to get to Luke’s using their psychic powers but realize they’re not as developed as they’d hoped. They count to three to stand up but neither moves. They finally make it but sit at different tables, each trying to get the other to move. Lorelai wins. Kirk enters with his new dance marathon trophy and brags about how big it is. He asks Luke for a big table and a chair for the trophy. Jess arrives and has an extremely awkward almost monosyllabic conversation with Rory, who then leaves. Lorelai tells Luke that they’re pretty much together now, since Dean dumped Rory at the marathon because of Jess (see “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”). Luke is in favor of them having a relationship and hopes that Rory will be a good influence. Lorelai just wants Rory to be happy and is hoping for the best. At Friday night dinner, Emily is disappointed with the salads and has had them remade four times. Lorelai is hungry and would like to pretend they’re European so they can eat the main course first and the salad last. Emily gives in and Rory tells Lorelai to think about something gross to curb her appetite. Lorelai suggests Ari Fleischer. Emily announces that they’ll have to fire the maid for the salad fiasco. Lorelai makes up a story about Frank Lloyd Wright’s wife’s servant burning down their house because of a similar problem.

In the kitchen, Rory and Richard discuss her college anticipation. He tells her that he’s visiting Yale soon for a Whiffenpoof singing group reunion and invites her and Lorelai to come along. Rory accepts and offers to tell Lorelai. After dinner, the girls get in the car, where Rory tells Lorelai that she spoke to Richard. Lorelai turns off the engine, sensing that she shouldn’t be driving when Rory says what she’s about to say. Rory tells her about the Yale trip and Lorelai accuses Richard of manipulating her. Rory tells her that she doesn’t have to go, or they can find something fun to do in New Haven while Richard and Emily are doing other things. Lorelai thinks that fun in New Haven is impossible. She also thinks that Rory should always call Richard the Puppet Master. Kirk goes back to Luke’s and announces that his trophy (which he keeps calling “she”) is missing. The last time he saw “her,” they were at the movies. He suspects foul play. Rory enters and Kirk looks in her backpack, then asks if she has an alibi for 10 that morning. She was at school but can’t get any witnesses to make statements backing that up. Rory guesses that the trophy is gone, since it happens every year. She chats awkwardly with Luke before they’re joined by Jess. The teens head upstairs so that Jess can give Rory a book he was telling her about. Upstairs, Jess wants to get Rory a soda so he doesn’t have to just stand around awkwardly. They start kissing but are interrupted by Luke, who has Rory’s food.

After Rory runs off, Jess tells Luke that he’ll hang a sock on the doorknob the next time Rory is over. Luke decides to lay down the law, announcing that whenever Rory is up in the apartment, the door will be open. They can sit on the couch or a chair, as long as they are not both on the couch or the chair. On weeknights, Rory will be home by 9, and on weekends, she’ll be home by 11. If there’s any evidence of smoking, drinking, “or anything else that Nancy Reagan would find unacceptable,” Jess won’t be allowed near Rory without a chaperone. Jess accepts the terms, then asks, “Do you want me to have you committed or would you prefer to check yourself in?” He reminds Luke that he’s Jess’ guardian, not Rory’s. He accuses Rory of doing the stretch/arm around the shoulder trick in order to kiss him. Jess asks what Luke thinks he’s going to do to Rory. Luke replies that he won’t do anything - when he’s at Rory’s, Lorelai will be there, when he’s at home, Luke will be there, and when he’s out, Taylor will be there. Jess points out that Romeo and Juliet got away with a lot, but Luke doesn’t buy the comparison. Lorelai and Rory get ready to leave for the trip to Yale; Lorelai tells Rory to bring an extra coat, even though they’ll only be gone for one day. She tells Rory about a great taco place she found in New Haven and they make plans to go to it while Richard is eating with the Whiffenpoofs. Lorelai is surprised that Rory didn’t pack the things she wrote on a list for her. She tells her that the only way to survive a road trip with Emily is to make sure all of her bases are covered.

Lorelai finds the bracelet Dean gave Rory and notes that it’s really over between them. Rory says that the bracelet broke that morning while she was in the shower, though she probably would have taken it off anyway. Lorelai says that Jess might have taken care of that for her, since she doesn’t think that he would appreciate Rory wearing her ex-boyfriend’s bracelet. Rory wonders if she really means that Jess would have stolen it. She thinks that Lorelai is always going to like Dean and hate Jess. Lorelai says that she’s trying to be supportive, but Rory wants to know where they stand. She asks if she can invite Jess over and if he can actually come into the house. Lorelai says he can, but doesn’t promise that she’ll talk to him. She says that she will try to cut Jess slack. She admits that she liked Dean and worried less about Rory when she was with him, but she never expected them to be together, just as she doesn’t expect Rory and Jess to be together forever. Rory teases that she’s waiting for the day when they break up. Emily and Richard arrive and Lorelai remarks, “Let the games begin.” Outside, Emily notices Lorelai’s travel coffee mug and tells her she can’t have it in the car. Lorelai promises her it won’t be in the car, then proceeds to get in while holding the mug out the window. Emily challenges her to keep her head out the window and drink until the coffee is gone. Lorelai seems up to the challenge.

The Gilmores see the sights at Yale; Lorelai and Rory are impressed with the campus and the number of smart people there. Emily says that the art gallery was the first place Richard took her on a date. “Using Titian to score. Even Titian didn’t do that,” Lorelai notes. They start talking about Emily and Richard’s younger days and he admits that he was once engaged to another woman, Linny Lott (see “Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out”). Emily isn’t shocked, since Linny was dumb and Richard obviously couldn’t marry her. Lorelai thinks that Emily stole Richard from Linny; Richard notes that he couldn’t resist her because of the dress she wore to one of his fraternity parties. Lorelai teases her mother for being “the other woman.” Richard and Emily show the girls the spot where Richard proposed, though the bench that was there is gone. Apparently Emily was upset because Richard wouldn’t commit to holiday plans, but he was actually going to invite her to visit his family after he proposed. Richard was frustrated, pulled out the ring box, and said, “Here.” Emily looked inside, closed the box, and said, “Fine.” Richard and Emily kiss but are interrupted by Emily’s skirt button, which breaks. Lorelai takes her to a restroom to fix the skirt with a paper clip. Emily says that Richard is having a great time and she’s glad that Lorelai and Rory are there. Lorelai jokes that she’s scarred because she just learned that Emily wasn’t supposed to be her mother.

Outside, Richard makes sure that Rory is having a good time. He’s happy to be able to show the campus to another Gilmore. Apparently Lorelai wanted to go there, but things obviously didn’t work out. Emily and Lorelai rejoin them and the four head to the administration building, which impresses the girls. Richard leads Rory to the office of the dean of admissions, who Richard happened to call and set up an interview with before the trip. Rory notes that she hasn’t even applied to Yale, but Richard told the dean that Rory hadn’t finished deciding, which he thinks made the dean want her at Yale even more. Lorelai tells Rory that she doesn’t have to do the interview, but Rory decides to go in. Richard walks her in, and when he returns, Lorelai blasts him for blindsiding Rory. Richard thinks that Lorelai doesn’t want Rory to go to Yale because Richard went there. She chastises him for lying to all of them, then announces that Rory is going to Harvard, not Yale. Richard isn’t sure about her confidence. Lorelai says that Richard always tried to control her life, and when he couldn’t, he just wouldn’t deal with her. Richard tells her that it’s about Rory and her education, something Lorelai doesn’t know about since she never went to college. He thinks that being an alumnus will give Rory an edge, and he’s not going to give up on that just because Lorelai is offended. Lorelai announces that she’s leaving and tries to call a cab company. Emily tells her to calm down because Richard only wants what’s best for Rory. Lorelai argues that what Richard thinks doesn’t matter, since this should be about Rory and Lorelai. She adds that Rory won’t be applying to Yale. Emily tells her not to turn this into something about her own childhood and points out that if Rory went to Yale, she could live at home. Lorelai calls a cab anyway.

Rory finishes her interview and the dean tells Richard that he should be proud of her. After the dean leaves, Rory chastises Richard for making the appointment without telling her. He tells her that it was an important opportunity; she knows and is upset that she couldn’t properly prepare for it. She says that if Richard had told her about the interview, she would have gone because he asked her to. Lorelai and Rory head off in the cab and Emily tells Richard, “Don’t you even look at me.” Back in Stars Hollow, the girls agree not to say the word “college.” Rory still can’t believe that she had an interview at Yale and also can’t believe that she said her role model was Gloria Estefan. However, they did enjoy the tacos. They head to the diner, where Lorelai offers Luke a taco; he declines, since he obviously already has food there. Jess appears briefly and heads out to get a part for his car (see “Take the Deviled Eggs…”). Rory leaves to go study and Luke tells Lorelai that he had a talk with Jess about his relationship with Rory. Lorelai notes that the two are together right now; Luke can’t believe he didn’t decipher their car/studying “kid code.” He can’t believe Lorelai let them go off unsupervised, since what he said about Rory being good for Jess was bull and he knows Jess is trouble. He heads out to find the two, telling Lorelai that if she were really a concerned mother, she’d be doing the same. Rory runs into Jess at the gas station; Gypsy told him she would leave his car somewhere but didn’t. They start kissing and Rory leaves, saying that it’s more fun this way. She heads to Dean’s house, climbing a tree to his window instead of going to the front door, so she wouldn’t run into his mother. She apologizes for the way she treated him and says that she really did love him. They both hope that someday, he won’t hate her. At home, Rory promises to give Lorelai details of her evening the next day. Later that night, Rory and Lorelai both read Yale brochures.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Luke: “Very romantic.”
Lorelai: “Says the man who yelled, “Finally!” at the end of Love Story.”

“Well, then, I think you should go to the police, and if they mention something about staying somewhere for observation, it’s just routine.” - Luke to Kirk

Jess: “Romeo and Juliet had warring families and they still managed to do a little damage, you know?”
Luke: “Well, as soon as I catch you in a pair of tights, I’ll get worried. Until then, do your homework.”

Rory: (re: Jess) “Now, let’s say he’s in the house and there’s a fire, and you can either save him or your shoes. Which is it?”
Lorelai: “That depends - did he start the fire?”

Lorelai: “I’m gonna put this paper clip through the buttonhole and then through the thread that used to hold the button, and then you’re gonna put your jacket back on and there you go.”
Emily: “That’s ingenious.”
Lorelai: “I know. If I had a thumbtack, I could make a scud missile.”

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