Episode: Rory's Dance ...

Original Airdate: December 20, 2000

Guest Starring:
Chad Michael Murray (Tristan DuGray)
Jared Padalecki (Dean Forester)
Liz Torres (Miss Patty)
Liza Weil (Paris Geller)
Teal Redmann (Louise Grant)
Shelly Cole (Madeline Lynn)
Maybin Hewes (Yoga Woman #1)
Kay Freeman (Yoga Woman #2)
Kyle Brent Gibson (Jacob)

Richard is away in Prague, so it's just the girls on Friday night, and Emily knows from the Chilton newsletter that there's a formal coming up. But Rory doesn't think she'll go. Emily just can't understand why, so she blames Lorelai who clearly must have encouraged Rory to develop disdain for formals. Lorelai ignores the accusations, but in the car home, Lorelai wants to know why Rory's not going. After all, she's never been to one and is probably basing her opinion on one viewing of Sixteen Candles. Lorelai just doesn't want Rory not to go because she's afraid. Does Rory not join in on stuff because she really doesn't want to or because she's really just shy? Maybe Rory is just shy, so that means she might be going to her very first dance. And that means asking Dean to go with her.

But what if he says no? Lane says there's no point in having a boyfriend if he won't go to a dance with you. Rory isn't really sure if he's her boyfriend or she's his girlfriend. Maybe it's time to have a talk with him? Lane wants Rory to ask Dean right then and there while he's bagging groceries. (Her mom took away the TV after she caught Lane watching VIP so she needs some form of entertainment.) Rory agrees to take the plunge and ask her "boyfriend" to the Chilton formal.

While Dean puts the new green-bean shipment on the shelf, Rory does her best to ask Dean out, but he's not a joiner and doesn't really "do" dances. However, he can tell Rory really wants to go, even though she tries to play it cool. Dean agrees to the dance, even though he has to wear a coat and tie. Rory is so excited that she plants a kiss right on him in the vegetable aisle.

Later, Lorelai goes to work on a fancy dress for Rory, and Emily, for one, is thrilled about Rory's attendance, although she's not that happy about the homemade duds. Her only request is that Lorelai take lots of pictures so she can mark this once in a lifetime event. After all, Emily won't be there to see it. In the end, her whining gets her an invite on Saturday to watch Rory go to the dance.

Rory gets in line to buy dance tickets at school, and Tristan is desperate to know whom she's taking. He claims he wanted to ask her himself. Rory doesn't buy it; why would she want to go anywhere with Tristan, ever? Paris overhears her and refuses to believe that Rory might bring someone better than Tristan.

Saturday night arrives, and Rory looks like a dancing queen, hairspray, heels and all. Emily arrives with her camera and thinks Lorelai actually bought the dress because it looks so good. When Rory tries to run out, Emily refuses to let her go; Dean must come to the door, it's the proper thing to do. He honks and honks (this was the agreed upon plan) and honks until finally he comes to the door and gets ambushed by Emily. After brief introductions, Rory and Dean bail quickly, leaving Emily to grill Lorelai about the merits or lack thereof in regards to Dean. Then, to the horror of Lorelai, Emily insists on staying the night because Lorelai is having a back spasm and can't move off the couch.

On the way to the dance, Rory starts having second thoughts, maybe they shouldn't go. Dean is agreeable to whatever she wants. But when he tells her that she looks amazing, Rory suddenly feels like the night won't be so bad after all. When they get there, the place looks pretty amazing too, and Dean suggests that they dance (just a little) before they bail on the event. Dean catches that attention of some Chilton girls, Louise and Natalie, particularly nasty girls who flirt shamelessly with Dean until he puts his arm around Rory and makes it very clear that he's taken. Then Rory and Dean slow dance, and Dean kisses her while Tristan watches from afar. Looks like he's got a little longing in his eyes.

While Dean gets punch, Paris's date, Jacob, tries to ask out Rory. Turns out Jacob is Paris's cousin, which makes Rory smile, but that doesn't mean she's at all interested. He doesn't hold a candle to Dean. Meanwhile, Lorelai and Emily are actually having a nice time together. Emily even compliments Lorelai on the job she did with the dress and with Rory.

After a little time at the dance, Dean suggests leaving, getting a cup of coffee, and hanging, just the two of them. Rory's down with that; and while he gets their coats, Paris demands to know how many people know that she brought her cousin to the dance. Paris freaks out, starts yelling and essentially spills her own beans to the whole Chilton class. Tristan meanwhile confronts Dean, gets up in his face, and starts to cause trouble. Dean gives just as good as he gets, but Tristan keeps the insults flying; he's clearly trying to start a fight. Rory tries to stop it, but Tristan then gets up in her face. Dean pushes him aside and then, boom, it's a little fight. "You will not come near her ever again," are Dean's final words to Tristan.

Back at the Gilmore house, Lorelai falls asleep on the couch, and Emily tucks her in. It's a sweet mother/daughter moment, especially when a sleepy Lorelai whispers, "Thank you, Mommy." The look on Emily's face almost breaks your heart.

Meanwhile, Rory and Dean sip coffee and talk about the night's events. Rory doesn't know how to feel, having her boyfriend defend her honor. Boyfriend? Rory backs up and starts rambling, she doesn't think Dean is her boyfriend. But, then has to ask, is he her boyfriend? Dean says he is if she wants him to be. She does, so he is. As they walk in town, they pass Miss Patty's dance studio, which has been left unlocked. They take a little tour. Then, Dean gets a feel for Rory's purse, which is pretty heavy because there's a book inside. A book? Well, it's just a habit of Rory's, she takes one wherever she goes. And tonight, she's got The Portable Dorothy Parker. They spend the rest of the night reading and smooching and then fall asleep right there. In the morning, Miss Patty and her dancers find them conked out and wake them up. Rory bails alone even though Dean begs to go with her so he can explain the situation to her Mom. Rory refuses to let him go; all she knows is that she has to get home now!

As for Lorelai and Emily, they are having a meltdown of course, until Miss Patty calls to give them the details. So what really happened? Before Rory gets there to explain the details, Emily assumes the worst but Lorelai isn't ready to judge her daughter. And any closeness these two had goes right out the window. Basically, if Emily can't see the good that Lorelai has done, the life she's built and the beautiful daughter she has, then Emily shouldn't be in this house. Emily walks out as Rory comes home. Despite her daughter's apologies, Lorelai freaks out on Rory, big time. How could she do this, especially when Emily was there to witness it? So, is this about Emily or Rory? Lorelai tells Rory she should go on the pill, but that's crazy talk and Rory knows it. Lorelai knows it deep down too. Rory admits she made a mistake and fell asleep, but that's all it was and she shouldn't have to take crap from Lorelai because of a huge fight with Emily. Rory heads to her room, clearly upset about her mom's lack of trust, and this is one fight that won't be resolved right away.
Credit: Reelteen.com

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