Gilmore Girls 3.14 “Swan Song”

Gilmore Girls 3.14 "Swan Song"
Original Air Date: February 11, 2003 (Recap date: January 31, 2008)
Photos, Recap & Discussion

Discussion Questions:


  • Are you surprised that Emily did not react more strongly to hearing that Rory was dating Jess?
  • Is it me, or is Rory suddenly more stylish in this episode? Lorelai too perhaps. Both had curled hair the entire week.
  • Do you think Rory is correct – would Lorelai make things worse at the dinner with Emily & Jess?
  • Should Rory have been upfront with Jess about spending time, even by accident, with Dean? Why wasn’t she?
  • Why was Emily so nice to Jess?
  • Why won’t Rory believe Jess? Dean almost fought Tristan, so he too is capable of provoking a fight.
  • Is it bad news that Rory and Jess are fighting so soon in their relationship?
  • Is Jess jealous of Dean? Or afraid of becoming like Dean?
  • Why did Jess lie about his eye, in the end?
  • Is Rory rushing her relationship with Jess? Moving to ‘it’ before she’s told Jess she loves him?
  • What is Lorelai thinking of in the end of this episode?

Gilmore Girls Episode Recap & Photos:

Emily is being driven insane by Trix and rants about her for 20 minutes to Lorelai and Rory. Lorelai suggests Trix get a fella, ‘with or without an umbrella’ Rory adds. Emily thinks Trix had a man once, but he was suddenly out of the picture.

Emily looks meaningfully at Rory and says it’s always obvious when a couple ceases to be a couple. Rory confirms she’s not with Dean – Emily knew. Rory has not mentioned Dean for 11 dinners. Rory mentions she’s seeing Jess – Luke’s nephew. That gets an ‘oh, I see’. Emily wants to meet Jess the next Friday. When the girls say no, she suggests what could happen if they all met at Rory’s graduation. Rory says Jess will come next Friday.

Rory and Lorelai try to coordinate schedules. Both are out for dates tomorrow – Rory with Jess during the day, Lorelai with Alex at night. But Sunday is girl time – and tonight is Footloose.

Rory shows Jess a book called "The Holy Barbarians" about Venice Beach beatniks. She’s not done yet, so Jess calls her a book tease. Jess is not keen on coming to the dinner with Emily – Rory bribes him with the book and a kiss.

Miss Patty pulls Rory into her studio to give feedback on the material for her one-woman show - "Buckle up, I’m Patty." Dean is there too. Kirk is director and wants to rewrite Patty’s memories for more appeal. Miss Patty starts to sing and Kirk turns on a strobe light.

Rory is studying at home alone, and hears a noise… the noise being Lorelai and Alex making out on the porch. Alex has invited Lorelai to New York for the weekend, but they’d have to leave early on Friday… Rory says she’s fine going to dinner alone with Jess. Thinks it may be easier without Lorelai there defending Rory and creating tension.

Jess is home from work and there are flyers from Miss Patty’s show – which features a quote from Rory & Dean. He know Rory and Dean are friendly, but still wants to punch Dean. He would also like Rory to tell him these things, instead of hiding them. But the situation is easily resolved.

The band is meeting and Lorelai accidentally lets slip a mention of love songs being all Lane and Dave would want to play. Immediately realizes her slip. But saves it by saying that it was from their names – take Lane’s L, replace the A with an O and add on the VE from Dave and you have Love. Dave and Lane, later, discuss details of how to get the band out without Mrs. Kim’s notice. The complexity makes Lorelai’s jaw drop, though Lane and Dave don’t see it that way.

Lorelai goes to get coffee as fuel for shopping. She wants new winter clothes for New York, though Luke doesn’t see why. He counts off her nice jacket, a few of her nice sweaters, and scarves. They chat about theater – Luke has gone to NY a couple of times to meet Nicole and saw Hairspray. Offers her a walking tours book to take.

Lorelai runs up to get it but runs into Jess & Rory making out. Luke knew Rory & Jess were up there making out – they do it all the time. He has a system to check on them every 10 minutes though. Gets things, puts them in a box downstairs, then starts over. He thinks it’s better to know where they are than having them alone somewhere else. Rory freaks him out saying 10 minutes was enough for her to create Rory and get dressed again.

Lorelai is freaked out because her packing is too organized, and yet incomplete. She knew from discussing with Alex every item of clothing she’d bring. Except what to wear on the drive. Rory helps. Lorelai is a little concerned about the thought of Jess driving Rory home… to an empty house. Rory promises she’s not thinking about ‘that’.

Jess is late for dinner. Arrives… with a black eye. He doesn’t particularly want to talk about.

Emily is being extremely gracious to Jess. Rory, however, can’t drop the black eye. Emily gets up to get salt. Rory accuses Jess of fighting with Dean. He’s annoyed with Rory for bringing it up while he’s trying to make a good impression on Emily. Rory needs more time talking with Jess so asks Emily if they can be excused.

Rory thinks the fight was because of Miss Patty’s. Jess says he didn’t get in a fight with Dean – she won’t believe him. Dean would never punch him, she says. And accuses Jess of embarrassing her. Jess walks out. Emily is supportive.

Levittown was horrible. Sookie & Jackson were trying to be polite about it, but it’s bad. Lorelai really wants to call Rory, but Alex tells her not to call for the wrong reasons.

Lorelai calls Rory early the next morning. Rory is still in Hartford. Lorelai thinks it’s Emily’s fault, but Rory says she was a saint. Rory says she had the most horrible fight of her life with Jess. Lorelai asks to speak with Emily, and thanks her for being so good with Rory. Emily asks how Lorelai could let Rory be with ‘that abominable thug.’ Vents all her issues with Jess, finally.

The band is driving through Stars Hollow when Mrs. Kim spots Dave in the car - he tells her that they are a Christian band. Mrs. Kim warns Dave that Lane has a crush on him.

Rory goes to see Dean at the market. He didn’t give Jess the black eye. Luke too thinks it was a fight with Dean. When Rory calls for Jess, he has Luke say he’s not there. Luke then demands to know where the black eye came from. Jess says he was attacked (‘beaked’) by a swan. Luke first doesn’t believe him, then tries not to laugh.

Jess takes a ladle to do some beaking of his own. Luke and Jess take the boat to scout out the swan. Luke says Jess has much more of Rory’s family to look forward to. That Rory is part of a package. Jess doesn’t even understand why Rory picked him. Luke says being jealous of Dean will only drive Rory away. Jess doesn’t want to be a wuss and crawl back to Rory. The swan swims by, but too far to take action on it.


The band thinks that they’ve uncovered Dave & Lane’s secret – that they are Christians. They think Dave’s ‘devoutness’ is cool. Big relief there.

Jess spots Rory carrying oodles of food from Al’s back for dinner with Lorelai. Rory apologizes for doubting Jess. Knows she needs to trust Jess as much as she did Dean. Asking Rory not to mock him, Jess tells his own truth… but says it was a football incident. There is a bunch of kissing and Jess suggests they ‘go somewhere.’ Rory can’t, but tells him to keep thinking what he’s thinking.

Rory brings home the food. In an effort to be honest with her mom about everything, she tells Lorelai that she is not ‘too busy to think about it.’

"Nothing’s happened yet. But it might. Maybe."

Lorelai is not sure she is ready to know about Jess and all this. Lorelai decides she does want to know, and asks Rory to tell her before.

In the silence that follows, Rory and Lorelai eat. And put their arms around each other.

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    • John

      “Rory shows Jess a book called “The Holy Barbarians” about Venice Beach beatniks.”

      I wonder if Jess’s father is mentioned in the book? :)

    • Sara

      I rarely get mad at Rory when I watch this show, but she is completely not herself in this episode! She got so mad at Jess about something that she wasn’t even sure happened. No matter how much he tried to convince her, she wouldn’t believe him until Dean told her. She should have trusted Jess just as much as she trusted Dean in the beginning.

    • Chani

      I’m gonna agree with Sara here. (I seem to do that a lot actually!!!). It really bugs me that she fights with him so strongly, but as soon as Dean says it didn’t happen, then it must not have. She just couldn’t accept it from Jess, which just shows how mistrusting she is of him. Also, I really think the reason that Emily was so nice to Jess is so that Rory doesn’t feel judged because her “man” doesn’t meet with their standards. She is afraid that if that happens, Rory won’t come back. Which I think is why she pushed so hard to meet him without Richard there, because we all know how Richard is. And you know, I honestly don’t know why he still lied in the end. I am thinking he felt she just wouldn’t believe him. Not that Jess playing football was all that believable.

    • K C

      What i want to know is what happened to Alex?? he comes in and he an Lorelai really hit it off (he’s opening a coffee place for crying out loud!!). They have a few really good dates and then we never heat about him again. He’s just glossed over in later episodes as if he never existed… what happened?

    • Wonder Y

      This is the episode that I think of when people think that Rory and Jess belonged together. No way. They both needed each other to grow as people, but that’s it.

    • Pamela

      Rory, Lorelei and Emily think they are right about everything, so I too agree w/Sara. Funny how the Gilmore Girls fight to be (and think) they are so different from Emily, but seem to possess the same judgmental qualities.

    • Jessica King

      I cant believe that not right for Rory ask Dean without ask Jess frist-if he fight with Jess,but Dean said no.Rory kinda annoying and keep ask Jess during dinner at Emily’s house.I love Lorelai and Rory’s curly weeks this episode.

    • Karen

      In answer to the question of what Lorelie is thinking about at the end of the episode. I know from experience when your daughter comes to you and tells you she thinks she may be ready to take the big step, even though you have talked about it and agreed that she will tell you when the time comes and you have a great open relationship etc etc as a mom you just have to think “oh crap” my baby is growing up. THat is what I think she must have felt. I know I did

    • Jennifer

      yea i kinda beleived rory should have trusted jess but at the same time jess should have been open to her…i mean so what if the swan did that to your face….he cares so much about his masculinity and doesnt want to admit that he got hurt from something smaller then him…..ahh they both had their faults…..i reallly like the grandmother in this episode i love it how she enjoyed jess’ company and helped rory get through the situation….then in contrast she did not support dean the first time they met at rorys dance…and in both situations she really didnt know either boys . I gues that with kess she trusted rory more because they were becomming closer and she respected her opinions..

    • elivia

      when she mentions the book to jess about venice it kind of foreshadows what will happen to jess when he goes to venice,ca.

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