Why Does Jess Confess Then Leave?

In ‘Nag Hammadi is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels‘, we are faced with the fact that Jess has some MAJOR commitment issues!! When he starts seeing Rory around town, it’s clear he has something to say, but is afraid to say it. He keeps running off on Rory, which of course pisses her off (because she’s the one with the right to talk out in a huff!)


However, after being in town only 24 hours, and Lorelai confronting him saying Rory is “over” Jess, on his way out of town he happens to spot Rory. At this point, we can already see that perhaps Jess has matured – he’s talking to his mom and won’t accept Luke’s money. So there are clues here that stuff is different. But perhaps not enough.

Anyway, Jess runs after Rory and begs her to stop. Rory goes on about imagining what Jess would say at that moment and what he says… “I love you.” And with that, he leaves.

Why does he do this? Why leave? Why say this, potentially hurting Rory?? What is it all about?

Watch this episode of Gilmore Girls on TheWB.com here.

Image: TheWB.com

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    • http://thegilmoreway.wordpress.com/ Yaya

      well, Jess comes back after that incident. remember, when he comes to Yale and wants her to go away with him?
      Jess loved Rory all along, he never forgot about her. and when he told her he hoped that she’d rethink everything and take him back, going off to New York with him. but of course Rory didn’t do it and stayed.

    • Anita

      Because he loved her, he knew the best thing for her was for him to leave. He knew he wasn’t good for her at that time.

    • Louise

      I think he left straight after saying it because it wasn’t really him to be that honest with his feelings. Although he has started to mature as it was said he still isn’t quite the man he becomes in season 6, so he still isn’t comfortable with being open about how he feels.

    • Sara

      I never understood why he left so suddenly, he didn’t even let Rory say anything though she could have run after him or even called him but I think they would have been perfect for each other if he stuck around but as I rewatch the seasons I dont know how he would have fit into her life, seeing the way she acted how with Logan and the priviliged lifestyle. I would have liked to have seen Jess stick around after he said I love you but it wouldnt have made the story interesting enough.

    • Ryan

      Okay, here’s a good rant (or whatever you’d call a long tangent that’s positive):

      This episode is far and above one of my favorite episodes of the series (possibly my favorite). Here’s why: First off, all of the characters are acting as they should. Lane is still avoiding her mother. Jess is being a major dick to everyone in his pissed off Holden Caulfield way. Luke is being is same judgmental yet caring self while also sabotaging his current relationship due to lingering feelings for Lorelai. Lorelai, in turn, is being her same old selfish self while at the same time being tender towards her Luke and defending him to Jess (though, let’s face it, she was looking for the reason to yell at the guy). And Rory, while clearly not knowing how to initially deal with the situation, stands up to the ass that left her all alone six months beforehand whom she was falling in love with.

      Secondly, it had just the right mix of humor and seriousness. The Jason and Lorelai dynamic is always amusing while seeing Emily as a nervous wreck is hilarious. Luke being drunk at Lorelai’s is another example of this since the scene is, overall, pretty funny but the circumstances behind it are sad.

      Lastly, any episode with the firelight festival tends to be awesome. Rory breaking up with Dean, Luke and Lorelai moments, Rachel’s return, reference to be both Bush and No Doubt in the same sentence, etc.

      Now, as for Jess’s profession. Classic Gilmore Girls drama. Here you have a kid who is completely messed up, who doesn’t know how to communicate at all, and who Rory and Luke (two of the most giving people on the show) couldn’t help. Then there’s Rory, who is clearly pissed off. Here’s a guy that she threw away a perfectly decent relationship for who then turns around and treats her like crap and leaves without saying goodbye (twice now…soon to be three times). A dysfunctional couple? Yes. An extremely interesting and watchable couple? Hell yes. When Jess finally gets off his chest what he’s been waiting to say for months, stuns Rory, then runs off because he can’t stand being that vulnerable at all you can’t help but be intrigued/angry/annoyed/any other emotion that keeps you watching TV shows.

      On a side note, the fact that they never ended up together makes this episode pretty heart breaking since it’s clear they care about each other but it’s also clear that it could never have worked (especially since Rory is not yet a doormat). If they had gotten together, all of this stuff would have been irritating and cliche but because they didn’t it makes it kind of tragic. And that’s coming for a Jess/Rory fan.

      Another side note: good use of the la la music at the end of this one.

      In sum, awesome episode and Jess ran away because he’s angry, immature, and has major issues with vulnerability.

    • mcityrk

      Jess initially comes to SH for reasons other than Rory and probably would have picked up his car and left invisibly if given the chance [except of course the plotline demands some kind of conflict]. That Gypsy, Luke and Lorelai bug him about Rory and then proximity in a small town forces their intersection means Jess has to unexpectedly deal with unrequited feelings for Rory. Since these meetings shook him up and he had nothing further to lose he blurts out what he is really thinking [since he would be angry at himself if he didn't]and then bolts before he can be held accountable for the statement. Same old Jess. I actually thought it was a little too convienient [though I liked it] that when he came back for Liz’s wedding he appeared to be maturing rapidly in dealing with and appreciating people. Hard to believe the light of reason snapped on that quickly.

    • Marie

      To mcityrk

      I don’t think Rory bought his claim of sudden readiness either. This may have been part of the evolution of Jess, or just to show the damage Rory seems to have experienced from boys breaking up with her or leaving her and not trusting Jess. But considering the last look at how he was living and what he asked Rory to do in that episode, just leave Yale and everything behind and just “be” with him, he’s still thinking more of his fantasies than of her and what she wants. In some ways, this is a step backward for Jess. In Stars Hollow, he had at least talked of coming to visit her at Yale, as if he supported her decision to go to college and had romantically and comically promised to help her become a foreign correspondent (proving it could be funny). He was the only one concerned back then that Rory would be unprepared for surviving in a foreign country and at least was able to make her think about the idea of what challenges she would face.

      I guess that’s a long way of saying he blurted out what he is feeling and left because he’s still learning that loving someone and being there for them rather that worrying about one’s own rejection is challenging but the only way to prove how much one cares.

    • Cathy

      I don’t think that Jess had initially meant to tell Rory that he loved her. I think he really just wanted to apologise but with the way she yelled at him I think he realised that sorry or any explanation was going to be good enough. Jess was terrified of rejection; I think that it’s safe to assume he’d been put through it his entire life. That was why he ran.

    • Josh

      I love the character of Jess (and Milo really delivered) but I can never understand these overwrought defenses of Jess’ behavior.

      Where is this coming from that it’s safe to assume he’d been put through “rejection” his entire life?

      All we know is that his father left (inconsistently told — the first version Luke tells is that Jimmy left very recently, not something unusual for millions of people whose parents split) and that his mother couldn’t handle Jess. If he did the things in New York that he did in Stars Hollow – fighting, stealing, lying, doing everything he can to piss people off – you can see she had a point, but this didn’t happen until he was 17, and he didn’t seem to feel very hurt or “rejected” by it, just angry he had to leave his friends.

      None of this is the “cause” of his fearing rejection. He had no problem leaving Rory (rejecting her) months earlier.

      Jess is the way he is probably because of something that runs through the Danes family – Luke, Liz, their uncle, their father, and Jess ALL behaved this way, and not because they were rejected. They’re angry people, not good at handling their emotions.

      I wouldn’t overcomplicate it, and certainly not rationalize it.

    • Cathy

      Something that runs through the family?! Are you kidding me?! Attitude is not genetic. And when was Liz ever really angry: she’s the complete opposite of Luke. A happy-go-lucky flake, whereas Luke is one of the most reliable and serious people on the show. She was married no less than four times, had as many boyfriends in between, and if TJ was the best of the bunch, that really doesn’t paint the best picture of his childhood. When he arrived in Stars Hollow, she didn’t bother to call until twelve hours after he arrived. And perhaps, more importantly didn’t even bother to tell Luke she was sending him there until the morning of. At christmas, she didn’t even bother to call. When we first see her she talks more about pot than him. She even states that she would binge drink while she was pregnant with him! Not exactly the makings of a model mother. Also, we have to remember the Liz we see in the later series, is not the Liz that raised Jess. Luke constantly tried to tell Jess that “she’d changed.”

      Jess was a very angry kid. There was a reason for that. Yes, neither Luke nor Jess are good at dealing with their emotions, both preferring to bottle them up. I think Jess was hurt when he arrived, his Mum had given up, and more importantly, so had he. ( He was a very smart kid, but couldn’t see the point of going to school.) But the Jess we met in the beginning was never going to admit he felt rejected or burst into tears over it. He acted out, and took his anger out on the wrong people. But the right people were never there. It’s not overcompensating or rationalising his behaviour to state that. It’s just how it was.

      The point is, Jess loved Rory but he never really knew how to deal with it. In a way it was just a very big step for him to just to admit his feelings.

    • Sarah Jae

      Jess didn’t just “leave”. He gave Rory a long time to answer him, and she just stared at him. I wanted to kill her.

    • Josh

      @ Cathy…

      I didn’t say attitude is genetic. There is, in fact, substantial scientific evidence that certain behaviors may be inherited –- particularly in the area of mental illness — but even more evidence that entire families can pass learned behavior from generation to generation the way they role model for each other ….

      And if you watched the series, the PALLADINOS make this point over and over. Luke is told this by townies, he says it himself (esp, in Season 2), Liz says it about Jess and her father, and on and on and on. All of them are bitter, hold grudges, have problems with their temper, and have problems communicating their feelings. And Amy and Dan make similar points about traits that Emily and Lorelai share, or traits that Lorelai and Richard share.

      You may not believe behaviors run in families, but psychiatrists, psychologists, and the writers of the Gilmore Girls do.

      And Liz absolutely does have a problem with her temper. Did you not see the Season 5 episode “The Party’s Over” where Liz flips out in rage at TJ? The episode at the end of Season 6 where she does it again when she finds out she’s pregnant?

      All of this defensiveness about Jess — he had a bad childhood — is all coming from a one-sided view of Jess. Many parents who are role model parents find that their children rebel in ways that they cannot handle. And we know from the series that he had problems before Liz sent him to Stars Hollow, probably stealing, fighting, lying, etc. You can’t blame that on Liz not calling him for Christmas.

      Many people have bad childhoods, and many parents who are role model parents often end up with children they can’t control. My parents were both children of alcoholics who managed to overcome abuse like saints, whereas most of their brothers and sisters repeated their parents’ behaviors. We don’t know enough about Jess’ backstory to know how much of the behavior he picked up from Liz he inflicted back on her and vice versa, or how much worse he was than Liz ever was in terms of his rage and his violence.

      It’s one thing to be attracted to Jess (hell, I think Milo’s cute and it was one of the reasons I started watching the show). But giving him license for his behavior based on how allegedly horrible Liz and Jimmy were to him.

      What is clear is that the Gilmore Girls is about overcoming your family’s issues while honoring what’s best in them. Jess did that in his story arc, and he was clearly part of a story arc that Lorelai was on — the Palladinos were crafting to show that the entire Danes family and the Gilmores had a problem with the way they handled their emotions. It was not about Jess and Lorelai the victims. If nothing else made that clear, the way the Palladinos went out proved it, having Lorelai sleep with Christopher in a childish reaction to feeling neglected. it was a story about overcoming those spiteful, vengeful behavior traits — running away, which both Jess and Lorelai did — that are NOT so clearly justified when you see how much more complex the reality is.

    • Cathy

      Josh. I never said his actions were justified just his anger. And I’m not saying he had a right to steal and fight. In fact the way he acts sometimes makes me want to bang his head against the wall. Yeah, I know full well that some kids from good homes get out of control, trust me, I went to school with enough of them! All, I’m saying is that there is evidence of Liz of being a bad mother. Jess has to take responsibility for a lot of what he does. Which as we see in the end he has. But it wasn’t just Jess that had growing up to do, Liz did as well, and she did. (If still a bit cooky – but i loved her for that!)

      And I’m sorry, but unless your child is a serial killer fleeing from the law, every half way decent mother should want to see there kid at christmas! Or at least call them! At the very least to see if he was doing any better. That was something that even ticked Lorelai off!

    • Marie

      To Cathy

      I think you’re only proving Josh’s point.

      The Danes family had real problems with anger and communication. It was a mutual problem and they inflicted a lot of it on each other.

      It’s not to offend if you idealize Luke, because he has many great qualities, but look at his behavior.

      In Season 1, he puts a 16 year old in a “head lock” allegedly to protect Rory.

      In one Season (5), he throws a customer in the street (a physical assault), berates at an old woman who needs to move his boat, and throws a pan at Taylor breaking a window and almost hitting him.

      It’s all done as comedy, but it does not minimize the point. If any of US did these things, we’d probably be arrested. This is true even in Season 7 where he hits Christopher, even though Lorelai went to him and as far as we know chose to sleep with him. Even in American courts, if you have a chance to cool off, being angry is not an excuse.

      Josh’s point that you attacked, if I can defend it (sorry Josh!), is that the Danes family has a problem. You can’t blame Liz for Luke’s behavior. They probably all have this anger running through them and pass it back and forth to each other.

    • Josh

      Thanks for the defense, Marie I’ll allow it. :)

      I’d just also add, to get back to the point of this post, as to why Jess has hard time with follow-up after saying “I love you” that if you don’t see the parallels to Luke here and what “runs in the family” we’re not watching the same show. It takes him 8 to 9 years (according to the timeline in the series) to tell Lorelai how he feels. And she proposes to him, not the other way around, and after saying yes and wanting it to happen, becomes sullen and cold to Lorelai, which, of course, she can’t handle.

      Who knows where this comes from, but some people just aren’t very verbal. Add to that their difficulty with emotions…..

    • Lisa

      I love how vulnerable Jess is in this scene. It’s like he’s human.

      I wish Rory had said yes when he asked her if they could sit down.