Gilmore Girls ‘ship watch: Season 3

Hi, all. Just give me a minute, I need to catch my breath. Here I am, a mere 72 hours after finishing season 2, and I have somehow managed to burn through all of season 3. It was quite the Thanksgiving weekend. [Before you dive in, if you are curious as to how I was feeling after the first two seasons, here are my thoughts on season 1 and season 2.]

I know so many Gilmore Girls fans who absolutely love Jess. Many of them are people whose opinions I trust and who swear that Jess is the guy for Rory. So, I have to assume that there’s more Jess to come. Better Jess. Evolved, grown up Jess. Because the Jess I just watched throughout season 3 is definitely not the soulmate of Rory Gilmore. I wonder if all the team Jess fans were so solidly behind him at this point in the series or if the feeling of certainty and trust in him comes later.

Don’t get me wrong. Jess had some great moments. I’m a bad boy lover, and I adore the way Jess softens for Rory. I love that he can match her book for book. I love that he’s so smart. I love their witty banter. And I love that as soon as it was clear Dean was out of the picture, he stopped playing it cool. He wanted to be with Rory and he made it happen.

In a lot of ways Jess makes it clear that Dean was never going to be right for Rory in the long-term. Jess is a much better fit as far as shared interests and life philosophies. And their chemistry is off the charts. As far as ships go, they have some incredibly rewatch-worthy kisses. They give me that feeling in my stomach that all the good ships always do. But, Jess is also a child. He’s jealous of Dean even though Rory chose him, he is actively opting to flunk out of school, and he treats people terribly. I have a soft spot for characters who have had a rough go at life, and I see a ton of potential in Jess, but what I’ve gotten so far is a lot of potential with only minor payoff.

The season ending speech that Rory gives a silent Jess over the phone tore me up. He couldn’t muster the words to say anything?? I so badly want to love Jess. I want to root for their happy ending. But first I’m rooting for Jess to figure himself out. He’s got a ton of baggage to work through and until he can be a functioning and contributing member of society at large, he’s never going to be right for Rory, sexy kisses or not.

In other news….what are you doing Dean?! One second he’s punching Jess at a party for making Rory cry and the next second he’s proposing to his girlfriend of five minutes? And his parents are totally okay with their 18-year-old son getting engaged prior to high school graduation for the sole purpose of convincing himself he’s over his ex-girlfriend? This is the first turn the show has taken that has made me jump up and scream “No way! I don’t buy it!” I don’t know where this is going but it can’t be good. They’re ruining Dean and I’m very sad about it. That kid better get his ass to Southern Connecticut State. I may not think he’s right for Rory in the end, but I desperately want to see him go out and succeed at life.

I have to say that the relationship I most related to in season 3 was Rory and Dean’s, post-break-up. Two of their scenes had me in tears because they so beautifully and painfully conveyed what Rory was experiencing. Right when she and Jess have their first official we’re-a-couple-kiss, Rory runs away to go climb onto Dean’s roof and knock on his window. In a terribly uncomfortable conversation she apologizes to him for the way things unfolded. And then a few days later when they bump into each other and decide to go have coffee and try to be friends, they awkwardly dance around topics that used to be so easy. As I said after season 2, sometimes hurting someone you love is unavoidable. But, Rory made choices that hurt Dean more than she needed to and she finally realizes it as she’s about to fully embrace her relationship with Jess. That ache she feels for the hurtful choices she made and for the once-wonderful relationship that doesn’t exist anymore came through with crystal clarity and broke my heart with its accuracy.


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