Episode Spotlight: Luke Can See Her Face (Gilmore Girls)

This week I come back to another older favorite. Gilmore Girls will always be one of my favorite shows and this episode is a classic and one of my favorites.

The Plot: Lorelai, Sookie, and Michel prepare for the opening of their new Inn as Luke realizes his feelings for Lorelai with the help of an unusual source. Meanwhile, Rory comforts Paris after Asher winds up in the hospital.

Significance: This episode is the episode that had been building for nearly 4 seasons. Luke finally realizes that he wants to be with Lorelai. Their chemistry had been undeniable from the beginning and by this point, they’ve been through engagements, marriages, returns from former partners, fights, holidays, Rory’s graduation and so much more.

While not the most important episode in the “Lorelai opens an inn” story, it is one of the most memorable. The magical zucchini patch was not only magical for the characters who slept it in but also for the viewers in the way it summed up all that was good about the inn and Lorelai’s work life. It has always been a story about finding your own way and creating a new family around you who loves and understands you and I can’t think of a better episode to sum up that feeling than this one.

I never remember what is going on with Rory in this episode and she’s largely a background player here. It’s not a very significant episode but her reaction to Lorelai’s gossip about Dean and Lindsey’s marriage lays the groundwork for the plot development that occurs by the end of this three-episode arc.

Lasting Impressions: It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a Gilmore Girls episode and returning to Stars Hollow is always a nice treat. This was the first time since I started watching the show that I realized how much faster the dialogue is delivered. I know it’s what the show is known for and they even made it into a tagline that I adore, but since I talk pretty quickly myself, I had never noticed until now.

I had also forgotten how much happens in this episode. I remembered Lorelai stressing over the inn’s opening and Luke and the tape, of course, but I didn’t remember many of the scenes that were related but not directly part of those two stories. I had forgotten that the cats on the porch opened this episode, about Shel’s existence, and most surprisingly, Jess’s presence. It may just be that I was trying to block out his hair, which is not Milo’s most flattering look, but I had thought all the Jess scenes were in the next episode because that’s where I assume all things related to Liz’s wedding are.

As much as I enjoy (and quote) this episode as whole, my love for it comes from two scenes. First, the titular scene in which Luke realizes that he wants to be with Lorelai. For as much as he complained about the self-help tape and made sarcastic remarks to it, he kept listening anyway. He’s a cranky curmudgeon of a man but he has always wanted someone to share his life with and this episode finally allowed him to clarify who that was and what he needed to know about healthy relationships in order to have a shot at staying with her. Lorelai has always been important to Luke – he liked her enough to hold on to a horoscope she made him. Part of him even knows, even if it is such subconsciously, that he is interested in her romantically. But I don’t know that he ever stopped to consider what that meant. So when he realizes that Lorelai is the one he wants to be with, not because she gives him butterflies or he has a crush on her, but because she’s his friend and the person he needs and cares for the most, it’s beautiful for those of us who were waiting for that moment.

Second is the aforementioned magic zucchini patch scene. It is a testament to everything Lorelai Gilmore is and has worked for. She said the zucchini had to be there for the soup and so Jackson put down heaters and a blanket and stayed out there all night to make sure they didn’t freeze. It was the sort of crazy act that is only ever done out of love. A reasonable person may have just put down the heaters and relied on them to work. But Jackson loves his wife and her best friend and wants to do what he can to achieve their dream. If Lorelai says the zucchini have to be there, then they’ll be there because Jackson won’t let her down. And neither will Sookie or Michel – their high standards for themselves have a lot to do with their personalities but they also want to make this happen for Lorelai. She left her parent’s house and came to Star’s Hollow to make a new life for herself. She found a physical home in the Independence Inn and along the way, she found a new family. These are the people who see her at her best and her worst and will still love her and follow her to the end of the earth.

This is one of my most-watched episodes of any series and it all comes down to those two scenes. Really, it probably all comes down to Lorelai and the enjoyment I get out of watching characters who love her just as much as I have come to. This arc is her chance to shine and succeed and it’s always a pleasure to watch.

Your assignment for the week: Rewatch one of your most-watched episodes of a drama and come back and tell me all about it. I want to hear everything that makes it special to you and why you’ve connected with it the way you have.

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