J: 5 Stars / L: 5 Stars
We’ve only just begun the rating process but I’m quite confident when all is said and done The Third Lorelai will wind up a Top 10 Episode. This episode is perfection from start to finish – so gratifying in its simplicity, while also managing to tug at some of the interpersonal rifts in the Family Gilmore. With the arrival of Lorelai Sr., Mother In Law From Hell, we finally get to see someone treat Emily Gilmore as horribly as she treats everyone else (and we certainly gain quite a bit of insight into why she is the way she is).
But beyond that, what makes this episode great is Marion Ross’ hilarious portrayal of Trix, the reigning queen supreme of old lady shade-throwing. (Apologies to Dame Maggie Smith, but Trix Gilmore could run shit-talking circles around the Dowager Countess without breaking a sweat). Every rewatch we sit with excitement and patiently await the line “I suppose I can just put these nuts in my hand,” making sure to set down our smartphones and laptops just in time to mimic her exquisitely dignified, finger-swirling, nut-cupping hand motion. “Is this cheese?” “Am I supposed to eat that cheese?” Like I said, perfection.
Now, back to Emily. This is clearly one of the most important Emily Episodes. Emily being thrust into an unusually vulnerable position allows us to see another side of her. Unfortunately this provides us with some of the first indications of why she is one of the worst people on the show. Unlike more subtle jerkfaces like Lorelai or Christopher, Emily’s awfulness is not colored in shades of gray; this bitch operates in Galactic Empire black & white. Her anguish at the thought of Trix setting up a trust fund for Rory (effectively cutting the financial leash she has Rory and Lorelai tethered to) lets us see that she is incapable of introspection and, in stark contrast to Richard, seemingly unable to accept that Lorelai and Rory might genuinely like them and are not just showing up to Friday Night Dinners to pick up a tuition check. Her myopic obsession with money and the control it provides is Not A Good Look.
Lorelai calls her out on it, and their spat results in Trix’s offer being rescinded. For a brief moment Emily backpedals and tries to fix the situation — one of the few moments where she seemingly admits having done something wrong. The episode ends with Emily and Lorelai on good terms, but we know nothing good lasts long in House Gilmore.
Some Chilton Valley High stuff happens too, but nothing worth mentioning. Soon Tristan will ride off into the sunset and meek, decaf Season 1 Paris will metamorphosize into wonderful, Robusto Seasons 2-7 Paris. Until then, she’s just a little bit sad.