Christopher Hayden, Rory's father and Lorelai's old flame, pays a short visit to Stars Hollow. After a dramatic dinner between Richard, Emily, Straub, and Francine (Christopher's parents), Lorelai and Christopher make love on the balcony. Christopher proposes spontaneously to Lorelai, who rejects him and tells him he is not ready for them full time.
Now that Christopher has arrived in Stars Hollow, the whole town is buzzing about the real reason he's come back. Especially Rory. After all, he's never been to Stars Hollow before so maybe something has changed, maybe he's here to stay. All super-suspicious Lorelai can do is tell her daughter not to get her hopes up. Having low expectations means you're never disappointed, plus Lorelai knows Christopher a lot better than Rory does.
Christopher, on the other hand, is wide-eyed around Rory, calling her a chip off the perfect block. But Lorelai cuts him off at the compliment and demands that they get down to brass tacks. Why is he here? Well, Christopher's business is finally doing really well and he's come to the decision that he wants to be more involved in Rory's life. All he wants is a chance. Lorelai has always given him chances, but Christopher has just never used them before.
Rory invites her dad to watch a softball game, a game in which Dean just happens to be playing. Is Christopher ready to deal with Rory's boyfriend? It's not easy to hear, but that's what you get when you're never around.
At the game the next day, Dean is at bat (Luke's on the mound) and spots Rory and her dad. He's got a look on his face that says, "Who's that guy?" The two most important men in Rory's life (Dean and her dad) are introduced to each other; they exchange pleasantries and talk motorcycles. It's short, sweet, and uneventful, but also awkward. Later, at the Inn, Sookie wants the lowdown on Christopher. Lorelai admits it's weird to have him staying at the Gilmore house but honestly, she doesn't know what she feels. However, she does say that Christopher's charm still works on her, all he has to do is smile and it's, "Ahhh, Christopher." He knows all her secrets. All her bad-girl moments happened with him.
Meanwhile, Rory's giving dad a tour of Stars Hollow and he gets to see some of the more eclectic towns-folk (like Patty). He also gets to experience the unique and super quick way in which the residents spread gossip. Thanks to Patty's quick fingers on her cell, everyone knows who Christopher is before Rory has a chance to introduce him. And everyone has an opinion on who this hunk looks like, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Billy Crudup, more like an older Joey Lawrence. In order to get away from everyone's opinions, he and Rory slip into the local bookstore, and he offers to buy her any book she wants. She protests at first, but then chooses her dream book, the compact Oxford English Dictionary. It's huge and expensive, but Christopher's got a lot of things to make up for. Too bad he doesn't get the chance. His credit card is rejected. Rory says it's no big and promises to keep this little incident just between her and Christopher. Guess his business isn't doing so well after all.
At the diner, Luke digs for dirt from Lorelai about Christopher. Could this be jealousy? Before he can get the lowdown, the conversation is cut short when the very man in question, and Rory, enter for a bite to eat. As they all sit, Emily calls on Christopher's cell phone and wants to talk to Lorelai. Christopher's folks are in town too, so Emily announces that they'll all be having dinner together! Both Christopher and Lorelai dread the idea of dinner, but they have no choice but to go.
As soon as they're in the door of the elder Gilmores' house, Richard is asking Christopher about the business. (It only takes two seconds for Lorelai to finish her first martini.) Emily is walking down memory lane and let's say she suffers from revisionist history making. Both Emily and Richard can't help but fawn over and compliment Christopher at every turn. Rory doesn't even recognize her grandparents. Who are these people praising her mom and dad?
When Mr. and Mrs. Hayden (Christopher's parents) arrive, Rory is super nervous. She doesn't know what to call them and when introduced, she actually curtseys. The Hayden's are snobby and stuffy and don't try to hide the fact that they don't like Lorelai at all. When Rory tries to make conversation, she's all mumbles and stutters. In an attempt to change the subject and get Rory off the hook, Lorelai changes the subject to President Bush and how she doesn't like him. The Hayden's (who are major Republicans) think Lorelai is totally out of control. Mr. Hayden then insults Lorelai's line of work (at the Inn) and her life choices. He even brings up the fact that she not only derailed her own life but Christopher's too. (As if it doesn't take two people to make a child.) It's so bad that Richard steps in to make peace. When Mr. Hayden calls Rory "that girl" and makes Lorelai out to be some kind of seductress who trapped Christopher, he's gone too far. Richard grabs Mr. Hayden's lapels and kicks him out, defending his daughter like any good father would. The whole thing makes Lorelai feel sixteen all over again.
When it's all over, Richard has retreated to his den; Rory's in the kitchen with Emily, and Christopher is solo in the living room. Lorelai tries to talk to her dad, thanking him for what he said. She's touched and grateful that he defended her. She thinks he did it out of protection. But she couldn't be more wrong. Richard did it because the Gilmore name was being trashed. Then he lays into Lorelai and it makes her feel much worse than Mr. Hayden. Essentially, Richard tells his daughter that everything that has happened in the past is not just suddenly fixed because he defended her tonight. In fact, he's angry about what she did so many years ago. She embarrassed and shamed her family because she was unwilling to marry Christopher. It doesn't matter what Lorelai wanted, sometimes one must sacrifice in this life; a statement that makes Lorelai feels very sad for her father. And the argument ends there; nothing's resolved, he's tired and she leaves. This night is more awful than she imagined. How long will Lorelai have to pay for her mistakes?
In the kitchen, Rory sits and sulks while Emily tries to make light of the situation. She starts to praise Mr. Hayden and his charity work but then she drops the pretense. She calls him a big ass, a comment that makes Rory smile. Emily feels bad for her granddaughter and says very clearly that Rory is not and has never been a disappointment.
Meanwhile, Christopher finds Lorelai out on the balcony to her old room. They chat about the night's events. She's crying; he's comforting; they reminisce about spending time on the balcony, scanning houses for naked people. Christopher pulls out a flask, and they realize they're at the exact same spot where Rory was conceived. Meanwhile, Luke is left high and dry at the diner. Remember how Lorelai was supposed to meet him tonight and help paint? Well, now she's occupied. Cut to her and Christopher on the balcony making out, stripping off clothes, and getting horizontal. When it's over, Lorelai is more than a little freaked, but Christopher thinks it was really great.
At home Lorelai tries to make Rory feel better about what happened, but Rory is smart and she knows the Hayden's don't even want to know her. It's their loss and a pretty big one at that. Lorelai says: no regrets. She's trying to be strong for Rory, but the whole night is really taking its toll. In the morning, Lorelai realizes that she has stood up Luke and immediately heads down to the diner. Standing in her coat and pajamas, she apologizes over and over, but Luke is really bummed and says he knew he should have never agreed to paint the diner in the first place. He asks Lorelai if she missed their "date" for an emergency and of course, Lorelai responds with no.
Back at the house, Christopher offers Lorelai coffee and she (gasp!) turns it down. Something is not right in the land of Gilmore. Bottom line: everything is wrong. Then Christopher throws Lorelai for a major loop. He proposes! Lorelai says that he doesn't know the first thing about family. He can't even buy a book without having his credit card declined. (It wasn't Rory who ratted him out; rather the news was all over town). Christopher shoots back that if he's so irresponsible then why did he want to get hitched way back when it all happened. She doesn't have an answer to that one, but instead demands to know the truth about his business and the fact that he didn't say anything about it at dinner. A moment of silence ends when Christopher says he didn't know how hard it would be to see Rory like this, meaning that maybe it's easier to stay away. Lorelai is quick to point out that that's not the right answer; Rory needs her dad.
Christopher is preparing to leave. Rory asks her father to call home more, twice a week. She knows about the proposal and wants to know of Lorelai loves him. Lorelai doesn't want to answer, but finally says that Christopher wants things he's just not ready for. It just wasn't right and no matter how bad Rory wanted it, she just has to trust her mom on this one.
Later, at Luke's, Lorelai is inside and has painted the whole diner herself. Luke is shocked but has to admit it looks pretty good. And he has to ask, "Where's the guy?" Lorelai tells him that Christopher is gone and things are almost back to normal.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Rory's paternal grandparents, Straub and Francine Hayden. This is also the first time that Rory meets them.
- "Need to Be Next to You" by Leigh Nash
- "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple
- "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones
- "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry
- The Offspring
- Black Sabbath
- Citizen Kane
- Fiddler on the Roof
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Little Rascals
- George Clooney
- Brad Pitt
- Billy Crudup
- Lorelai – My father hit his head surfing Rincón a couple of years ago.
- Christopher – And you were the girl in the Pinky Tuscadero T-shirt, sitting right next to me.
- Lorelai – It's been cold pop-tarts for a week, it's like a damn Dickens novel.
- Lorelai – Dad, that's from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. It's a famous musical.
- Lorelai – Ah, another story for another time, possibly before your first trip to Mazatlán.
- Christopher – Well, I know you well enough to know that when you say no to coffee, especially in the morning, all is not right in Whoville.
- Lorelai – My father almost hit someone. My father has probably only hit another man in college, wearing boxing gloves and one of those Fred Mertz golden gloves pullover sweaters.
- Lorelai – You have flipped your lid! Charles Manson is freaked out by you right now!
- Lorelai – It meant that José Cuervo still has amazing magical powers.
- Lorelai – That's not true. If [[wikipedia:Tony_Randall|Tony Randall] could crank one out in his seventies, you have decades left to spawn.