It’s Christmas on Starstruck! Now, you may be thinking, Didn’t they just celebrate Christmas because I distinctly remember some Christmas cracker fortunes that immediately gave me seasonal affective disorder, but no. You’re thinking of an early Christmas party Kate put together to celebrate with Jessie before she left London forever to get her life together in New Zealand — until she decided not to take that flight. Sorry, I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded THAT SHE DIDN’T TAKE THAT FLIGHT HOME, but it is just so freaking fantastic I like to recall it as much as possible. To get rid of seasonal affective disorder!
Now, it’s actually Christmas. Tom is headed home to spend the holiday with his parents and brother and, maybe a little surprisingly, invites Jessie to join, but she declines. She thinks it might be a little too intense. Although I want these two lovebirds to finally go all in on each other, this is a good call. They need to figure their own shit out before getting family members involved. They do have an adorable good-bye — doesn’t it always seem like Tom is leaving? — on a park bench in which Tom tells Jessie that he “loves [her] disgusting brown teeth,” Jessie gifts Tom a pen from a bank where she no longer does her banking, and Jessie makes a series of insane faces just in case there are paparazzi nearby. Okay, it’s adorable if you know them.
Since Kate, too, is going home for Christmas, Jessie will be left to her own devices. It might seem a little sad at first, but it does give Jessie time to hunt down a bunch of letters she mailed to people when she thought she’d never see them again. It’s a horrifying thought to her: “I told so many people I love them, and now I have to see them again.” She doesn’t even let Kate read her letter, and you know Kate would do some real murdering to hear Jessie say she loves her. Jessie was in a terrible emotional space when she wrote them — cut to her sobbing while licking an envelope — and she refuses to be beholden to that. Curiously, Kate asks if Jessie sent one to someone named Ben, and while Jessie tries to pass the question off with a “probably,” noting that it would only be filled with very normal things like “I hate you” and “you ruined my life,” it seems like information that is probably important. Less important but equally amusing is Kate’s story about a dream she had where she killed Ben, but he turned into Tim Curry and she woke up with immense guilt. “Well, rightly so, Tim Curry is a national treasure,” Jessie replies. REGARDLESS. Let’s watch this Ben space, okay?
Jessie does some other damage control with possible letter recipients. She goes to see Joe at the movie theater — my firstborn for a look at that letter — who at first claims he has no idea what she’s talking about, but when she tries to strong-arm him into giving her her job back, he makes a big show of refusing to be meek, which apparently was a major subject of said letter. He does give her a few shifts, thank the lord, because every scene of Jessie working at that theater is hilarious. She also visits her friend Steve to take back his letter and ends up ruining an elaborate proposal he had put together for his girlfriend, Sarah. That feels right. So much collateral damage in Jessie’s wake.
Christmas morning, she finally opens the gift Tom gave to her before he left. Friends, I have no doubt that so many of us knew the exact reference the second we saw that Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now album cover. But just in case, Jessie sums it up perfectly by exclaiming, “He Alan Rickman’d me!” It is the exact Christmas gift Alan Rickman gives his wife, played by Emma Thompson, in Love Actually that alerts her to the fact that he’s cheating. Tom giving Jessie this gift is so funny because (1) he knows that she will get the joke immediately, and (2) it symbolizes the most devastatingly heartbreaking scene in that movie, and that is so sick. A perfect gift, no notes.
That morning, Jessie also finds one letter that she didn’t send. It is addressed to Tom and on one side simply says, “Dear Tom, I’m leaving,” and on the other side, at the very bottom, “I think I love you, bye.” This letter she wrote at one of her most vulnerable moments, paired with this gift that, as silly as it is, shows that he really gets her, seems to be slowly getting Jessie to admit some truths to herself. She reluctantly admits another one when she sends Tom a voice note in which she says that she thinks she misses him (she admits that is a “gross” thing to say) and that she wishes she was where he is. It seems so simple, but this is a big step for Jessie. We’re proud of her!!
So where is Tom? He’s hanging out with the Kapoors, who are very much not impressed with his movie-star status. In fact, his brother Vinay, who is a pediatric surgeon, takes the ultimate pleasure in teasing the hell out of him. They wear ugly Christmas sweaters (how very Bridget Jones’s Diary, no?). They goad Tom until he shows them a picture of his new girlfriend (I did not know we were using the term girlfriend yet, and it was a truly gorgeous surprise to hear that word come from Tom). Unfortunately, he only has photos of Jessie from that last interaction they had — you know, the one where she was making those crazy faces for the paps? Mrs. Kapoor’s response is, “She looks … very smart.” Vinay assumes she must be funny. It’s all such normal family stuff. To be honest, Jessie would probably love to see Tom in this environment, if only to start to get over the inferiority complex she has around him.
Christmas is not Christmas, though, without some embarrassing mishap, right? For Tom, he ends up leaving his phone connected to the Bluetooth speaker while listening to Jessie’s voice note. It’s very sweet, but there’s this whole section where she’s pretending she was kidnapped and not saying those sweet things of her own volition. It’s weird. And it doesn’t help Tom’s family shake their initial impression of Jessie.
It doesn’t seem to bug him too much, though (come on, if he loves Jessie at this point, stuff like this probably only endears her more to him), and he texts her to see if he should come rescue her. He doesn’t end up showing — it’s Kate who is ringing the doorbell at that exact moment the text comes through — but when I tell you Jessie’s face was so excited to see him … once more with feeling, friends: These two are so into each other.
• Tom’s dad spends his free time editing Wikipedia pages, and I love him.
• “Stop being weird; let me check your mail.”
• Kate is contemplating whether or not she should ask Ian to move in with her … she doesn’t seem, uh, thrilled about the idea, but she argues with herself that this is kind of just what happens with people when they’re in love. Not true, says Jessie; people in love can live very separate lives. “Sometimes they live in the same lake house, but they live several years apart, you know?” Add The Lake House to the romantic movies alluded to in this episode.
• Oh! Is the pen supposed to be a nod to Say Anything, or am I just in a rom-com-induced haze? Either is possible!
• Later, Joe says something similar about how “that’s just what happens when people fall in love,” and it’s just one too many people saying that phrase for Jessie not to think something’s up — the whole thing “feels very Truman Show–y” to her.
• “You really want to work here for the rest of your life?” “Yeah, that’d be sick, ideally, yes.”