The One Where Rachel Finds Out
Season 1, episode 24
24th overall episode of Friends
Rachel at the airport.
Episode Information

May 18, 1995

Written by

Chris Brown

Directed by

Kevin S. Bright

Episode Guide

The One With The Birth


The One With Ross' New Girlfriend

"The One Where Rachel Finds Out" is the twenty-fourth episode and season finale of the first season of Friends, which aired on May 18, 1995. Ross travels to China for work, Joey balances sexually-related research and a new girlfriend, and an inadvertent comment by Chandler leads to Rachel learning of Ross' love for her.


Rachel keeps drooling over Ben's pictures, unaware that Ross is drooling over her. Chandler and Joey are skeptical that anything can happen between the two and suggest to Ross that he move on and find someone else.

At Monica's Apartment, the friends are about to hold Rachel's birthday barbecue, to which Joey invites Melanie, a girl who works in the fruit basket gift business. She wants to have sex with him, but Joey can't because he's participating in a research study in which he donates sperm for money.

Ross drops by to tell the guys that he's going to China for a week, and leaves Rachel's present with them to give to her. Before eating, Rachel opens her presents, and is pleasantly shocked to find that Ross bought her a very expensive pin that she had pointed out to him a while ago. Chandler tries to play the present down by pointing out how Ross did something similar when he was in love with Carol and bought her an expensive crystal duck, but then realizes he has just told Rachel how Ross feels. She's even more shocked at this, but doesn't know how to react.

Joey keeps postponing sex with Melanie by doing other sexual things that please her only. This makes Melanie even crazier about Joey, and she quite literally fills his and Chandler's apartment with fruit baskets in gratitude. Joey is also having fun pleasing Melanie, which he points out to Chandler is something he doesn't usually do. However, as soon the sperm study ends, he changes his mind and returns to his normal love of sex.

Rachel and the girls discuss the pros and cons of going out with Ross, about which Rachel is still undecided. She leaves things with him at the airport, but as he has already passed through the gates, she can only leave him a message, but the flight representative delivers it to the wrong man. Ross, who's learning Chinese from a Walkman, leaves for China with Rachel's message unknown to him.

Rachel tries to put Ross out of her head by asking a guy named Carl on a date. The date goes horribly wrong - Carl is a self-obsessed bore, and Rachel can't get Ross out of her head. She finally makes up her mind after seeing Ross in a fantasy, and leaves for the airport to see him. Just when he's about to leave the gates, Ross picks up a bag that a girl dropped. She thanks him and gives him a kiss, revealing she is actually Ross' new girlfriend. Unaware of this, Rachel waits for Ross.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Green
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

Lauren Tom - Julie
Corinne Bohrer- Melanie
Tommy Blaze - Carl
Kerrie Clark - Flight Representative (as Kerrie Klark)
Jack Riley - Airline Passenger (uncredited)


Directed By:
Kevin S. Bright
Written By:
Chris Brown


  • The original finale for Season 1 was supposed to be the previous episode with the birth of Ross & Carol's son. Veteran sitcom director James Burrows pointed out the viewers' interest lay with the fate of Ross's feelings for Rachel[1].
  • The concept of the episode (and the reveal in the Season 2 premiere) was inspired by the writing of Jane Austen. Otherwise, prevalent idea had been to have Ross and Rachel spontaneously kiss and discuss how it would affect their friendship[1].
  • This is the first episode to show Rachel's habit for exchanging gifts that she receives from the friends, as she tells Monica she exchanged the dress she received from her. Rachel is also unimpressed by Chandler's gift of Travel Edition Scrabble.
  • In this, the season 1 finale, Rachel decides to go see Ross at the airport to tell him she fell in love with him. Nine seasons later in the "The Last One, Part 2" (S10E18), Ross chases Rachel for the same reason.
  • Joey makes $ 700 by participating in a fertility study at NYU. It is later revealed that after the study he donated his sperm at a sperm bank. In "The One With The Jam", the jam that is referenced in the title is not a euphemism for Joey's sperm. (S3E3), Monica runs across his record when she's looking for sperm donors for her to have kids, but just as quickly rejected when Monica discovers it's him. In "The One With Unagi" (S6E14), he again offers himself for medical studies again, but this time he abandons the idea of sperm donation.
  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, Rachel leaves her half-finished date to Monica, who exclaims "he [Carl]'s not a sandwich". When Rachel explains who Carl is, Monica agrees to go on the date.
  • On her way to the airport, Rachel runs into Chandler, who tries to put off her move because there are many things he hasn't accomplished in his life yet, including watching Baywatch since they have Yasmine Bleeth. This is the first reference to Chandler loving the lifeguards show (and his crush on Yasmine Bleeth).
  • This is the first time for Monica to give one of the friends sexual advice. She would do this again in S4E11 "The One With Phoebe's Uterus", where she gives Chandler sexual advice about Kathy.
  • This is the first episode to have Rachel's name in the title.


  • In the cold open there is a shot inside the coffee house showing a man and a woman on the couch. The next shot is inside the cafe and the gang replaces the man and woman.
  • When Rachel heads to the airport, the boarding pass the gate agent is holding changes places. When the gate agent grabs Rachel's hands to stop her from going past, she is holding the boarding pass of the passenger behind Rachel, but when the shot changes, the passenger is holding the boarding pass.
  • The man who proceeds Ross in line at the gate is not the man who is in front of him in line on the jetway, he doesn't appear again.
  • Rachel says Ross asked about asking her out on her FIRST night in the city but it was her second as it was after Monica had slept with Paul the wine guy.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Preceded by
"The One With The Birth"
"The One Where Rachel Finds Out" Followed by
"The One With Ross' New Girlfriend"