Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dawson's Creek - 208 - The Reluctant Hero

Original air date: November 25, 1998

I'd like to start off by apologising for how long it's taken to get this one out. I've had it written up for a while but needed to put pictures up and my life just became a shit storm the past few months which prevented me from doing so. Since things have hopefully quieted down in my life, I hope to get back to recapping regularly. With that out of the way, onto the episode recap!

We open once again in Dawson's room to find him watching a movie with Pacey this time. Pacey is shown to be a poor Joey substitute because he keeps asking for food during the movie but I actually think he's not a bad replacement. Pacey spends most of the time equating Dawson to Jimmy Stewart and saying that he is too nice and is a dying breed.

Come on, he's just trying to fill the Joey
void for you, Dawson

This argument that the show brings up serves to only piss me off. People do want nice people, they just want nice people with a personality and interests other than being nice. Being nice is a desirable quality, being boring is not. Mystery solved, guys.

Anyway, Pacey then turns his insulting eye on himself, calling himself a "needless waste" but insists he is happy with his status as a below average achiever. Well, this is a downer opener. Let's hope it picks up soon.

Jen enters, completely drunk off her ass, through Dawson's window. She mentions that her purse is in the hedge and that it's bright in Dawson's room before passing out on his bed. This is apparently not the first time this week and I'm a bit taken aback by this scenario.

Even Future Marty is confused

OK, what happened to Grams' talk with her where she told her that she wanted her to respect herself? It looked like Jen took that talk seriously. On top of that, she got burned by Max Ford last week but still didn't seem like she was getting drunk off her ass. My point is, this is added for the shock value and the drama, I really didn't see anything leading up to this and a really simple cue could have been given last episode that wouldn't have made this scene feel out of place for me. After Jen realises she's been used by the guy, they could have shown a brief shot of her downing some type of alcohol, just to hint to the viewer that she's going to get worse and not better. It would have been so simple but instead we go from slightly damaged/grieving but still somewhat level-headed Jen to balls out staggering drunk Jen in one episode. Writers, there is a way to create drama without just throwing crap at viewers to try and shock them. You can tell a cohesive story that is still full of drama and the viewers will still watch.

Fine. Just keep flipping character switches

The next morning, Dawson runs into his father who says he is getting more of his things to move out. This obviously upsets Dawson because he had a glimmer of hope that his dad was maybe moving back in, seeing him in the kitchen. Mitch asks Dawson if he wants to help him move out of their house after he's done school as a "friends thing."

Really, Mitch? Dawson is not your friend, he's your son and he is still trying to cope with you moving out and breaking things off with his mother. No, he does not want to help you leave, thus cementing the destruction of his own family and no, he does not want you to be a friend. Dawson does agree to help him but he asks that Mitch "skip the friend thing" since he already has real friends.


Mitch then gives Dawson a letter that he'd accidentally taken. Whatever is in the letter completely thrills Dawson.

And this isn't even the best Dawson
reaction shot I got this episode

Meanwhile, Pacey is in his counsellor's office. His counsellor is going through a list of what makes Pacey such a failure which confirms what Pacey said about himself in the intro. He apparently even failed a career aptitude test which...neither I nor the counsellor thought was possible. Pacey asks what his options are and the counsellor says he'll have to do summer school, possibly repeat his sophomore year and if he manages to graduate, he'll probably end up on welfare.

See where your mission to have
no goals has gotten you?

Dawson runs down the school hallway to Joey to tell her the good news he got from the mystery letter. It turns out that Dawson's shitty creature feature won in the youth category of the Boston Film Festival. This is part of what the letter said:

"The clever send up of the horror genre shows a profound understanding of the traditional Hollywood fascinations and turns them upside down in an entirely refreshing and entertaining way.."
Ehhhhhh......what? How was his movie a "send up of the horror genre"? It seemed like a pretty standard creature feature to me. I know he added in the love angle but that's not in any way new and neither was his idea to kill off the supposed main character halfway through a movie. And seriously, "what the fuck?" to the "profound understanding of Hollywood fascinations", just what the fuck? He deeply understands what Hollywood is fascinated with? They are fascinated with standard creature features now? Because that genre has been pretty dead in the water for a while. I don't know, I'm probably just being nit-picky because I don't really like Dawson and I don't think he's as great of a film director as this show keeps telling us he is. But whatever, Dawson is super awesomely talented at film making.


Dawson says he's been given a grant to make another movie...what have you done, Boston Film Festival!? And he asks Joey to produce with him again. I laugh at this because the first thing I think about when I hear the word "producer" is the person who funds the project, and I'm just picturing Joey having to give up her measly waitress tips to fund rich boy Dawson's dreams as she cries into her apron.

Pictured: Dawson licking Joey's tears

Joey declines because she doesn't have time and crushes Dawson's good mood again. He sulks away from her.

He's a sad panda again

Jack approaches Joey the second Dawson leaves, which makes me think he was watching their whole exchange and just waiting for his chance to jump in, and he tries to apologise for the kiss again. Joey pretends like she never pulled a temper tantrum with him or gave him the silent treatment, but she totally did, and admits that he was right the night of the dance; that she was more mad at herself than with him. Jack looks super pumped that she's not mad at him.

Awesome! Now to make my move

Cut to Dawson typing on his laptop, he's presumably working on his new "masterpiece" *cough* but really it will just be a disappointing retelling of the events of season 1 and the beginning of season 2. Jen walks up and he tells her he is working on a script and she genuinely looks happy for him and seems glad that he's working on movies again, since he was so passionate about them when she first met him and he's done nothing this season but obsess over Joey. He tells her about winning his category in the film festival and she congratulates him and they joke about her being an actress in an award winning movie.

Jen is still one of the most decent
people on this show

Max Ford passes them by and Jen seems excited to see him. It is stated that he is the one Jen was getting drunk with the night before. So...what happened to the one night stand thing last week? I guess it wasn't explicitly stated that it was a one night stand but it was heavily implied that Max Ford was done with her and she seemed regretful about sleeping with him. Now they are best buddies and getting drunk together? OK, this is Capeside reset logic at work.

Max Ford invites Jen to a party which concerns Dawson. He asks her what is up with them hanging out, so I guess Dawson is as confused as the viewers. She says they are just hanging out and then invites Dawson to the party. Dawson makes a comment about having to choose between script writing and career advancement with getting drunk which causes Jen to get defensive. She claims she is not out of control and is just having fun.

She can see your judgement all over you

Andie and Pacey are talking about his meeting with his guidance counsellor and how Pacey thinks that a weight has been lifted because he has achieved full, documented slacker status. Andie is not pleased and tries to convince him to better himself. He says he doesn't know how and that he's not a hero, he's a joke.

God, I love her

She then encourages him to take the reigns and change his fate because "heroes are made, not born." Pacey seems to like this idea and at least thinks about what she said.

Jack tries to impress Joey by making jokes about cafeteria food, she laughs so success, I guess. He then asks her what she's up to and Clever!Joey retorts back with a sarcastic diatribe about her usual high society plans because, get it? She's actually poor. I guess she didn't learn the lesson Pacey did about their family losing their fortune, because I would hope she wouldn't mock the rich lifestyle just to rub it in his face. Jack is charmed by her outrageous wit and asks her to dinner and tries his hand at being "clever" by saying that it wouldn't be a date, it would be a dat. What's a dat, you ask? Well Jack helpfully explains that "you take the "e" out of the date and you have a dat." That explains...nothing. How is this clever or cute or charming? I have no clue but they banter about dats and finally agree to go on one.


Jack then joins Andie and Pacey at their table and starts bragging about having a date with Joey. Hey, hey, hey, Jack. She agreed to a dat not a date. Don't speed things up before she's ready. Andie congratulates her brother on scoring the girl of his dreams while Pacey looks like this:

Wait, she agreed to go out with Dawson and
you and yet rejects me? Fuck this shit.

Nah, Pacey says he's OK with it but wants to be left out of it. Jack then worries about it being his night to watch their mother and Andie is completely fine with watching her because she has to study. You know, am I just dreaming or the first episode that it was discovered that their mother was a bit crazy, didn't Andie say that she mainly cared for her mother because Jack was "in his own world" or something like that? Now they are sharing the responsibility and taking turns? OK, sure. I guess it makes the Jack character less douchey and clueless. Seriously, I didn't like Jack at this point in the series and I still don't.

Later that day, Joey is getting ready for her dat. God, every time I write that, I feel like a sad hipster who is just so over "dates"

Dates? Over it

Anyway, she's getting ready when Dawson comes to the door. Drama will ensue. He's there to give her half of the prize money they won and Joey is actually pretty gracious about it, so props to her on this one. She thanks him and Dawson says he believes in her but then things take a detour into awkward town when he asks her if she's going out. Joey is all awkward but then says that she's just going out with a friend. Unfortunately for her, Jack comes down the walkway as Dawson is leaving.


Dawson is now helping Mitch move, as he promised earlier but he is anxious to leave. Mitch tries his best to connect with his son but asks how things with Joey are. Dawson is not pleased and spits back that she dumped him and asks for his father's next question. His father then asks about Jen and Dawson spits back that she's probably "drunk and stuck to a sidewalk somewhere." That's...concerning. But Mitch is too focused on his issues with Dawson to take note of that morbid tidbit of information he was given about his son's friend and tells Dawson that he doesn't have to like his decisions but he has to respect them.

This is the best reaction shot.
Isn't it magical?

Mitch counters that Dawson is only thinking about outcomes and not intentions and then tells him that no one is out to get him. Dawson then tells his father that he's not in the market for another friend or buddy and that he just wants a father. Mitch agrees to respect this but looks hurt. I agree with Dawson, for once. It isn't Mitch's job to be Dawson's buddy, he has to be his parent and give him guidance and Dawson sorely needs that right now.

Dawson runs to Jen's house and asks if her invitation to take him to a party is still open. She agrees to take him to the party on the condition that he doesn't "bitch or moan" about her partying and that he keeps an open mind and doesn't judge.

It's a tall order for him, though

Jen makes it clear that she's no longer interested in him because he's in complete rebound-ville and says that it is not a date. Dawson agrees and they make plans to meet up for the party.

Dawson immediately fails to live up to Jen's request and is already judging the party as the "destruction of young America" the minute he walks in. Jen reminds him to keep an open mind and have fun, then she finds Max Ford and his random friend to dance and drink. Dawson chooses not to go with them and then mopes outside while Jen parties.

I've made a huge mistake

Pacey arrives at Andie's house and is greeted by her mother. She mentions Andie's dead brother again which makes Pacey ask Andie about her mother's condition. Andie claims she's getting better but just "slips" sometimes. Pacey is not entirely convinced.

They go up to Andie's room to study and Pacey is impressed with all of her trophies. Andie plays it off as nothing and proceeds to outline their study plan.

Joey and Jack are on their "dat", sitting by the creek. They are watching heat lightening and Jack explains that he is fascinated by lightening because he almost got hit when he was a kid. Joey makes the mistake of recounting a story about her and Dawson replicating the Ben Franklin kite experiment. Jack is not impressed but he recovers well and jumps on every opportunity to hit on her and make Dawson seem foolish.


Dawson has a little encounter with Max Ford regarding Jen to highlight his evil, not pure, un-Dawson like ways. In other words:

Nyaaah! I'm only interested in sex, see? *twirl*

Back at Andie's house, Pacey is being a smart ass about highlighting important passages in his text and Andie needs a break. She doesn't get it because the phone rings immediately after and it turns out that her mother has gone to "Molly's Market" again. Nice job watching your mother, Andie. This is why two teenagers shouldn't be in charge of looking after their mentally ill parents. Man, this storyline is kind of really unrealistic now that I'm re watching it. Wouldn't they have a social worker checking up on them? The father is out of the picture and they are still minors and their mother is in no condition to look after them. It just seems strange that no one is stepping in to help them or make sure they are being looked after. At any rate, Andie promises to get to the market in five minutes and rushes to the market.

At the market, her mother is in her PJ's and chatting to the customers about how her husband takes care of everything. Andie tries to get her mother to come home with her but her mother refuses to leave. Pacey steps in and talks Andie's mother down. He calms her by asking her to help him shop and Andie's mom finally says that she has lunch meat in her fridge. So Pacey asks if she will make him a sandwich and she agrees. They all leave the market peacefully.

Pacey is a hero

At the party, Dawson spots Jen in between Max Ford and Max Ford's friend on a bed. Since this is network TV, they are only kissing and are fully clothed but the implication is that Jen was about to be a part of a Devil's three way.

No eye contact during a devil's three way,
so it was written, so it shall be

Dawson rushes in to save her even though, she didn't seem to want to be saved. I'm on the fence on this issue. On the one hand, if a person doesn't want to be saved, you probably shouldn't save them just because you don't agree/approve of what they are doing. On the other hand, Jen is kind of really drunk and in no way able to give proper consent to this act. Plus Max Ford and friend seem to be pretty in control of what they are doing while Jen looked pretty out of it, I think it's clear the evidence points to them getting her drunk to take advantage of her and that is not cool. That is rape and that is fucking serious. So, I think I'm leaning towards:

Dawson is now a hero? Kind of, maybe except
that Jen seems coherent enough to tell him to
stop what he's doing so maybe she did
want a little double "p" action.

Jen is not grateful or happy that he saved her though because she's still convinced she was having a good time. She then throws up on a white picket fence before telling Dawson that he should accept her for who she is. Dawson tells her that she is hiding from the fact that she is unhappy and she points out that he plays by the rules and is the unhappiest person she knows. Dawson counters that he would take his sadness over hiding from it any day because it is real. He then tries to convince Jen that she's special but she isn't having it. Dawson asserts that she is special and hugs her, he then offers her a place to stay since she can't go home.

I'm still bugged about the lack of Grams in this episode. Like, where did she go? One minute she's chastising Jen about partying and sleeping around and saying that she won't tolerate it and then it's like she's just letting Jen do these things and doesn't notice the fact that she almost never sleeps in her own bed? Weird.

Jack and Joey return from their dat which becomes a date because Jack kisses her. So, how's that needing to be alone so that you can find yourself going, Joey? Pretty fucking crappy from the looks of it.

I hated Jen for doing this to Dawson with Cliff
but it's OK when I do it to Dawson with Jack.
Fuck Dawson's feelings!

Andie finishes putting her mother to bed and then thanks Pacey for what he did for her. She says she's proud of him and Pacey is happy to hear those words directed at him. He then suggests they go back to her bedroom and Andie assumes it's to make out.

You're a sly one, Mr. Witter

Dawson has brought Jen to Mitch's house. Dawson apologises for being hard on his father and Mitch tells him that he can be both his father and his friend. Dawson agrees.

He brings Jen some water and she calls him her hero. Dawson disagrees with "hero" and tells her he's just a friend. That's nice. Dawson's fairly likable in this episode. Jen then asks about his next movie and he tells her it's a romance. Jen requests that his movie not have a happy ending and Dawson says he'll see what happens when he finishes writing it but Jen is adamant.

Over it

We end the episode with Joey climbing through Dawson's window only to not find him in his room. I don't know why, but it makes me happy that he's not there. Probably because she'd just end up being a bitch to him and making him feel worse than he already does about their break up. I mean, she's got balls to go out on a date after breaking up with Dawson claiming she wants to be alone and then expect him to accept her with open arms as a friend again.

Don't let the window hit your ass
on the way out, Joey

And that was the Reluctant Hero. It was an alright episode, I actually liked Dawson in it so that's a plus but I admit one thing kind of irks me. All of the heroes in this episode were male and all of the females were dependent on the males to save them. I wish at least one of the females could have been a hero in this episode but this show tends to paint women as fragile and in need of help or stone cold bitches that stomp on men's hearts. It's a minor nit-pick though, at least for now. We'll see how this series progresses with this issue, if at all.

Side note: The song playing at the end of this episode is one of my favourites and because this show used it (perhaps more than once?), the song has been forever cemented in people's minds as "The Dawson's Creek Song" and that makes me sad. The song is actually called Acoustic #3 and is by the Goo Goo Dolls. For your listening pleasure:

See what I mean? So pretty!

Next up is The Election.


  1. "Ehhhhhh......what? How was his movie a "send up of the horror genre"? It seemed like a pretty standard creature feature to me."

    My read on it was they decided it was deliberately awful and not just because Dawson is actually a sucky filmmaker, and so they praised what they thought was tongue-in-cheekness. It made me laugh at Dawson, which is always a good time.

    Capeside Reset Logic! It's like the Retcon drug!

    Good point about the male heroes too ...

    As usual, excellent gifs throughout.

    1. "My read on it was they decided it was deliberately awful and not just because Dawson is actually a sucky filmmaker, and so they praised what they thought was tongue-in-cheekness. It made me laugh at Dawson, which is always a good time."

      I approve of this analysis. It is now in my head cannon for the show. :) I can't wait until we get to the part where his second movie is mocked, I think it was mocked and didn't show well at festivals, if I remember correctly. Guess I'd better get on with my rewatch and recapping!

  2. "I've made a huge mistake."

    I love it. And I agree with Zelda about Dawson's film being unintentionally deliberately awful.

    1. That was from MMT, by the way.

    2. Thanks for the reply, MMT!