Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Dawson's Creek - Season 2 Wrap-up

So, we've made it through the show's sophomore season and how did it fare compared to last? Well, I think it's both stronger and weaker than the first season. It's stronger at telling more intriguing stories, it's stronger with developing its secondary characters, and it's stronger with continuity but only by a little bit. The best way I can explain this is by deconstructing the good and the bad of each characters' story arc.

This show is very bizarre with its continuity, sometimes they follow through with things and there is an excellent payoff and other times, it's like the writers get bored or something and just drop things entirely or they drop them to further their own plots. Take Jen's entire arc this season, it could have been extremely powerful but it ends up not packing a lot of punch because they dialed her back mid-season so that she could be successful at helping Dawson with his movie for the sole purpose of making Joey jealous. So, instead of getting a girl who is slipping slowly into the deep end, drinking her pain away, falling in with the wrong crowd, seeing her friend die and being unable to save her because of her intoxication, and her falling out with Grams, all feeding in to her self-loathing, which results in her unwillingness to save herself from the fire; we get her slipping, suddenly getting better, having a good relationship with Grams, only for her to suddenly decide that she still doesn't fit in, out of nowhere and going back to the self destructive path but only in the last few episodes. It takes away a lot of the punch that her storyline might have packed because you are left wondering why she magically got better and then why she suddenly decided to get worse. You get whiplash from Jen's sudden transformations this season and it's a shame because Jen is a very interesting character who went through an amazing growth this season, despite the back and forth nature of her change. I chalk that up to lazy writing though. 

Still the most interesting character on Dawson's Creek

And then there is Jack. When he is first introduced, he's kind of a doofus. First, he's irresponsible and naive and then he's suddenly the rock that holds his family together. There is no gradual change here or character growth, the writers just blatantly changed their minds with his character. That being said, his character's struggle with his sexuality was surprisingly well handled and felt very earned. Sure, you could argue that the writers threw that character change in to be edgy and controversial at the time, seeing as how there were very few gay characters on tv when this first aired and I could totally believe that but whether the writers intended to or not, there were some clues that pointed to his possible conflict with his sexuality early on. The milkshake scene in the episode, High Risk Behavior, sure it can be read as klutziness but it can also be interpreted that he was nervous or afraid of the feelings he felt when he saw a naked male. Then, of course, as we learn in, Sex, She Wrote, Jack was unable to get an erection when he and Joey attempted to have sex. It could have been anxiety, nervousness or stress but it came off to me, on second viewing, as his body's way of telling him that he just wasn't attracted to girls in that way. Jack started off annoying to me but evolved into a very interesting character with very real struggles.

Surprisingly interesting character

His sister Andie is also very interesting and enjoyable and always was from the moment she was introduced. The writers also tended to get a bit lazy with her too, depending on what they wanted to do to add drama. I'm not so sure she was always supposed to have mental issues. She starts off the season as a very smart, very together girl, who handled the sole burden of taking care of her mentally ill mother because her brother couldn't face the truth of what happened. Either the writers got bored of this concept or they decided that it would be more interesting to have a main character be the one with mental trauma rather than just a parent, they quickly changed her into the one struggling with mental illness, practically wrote out the mother, and made Jack the one trying to take care of his mother and sister by himself. Now, this change, I kind of agree with the writers on because it was a lot more gripping seeing a character that we love go through the stress of what mental illness can do rather than see it from a minor character who is barely in the show. Also, they kept her as fairly together and she was still smart so they didn't change her character too much that it felt unreal. Her story in Reunited remains one of the most daring and interesting things the writers of Dawson's Creek has ever done.

From collected overachiever to neurotic overachiever
with serious mental issues

Pacey probably went through the smoothest character arc this season. He starts off the season, his usual oddball, slacker self but he decides based off of Dawson finally making a move with Joey, that he too can change himself as shown in The Kiss. Now, he starts by trying to change into a more player version of his goofy, oddball persona and we think this is where he's going to go for the season but the funny thing is, he does end up changing quite a bit, just not in the way he thought he would. He starts off thinking he wants to be this smooth casanova but because of his friendship with Andie, he ends up changing into a studious, sweet guy who stands up for the things he believes in. In fact, two interesting things happen with this premise. The first being that he almost falls too in love with his newfound hero persona, starting with The Reluctant Hero and coming to a head in the two parters, To Be or Not To Be... and ...That is the Question where he almost loses Andie by being too in love with being a hero. Even though he was right to get rid of Mr. Peterson, and to stand up for Jack, he went a little bit too far in his crusade. It's interesting to note that he didn't truly become a hero until Ch-Ch-Changes when he learned that to be a real hero, he had to realize that he couldn't fix everything and learn to let Andie go to get the help she truly needed. The second was the mini-arc with his father. I wish that they'd developed this story a lot more because it was one of the strongest story lines this season. Unfortunately we only have two real episodes covering it, Uncharted Waters and the season finale Parental Discretion Advised. The rest of what we know about there relationship was merely hinted at by the things Pacey said, which were usually ignored. This is a shame because it was very interesting to see Pacey change and mature this season which in turn, led to his father recognizing that his son is not who he thinks he is and is capable of doing more than he thought.

Truly the greatest character in television history. Ever. Period.

Now we have to talk about Joey. Oh lord, save me now. I know, I know, I rag on her far too much but she just really frustrates me as a character. The thing is, she is a good character and an interesting one at that. She has a very interesting back story with her father issues and the fact that she struggles with the loss of both of her parents. It's just...the way they write her is so annoying. Take, for instance, her habit of picking fights over nothing. Like in the episode The Kiss. Our main characters have finally gotten together, she has finally gotten the returned affections of her long time crush and she decides that she needs to nit-pick every little thing that he says. He asks if she was going to say that she made a mistake, she spits back that if he asks that then he must be the one thinking it. Then there is her hypocrisy, she gets a chance to go to France because some girl didn't want to leave her boyfriend behind which she kind of paints as being stupid but then she turns around and does that exact thing. Not to mention the fact that she stays behind, for Dawson, because he finally realized his affection for her and you'd think that she decided to stay because that's what she wanted and was finally happy but two seconds later, she doesn't want to be with him anymore. These are the things that annoy me about Josephine Potter. I think her reason for dumping Dawson was stupid but I'd respect it if she actually did spend this season finding herself but she doesn't. They practically stopped talking about her art pretty quickly this season and no sooner did she dump Dawson, she was going out with Jack. That's not really setting out to find oneself. Also when she and Jack break up because he realized he was gay, she still didn't really try to find herself. Since breaking up with Jack, she planned a birthday party for Dawson, got her pictures taken by some photographer guy, her dad returned, and then she got back together with Dawson. She didn't really change at all this season. Dawson was all worried that she's grown past him but she hasn't grown as a character at all. She still handles her problems by running away or pushing people away and lashing out. She's not wiser, she's not worse, she's not extremely artsy now, she's still just Joey.

Same old hypocritical Joey

And, of course, there is our main character who often gets shoved to the side in his own show, Dawson Leery. I was actually going to write a really nice piece about how much Dawson had improved but sadly, the improvement didn't last and he was soon back to his old whiny self.

Joey doesn't want me! I make movies! The teacher hates my movies
because she's a meanie-poo-poo-head!

I just can't believe that the show creator based this character on himself and then somehow made him out to be the most clueless, self-absorbed character on the show...oh wait maybe that explains it. Dawson is an anomaly of a main character. He strives for things...kind of. I mean, he wants to be a director in Hollywood and when the writers feel like it, he's ambitious about it but he's also really childish about it. I'm chalking this up to him being based on the creator too because oh my god, when Dawson makes a movie it's "the best movie evah!!" according to this show and when they think they want to dial back on the child prodigy, super amazing at making movies already schtick to try and make Dawson more human, they throw in a character like Miss Kennedy who trashes his film but they paint her as this cartoonish villain who is just out to get Dawson even though his movie is still like totally awesome, for realz, she's just hating on Dawson, guys. It's really annoying and he's shown no growth. Basically, this is my analysis of the Dawson character:

Yes I will keep using this clip because it is hilarious 
and accurate all at once

The show, as a whole, improved a lot this season in terms of storytelling. The stories were a lot more interesting and the character arcs had a lot more weight to it. However, it still has it's problems and there was a bit of a lack of the quirky charms that the first season had. Still, season two was a solid sophomore season that offered up some juicy drama, even if some of it was just thrown at us out of no where *cough*theJenandAbbydebacle*cough* and some great character development...for the supporting cast.

Now, before we delve into season 3, I'm just going to say that this season, right here, is the end of the Creek as we know it now. Next season is just a little bit different. There is a noticeable shift in tone and a need for them to feel...less squeaky clean and more edgy. I know, it's weird, right? The show that gave us an affair, a student/teacher relationship, and a teen death was seen as squeaky clean and wholesome. Another factor that probably factored in to the show's tonal shift is the departure of the show's one creator, Kevin Williamson. Now, will this mean that the Dawson character will improve or get worse? Stay tuned to find out, in the season opener Like a Virgin.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dawson's Creek - 222 - Parental Discretion Advised

Original air date: May 26, 1999

So, here we are at the end of another season. Last episode left us with some pretty interesting cliffhangers so let's see if this episode gives us some great conclusions and sets us up with even better cliffhangers, shall we?

We open on Dawson and Joey watching a movie, what I gather to be The Age of Innocence given the fact that Dawson name drops Michelle Pfeifer and Daniel Day-Lewis not ending up together. Yes, I figured out the movie they were watching based on that. I sometimes do research on these recaps. Sometimes. Anyway, Dawson shuts off the movie because he doesn't like movies that don't have happy endings. Joey thrives on them because she's an awful harpy who enjoys other people's misery. OK, in reality, it's because she likes that in spite of their tragic circumstances, they never stop loving and she thinks that that is romance. Dawson disagrees because he thinks their love should overcome circumstances. He then asks Joey if she would always love him in spite of circumstances and Joey says that it doesn't matter because they get the happy ending. Ooooh, I sure hope that this opener doesn't play with our expectations and offer us something completely different at the end of this episode because that would really upset the Dawson/Joey shippers. On second thought...

The next day, Dawson tries to ask his mother for advice on how to handle the Joey situation but he doesn't tell her anything about it just a vague "what if you know someone who did something bad..." type of thing. Gail tells him he has two choices, he can either tell the person he cares about what the person they care about did, or he can confront the person who did the bad thing directly and hope that they do the right thing. She then drops the bombshell on him that she is taking the job in Philly. Dawson asks her if that's what she really wants and she just says that since Mitch doesn't care about her then she has to go or some junk. I maintain that Gail is a selfish parent. At the very least, she's at least not trying to uproot Dawson in her petty war with Mitch. So there's that.

Dawson goes to pick up Joey and weakly and bizarrely confronts Mr. Potter about his illegal activities. Basically, Mr. Potter is all "how are you doing, Dawson?" and Dawson is all "I'm good, how are you?" and Mr. Potter responds with "Doing good." to which Dawson then says "And legal?" Then Joey comes out so they can't really get into anything then and there so it was pointless and weird to me. Who says that? What did that accomplish? I guess it kind of made Mr. Potter nervous that Dawson knows something but it wouldn't make him stop what he's doing or anything.


Mr. Potter does offer up the IceHouse as a place that the gang can study for their exams as a way of...silencing Dawson? Making it up to him? I don't really know but Joey is excited about the idea.

Jack asks Jen about the paper she was writing all the previous night. She reveals that it was about teen suicide which she had a lot to say about. Jack becomes concerned because he's a good friend and asks her if everything is OK. Jen reveals that she's contemplated suicide but is not on the verge of actually going through with anything. Before they can get into their conversation, Grams comes up to them and tries to make amends with Jen. Jen doesn't think they can make it work and says that there would still be serious issues between them. Then she bails to go to class leaving poor Grams alone.

Awww, poor Grams

Pacey is riding to school with his father and it is not going well. His father rides him about doing well on his finals and that his life is not worth throwing away over a girl. Now, Mr. Witter's point is valid but his harshness and uncaring is not called for. Mr. Witter sucks.

Pacey exits the car and runs into Dawson who still remembers the lesson he learnt in Uncharted Waters, and tells Pacey to forget about his father. He also tries to change the subject by asking if Andie has called him yet but we learn that she apparently hasn't. Awkward. Well, at least you tried Dawson  that's more than you usually do. 

Pacey is then shown in class being handed his exam but instead of opening it and beginning the exam, he just closes it and puts his head on the desk. Now, this is where he loses me. I get it, he misses Andie, but his father does make a good point. He can't just give up on life because Andie isn't around. Also, what does he think Andie dill say when she gets back and finds that he just gave up? That would definitely not impress her, it would probably piss her off. She leaves to better herself for their future and he's just given up? I mean, it's not like she left forever, so why is he giving up? 

Andie will be so disappointed in you

Dawson actually confronts Mr. Potter this time about trafficking cocaine through his daughter's business. He makes it clear that Mr. Potter should find a way out of drug dealing for Joey and Bessie's sakes. Mr. Potter looks worried about Dawson knowing and about whether he can get himself out of the deal before he gets caught again. 

Meanwhile, Gail is discussing her move with Mitch. She is asking him to move back into the house with Dawson so that Dawson can finish school and that she'd like Dawson to intern at her station in the summer, if he'd like to. Mitch is unhappy about her leaving and tries to guilt her by mentioning that she is abandoning Dawson and only thinking of herself and not Dawson. I know I'm on that kick with Gail but when Mitch says it, it pisses me off. He's not the best at putting his son before himself either, Mr. I'm Going to Date My Son's Teacher. She says that Dawson is fine with her decision to leave and is supportive but she lies because Dawson has been shown as not wanting her to go and keeps asking her to stay. She also informs Mitch that she's leaving...tomorrow

What is with this show and dramatic departures? First Andie and now Gail. Whenever people have to leave for something, it's never in a week or two, it's always the dramatic tomorrow. I don't know how these things normally go, but wouldn't you want a bit of time to plan your move and pack everything when you are making a major move?

The entire gang are studying at the IceHouse when Pacey's dad barges in to talk to Mr. Potter. Joey tries to ask Pacey if he knows what's going on but Pacey says his dad's business is his own. Joey follows Mr. Potter and Mr. Witter to the back room. 

In the back room, the two dads discuss Mr. Potter's friendship with the guy Dawson saw him handling cocaine with. Before the conversation can go any more in depth, Joey interrupts them by getting all persnickety with Pacey's dad. Surprisingly, this works as Mr. Witter then leaves, I guess he didn't want to talk drugs in front of a teen when he doesn't have much solid evidence to go on. 

Joey is scared that the cops will never leave her father alone. Mr. Potter tries to play it off like it's no big deal and goes into a back office. Dawson comes in to check on Joey and she complains about Pacey's Dad. Dawson rightfully tells her that he is just doing his job but he gets sidetracked when Joey tells him that he is part of their family and should be mad too. 

Well, as long as I'm getting some action, the real issues can wait

Jack tries to talk Jen into trying to reconcile with Grams since she seemed like she sincerely wanted Jen to move back. Jen takes offense to this as she thinks Jack wants to get rid of her. Jack accuses her of twisting his words around like she probably did to Grams. Except, in the instance where Grams kicked her out, Jen was not changing her words around. Grams very much meant that she wanted Jen to move out, she had even packed up Jen's stuff. There is no misinterpreting that. 

Yeah, no misreading involved. She was pretty clear

Jack tells her that they can't stay in his house forever because his dad is going to sell it and he will have no place to go. Excuse me? Mr. McPhee is just going to let his son be homeless? I get selling the huge house since it will just be Jack but, like, he didn't make any arrangements to make sure his don had a place to go? What a douche! You know what? I've been too hard on Gail and Mitch, Mr. McPhee is one of the worst parents on the Creek. Actually, compared to most of the parents on this show, Gail and Mitch are probably the best parents on the show and they still suck. That's kind of depressing. No wonder this show tries not to focus on parents. 

Jen threatens suicide for the second time in this show.

Wow, Jen really is emo

Jack tells her not to talk like that but she tells him that she'll be out of his place tonight.

Meanwhile, someone has thrown a pipe bomb through a back window in the IceHouse. Mr. Witter's Police cruiser is in the front at this exact moment. That takes some serious balls to set a building on fire with the police right out front. Mr. Potter sees this but instead of telling anyone about it or getting out himself, he starts opening up his bags of cocaine and flushing the contents down the toilet.

Pacey tries to talk his father out of harassing Joey's dad but Pacey's dad doesn't want to hear it. He wants to talk about Pacey's performance at school. Pacey claims he has it under control but Mr. Witter points out that his Guidance Counsellor called and said that Pacey didn't write a single thing on two of his exams. He says Pacey is giving up and that is stupid and before I can actually get in Mr. Witter's corner, he becomes an insufferable jack ass again by telling him he's not allowed to hang out at the IceHouse with his friends because of Joey's dad and worst of all, this:

Boo, Mr. Witter, boooooo!

Before things can escalate from that punch, the gang smells the smoke. Joey makes a run for the back to find her father but the fire is too intense. Pacey sees the fire and runs inside to help his friends while his father calls it in on his radio.

Joey yells after her father but her father tells her to get out of the building. Pacey grabs her and gets her out while Dawson grabs a fire extinguisher to try and get to Mr. Potter. Jen is staring uselessly at the fire and Jack has to grab her and pull her out of the building. Mr. Witter rushes into the building and helps Dawson get Mr. Potter out.

After the fire trucks arrive, Dawson confronts Mr. Potter about the dangerous situation he put them in. He tells Mr. Potter that he needs to go to the police and tell them everything he knows but Mr. Potter says that is too dangerous. Dawson points out the obvious, that the situation is already dangerous but Mr. Potter is clearly a weak man who is too used to his old ways of making money to change for the better. It's actually pretty tragic.

Joey comes up to them and tells Dawson that the reporters are waiting to talk to the hero and says that they are talking about him. Dawson says that he's not a hero because sometimes stories are too tragic to have one. He then walks off and leaves Mr. Potter feeling ashamed and Joey feeling confused.

It's kind of funny

Pacey tries to convince his father that Mr. Potter had nothing to do with the fire, which he didn't but his shady dealings definitely led to the fire, it's heavily implied. Mr. Witter is not convinced, he's sure that Mr. Potter is in over his head with drugs again and he's actually right. Pacey says that he'd prefer to walk home and Mr. Witter continues to compete for the Worst Parent of Capeside Award by ridiculing his son to his friends by saying that his son finally grew a pair after getting his heart broken by a crazy girl.

Pacey loses his shit

Not to be outdone by Mr. Witter for the Worst Parent of Capeside Award, Mr. Potter decides that it's best to keep lying to his daughters about what is going on. Joey asks her father point blank if he had anything to do with the fire or if he knew who set it and Mr. Potter says, swears, that he has no idea. Joey is completely satisfied and happy with his answer and I actually feel kind of bad for her. I think she sort of got my sympathy here, in this episode. She wants a family back, a parent back so badly, that she's willing to overlook the obvious and believe her father's lie even though she probably knows deep down that he is involved somehow. What other reason would there be for someone to torch the IceHouse?

Mitch and Gail have surprisingly stopped competing for the Worst Parent of Capeside Award, in a surprise move that sees them giving helpful advice to their son, together, in spite of their marital differences. Dawson wishes that he never saw what he saw because he knows that going to the police will only drive Joey away from him. Gail says that Dawson was meant to see it because Joey is in danger and he needs to be strong for him, even if his strength doesn't come in the way she wants it to. Nice one, Gail. You and Mitch are really stepping up your game this episode after faltering most of the season. I'm thinking that once the other parents were introduced, Mitch and Gail realized they'd have to be a lot shittier than they've already been and just couldn't do it. I mean, they are in competition with an abusive father, a father who abandons his kids and is homophobic, and a father who is running drugs through his daughter's business. They really had no chance of winning, petty divorce antics be damned.

Best parents in Capeside by the simple fact that they are not the worst

Jack confronts Jen about not doing anything to escape the fire and asks her if she really means it when she makes her little suicide comments. Jen tries to explain that she doesn't want to die, not really but when she was staring at the fire, she just didn't care enough to run. Jack tells her that he understands the pain of not liking yourself but says that she needs to let people in rather than push them away. They hug.

Best Friends of Capeside Award for them

Dawson goes to tell Joey that her father is still dealing drugs and she does not take it well, like at all. She starts yelling at Dawson to stay out of her business and stop putting his nose into everything. It's totally unfair since Dawson saw what he saw and is only looking out for her but I do get it. No one wants to hear that their loved ones are doing shitty things that are putting them in danger. Joey threatens that if he doesn't leave it alone, their relationship will not survive. Dawson stands his ground because he won't protect someone who isn't protecting her and he tells her that if she doesn't do something, he will.

You know what? I don't know how they've managed to do this for a second season finale but they have. Once again, the person with the most critical decision to make at the end of the season, is not our main character but is Joey. Sure, Dawson struggled with whether or not to tell Joey about what he saw her father doing, but the meat of it, the most drama, and the resulting conclusion hinge solely on Joey's decision. Joey is once again the centre. Poor Dawson.

Come on, you know it's true

Dawson manages to get her to the police station to talk with Mr. Witter but she acts like a petulant brat about the whole thing. Again, I do understand her anger this time but like, why even go to the police station then? I guess maybe she knows she has to do it but doesn't want to because it means she has to give up the father she just got back. Dawson tries to talk to her and reassure her that she is doing the right thing but she is cold towards him and reluctant to agree to anything that will put her father away. 

Gail and Mitch discuss how well they did raising Dawson, their one success, as they put it. I argue that they still have a long way to go with him but in this episode, he's actually doing the right thing and doing it for the benefit of Joey even though it will tear their relationship apart. He did well this episode, so I'll give them this victory. After all, they are the Best Parents in Capeside by default. 

Mitch now, finally, tries to win Gail back and asks her to stay but she stands her ground and says that she needs to go to Philly because she has finally come to terms with the fact that they can never get back what they had but they might be able to rekindle something if she puts some real distance between them and sorts herself out. You know, I gave her a hard time for making this decision and called her selfish but actually, I kind of respect her for it now. I don't know why, but when she explains it this way, it does actually seem like the mature and sensible thing to do. 

Jen has finally decided to make amends with Grams and I couldn't be happier. Jen says she has three conditions to moving back in though and they are quite reasonable. She says that they need to acknowledge why they didn't work in the first place, she knows that she made mistakes but she also needs Grams to realize that she has been through a lot in her life, more than most girls her age, and that she needs Grams' understanding, not her judgement in that regard. Grams agrees to be able to manage that. Jen also says that she is fully capable of living on her own and doesn't need a legal guardian but what she wants is to live with Grams and for them to be a family and to not be alone anymore. Grams is moved by this and obviously agrees and they hug.


Jen's third condition is that Grams provide a home for Jack as well, since his father is an ass hat who seriously agreed to let his son stay behind but didn't bother to find him any place to live. Grams agrees to this because she's awesome and the power family has now been assembled.

Mr. Witter confronts his son and once again these two deliver a tear jerking scene that is just too awesome to merely summarise, so here it is:

One of the most powerful scenes this season was Pacey talking to his father as he was passed out on the beach and asking why he had given up on him. They didn't follow up with it after that, which was sad but boy did they deliver another powerful scene to redeem his father somewhat. Seriously, how tear-jerking was that scene? I was just so happy that his father finally acknowledged his son for once, apologized to him and even offers his son a shoulder to cry on. I love this scene. This was a wonderful payoff for the Uncharted Waters storyline. 

Wow, there's a lot of dust in this room, I think I need a tissue

Once again, the writers show us that they really wanted this show to be Joey's Creek as we end the big season two finale with Joey confronting her father about him selling drugs again. He finally admits that, yes, he is selling again and Joey tearfully begs him to tell her why. He tells her that he wanted to get ahead for them and thought that if he sold for just a bit, he could give them a better life, she points out to him that he served his time and was supposed to come back to them and change his life. Mr. Potter admits to being a weak man who was consumed by feeling like a burden and that he failed his daughters, without realizing the irony that selling drugs again meant that he really did fail his daughters because now he won't be there for them in any capacity. Joey reveals that she is wearing a wire and Mr. Potter accepts his fate pretty gracefully. Joey apologizes to her father but he tells her not to feel sorry. It's a nice scene that shows that Mr. Potter accepts responsibility for what he's fine and doesn't want his daughter to think that she should have to apologize for going what's right. 

At least he tried to let his daughter off the guilt hook and
accept responsibility for what he'd done

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for, well us non-Dawson/Joey shippers anyway, the moment that Joey lays a beat down on Dawson's heart once again. Dawson asks her if she's ok or if he can help her, as her father is being taken away by the police, and Joey coldly rebuffs him. Then, this:

You can actually hear his heart breaking with this line

Now, you want to know something interesting and kind of hilarious about this? Apparently, they weren't sure if Dawson's Creek was going to be renewed. That's right, Dawson's Creek could have finished its run with Joey dumping Dawson's ass. That's pretty awesome. What an end to a series, right? I mean, there isn't really a cliffhanger here, it sounds pretty damn final. Dawson even says "See ya, Joey" in response.

Yeah, we're done here

Like he just resigns the fact that he's lost his best friend for life. Everyone else's endings are pretty positive. Jack finds a place that he's accepted, Andie gets the help she needs, Jen makes amends with her grandmother, and Pacey gains the understanding of his father. The only ones to get a shit deal were Dawson and Joey and...I'm kind of OK with that. Mainly because I'm not a huge fan of theirs and largely watched the show for everyone else. 

Stay tuned for my season 2 wrap up as well as the beginning of, what I think of as, the brand new Dawson's Creek in season 3's opener, Like a Virgin

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dawson's Creek - 221 - Ch-Ch-Changes

Original air date: May 19, 1999

So, here we find out if time has changed the people of the Creek even if we can't trace time. OK, sorry, I'll stop referencing the David Bowie song. No, I probably won't because David Bowie is awesome.

And I stop referencing Bowie for no one

Anyway, Dawson hasn't changed much because we open the episode with him whining about his film class final and writing about how Miss Kennedy is totally evil and sadistic because she dared to not like his movie. No seriously, his assignment is to "compare and contrast Humphrey Bogart's character arc in Casablanca to one in your own life. Use examples." To which Dawson starts writing this:

Dawson: Number one...Mrs. Kennedy. The character starts out as a sadistic film teacher/father's new girlfriend who maliciously conjures up a finals assignment for the sole purpose of slowly torturing her helpless nemesis, played by Dawson Leery, to death. An example of a purely evil character...with absolutely no arc whatsoever.

No, sweetie, you're thinking about yourself again and lolz to that whole quote, just wow. Is Dawson supposed to be ten? I was joking, last recap by continually referring to Miss Kennedy as Dawson's Arch Nemesis but apparently, that's exactly how Dawson thinks of her, that they are nemeses. He's being completely melodramatic, which is in character for him, I guess but is he really going to consider anyone who gives his movies a bad review his nemesis? Dawson is going to have a lot of enemies. A lot.

So Dawson angsts to Joey about his film final and complains about wanting to please Miss Kennedy even though she's his arch nemesis and hates him. Joey suggests interviewing someone which Dawson thinks is a great idea and wants to put it on camera. He thinks he will get points for ingenuity but it's film class, probably a lot of students are going to have this idea. He starts to try and interview Joey because she's had a character arc this year but she refuses. I love that he says she's had a character arc, as opposed to himself, who is pretty one note. 

This is literally the most accurate description of 
Dawson's character I've ever heard. 

Andie comes downstairs to find her father has come home again. She is not pleased to see him this time and says he's not welcome. Jack admits to calling him and Andie is outraged that he would do that. I kind of get this reaction and kind of don't. Jack had the way harder relationship with their father, shouldn't that have clued her in to how worried Jack is about her that he'd call their father? But anyway, their father explains that they are packing up their things and leaving Capeside so that Andie can get the help she needs. Andie freaks out on both Mr. McPhee and Jack and Jack looks shocked that this was their father's plan.

Meanwhile, Dawson is pestering everyone he knows to be his topic for his film final but they blow him off because fuck Dawson for wanting to treat them like their serious issues only matter to him when his grade depends on it. Both Jen and Jack turn him down, Jack is looking distressed and Dawson doesn't even bother asking if he's OK because Dawson is horrible. And yeah, you can argue that they are barely friends and Dawson shouldn't have to because they aren't really friends but then, Dawson is the one that was trying to ask him for a huge favour so I argue that if they are friends enough for Dawson to ask Jack to air his personal life on camera, then they are friends enough for Dawson to ask if Jack is OK.

Dawson is just a shitty person
He resorts to asking Joey for a second time but she stands her ground and refuses. Then and only then does Dawson think to ask Pacey. Huh, were they ever really best friends, really? Think about this for a second, he asks his girlfriend twice, asks his ex and asks a guy who, up until a few episodes ago, he hated before asking Pacey. Pacey also had a great arc this season but Dawson didn't want to acknowledge it because, let's face it, drunk or not, everything Dawson said about Pacey at his birthday was probably true. Dawson resents the fuck out of Pacey, first because he is more sexually experienced and now because Pacey has turned his grades around and has been in a happy relationship for far longer than he and Joey, his supposed soul mate, lasted. Dawson hates that Pacey has improved his life because Dawson hasn't changed at all. To cap it off, Pacey is completely willing to do Dawson's interview because he's a good friend to Dawson and Dawson doesn't even appreciate it.

Now, to give Dawson a minuscule amount of credit, he does cut off the interview when he realizes Pacey is upset about something and actually asks him if he wants to talk about it. Pacey admits that he thinks he's a fraud and has been trying to be the person that Andie wants him to be, despite not feeling like he is that person. Hmmm, what would have put that thought in his head?

Pacey is so upset by this realization that he says he can't do Dawson's interview either because he's not really a hero. Way to go Dawson, your callous attitude towards your friend came back and bit you in the ass.

Pacey leaves and bumps into Andie who is looking distressed. He pulls her into an empty classroom to talk and she confesses that her father is back in town and wants to take her and Jack back to Providence. Pacey is mortified and says that they will fight it but Andie says that there is no way because they are leaving tomorrow. As much as I love this couple, watching this scene as an adult kind of makes me want to pat them on the heads. Especially because of this:
Pacey: That's fine. Andie, it's fine! It's fine. Because when he hears what we have to tell him, he's not taking you anywhere.
No, no, you're right. I'm sure her father will reconsider getting his daughter
professional help because of your teen romance.
Don't get me wrong, I love Pacey and Andie. Love them. It's just, this type of thing is one of those age difference issues. When you're a teen everything is so intense and real that you are one hundred percent on their side and the grown ups are the bad guys that are trying to rip apart true love. However, when you gain some perspective, life experience, and distance from your high school years, you tend to not buy into this type of drama as easily. This is one of those scenes that can't possibly hold up on repeated viewings because Mr. McPhee actually isn't the bad guy in this situation. He's just not. Andie is incredibly unwell in the head to the point that she is seeing hallucinations of dead people and talking with them, essentially she's talking to herself. This is serious fucking business, not high drama. She has serious mental issues that cannot be solved by the magic of true love and it should not be presented as being that easy either. Thankfully, the writers understood this so I just get a mild chuckle out of the storyline with Pacey trying to convince her father to let her stay rather than getting sent into a blind rage over their simplification of a serious mental problem.

Jack is sitting by the docks when Jen walks up, sits next to him and asks him if he wants to vent his problems to her. Excuse me for a second...

The true soul mates of Dawson's Creek have just arrived!
Oh, it does my heart good to see her and Jack starting the blossoms of their close friendship. This was truly the best friendship on this show from what I remember, and I'm so happy it's finally beginning and they can stop pretending that Joey is going to be his bestie because no. Jack and Jen forever!!!!! 

Anyway, Jack tells her that he called his father to come back because he was worried about his sister and didn't know what else to do. Jen assures him that he did the right thing because she's awesome and is pretty consistently the voice of reason and logic in this show. Jack isn't so sure he did so Jen tells him to look on the bright side, that them moving back to Providence could mean that Andie gets better and Jack and his father could reconcile. Damn, she's awesome. Jack, in turn, asks her what she's going to do about her situation. Jen doesn't think that she and Grams can make up so Jack suggests she go back to her parents. Jen says that she's pretty sure they made their feelings clear when they sent her off to live with her grandmother and Jack tries to encourage her by reminding her of how much she's changed this year. You know, aside from that night she got drunk with Abby by the docks and Abby drowned? Jen kind of points the same thing out and Jack tells her that maybe she's not the only one who changed, maybe her parents have too.

Dawson meets Joey at the IceHouse which is undergoing some serious renovations. Apparently, all of the fix-ups and new style is her father's idea and Joey is thrilled about it all suddenly. Last time her father tried to change things, she whined the whole time but I guess she's now OK and thrilled with him being back because the plot needs it for these last two episodes. Joey is going on and on about how amazing her father is lately and that she's shocked because the father she used to know was a grumbling mass of negativity and before I can say anything, Dawson lays on the burn I was going to:

Scorch, pow!
Damn, Dawson, I didn't think you had it in you.
Love it. It was just so accurate and kind of mean that I'm surprised the writers gave that line to Dawson who is usually going on about how awesome and flawless Joey is. She runs off to do something and Dawson walks up to her father and asks if he'll be the subject of his film final. Mr. Potter is flattered and agrees but only if Dawson will do something for him. Dawson agrees and Mr. Potter hands him a level. Dawson stands there like an idiot with it and Joey comes back in and starts laughing. Dawson looks at her quizzically and is like "what?" and Joey keeps laughing and responds "nothing." And...I kind of feel like Dawson at this moment because I feel completely left out of the joke. Is there some significance to him holding a level that I'm not aware of or is she just laughing at the thought of Dawson doing manual labour?

It is kind of funny trying to picture Dawson being useful
Pacey goes over to the McPhee household to try and convince Mr. McPhee to let Andie stay. He argues that she could get help in Capeside and that she has a whole support system here but Mr. McPhee shoots it down saying that he is not here. Now Pacey offers up one valid argument, that Mr. McPhee knew what Andie's condition was when he left her in Capeside in the first place so why does he have to take her now? Mr. McPhee comes back with the fact that Pacey is too selfish to let her go so that she can get the help she needs and yeah, way more valid. I mean, Capeside is supposed to be a small town, they probably wouldn't have the type of care available that Andie needs right now so it kind of makes sense for her to go. Pacey admits to being selfish and begs her father not to take her away but Mr. McPhee says his mind is made up.

 Jen has decided to try and call her parents to see if she can go back to New York and live with them. We just hear her side of the conversation so we don't know what the verdict is yet.

 Dawson is failing miserably at doing manual labour, no shock there, when Joey comes up behind him. She starts toying with him by saying that his working man thing is a turn on for her. Mr. Potter shows up and says that he's ready to do the interview and Dawson immediately runs away from working to go set up his camera. Joey and her father look at his work and agree it sucks balls but Joey tells her dad not to say anything. Mr. Potter reveals how ashamed he was when he got caught dealing drugs and worried that his daughters would never forgive him for what he did to their mother. Joey gets upset by this and does what she does best.

Run away!!!

Jack tries to argue for them to stay to his father but Mr. McPhee still won't hear it. Jack then starts in with the fact that Andie and Pacey belong to each other and I'm just like "no, step back, step back, your argument is going in the wrong direction! This will not convince him because..."


Then Mr. McPhee loses me when he starts talking about Jack getting the help he needs to cure him of his gayness because obviously he's just confused. Hey, Mr. McPhee?

Go fuck yourself

Andie is packing up her things when Pacey suggests that they go on a date, one last date, to get their minds off her leaving. She is reluctant at first but then sees him getting upset and she agrees. Dawson is still interviewing Mr. Potter when Joey storms in and tells him to bring dinner to Bessie and Anthony like he promised. Once he's gone, she turns to Dawson and yells at him for making her father relive a painful time for himself. Dawson tries to explain that he wants to show how much Mr. Potter has changed but then Joey throws back at him that he should just turn the camera on himself for a change. Dawson reveals that he's afraid to because he feels that it will reveal that he hasn't changed at all (truth) and that she'll realize that she's grown way past him and he'll lose her again. 

Andie reveals to Jack that she talked to their father and that he's agreed to let her stay if she really wants to. Jack is happy for her but she doesn't seem so happy with this news. Jack asks her if she's really thinking about leaving and she says that she, in fact, is. Very cool of the writers, it's her choice and she acknowledges that she needs to get serious help for herself. She says that the more she stays around Jack and Pacey, the more she wants to get better for them. Jack says that neither he nor Pacey feel burdened by her but Andie says that she feels burdened with the knowledge of how hard it must be for them to look out for her all the time. She doesn't want that and so, she's decided to leave but she wants Jack to stay in Capeside, where he's happy.

 Mr. Potter is teaching Dawson how to use the level and Dawson apologizes to him for making him dredge up painful memories. Mr. Potter says it wasn't anything that he doesn't think about constantly anyway, so he's fine with it. Joey walks in and Mr. Potter gives them time to talk. Dawson apologizes to Joey for saying what he said, I'm not sure why he's apologizing for saying how he feels but he's often kind of whipped when it comes to Joey. Joey says that Dawson has it all wrong, that her life is finally perfect because she has him in her life and she is not only proud of him, she's proud to be with him. All she needs is a white picket fence and her fairy tale is complete.

Did I mention I'm not a fan of the Dawson/Joey romance?
Jack confronts his father about wanting to stay. Mr. McPhee tries to talk him into going and to get some help for being gay. Jack refuses because he doesn't need help, he is who he is. Mr. McPhee feels like it's his fault but Jack says that he's gay for the same reasons Tim wasn't, it just happened that way and there is nothing that can change it. Jack won't go because if he does, he may start to sacrifice his happiness to make Mr. McPhee proud and he doesn't want to do that.

 Pacey and Andie are on their date and Pacey has taken her to the place where they shared their first kiss. They reminisce about their journey from hatred to lovers and how much they'll miss each other. This could be schmaltzy too but for some reason Pacey and Andie sell mushiness better than Dawson and Joey. Probably because they are more awesome. Andie admits to Pacey that she can't hide from the truth anymore, she's not getting any better. She says that she is leaving tomorrow because she has to and Pacey agrees. They promise each other no goodbyes.

*sigh* I used to believe this but I know better now...

After this gloriousness we cut back to Dawson and Joey being schmaltzy and it's just so not even as good. Dawson has built her a white picket fence so that her idea of perfection is complete. She thanks him and he jokes that he might climb in her window for a change and she says that change can be good.

 Jack is running through the streets to the bus station where he catches Jen. He tells her she's not getting away without a sendoff. Ahhhh, these two are awesome together. Jen reveals that her parents did not actually want her to come back but Jen is leaving anyway because she doesn't need them as a destination. Jack tells her that it's sad when parents don't love their kids unconditionally but that it's better to not be loved by them than to be like them and be incapable of love. He then takes her bags from her and asks her to come live with him because he needs a roommate. Jen agrees and they walk off together in glorious friendship.

Soul mates for life

Meanwhile, Dawson returns the tools he borrowed to the IceHouse when he catches Mr. Potter and his friend Pete looking over a bag of, what looks like, cocaine. Just then, Joey bumps into Dawson but she's completely oblivious of what her father is doing. Dawson stays quiet about it.

Mr. McPhee admits to not being the best father but that he does want Jack to be happy and they shake hands. Pacey runs up to say his good byes to Andie. Andie told him that they weren't supposed to say goodbye to each other but Pacey says he just wanted to look at her and to thank her for giving him a reason to become a better person. He tells her to get better and then to hurry back to him. Awww, it's so sad because this isn't going to happen.

Dawson monologues over the ending scenes about people perhaps not changing because they fear it and he's talking about Mr. Potter but he really could be talking about himself because I don't think Dawson has changed at all this season. I mean think about it,

 Pacey bettered his grades in school but also developed a bit of a
hero complex, thinking he could save Andie with the power of his love.
He only truly became a hero to her in this episode when he learnt to let her go
so that she could get the help she really needed.
Jack faced his sexuality and came out, Jen tried to better herself even though
she felt she couldn't be loved by anyone and yet finally
accepted Jack's love and friendship
Andie admitted that she had a serious issue and made the mature
decision to deal with it and get the help she needed.
Hell even Mr. McPhee, a side character who appeared in two episodes, got
an arc where he at least admitted his faults as a father. 
Dawson and let's face it, Joey too, have not really changed at all.
She still runs away from her problems and pushes people away and
Dawson well, as we learnt, he still cries and films the videos.

So, it's funny that this episode seems a lot like a season finale to me. I mean, Andie is being sent away, leaving Pacey in turmoil, Jack is being left alone, Jen has been abandoned by her family but is taken in by a lonely Jack to form their own family, and Dawson has stumbled upon a pretty cliffhangery secret that Mr. Potter is still dealing drugs. This would have been a perfect place to leave off because the audience would be left to wonder what Dawson will do with his new found information and what Joey will do when she finds out. Well, not to worry, we don't have to wonder about this at all because most of this will be answered in the next episode, Parental Discretion Advised.