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.


  1. Can I be Dawson's nemesis? Pretty please?

    1. Oh Zelda, don't you see? You and I were Dawson's nemeses all along. :P

    2. Is this like one of those Wizard of Oz lessons?

    3. Hey, there's no place like hating Dawson, there's no place like hating Dawson...