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


  1. Diabolical Baby is amaaaaaaaazing.

    Love your tracking (and ranking) of all the horrible parents in Capeside, but yeah Mr. McPhee is the worst of the worst parents. Can we also mention how he left them in the care of their unstable mother (or rather, caring for) and then basically left them ON THEIR OWN. Child Services should be All Over everyone in Capeside. Except Grams.

    Also yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Dawson and Joey broke up again!

    1. Right? To be honest, I was largely debating between Mr. Witter and Mr. McPhee as the worst but you're right, I think Mr. McPhee wins out for the sheer fact that he abandoned his kids with their crazy mother, leaving them with responsibilities way beyond their years, tried to talk his gay son into trying to be straight again because it's so easy to change who you are *sarcasm*, and then left his son in Capeside with no place to stay. I'd say he wins by a landslide.

      I laughed at the breakup scene. Dawson's actually being supportive and nice for a change and Joey's just cold as ice. "I will never forgive you." "I don't want to know you anymore." It's just so unnecessarily mean but it's happening to Dawson so it's funny.