Original air date: December 15, 1999
I'm just going to start this recap off with the one big complaint I have this episode, there is no Jen or Pacey in it. I know, I know, it sucks but fortunately, this is actually not a bad episode and we get a few gems as well. Let's get on with it to find out what we get.
We start off with Dawson watching his shitty Blair Witch rip off movie as Joey enters through the window because they're back to that again. She points out the weirdness of him watching his own movie over and over but he explains that he has to be prepared for the Q&A after the screening. Apparently Dawson has entered this school assignment into a film competition, presumably so that when it tanks (yes when, not if) he can just shout to the audience "Whatever! It was for a school assignment anyway!" because he usually reacts to criticism like a whiny teenaged fanfic writer. Also, why is he entering this film when he had that stupid Creek Daze movie that he made with the money he won from the film festival last time? Shouldn't he be screening that one, the one with the budget, albeit minor? Or did he just give up on that one because mean old Miss Kennedy didn't like it because she's mean and totally had it out for him?
Well, whatever, he's airing his shitty school project rip off of Blair Witch because he's lazy and he doesn't realize what a horrible idea that is to do. Dawson is freaking out (he should be, his movie sucks) and Joey tries to make him feel better by saying that no matter what happens, this experience will take him one step closer to achieving his dreams. She then mentions that at least he doesn't have to spend the night with a stranger, which is a part of her college tour. I have no idea if college tours are a thing or if you actually do spend the night in a dorm with a stranger to do it, but in this show, it's a thing. I only remember going to day tours but then, the colleges I applied to were in my hometown. Dawson asks if she's nervous and Joey says this:
Joey: Yeah! But in a good way. I mean, I know we’re just visiting, but this trip kinda gives me hope. Maybe one day I will make it out of here.Bitch, you need to shut up about this stupid spiel about getting out of Capeside when you turned down a semester in France! For Dawson! You had a chance to get out and you chose not to go, you don't get to whine about "never making it out" anymore when it was your decision to stay. God, look how much I've written and we're not even at the opening credits yet. We're in for a long ride, I guess.
We cut to the next day where Dawson, Joey, Jack, and Andie are all standing outside of a bustling college campus. I think that Andie is going for an interview to get into Harvard because that is pretty much her entire dream. Joey is going to go find her college sponsor, Dawson is going to register at the film festival, and Jack acts all shifty and says he's going to hang out and do the tours or something. They all go their separate ways.
Dawson is registering at the film festival and wait, who is that taking his registration!? Oh my god, it's-
|Kendra, de vam-pire slayer!|
This is amazing! I totally forgot Bianca Lawson was in this season for a bit! Hopefully Dawson doesn't spill something on her fav-rite she-irt because, as we know, it's her only she-irt. Anyway, she takes his information down, briefly mocks him for liking Spielberg, and then tells him that he didn't write down a synopsis for his movie. I am not shitting you, this is the answer he gives:
Oh my god, Dawson. That is extremely unprofessional, every director worth his salt can write a brief description of what their movie is about, if you can't do that, then your movie probably lacks...direction. Also story, plotting, and any interest whatsoever. No one fucking cares how great you think your movie is, they want to know what it's about and if you think you can get away with not writing a synopsis because "there's not enough room" to capture the gloriousness of your shitty movie, then you have no business being in the business and you certainly won't be taken seriously.
Now that I've finished laughing and ranting, Dawson continues to explain his masterful homework assignment movie and Kendra rams a stake through his heart. Not really, but in a better show...She does point out the obvious again for us though:
|movie title drop!!|
Joey is then shown entering a college dorm, only to find a guy sitting on the bed. He is needlessly rude to her before finally revealing that he is her college tour guide, A.J. Moller and that their "gender ambiguous" names must have gotten them paired together. He continues being rude by automatically assuming that Joey is going to start crying and offers her a bed. Joey doesn't want to stay with him, for good reason, and he tries to make her feel like shit for not wanting to stay with a strange guy in a college campus because apparently, this is what dorms are like. While I agree, that guys and girls can live together on college campuses, I still don't find this situation appropriate because she's a minor and there is a very serious risk for her to be taken advantage of. Yes, yes, not all guys, but would a college want to take that risk? Whatever, he challenges her maturity which makes Stubborn!Joey pop out and decide to stay to prove him wrong. Reverse psychology works so easily on her. Geez, all Dawson needs to say when he wants her back is "I bet you're just not mature enough to give us another shot" to which she'll jump into his arms right then and there and I will throw up in my mouth because they are the worst together.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Joey decides to stay and douchey college guy kicks her out of his room for the next two hours so that he can work on his assignment. I'm sorry but people who act like this clown with their homework are assholes. Just ask if she can give you some space for a bit to get your work done instead of being horrifically condescending and racist about it:
|Racism is so charming...or at least, the writers think it is|
Andie bumps into Jack and asks him what he's about to do and Jack acts all cagey for some reason. She suggests he check out an art museum and he agrees that he'll probably check one out. The minute Andie leaves, he pulls out this thing:
Ok, so this made me a bit uncomfortable because the writers have a history of kind of mocking gay culture and when I saw this I kind of went "they did NOT" But, I looked into this and it does appear to be a legitimate thing that I just was unaware of. I get that it can be hard when you're just realizing your sexuality and you don't really know where to go to meet people so I can definitely see why this is necessary. Reading up on it, made me feel a lot better about this scene and, shocking to say, this is something that the writers got right. Can you blame me for thinking that the show was being insensitive at first, though?
I don't understand why Jack was so secretive about wanting to explore the gay community because Andie has been really supportive of it. I guess he didn't want a repeat of her pushing him into something too fast like with the Ben Street debacle.
Andie excitedly walks up to the Dean's assistant to check in but the assistant says that her appointment isn't until March. That's super dumb, why the hell did Andie act like she was getting an interview then? Andie persists because her dad tells her that if you want something, make sure to be the first in line. Andie, your dad is the Worst Parent in Capeside for all eternity, don't take advice from him. She asks if anything might open up and the assistant is all "would you cancel your university interview at the last second?" Schooled.
Oh my God, this next scene is my everything. Dawson's movie is screening and people are not impressed and openly mocking it. It finishes and people flock right the fuck out of the movie theatre because they don't give two fucks what Dawson has to say about his tired rip-off movie. It's bliss, it's total joy, you have no idea how much his pain and tears bring me joy.
|Yes, keep crying, Dawson|
Dawson meekly gets up to the podium to answer questions and literally no one raises a hand. My god, this is just the best most satisfying moment the series has given me so far. One girl does raise a hand and asks where Joey is because she's hot. Look, we have to be reminded that Joey is the hottest girl who ever lived and that no one else compares, it's in her contract. Ok?
Cut to Dawson storming out of his screening like a giant baby. Kendra follows him out and actually tries to make him feel better. She really shouldn't have tried because, of course, Dawson bites her head off about it. As if it's her fault that he sucks at filmmaking and that his movie opened poorly. Douche. So, Kendra lets him have Mr. Pointy right in his heart and it is glorious:
|Movie title drop again!|
|This is where I'd light a cigarette, if I smoked|
Dawson acts like a little bitch and sarcastically tells her how perceptive she is. She snaps back that he shouldn't patronize her. Dawson, being Dawson which is to say a giant asshat, condescends her further by looking down on her opinion because he thinks she is just a volunteer at the festival and not a true artist like himself. She tells him to fuck off but in cleaner TV words.
Cut to Jack waiting nervously for a bus. I'm assuming it's a gay bus or something? Because it seems to be all men getting on and the driver just has to ask Jack if he's "in or out"
Dawson is moping on a bench when Joey turns up and asks him how his screening went. He whines about how horribly it went and how he shouldn't be a filmmaker, which is true. Then Joey starts to pep talk him and tell him how great he is and those mean "film brats" don't know anything. "Whatever, guys! He just did it for fun, ok?" Sorry, it's just, Dawson can not take any valid criticism of his movie. Ever. So, forgive me if I constantly picture him as a whiny, 12 year old, fan fic writer. Joey gushes about how he's great at filmmaking and I vomit all over myself because Joey needs to stop undermining his valid criticism and enabling him to remain a crappy, yet egotistical filmmaker. I mean really, he can just continue to crank out crap movies and then whine that everyone is just haters that are jealous of his genius work.
Andie is still trying to get in to see the Dean of the university and is sucking up to his assistant. The lady tells Andie about her seven kids and how none of them got into this university and how they all aren't bothered by it and turned out fine. I think she's supposed to be some kind of zen person for Andie to learn to relax about being perfect all the time.
Cut to Joey in a college class waiting for the lecture to start. AJ walks in and continues being a douche to her. In a surprise twist, AJ turns out to be the teaching assistant for this lit class and he has to fill in for the professor that day. Oh, Dawson's Creek contrivance, how I've missed you. Are teacher's assistants, who are undergrads, taking over the professor's classes a thing in the US? Because I can't recall that ever happening in Canada. If the professor didn't show, class was cancelled usually. Anyway, he starts a "great books" discussion and singles out Joey to ask her what her favourite book is. She says "Little Women" and he proceeds to tear her the shit down. It's kind of funny because she can be stuck up her butt but this is pretty damn cruel because he obviously wanted to humiliate her and I can't figure out why. It's so obvious that the writers have no clue why either, they just want to make him as mean as possible so that Joey can be reasonably upset with him. The problem is, when you don't give your character a reason for being so shitty to another character, my conclusion is that they are just a shitty person and I have no time for them which means, I don't buy into the drastic character change later.
Scratch that, the drastic character change comes in pretty much the next scene. Joey is storming out of class as AJ runs to catch up with her and ask her to wait up for him. She tells him off and he admits he was "a little harsh" and that he was just "trying to give her the college experience" Dude, no. You were not just trying to give her the college experience, you were trying to humiliate her. No one's college experience is getting humiliated for liking a book. That's ludicrous. Joey doesn't buy it either and proceeds to chew him out which makes him cower with fear and apologize sincerely and ask if he can make it up to her. Cue him falling for her. Just wait for it.
Dawson is sitting through a different screening where the audience is apparently extremely awed by the movie being shown. It is going over extremely well and earns a standing ovation. Dawson is confused by the movie, I think as here is his reaction:
|D'uuuuh, I guess I should clap since everyone else is clapping|
Everyone wants to know who directed it and who else but Kendra turns out to be the director. Suck on that, Dawson!
Dawson walks up to Kendra after the screening to whine at her some more. She says she needs a chocolate fix after her stressful experience and Dawson bitches at her that what she went through wasn't stressful, it was a love-fest. You're an ass, Dawson. I feel like I can't say that enough. She tells him that if the roles were reversed, she would have been happy for him.
|YEEEESSSS!!! Everyone is!|
Kendra, bless her soul, actually tries to start over with Dawson and be nice. She asks him what he honestly thought of her film and asks him to use constructive criticism only. Oh, Kendra...you naive, naive girl.
Dawson: I, uh, I thought your film was– was technically accomplished.So, not only is Dawson childish and vague with his criticism of her movie, he also whines at her about her actual helpful criticism and guilts her into apologizing for it. Dawson (writers), she has absolutely nothing to apologize for. Her criticisms of Dawson's film were completely valid and were not even mean but truthful. Seriously, you have Dawson show up to this film festival with a video project he made for a homework assignment, refuse to write down a summary because there was "not enough room", and then ask me to be upset for him because someone rightfully called him out on not understanding his own story? No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Just no all over this conversation. Kendra deserves better than this. Even what happened to her on Buffy was better than this. Dawson storms off even after she apologizes too because he can't stand it when people aren't basking in the glory of his genius and constantly calling him a "wunderkind". Barf.
Nikki: Technically accomplished. That sounds like a nice dismount off the balance beam.
Dawson: Well, it’s better than derivative. Or unclear. Or not understanding your own material.
Nikki: OK. Maybe I was a little insensitive in my comments. I’m sorry.
Andie is pouring her heart out to the Dean's assistant as they drink coffee together. Andie tells her about how she wants to write about her mother and how she influenced her. The secretary, Fran, tells her that she should let herself off the hook for things which she can't control. She also says that Andie shouldn't beat herself up for getting over her brother's death when her mother couldn't. It's a nice scene for Andie.
AJ is suddenly trying to impress Joey because why the hell not? It's what every girl dreams of, right? A guy totally humiliating her in public and then making up for it in private. *swoon* This is the worst ever. When are Joey and Pacey going to be a thing? It feels like it's taking forever. Anyway, to make things up to her, he takes her to a secret library.
|I'll just leave this here...|
He shows her a first edition copy of the first volume of Little Women which was apparently also Louisa May Alcott's personal copy. They read from it and then Joey admits that her mother used to read it to her because it was her favourite book. This is why she named her Josephine. Screw Bessie, she wasn't the favourite, so she gets the cow name. AJ picks up on the "was" and Joey tells him that she passed away which makes him apologize and probably feel guilty. He then admits that his favourite book is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I think we're supposed to find charming but I find it incredibly hypocritical and awful of him. It also makes me hate the character more. Seriously, don't fall for him Joey, he's a douche.
Jack walks into a bar and tries to order a drink. He's extremely, adorably, awkward and it's the cutest thing ever. Apparently a random bar dude agrees with me and orders a drink for him while chatting him up. He comes on really strongly which makes Jack freak out and bail on the guy once his back is turned. I kind of think Jack made the right choice because, for some reason, the guy was giving off major creepy vibes to me. I don't know, he was attracted to his shyness, then trying to get him to go somewhere else with him, then added the little "we can just talk and get to know each other..." I don't know, red flags went up. Run like hell, Jack.
Prizes are being handed out to the filmmakers and Kendra is obviously expecting to win. She doesn't and surprisingly, Dawson runs after her to tell her she was robbed. That he saw every film at the festival and hers was hands down, the best. In a shocking twist...Dawson actually becomes supportive and learns something! I'm shocked, check it out for yourselves:
Dawson: Well I learned that I have to dig deeper, and– and reveal more of myself in my work if I’m going to make a film that’s worth anything. You learned that film festivals don’t necessarily award the meritorious.
Nikki: (more calmly) I wanted to win, Dawson.
Dawson: Nikki. Your film just wasn’t technically brilliant, OK? It was inspired. It inspired me. It-- it made me remember why I got into film in the first place. Not to win festivals, not for glory, but to reach people. And you did, you made them laugh, you moved them. No matter what happens to me, I’m not gonna give up until I reach that goal.You see? I didn't make it up. Dawson actually admitted his faults and was supportive. They part on good terms.
The next day, Dawson and Andie meet up at the train and tell each other about their weekends. Both admit to getting what they wanted and learning something but not the way they expected to. It's nice to see them talking and for how much Dawson pissed me off this episode, it's nice that he's actually able to end on a good note.
Jack is already on the train and saving seats for everyone. Mysterious guy with nice blue eyes comes and asks if he can sit with him. Jack starts to explain and then gets lost in his beautiful blue eyes and relents. The guy's name is Ethan and he is also headed for Capeside. Jack is happy.
Dawson bumps into Kendra on the train who is apparently also a child of divorced parents and she's going to live in Capeside with her father. It turns out, through contrived writing, that Kendra is Principal Green's daughter and she'll be attending Capeside. Dawson tries to talk himself up by saying that the film class is full but how he thinks he has "pull" with the teacher and can totally get her in. She's already in and is getting private email lessons from the teacher too. Dawson looks butthurt and it pleases me greatly.
|Please do, Kendra. Dawson could use a good ass kicking|
Jack is conversing with Ethan and is obviously interested in him. Who wouldn't be with those eyes? Anyway, Ethan is apparently just getting over a break up and is heading home to his parents for some TLC. He then reveals that the breakup was with a boy which gets Jack very excited.
AJ has walked Joey to the train. Apparently, they have been up all night talking and they are into each other now. *SIGH* I guess I have to endure this further but I still don't get what the hell his problem with her was in the first place or why she thinks he's such a great guy now. Whatever, she gives him her number and walks onto the train where she bumps into Dawson and Kendra. Dawson introduces Joey to her but Joey is too preoccupied with making moony eyes at AJ to notice or care that Dawson has made a female friend.
|Dawson is not pleased|
We end the episode with Dawson and Joey talking about their weekend in his room. Dawson is still whining about the festival and saying that he should go into fast food. Joey rolls her eyes at him and tells him to stop worrying about winning and just love what he does and learn to be excited about the process. Win for Joey. Joey then expresses her fear but ultimate excitement at the prospect of college, showing that she's finally ready to open herself up to new experiences. Ladies and gentlemen, we end the episode with a very telling quote that seems to show just how ill suited these two are for each other:
Joey: So is it just me, or– or does this room seem a lot smaller all of a sudden?Joey wants to get out and explore the world and be exposed to new things and different ways of thinking, Dawson wants to hole himself up in his bedroom and be a kid forever. If there was ever a moment that so accurately showed why these two don't work as an endgame couple, it's this. And that, my friends, was First Encounters of the Close Kind. A little slow at times but I got a lot of entertainment out of the much needed calling out of Dawson this episode. Loved it.
Dawson: Really? I was kinda thinking it seemed ... safe.
Stay tuned for Barefoot At Capefest where Jack continues to pursue Ethan and the psychotic Henry returns to manipulate Jen with his icy demeanour into liking him. I'm not joking, that happens. Until next time, folks.