Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Tamara's Return (2.4)

It's a mark of the show's constant growth that season two is still attempting to open up new avenues for its tight ensemble cast, and after some strong work for both Pacey and Jen, it's Joey's turn to have her world explored a little. Watching this episode, it was interesting to realize that we still don't know a whole lot about Josephine Potter. We know her dysfunctional family background, we know that she's academically successful, and we know that her entire life revolves around Dawson. But what do we actually know about her own personality and the things that make her tick? It's arguable that her artistic streak has been pulled out of left-field, but I like that she has gained some kind of passion in her life, a personal interest removed from the romantic entanglements that derailed a lot of her potential last season.

Naturally, Joey's painting is used as a jumping-off point for more Dawson drama, but I can't help but like whenever he's called out on his bullshit. Sure, his actions here weren't completely horrible, but he has a generally dismissive tone around Joey, in which he casually undermines literally everything that she stands for or exhibits an interest in. I don't think it's necessarily intentional, but it stinks of somebody unable to show mutual respect or understanding of things that he may not necessarily be excited by. 'Run, Joey!' should become this show's mantra.

Tamara's return didn't create the gag-worthy spectacle that I had anticipated, which was appropriate. Pacey is in a good place in his life, especially with his sweet romance with Andie ever present this year, and Tamara's arrival suddenly throws everything for a loop. It's also a story that remains uncomfortable -- Tamara coming off like some kind of sex predator as she nearly hyperventilates at the sight of the 15 year old she banged last year. Ugh.

Jen and Abby's subplot unsurprisingly hits that wall that's been building for a while. While they're outwardly similar, Jen is far more confident and experienced than Abby, and any incident where Jen gets the upper hand leaves Abby feeling antagonistic and obnoxious. It's interesting to watch though, especially here with the arrival of Joe Flanigan's handsome stranger, Abby being all inappropriate and coquettish like a 'desperate to be bad' teenage girl would act, while Jen is laid-back and mysterious, something that genuinely is attractive to most guys.

Tamara's Return lacks the hook of Mike White's previous work, but I continue to enjoy the cast being separated in their own interesting subplots, instead of being tossed together in some incestuous contrivance-a-thon. B

Guest stars Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee); Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee); Monica Keena (Abby Morgan); Leann Hunley (Tamara Jacobs); Joe Flanigan (Vincent); Tamara Taylor (Laura Weston)
Writer Mike White Director Jesus Trevino

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