For anybody who's seen Scream 2, it's no surprise to learn that Kevin Williamson enjoys translating a traditional narrative into a movie within the existing narrative. So just as Sidney Prescott got disturbed that her real-life experiences had been turned into a hit slasher movie, here we have Joey struggling to cope with "Creek Times", Dawson's film based on the events of the last year. What makes this all so much more screwy than Sidney's experiences with Stab is that Dawson lifts entirely from reality, so much so that whole conversations are taken straight from real life and tossed into his movie script. It's all strange and ridiculous, and you can understand why Joey would be weirded out… especially with an annoying actress monitoring her every move in the hopes of capturing the aura of 'Josephine Potter: character'.
Rachael Leigh Cook, a major starlet in 1999 and now... not so much, is actually really great here. She's totally that kind of wannabe actor desperate to appear serious, professional and "all about the craft", only failing to realize that she comes off like a huge creep after she pokes at Joey for an emotional reaction and recites back every word she says. Ugh. Girl's awful. But Cook makes the character work in all her annoyance, raising what could have been just another Abby Morgan-style plot instigator.
Joey's anger is understandable, but I'm still struggling to relate to her and Dawson's separate angst over their relationship. Dawson is still wounded, revealing that his movie is another attempt to hold onto her in some way, having his script's protagonists wind up together and not break-up like their real-world counterparts. But, as I've said before, it's difficult to read Dawson's true emotions considering his story, while, as the instigator of the break-up, Joey can't really whine about being uncomfortable. Eh.
Elsewhere, there are brief subplots involving the rest of the cast. Andie stops taking her medication and wacky mental problem shenanigans ensue, before the inevitable weepy breakdown at the end. Girl needs professional support, as much as Pacey is trying. Meanwhile, Grams has escaped from the well she's presumably been stuck down for the last hundred episodes and unusually supports Jen's budding friendship with a handsome production assistant, only for it to turn out that he's a god-fearing Christian. Twist! Blah. I'm assuming these two stories will be elaborated upon in further episodes, since they definitely take a back-seat here to Dawson/Joey angst.
As much as I seemed to tear this apart up there, His Leading Lady is actually pretty winning as an episode. It's all entirely ridiculous, but the movie set allowed a bunch of romantic tribulations to explode all over everybody, and at least Dawson and Joey are being a little more open with their feelings, as illogical as they may be. B+
Guest stars Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee); Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee); Rachael Leigh Cook (Devon); Jason Behr (Chris Wolfe); Eddie Mills (Tyson Hicks)
Writers Shelley Meals, Darin Goldberg Director David Semel