Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dawson's Creek: ...That Is the Question (2.15)

Part of the reason I enjoyed last week's episode so much was that it avoided the preachy sincerity of traditional 'coming out' episodes, since the show went with a more introverted exploration of sexuality, with a character coming to terms with their own emotions. Where this episode takes a dip in quality is in the various on-the-nose discussions that Jack's maybe-gay revelation brings. But, at the same time, I'm aware that asking a late '90s WB teen series to avoid the saccharine is like asking Barney the Dinosaur to not be so purple. It sort of comes with the territory, and luckily most of ...That Is the Question manages to eclipse some of the weaker elements of the story.

Jack's story veers away from his high school peers and settles in the McPhee family home this week, with the arrival of his absent father and a bunch of stern lectures about how horrible homosexuality is. Eh. I'm probably entire incorrect with this, but again some of Mr. McPhee's proclamations felt a little overt. It would feel a little more realistic if he quietly went into denial-mode rather than essentially tell his son not to be gay, while Jack's final breakdown over his dad seemingly always being aware of his sexuality felt unearned. Maybe if we had greater hintage about his father's preference for Jack's brother and the weird dynamics within that family? It all comes across a little rushed, when coming to terms with your own sexuality doesn't usually occur within the space of a couple of weeks.

Jen also gets in on the preachy action here, presumably to distract away from her gradual morphing into a mid-90's newscaster with that horrible Faith Hill hair. Ugh. But, again, it all feels crazily formulaic. So her Christian boyfriend is a crazy bible-thumping homophobe now? I'm entirely non-religious, but it's disappointing to see the show go to that obvious well for a little faith-based conflict. I liked Grams standing up for Jack, but it still read as a little lazy on the writer's part.

However, there's still a lot to love here. Kevin Williamson takes the reigns for the first time in seemingly forever, and he covers the script in perfect little 'moments' that encapsulate all that's great about the DC ensemble. Joey asking Dawson if he thinks that she's 'sexual' reads terribly on paper, but Katie Holmes portrays the scene with so much latent insecurity that you wouldn't believe it if Joey didn't ask that question, especially with the season one insight into her body image issues, and now the fact that her boyfriend is gay. Similarly, I loved Dawson, Jen and Joey being friendly with one another again and even remarking on how non-awkward their hang-out was.

Finally, I love what they did with Andie and Pacey here. The show has recently became over-reliant on the rinse/repeat dynamics in their relationship, with Pacey constantly swooping in and saving Andie from herself. But here Andie becomes a lot more assertive and aware of her own failings, realizing that she wants a mutual-deal relationship, not a boyfriend who's repeatedly coming to her aid like a knight in shining armor. It's a strong development for them, and their chemistry continues to be killer.

I had a couple of problems with the transparent PSA tone of the Jack story this week (what is this, Glee?), but I still appreciate most of the emotions that are being explored as a result of the arc itself. And, like I said up top, I should probably stop expecting Dawson's Creek to be entirely subtle with these things. Besides the minor blips, this was another strong episode. B+

Guest stars Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee); Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee); David Dukes (Joseph McPhee); Eddie Mills (Tyson Hicks); Edmund J. Kearney (Mr. Peterson)
Writers Kevin Williamson, Greg Berlanti Director Greg Prange

1 comment:

  1. It really was a strong episode, IMO this one with To be or not to be have been the strongest episodes so far this season!! Kerr Smith acting is Breathtaking.

    Andie and Pacey dinamic was great too and Katie holmes amazing as always