It's interesting watching the Eve episodes, because they so go against everything the show had originally said about sex. Whether you think it's at all believable or not, Dawson's Creek always portrayed sex as something romantic and finite, the ultimate act of love and the pinnacle of relationship happiness. It was particularly evident last season with Pacey and Andie, while Joey always seemed to believe in that too. Dawson was more of a grey area, since he was always so insistent that epic romance could exist without sex, but he never actively appeared like a horndog. The Eve story, on the other hand, is lifted straight from an '80s teen movie perspective, and Dawson's actions don't make a whole lot of sense.
Again, you could argue that he's hit a period where he's being controlled by his penis and abandoning all those romanticized opinions about sexuality, but it still feels tonally off. Dawson's always been a self-righteous, puritanical character -- and it would be more likely that he'd sit Eve down and romance her with chocolates and romantic dinners than allow her to take all his clothes off and leave him stranded half-naked in front of a crowd of his peers. The fact that he acts so proud and nonchalant about that particular incident says a lot about how out-of-character this whole arc has been.
Away from Eve, Homecoming works as a stronger introduction to the season than Like a Virgin. While the only truly impactful moment last week was Joey and Pacey's heart-to-heart at the end, here we have a couple of stories that are driven by characters rather than ludicrous sexpots. Pacey and Andie's break-up is something I have a lot of problems with, the most notable being the decision to have her cheat on him off-screen -- it being a ridiculously lazy, half-assed plot device, but both Joshua Jackson and Meredith Monroe are so blindingly convincing that it doesn't come off as terribly as it should have done. Maybe if the DC ensemble were filled with a bunch of Jennie Garth's, then everything would be terrible -- but you can't help but run with it as the actors on this show speak with so much conviction. I still don't have to like the story itself, though, especially since it leaves both characters potentially stranded, particularly Andie, but I'm willing to see how it develops.
Joey also had a really strong breakthrough at the end, and seems to be open to turning the page and moving on her with life. It's inevitable that she and Dawson will eventually cycle back around to their old feelings, but the least the show needs to do at this point is have Joey constantly cringe in jealousy at everything Dawson does. I also continue to like her budding friendship with Pacey, even if combining that subplot with the Andie infidelity saga pretty much signposts where the show is headed...
There's still a lot wrong with the show, and Jen's subplot with Michael Pitt is dangerously goofy, but the contrived sexcapades that dominated everything last week have been reduced a lot. I'd prefer Eve and the wacky condom comedy to be canned all-together, but at least the whole show hasn't been derailed by her presence. C
Guest stars David Dukes (Joseph McPhee); Brittany Daniel (Eve Whitman); Michael Pitt (Henry Parker); Chris Demetral (Mark); Obba Babatunde (Principal Howard Green)
Writer Greg Berlanti Director Melanie Mayron