Identity plays an important part this week, primarily when it comes to the idea of who you should be, versus who you actually are. It gets a little confused in the Dawson story, as he's inspired to abandon his movie aspirations by Nikki, but the principal still rings true. Nikki, who is turning out to be a surprisingly engaging love interest, talks about her own perception of film as a medium to express stories, while claiming that Dawson's love for filmmaking comes from his love of film itself. There's definitely a difference there, and it's no surprise that Nikki's work holds greater artistic merit. But it's a story that angers Joey, since she views Dawson's decision as him compromising his identity. Isn't it just natural evolution though? Dawson being inspired by his peers?
I like Joey a lot, but she was pretty insufferable here. As much as she tries to sugar-coat it, Joey's rage was directed from her own jealousy, not so much out of her own compassion for Dawson. Of course, Dawson isn't entirely blameless either -- the only reason he hasn't expressed jealousy over Joey's encounter with A.J. last week was because his new love interest has stuck around in his life and given him something to distract himself with. These two are always on this annoying cycle, but I don't at all see Dawson tearing down his Spielberg posters as a negative.
Jack's friendship with Ethan got some immediate follow-through, but I felt like Ethan was more condescending than helpful. Jack is still nervous about his sexuality, but it was unfair of Ethan to treat him ostensibly like some kind of project, especially at a time when Jack is especially vulnerable. It was sweet that Jack seemed eager to take that next step, but I don't think these two are on the same wave-length at all. Then again, they're only friends because they're both gay, and I'm sure it's a natural thing in a small town to gravitate towards the few gay folk you would encounter.
Henry hadn't appeared for a while, and I wasn't excited to see Michael Pitt's name appear among the guest stars again. Henry still doesn't work for me as a character, and while I agreed with him that Jen seems to have entirely disregarded how much she had hurt him all those weeks ago, I see zero spark between them and, like Jack and Ethan, they're so vastly different as people that they could never work out as an actual couple. Plus, Henry is one of those hideous 'sensitive artist'-types with the twangy guitar and the soft-folk rock. Ugh. Run away, Jen.
Finally, I'm similarly uninterested in Andie and Pacey's adventures with the school play. The show seems to have settled on Andie being this annoying Tracy Flick-type, only without the humor or the irony, and it's frustrating that they've thrown back together the one couple entirely driven into the ground by wonky storytelling at the start of the year. If this is a long-term deal, then it could get better... but I'm not particularly hopeful.
Barefoot at Capefest felt a little scattered as an episode, especially after the successes of the last two weeks gravitated from the ensemble being all together in the same locale, but certain stories continued to work well. There's a lot of melodrama and heavy doses of ridiculous, but I continue to like where they're taking Dawson, Nikki, Joey and Jack. B-
Guest stars Michael Pitt (Henry Parker); Bianca Lawson (Nikki Green); Adam Kaufman (Ethan Brody); Obba Babatunde (Principal Howard Green)
Writers Bonnie Schneider, Hadley Davis Director Jan Eliasberg