Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Valentine's Day Massacre (3.14)

There's an awkward sense of the show revisiting the plot strands of early season three this week, particularly with the whole "Let's go and party -- woo-woo!" vibe. With that, the show travels down inevitable routes, particularly with the whole "eww, be responsible, can't down a shot, not on this network" thing. I'm probably using air-quotes way too much. Gah. It's all kinds of lame. Thankfully, most of this is incidental in the end, writer Tom Kapinos eventually navigating events around and pushing Joey and Pacey closer together again, which is always great.

Before we can get there though, we once again have Joey reacting negatively to Dawson's romantic interest in another girl. This is no fun to read, but (and I'm still repeating myself) Joey needs to get off this track. She keeps having these grand epiphanies every two weeks or so, only for the writers to repeatedly return to the same plot devices, Joey getting angsty whenever Dawson even briefly flirts with another Capeside female. Valentine's Day Massacre tries to undermine this by having Pacey deliver an awesome rant about "the ballad of Dawson and Joey" and how stale and predictable it's become, but merely acknowledging the issues with these characters doesn't at all excuse their very existence in the first place.

However, at least the episode ended with Pacey finally realizing his feelings for Joey, even if he can't actually reveal them just yet. I actually really like this, and love how the show has gradually built the foundations to their relationship this year. It's no Four to Tango, but there's an adorable sweetness to Pacey teaching Joey how to drive.

Alternatively, Henry continues to be a horrible character. There's this tonal imbalance whenever he's on-screen, his wholesomeness so cloying and gag-worthy but played reasonably straight, before he inevitably has some 'wacky comedy moment' -- this week being his blood-deprived fainting while on his romantic date with Jen. I should also add that I eventually tuned out of this season as a kid, so I have no idea where the story is going, but... with all the mention of Henry's 'heart' and how supposedly 'sweet and warm' he is, are we in store for some kind of medical-ailment arc? Like he's dying or something? Gah. Because that's not good at all.

Finally, the Jack subplot was just all right. His ex-girlfriend is in town, and there's some goofy awkwardness as she was recently dumped by her boyfriend, who turned out to be gay. Comedy! Ugh. It's sweet in places, but not totally absorbing. However, this was the moment I fell for Alex Breckenridge, and she's completely gorgeous here. On a semi-related note, I wrote her some fanmail years ago in the internet dark ages and she replied with a really courteous message of thanks. So, yeah. There's that.

A lot of this episode drags, but the Pacey characterization sparkles. If only the show wasn't so intent on having characters act out the same two or three scenes every damn week. We get it, show. How about moving on already? C

Guest stars
Dylan Neal (Doug Witter); Michael Pitt (Henry Parker); Alex Breckenridge (Kate Douglas); Michael Hagerty (Matt Caulfield)
Writer Tom Kapinos Director Sandy Smolan

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