Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Two Gentlemen of Capeside (4.3)

This episode opens with one of those "only on TV" moments, in which the play everybody's analyzing in their English class directly parallels their own love lives. So we have Dawson and Joey arguing over Two Gentlemen of Verona, all about two best friends torn apart by a girl's romantic inclinations. Unfortunately, this goofy teaser sequence sets a precedence for the rest of the episode. When it's not directly lifting from The Perfect Storm with an elaborate CGI rescue story, the script overdoses on clichés, right down to Grams threatening to "kick butt" in a manner suited only to wise-cracking old people on bad TV shows.

There comes a point where Dawson needs to stop holding all the recent developments with Joey against Pacey. Yeah, it sucked. Yeah, it could be considered something of a betrayal. But it stinks of jealousy and petulance when he portrays Pacey as the bad party while having no issue with Joey anymore. It's also jarring when you see how much he's grown everywhere else. I actually like Dawson a lot nowadays, but the Pacey thing is still holding him back from becoming completely adult.

To follow up what I wrote about the hackneyed writing this week, Andie's subplot with Mrs. Valentine was pretty much a checklist of clichés. There was her arrogant dismissal of Andie based on her mental history, then the realization that she's actually a great person, before the big smackdown at the end with Andie realizing that she doesn't need her approval at all. It just goes in the entirely generic direction you expect, with absolutely no surprises along the way. Cantankerous Mr. Brooks is the same, a character designed to be old and grouchy, and you're not exactly eager for him to stick around past this episode.

I'm starting to like Drue, though. I remember enjoying his character a lot when I first watched this years ago, and my opinion hasn't changed this time around. He's similar to both Abby Morgan and Chris Wolfe in season two, also characters who were dry and bitchy and only there to comment on how lame the main cast are. He also knew Jen when she was a Big Bad Skanky Manhattan Pre-Teen Hookah™, which ought to create some sparkage.

There are glimmers of fun here, but the show seemed so won over by the prospect of having characters being endangered by a huge storm on the high seas that they forgot to make any of the script semi-decent. It's like being assaulted by a wave of obvious, instead of... you know, water. C-

Guest stars
Mark Matkevich (Drue Valentine); Harve Presnell (Arthur Brooks); Carolyn Hennesy (Mrs. Valentine)
Writer Jeffrey Stepakoff Director Sandy Smolan

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