It's hard to disagree with the belief that Andie McPhee got royally screwed by the Dawson's Creek writers. She emerged as a flawed yet sincere and relatable voice of reason in season two, somebody who helped Pacey develop into a mature young man and overcoming her own personal troubles in the process. She had a strong female presence on the show, neither the neurotic over-analyzer that is Joey, nor possessing the relaxed nonchalance of Jen. Instead she was somebody reasonably together as a person, even when her own mind was falling apart. Then season three happened, and she was sacrificed in order to engineer a relationship between two other characters, becoming this irrational nutjob in the process. She's flailed around for a while, and here she's swiftly removed from the show in an awkward, unbelievable manner. It sort of sucks.
After her druggie misfire last week, her dad* suggests she take off for Florence for the rest of the year, claiming she has enough credits to ensure a decent college place and that hanging out in a foreign land won't do anything to harm her. Uh... okay. So she leaves.
What I find puzzling is that Andie had been used successfully lately as a catalyst for other character's dramas. She's not great on her own, but her shared history with most of the cast made her a dependable friend able to see through a lot of the angst the other characters frequently get wrapped up in. I loved her sibling bond with Jack, as well as her budding friendship with Joey and Jen. She didn't need to anchor any of her own stories, and considering the show paid Meredith Monroe for the rest of the season anyway (she's still credited in every additional episode), I don't understand why she needed to be written out so abruptly.
Regardless, I liked how the show had her engineer a friendly reunion between the DC ensemble before she left, practically demanding that they all cast aside their petty issues of late and just hang out as friends again. It's a nice sentiment, and I loved how she carefully untangled herself from between Pacey and Dawson for that final photograph, forcing them to hug it out and grin and bear it together.
Of the two additional subplots, the "Joey needs the person who knows her best to write a college recommendation letter for her" thing went down its expected routes, Joey turning to Dawson for help and angering Pacey in the process. It once again ended with Pacey having a last-minute epiphany and apologizing, and the show needs to stop with that format already. It feels like they have the same argument every week of late.
Jen's entanglement with Drue was more successful, with Drue attempting to get closer to her by driving a wedge between her and her friends. He goes to the authorities about her Ecstasy possession last week, landing her in legal trouble and making her something of a pariah among her peers. It's horrible, but I like seeing how nutty he is, so desperate to get his "old Jen" back that he's trying to almost force it to happen.
I never thought I'd say this after her trainwreck of a season three, but I think I'll miss Andie in the long-run. Meredith Monroe was always cute and charming in the role, no matter the hideous material they sometimes saddled her with, and she makes the most of a goodbye episode that struggles to make a lot of sense at times. So long, girl. Try not to go crazy again. B-
* Rest in peace, David Dukes. Gone way too soon.
Guest stars Sasha Alexander (Gretchen Witter); Mark Matkevich (Drue Valentine); Harve Presnell (Arthur Brooks); David Dukes (Joseph McPhee); Carolyn Hennesy (Mrs. Valentine)
Writers Chris Levinson, Zack Estrin Director John Behring