Friday, October 26, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Mind Games (4.16)

Drue has one of those characteristically Dawson's Creek meta moments this week, in which he explicitly discusses the respective Dawson/Joey, Joey/Pacey couples, and explains which one he finds more interesting as an impartial member of the audience. It's a fun bit, characters literally discussing what everybody at home is talking about. But, watching Mind Games, I realized that it's no longer important which couple you 'side' with, since the most important obstacle right now is Joey's shiftiness. Gretchen describes it perfectly when she demands that Joey stop using the love triangle as some kind of excuse for her own shitty behavior, and that lying to both men in her life will only do damage in the future. It's absolutely true, and exposes where the real issue lies.

It's funny that Joey and Pacey act like an ordinary, sexually-active couple most of the time, being flirtatious with one another and scheming to find a safe place to sleep together. But as soon as Dawson's name is mentioned, Joey suddenly becomes this sullen, uncomfortable drag, suddenly viewing sex as something dangerous. Like her behavior last week, it reads as totally insane, and a psychologist would probably have a field day with that.

It's also annoying that neither Pacey nor Joey are actively confronting their problems. Even when Gretchen tells Pacey about Joey's lie, he's still reluctant to talk to Joey about it, while Joey herself remains stuck in denial. When both sides are putting up walls around themselves, they're only going to end up sinking the whole relationship.

Gretchen, like always, is a spitfire of honesty here. She calls Joey out on her shit, and is visibly uncomfortable about dropping into this overly confused situation. But she and Dawson are still a strong item. Even their talk about first sexual experiences doesn't go the way you imagine it would, with their sexual unbalance actually bringing them closer together, rather than shining a light on their differences.

Elsewhere, Jen and Jack have a cute subplot with Jen's new therapist, in which they follow him around to ease Jen's worries about who it is she's confiding in. It's pretty slight in terms of story, something that affects the whole episode, but remains absorbing due to where the story is likely headed. I continue to enjoy the introspection into Jen's soul, while the elaborately-drawn love triangle that is anchoring the show right now remains enthralling, even if I've never been more bewildered by Joey's issues. B

Guest stars
Sasha Alexander (Gretchen Witter); Mark Matkevich (Drue Valentine); Rob Nagle (Dr. Tom Frost)
Writer Gina Fattore Director David Straiton

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