Monday, December 10, 2012

Dawson's Creek: Appetite for Destruction (5.10)

It at least makes for a change on this show that the over-analytical postmortem of a couple having sex actually occurs with the rest of the cast, and not the two that actually had sex. Appetite for Destruction takes place entirely in one location, the ensemble gathering at Grams' place to eat Pacey's home-cooked dinner. Having all glimpsed Dawson and Jen making out as they entered, there's an understandable amount of awkwardness in the air, and you can imagine the inevitable roads the episode will travel down. But there's also an interesting new approach to a standard Dawson's Creek story, with characters not involved in the epic 'four-character romantic saga' making a bigger deal out of it than the people actually involved. It's still a little formulaic, but arguably a little different, too.

Joey is naturally freaked by Dawson and Jen getting together, but quickly realizes how happy she is for them. Following on from her honesty back in Use Your Disillusion, part of her is relieved to not be "that girl" anymore, the one to build up Dawson's self-esteem and support him unconditionally. She's still caught between a rock and a hard place, desperate to cling to her old friendships because of all the happiness they bring her, but also eager to move on and experience new feelings and relationships. She staggered a little back when the season began, but this is hopefully Joey turning a page into a deeper maturity.

There are a bunch of other, smaller discussions that work effectively this week. There's Pacey warning Dawson to ease up on the overprotective, clingy thing that we sometimes do during relationships, particularly when Charlie shows up to beg for Jen's forgiveness (she essentially tells him to move on already, by the way). I also liked Jen and Jack confronting their recent separation, even if it still feels like this story hasn't been entirely dealt with, especially when it comes to Jack's identity issues. Audrey, too, remained fun this week, constantly throwing food on herself to get her and Joey out of the room for some girl talk... despite Joey's insistence that she doesn't actually need it.

Appetite for Destruction actually reminded me a little of season four, the story unfolding in a manner that you think will bug, only for said annoyance to never really come. I liked seeing the cast hanging out and bonding after a run of episodes in which they were all more or less scattered to the winds, and it's always neat seeing the characters react more maturely to basic human experiences, instead of being emotionally wounded by them. B+

Guest stars
Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd)
Writer Anna Fricke Director Harry Winer

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