Friday, December 21, 2012

Dawson's Creek: In a Lonely Place (5.16)

With serialized dramas on network television, there are naturally one or two episodes every year that bring all the major arcs to a standstill, everything pretty much pausing for a week to allow the writers to re-group and plan the rest of the season. It helps create a successful final run of episodes, but does unsurprisingly leave in its wake hours like this one, which struggles to be anything more than a time-filler. In a Lonely Place is also something of a bottle show, the three stories this week taking place in what is pretty much one location each. This isn't a major problem, but there comes a point during some of the hour where you're left thinking "are they seriously still in that room?"

Jen and Audrey are adrift this week covering an up-and-coming band for Jen's radio show, and their story eventually spirals into elaborate conversations about love versus passion, and whether you can ever have one without the other. It also leads Jen to question her relationship with Dawson, wondering if there's any real heat there. This is fine as a story, but I wish there were more build-up to Jen's wavering, instead of the show just dropping all of it clumsily into this episode. I like Dawson and Jen together, and it feels like the writers are looking for a quick wrap-up to their relationship... which sucks.

There's also a sort of resolution to Joey's thing with Professor Wilder, Joey glimpsing him on a hot date while she's at a movie theater with Dawson, and confronting him mid-show. Again, this spirals into elaborate conversation, Wilder talking about Flaubert again (enough with the Flaubert, show!) and explaining how he believes the anticipation of a relationship is where true pleasure and happiness lies, and not the act of love itself. Or something. It's all crazily pretentious, Wilder being all condescending and professor-ish to dress up the fact that he's just a creep who wanted to get into the pants of the freshman girl he liked. Ugh. Is he done now?

Finally, Pacey and Jack went to a gay bar, and there was some hilarious (*cough*) wackiness with people thinking Pacey was gay, and then Pacey being all offended when he discovers he's not considered a 'catch' by the various patrons of the bar. Blah. This is all filler material that strains to fill its allotted time, notably when we return to them towards the end of the episode and they're still at the exact same table they were at thirty minutes ago. Stretched thin is an understatement.

So this isn't great. It's the show reaching a narrative slump, story arcs beginning to die and the writers presumably scrambling for whatever major plot turn the cast will all encounter next. In a Lonely Place is fun every once in a while, but generally isn't that interesting. C-

Guest stars
Ken Marino (Professor David Wilder); Busy Philipps (Audrey Liddell); Drew Wood (Steve); Nick Cornish (Wynn)
Writer Gina Fattore Director Keith Samples


  1. See I'm reading this post and thinking, Wow, I wonder when they wrote this - thinking it would be more along the lines of earlier blogspot days of, what? 2006? ish? Little did I know that I am not the only fool to just now be concerning myself with the likes of Dawson's Creek. Freaky timing. You posted this only a two weeks ago. Anyway - I'm trying to find the music store that's mentioned in the episode: in the Carolinas, half laundromat, half record store. If you can help me find it, email:


  2. Could it be fictional? A quick Google search didn't throw anything up. But considering this was made in 2002, chances are that it doesn't exist anymore if it was real. These places are shutting down all the time, unfortunately. Sounds like a really cool place, though. Good luck with your search.

  3. U r crazy if u like downtown crossing better than this.
    joey befriends her mugger and his whole family? Filler!! Insane!!

  4. The writers on dawsons creek suck and Paul stupin should be renamed Paul stupid cause he didn't do nothing to stop this bad writing.