Monday, January 21, 2013

Dawson's Creek: Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell (6.7)

It's still hard to care about Audrey right now, despite her clear depression and her eagerness to escape her misery by way of partying and drinking. Ordinarily, the show would depict this from her point of view, but so far the writers seem to be placing all of us at home in a strange position: we're observers of her insanity, not keenly aware of why she's doing these things. It only leaves Audrey appearing like an obnoxious wreck, attacking everybody around her but with little relatable reasoning behind it. It's hard to discern her problem with Pacey, it's even harder to understand why she's suddenly feeling so wronged by Joey. She's now this huge pain in the ass, a character that doesn't have enough audience goodwill to make this story anything but a drag.

Elsewhere, miracles occurred with Joey and Eddie. They've gradually been improving over the last couple of episodes, but here they began to exhibit some semblance of chemistry. Eddie also confesses that his problems with Joey came about because of his own issues with society at large, not because of anything she specifically did, and she finds his honesty refreshing. At least they're being open with each other and acting somewhat rational and mature, which is something rare to see on this show and pleasant whenever it does rear its head.

The Professor Freeman arc came to an end, and turned out to be another Dawson's Creek non-event. We discover that he's leaving town alone, presumably having came out to his pregnant wife, but it can't help but leave a bad taste in your mouth. Yes, it's sad that he's so insecure and closeted, but it's not some happy ending that he's abandoning his family like that. The show didn't exactly explore a real relationship between him and Jack either, the story feeling more like something thrown together quickly and disposed of just as easily, the writers unaware of what they were ever trying to say.

But I do really like Jack's new love interest David. David is sweet and charming and surprisingly relaxed about relationships and dating, and it's about damn time that Jack gets romanced by somebody well-adjusted and comfortable with their sexuality to such an extent that being gay is rarely even mentioned. All I've ever wanted to see Jack do is date a guy purely because he likes him, and not have sexual dysfunction appear out of nowhere to make everything miserable. It's Jack's go-to storyline, and something the show has needed to rectify for years. David seems to be a step in the right direction.

C.J., too, is proving to be sort of intriguing. Okay, I was expecting his secret back-story to be a little more interesting than the one given here (he used to be a huge drunk), but it at least ties him into the show's fabric a little better, and allows Jen to bond with him over their mutually checkered histories. It's actually surprising to see so many absorbing love interests on this show, particularly when they're usually as interesting as a dust-cloud.

Because no season six episode can be entirely great, Pacey had another stockbroker excursion, this time a tossed-together subplot involving Rich buying him a hooker against his knowledge. I still don't understand what the writers are thinking with this, and it again sucks that Joshua Jackson is being saddled with such terrible material. Let this story die, show!

By avoiding the shit-show on Dawson's movie set and allowing more character-driven drama to drive the episode, this was one of the stronger season six hours so far. It's also great to see the newbie characters getting fleshed out better, especially as they didn't start out the season too promisingly. B

Guest stars
Oliver Hudson (Eddie Doling); Jensen Ackles (C.J.); Megan Gray (Emma Jones); Sebastian Spence (Professor Matt Freeman); Dana Ashbrook (Rich Rinaldi); Greg Rikaart (David); Jaime Bergman (Denise)
Writer Anna Fricke Director Jason Moore

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