Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dawson's Creek: The Song Remains the Same (6.2)

And they're over. Joey and Dawson, man. I guess it's not surprising that the two of them would wind up hating each other all over again, weeping in the mirror and lamenting any kind of intimacy they once shared. But lord is it frustrating. What this exposes is writer's intent, because the two of them can actually work well together. Their courtship towards the end of season four was so adult and mature and relatable, and the show could easily keep that intact and allow them to just be happy, but instead they choose to tear them down again. So I'm assuming that it's truly done, that these two will never be happy and that the show will always make sure that they're doomed as a couple.

Then again, maybe I'm still swept up in that teenage fantasy? A major scene this week involves Joey visiting the set of Todd's movie, and seeing how Dawson has constructed this elaborate soundstage that looks like a freaky doppelganger of his old Capeside home. It's perceptive and visually perfect, and Joey finds herself entirely won over by how authentic it is. But, being a movie set, doors open out into nothingness, and the budget doesn't stretch far enough to allow additional rooms to be built. It's a half-done job, a half-memory that looks all pretty from the outside but falls apart once you really look at it.

It's a plot device that obviously works as a powerful metaphor for the two of them as a couple. And I'm guilty of it, too, thinking it's romantic and grand, the idea of these two kids who grew up together and fell in love, sure that someday it'll all work out and things will be great. But, being realistic, it's fraught with tension and danger -- the sign of craziness that you keep doing the same thing over and over again despite the result never changing. So both characters seem to finally end it, the writers seemingly putting a moratorium on something that just doesn't work, despite how many times you sit and wonder whether it actually can.

I liked the acknowledgment of their relationship as a 'thing', especially in regards to the other cast members. One of the funniest scenes in a while involves Jen, Pacey, Jack and Audrey sitting at a bar and remembering how nearly all of them have factored into their 'epic love' at one point or another. Remember when Jack's presence broke them up in season two? And how Jen so wonderfully describes her role in their lives: "I'm just the roadkill on the Dawson and Joey highway". It's a sweet depiction of how the other half lives, the ones tangently connected to them but still mostly separate.

The rest of the episode works better once you realize that it was originally aired as part two of a two-hour premiere, since the Emma thing is dragged over from the first hour, and Pacey is still fretting over his interview. Emma and the apartment thing is crazily annoying, her accent still enough to make you want to vomit out your own eyeballs. My concern over where Pacey is actually going is also still there, considering his new boss is played by yet another Twin Peaks alumni. Have they learned nothing from Sherilyn Fenn last year? If Madchen Amick shows up before the end of the year as some hottie stockbroker with her eyes on Pacey, then surely the show is doomed...

In romantic news, Jen is flirting with Jensen Ackles, who suggests she join his counseling group. Jen's all into it, until she discovers it's one of those annoying 'hugs make everybody feel better' deals that would make Tami Taylor want to strangle somebody. Meh.

The Song Remains the Same is one of those episodes that appears horrible at first glance, the show going down the inevitable roads that they refuse to put to bed, no matter how annoying they've become. But sitting back and thinking about it, particularly the Leery house metaphor, suddenly makes it something quietly moving. What was once a story about long-standing affection and deep-seated romantic longing is suddenly about the failure to move on from your past, and how you can't help but keep those old feelings intact somewhere inside of you. I'm sure they've gone their before, but parts of it still feel absorbing at this point in time... miraculously. A-

Guest stars
Oliver Hudson (Eddie Doling); Jensen Ackles (C.J.); Megan Gray (Emma Jones); Hal Ozsan (Todd Carr); Dana Ashbrook (Rich Rinaldi)
Writer Gina Fattore Director Robert Duncan McNeill

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