Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dawson's Creek: Love Bites (6.18)

Yeah, Joey made the wrong decision. Instead or running away with Pacey and having whip-smart, endlessly charming babies with him, she decides to let him down gently and reunite with bland bland bland Oliver, who reappeared out of nowhere at the very end of last episode. It's hard to justify on an emotional level, considering Oliver has the charisma of a paint can, but you can just about understand where Joey is coming from as a character. The last couple of episodes have had this heavy past/present/future vibe, the writers specifically using Harley and her boyfriend as a reminder of the show's teenage years, which in itself has allowed Joey and Pacey to exorcise some of their own demons. And while all the teenage angst between the two of them has finally been resolved, you get why she'd want to pursue new pastures at this point, if only to see where it'll take her. It's not an all-out dismissal of Pacey himself, but instead a nice awareness of the importance taking a chance.

But it's that knowing sensibility which is carrying the show right now, the writers looking back and reflecting on adolescence and exploring how the memory of it can shape your adult life. So much of season five and the very beginning of this year involved treating the past as a burden and something that stops you from moving on, but here we're getting characters using their histories as a series of lessons or warnings instead of a embarrassing horror show. We see it with Joey and Pacey, and in Dawson's case he's turned to the past for new inspiration, finding a movie script pouring out of him as he remembers growing up in Capeside and being surrounded by friends and family. It continues to be a strong way to send this show off into the abyss...

Removed from the thematic resonance but nonetheless absorbing is the revelation that Grams is undergoing cancer treatment. It's no surprise that the show would eventually do a cancer arc, and if anything it's surprising that it's taken so long, but the tenderness and affection between Grams and Jen is wonderfully written and performed. Jen is devastated, Grams stays strong and insists she's going to survive because goddammit she wants to survive, and so forth. She better, Jen adds, promising to perform scenes from Moulin Rouge! with Jack to aid Grams' recovery. Hee. Finally these two actors have been granted some strong dramatic material.

There have been times during season six where I've really struggled to enjoy Dawson's Creek, let alone write about it, but it's incredibly rewarding to see the writers finally pulling their heads out of their butts and creating an appropriate climax to such a long-running series. I'm suddenly into everything again, and that's by far the best thing a fan could ask for. A

Guest stars
Oliver Hudson (Eddie Doling); Jensen Ackles (C.J.); Mary-Margaret Humes (Gale Leery); Mika Boorem (Harley Hetson); Taylor Handley (Patrick)
Writer Liz W. Garcia Director Bethany Rooney

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