Friday, March 1, 2013

Dawson's Creek: Joey Potter and Capeside Redemption (6.22)

It's funny how much of this episode feels like a TV show, particularly whenever the writers explore Dawson and Pacey's friendship, or lack thereof. One of the key missions here is to get the two of them back on speaking terms, talking about their recent lack of communication and the way their friendship flew off the rails right around the time Pacey shacked up with Joey and how it's never truly recovered. But what really sticks out at you is that the show positions that friendship as something worth saving, or at least worthy of considerable attention. Because isn't it true that most people wind up losing contact with those you knew in high school? Even the people you were closest to? People evolve, circumstances change, communication drifts. And despite the ridiculousness of so much of this show in general, it's the way these kids are so fixated with the past that most easily throws you off.

Because as much as Dawson and Pacey insist that they'll stick around and "be friends again", the two of them are so far removed from each other as adults that you wonder if there's any real point to it all. Before Dawson invested all of his money, I can't remember the last time the two of them ever hung out, or weren't distracted by their adult lives. It's a similar feeling with Dawson and Joey, too, both of whom have been on such vastly separate journeys that throwing them back together again to cover old ground comes off as a little strange -- the work of writers who believe it's what needs to be done from a narrative standpoint, and not because the characters are really crying out for it.

While certain elements here didn't entirely work, the reunions and make-ups feeling unearned at this point in the show, Joey Potter and Capeside Redemption remains a strong episode, so warm in its sense of nostalgia, with enough hugging and teamwork to make even the coldest heart smile with fondness. Joey pulls together the Capeside community to support Dawson's movie, a literal big-screen translation of his adolescence, and along the way we get recreations of Dawson and Joey talking in bed in the pilot and the girl next door being all exotic and attractive, to remakes of Dawson's first monster movie, as well as subplots involving Pacey's fling with his teacher... played in the movie with ironic detachment by Audrey. There are also some fun quips, the cast reminiscing about Eve and her nonsensical storyline, to Harley (playing Joey) wondering why her character would be so obsessed with hanging out with an asexual film dork. Pacey's encounter with Kristy Livingstone would have probably been more successful if they had actually gotten Ali Larter back to play her, but I did like the way it explored how high school validation still means so much more than everyday, adult validation -- even when you're so removed from high school itself.

The episode successfully works as a kind of nostalgic look-back at what the show itself was, where the characters were at during certain moments in time, as well as where they are today. In another series-wide statement, it was interesting to see Dawson describe his movie as the story of a girl growing up and wanting so much more from life, only to eventually realize she had so much all along. It's such a strange scene in some ways, Dawson making what years ago was his story now all about Joey Potter -- just like Dawson's Creek itself got re-purposed as a Katie Holmes vehicle, the guy in the show's title having faded into the background long ago.

Not everything is perfect here (the way everybody is so distracted by old feelings is a little baffling), but it's an episode that generally works really well as the end of Dawson's Creek as we know it -- the finale itself taking a jump into another time. Joey finally got the ending that she had wanted for so long, journeying to Paris and embracing her future, while both Dawson and Pacey seemed to reach similar end-points. It's all pretty sweet. A-

Credits
Guest stars
Mary-Margaret Humes (Gale Leery); Dylan Neal (Doug Witter); Hal Ozsan (Todd Carr); Mika Boorem (Harley Hetson); Lukas Behnken (George); Nicole Steinwedell (Kristy Livingstone); Taylor Handley (Patrick)
Writers Gina Fattore, Tom Kapinos Director Michael Lange

1 comment:

  1. Was this episode ever meant to be the final one? Because it should have been. Tied everything together nicely.

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