Dawson’s Creek Revisited: Season 4, Episode 5 – The Family Way

Opening scene, the Dawson’s restaurant and Gail is pregnant. They don’t come right out and say that in the dialogue, but the episode’s title is rather obvious and on TV women only vomit if they’re with child, which is what Gail apparently spent the morning doing.

Dawson and Mitch want Gail to see a doctor, but Gail wants to run the restaurant. They eventually talk her into leaving, though, and while they discuss her illness, the waitress (Gretchen) is like, uh, she’s totally pregnant. And I can understand Dawson not seeing it, but Mitch supposedly has seen this before. Come on, man, get with it.

Say what now?

Say what now?

When Gail comes back, the three of them stare at each other stupidly until the opening credits start.

At the Leery house, Gail’s pregnancy test is positive or “pink” (no high tech tests 15 years ago I guess). Mitch is happy, Gail seems shocked and Dawson nonchalantly walks off without a word, perhaps to sulk like a wiener. You’d think 18 would be old enough to cope with a new sibling, but I guess not.

But I'm the baby!

But I’m the baby!

When he’s leaving, claiming he’s late to paint a house, Mitch is like, uh, aren’t you going to say anything? After a pregnant pause (Heh) Dawson gives a lame congratulations, and thus having rained on his parents’ big news, he hits the road.

At Joey’s house, she and Pacey are making out and he stops things and wants to watch TV. Turns out he’s tired of Joey always calling the shots on how long they’ll make out, so today he wants to decide. Joey wants to know if this means they’re having a fight. As the girl, only she may cease physical intimacy.

At a soccer field, Andie and an injured Jack are going to coach a children’s team because Andie somehow doesn’t have enough activities going on. She blathers about moulding young minds before admitting it’s about looking good to colleges. Nothing she ever does is for altruism or personal passion. Just looking good to universities. Awesome.

Andie introduces herself to the kids, who before this game had apparently never laid eyes on her before (How did she get this gig? Usually some hardcore sports parent takes over). She gives the sort of pretentious speech that kids hate, and they all groan. Jack jumps in, acts like a normal person, the kids like him and everyone’s happy. Except this kid named Molly who doesn’t want to be there ’cause she hates soccer.

At the Brooks house, Dawson is brooding and lollygagging and the old man wants him to work faster. This is the man whose boat Dawson stole to save his friends a couple episodes ago. After telling Dawson to keep his teenage angst to himself he picks up his photographs and starts offering harsh critiques. He tells him to put more emotion into his work and Dawson holds his temper and keeps painting the house.

In the cafeteria– So, I guess it’s tomorrow now– Joey is mulling over sex stuff with Jen. Basically she’s overthinking the whole thing. She wants to do it but doesn’t know if she’s ready and she’s agonizing about how you’re supposed to just know. She’s 17, in love, lived with the guy in question for months on a boat without doing anything, but still waiting, waiting, waiting.

But HOW do you KNOW?

But HOW do you KNOW?

Maybe I’m just too far removed from this stage of life to take this seriously, but it kinda seems like a no-brainer to me. Just do it already, use a condom, call it a day.

Jen, having been down this road before a few times, offers some sage advice: No one knows if they’re really ready, but you can still be prepared. Go to the free clinic, get sex advice and contraception. Good stuff, Jen. Joey looks happier.

The Leerys are in a waiting room that does not look at all like it’s for a doctor and they’re talking about the pregnancy. Mitch is all onboard, which is hunky dory since it’s not his 40-something body about to make life, and Gail lists her concerns and says where she’s at right now, she wouldn’t keep the pregnancy if she made the choice today. Mitch looks sick to his stomach. Maybe it’s good she told him in public so he wouldn’t make a scene, which I can’t help but think is coming.

On the soccer field– hang on. Joey and Jen were just in the cafeteria. Now we’re back to coaching kids soccer? Is this a new day of soccer? It can’t be the same game. Wait. They’re wearing the same clothes. Why aren’t they in school? Why is Dawson painting instead of in school? Whatever.

So this 28-year-old sister of Molly starts hitting on Jack, even when she learns he’s 18. She’s almost 30 and wants a teenage high school student. When she realizes she’s making him uncomfortable, she compounds it by making her flirtations more overt. Jack tries to spit out that he’s gay, but can’t seem to.

I like 'em barely legal.

I like ’em barely legal.

Dawson’s talking about photography with Gretchen and won’t stop snapping her picture, which seems wasteful as this is film we’re talking about. He alludes to being a genius in the making and doesn’t watch out for traffic while prancing around with his camera on the road.

Dawson sits down with her on a bench and says he’s upset about his mom’s pregnancy because their relationship doesn’t seem stable enough and they’re in debt. Well, that’s a nice normal reason. I was thinking he might have sibling rivalry, which shows how much credit I give this character.

Gretchen then turns Dawson’s attention to his mom, and how she must be feeling and that seems to get through to him pretty quick.

At the clinic, Joey is being seen by a nurse to talk some sex stuff. And this woman is the worst. She starts immediately and abruptly on this fear campaign about all the shit that can go wrong. Then when she sees she’s wigging Joey out she’s like “These aren’t even the hard questions!” Then she stops asking her stuff altogether and tells her sex can be fun if you’re responsible, and hands her a bag of condoms and spermicide.

On her way out, Joey’s stopped one more time by this nurse who commands her to smile. The fuck? You just talked to her about AIDS, it’s not like she’s at the B&B scaring off customers. She doesn’t have to smile.

And check out this poster in the background:

"Sex can be a real scream". Better than that nurse's mantra of sex will leave you pregnant with AIDS.

“Sex can be a real scream”.
Better than that nurse’s mantra of sex will leave you pregnant with AIDS.

On the soccer field, Jack is complaining about Caroline, Molly’s skeevy sister who was coming onto him. Andie says tell her you’re gay. Jack says since he’s working with kids, he doesn’t want it to be an issue and he’s not interested in being a gay rights crusader over it. Sometimes I forget how far we’ve come in just 15 years because it never occurred to me that was the reason he didn’t tell her he was gay.

At the Leery house, Dawson wants to talk to his parents about his reaction to the news. He says it’s exciting, but Gail and Mitch tell him they’re not having the baby. And I was wrong, Mitch is not making a scene, but Dawson is certainly not taking it well. I don’t know how well boys are attuned to women’s reproductive rights when they’re 18, but still.

Gail is obviously saddened, and said she suspected she was pregnant for a little while but didn’t want to face it before as she knew how she’d deal with it. Dawson is complaining because he is trying to be supportive, but seems to not grasp that maybe his mom could use some support for her choice.

He asks his dad incredulously, “And you agreed to this?” Dude, it’s not really a matter of him agreeing to let it happen, it’s more that he’s not going to attempt to impose his will upon his wife, which is not his legal right to do anyway.

Gail tearfully apologizes and ends the conversation and leaves.

In the morning, Mitch comes up to tell a sulking Dawson breakfast is ready and that Gail is sorry Dawson is unhappy. Dawson wants to know what his dad thinks, expecting him to be mad too. Mitch is more enlightened and says it’s her body, her choice and he doesn’t want her to be pregnant if she doesn’t think it’s the right thing for her. So that’s nice.

Dawson’s like, but what if it’s the wrong decision? Buddy, like you’re the one to be able to gauge that, ye who will leave the house in less than a year and will be making no commitments.  Mitch gives him a nice talk about being happy with the family you have, and hopefully Dawson will stop being such a dick about this.

At the Potter B&B, Bess has discovered Joey’s new stash of contraceptives. Womp womp.

On the soccer field, Caroline approaches Jack and asks him out. Andie first pretends to be his girlfriend, then pretends Jack has a girlfriend who’s a black belt, then just gives up all pretences but cockblocks all the same. Or boxblocks. Not sure what the terminology is when you prevent a creepy grown woman from hitting on a gay high school student.

But Jack does tell her he’s gay, finally, and she then acts like she knew it all along and makes a quick exit.

Dawson meets up with Gretchen to talk about his mom’s pending abortion. Omg… like Gail needs her private business discussed outside the family. This guy has no sense of boundaries sometimes; he thinks it’s all about him.

He tells Gretchen he’s not handling it well and then realizes she’s had an unwanted pregnancy before. She tells the story, which ends in her choosing abortion but miscarrying before she can do it. This always happens on TV (Kind of like how every birth begins with water breaking in public). The abortion rarely ever actually happens, even when it’s decided on. Just a public service announcement here, but it’s a really common procedure and though you may not be aware of it, statistically you likely know several women who’ve had one. It’d be nice if one show had the balls to tell this story.

Dawson thanks Gretchen for trusting him with her story and says he won’t tell anyone. Too bad he doesn’t have this same respect for privacy with his own mother.

At the B&B, Bess makes a snarky remark about Joey being up all night. Joey calls her out. And right there in front of what looks like paying guests at the table, they get into a family dispute about Joey having sex.

Eventually it gets so heated the guests leave the table and it’s a good thing Yelp wasn’t invented yet, though I’d love to read those reviews after this.

At a soccer game, apparently two boys aren’t coming back because Jack is “dangerous”. Sigh. Caroline’s an asshole. Molly’s a nice kid though, and tells Jack she knows he’s not dangerous, and they’re just jerks.

Outside, Bodie takes Alexander over to Joey and they talk about sex. I don’t think I’d get into this with my brother-in-law, personally. I must say, he certainly seems pretty chill about the shitshow in front of the customers.

At the Leery house, Dawson wants to talk to his parents. So he turns off the TV show they were watching without asking first. I’ve never known a conversation to go well after that kind of a dick move.

He tells her before she go ahead with her choice he wants her to know she’s a great mother and he’s proud of her, which is a beautiful thing to say, but maybe he could have told her that a long time ago instead of as a way to guilt her out of an abortion.

At the… lighthouse(?) Joey and Pacey are making out. Does Pacey live in the lighthouse? Anyway, Pacey puts a stop to their making out and Joey calmly accepts it this time. She says she’s not going to get talked into sex with this reverse psychology, then she sort of reveals that she went to the free clinic.

Pacey now feels bad and says he doesn’t want to pressure her to do things she doesn’t want to do.

Nuts.

Nuts.

Then Joey’s like, even though we’re not having sex, there’s certain things we could do. And that sounds like a segue to third base, but she just says “kissing.” Pacey tickles her instead.

On the soccer field, Jack wonders if he should quit coaching and laments saying he was gay. Andie gives him a pep talk, only her tone suggests she thinks he’s making a big deal out of something small, when really… not so much.

At Mr. Brooks’ house, Dawson is still painting, in the dark, and the old man comes out to belittle him and his new photos. But then he comes upon one he likes and we the viewers don’t get to see which one he’s talking about. It’s a of a woman. So either Gretchen, Joey or Gail. Please let it not be Joey. That would just be too stupid.

And it's Gretchen.

And it’s Gretchen.

Well, that’s a relief.

And now there’s a musical montage. Bess and Joey are washing dishes and making up. Dawson’s developing more shots of Gretchen. Jack is walking alone at night on the soccer field. Gail’s looking through Dawson’s baby book.

The end. I think we can all guess she’s not going through with the abortion.

MVA: Joey. Let me get this straight: Your girlfriend offers you her lips in the spirit of teenage lust and you’d rather sit here and watch the E! True Hollywood Story on Danny Bonaduce for the fourth time?

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