Dawson’s Creek Revisited: Season 4, Episode 18 – Eastern Standard Time

Today’s post comes (late) from Alek, as part of his community service for unmentionable crimes against the state of Massachusetts.

Oh my God, Dawson is still with Gretchen. And literally the first thing he says to her is that he’s thinking about Joey. Gretchen takes it because she’s a set piece. The two wild children decide to go on an adventurous road trip for senior ditch day (is that a thing?). We know that this is a new kind of rebellion for Dawson because of the allegro piano music.

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“Let’s go somewhere really fucking boring!”

Credits role, and there’s a change of tempo, because Jen is talking to a therapist (I assume) in a state of drama school sadness known as near catatonia. A soft fade finds Jen and Joey in Grand Central Station. I don’t know if this is a new flashback storytelling device, but it’s confusing.

Douchebag Drew and Pacey are at school on ditch day — Pacey, doubtless, for his academic failures, while Drew is likely there because the administration just discovered that he’s 34-years-old. They banter about what devilish rogues they are in the ponciest way humanly possible.

Joey and Jen walk into a bar in New York (heyo!), where they meet Jen’s old friend Tyfo. Jen introduces him as the “future of the expressionist movement” (*wanking gesture*), while Joey gets all nervous like a sheltered girl from a fictional town in Massachusetts where there are no black people, ever. Tyfo is super excited that Jen might be going to university in the city. This bar has lit up mannequin heads for lamps and I hate everyone in it.

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The future of expressionism is bleak.

Back at school, Pacey is taunted by his teacher, who is a Grade A motivational speaker. Pacey looks dejected right before his quiz, but you and I both know he has no future regardless.

Dawson and Gretchen get a flat tire on their road trip. The terrain makes it look like they’ve made it all the way to Arizona. I bet no one misses them. Gretchen offers to “use her body” for hitchhiking — what more can I say about Gretchen? Dawson convinces her to walk instead. The romance is palpable.

Joey and Jen are walking around the grimy New York City of the Police Academy films (AKA Toronto), and Joey deduces that Jen has been lying about her meeting with a university admissions officer. Turns out that she’s there to see her father. Jen tries to ditch her companion, but Joey can’t take the hint. It’s for the best, because I can imagine her getting mugged and falling asleep in a bus shelter in Downtown Brooklyn by nightfall if left alone.

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She’s wearing a suede jacket, for Christ’s sake.

Gretchen and Dawson wander into a fix-it garage in what we’re meant to believe is small-town Maine, but the mechanic sounds like he’s from Louisiana. He and Dawson start talking about cars or something, and I zone out entirely.

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“This here is the doowicky combulator, flerg blerg blerg.”

Joey and Jen have a heart-to-heart about Jen’s meeting with her dad. Jen admits to having hated Capeside in her youth, and tells a story about being a bratty kid and ditching her mom on a visit. I get why she got sent to live with bible-black Grams, because it sounds like she was a shit.

Gretchen tries to order a sandwich in a divey cafe, where the server is from Alabama. It’s almost as if the casting director doesn’t understand the concept of New England.

Jen’s dad permits her to visit him in his office. It’s super awkward for tag-along Joey, and me. Jen’s dad is proud of her university acceptance, so he clears his schedule to spend the day with her and her bumpkin friend. I hope he’s paying.

Drew and Pacey are hanging out in a shitty pool bar. The extras in this episode are exclusively from the deep south for no actual reason. Drew actually calls the place a saloon and gives Pacey a fake ID. They talk about their future failures and do shots like a couple of privileged white boys.

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“Would you accept my mother’s AMEX?”

Irv the mechanic is driving Gretchen and Dawson back to their car and being country camp with kindness, but when Gretchen asks about payment, Dawson realizes that they don’t have the money to pay the man. Irv drops them on the side of the road. I hope Leatherface shows up.

Jen’s dad is selling New York to Joey over drinks. I think he’s trying to be poetic, but it comes across as deeply lecherous. He makes me want to live in Cleveland out of spite.

Gretchen and Dawson aren’t dead yet. Next.

Pacey and Drew are many shots into their evening and betting on some cards. The bar owner grills Pacey on his fake ID, because he only cares about legality after the kids have paid for their booze.

Jen is disappointed when her father bails on their dinner for work. She proceeds to give Joey the shittiest tour of Manhattan in about six seconds because she’s caught up in her feels. Jen recounts spending the weekend homeless after her aforementioned aborted visit to Capeside, because her mother and father couldn’t be bothered to know where she was. No wonder Grams went the disciplinarian route.

Dawson has somehow managed to build a goddamn fire on a beach that couldn’t possibly have been near their car. I refuse to believe that he’d know how to undo a bra, nevermind build a fire. He fucks up a sure thing by talking about Joey again, before telling Gretchen that he loves her. She’s still into it. Gretchen, everybody!

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Oh, Gretchen.

Jen finds her dad passed out in his house with a snifter. She recalls catching him in flagrante delicto with a young mistress when she paid him a surprise visit some years ago. He tries to deny it like the shitty father that he obviously is, going so far as to call her psychologically unwell. This is some cold shit. It looks like Jen came all this way for a throwdown, and fucking Joey wouldn’t give her the space to do it.

Pacey’s hot cop brother Doug comes to pick him up after he’s been arrested with Drew. He berates him for being a loser, and Pacey has a freakout about what a failure he’s sure he’ll be. There’s a cutaway to Dawson and Gretchen heavy petting, which is super gross, so I’m just going to imagine that it’s Doug cooling off after his beat with some burly bear in his precinct. A guy can dream.

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Call me, tho.

MOR pop ballad montage. Everyone is sad about something. This episode is super morose with a few quirky interjections of out-of-place hillbilly nonsense.

Everything concludes with Jen, back in the present, wrapping up her therapy session. She decides that this will be her last visit, because she has nothing more to say. The therapist is like, “Bitch, what?” and she basically backs the fuck out of there like she’s repeating, “Lowenstein… Lowenstein…”

MVA: Pacey says to Drew, when they show up to school together, “Well, I heard you’d be here Drew, and far be it from me to miss out on even the smallest morsel of your flamboyant wit.” I LOL’d.


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