We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Hoooooo boy, this is going to be painful. The first episode of the second season, and the drama has already been cranked up to 11.
We pick up right where we left off last season, with Dawson and Joey making out in his room. I guess it’s not really making out as much as kissing, because there isn’t a whole lot of tongue action. Because Joey is bipolar, she pulls away from Dawson and asks what the fuck he just did. They sit there in awkward silence, most likely because Dawson is confused by Joey’s sudden change in attitude, smelling each other’s breath. Finally, Joey breaks the silence by asking what comes next, which prompts Dawson to ask her why she’s being weird. It’s not like it’s her first kiss; remember rich, preppy guy from the third episode? Dawson thinks she thinks it was a huge mistake, and she snaps at him, asking if that’s what he’s thinking, trying to project on her. Jesus, you two, cut it out. They settle on sleeping on it, and as Joey leaves, she tells him it’s “like it never happened”. What’s your deal Joey? For a whole season you cried about Dawson tongue-fucking Jen, but now that he’s interested in you, you push him away? And Dawson, man up and tell her to quit being psychotic! She leaves, but not before they kiss again.
Hell yeah, new credits! Everyone has new haircuts, including Dawson! Well, everyone but Joey.
We return to our story over strange, extended shots of everyone sleeping, finally ending on Bro Dad. He rolls over and finds that Gail has been watching him, wearing a little, slinky black number. She rolls on top of him to bang his brains out, but he stops her because he needs to shower before his meeting. Trouble in Paradise, my friends. Trouble in Paradise.
Bessie’s piece of shit truck breaks down, and Joey gets out all smiley; whether because of her new found relationship, or because something bad happened to Bessie – your guess is as good as mine. Bessie asks her what the fuck she’s so happy about, and Joey spills about her kiss with Dawson.
Ahahahahaha, Pacey and Dawson are getting their hair washed together. Or cut. Probably cut to explain the new credits. We get some back and forth convo between the four characters (Dawson/Pacey, Joey/Bessie) as they talk about the kiss. Pacey seems relieved that it finally happened, and decides that if Dawson can get Joey and change his life, he can do the same – he just needs a new look! Because it’s 1999, he settles on frosting his tips. Still the worst, Pacey.
Keeping with the theme of reminding me that it’s 1999, Ali Larter is walking down the sidewalk while “Birds of a Feather” by Phish plays. Pacey creeps on her using the rear view mirror of Dougie’s police car, which he clearly has intentions of stealing. His new look doesn’t help him at all as he puts it into drive and immediately fucks up, hitting another car. A cute girl named Andi gets out, all freaked out that she hit a cop. Pacey sees this as the perfect opportunity to commit a felony, and impersonates a police officer, in a Hawaiian shirt, mind you, and Andi must be a complete retard, because she falls for it.
Despite his haircut, Dawson still has stupid 90s hair. He meets Joey in the hallway at school and they commence with awkward conversation again. She tells him that she made a huge mistake, and he gets all “concerned faced” until she tells him that she isn’t going to France. Dawson is so happy! How happy? He tells her that he’s “psyched” and “aroused” at the thought of them having a relationship. Slow down there, Dawson! Joey also gets kind of weirded out at the prospect of having to touch Dawson’s wiener and again asks if maybe this is all a huge mistake.
Thankfully, Jen shows up to diffuse the awkwardness, albeit very temporarily. She tells them about her grandfather dying the night before and says that Grams is handling it far better than she is. Dawson and Joey offer their condolences. Haha, yeah right! Dawson offers his condolences, Joey says nothing.
Pacey is bragging to a bunch of bros about fucking with Andi as a cop, and she spies him. She reminds him that he committed a felony, and tells him that it was really assholish to make her freak out like that. She does go on to make fun of him for frosting his tips, so good on her for that. Pacey remarks about how hot Ali Larter, or Christie, is, and Andi offers to help set him up with her. The Creek’s water must be rife with pathogens that give everyone some kind of terrible mental disorder, because how else do you explain that change in attitude?
Jen cut out from school early because why did she even go in the first place if her grandfather literally just got carted out of the house by the coroner, and finds that Grams is packing up all of his shit to give to charity. Jen isn’t thrilled by this and asks Grams why she’s so cool with Gramps dying. Grams tells Jen she’s being unfair, and Jen tells her that its bullshit that she’s moving on so quickly. Grams finally tells Jen to cut the shit; her grandfather had been a vegetable for two years and she’d been praying that he’d be released from this mortal coil. He’d been gone, so why should she be sad now if she’d already dealt with it? Seems rational and fair, if you ask me.
Gail comes home late, all full of excuses for Bro Dad. She says she knows it’s unnerving that she has to tell him everything that led to her being late, but she doesn’t want him to think that she’s banging Newsman Bob again. How is constantly reminding him that you cheated going to help him heal, Gail? He tells her he knows, and then peaces for a last minute appointment that came up. Trouble in Paradise, my friends. Trouble in Paradise.
Pacey stands under a tree, stalking the cheerleaders. Despite being the new girl in town, Andi is apparently besties with Christie and talks up Pacey and his stupid new haircut. She tells Pacey that Christie”s all primed and ready for him, and the sight of Ali Larter in a sports bra causes him to stumble over his words as he tries to ask her out. But, he manages to get through it and she says Yes!
We get a quick scene of Bro Dad in some kind of office, and find out through the receptionist that it’s a law firm that specializes in divorces! Oh no!
Dawson stops by Jen’s, looking all spiffy in his sweatervest and white t-shirt, to asks her how she’s doing. He tells her he’s going to the movies, at no point inviting her along (this will be important later). She’s got a case of the sads, and asks him how things are going with him and Joey. He deflects and changes the subject, offering her an unfair glimmer of hope. She takes advantage of this and asks about things between the two of them. He tells her he wants to be her friend and hugs her. We get another awkward moment when you can tell she’s not letting him go as he tries to pull away.
Joey is sitting by herself on a dock, and Bessie asks her what’s up. Joey is nervous about their date because they haven’t kissed since the first kiss. Mind you, that was less than 24 hours ago and schools tend to frown upon students making out in the hallways. When was she expecting him to kiss her? Bessie tells her that the second kiss is always better than the first because of the anticipation, and that Joey should be wicked excited for it.
Well, you can tell the production budget was definitely increased for Season 2, as we’re treated to a 30 second montage of Dawson driving a speed boat to pick up Joey as she gets ready. Gone are the days of the canoe, eh, Dawson? Hopefully the theater is also Creek-adjacent, because otherwise they’ll be doing a lot of walking on their first date.
Dawson picks up Joey and she tells him that it’s nice that the anxiety of kissing him is out of the way, and tells him that his new anxiety can be about fucking her. Whoa there, Joey! Where did that come from? This brings up a very good point; Joey was Dawson’s cry buddy when he was dating Jen and held numerous conversations with him about how badly he wanted to bang Jen. She knows all about his sexual desires and horniness. Doesn’t that put more pressure on her, if anyone? Dawson offers to take things a little slower than that, and holds her hand.
Pacey is standing outside the theater, waiting for Christie, who more than likely won’t show up. Good for her. Your standards are low if you go out with a guy with frosted tips.
At the theater, Dawson and Joey are still holding hands when the movie starts. And who happens to show up? Jen! She sits right next to Dawson and seems really pleased with herself that she’s cock blocking him in his new relationship, offering to go out with them afterwards to get some food. She finally takes the hint and angrily leaves. Dawson follows her, clearly pissing Joey off in doing so. Make better decisions, Dawson.
He finds Jen in the theater lobby and she asks him if the entire time they were together, he wanted Joey instead. He very unconvincingly tells her of course not, that he liked her, and they had fun. She thinks that she’s absolutely pathetic, having essentially driven Dawson and Joey together, and Dawson offers really shitty advice about sticking it out. Her grandfather just died, Dawson, and you’re rubbing salt in that wound by flaunting your new relationship literally the day after she had expressed the desire to get back together with you. She asks him if he’s really fucking serious with that bullshit advice, and says that her life is a joke and she should just kill herself. Instead of getting a very important lesson on why saying those kinds of things is uncool, Dawson just stands there in silence as she leaves. He goes back into the theater and finds that Joey left too. What a surprise. Hang on, how did she leave through the lobby without Dawson or Jen seeing her?
Christie finally shows up for her date with Pacey and apologizes for being so late, but she can’t go out with him that night because it’s her five month anniversary with her boyfriend. I remember those milestones in high school relationships; seem like such a big deal at the time, because love is fleeting. Five months in The Creek is probably an eternity, if you can manage to stay with someone who has a debilitating mental condition that causes them to snap every five minutes. Anyway, she tells him that she thinks he’s brave, what with asking her out despite his condition. Pacey is all confused and she tells him that having a heart stripe that could kill him at any minute, yet still wanting to go out and live you life is awesome. Pacey is incredibly embarrassed at Andi having pulled one over on him like that.
Grams spots Jen at the theater and Jen asks her if she was hoping to get lucky with some guy and his popcorn bucket. Grams ignores her and asks her why she’s sulking. Jen tells her that she’s all alone in The Creek, and that her wrinkled, religious grandmother is her only friend, and a friend who doesn’t like her to boot. Grams tells her that’s not true, and that she needs to keep her head up, because things will work out for her. This time, the advice seems a bit more genuine and heartfelt than Dawson’s “keep your chin up, ol’ chum!”.
Pacey confronts Andi at the grocery store and tells her that was a dicked move, letting Christie believe he could die at any minute. Andi asks him how delusional he was, thinking he could score a 90s hottie like Ali Larter, especially when she already had a boyfriend, and Pacey agrees with her. He thinks that maybe trying to reinvent himself was a bad idea. And just like that, he says “fuck it” and decides to get rid of his frosted tips. No!!!!!
Gail comes into the living room and outright calls Bro Dad a liar. He plays dumb with her and says he has no idea what she’s talking about. She found his business card for the divorce attorney, and thinks that he’s bullshit. He tells her that he’s not sure he can stay married to her anymore, and was simply exploring his options. She finally lays down the hammer and tells him he needs to make a decision; either sack up and get the divorce, or give her another chance and forgive her. That seems fair. He tells her what sucks about that ultimatum is that both options look good; he just doesn’t know which looks better.
Dawson finds Joey and tells her that despite the fact he pulled a Dawson and bailed on his date for another girl, he has no feelings for Jen anymore. She tells him that she just wanted to take the easy way out and escape her life, which was why she wanted to go to France in the first place. Now he’s gone and complicated it a bit more, even though she ultimately stayed for him. Seriously, what was she expecting? That they’d start dating and nothing would be awkward or weird? Dawson reminds her of this very fact, and says that they just need to keep moving forward, as a couple, rather than focusing on the fact that they were friends. They finally kiss again, and Joey ruins the moment by opening her mouth to remark about how nice the second kiss really was.
Dawson closes out the episode by offering some meta-commentary that sets the stage for the season, saying that they’re tearing down the old theater they were in earlier to build a newer, flashier, more upgraded theater. I think this was the writer’s subtle way of saying big things are coming, but maybe not; I’ve never been good with metaphors.
Starting this season, I’m introducing the patented “Crying Dawson” rating system for each episode.
3.5 Crying Dawsons