“Time is a flat circle.” – Rust Cohle
But seriously, this entire season felt like a giant rinse and repeat. Everything that had previously happened, happened all over again.
1. Dawson and Joey got together, broke up…twice.
2. Mr. Potter got out of jail, went back to jail for selling drugs…again.
3. The McPhee’s showed up in town, Andi left.
4. Pacey popped his cherry…again.
Seriously, at the end of the second season, everyone is essentially back where they started 22 episodes ago. There’s been literally no character growth. Jen’s still a sex-crazed boozehound. Dawson thinks he’s the next Spielberg, despite the fact that his teacher is trying to crush his fucking dreams. Joey’s still a cunt. Literally the only person who’s grown in any way was Pacey, and that boils down to “he’s a good student now”. Riveting television.
Is that to say that things haven’t happened? Not at all. Jack’s coming out was kind of a big deal, even if it was hilariously and poorly handled.
Andi went crazy. Dawson had his first sip of alcohol and didn’t burst into flames. Abby died (spoilers?). Jen almost got double-teamed at a party, but Dawson was a wet blanket about it. Yeah, things happened.
But even some of the bigger things that happened felt stilted. Was Jack solely introduced to fuck with Dawson and Joey’s relationship? Maybe. Did it matter? Not at all, because he ended up being gay. Bro Dad finally told Gail that he wanted her back, but it was too fucking late because he drug his feet for way too long. Even Abby’s death (RIP) felt kind of brushed over, serving more so as an excuse to have Jen shit on Grams and religion.
And now we’re done with Season 2, and it honestly feels like nothing happened. Again, I’m not expecting this show to be groundbreaking, but Jesus, make an effort.
At the end of last season, I complained about a lack of these characters ever experiencing consequences for their actions. In some ways, that’s changed this season. Pacey actually got in trouble for spitting in his teacher’s face. Abby drank herself to drowning. After dragging his feet for 20 episodes, Bro Dad is going to lose Gail. So yeah, there’s been consequences.
At the same time, the wheels are spinning. Wasn’t Dawson supposed to get a job after drunkenly telling off his friends and family? Jack’s been left in Cape Side and is going to live with Jen and Grams because he can’t stand his father, while the rest of his family is carted off to wherever they came from. Joey hates Dawson, again, for the nine thousandth time. Seriously, that bitch needs to make up her mind as to how she feels about him. Even when they were broken up, she couldn’t figure out if she wanted to be friends with him or not. It was frustrating and ultimately pointless based on where we’re at now.
The other thing that bothers me is that even when this show has the opportunity to say something, the writers pussy out and end up saying nothing. We had several chances for there to be a Very Special Episode involving alcohol, and the most we got was Abby dying. Arguably, that’s heavy, but nothing is ever mentioned of it again. Jack coming out led to a showdown of sorts between him and his dad where they argued about homosexuality and choices, but again, never said anything of value. Even the sex episode was handled awkwardly. Had Andi become pregnant or something, the writers would’ve probably killed themselves upon realizing they didn’t know how to address it.
And then there’s Joey’s dad’s stupid, stupid plan. I still don’t know how that ever made it into an actual script that someone read and said “That’s GOLD!”. So he starts selling drugs again when he gets out of prison, even though he’s spent every waking moment apologizing for ever doing that in the first place and fucking Joey up for life? Sure, whatever. Then, to try and get out of selling said drugs, he sets his daughters’ restaurant on fire and dumps the drugs down the drain? And he does all this when there are five teenagers studying in the other room? Why was the fire necessary, Mr. Potter? Couldn’t you have flushed the drugs without attempted murder and financial devastation?
That’s, of course, assuming that he’s the one that started the fire and that it wasn’t his “competitors”. I still have no idea if he really did it or not. And if that’s supposed to be some kind of mystery that ties over to the next season, that may be the shittiest “mystery” ever conceived.
And I don’t even want to get started on how this show handled Joey’s whole “finding herself” thing. So she wanted to become an artist, and couldn’t be with Dawson because of that? Pretty sure it’s possible to have a hobby and relationships. In fact, I’d actively encourage that.
And if any teenagers watching this in the 90s were suffering from mental illness, they probably killed themselves. This show stigmatized Andi so fucking much for suffering from a mental illness to the point that they had her fucking see dead people! Because she was depressed! Not all mental illness makes the patient a goddamn psychopath, but you wouldn’t know that watching this show and seeing how they treated Andi and her mother.
I’m so happy that someone stopped fluffing Dawson’s balls. I’m still shocked that his stupid monster movie won him an award, but let’s move past that. His film teacher crushing his soul was in-fucking-credible. In the real world, you can make the choice to pick yourself up from that or let it defeat you. Dawson does neither, of course. He just pouts and calls her a bitch. Honestly, he needs to grow up.
Hands down, the single most frustrating part of this season was that the characters are so one dimensional. Mr. Witter was a raging asshole. Pacey’s English teacher was comically unpleasant, so much so that Pacey felt the need to spit in his face. Hell, even Andi could be reduced to “neurotic smart girl”. Again, not saying that I expect Breaking Bad levels of character development, but put in a little effort to make them more than cliches.
I’m not going to lie; I’m a bit intrigued as to how Dawson’s going to handle this breakup. I mean, they broke up the first time because Joey felt like Dawson was her brother. She essentially told him the second time that she hated his fucking guts, and bizarrely, he seemed okay with it. I can’t wait for nine episodes of Joey trying to figure out if she wants to be friends with Dawson again or not, you guys. That won’t be frustrating at all.
I’ve had two major things spoiled for me in the remaining 90-ish (mother of God) episodes. I won’t divulge them here, and I realize that the statute of limitations on spoilers for a show that’s 15 years old is way up, but they’re both doozies. Given their gravity, I’m sure they won’t happen next season, but for fuck’s sake, I hope that 22 weeks from now I’m not still bitching about zero plot development and spinning wheels and time being a flat circle and all that. It’s beyond frustrating at Season 2, and if I have to endure it for another 22 episodes, I may pull an Abby.
Also, remember when Jack gave himself an erection talking about art with Joey.
That was hilarious.
At least I fucking found these episodes on YouTube. Way to drop the damn ball, Netflix. There’s no way in hell I’m spending any of my money to buy this shit on DVD.
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons