March 3, 2012

Dawson’s Creek 4.18, Eastern Standard Time: Road Trip!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 2:37 pm by Jenn

Someone please give this woman a retroactive Emmy

Summary: Dawson and Gretchen are in his bedroom, playing a game. No, not that kind of game. The board game Life. Seriously. The next day is senior ditch day, which Gretchen remembers fondly as a time when she and her friends drove to Virginia and back for no apparent reason. Dawson notes that he’s never done anything even close to that interesting. He decides that they need to take a road trip, and apparently Mitch and Gail don’t need to know anything about it.

Jen is quiet during a session with Frost, thinking about the song “Sweet Jane.” Suddenly she’s in Grand Central Station with Joey, supposedly visiting New York to see a college. Pacey and Drue are at school, despite it being ditch day; Drue was told he might not graduate if he ditched, and Pacey’s about to take a test. Drue suggests that they ditch after that, but Pacey wants to be a good student. Drue pretends to wonder what Joey might be up to.

Jen and Joey meet up with an old friend of Jen’s named Tyfo who’s excited that she might come back to New York. Jen isn’t sure she can do it. As Pacey starts his test, Dawson and Gretchen get a flat tire after six hours of driving. She’s happy that the trip might turn into an adventure. She suggests hitchhiking, but there’s a town six miles away that he’d rather walk to. Joey and Jen head to Jen’s admissions meeting, but it quickly becomes clear that there is no meeting. She really came to New York to see her father. Jen sends Joey off to explore, but Joey wants to go with her.

Dawson and Gretchen find themselves in a tiny place in Maine that might actually be a ghost town. They’re able to buy a new tire, but they can’t get a ride back to their car because the mechanic’s car isn’t working. Dawson offers to help him fix it as Gretchen heads off to find something to eat. Jen and Joey go to Jen’s father’s office, and Joey suggests that Jen take a few minutes to really think about what she wants before she does anything.

Back in Capeside, Pacey and Drue give each other meaningful looks. Jen cries in a bathroom, and Joey asks her what happened to her. Jen says she hated visiting Capeside when she was little because she didn’t like staying with Grams. One weekend she and her mother were supposed to go to Capeside alone while her father worked, and her mom got so fed up with Jen that she sent her home. Jen was happy to skip the Capeside trip and spend the weekend with her father.

As Gretchen finds a diner, Jen and Joey finally go in to see Jen’s father, Theo. Joey tells him they’re in the city because Jen got accepted to the University of New York. Theo immediately clears his schedule to spend the day with them. Drue and Pacey go to a bar where Drue seems to spend a lot of time, though under the name Gilbert. He gives Pacey a fake ID so they can do tequila shots. Drue explains that he brought Pacey there because the bar is near a community college, Pacey’s last college option. Pacey doesn’t want to discuss school or the future.

Dawson and Gretchen get a ride back to their car, but when they can’t afford to pay the mechanic for the tire or the ride, he ditches them. Meanwhile, Joey, Jen, and Theo go to a fancy restaurant where Theo’s a VIP. Joey helps Jen out by making small talk with Theo so Jen doesn’t have to. He talks up New York, saying he’s lived there 30 years but it still surprises him every day. It’s like a living organism you can have a relationship with.

Gretchen refuses to give Dawson the food from the diner until he comes up with a solution to their car problem. He suggests walking back to town, calling his parents, and getting them to wire money. Gretchen notes that that’s expensive, requires a lot of effort, and probably wouldn’t work out since the town most likely doesn’t have the capability in the middle of the night. Pacey tries to bluff his way through a conversation with the bartender; he’s supposed to be from Rhode Island, according to his fake ID, but Pacey can’t prove it. (He’s also too drunk to lie well.)

Theo has to leave dinner early, but he tells the girls to stay at the restaurant and get whatever they want, then go out on the town. Jen tries to hide how upset she is that he’s leaving. After dinner, she and Joey go to a roof where they can see all over the city. Joey’s now even more in love with New York. She asks Jen for the rest of the story she was telling earlier, and Jen says she spend the weekend wandering around the city. Joey asks why she didn’t go home to be with her father, and Jen says she did. Then she announces that she has to go. Joey’s worried she won’t come back.

Dawson and Gretchen build a fire on the beach and make out. She interrupts to ask what’s going on with him. He says people have visions of their lives that don’t match reality. Part of him still feels like he and Joey should have had their first sexual experiences together. But now he knows he needs to let go. Dawson has a lot ahead of him in the future, including college, his parents’ new baby, and Gretchen. He’s not sure what they’re waiting for. Gretchen isn’t sure either.

Jen goes to her parents’ house, where Theo’s asleep in the study. She tells him the rest of the story she didn’t tell Joey: When she came back to the house from the train station, she caught him in bed with a 17-year-old. Theo tells her she imagined something that never happened. “Daddy, who are you?” she asked, crying. “I’m your father,” he replies. Jen thinks he knew that she knew, and when her life got bad, he punished her for something she didn’t do. She doesn’t want an apology; she just wants to be able to forgive herself for things she can’t change.

Pacey and Drue wrap up their night with an arrest for underage drinking and a visit from Doug. Doug blasts his brother for adding another screw-up to his long list. Pacey yells that this is all he’ll get in life. Dawson and Gretchen are about to get down to business, but she thinks he just wants to prove something. When they do have sex, she wants it to be because they love each other and are ready to show it to each other.

All at the same time, Pacey’s driven home in a cop car, Joey waits for Jen, and Dawson sleeps on the beach while Gretchen sits nearby, awake. Jen gets to the station in time for the train, and we cut back to Frost’s office, where she tells him she got what she needed. Frost wants to keep discussing her issues with her father, but Jen doesn’t have anything else to say. She leaves his office, telling him she’ll see him around.

Thoughts: Michelle Williams is really amazing in this episode. In the scene where she goes to the house and tells her father what she saw, you can see how much better she is than this show and what she’s usually given to do. And even in the scene in the restaurant, when Joey and Theo are talking about New York and Jen is just sitting there, listening and trying to keep it together, you can tell what she’s thinking, which is the mark of a great actor.

I’m sad that we never really had a senior ditch day, since it took place during our senior trip (which I talked about in my recap of “A Winter’s Tale”).

Maybe Jen could have asked Jen if it was okay for her to tag along to meet with her father before she invited herself.

I also love how whenever characters on a TV show go to New York for the first time, they’re able to navigate the city without any trouble (or a map). Jen sends Joey off to do whatever she wants, and Joey doesn’t get lost or even say she doesn’t know how to get back to the train station.

$40 for a tire? I need to move to Maine.

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