Thursday, August 11, 2011

Season 1, Episode 4: Discovery

Episode in a nutshell: Dawson reveals the full extent of his crazy inner darkness and UNLEASHES THE BEAST on EVERYONE upon making a discovery. This is because nobody can understand or follow his insane mood-swings, and yet EVERYBODY TRIES REALLY HARD. 


I've figured out your trick, ambiguous Dawson's Creek episode titles! The titular discovery of this light on action, but heavy on EMOtion episode could be any of the following:

1. Dawson discovers what Joey has secretly known for a couple of episodes now, but wisely opted not to tell him about based on his tendency to lose his already tenuous grasp on reality when anything deviates from the multicoloured sparkliness of Dawsonland (where everyone eats cupcakes all day long and ride unicorns across rainbows). That is: despite his parents being the most inappropriate of exhibitionists, his mother is having AN AFFAIR.

Extra bonus sub-discovery from Dawson's twisted perspective: JOEY IS WRONG FOR KEEPING THIS VITAL INFORMATION FROM HIM. As Joey SO RIGHTLY points out: if she HAD chosen to tell Dawson and shatter his perfect world, then Joey automatically = WRONG for SHATTERING DAWSON'S PERFECT WORLD. Poor Joey, she can't win, in love with a crazy person. BUT IT DOESN'T DISSUADE HER...

2. Dawson and Joey discover that Dawson accidentally filmed more than he intended up at the ruins, and realise that they are watching Ms Jacobs – one of their TEACHERS – make an O-face with an unidentified partner. The big discovery though, is that the guy with “brown hair and throbbing neck muscles” is PACEY WITTER, who confesses his part in the steamy (omg, not to mention criminal) proceedings to Dawson when he BREAKS INTO DAWSON'S ROOM LOOKING FOR THE TAPE. 

Extra bonus sub-discovery from Dawson's twisted perspective: PACEY (who it appears was actually just reaching out to Dawson in his confession, kind of like “Dude I'm way out of my depth I JUST GOT LAID (yay!) but BITCH IS CRAZY HELP ME” is

  • an evil betrayer for keeping his blossoming studliness from Dawson. (Yes, that sounds a lot more...slash...than I intended). 

     Don't ask Dawson. Maybe ask Mitch to take a look?
  • an evil meddler for daring to offer friendly well-meaning advice to Dawson (when Dawson discovers discovery #3)
  • a huge threat now, because he's no longer “loser friend” but “friend who got laid by (an admittedly crazy) cougariffic teacher”. Guess Pacey's been having his own little chats with Man-Meat and putting that fatherly advice to practical use. MAKE HER LIPS DANCE PACEY. Oh my god I wish I could unimagine that now.

3. Dawson discovers that not a virgin. And honestly? HAS A MASSIVE EMO ABOUT IT.

I do think this is an inappropriate conversation to be having with your Grandad. Even if he IS in a coma. 
Can I just state for the record here that back in the day, I used to hate Jen more than I hated Joey? If there's one FASCINATING pattern emerging early from the rewatch project, it's that as an adult, I can put my “sigh, romantic schoolgirl crush” glasses aside and see past the shallow “Oh I want X and Y characters to end up together” and actually appreciate some of the qualities in Jen and Joey I would have totally ignored or overlooked first time round.

Jen is reluctant to reveal her murky past (it's still murky for us, but at least we learn in this episode that her ''fast'' times in New York include having sex pretty young). But she tells Dawson that she's serious about actually having a relationship with him based on more than banter and shallow flirting – she acknowledges that is fun, but she wants to mean more than that. She reaches out to him when he's hurting at the revelation that his mother is having an affair – offering to listen, to talk it out, seriously with him. And she asks if he wants to know the truth about why she left New York, because she wants to be honest and not hide from him. She's not a virgin.

Dawson pretends like he's cool with it. 

But he's not, and he freaks out, and stops speaking to Jen. He's already stopped speaking to Joey (over her not telling him about his mother's affair) and relations with him and Pacey are slightly strained, now that Pacey is the man, and Dawson is The Virgin.


The more he moodswings the better. Happy Dawson is boring. CRAZY DEMON-POSSESSED DAWSON? AWESOME.

Back in the day when I hated Jen, I would have been like “blah blah boring who cares?''. But now? I TOTALLY APPRECIATE THE CHARACTER. I appreciate that in Dawson's Creek she is a mature 15 year old who has seen too much of life and her mature approach to things reflects that; I appreciate her outlook: genuinely trying to start afresh, and make her life new and better. You know what? I HATED Dawson when he judged her, shutting her out because she all of a sudden didn't fit the fantasy picture he painted in his mind.

I am confused that now I am all GO JEN. I don't know who to hate anymore.

Please also note: this episode ends with Dawson and Joey discussing the end of their friendship, only they are imagining themselves in an alternate universe where they are getting married but both turn up to the wedding with dates. 

WTF DAWSON'S CREEK? This ending was supposed to be poignant and romantic and all like, achingly hopeful but all I could think was “Someone's on crack in the writer's room”.


  1. I think it's more a case of *everyone* being on crack in the writer's room.

    Also, when I was in high school I desperately wanted to be on this show. They had this contest on the channel it ran on (the WB? who knows) where you could come audition for a walk-on role and I was like "ZOMG SO EXCITED" because I really wanted to be friends with all of them (because in my head they all totally lived together in a big house and were best friends and all that) but then I chickened out and didn't go to the audition.

    True story.

  2. Because way too much of my brain is filled with random DC trivia: pretty sure it was the WB and OMG YOU SO SHOULD HAVE GONE TO THE AUDITION.

    I don't think it was just in your head that they all lived in a big house and hung out! Pretty sure I remember that because some little place (errrr...Wilmington North Carolina?) was the stand-in for Capeside they had to live there for filming, and so they all got houses there but maybe some of them roomed together or something? I could totally be conflating DC with LOST, my other TV obsession but I'M TOTALLY NOT.

    Moral of the story: you could have lived the dream.