The Great Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project: Season 5, Episodes 13-15

We’re rewatching all of Dawson’s Creek in honor of its twentieth anniversary. Will require some mind-numbing. Drinking game rules can be found here.

Season 5, Episode 13 “Something Wilder”

By Nerdy Spice

Well, this episode is named after Professor Creeper, so… I have concerns. And they are fully borne out by the events to come.

But first, let’s go over Dawson and Jen. Dawson starts school again, this time in Boston. There, he runs into his fellow Self-Satisfied Small-Town Spielberg, Oliver, who has presumably already alienated everyone else in the school, is psyched to see Dawson and gives him a nice little tour of all the quirks of the people around them, then demands that Dawson read his script and direct his movie. Dawson seems resistant to doing it, yet he reads the script and offers Oliver some notes, so Oliver steals Dawson away from his lunch date with Jen, then invites himself along to their dinner date that same night.

Once there, it turns out that not only has Dawson generously come up with a bunch of notes, but Jen has also read the entire thing and has notes of her own, which is pretty heroic considering it seems to have only been a day or two. But every time she opens her mouth, they both ignore her, because film is a business for Big Men, not Little Ladies. 

Oliver doesn’t take Dawson’s feedback very well either, but after taking a day to think about it, he allows that Dawson was right that he needed to take out all the flashbacks. Dawson admits he’s conflicted about joining the movie because he wanted to “coast” for a bit, and Oliver proves that he belongs in the cast by embarking on a classic Dawson’s over-analysis of Dawson’s feelings: “You were afraid that the upswing of throwing yourself into a new project would inevitably produce a downswing when you finished it, and… hey, man you’re probably tired of feeling down. Plus the guilt that comes with doing something that makes you feel good when you’re supposed to be dealing with this huge thing.” He winds up telling Dawson that it’s OK to feel good, and finally Dawson agrees to direct… only to discover that Oliver wants to play the lead part. Uh-oh.

Jen, for her part, has undergone some sort of creepy personality transplant that involves her cooing sweet nothings to Dawson and BUYING HIM AN E.T. TRAPPER KEEPER for his first day of school. Now, you might think that this was the dorkiest present anyone was going to give anyone else this weekend, but you would be wrong. More on that when we get to Joey’s “nice boy,” the sweet, floppy-haired Elliott. (Also, shot for the Spielberg reference!) Dawson’s reaction is, well, to make the face any human would make when faced with one’s girlfriend trying to make one bring a Trapper Keeper to school that would have been mildly embarrassing even for the third grader it was presumably designed for.

Dawson holds a trapper keeper and makes an awkward smile at Jen (left, seen from behind).

But more impressively, he’s actually game, and brings the damn thing to class and uses it. Pretty much, he has finally become the heroically nice guy that everyone is always falsely accusing him of being.

But not all is right in the world: Jen, who’s still running her radio call-in advice column, starts giving everyone lame, boring advice because she’s just too damn happy. To wit, Audrey calls in to ask something about why guys always want booty calls, and Jen fingers various little gifts from Dawson while nattering on about how “tendahness” (seriously) is better than, well, booty. Audrey’s face at this is all of us, and take a shot for Audrey winning this scene:

White woman in workout tank top (Audrey) rolls her eyes hard.

The radio show producers threaten to cut Jen’s show if she doesn’t shape up and stop being boring and nauseating as fuck. Jen goes to complain to Pacey, but it’s obviously hopeless–as soon as Dawson calls, she answers with “Hello, my little pumpkin.” VOM. [Ewwwwwwwwwwww. –Janes] It’s only when Dawson and Oliver get together and treat Jen like garbage, that she finally gets her mojo back. My one question about this plotline is, what kind of college radio show is important enough for there to be actual producers who actually worry about ratings? Like, how deep is their bench, here? (Although to be fair, I guess I did know a guy who, awesomely, managed to get kicked off his college radio station for playing Third Eye Blind too much. So I guess it happens.)

So, to get back to Joey and the saga of her Inappropriate Flirtation With Her Creepy Professor. Joey and Elliott, the dorky boy who Professor Creeper creepily set her up with, have been hanging out, and Elliott finally gets up the nerve to ask Joey to dinner and a movie. Joey actually looks thrilled to be asked out by an age-appropriate man with very little interest in insulting her or trampling all over her boundaries, which… seems out of character. Luckily, she reverts right back to character when they head to class and Professor Creeper asks her to go to dinner to celebrate ending the project they were doing with the made-up dead writer. Joey, forgetting she had plans with Elliott the same night, happily agrees.

Then she starts freaking the fuck out and, instead of just asking Elliott to reschedule because she has a school thing, which would have been the logical response but admittedly wouldn’t produce enough drama to fill a whole episode, she agonizes all week, waits till the day of, lies to Elliott that she’s getting sick, and goes to Wilder’s dinner. Oh my God, it’s so annoying. How hard is it to tell a guy you have to go to a school thing and ask to go out Saturday instead? Jesus. They spend the whole episode on this and it’s not even a real problem. I mean, I know, she’s acting sketchy because she’s secretly worried he’ll pick up on the fact that Professor Wilder is the one she really likes, but… it’s so illogical.

I thought for sure Elliott was going to catch her at dinner, but at least the show isn’t that cliched. Joey goes to the dinner, then afterwards, goes for a walk with Professor Creeper, having just so happened to linger slightly longer than everyone else, since everyone else has actual parties to go to. They sit on a bench by the Charles, Joey says something about not being attracted to the right people, and then… they make out. It’s been fifteen years since this first aired and yet it still upset me so hard. Joey returns to her dorm to find that Elliott has dropped off a sad little care package. In a previous episode I said Joey’s misspelled book about losing a parent was the most tragic gift I’d ever seen, but I was wrong. It’s got to be Elliott’s lovingly crafted construction paper get well card:

Shot of a woman's hand holding a card on yellow construction paper that says, in construction paper cutout, "FEEL BETTER JOEY LOVE, ELLIOT". On the bottom left is a construction paper flower.

So Joey dumps Elliott in favor of the Creepy Professor. “Me and Elliott weren’t technically going out, so it wasn’t really a dump, but I did give him back his Nyquil,” she says to Audrey. Hee! That cracked me up for some reason. Audrey asks if there was tongue involved in the Wilder kiss, like, have you SEEN that guy? I’m sure he shoved it right in. Joey says Wilder’s a good kisser, like, sure, he’s approximately forty years old. He probably had a lot of time to master that skill.

Meanwhile, Jack is still in the middle of his Downward Spiral Into Frat Douchehood. Jen visits him at his new home to drop off his mail, and somewhat hilariously tries to pretend that she doesn’t know what’s in it, only to break as soon as he reads it: “Jack, you are on ACADEMIC PROBATION.” Yes, as it turns out, Jack’s been too busy partying to do his work. He thinks this is totally funny and jokes about it to his frat brothers, only to have them be all mad and disinvite him from partying that night. Then he gets an A on a quiz and suddenly everything is aces again, so they take him out partying. But Jack’s bitter that they only like him if he gets good grades, so they all get into a big fistfight at Civilization. (It’s never explained, as far as I can tell, why a bunch of frat boys are partying and playing foosball at a restaurant that is supposedly all fancy because it serves foie gras.) Later he comes back to pay Pacey for the damages, which also makes no sense, but it gives Pacey a chance to sympathetically lecture Jack on how he understands what it’s like to fail out, but this isn’t like Jack. “Is it worth it? Are they worth it?” Pacey asks. But of course, this has no effect on Jack.

  • I don’t know what’s worse: that Elliott is sexist enough to say that Joey only likes a book because she thinks the author is “cute,” or that he’s clearly right. –Janes
  • Jen’s way of presenting the Trapper Keeper to Dawson is to make a big production of covering his eyes and revealing to him an empty countertop, since she’s also hidden the gifts below the counter. When he points out how dumb this is, she says, “You realize to criticize the methods in which the presents are presented means that you will never get presents again!” Jen says. She has a point… but her way of presenting the presents WAS really stupid, so I can’t really fault Dawson for his rudeness.
  • Another part of this gift is looseleaf binder paper. Um, how… old… does Jen think Dawson is? Looseleaf binder paper?! He’s not going to take notes in a notebook like any normal adult?
  • Why am I not surprised that Professor Creeper’s book is, according to Elliott, “All smut and no substance”?
  • I love how the frat douches are like so into Jen’s chunky mid-calf heels. Was that look considered hot’n’sexy in 2002?
  • Audrey seems to be calling Jen while doing side planks in an old Denise Austin Halloween costume. I love it.
    White woman (Audrey) does a side plank, wearing lavendar sweatpants, a lavendar crop top sports bra, and lavendar ARM WARMERS, with headphones going into her ear from the phone.

  • Jen fielding questions from her frenemy’s roommate is the most realistic part of her radio career. –Janes
  • I love how shocked and appalled Jack is when Blossom tells him that his academic probation reflects badly on the frat. These guys tolerate flagrant homophobia and got Jack to pimp out his female friends, but God forbid they encourage him to study. –Janes
  • Elliott asks Joey if she likes curry and mentions that “Some people have a problem with curry… If you don’t enjoy naan, then really, what’s the point?” Um… WHAT?! What does naan have to do with curry? I’ve never seen a SINGLE Indian restaurant that served curried naan. It’s like they literally only knew two words of Indian food and assumed they were the same thing. Fuck that.
  • “Wear your best jeans,” Professor Creeper says when he tells Joey that dinner will be fancy. Ugh, gross. He’s negging her AGAIN. Shot!
  • I love how after Joey’s face falls and every single member of the audience, even us if we were actually taking all the shots we pretend to take while watching this, has realized that she double-booked herself for Friday, they still have her murmur “Friday night…” to herself just in case we didn’t get it.
  • I feel like this “Oh no, I’ve scheduled two dates for one night!” plotline happens on every 90s show, but has it ever actually happened in real life? I’m the most absent-minded person I know, and I’ve managed to go 27 years without double-booking myself. –Janes
  • Audrey brings Pacey in to weigh in on Joey’s made-up problem, and Pacey says, “The only thing you don’t have going for you right now is a social life,” like ummm, should you be making fun of someone you dumped six months ago for their lack of social life?
  • It’s really weird that Audrey makes Joey lie that she’s ready for a new intimate relationship in front of Pacey, and nobody even freaks out. Ugh. Shot for rewriting history so Pacey and Joey were just nothing to each other.
  • Ha! LOVE when Audrey suggests that Joey might not be “ready” for a boyfriend, and Pacey immediately winces and turns around like, “I want no part of this.” Almost as cute as Pacey comparing Joey to Marcia Brady. –Janes
  • It’s always a bold move to cancel a date the day of, but even bolder to tell them you’re sick in person, in full makeup, when you’re clearly on your way out. Poor Elliott. –Janes
  • “Nobody likes happy people,” Pacey says unsympathetically when Jen complains to him about her producers. Hee. Then Jen asks him to say something “disgusting” so she can get her mojo back. “Sure, would you prefer sexist or just downright vulgar?” Oh, Pacey. He’s such a good friend.
  • I so feel for Jen at the dinner with Dawson and Oliver. I once had an hourlong conversation about film with my boyfriend and his friend where the friend straight-up refused to look at me the entire time, and when I would interject something, he would address his responses directly to my boyfriend. I still seethe every time I think about it. –Janes
  • Joey gets in a little neg of her own to Professor Creeper: “I thought it was honest and complex. OK, not complex, but riveting.” Heh. You go, girl. Keep him insecure.
  • I can’t believe Joey thought Professor Creeper was married. I’d forgotten about that, but shouldn’t she be disturbed that this guy keeps flirting with her if she thinks he’s married?
  • Audrey tells Joey to “grab hold of what you have coming to you.” Dirty!
  • Again, Jack is so upset when Blossom says they only brought him into the house to “clean up their image,” when that’s exactly what they told in the first place. It’s kind of like Trump supporters at this point: like, how can you possibly be surprised?? –Janes

Highlight:

It’s definitely Audrey and Jen’s radio call. My favorite part is “I just want to reiterate, Audrey, that you don’t have to use your full name every time you call into my radio show,” Jen says with a giggle, which made me laugh because I imagine Jen just fielding random questions from an overcaffeinated Audrey every single day. But mostly, I love that the two actresses became best friends forever after this, like so much so that Michelle still takes Busy as her date to the Oscars and stuff. They do have great chemistry!

Most cringeworthy moment:

No contest:

close-up of white woman (Joey) kissing a white man (professor Creeper).

Drunkenness rating:

Six, including a Dennis the Menace reference (Dawson, re: Oliver) and a Marcia Brady reference (Pacey, re: Joey’s double-booking herself).

Season 5, Episode 14 “Guerilla Filmmaking”

By Janes

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 11.40.27 PM

Dawson is trying to direct Oliver’s dumb romance script, and–shocker–it’s not going well. This movie has Lifetime-level whispered dialogue like: “I’m afraid of falling.” “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you,” but somehow, Dawson thinks the primary issue is that Oliver is woefully miscast as a rakish ladies’ man who seduces beautiful girls like Audrey. Um, has Dawson ever actually seen a Hollywood movie? Because schlubby, average-looking guys inexplicably making out with hot blondes left and right is their bread and butter.

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 11.35.06 PM

So they recast him with Chad Michael Murray–who, it must be said, does look a lot more like the type who will “break your heart and start in on your sister” (seriously, what is this dialogue??).

Meanwhile, Joey is dealing with the aftermath of that horrifying kiss with Professor Creeper in the last episode. Joey is called upon to give an example of “desires versus ideals” from her own life, because that would happen in a college course, and she starts talking about “a guy…” as if she’s actually going to start talking about Creeper in his own classroom! (Come to think of it, though, that would be sort of bad-ass. Like an OG #MeToo call-out.)

In other news, Creeper is still the absolute worst. After creeping on his barely-legal student a week before, he has the nerve to give her a hard time and neg her, as per usual. (Shot!) When she calls him out, he calls himself a creep (yup) and then grossly laments, “I’ve robbed you of your innocence,” which, incidentally, is the creepiest thing he could have said at this moment.

Later, Joey goes to his place and unconvincingly tells him that she’s dropping his class. He negs her again (shot!) and waxes poetic about how she has “the gift” and he doesn’t. I want to make a snarky comment about how terrible her writing is, but in 2018, this is a little too disturbing for a joke. How many stories have we heard just like this, where a successful writer tells an intelligent young woman exactly what she wants to hear–that he takes her seriously as an artist–just so he can lure her into his home and harass/assault her?

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 11.37.19 PM

And that’s exactly what happens (even if the show doesn’t code his behavior as harassment). They go back into his house, and he has the gall to say to her, “I want you to know, I’ve never done anything like this before.” Oh my God, the bullshit. And she actually falls for it! Oh, Joey. Poor, sweet Joey. I thought she was supposed to be this hardened and cynical girl who doesn’t trust people? This is the oldest trick in the book!

They almost kiss, and then Dawson calls Joey away to help with his movie. Every time I see this episode, I get all excited that she’s going to leave and get mugged and we’ll never have to see them kiss again. But no, instead she comes back and plants a big kiss on him before she leaves again. Gross.

Over at Frat Row, Jack frets about how the moment to “gracefully apologize” for last week has passed. Except–I thought we (and Pacey) had established that the frat brothers were the ones who were jackasses and left him bleeding in a restaurant, so why would he feel the need to apologize–oh whatever, I don’t really care. He hangs out with Eric, who is asking a few too many questions about how Jack knew he was ready to come out. Then Eric leans in significantly and says, “You’re the kind of guy that I want to be.” (Gasp! Who could have seen that coming??) In response to Eric’s confession, Jack gets a horrified look on his face and immediately changes the subject to reality TV, because he’s the most homophobic gay guy who ever lived.

Do I even need to say what happens next? Eric tells the bros that Jack tried to kiss him as a pre-emptive strike, and they all but kick Jack out of the house. Boo-hoo.

Oh, and Pacey and Audrey finally hook up, which is way more boring and anticlimactic than a romance between the show’s most charming characters has any right to be. First, Audrey gets all upset because Pacey can’t remember the first name of the girl he slept with the night before, which seems uncharacteristically disrespectful of him. He also makes a dumb, pervy joke about helping Audrey with a “breast exam,” which–really?? Now I remember why I don’t like this relationship, because it kind of turns Pacey into an asshole. He would never even think of talking to any other woman on the show like that.

Anyway, they practice her stupid lines from Oliver’s terrible script, and when the characters start making out, they start making out. It’s quite literally not rooted in the characters themselves, which makes sense, because the writers can never be bothered to explore what makes these two work other than physical chemistry. Then she gets upset when Pacey’s the boom guy for Dawson’s movie, because she can’t focus on making out with Chad Michael Murray properly. She runs into the bathroom and freaks out about how Joey is going to hate her, but then Joey arrives and tells her that she doesn’t care. Joey already seems to know about their feelings for each other, in fact, which is kind of amusing. [Amusing or sacrilegious?! Joey can’t even work up a TEENY, TINY amount of angst over her recent, serious, took-her-virginity ex-boyfriend falling for her hot roommate? —Nerdy Spice]

Then there’s this whole thing where Dawson can’t figure out the ending to his dumb movie. He wants to change Oliver’s original ending–Chad Michael Murray’s character shooting and killing Audrey after she breaks up with him–presumably because it’s a ridiculous cliche. [Oh my God, of COURSE Oliver thinks it’s “poetic justice” to blow a woman away with a .22 when she breaks your heart. He’s probably in jail now. –Nerdy Spice] But then he ultimately changes it to Audrey making a cliche-ridden speech about “life” and then walking hand-in-hand with Chad Michael Murray in the snow, so it’s kind of a wash. Anyway, Joey is the inspiration for this sweeter, more optimistic ending, because Joey is the It Girl whose entire function is to Make Sense of the World for her various love interests.

The whole thing ends with a bizarre scene where Joey throws a snowball at a stop sign (I think because of some memory about her dad or something?). She walks home alone, and “To be continued…” ominously comes up on the screen, but they haven’t begun the sinister part yet, so it seems completely random. They can’t even do a “to be continued” right!

  • While filming the stupid movie, Dawson tells Audrey to “Penetrate the subtext.” Dirty! Also, there is no subtext to this incredibly cliched scene, except that Oliver secretly wishes he were a sexy Lothario instead of a socially awkward film geek. –Nerdy Spice
  • Why is Pacey the sound guy? Shouldn’t there be film students around to do this? –Nerdy Spice
  • Wilder gives his students sage advice about writing, like “When the writing is intense, it means your life is intense” (cliched and not really true), and that a story needs “conflict” to be interesting (um, duh). Is he actually paid to do this??
  • Actually, this entire conversation is nonsense. A girl throws out “To be or not to be,” because… it’s a conflict, I guess? [Yeah, WHAT? I mean, it was a stupid question—”What makes books or movies intense?” But it was also a very stupid answer. –Nerdy Spice] And then Wilder is all, “Exactly! Your desires versus your ideals,” which is a great creepy pickup line for college freshmen, but has absolutely nothing to do with Hamlet. Five shots!
  • Jen and Dawson both make the cutest faces when Dawson suggests casting Charlie in the movie:

    Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 10.32.59 AM

  • Closed captions are so illuminating. For example, I never would have known that one of Jack’s frat brothers is named “Polar Bear.” Like, what?
  • Audrey asks Joey, re: Creeper: “When was the last time you felt as completely and totally alive as you do right now?” Um, NO. You do not get to reappropriate the word “alive” for Creeper, of all people!!
  • I can’t believe how much I laughed at poor Pacey throwing the pillow over his crotch when Audrey thinks better of their makeout sesh. That was hilarious. –Nerdy Spice
  • Professor Creeper has never done anything like this before? God, I can’t believe Joey is FALLING for this. –Nerdy Spice
  • Jack is gay, and yet still manages to make a creepy comment about gymnasts “slamming their pelvises into the uneven bars.” Has he officially surpassed both Dawson and Jen for worst character on the show? (Who am I kidding, at this rate, he’s going to catch up with Andie.)
  • Creeper tells Joey that he’s never met anyone like her before, and she says, “That’s what all the boys say,” but then claims she’s being sarcastic. Um, that is what all the boys say!! What else have we been watching for the last five seasons??
  • “Help. It’s trying to think!” Oliver says of Charlie. I have to admit I laughed. Minus Joey and Professor Grossout over there, this is actually a great episode. –Nerdy Spice
  • Wow, Dawson’s dorky giggle is so dorky. –Nerdy Spice
  • Aw, Joey pulls Pacey by the ear! So cute!
  • I like the maturity and everything, but would Joey really be this cool with her recent ex and roommate dating? They broke up like, less than six months ago. (Take a shot!)

Highlight:

As much as I love Pacey and Joey’s gentle flirtation this season, the best scene is Jen and Jack getting back together. Jen finds Jack sitting morosely at a bus stop, and they bond over their mutual love for Notting Hill (because duh, it’s a great movie), which the frat bros would die before admitting. Soulmates!

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 11.38.55 PM

Most cringeworthy moment:

It’s a tough call between Creeper blatantly lying that he’s “never done something like this before,” or Pacey’s “breast exam” comment, but I’ll pick the latter, just because it’s more disappointing.

Drunkenness level:

Ten, including several references to CMM’s hotness.

Season 5, Episode 15 “Downtown Crossing”

By Nerdy Spice

DC 515 featured

Let’s make this quick: Joey gets mugged by a drug dealer at Downtown Crossing, and the mugger dies in a hit-and-run, and she kind of learns something about her dad, or maybe she teaches other people about what it’s like to have a shitty dad, or MAYBE, just maybe, the show spends an entire episode circling around this whole thing with Joey’s daddy issues and doesn’t even bother to get to the core of it, which is the fact that after a lifetime of abandonment and neglect Joey craves the approval of men with authority over her and that’s why Dawson with his more-mature-than-thou routine and now Professor Creeper with his actually-a-pedophile routine are like catnip to her daddy issues?

ANYWAY.

Joey makes two Very Bad Decisions to start this episode: she takes her money out of an ATM in the middle of the night in a deserted area (NOPE) and she calls Professor Creeper to invite herself over to his place in the middle of the night (DOUBLE NOPE). But before she can get back to Professor Creeper’s Den of Harassment, a shadowy figure who’s been stalking her while enjoying a Cigarette of Evil across the street, accosts her on the empty street. Joey tries to be polite at first, but then he whips out a gun and brings her back to the ATM to empty her savings account. Then when he’s about to leave her behind, he asks her for advice about winning over his angry wife and steals her coat, leaving Joey to wander the streets in an admittedly adorable red turtleneck and scarf.

Immediately thereafter, however, he is hit by a car which then speeds away, leaving Joey to rescue him. Turns out his gun isn’t loaded, so she calls 911 and reports the mugging and the accident, then waits with him while he waxes poetic about karma as snow falls all around him. She ends up being brought to the same hospital as he is because she faints as soon as the cops show up, which gives her a chance to run into his wife Grace and his daughter Sammy–whom she recognizes because she knows that her mugger likes girls with boy names. You know, like Joey. Or like Sammy, the Joey-like name that was ALREADY USED in Dawson’s script in season 2! Come on guys. You had so many other options. Charlie? Jamie? Jackie? Jerry?

Anyway, Joey has already figured out that her mugger is a drug dealer who frequently lets his family down, so naturally she starts vomiting her daddy issues all over this poor woman and her daughter while they deal with this serious tragedy. When Grace figures out that her husband mugged Joey, she gathers up her daughter and makes to leave, but Joey gets all snotty and judgmental about it. Which just makes me angry! I don’t want to waste a lot of space on such an absurd exercise in low-middle-brow self-seriousness, but wouldn’t Joey herself have been so much better off if someone had gotten equally indignant on her behalf when her father let her down? If someone had been around to tell her, “You deserve better, don’t feel like you have to make peace with the guy unless you damn well want to”?

Anyway, Joey goes back in to talk to him and the guy explains that he felt bad about stealing money from his wife that was intended for his kid’s daycare. She tells him that she loved her dad even though he messed up. Then he totes flatlines, and Joey comes out to find that Grace has come back with Sammy. She tells Grace that he’s dead and for some reason sees fit to tell Sammy some cockamamie story that her dad saved her life that night. THEN SHE LEAVES THE FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN GRACE’S PURSE. Wow. They were really playing up Joey’s perfect It-Girl-ness in this episode too.

This episode represents what I think almost everyone who’s ever seen it agrees is an entirely failed experiment of an episode. They tried to be serious (they even redo the credits to be just a bunch of minor chords with the actors’ names emblazoned in the same Dawson’s font against a blue-gray cloudy background! WHAT?!) but landed somewhere in the uncomfortable territory between mere bathos, and actual farce. They attempted to explore Joey’s daddy issues with a hamfisted metaphor but failed even to do that, because at the end what they end up with is essentially a celebration of Joey as a beautifully selfless, priest-like being who teaches Grace about the power of forgiveness and provides absolution to her own mugger. Maybe, deep down, this is all supposed to be an explanation of why it’s wrong for Joey to be with Professor Creeper.  But honestly, the celebration of female forgiveness of male sins is too cloying and pervasive to be in any way subversive.

  • OMG, the somber credits. Kills me every time. –Janes
  • The mugger asks Joey if she goes to Harvard! Harvard still exists while Joey is going to Fake Harvard? Was it supposed to be Williams this whole time? –Janes [Yeah! Andie goes to Harvard, but Joey goes to fake Harvard. Super weird.]
  • Keets, looking over my shoulder just as Vaguely Southern Mugger got hit by a car: “What IS this show?!” Me: “Well, Joey just got mugged by this guy, but then he gets run over by a car, so she stays with him at the hospital and that somehow means that her thing with Professor Creeper is over.” Keets: o.O
  • The whole time Joey and Mugger are outside they keep using the traffic light flicking on and off as this ridiculously overwrought symbol of the fact that Joey’s at a crossroads. It’s totally hilarious.
  • Joey’s first encounter with the mugger is actually a great illustration of female socialization. He’s in her space, clearly threatening her (does “I won’t force myself on you” sound reassuring in ANY universe?), asking her for money, not taking no for an answer, and the poor girl is like “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” BE RUDE! We all need to be rude a little more often! (Of course, I would do the exact same thing, TBH. Though I would never use an ATM on a dark abandoned street.)
  • Joey pulls the dead mom card with her mugger when he whips out the cigarettes. Shot! (Then again when he’s at the hospital, this time with a bonus mention of the cocktail waitress her dad cheated on her mom with, like I STILL don’t get what is so bad about cheating with a cocktail waitress as opposed to, say, a marketing executive or a kindergarten teacher.)
  • Can we also take a shot for the mugger blaming his “wench” of a wife for his mugging Joey?
  • Mugger rambles on about his wife, who obviously is a cheap standin for Joey: “Tenth grade. She liked me. I never even saw it. Never gave her the time of day.” Hmm, sound familiar? But moreover, there’s this artsy spiral thing the camera’s doing and it’s totally hilarious. There is a MUGGER rambling about KARMA on a show about HIGH SCHOOLERS. Wat.
  • “That’s right, I think I saw him at a union meeting once,” Mugger quips when Joey says that her dad was a drug dealer, too. Heh, that was reasonably witty.
  • I bet this cop isn’t so handsy with mugging victims who don’t look like Katie Holmes. Creepy!
    An older white man in a police officer's uniform holds Joey protectively by the arm.

  • “Do you know what a sucking chest wound is?” says the doctor, and I have to say I was mildly surprised that that turned out to be a real thing. Of course, I’m pretty sure when you DO really have a Sucking Chest Wound, you don’t just sit around afterwards with your nips hanging out and apparently zero bandaging whatsoever on your chest. I mean, maybe if they had bandaged his Sucking Chest Wound in ANY WAY he wouldn’t have croaked. I’m just saying.
    A bare-chested man lies in a hospital bed, zero bandages visible on his bust or face.

Highlight:

Joey gets off a few quips in this one, Old Joey style. (She also at one point calls Mugger a “dickhead,” so they’re not all gems.) But when he takes her cell phone she’s like “I hope you get a decent signal in prison,” which, I may not have lol’ed exactly, but I heh’ed.

Most cringeworthy moment:

Definitely has to be the Meaningful Monologue About Karma uttered by the soulful mugger as he lies on the street in the snow, bleeding. Just. So. Embarrassing.

Drunkenness rating:

Three shots. Just because an episode is riddled with cliches doesn’t mean, apparently, that it’s riddled with Dawson’s-Creek-specific cliches.


Previous installment here.

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