Episode 9: Roadtrip
By: Carlos Uribe
Dawson's Creek is a show about teenagers growing up. It ran from 1998-2003 and was created by Kevin Williamson (creator of the Vampire Diaries and the Secret Circle).
Getting over someone can be difficult. It means having to accept that they are no longer with you. Dawson has the post-relationship blues pretty hard. He didn't just get dumped by Jen, but she's the girl next door. His window faces her house. This means that he spends a lot of time looking out, wondering what she's thinking and doing. This opens him up to an opportunity that he wouldn't have taken otherwise. When Billy decides to stay in Capeside just a little bit longer, he decides to take Dawson to a nightclub that is crawling with college girls. The hitch is that this would mean missing school but the promise is that by being with a woman then Dawson will be able to get his mind off Jen. Billy isn't acting in the best interest of Dawson as he's merely hoping to ruin Dawson's reputation amongst Jen. This would hopefully lead to Jen reconsidering her decision and deciding to get back together with him. This isn't just observed by Dawson but also by the audience when Billy tells Jen and Joey that he's taking Dawson to a whorehouse. While Billy is clearly not a good guy, it is hard to completely dislike him since he has a lot of charm. The actor potraying Billy is Eion Bailey, currently a series regular on Once Upon a Time. Dawson doesn't actually sleep with anyone but he got pretty close. Being a noble guy, he decides against it.
While Dawson is letting himself live, Joey has to deal with a major high school problem: protecting her name. When a high school football player claims that he slept with her, Joey is understandably upset. She has chosen to be a virgin and she doesn't want to be known as a whore. She would also never sleep with the football player, who detests her. She has a small revenge due to Jen. Jen has Joey pretend that she's pregnant so as to apply pressure to the player. This leads to the player's revelation that he never slept with Joey but only after Joey's discovery that the player is soft on girls. This seems to implicate that the player is gay but the series doesn't actually seem to confirm that. Joey's reputation is saved and the player gets what he deserved for spreading the vicious rumor. It appears to be a basic plot that halts the series from advancing the Joey and Dawson relationship from “just friends with feelings” to a full-fledged “will-they-won't-they” kind of relationship. Joey remains largely separate from Dawson in this episode and when they're together, Dawson is still hung up on Jen.
It isn't just a basic plot as it has a clear purpose: it advances the relationship between Jen and Joey. Now that Jen is no longer dating Dawson, it appears that she would have no reason to hang out with Joey. And yet Jen is shown to be a good friend with Joey. At the same time, Dawson keeps coming between them. While Dawson may be absent from most of their scenes together, they keep managing to come back to him and what they believe he is doing: sleeping with a hooker. Their friendship has always been shaky because of Dawson and it appears that for now it will remain that way. Yet, their friendship isn't over yet. The two remain allies and Jen seems to be getting through Joey's rough exterior. The sub-plot wasn't just to stall the love triangle's development but to also develop the friendship between Joey and Jen.
While “Roadtrip” isn't that great of an episode (did we really need a scene where Dawson ruined a truck of some drunk guys?), it's a pretty entertaining one for the most part. It does stall but it does so in a manner that isn't a complete waste of time. It's nice that Pacey is shown going to the nightclub with Dawson, but he doesn't really contribute to the plot much. It would have been nicer if the episode had found a way to develop their friendship a little bit more. That certainly would have made the episode a lot stronger.