Follow the whole rewatch here!
Welcome back to the Dawson's Creek Rewatch Project, where we have reached the end of the penultimate season. Season 5 is the most underrated season of Dawson's Creek, and I'm going to miss it. Onto the final season!
But first: let's drink to S5!
The Dawson's Creek Drinking Game
Drink Once every time:
Joey purses her mouth or chews on her lip
Joey tucks her hair behind her ear
Sex makes Dawson and/or Joey extremely uncomfortable
Grams says "Jennifaaah"
Pacey wears a shirt that makes you want to blind yourself
Audrey declares something risqué or insane with utter confidence
Drink Twice every time:
You have literally no idea why Joey is mad
Pacey gives someone a really good hug
Cool Jen Lindley is totally crapped on by the universe
Onto the episodes!
5.22 "The Abby"
These last two episodes are all over the place! They're both great and lovely, but hard to recap because of the meandering approach to plot that has hallmarked Season 5. I enjoy its chill-out vibe, but dang, it's hard to recap. Let's give it a shot:
It's the end of the school year and everyone's preparing to scatter to separate corners of the globe. Well, continent. Dawson hears from Waller, the agent they met with last week, and apparently there's a producer in LA who wants to take Dawson and Oliver's movie and make "something more" out of it. Of course, Dawson isn't sure he still wants to work with Oliver after last week's temper tantrum, but Oliver apologizes sincerely and thoroughly, and Dawson tells him to pack his bags. They're going to Hollywood!
But first they're going to Capeside. And they're not the only ones! Audrey's really dreading going home so she takes a brief sojourn to Joey Potter's neck of the woods. She spends most of it keeping Dawson company and avoiding Pacey, though both Joey and Dawson speak to her on Pacey's behalf. Audrey's not ready to hear it, and who could blame her?
Joey goes to see her father in prison - she's been wanting to speak with him since the events of "Downtown Crossing" - but he was released on parole four months ago and never informed her or Bessie. She's understandably gutted, but Bessie, Audrey and Dawson all tell her the same thing: her dad's probably embarrassed of how badly he blew it last time, and he wants to get his life in order before he attempts to reunite with his family again. Oh and also, Dawson's Creek keeps teasing a Joey/Dawson reunion, but it feels neither earned nor particularly desired, so let's move on.
Back in Boston, Jen and Jack are preparing to take a summer trip together, in part to celebrate the fact that Jack actually passed his classes! After much agonizing, they decide on Costa Rica and they're so excited - and that's when Grams tells Jen that her parents just called, and they'd like her to summer in the Hamptons with them. Jen feels like she should go, because this is quite the unprecedented overture on her parents' part, but also she doesn't want to. She tries to make a decision by dancing in her PJs on the sofa when Jack walks in:
She tells him she's decided to go to Costa Rica, and he gently scolds her that she shouldn't be rejecting her parents at this crucial juncture in their relationship. But then Grams speaks up (ILU, Grams!) and says a true thing:
The relationship between Jennifer and her parents is much more complicated than you and I could even begin to imagine. It may well be unsalvageable. And while I admire your instincts, Jack, there's only one person in the entire world who truly knows what's worthwhile here and what's not. If your parents have truly found a way to love you, Jen, this won't be their last opportunity to prove it.
Abby Alex is still terrorizing fools at Civilization, and Pacey's the only employee with the guts to stand up to her. After she fires a single mom for no good reason, he organizes a coup and ruins an important dinner in front of the restaurant's investors, getting Alex fired in the meantime. It feels like the end of this weird story, but it's not - she finds him outside the restaurant and his car won't start, so she offers him a ride, and then starts ranting and raving and driving fast and almost kills them both. It's both dramatic and boring! Anyway, Alex cries and says she's trying to be better and then Pacey hugs her for reasons I don't quite understand. This is Alex's last episode, and I'm sure as hell not going to miss her.
How many times did I have to drink? 8.
Audrey in Capeside: She looks good here!
PJ Jen: A reminder that Jen Lindley spends almost the entirety of Season 5 in her pajamas. This reminds me so strikingly of my own freshman year in college that I have to tip my hat to the Dawson's costume designer.
Most meta moment: Professor Ken Marino drops back by to tell Joey he's leaving Worthington to try his hand at being a novelist again, and thanks her for inspiring him or some such. But the meta comes in because Joey and Audrey are in the midst of a water balloon fight with the boys down the hall, and they accidentally douse the professor when he comes to their dorm. That just has to be a shout-out to this Friends scene of two years earlier, right?
Pacey Witter's best hug: It's certainly better than Alex deserves.
Best pop culture reference: When Jen and Jack are talking about their adventure, Jen says she wants to "go for broke like Indiana Jones," and Jack amends, "Or Jeff Probst."
5.23 "Swan Song"
It's the for-real goodbye episode! I guess "The Abby" was just the warm up. It opens with a dream of Dawson's - he and Joey run into each other at the airport in the future. He's a big time Hollywood dude, she's a writer, and they haven't seen each other in five years. He's clearly still carrying a torch, but she's engaged to an attorney. Dawson wakes up, terrified and sweaty - AN ATTORNEY?! What could be worse!
Dawson and Joey spend much of the episode dancing around this will-they-won't-they thing, until Joey basically dares Dawson to tell her he loves her, so he does - and then she rejects a kiss from him and leaves. Kinda cruel, Jo. Meanwhile, Audrey and Pacey run into each other in Capeside and she calls him a dickhead and refuses to talk to him. Utterly deserved! Audrey, Dawson, Jen and Jack all end up at the airport at the same time - Audrey and Dawson headed to LA, Jen and Jack bound for Costa Rica - and that just leaves Joey and Pacey in Capeside. Both of them seem to think they're stuck there for good. Pacey's got a job as a security guard at the yacht club, and after running into Danny, who's drunk and divorced and tells Pacey they're just alike, Pacey's feeling conflicted about his path. Meanwhile, Joey's feeling like she's backsliding after a very productive first year away. So they give each other a great little pep talk:
GAH they're so cute together. But while I'm chanting "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!", they instead talk each other into heading to the airport to win back those other two people. So now at the airport we've got Pacey, Joey, Audrey, Dawson, Jen, Jack - and then Dawson runs into Grams and Clifton Smalls, who are taking a trip to Vegas (YESSS!), and then Dawson ALSO runs into Todd, the director who fired Dawson after Dawson gave him one of those patented Dawson Leery speeches. Dawson tells Todd his movie sucked, and Todd's like, "I like your moxie, kid! Look me up when you hit Hollywood!"
Meanwhile - Joey kisses Dawson and then tells him to go to LA, because she's going to Paris. Bessie had Joey's passport made the other time Joey was supposed to go to Paris, and gave it to Joey at just the right time, because Bessie rules. So Joey's going to have an adventure, and Dawson's going to have a separate adventure, and maybe they'll end up together at the end, who knows. I can sort of approve of this plan. Especially the part where Joey goes to Paris.
Pacey gives his own patented Pacey Witter speech, apologizing to Audrey on the airport's PA, which feels especially unlikely since this episode aired not long after 9/11. It does the trick, however, and Pacey and Audrey reunite and decide to take a road trip to LA together. While I love Audrey and love Pacey and have enjoyed their relationship until now, none of this really lands for me. Pacey's not giving it his all, but since Audrey hasn't seen his all, she doesn't realize he's holding back. That makes me sad.
Also at the airport? (Jesus, is this Logan? I've never run into a single human being I recognize at Logan International Airport.) Eric, Jack's closeted gay frat brother. He tells Jack he tried to go home to come out to his parents but he chickened out, and Jack starts to realize he should spend some more time around Eric, maybe help him go through all of the stuff Jack's already gone through. He tells Jen, who's been second guessing her decision about Costa Rica anyway, and she ends up taking a trip to New York to spend the summer with her parents. The only ticket left was first class, so she winds up sitting next to...Todd! Whew, this episode is confusing. And Jack's going to spend the summer in Boston with Eric.
Are we all caught up? This is too many plots for one episode! That said, "Swan Song" is a pretty fun hour of television.
How many times did I have to drink? 3.
BFFs: Jen and Joey's great goodbye at the airport <3
Most meta moment: In Dawson's dream, he's rolling up the escalator like Rain Man, and later Joey calls him Rain Man. She means it as a compliment, but, uhm. Is Rain Man a compliment?
Officer Pacey: WOULD.
The truest thing anybody said this week: After Joey sighs that she's back where she started from, Bessie replies, "Nice to see college hasn't squashed your inner drama queen." I love Bessie. She's so good at bringing Joey down a peg or two while everyone else tells her how amazing she is. (I love Joey! But everyone needs a bossy older sister to put them in their place.)
Audrey's greatest hit: I love her goodbye to Joey: "When we meet again and we will, I hope you're not the same dull, bookish prude that I met at the beginning of the year. Because it took me months to crack you, and I just don't know if I have the energy to do it again."
Meet me back here next Wednesday morning as we make our way into the final season of Dawson's Creek with "The Kids Are Alright" and "The Song Remains the Same"!