Follow the whole rewatch here!
Welcome back to the Dawson's Creek Rewatch Project, where we are nearly done and I can't stop crying. Everyone's back in Capeside this week, which feels like the right way to start sending off this beautiful series.
Let's drink to Capeside! I missed it.
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!
6.21 "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road"
The episode opens where last week's ended: with Pacey standing outside Dawson's house, trying to figure out how to tell him that he's lost all his money. Dawson invites him in and is so excited and sweet and earnest - and shows him the movie set he's made out of his childhood bedroom, which makes TWO movie sets Dawson's made out of his childhood bedroom, and if there's any question now that show creator Kevin Williamson's childhood bedroom looked like Dawson Leery's, I feel like we can lay that issue to rest - and Pacey can't bring himself to tell Dawson just yet. In fact, it takes a tough love pep talk from Audrey - who's also in Capeside, because she is part of this crew whether she grew up in Capeside or not - to convince Pacey to 'fess up.
Meanwhile, Joey's also home and sort of enjoying the Capeside nostalgia. She and Dawson have a really lovely, old-school talk, about their feelings and history, and it's sweet. Then they walk outside to find Pacey, who unhappily tells them what happened. Dawson loses it and immediately starts hearkening back to "Pacey's a loser" territory, which really pisses me off. Poor Joey's standing in between these two boys, trying to get them to stop fighting AGAIN, and she must feel 16 years old all over again. They don't listen to her, and Dawson storms back inside, while Joey follows Pacey to the pier to hug him and tell him she loves him and she's there for him no matter what. He's not ready to hear it - but deep down, we know it means something to him, even if he's still nursing his wounds from being dumped.
Other stuff that happened this episode:
* Jen has invited her mom to visit, hoping to force Grams into telling everyone that she has cancer. Grams is mad, but Jen tells her she can't do this all on her own. Eventually, the beans are spilled, and Jen's mom and Jack are heartbroken, and Jen tells her she wants them to move in with Jen's mom in New York, because she lives five minutes from the best cancer hospital in the country. (Actually, that's in Houston. Sorry. H-Town Represent!) Jen's mom lovingly agrees, and Jack's gonna go too, and it's all pretty sweet and great. Also, CJ is there, but no one cares about that.
* Audrey and Joey are always saying the best goodbyes, even though it's never really goodbye with these two wonderful friends:
Also, Jack Osbourne is there, but no one cares about that. Way more important: Audrey ends the episode performing sober! Proud of you, girl.
How many times did I have to drink? 7.
Best callback: I may be moderately weirded out by Dawson/Kevin Williamson's obsession with his childhood bedroom, but I love this moment with the ladder.
Poor Joey: Here she is, standing again between these two idiots. She's like, "CAN WE PLEASE STICK TO THE MATTER AT HAND HERE AND NOT FALL BACK INTO OLD PATTERNS ALSO I'D LIKE TO REMIND YOU BOTH THAT THIS TIME IT'S NOT ACTUALLY ABOUT ME."
The truest thing anybody said this week:
The second truest thing anybody said this week: Jen's mom, to Grams, "You've gone soft. I think Jen's made you happy."
The least true thing anybody said this week: Joey, to Audrey, "I've never really had a girlfriend. Not a good one." Jen Lindley, Andie McPhee and I are all like EXCUSE ME, BISH?
6.22 “Joey Potter and the Capeside Redemption”
Oh MAN, I love this episode. It would have made for such a lovely series finale to Dawson's Creek, and I'm never actually sure how I feel about the fact that it isn't the finale - only the final episode of the current timeline, before the show jumps forward several years in the future. While there are some crucial romance loose ends that get tied up in the real finale (hello, P&J!), I always sort of love the way this ends, with all of the friends doing exactly what they should be doing, and with Joey moving on from the two boys that have haunted her heart since grade school.
As the ep opens, everyone's sort of falling into old Capeside routines, with the addition of Audrey who somehow always feels like she fits in anywhere. There's a revisionist history where I could believe that Audrey Liddell has always been on Dawson's Creek. So Dawson's been working at the Fish House and pouting at his mom's house, while Pacey's moved back in with Doug and is doing a fair amount of pouting there. Grams, Jack and Jen are staying in Grams' old house, and I assume Audrey's staying with Joey at the Potter B&B, because that's the storyline that makes me happiest.
But little Joey Potter - not so little anymore, and who has sneakily become the protagonist of a show called Dawson's Creek over the past two seasons, and whose inspired monologue opens and closes this sorta-series-finale episode - is unwilling to let everyone just lie around when a dream is dying on the vine. She marches over to Dawson's house and tells him to prepare himself, because she's putting some wheels in motion and pretty soon he's going to be making his damn movie whether he's got any money or not.
Look, you're hurt, you're pissed off, you want to give up, which is totally understandable, but it sucks for you right now because you're not dealing with somebody who's going to let you. So I'm going to leave you to your sulking for now, but I'll be back. And I promise you it's not gonna be pretty. Asses will be kicked, names will be taken. Until then, bye-bye, old chum.
Gosh, she's great. So she starts recruiting friends to join the cause, and everyone's on board - even Harley and Patrick and Capeside High's newest film nerd, George, the one who gave Dawson hell when he showed up to speak to the film class - to assist in this production, even before Dawson's agreed to direct it. Jen and Jack flirt themselves up some camera equipment rentals, and Gail calls Dawson's old boss Todd, who shows up and is happy to work as Dawson's DP and camera operator. It's SO lovely.
Joey also attempts to recruit Pacey, who's literally just lying around in his underwear, covered in chip crumbs on poor Doug's sofa, and while her pep talk doesn't immediately do the trick, it does eventually motivate Pacey to start helping on the sidelines, under the radar. While no one's watching, he's going around town, accepting donations from local businesses to invest in a promising new filmmaker, slowly making up the money of Dawson's that he lost. It's really sweet.
So Dawson mopes his way home from the Fish House, walks up into his bedroom and finds Joey, Jack, Jen and Audrey, all of whom tell him to suit up, because it's production time. He's flattered - and blown away that they managed to find film equipment and actors with no money - but tells them he can't participate because he has to work. Gail enters the room with champagne for everyone and tells Dawson that he's fired from the Fish House, and it's time to make his dream. Dawson grins and cracks open the champagne. I LOVE THIS EPISODE!
They start filming, and of course they're really just filming Dawson's Creek's pilot, because Dawson is Kevin Williamson and Dawson's Creek is a flat circle. Harley will play Joey (and it's so fun watching Joey give Harley insight into the character of angry, unreasonable, sexless Young Joey Potter. At one point Harley asks, "Are you sure I'm not playing a lesbian?"), Patrick will play Pacey, George the mini Dawson will play Dawson, and AUDREY WILL PLAY MISS JACOBS. I love that so much. Unclear: who's playing Jen? I assume it's someone wild and marvelous and misunderstood.
They open by filming in the video store, and it's the exact same dialogue as the pilot, and the whole thing is so dang cute I can barely stand it.
The filming goes so, so well, and everyone's perfect in their allotted roles. (Well, Audrey does less well as the assistant to a very high-maintenance Todd, until the two decide to hook up because they're perfect for each other, and I have to say I like these two together even if we - *sob* - never see either of them again.) And after the wrap, Jen, Jack and Grams pack up their stuff and leave for New York. Oh man, this next part breaks my heart, especially considering what we know of Jen's arc in the next two episodes. Jen stares sadly back at the pier, where Harley, George and Patrick are horsing around in the sea monster scene from the pilot, and you can see her remembering the first time she met these lifelong friends. Her eyes well up with tears, and so do mine, and then she gets back into the cab, like the past seven years never even happened.
Isn't that beautiful? This show is so beautiful. Okay, almost done. So Pacey's been tooling about town, gathering funds for the man who hates him, when he runs into his gigantic high school crush Kristy Livingstone, and doesn't even recognize her because he's a cool adult now, not some obsessive wimp. He also might not recognize her because this is not Kristy Livingstone. Kristy Livingstone was played by Ali Larter. But this lady's pretty, too.
(Sidebar on an already too-long post: what if this is some nerdy girl Pacey never noticed in high school who always had a crush on him, and she's catfishing him and pretending to be Kristy to get his attention?! WHAT IF, you guys.) Anyway, he and Kristy hit it off and exchange numbers, and it's a nice nod to the fact that Pacey may feel like he's in the same place after disappointing Dawson and sleeping on Doug's couch, but he's really come a long way since high school.
So Pacey meets up with Joey and tells her that he's gathered thousands of dollars for Dawson - it's not all of the money he owes him, but he'll get there soon. He asks Joey to give the money to Dawson, and she refuses, and tells him this isn't her fight. He asks her if she's going to wash her hands of both of these boys, and she smiles and tells him she's going to try. He smiles right back, proud of her.
After filming, she and Dawson fall asleep in his bed, because Dawson's Creek is a flat circle. The next morning, both Dawson and Pacey wake up to a note from Joey asking them to meet her in that pretty Greek-ish place where Pacey and Miss Jacobs first had sex, haha, although I doubt that's how she phrased it. When they arrive, Joey's not there, and they realize she set them up, one last peacemaking attempt. They talk out some more old history, but in a calmer, kinder way, and Dawson finally gets it just right when he says:
You know, it makes sense, why it never worked out for either one of us. All we wanted was her, so much so that we destroyed our friendship... and in the end, all she ever wanted was for us to be friends again.
Pacey asks Dawson if he thinks it's possible, and Dawson tells him anything's possible. Pacey hands over the money, and Dawson smiles, grateful and humbled. It's a nice moment for these two.
The episode ends with a montage, letting us know that all of our wonderful friends are doing okay. Dawson's happily working post-production on this labor of love that means so much to him, Jen and Jack and Grams are living their best lives in New York, and Pacey's a chef again! A chef, you guys!
So where's little Joey Potter? Why, she's in Paris! FINALLY! (Okay, so it's a green screen Paris, but close enough.) She's working at a lovely little deli and wandering the streets with the biggest grin on her face, because after trial and error THREE TIMES (here and here and here), Joey Potter made it to Paris.
See? Wouldn't that have made for a nice finale?
How many times did I have to drink? 9.
Best wardrobe callback: They found the PERFECT dress for Audrey to wear in her debut as Miss Jacobs.
God, can you imagine how much more trouble Pacey would have been in if Miss Jacobs really looked like Audrey? Way more dangerous.
Pacey Witter's worst shirt: He has well and truly regressed back to Capeside Pacey.
That's it for this week, and for the penultimate installment of the Dawson's Creek Rewatch Project! Readers, I have a question for you: do you agree that "Joey Potter and the Capeside Redemption" would have made for a great series finale? I'm not saying I don't love the way Dawson's Creek officially ends - I really do, for the most part - but I'm so happy they gave this timeline a beautiful farewell before jumping forward five years in the future.
Meet me here next Wednesday morning for our very last go-round with Dawson's Crew! We'll be talking "All Good Things..." and "...Must Come to an End," and there will probably be a fair amount of tears over here. Get ready for this series' most emphatic drinking game rule ever: "Cool Jen Lindley is totally crapped on by the universe." Until then!