Pacey hugs Andie, cradling her face, as they say goodbye

About:

Title: Dawson’s Creek S2.E20 “Reunited” + S2.E21 “Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes”
Released: 1999
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 19

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project! Last week, Britt asked me if I think it’s unfair that Grams kicked Jen out of the house, and I guess I wish she’d FOUND A PLACE FOR HER TEENAGE GRANDDAUGHTER TO LIVE before kicking her out, but I can otherwise understand it. Amanda put it best in the comments last week when she said, “Like, what is the plan here Grams? She’s a minor. You can’t just throw her out without involving the law/foster system” and that is true. BUT, this leads to the budding of the greatest friendship of all time, so I can forgive it.

Let’s all drink to Jack and Jen, THE BEST BESTIES IN TV HISTORY:

Jen smiles, sitting in bed with a bottle of champagne

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”

Andie gives an impassioned speech (or rant)

Jack wears the straightest shoes possible

Pacey wears a shirt that makes you want to blind yourself


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!

Andie, now with dark hair, sits in the dark talking to a young man we don't recognize

2.20 “Reunited”

“Reunited” opens with all six of our cuties – Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Andie, Jack and Jen – hanging on Dawson’s bed, sharing the world’s most adorable movie night. Their little hang-out sesh is snarkily referred to as both “St. Elmo’s from hell” and “The Peach Pit,” and it ends with a monstrous pillow fight, but try as these kids might to pretend that they don’t all adore each other, it’s a really lovely representation of their growing closeness. I love that this episode opens this way, focusing on the group friendship, because every member of this group is at their very best in these two episodes. Yes, even Dawson.

It’s the one-month anniversary of Dawson and Joey’s relationship re-up, and while that milestone might make you groan, try to remember that they’re teenagers, and a month in the life of a teenager is like a year in grown-up time. He’s gotten them a reservation at Capeside’s hot, chi-chi new restaurant Entre Nous, and she’s very excited. Also, they both look great for this date. Dawson really IS getting cuter.

Dawson and Joey are both dressed up for their dates, Dawson in a suit and Joey in a strappy black dress. They both have good hair.

It’s hard to tell from that pic, but Joey’s got this pretty Elizabethan braid thing going on, and Dawson’s hair just doesn’t look dumb for once. Coupla babes! But, as is always the case, their romantic date is destined to be an awkward failure, but for once it’s not Dawson’s OR Joey’s fault. Or even Jen’s! Mitch is still dating that grade-A a-hole Ms. Kennedy, and through a “Leery party” reservations mix-up, both couples are seated together. Dawson’s still miffed at Ms. Kennedy for crushing his Hollywood dreams, and he’s hilariously outspoken about it. It’s pretty funny.

MEANWHILE, Jen and Gail (oh by the way – Jen’s living at the Leery house after getting kicked out of Grams’) are bonding in a completely great way over their shared rejections from Grams and Mitch: 

They decide to cheer each other up with a fancy dinner at – you guessed it! – Entre Nous. Entre Maximum Awkwardness! The kids are pretty chagrined at first, until Jen and Joey adorably cook up a Parent Trap scheme and Dawson jumps fully onboard. Step One: Joey provokes Ms. Kennedy into dismissing Dawson’s talent again, and Mitch seems decidedly less enamored at hearing this. Step Two: the girls send bottles of wine to Gail and Mitch, ostensibly from each other, and get the band to play the Leerys’ song. Step Three: Mitch and Gail end up dancing romantically as Ms. Kennedy glares at them from her table. It’s so great. Gail, who’s been waiting for a sign to keep her from taking that job in Philadelphia, thinks she’s found it – until she and Jen are walking home from the restaurant and see Mitch and Ms. Kennedy macking by the pier. Gail’s face falls, and she flees the scene.

Finally, the real heart and heartbreak of this episode: Andie’s suddenly dyed her hair brown and is very sensitive about it, and we keep seeing her ensconced in intense conversation with a mysterious man she calls “Brown.” We soon realize that “Brown” is her brother Tim who passed away years ago, and Andie’s grief and stress since Abby’s death have led her to start seeing him everywhere. Pacey, after much patient digging, finally discovers what’s going on, and it culminates in a really upsetting showdown, with Andie locked in the bathroom as Pacey and Jack beg her to come out. She breaks the mirror in a fit, and it’s clear that Pacey and Jack are worried that she’s going to hurt herself. And then, as always, Pacey says and does the exact right thing: 

It’s perfect: instead of treating her like a victim, he appeals to the part of Andie that can’t help but be strong for the people she loves, and the people that need her. She does choose him, and Pacey gets her to bed, where they have yet another beautiful, painful, incredibly heartwrenching conversation. She asks what’s going to happen to her, and he tells her she’s going to get more therapy, get on the right medications, and she’ll be fine. She tearfully asks what if she’s not, and Pacey promises her he’ll be there for her no matter what – she’ll never lose him.

Pacey gently holds a crying Andie on her bed.

Later, Jack and Pacey discuss their options, and Jack says he’s going to call their dad. Pacey hates that idea, for obvious reasons, until Jack tells him that this is exactly how his mom started, and there was nothing they could do to help her. She grew much worse because they waited too long to get her real help, and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen to Andie. Pacey seems to understand, finally, that he can’t rescue Andie all by himself, and he looks crushed by the revelation. It’s such a heavy conversation for two high school kids to have, and it makes me want to give everyone in that house a weeklong hug. 

Jack and Pacey sit next to each other, slumped over with fatigue and concern.

How many times did I have to drink? 

11. 

The truest thing anybody said this week

Gail, talking about Mitch to Jen: “You can’t connive or entice love. By definition, it has to find its way to you.” So wise. WAY wiser than that tart Ms. Kennedy.

But speaking of that tart Ms. Kennedy

DANG, these are two total foxes. Well done, Mitch. You done good.

Gail and Ms. Kennedy exit the bathroom, both looking HOT HOT HOT

The second truest thing anybody said this week

Dawson, once Gail and Jen joined the awkward Entre Nous antics: “Is this a French restaurant or a French farce?” 

Drink every time they say persnickety

Seven times. They say the word “persnickety” seven times in this episode.

Most unlikely dialogue

Dawson, when hinting around to see if he’s getting laid tonight, uses the words “consummating our ultimate desires.” No surprise that Joey’s answer is “nah.”

Pacey Witter’s best hug 

Pacey hugs a trembling Andie to his chest, cradling her head

GAH. 

Jack and Jen hug at the bus station

2.21 “Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes”

Dawson’s sweating it over Ms. Kennedy’s film class final, because she clearly has it in for him, and he decides to film an interview with someone in his life who has exhibited great change over the course of his or her arc. Of course, in the land of Dawson’s Creekeveryone has exhibited great change except Dawson himself, who has only really changed his hair. To his credit, it’s a big change for the better. Fewer XL sweater vests, too.

He asks Joey, Jen and Jack in turn, and they all turn him down. He asks Pacey last, which offends me, but Pacey also turns him down, and then Dawson decides to interview Mr. Potter, who’s currently gunning for Dad of The Year and keeping Joey on Cloud 9. He’s renovating The Ice House, and Dawson tries to help him but is hilariously incompetent with a hammer and literally cannot identify a level. Joey’s happier than we’ve ever seen her, until she hears her dad talking about his colorful past for Dawson’s project, and she gets a little Old School Joey Potter Rage brewing until she and Dawson talk it out. She doesn’t want to drudge up the past, because she feels like her life is so perfect right now – and Dawson is a big part of that. She tells him all she’s missing is the white picket fence, and then Dawson stays up all night and builds her like two feet of a white picket fence. It’s pretty cute! He’s planning to finish it over the summer, which is very optimistic of him, both in light of his carpentry ineptitude and his inability to stay in a relationship with anyone for longer than four episodes. He does look pretty good hammering things in a tight white t-shirt, I will give him that. Very Mitch-like. 

Jack has indeed called Mr. McPhee to help with Andie, and Andie feels betrayed – especially when Mr. McPhee says that he wants to take the family back to Providence with him so he can take care of Andie and her mother. Jack wasn’t counting on that, and he and Andie balk. Pacey balks hardest, and then does what he does best: he gives an impassioned speech to Mr. McPhee, telling him that Andie needs him, and he can’t be there for her if she moves to Providence. This does very little to move the stony old bastard, but then Jack gives an impassioned speech of his own, and finally Mr. McPhee tells Andie she can stay if she wants to. But she’s been thinking it through, and she realizes what she wants most is to get better. She doesn’t want Pacey and Jack to have to take care of her – she wants to take care of herself, and she thinks Providence is the best place for her to do that. She tells Jack she wants him to stay in Capeside, where he belongs, and at first Jack doesn’t think he can do that – until Mr. McPhee refers to Jack’s homosexuality as his “problem” and heavily implies that he wants Jack to choose to be straight. Jack tells him that all he’s choosing to be is happy, and he’s going to stay in Capeside, far away from his monstrous father.

Andie and Pacey go out for one last date, and she takes him to the pier where they first kissed. She tells him she has to go to Providence, and he says he knows. They dance, and they kiss, and it’s beautiful, and it makes me cry so hard. The next morning, Pacey arrives to see Andie off, and they share one more loving hug. He’s so nervous and kind and wonderful here, and she’s so sad but at peace with her decision, and I am straight up BAWLING now. He gives her the loveliest speech, because that’s what he does:

I don’t want to say goodbye. I just want to look at you. I wish I had some eloquent parting words for you, but all I could think of was this: Thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for forcing me to be the man you made me. Just thank you. I am so grateful to you, Andie. Just remember your promise, okay? You and me together again, happy, healthy, more in love than ever. You’ll get better, McPhee. Then you hurry back to me.

She drives off, with Pacey and Jack watching and waving goodbye. Goodbye for now, Andie. Hurry back. 

We are not ending on that note! I am not emotionally prepared to end on that note! Jen’s been feeling very lonely and out of place at the Leerys’, no matter how welcoming they’ve been, and suddenly she and Jack are talking about it THE WAY BESTIES MIGHT TALK. They find themselves confiding in each other, about Mr. McPhee and Grams, and Jack convinces Jen to call her parents and see if they’ll take her back. They give her the worst possible answers (her terrible mom: “She casually informed me that now was not a good time for me to re-enter her life.” Her terrible dad: “He said he’s still getting over my last stay with them”), and Jen is so, so hurt. She decides to just move away and live on her own, and she packs a suitcase and heads to the bus station – where Jack finds her, and with the utmost love and compassion takes the suitcase off her shoulder, throws away her ticket, guides her out of the bus line, and tells her she’s moving in with him. “It’s pretty empty, and I could use a roommate. What do you say?” I SAY YES. They walk away from the bus, holding hands, and I cheer!

UNFORTUNATELY we’re not ending on that note, either. Because when Dawson heads to The Ice House to return Mr. Potter’s tools, he sees Joey’s dad taking part in a very clear drug transaction. DAMMIT, POTTER.

How many times did I have to drink? 

8.

DAAAMN, Andie

When she sees her dad, she goes ice cold and tells him, “I seem to remember you’re not welcome here.”

DAAAMN, Jack

His speech to his dad ends thusly: “Her solution will come from the people that love and care for her. I know that’s not your specialty, Dad.”

The truest thing anybody said this week

When Jen says that maybe Jack and his dad will reconcile, Jack snarks, “Yeah right. Us and the Middle East.”

The wisest thing anybody said this week

When Jack hears the heartbreaking way Jen’s parents rejected her, he tells her that he likes to think his mom would still accept him if she were “capable of comprehending” that he’s gay. And then he says, “Because that’s the way our parents should love us, Jen. Unconditionally. Sadly, most parents don’t. But as much as it hurts… it’s worse for them. It is worse to be incapable of loving than to not be loved.” I’m so glad Jen has Jack in her life now!

Pacey Witter’s worst shirt

IS THAT VELOUR. PLEASE DO NOT WEAR VELOUR ON YOUR LAST DATE WITH THE WOMAN YOU LOVE.

Pacey stands outside with Andie, wearing a velour collared paisley shirt. It's hideous.

Pacey Witter’s best hug

I hope you don’t expect me to choose just one in this episode! Andie needed a lot of good hugs this week, and Pacey made sure she got ’em.

Pacey hugs Andie in her bedroom, resting his head on top of hers in a very comforting way
Pacey hugs Andie to him on the pier, kissing her forehead
Pacey hugs Andie before she leaves, holding her face in his hands and touching his forehead to hers

Pacey Swayze

When Andie and Pacey talk about their first kiss, she says her legs were shaking, and he says his heart was going “boom boom, boom boom.” They do this TWICE and both times it reminds me so much of Ultimate Dreamboat Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, and I hope Joshua Jackson knows that comparison is, for serious, my highest possible compliment.


And that’s it for this week! Britt, as you will be wrapping up Season 2 and heading on to the SUPER JUICY Season 3, tell me: what was your favorite episode of S2? 

Join Britt next Wednesday morning as she covers “Parental Discretion Advised” – the Season 2 finale that includes two of my favorite Dawson’s Creek scenes of all time! – and “Like A Virgin.”

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.