Dawson cradles Joey's face and kisses her in front of his bedroom window


Title: Dawson’s Creek S1.E13 “Decisions” + S2.E01 “The Kiss”
Released: 1998
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 24

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project, in which we’re wrapping up the glummer Season 1 and jumping into SUPER FUN Season 2!

Last week, Britt asked me if Dawson makes me want to tear out my hair, and he completely does in the first season, but less so from here on out. He’s still nowhere NEAR Pacey in terms of charm and wisdom, but he loses a lot of the whiny judgment and becomes more relatable. 

Let’s drink to the introduction of the super adorbs McPhee siblings!

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

Joey climbs into or out of Dawson’s window

Sex makes Dawson and/or Joey extremely uncomfortable

Jen brings up her atheism

Grams says “Jennifaaah”

Someone says the words “black boyfriend” in reference to Bodie

Drink Twice every time:

Dawson mentions Spielberg

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! 

Joey hovers in Dawson's window, looking indecisive

1.13 “Decisions”

Things are awkward between Joey and Dawson since their near-kiss and diss after the beauty pageant, an event that Dawson is unsurprisingly choosing to ignore. Joey is FED UP with his cluelessness this week, and when she’s offered a scholarship to study for a semester in France, it seems like she’s going to take it. Dawson’s panicking at the idea of a semester without his sidekick, but good lord, JOEY SHOULD EMBRACE THIS OPPORTUNITY. All she’s ever wanted is a way to leave Capeside, and so this is a dilemma because why, exactly? Joey asks Dawson several times throughout the episode to give her one good reason she should stay, and because he is dumb, he doesn’t. Maybe that’s because there is literally NO GOOD REASON FOR HER TO REJECT A FREE SEMESTER IN PARIS.

It’s her dad’s birthday – you remember Joey’s dad, right? Imprisoned for trafficking marijuana, cheated on Joey’s mom while she was dying of cancer? Joey hasn’t seen him since, but she and Bessie made a pact to alternate birthday visits until he gets out, and now it’s Joey’s turn. She’s miserable at the prospect, but Dawson goes with her because he’s a pretty good friend. When they arrive, it’s after visiting hours, so they have to stay overnight in a hotel. I don’t know why this is weird, considering these two have been sharing a bed since birth, practically, but Dawson makes it weird and Joey scowls through the entire evening. When she finally gets to see her dad in the morning, she’s so overwhelmed with anger at what he’s done to her, to Bessie, to their mom, that she barely says a word and storms out. Joey’s dad is really trying, but I can’t blame Joey for not forgiving him. He asks Dawson to stay behind and tell him about Joey, and as Dawson talks about how amazing she is, it seems to dawn on him that he’s in love with her. Yeah, no shit, Dawson.

Joey and Dawson head back to Capeside in silence. Later, Pacey stops by the Ice House, dealing with his own paternal angst after being told for the nine millionth time that he’s a loser, and he and Joey have a nice talk about crappy dads. Joey tells him, “Maybe you should have a talk with your father. You know, tell him that he hurt you,” and Pacey wisely counters, “Is that what you did?” Realizing that she missed an opportunity to be honest with her dad, she asks Pacey to drive her back to the prison so she can talk to him. Pacey steals his dad’s car and bribes the guard to get Joey in to see Mr. Potter, because Pacey is SO GREAT, and then Joey has a heartbreaking, incredibly honest conversation with her dad. They both cry, I cry, you probably cry, everybody cries:

Joey: Hi. I hardly know what I’m doing here. That’s not true. Look, I came here tonight because I wanted to tell you that you messed up. You really messed up. And not because you broke the law or you got caught or that you left me without a father. You messed up because you don’t know me. I’m your daughter and you don’t know me at all. So I guess I just came to say that I’m all right. I turned out pretty good. And I’m going to be okay, no help from you. And I just have one question… Do you love me? 

Mr. Potter: More than you’d ever know. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Joey: Do you think about me?

Mr. Potter: Sweetheart, all day long, every day, every hour, every minute.

Joey: Do you really love me, though? Because I’m 15 years old and I go through every day of my life thinking nobody loves me.

Mr. Potter: Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

And then he tells her that Dawson loves her, too, and he can tell that she loves him, and that she should act on it. So Joey hauls butt home to do just that. 

Meanwhile, Jen’s grandpa wakes up! For just a few hours, and she’s so happy, and then because nothing good ever happens to Jen Lindley without being followed by something terrible, he has another stroke and dies. She’s so crushed, so incredibly upset, and she joins Grams at church and they both pray for Gramps’ safe passage. Even though Jen doesn’t believe in God, it’s a really touching, beautiful moment between two women who will become so close in the coming years. Jen then heads to Dawson’s house and tells him she misses him, and she knows that’s her fault, and she asks him if she can stay overnight like Joey often does. Dawson is SO awkward, but agrees. The next morning Jen wakes up very contentedly, and Dawson wakes very awkwardly, and Jen leans over to kiss him even though it’s clearly not what he wants. Look, Jen can do much better, but who among us hasn’t fled to our safe ex when tragedy strikes? Joey climbs into Dawson’s window just as this is happening, and she runs away, with Dawson hot on her trail and poor Jen sitting, sad and alone, on Dawson’s bed. GAH, poor Jen. Drink twice. 

Anyway, Dawson searches all over Capeside for Joey, and then finally heads back to his room where he finds her waiting for him, in full-on scowl mode. She gives him a really good speech, telling him she’s tired of all the analyzing and over-thinking and never doing, and Dawson replies by analyzing and over-thinking and not doing, until Joey’s ready to leave and then Dawson grabs her and kisses her. I will give you this: it seems like a good kiss. It’s kind of a nice moment. 

And then the credits roll and we’re done with Season 1!

How many times did I have to drink? 


Most meta moment

At the beginning of the episode, Joey and Dawson are watching TV and she says she hates two-part finales because, “a cliffhanger is merely a manipulative TV standard designed to improve ratings. I mean, the producers put the characters in some contrived situation hoping that the audience will think something is going to change. But you know what? It never does. It’s back to the same way it was before your so-called cliffhanger. It’s boring, Dawson.” I see what you’re doing here, Kevin Williamson!

Guess who? 

Mike Potter is played by Hey, It’s That Guy! Gareth Williams, who’s been in The ShieldLaw & OrderThe Cell and 77 other things.

Gareth Williams as Mike Potter


Jen, never kiss a boy who is making THIS face at you.

Jen leans over to kiss Dawson, who looks TERRIFIED

Most recognizable song

Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” tied with Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be Your Crying Shoulder.” hi there, 1998!

Saddest foreshadowing

Joey stumbles into the scholarship when another girl turns it down because she doesn’t want to leave her boyfriend. So (spoiler, sigh), THAT MAKES TWO GIRLS WHO TURN DOWN A SCHOLARSHIP TO PARIS TO STAY WITH THEIR BORING CAPESIDE BOYFRIENDS. Idiots!

Dawson and Joey's solemn faces, post-kiss

2.01 “The Kiss”

The episode opens where “Decisions” left off, with Joey and Dawson doing some adorable PG macking. They pause to over-analyze, and then get awkward again, and then Joey’s about to storm off, as is her wont, when Dawson tells her, “Don’t even think about climbing out that window” – and then they resume macking. It’s pretty cute, okay? 

The cuteness continues into the next morning, when Bessie grills Joey for the scoop as Dawson confides in Pacey. In a transparent but still funny reversal, Joey and Bessie are unloading heavy boxes from the truck while the boys are at the salon getting haircuts. Joey describes the kiss as “Hot, extremely hot,” while Dawson describes it as “just the sweetest, most romantic, Fourth of July fireworky, waves crashing on the shore, beyond any movie I could ever imagine kiss,” because he is a total GIRL. The whole thing is cute! Listen, I think these two or three episodes of happy Joey and Dawson are just a nice, non-angsty change of pace. 

They head to school and continue to be cute and happy, and I vaguely approve of all of it until Joey officially turns down Paris, and then I transform into a RAGE MONSTER. Idiot! But they’re happy, and horny, and then Dawson invites Joey on a date at the Rialto when Jen walks up to tell them that her grandfather died. They’re both so sad for her, and she kind of wanders off unhappily, but later when Dawson brings over his mom’s grief casserole, he and Jen have a nice talk. She implies again that she wouldn’t mind reuniting with him, even though it’s clear he’s moved on, but he tells her simply, “I think you could use a friend right now more than anything else. How about it?” and I kind of like that response. She agrees, but then totally shows up ON JOEY AND DAWSON’S DATE AND SITS DOWN WITH THEM. OMG, it’s so embarrassing. I could die. It’s also an interesting play on Joey’s hijacking of Dawson and Jen’s first date at the Rialto!

And of course Jen is dealing with major grief and misplacing it into this regret at losing Dawson, because when Grams tells her she’s headed to the Rialto for the evening and giving away some of Gramps’ clothes to the church charity drive, Jen is just so angry and sad. She confronts Dawson and then runs off, and Dawson runs after her because every time a woman runs away, Dawson Leery has to run after her. Joey sits alone holding the flower Dawson brought her and just looking uncomfortable. In the lobby (the same place Joey yelled at Dawson in the pilot!), Jen tells Dawson how sad she feels that she was clearly just a placeholder for Joey, “the girl whose sole purpose was to allow you to figure out who you were really in love with.” Dawson tells her that’s not true, and then Jen asks him not to “jump Joey right away” or else it’ll “send [her] to razor blades.” Jesus, Jen! I know you’re sad, but this is DAWSON LEERY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. No one, least of all your cool ass, needs to resort to razor blades over Dawson Leery. 

Dawson heads back into the theater to find that Joey has vacated her seat and left the flower behind, and this is the first time I ever really feel sorry for Dawson: he just runs his fingers through his hair and makes this face like “This is NOT how I wanted tonight to go,” and I feel for him, because Jen and Joey are kind of a LOT, drama-wise. He finds Joey on the pier and they make up and make out cutely, while both acknowledging that this whole thing will be pretty complicated. And Jen’s story has a less bleak ending: after the movie, she and Grams sit in the empty theater and Grams admits that she wanted to go to the Rialto because that was where she had her first date with Gramps. They cry, and hug each other, and talk about how much they’ll miss him, but also how much they now mean to one another, because they’re all they have left. Grams tells Jen, “You’re my whole world,” and I cry again. I love these two. 

Finally, the McPhees are here!! Well, so far it’s just Andie McPhee, Type-A darling of my heart. She’s this show’s Taylor Townsend, with an edge! Pacey’s inspired by Dawson’s kiss to try something new, so he frosts his tips (OMG, and I’m quoting him here with this “frosted tips” nonsense) and decides he’s going to ask gorgeous cheerleader Kristy Livingstone on a date. But first, he’s driving his dad’s sheriff-mobile when a perky, preppy blonde runs into him and scratches the car. He’s wearing aviators and, I guess?, a shirt with a blue collar, so this adorable space cadet assumes he’s a police officer and starts babbling apologies. Pacey plays along and gives her a hard time, and when she sees him in school later and realizes he’s not a cop, she is PISSED. She picks up on his crush on Kristy Livingstone and repays the prank, by convincing Kristy that Pacey has a fatal condition called, hilariously, a “heart stripe.” Pacey thinks Kristy likes him when really she just admires his bravery in the face of death. Andie got him but good! They snipe at each other a lot and act like they hate each other, but it’s SO DANG CUTE and pretty clear they have some crush vibes happening. 

Oh, finally FINALLY, Gail is still trying really hard to win back Mitch with some morning seduction attempts, but Mitch goes to see a divorce attorney and tells Gail he has no idea if he can make it work with her. I kinda forgot about these two!

How many times do I have to drink? 


Pacey Witter’s worst shirt: 

Pacey wears a baggie, short-sleeved button down printed with, like, fireballs

This is what he wears on what he believes is a date with his dream girl! No wonder she thinks he has a heart stripe.

Pacey Witter’s frosted tips

Pacey, with newly blonde hair, lowers his aviators behind Meredith Munroe as Andie McPhee

Thank god this arc ends with Andie handing him a box of brown hair dye. 

The least angsty teens

This is what Dawson and Joey look like the morning after their makeout sesh. 

Joey lies on her back in bed, smiling happily to herself
Dawson lies on his side, smiling in bed

Guess who? 

Kristy Livingstone is played by Final Destination and Legally Blonde‘s Ali Larter who is, unequivocally, a babe. 

Ali Larter as Kristy Livingstone

Dawson’s date attire


Dawson wears baggy khakis, a baggy sweater vest and baggy white shirt

Joey’s date attire

Much better.

Joey wears a pink crocheted tank top and brown skirt

Dawson’s date transportation

Admittedly baller.

Dawson heads to pick up Joey for their date in a speed boat

Best sisters forever

Have I mentioned lately how much I love when Bessie gives Joey advice?

Gail’s giant hair

Pilot-level giant!

Gail stands in the yard with huge, frizzy hair and giant bangs

Least likely dialogue

Dawson telling Joey that he feels “aroused” in the high school hall. AROUSED, YOU GUYS. Aroused. 

Most recognizable song

Fastball’s “Out of My Head”

Best pop culture reference/most meta moment

Pacey, marveling along with the audience that Dawson and Joey actually skipped over the “will-they-won’t they drama for at least another couple of years. Sam and Diane didn’t get together for at least four seasons and Mulder and Scully, they haven’t even kissed!”

Saddest foreshadowing

Andie makes a seeming joke about having an anxiety attack and needing meds after Pacey’s prank, but (spoiler) she probably isn’t kidding. 

That’s it for this week! I have a question for you, Britt: are you as enamored of Andie McPhee as I am? I think the first half of her relationship with Pacey is some GREAT storytelling that allows both characters to grow in super interesting ways. And while I am OF COURSE Team Pacey and Joey 4ever, Andie and Dawson make for a compelling detour on their road to true completion.

Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers “Crossroads” and “Alternative Lifestyles.” Yay Season 2!

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.