Pacey's at the rave, wearing a glow necklace like a crown with a sardonic look on his face


Title: Dawson’s Creek S4.E05 “A Family Way” + S4.E06 “Great Xpectations”
Released: 2000
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 18

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, on Dawson’s Creek.

Welcome back to The Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project! You know, even though Season 4 is a bit of a wheel-spinner, I think I sort of like that about it? After all of the death, drama and destruction of the first three seasons, it’s refreshing to just watch these teenagers do normal teenager things: you know, like go to raves and have anxiety attacks at the free clinic. And also, okay, almost die because they did drugs ONE TIME. This is Dawson’s Creek, after all.

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!

Dawson's parents sit on the couch. Gail has been crying, and Mitch looks very serious

4.05 “A Family Way”

Gail’s pregnant, and everyone’s a little shaken up at the prospect. The Leerys don’t have any money and Gail and Mitch are a bit of a trainwreck, let’s be honest, and also this is quite the late-in-life baby. Gail thinks about having an abortion, and Dawson acts extraordinarily self-righteous and judgmental, unsurprisingly, until he talks to Gretchen about it. We learn that an unplanned pregnancy is the reason that Gretchen’s now in Capeside instead of at college, though Dawson’s Creek takes the easy way out by having her tell Dawson that she had a miscarriage before her abortion was scheduled, as happens on all of these teen shows from the early 2000s. Anyway, hearing Gretchen’s story helps Dawson stop being such a typical dude who thinks his mom’s reproductive choices are ANY of his business, and he tells her that she’s been a wonderful mother to him, and that he’ll support her no matter what. Aww. 

In other sex news, Pacey wants some. And Joey might? She’s not sure. She’s AWFULLY uncomfortable at the idea (drink!), but also she kind of wants to do it, too. Pacey pulls a pretty gross teen boy manipulation move and tells Joey he doesn’t want to make out with her anymore, because she always ends it before he does, and Joey kind of spirals a bit, worried that she’s “cold” or not normal. After some really terrific advice from Jen (yay!), Joey goes to the free clinic so she can at least be prepared, even if she’s not actually ready. She almost flees out of the clinic at some of the totally routine questions the doctor’s asking her, so it’s pretty clear she’s NOT ready, but that doesn’t stop her from sticking up for the idea of having sex when Bessie finds all of the free birth control that Joey’s hidden in her dresser drawer. Bessie WIGS and they have a fight in front of a bunch of B&B guests, hilariously inappropriately, until Bodie meets up with Joey and says all of the right stuff: 1) that Bessie just wants more for Joey than her own path of being a young, unwed mother 2) that if Joey’s flipping out this much when they just talk about sex, she’s probably not ready. So Joey goes back to Pacey and tells him so, and very rightfully tells him off for trying to manipulate her. He’s super chagrined and sorry and promises that he’s okay with waiting as long as it takes. Yeah right! But it’s cute because their argument ends in a tickle fight, which is always the best way to resolve any deep relationship concerns.

Other stuff that happened in this episode: 

* Jack is volunteering to coach a girls’ soccer team, because he misses sports since his football injury, and Andie wants him to pack his resume for college. One of the team MILFs starts hitting on Jack very aggressively, until he finally tells her he’s gay – and then a lot of the parents pull their kids off the team. Poor Jack is not surprised, but very saddened, but Andie stands up for him, and he gets to make a difference in the life of this one particular weirdo girl named Molly. 

* Dawson is painting Mr. Brooks‘ house as payment for damaging his boat, and Mr. Brooks continues to be a crotchety old jerk. He criticizes all of Dawson’s photographs, and even though his feedback is pretty mean, it’s also fairly specific and helpful. Dawson takes his advice and takes a bunch of photos of Gretchen, and Mr. Brooks reviews those much more favorably. Dawson looks thoughtfully at one beautiful photo of Gretchen, for whom he is obviously falling hard. 

How many times did I have to drink? 


Least likely dialogue

Joey says to Pacey, “Your girlfriend offers you her lips in the spirit of teenage lust” – and let me just stop you right there, Joey. That is NOT how lusty teenagers talk. 

Is it possible Dawson’s bad at everything? 

After hearing about what a wunderkind Dawson is for three seasons, it’s starting to occur to me that no professional adults who aren’t related to him ever like his movies, scripts or photographs. Mr. Brooks says of his photos: “Pedestrian. Wholly uninteresting. Amateurish and terrible composition, too.”

The best toast of all time

After Jen’s super level-headed and compassionate sex advice to Joey, the two ladies cheers with their Snapples to “responsible sexual gratification.”

Joey and Jen in the cafeteria, tapping their Snapple bottles together in a toast with cute smiles on their faces

How we know Joey’s not ready

She keeps referring to sex as “intercourse.”

The truest thing anybody said this week

When Bessie tells Joey that she’s too young to have sex, Joey retorts, “I am the oldest seventeen-year-old in Capeside.” I mean, you keep calling it “intercourse” so I’m inclined to believe you. Even Grams calls it sex.

Jen, Jack and Andie are at a rave, surrounded by partiers in neon lights

4.06 “Great Xpectations”

A rave has come to Capeside, and everyone’s invited! Gretchen invites Dawson, who first declines but then changes his mind. In the interim, Gretchen had already invited Pacey and Joey, so it looks like this unlikely foursome will be attending together, but actually it’s pretty fine: everyone’s an adult about it, and nobody behaves needlessly awkwardly. They’re all sort of getting along! Even seeing Gretchen and Dawson flirting doesn’t put a damper on the evening – Joey freezes up a bit but then relaxes about it, and when Pacey tries to get her to admit it bothers her, she cutely tells him, “No, it bothers you. You just WANT it to bother me,” and then she makes him smile and it’s adorable and all grumpiness melts away: 


More cuteness between Joey and Pacey, who are both too square to enjoy the rave and are instead being adorably antisocial together:

Joey does make one uncool move – she tells Gretchen to watch out, because Dawson’s still probably hanging onto his childhood crush, and none of that is ANY of your business, Joey. Gretchen gets a little weirded out and talks to Dawson, and he actually handles it perfectly: he says that he’s enjoying just being in the moment with her, and he’s grateful for her friendship and isn’t expecting or looking for anything more. Gretchen’s relieved, and everyone’s cool again! 

Andie’s at the rave celebrating the MAJOR fact that she got into Harvard. Everyone’s over the moon for her, but she’s realizing, likely due to her antidepressants, that she’s not as excited as she thought she would be. She sees Jen’s X (molly for you young’ins), which has mysteriously resurfaced, and asks her a lot of specific questions about the drug. Jen answers them frankly, but even though she discusses the downside of MDMA very thoroughly, she also talks about how awesome it is a little too enthusiastically. Andie sneakily takes one of Jen’s pills, and then poor Jen’s stuck taking care of her at the rave, while that creep Drue Valentine continues to make waves the way he always does. At first it seems like everything’s fine and Andie’s having a terrific time (aside from the way she awkwardly announces to Joey and Pacey that she’s still in love with Pacey, which makes me crack up and cringe in equal measure), but the drugs counteract poorly with her antidepressants and she has a hypertensive crisis. She ends up at the hospital, and everyone’s so worried – especially Jack, who blames Jen and tells her it should be her in the ambulance. Poor Jen! Andie STOLE those drugs from her! Drue tries to capitalize on Jen’s moment of weakness, attempting to convince her that her friends will never forgive her, but she’s not buying it. 

Drue: The truth still is, no matter what Andie tells them, Monday at school they’re gonna treat you like this is your fault. You came here the banished bad seed, Jen. That’s all you’ll ever be to them. You know what? They want you to play that role so that they can feel better about the pathetic, plastic, Mayberry existence they’re living.

Jen: And I thought that I was damaged.

Drue: You are. So am I. And that’s why we need each other. We’re coming from the same place here, Jen.

Jen: No, Drue. We came from the same place, but now we’re miles apart, and I intend to keep it that way. I’m gonna call my friend and see how she’s doing.

Go Jen!!!

So how is Andie doing? She’s… okay. Jack sends all of their friends home from the hospital to get some rest, but Pacey won’t go, because he feels guilty, like he should have known something was wrong because he knows Andie so well. Typical Pacey! So Andie has a very honest, vulnerable moment with Pacey, Jack and Mr. McPhee, and she apologizes for scaring all of them and for risking her health for one night of fun. 


Andie: I just wanted to feel something. Anything.

Aww, Andie. You’re gonna be a-okay, girl. 

Other stuff that happened in this episode: 

* Gail and Mitch are going to keep the baby! Everyone’s really excited about it. 

* Joey and Dawson end up walking around the pier together after Andie’s hospital scare, and they have a good conversation – about Andie, about the baby, about all sorts of things. Looks like these two are on the way, very slowly, to healing their friendship.

How many times did I have to drink? 


Jen’s best burn

Of Drue, she says: “He’s the dark lord of revisionist history.” This will be proven EXTRA true next week.

Jen’s former epithet

She was “The Uber Raver.”

Best literary reference

Of X, Jen says: “It just provided a pleasant vacation from my usual spot under the bell jar.”

Most meta moment

When Gretchen asks Dawson who Drue is, he replies, “Did you ever meet Abby Morgan?” Hah! 

That’s it for this week! I have a question for you, readers – how do you guys feel about Season 4? Am I the only one who appreciates its relatively pleasant, conflict-light approach to storytelling? 

Meet me back here next Wednesday morning as we cover “You Had Me At Goodbye” and “The Unusual Suspects.”

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.