Title: Dawson’s Creek S4.E01 “Coming Home” + S4.E02 “Failing Down”
Released: 2000
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 15


Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, on Dawson’s Creek.

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project, where we have reached Season 4! And here’s the thing about Season 4 – we get to see Pacey and Joey in full-on relationship mode, but, much like real life, it’s not quite as rewarding as one might have hoped. Except when they’re making out! That part’s pretty rewarding. 

Let’s all drink to Pacey and Joey making out! 

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!

Joey and Pacey lie in hammocks on his boat

4.01 “Coming Home”

The episode opens with Pacey and Joey making out on the boat, being hot and awesome and nearing port at Capeside. Pacey really, really doesn’t want to go home, and though Joey has clearly had the time of her life over this summer of True Love, she seems more prepared for reality than Pacey does. They delay the inevitable for one more evening, and leap into the ocean in what is clearly a very romantic routine: 


They make it home, and stuff instantly gets awkward. Everyone wants to know if they had sex over the summer, a question that is NO ONE’S BUSINESS but that doesn’t mean everyone isn’t going to ask, which Pacey totally predicted: 

EVERYONE asks. Even Jack, whom I believe we can all agree is the least crass of Dawson’s crew: 

Joey and Pacey keep their lips zipped. They’ve promised to spend 24 hours away from one another, since a Summer of True Love can really turn a couple co-dependent, but they fail almost immediately. Jen invites Joey to “the dive-in,” a fun new thing that anticipates the Alamo’s own Jaws on the Water

A screening of JAWS plays outside on the water, with kids in boats and on the beach watching it at night.

Joey’s excited to go and “square things away” with Dawson, but Pacey’s been sorta kicked out of Doug’s house by the arrival of his big sister Gretchen, and he has nowhere to go, so he tags along. Seeing Pacey and Joey holding hands is not the quickest way to “square things away” with Dawson, but Dawson does his best to behave like an adult. He’s spent a really nice summer with Andie, Jack and Jen, painting houses with Jack (both guys are buff now) and getting into photography, and he’s determined to rise above his baser instincts. I respect it! He’s, of course, MUCH friendlier to Joey than he is to Pacey, but he does tell Joey he’s going to need some time before they can be best friends again.

Pacey, meanwhile, acts like a total child once he sees Joey and Dawson getting along. He tries commanding her to leave with him and then actually ditches her at the dive-in when she refuses, forcing her to get a ride home with Dawson. REAL SMART, PACEY. Joey tells Dawson that she and Pacey didn’t have sex, WHICH IS 100% NOT DAWSON’S BUSINESS, and also you shouldn’t have told him that, Joey.

So Joey finds her way back to True Love, where Pacey’s crashing for the night until he can find a place to stay, and she’s really great here, refusing to let his stupid, jealous, pouty behavior ruin their relationship. He tells her, angrily, that her mind wandered as they neared Capeside, and she admits to being distracted at the idea of seeing Dawson again, because it’s so important to her to keep his friendship. Her mind wandered, but…

I love S4 Joey. I wish I loved S4 Pacey. And then she asks a mollified Pacey if they can “do that thing” they do sometimes, and he agrees, smiling. That thing? Reading The Little Mermaid to one another in hammocks while holding hands. PRETTY CUTE, YOU TWO. 

Other stuff that happened in this episode: 

* Dawson and Gretchen run into each other, and sparks immediately fly. Turns out she was his very first crush, and it seems like, all these years later, she might be reciprocating. Gretchen’s great, btw. She and Pacey bicker a lot but clearly love each other, and she’s just got a cool, fun, low-drama vibe that I really enjoy and that Dawson’s Creek desperately needs. 

* Andie meets two French boys at the beach, Jean and Jean-Jean. She spends the whole episode flirting with the one who speaks mild English without realizing the other one speaks perfect English. She and Jean-Jean make out, it’s kind of fun.

* Henry got a scholarship to a boarding school, so he and Jen are trying the “long-distance thing,” to quote Grams quoting Jen. Grams disapproves, because Jen is young and shouldn’t be tying herself down. As always, I agree with Grams.

* Potter B&B has been killing it! They’re making tons of money, which makes me happy.

* Gail and Mitch are still madly in love and in total mack mode. 

How many times did I have to drink? 


Pacey’s new hair

Pacey has a new buzz cut

I do not approve.

Dawson’s new hair

Dawson has a floppy new middle-part haircut

I do not approve.

Joey’s sexy new boho, skin-baring wardrobe

We see Joey's back and she's wearing a coral linen skirt and a turquoise camisole that ties in the back and shows a lot more skin than we're used to seeing on little Joey Potter

I totally approve! 

Andie spent the entire episode in a bikini

Andie stands on a crowded beach in a red spotted bikini

Literally every moment of her screentime. Of course, if I had her bod, I would, too. 

Guess who? 

Sasha Alexander as Gretchen

Gretchen is played by Rizzoli & Isles‘ Sasha Alexander. She’s pretty and has a cool, throaty voice.


Jen and Joey have a great conversation, just catching up over their summers, and I know I say this all the time, but I love it when these two girls are pals.

Sweet Dawson

He’s pretty mature in these episodes, especially compared to Pacey. Jen admits that she feels responsible for how everything went down last spring, and Dawson tells her, “Look, the only thing you’re responsible for is helping me have arguably the best summer of my life.”

The truest thing anybody said this week

Gretchen tells Pacey that he and Joey are perfect for each other: “You’re both classic, scrappy underdogs. She’s sassy and you’re a legendary annoyance. She’s beautiful and you’re… lucky.” She then amends it, smiling, “You’re both lucky.”

Jen and Dawson sit by the creek, both looking serious

4.02 “Failing Down”

Oh good, another episode where Pacey acts like a total asshat! Well, not at first – on the first day of school, he and Joey are SO CUTE in the hall together: 


Of course, Dawson happens to walk up right then, which isn’t great, but does not detract from my joy in this gif. Pacey’s smile doesn’t last for long, however – Mitch is now filling in as the new guidance counselor (?), and he tells Pacey that he failed three classes last semester. If Pacey had stuck around and taken summer school, he’d be on schedule, but of course he was Heming-his-way through the Atlantic Ocean instead. Pacey panics, but in the dumb boy way of panicking, which is to say he’s just really mean to everyone and refuses to tell his girlfriend what’s going on. He and Gretchen are now roomies in a ramshackle beach shed (so cute!), and she VERY WISELY advises him to come clean to Joey. He doesn’t, like a dummy, and just keeps pushing her away. Mitch tells Dawson what’s going on, though, and Dawson doesn’t want to care, but when Pacey misses the next day of class, Dawson can’t help but be a good guy. He goes to Joey and tells her what’s up. Joey confronts Pacey, and he admits to being terrified of her leaving him behind. Joey is, once again, THE BEST, better than Pacey’s behavior frankly deserves: 

Jen hasn’t heard from Henry in a while, and she’s starting to feel a little anxious about it, until Jack assures her that she’s being silly, and Henry’s probably just settling in at his new school. That is, until Jack gets an email from Henry, and learns that Henry has ASKED HIM TO BREAK UP WITH JEN FOR HIM, to which Jack, inexplicably, agreed. Jen is heartbroken and furious – as much with Jack as with Henry – but they make up, of course, because they’re the best besties on the planet. AND YAY, NOW JEN IS FREE OF HENRY! She doesn’t see it that way, of course, but she will.

Other stuff that happened in this episode: 

* Gretchen’s trying to negotiate a reconciliation between Pacey and Dawson. Neither one seems particularly interested, but the sparks are still a-flyin’ between Dawson and Gretchen. 

* Joey applies for a job as a server at the Capeside Country Club, aiming for higher tips. At Andie’s advice, she drops the name of “Owen Ross” to get the job when the bitchy manager seems inclined not to hire her, and then the bitchy manager’s son pretends to be Owen Ross to prove that Joey doesn’t really know who that is. He seems intrigued by Joey, and he covers for her to his bitchy mom, then reveals who he really is: Drue Valentine, of whom we will see much, much more this season. Some might say too much. (Some is me.)

Mark Matkevich as Drue Valentine

How many times do I have to drink? 


Hello, from 2000

Jen talks about her “cyber-sex” with Henry, which just feels so quaint, frankly. I also love Jack’s response: “I’m sure you’re a very generous and giving cyber-lover, Jen.”

The truest thing anybody said this week

Gretchen tells Pacey, “Something tells me that Joey’s feelings for you are not contingent on your GPA,” and we sure as hell know that’s the truth. Good lord, if they were? Bye-bye True Love.

The half-truest thing anybody said this week

When Ms. Valentine asks Joey what her father does for a living, Joey replies, with some accuracy, “Pharmaceuticals. Daddy made his fortune in the pharmaceutical world.”

Badass Joey Potter

She calls out Ms. Valentine, whom she’s hoping will hire her for a job, on her “thinly veiled bitchery,” and I often wish I had a fraction of Joey Potter’s moxie. 

Best pop culture reference

Dawson returns Joey’s Counting Crows CDs to her.

The R-word

Joey calls Pacey “emotionally [r-word],” and maybe THAT’S how we know it’s the year 2000. 

That’s it for this week! READERS, I have a question for you. Has your crush on Pacey abated somewhat with our introduction into Season 4? I know mine has! (Don’t worry. It’ll come back with a vengeance eventually.)

Meet me back here next Wednesday morning as I cover “Two Gentlemen of Capeside” and “Future Tense.”

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.