Dawson traipses through the woods holding a video camera

About:

Title: Dawson’s Creek S3.E06 “Secrets and Lies” + S3.E07 “Escape from Witch Island”
Released: 1999
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 25

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project! Last week, Britt asked me how I feel about Henry and Jen. I go all over the place on these two: sometimes I think they’re SO ADORABLE, sometimes I think Henry is a total clingy creep and Jen is right to be wary of him. I’d say I blame the writers, but I feel like this is a pretty accurate portrayal of a high school relationship! 

Let’s drink to the writers of Dawson’s Creek!

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!

Pacey is comforting a blanket-wrapped Andie on the pier at night

3.06 “Secrets and Lies”

Woof. This is not an easy one. Let’s get the sillier stuff out of the way first. 

Jen’s Homecoming Queen crown comes at a price – not only her dignity and sense of moral superiority, although those have in fact been compromised, but also her mandatory assistance in the upcoming Homecoming Queen gala. All of the former “HQs” attend this gala, and it’s organized by uptight elder HQ Constance Frickling. Constance and Jen bump heads immediately, of course, until we discover that Constance’s “handy boy Hank” is actually lovesick freshman Henry. Henry tells Jen to give Constance a break – she’s lived alone her whole life, and the HQ gala is pretty much all she has to look forward to. Jen warms to Constance, but that doesn’t stop her from inviting a drag queen troupe to entertain at the gala, to Constance’s chagrin. But after a while, the old battle-axe chills out, and by the end, she’s tapping her feet to the drag show and cracking wise with the queens – of the drag variety, not homecoming. 

An elderly woman in a formal gown sits at a table, subtly tapping her feet to the music

As a thank you for playing peacekeeper, Jen invites Henry to be her escort to the gala, and they go goth which is SO CUTE and totally how my best friend Jon and I went to prom together:

Jen and Henry at the gala, Jen in a black crushed velvet gown with her hair tied up in spunky knots, and Henry in a black jacket and ruffled shirt
The author and her best friend Jon at their high school prom, both dressed goth. Meredith's look is quite similar to Jen's, and Jon is wearing red-lensed glasses and a bolo tie

It’s hard to tell, but I have Jen’s exact hair here! Also my dress was burgundy velvet and I miss it.

But of course little Henry takes this WAY too seriously and assumes it means that he and Jen are married now, and after a word to the wise from Constance, Jen attempts to let him down easily. Henry tells her his heart is broken, because that boy’s feelings are always, permanently, turned to 11. 

Gail’s returned for the HQ gala and, it turns out, perhaps for good, because a middle-aged mean girl gleefully confronts Gail about the fact that she was fired from her Philadelphia gig for being “too old to identify with.” Poor Gail! Dawson suggests she talk to Mitch about coming home, but Gail’s not so sure. 

Oh, and Bessie’s back! She and Joey are taking Pacey’s adorable advice and turning the house into a B&B with the fire insurance money, which is a charming idea, in my opinion. Pacey’s helping with all the construction work AND he got his dad’s cop friends to help, too. What a mensch! 

Finally, the rough stuff. Andie goes to a party with Creepy Rob, who has since fired Joey for not putting up with his sexual harassment, and while Joey and Pacey are working on the B&B together, Joey gets a call from Andie, who’s sobbing and asks Joey to pick her up from the party. Pacey goes with Joey, and Andie says that Rob tried to force himself on her, but she got away. Pacey is furious, of course, and he barrels into the party and gives Rob one hell of a knock-out. I’m sorry but Pacey is SO GOOD at punching people: 

Pacey walks up to Joey's boss at a party, and when the boss turns around, Pacey knocks him out with one heck of a punch

Andie asks Pacey to take her somewhere quiet, and Pacey takes her to the True Love, which is still in disrepair. METAPHOR ALERT!! There, she earnestly argues for their reconciliation, and Pacey melts under her patented Andie McPhee fire. They kiss, and when he drops her off, she’s on Cloud 9. “I guess I just want to know that you’re feeling what I’m feeling.” “I am,” he assures her, but the look on his face after she walks inside tells a different story. 

The next day, Creepy Rob comes to Joey and protests, with much feeling, that he never touched Andie. Joey, naturally, doesn’t believe a word he says and tells him off righteously, because our girl is AWESOME, but then later Andie says a few things that start to make Joey question her motives – stuff about how maybe she overreacted, and that all of this turned out for the best, because now she and Pacey are back together. Joey shakes off her suspicions as unworthy, and later Andie goes to see Pacey and brings him a bunch of cute stuff for True Love, including a jaunty captain’s hat that ends up making for the most cheerful breakup headgear ever: 

Pacey aboard the True Love in a black captain's hat with a serious look on his face

Pacey tells Andie that he didn’t feel right kissing her the night before, and embarks on a long nautical metaphor about how sometimes the damage to a ship is too severe to ever recover. She’s crying, apologizing again and again for cheating on him, and Pacey says something equally tender and heartbreaking and true: 

Andie, if you wanted to sleep with him, even if just for a second, then maybe it wasn’t wrong. Maybe… maybe that was just your heart’s way of telling you I’m not the one. ‘Cause that’s what my heart’s telling me right now. It’s telling me that you’re not the one.

GUTTED. Andie finally gives up, and goes to Joey, furious, certain that the only reason Pacey broke up with her is because Joey told him that she made up the attempted rape story. Joey admits that the idea crossed her mind for a second, but she immediately dismissed it because she knows Andie would never do something so “hurtful and plainly wrong.” Andie sinks into a chair, guilt-ridden, and admits: 

Look, you don’t know me, Joey, okay? You don’t know what I’m capable of when I set my sights on something. It’s like I’ve got blinders on. And all I can see is what’s right in front of me, what I’m after. And everything on the edges just gets blocked out somehow.

This story is really upsetting, but I think that’s a fair summary of Andie’s character. In some ways, those blinders make her the amazing person she is: driven, ambitious and, when her singleminded focus is on helping someone, completely unstoppable in the most selfless of ways. But in the face of something she cannot change, those blinders drive her to do things that she knows are wrong. And I’ll give it to Joey: she puts away her judgmental tendencies, and rather than scolding Andie, who does NOT need to hear that right now, she just sits next to her and puts her arm around her. 

How many times did I have to drink? 

10, but I chose to drink much more because Andie’s storyline stresses me out so much. 

The truest thing anybody said this week

On why Jen was elected Homecoming Queen: “They voted for me because I’m blonde and I fill out my sweater.”

The second truest thing anybody said this week

Pacey, to that ingrate Joey as he’s helping her establish a B&B out of the kindness of his heart: “You know, Potter, sometimes your ungratefulness borders on unappealing.”

The best drag queen names ever

Amanda Wreckinwith, Summer Clearance, Megan Whoopie and Ms. Christy Anity.

Dawson, holding a video camera, is joined by Jen, Joey and Pacey on a sunny day in the woods

3.07 “Escape from Witch Island” 

The kids have a paper due on The Crucible, and in typical Dawson Leery fashion, he convinces the teacher to instead let them make a movie about the myth of Witch Island, a scary piece of lore from the Capeside region. Here’s the Witch Island saga, in short:

 In the year 1692, thirteen young women – well, teenage girls really – were banished to a small island off the New England coast, because they were suspected of practicing witchcraft. One night, a year later, a fire raged out of control, killing them all.

Once they arrive on the island, they run into another documentarian, who is hilariously making a documentary about all of the unoriginal Dawson-types making documentaries about Witch Island in the wake of The Blair Witch Project. But they continue ahead anyway, and a lot of scary, atmospheric stuff happens, the kind of stuff that won’t really translate to synopsis but is quite effective onscreen. After all, Scream king Kevin Williamson directed this episode, and homeboy knows his stuff. The kids get stranded, naturally, and the scares escalate inexplicably, and when the class is watching Dawson’s film later, it seems like a ghost can be seen in the footage! SpoooOOOoooOoky. 

Joey and Dawson are, typically, taking the romantic tragedy of Witch Island very personally and making it all about them: 

Joey and Dawson snipe at each other in the woods, with Jen in the middle looking unimpressed
Joey: “Could you be any more naive?”
Joey and Dawson snipe at each other in the woods, with Jen in the middle looking unimpressed
Dawson: “Could you be any more cynical?”

Aaaaand we get some old-school mystifying Joey Potter rage, until she admits what’s really bothering her: that she and Dawson have no idea what’s going on in each other’s lives lately, and Dawson hasn’t even made an effort to act like a friend since he sexually rejected her. Dawson promises to stop taking their friendship for granted, and they mutually agree to “check in with each other every once in a while.” Seems reasonable! BUT NO FURTHER, YOU TWO.

Now, as for two people whom I will allow to go further: Jen and Pacey are both bored and horny. They idly wonder why they’ve never hooked up, and start nonchalantly flirting with the idea. Finally, after much dancing around, they decide to become friends with benefits. I approve! They start making out, and it’s hot because Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson are both extremely hot, but then Witch Island gets all loud and scary and interrupts them. Later, Jen shows up at the video store and revives the conversation. They decide they will have sex in the future, but not right now, because Roswell starts in five minutes. Hah!

Finally, poor Andie’s left alone at school while these fools are traipsing through haunted woods together (WHERE’S JACK. No, seriously, where is Jack McPhee? Two eps without him are two eps too many!), and she starts taking her disciplinary committee assignment far too seriously. She gives demerits to just about every student at Capeside High. ANDIE. Please use your considerable resources on something worthier. Like, perhaps, getting over Pacey and getting into college through honest means. 

How many times did I have to drink? 

15. 

The truest thing anybody said this week

An unimpressed Joey to Dawson: “So basically you’re ripping off The Blair Witch Project.”

The second truest thing anybody said this week: 

Jen, in a leather jacket and with a cool smile on her face, opens her locker filled with cool-girl stickers
Jen: “You’re right. I would have been so burned at the stake by now.”

That’s my girl!

This is fair

Jen, about The Blair Witch Project, which I loved but wasn’t for everyone: “I gotta say, Blair Witch didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t remotely scared, that girl was irritating me, and I had to run to the snack bar in dire need of Dramamine.”

Best pop culture reference

As Joey and Dawson start to repair their friendship, Pacey sighs, “Doesn’t that just warm your heart? Kevin and Winnie taking those first tentative steps back to The Wonder Years.” Jealous much, Witter? 

The cutest Pacey and Joey moment 

Joey playfully shoves Pacey while he grins cutely at her

But I gotta admit, I don’t hate this 

Pacey and Jen kiss in the dark corner of the Witch Island gift shop

I’m pretty sure Joshua Jackson could have screen-melting chemistry with any woman they put in his path. 

“Just a couple of crazy kids, practicing some black magic”

That is literally a thing Jen says about herself and Pacey, because SHE RULES.

Shut up, Pacey

He calls Jen an “uber vixen.” Ew!

Ouch

These two sure know how to burn each other!

Pacey: I’m a better catch than Ty the bible-beater or that skirt-chasing Neanderthal Chris Wolfe. [A Jason Behr shout-out the same week as a Roswell reference!]

Jen: This coming from a guy whose past two relationships have ended with the girl either leaving town to avoid prosecution or cool out in crazy camp for the summer.

(I don’t approve of Jen’s “crazy camp” comment, to be clear. But please, never stop making fun of Tamara!)

Grams’ best face

In Dawson’s documentary, she calls the Witch Island victims “harlots” and is unsurprisingly Team Fire in the battle of Witches vs. Fire: 

Grams, on the screen of Dawson's documentary with a "Rec" frame, looks deeply disapproving of the teen girls of Witch Island

Hey, baby Alexander is alive! 

Remember him? WHERE IS BODIE. 

Joey's sister Bessie and her infant son Alexander on camera for Dawson's documentary

Joey Potter’s worst hat

Joey, looking otherwise very beautiful standing in the woods, is wearing an awful crocheted bucket hat

Still, get it, girl!

When she and Dawson are catching up after their few weeks of absentia, he asks how she did on her PSATs. She smiles sunnily and replies, “Brilliantly.” I love her.


That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you: how do you feel Dawson’s Creek handled Andie’s phony rape attempt story? This is THIN ICE kind of plotting, because the idea that any woman would invent sexual assault for her own gains is troublesome, but I think the series handled it with comparative sensitivity. Still, it gives me a tummyache. 

A more fun question! How do you feel about Jen and Pacey’s friends with benefits campaign? I AM PRO.

Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Four to Tango!” 

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.