Tamara stares off-camera, wearing a dumb hat

About:

Title: Dawson’s Creek S2.E04 “Tamara’s Return” + S2.E05 “Full Moon Rising”
Released: 1998
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 29

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project! Last week, Britt asked me who bugs me more: jerky Pacey or desperate Jen? The answer is BOTH, because I expect so much more out of Jen and Pacey. When Joey and Dawson act like idiots, no big deal, but I was V DISAPPOINTED in my two favorite characters last week. 

Let’s drink to Tamara’s return, because I’m so upset about it I need a drink!

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

Let’s get started!

Pacey and Tamara stand next to each other, staring in different directions and looking unhappy

2.04 “Tamara’s Return”

Things are starting to warm up between Pacey and Andie, and he’s finding himself nearing a normal, healthy relationship with an age-appropriate young woman, so naturally Tamara chooses this moment to come to town and ruin everything. She’s actually here to sell a piece of property – to Mitch, no less – but Pacey is GUTTED the moment he sees her, which I guarantee was her precise intent. In fact, he’s walking out of school and flirting with Andie when he first runs into Tamara, and she’s all sultry and intense-eyed and SO OBNOXIOUS as she tells him, “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”, making Andie AND ME very uncomfortable. Pacey goes to see Tamara twice more, and there’s lots of mooning and quiet, meaningful stares and then he tells her goodbye for real and OF COURSE they make out because Tamara is THE WORST. Like, Pacey should know better, but he’s a teenager facing the grown-ass woman who took his virginity, so I declare that the blame for this falls squarely on Tamara and her stupid hat.

NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO. No. NO. No, you guys. Absolutely not. 

Meanwhile, Andie is just being adorable and waiting around for Pacey to realize it. She even goes to Dawson’s house to ask if he thinks Pacey likes her, which is THE CUTEST. Dawson’s taken aback, but then tells her, very wisely, that Pacey’s “obnoxious pig behavior is sometimes his attempt at flirtation.” Andie is SO EXCITED to hear this:

Andie, in overalls, smiles sweetly

Look at that little face! Who could POSSIBLY choose Tamara’s sultry cougar face over Andie’s sweet, happy punim? Anyway, Pacey doesn’t. He eventually realizes this whole Tamara thing is a terrible mistake (thanks, in part, to some more wise advice from Dawson telling him to “stay away”), and Dawson also tells Pacey that Andie likes him, even though Andie explicitly asked him not to say anything, because Dawson’s smart enough to realize that means Andie wants Pacey to know. When did Dawson get so wise? So the episode ends with Pacey grabbing a bite of Andie’s burger, flirting shamelessly with her, and then staring with solemn resignation out the window as Tamara walks to her car. “Don’t you know that woman?” Andie asks. “I did. But not anymore,” Pacey answers manfully. Whatever! Take a hike, Tamara! And stop flirting with Mitch, you harlot!

Meanwhile, Joey and Dawson’s blissful reprieve into relationshiphood has lasted exactly three episodes before the seams start to show. Fewer, if you count that diary-reading bullshit from last week, WHICH I DO. Joey decides to attend an art history conference, and Dawson joins her and spends the entire time looking bored and belittling the content, just like Ross Geller. Joey is unsurprisingly prickly about this, because she’s really getting into art, something the professor picks up on and wants to encourage. Joey has talent – much like her mom, whom we learn loved to draw – but everything Dawson says about it comes across as condescending. Not really his fault – he’s trying to be supportive! – but Joey spends most of the episode mad at him for uncertain reasons. (Drink!) AND she ends up at a gallery showing with Jack, who is, of course, incredibly perceptive and passionate about art, because Jack is perfect. Don’t compare Dawson to Jack, Joey. It’s not fair. Eventually, Joey tells Dawson that she likes having her own thing separate from him, because her entire life has revolved around him for so long, and he’s always had his passion for film. Dawson seems SUPER NERVOUS that Joey is embarking on a new path without him, and frankly, he should be. But first, he should be sort of alarmed that this is how Joey sees him:

Joey has done a pencil drawing of Dawson where he looks kind of homely with terrible hair

Finally, Jen is still moping after being rejected by Dawson, and Abby really is doing her damnedest to cheer her up. You know, Abby’s a sociopath with no impulse control, but she truly seems to care about Jen. She convinces Jen to join her for a shopping spree, buys or steals her a tube of lipstick (it’s unclear), and it seems like they’re having a really nice day together. Then, as they’re having lunch, Abby spies a hot older dude a few tables over, and she starts blatantly flirting with him. This is Vincent, who seems more interested in Jen than Abby, not that Abby has noticed. They learn he’s a fisherman and the next day they scour the docks for him, and when they find him Abby flirts some more, very poorly, calling him a “laborer type.” Vincent responds that he’s not interested in an “oversexed, condescending teenybopper,” and Abby stalks off – but looks back just in time to see Vincent coming on to Jen quite strenuously, to which Jen seems pretty receptive. The next day, Abby tells off Jen in the hall, saying that Jen couldn’t abandon the spotlight long enough for Abby to get the attention of one guy. And while some of this is unfair – it’s not like Abby had a chance with Vincent anyway – Jen really did break girl code by flirting with Vincent seconds after he rejected Abby, especially since Abby’s the only person who’s been in Jen’s corner the past several weeks. Jen gives a fleeting and fairly lame apology that quickly turns nasty:

Jen and Abby argue in the hallway.
Jen: “Look, you can have him, okay? I don’t want him. You’re my friend. That’s what’s important to me.” Abby: “Screw that crap. Friends don’t compete over the same guy.” Jen: “Don’t blame me just because you got rejected.”

Way harsh, Tai.

How many times did I have to drink? 

13.

Best pop culture reference

Joey refers to Jack’s service skills as those of “Inspector Clouseau,” and while that is MEAN, it’s also funny. Don’t worry, she eats her words soon enough when she realizes that Jack is some kind of an art genius.

Abby’s best euphemism

This girl has such a way with words! “I mean, what is so great about Dawson Leery? He’s just a guy with a motormouth and a limp billy club.”

The truest thing anybody said this week

Pacey, anticipating Dawson’s romantic troubles, “Let me guess. You and Joey are having another love spat and you want my opinion. Well, here it is. Joey is being sarcastic and oversensitive and you, my friend, are being self-absorbed and suffocating.”

The least true thing anybody said this week

Tamara, to Andie, “Pacey was a former student of mine.” I mean, I guess that’s true, but it’s MILES from the whole truth.

The saddest thing anybody said this week

Jen to Abby, “I left New York because I couldn’t handle being the bad girl anymore, but, I tell you, if being the bad girl means not walking around in a perpetual state of loneliness and depression, then bad girl it is.”

The grossest thing anybody said this week

Pacey asks Tamara if she misses “teaching” him, because he sure misses having her “teach” him. Tamara assures him she does, in fact, miss “teaching” him. BRB I AM DYING OF VOMIT. 

Jack and Joey kiss by the window, bathed in the light of a full moon

2.05 “Full Moon Rising”

There’s a full moon in Capeside, and people are acting CUHRAZY. The worst culprits are Dawson’s parents, who both invite sorta-dates over on a Saturday night, outside of their Thursday night free-for-all boundaries. (Poor Dawson, repeatedly: “What are Thursday nights?”) They keep fighting and saying terribly cruel things to each other the entire episode, with Gail insulting Mitch’s perpetual state of unemployment and Mitch haranguing Gail for banging her coworker. And while neither is wrong, exactly, it’s like ENOUGH ALREADY! Poor Dawson’s tearing his hair out, and Gail’s new coworker and Tamara (YEAH. MITCH INVITED OVER TAMARA.) are made extremely uncomfortable, though I’m happy about that in Tamara’s case. Dawson finally makes them admit they’re in an open relationship and then he wigs out on them, and the whole thing is messy and awful and makes me so sad for everyone. Except Tamara, who deserves this. The next day, Mitch and Gail finally realize they can’t make this work, and have their first kind, mature conversation in months. Then Mitch moves out.

Meanwhile, Joey and Jack are working at the Icehouse by themselves when the power briefly goes out, shorting out the lobster tank and potentially losing the restaurant a bunch of money. Joey panics, and they hustle to save the lobsters, and meanwhile a lonely old man gives them wise advice and then disappears when they aren’t looking. It’s weird. He leaves them a hundred-dollar tip and a poem, and suddenly Jack and Joey are kissing by the moonlight! It’s so random! Joey, of course, feels TERRIBLE, especially in light of Dawson’s parental agony, and she tries to tell him but he’s too upset about his parents to listen. She ends the episode hugging him on the roof as he cries. Poor Dawson. 

Pacey finally asks out Andie! They’re both so excited! But they get their wires crossed about where they’re meeting, and Pacey tries to pick her up at her house while Andie’s waiting at the movie theater. When she realizes what happened, she WIGS, but it’s too late – Pacey’s already met Andie’s mother, who’s very sweet and vague and keeps talking about Andie’s big brother Tim. Andie freaks out and tries to get Pacey to leave, and he thinks she’s embarrassed of him, but finally the truth comes out: Tim died in a car accident a couple of years ago, and Mrs. McPhee has never been the same. Mr. McPhee bailed on them and his company is folding, so they’re out of money, too. It’s a heartbreaking situation, and Andie is trying so hard to control all of it, but it’s too much for a teenager to handle on her own – even a teenager as infinitely capable as Andie McPhee. Of course, Pacey says and does exactly the right thing, and I’m so glad Andie has him in her life now. 

In an even more upsetting storyline: Vincent runs into Jen and asks her out, and she agrees. Abby is so pissed! She calls Jen an “easy lay” and Jen slaps her HARD and tells her never to talk to her again. It’s intense. Then Jen invites Vincent over while Grams is out of the house, and they flirt and share a lot of sexually charged stories, and then they start making out on the table and Vincent is going much faster than Jen wants. She tries to get him to stop, several times, and he keeps pushing and it’s SO UPSETTING. Then Grams shows up and SCARES HIM TO DEATH with her terrifying Grams face, and it is awesome. 

After Vincent flees with his tail between his legs, Grams gives Jen a really rough lecture. And the thing is, I get it. Jen does need to respect herself more. But she needs love right now, not judgment. 

Grams stalks off into the house and slams the front door, while Jen sits on the stoop, crying.
Grams stalks off into the house and slams the front door, while Jen sits on the stoop, crying.

How many times did I have to drink? 

16.

OH SNAP

When Mitch makes a snide remark about Gail’s coworker, she replies, “At least I have coworkers.” Daaaaaamn, Gail!

Blurgh!

Dawson, I know you’re sad, and I feel for you, but please don’t ever say a sentence like this again: “All I want to do for the rest of this godforsaken night is to just stare at your face in the moonlight because that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Most recognizable song

The episode ends with a montage of FEELINGS set to Jewel’s “Hands,” which is so perfect.

Pacey Witter’s best hug

Good GOD this man can hug.

Pacey hugs Andie to him in the kitchen, cradling her head as she cries.

That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you: I never know how to feel about the way Dawson’s Creek handles Jen’s sexuality. On the one hand, I think the show does a pretty good job of balancing her sex positivity with her need to respect herself and take care of herself, especially considering this was 1998, before “sex positivity” was a thing. But on the other hand, episodes like “Full Moon Rising” start to skate too close to slut-shaming and implying that, had things gone further with Vincent, Jen should have “known better.” How do you feel about it?

Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers “The Dance” and “The All-Nighter,” both great episodes!

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.