Monday, March 15, 2021

RW409 - Dawson's Creek S02E21-22 - Changes Advised

In this weeks episode of The Dawson's Creek Rewatch, Cory and Tom both angrily and lovingly discuss season 2 episodes 21 & 22 "Ch... Ch... Changes" and "Parental Discretion Advised."

Ch... Ch... Changes:

Written by: Dana Baratta

Directed by: Lou Antonio

Original airdate: May 19, 1999


Mr. McPhee returns home at Jack’s prodding, much to Andie’s surprise, to let her and Jack know that he is pulling them out of Capeside to return with him and their mother to Providence where they can both get the treatment they need to get better, Andie with her mental issues and Jack with his sexual preference. Both children are incensed at this revelation not wanting to leave their new lives behind.

Dawson meanwhile is attempting to find someone who has gone through a change over the past year to compare and contrast with a character arc from a movie for his film class assignment, and having not much luck. After trying Joey, Jen, and Pacey, he finally settles upon Mr. Potter to interview who is gladly willing to share his experience, which upsets Joey, wanting to forget about his past and move forward, and suggests Dawson interview himself, to which he balks, saying he thinks the inner examination would reveal he isn’t enough for Joey, who has grown so much over the past year.

Pacey, having heard about Mr. McPhee’s decision, comes to the house to fight for Andie and Jack to stay, hoping he will see reason, allowing them to stay where they have a support system they developed over the last year, but Mr. McPhee is unmoving in his decision.

Jen, after talking with Jack, decides to call her parents and ask if they were open to her returning home but is told that it isn’t the best time yet, leaving her crushed and deciding to leave Capeside for anyplace else. Jack later finds Jen at the bus stop preparing to leave but convinces her to stay with him at his house since Andie and his mother will be leaving and he could use the company.

Andie meanwhile has talked with her father who changed his mind and said she could stay if she truly wanted, but still decides to go back to Providence, saying that she feels like a burden to those around her and that she realizes she does need help to get truly better and suggests Jack make his own decision about staying or going. Jack later then tells his father he has decided to stay and that his choice of being gay isn’t a choice, but who he simply is. 

Andie and Pacey enjoy a final date together, at the end of which she reveals she needs to leave with Pacey sad and heartbroken but understanding. 

Dawson meanwhile had spent most of the night building a white picket fence for Joey, referencing a comment from her about how perfect her life has become. When he goes to return the tools he had borrowed from Mr. Potter, he sees Mr. Potter talking with an old friend of his exchanging drugs, revealing that he has fallen back into his old habits.

Dawson's Trivia:

Pete was played by David Dwyer. He’s best known for playing supporting characters in movies such as October Sky, The Highwaymen, The Firm and We Are Marshall. Most recently he has several films awaiting release: as a lead in Devil’s Hollow (An ex-con on house arrest must risk his freedom to save his estranged teenage daughter from his former criminal associates), Marbles and Bullets (Civil War story about a confederate soldier traveling with a ten year old slave boy), and No Time To Run (Due to circumstances beyond her control, a small town daughter, wife and mother must confront threats to herself, her family and her country. Most important, she must overcome her own insecurities to help save America from tyranny. With the help of a time machine, passed down in her family, she is able to travel back and get help from the one person truly qualified to assist). Recent supporting projects are Hillbilly Elegy (law student returns home and reflects own generations of family), two episodes of Stranger Things as Earl, and Anchorman 2 as Redneck.

Parental Discretion Advised:

Written by: Greg Berlanti

Directed by: Greg Prange

Original airdate: May 26, 1999


Dawson and Joey discuss a movie about unrequited love, with Joey revealing she enjoys the sad love stories more than the traditional happy ending love stories, when Dawson asks her if THEIR love could survive unfortunate circumstances, to which she replies that they have their happy ending. 

At school, everyone is stressing about their final exams, with Grams showing up before school trying to reconcile with Jen, but she isn’t having it and walks off. Pacey, after a rather negative pep talk from his father, can’t even bring himself to attempt to take the final, and just puts his head down instead.

Dawson later asks his mother for advice on what to do about his difficult decision regarding a friend and Gail gives him some suggestions which lead him to eventually face off Mr. Potter and tell him that he believes that a smart man would do his best to put his love for his family above his own selfishness and stop what he’s doing. 

Late that evening, the gang is studying at the Icehouse for the next day’s finals when Jack and Jen have a fight as he tries to get her to see that maybe Grams really does want to make amends but it just ends up making her mad and promising to move out. 

Mr Witter shows up to confront Mr. Potter about a man named Pete who had been seen in the area, but Mr. Potter denies any deep relationship with him other than as a casual acquaintance. As Pacey follows his father out of the building, Mr. Witter argues with him about his finals and demands he get his stuff so they can go home, even going so far as to hit his son in his face.

Inside the Icehouse, Dawson and company smell smoke, and they rush to the back to find Mr. Potter trapped behind flames, the result of someone throwing a molotov cocktail through a window. Mr. Witter rushes back in as Dawson grabs a fire extinguisher to try and get to Mr. Potter, using it to first put out flames in his path and then breaking the window and with Mr. Witter’s help they get him out.

As the fire is extinguished by the authorities, Mr. Witter takes some digs at Pacey and his girlfriend in front of some of his men. Pacey gets angry and defends Andie’s honor and punches his father, putting him down about his lack of father skills.

Dawson talks with both his parents about what he should do, worrying about what this could do to Joey, but they both agree that he needs to do the right thing. He tells Joey who does not handle it well but in the end agrees to go with him to the police to hear them out. Mr. Witter says that there are other drug dealers in town who ratted out Mr. Potter and framed him for encroaching on their turf, and that things will keep getting worse until he is eventually going to have enough proof to put away her father for good. 

Mitch contemplates on how good he and Gail did raising Dawson, and begins to miss the relationship they once had, but for Gail, she’s decided to move on with her life, realizing that what Mitch wants is something that they used to have, and have now lost. 

Jen goes to Grams with several conditions in order for her to return home and she accepts them wholeheartedly. 

Mr. Witter apologizes to Pacey, and reveals that he had a chance to talk with Andie and sees her as a great girl, and realizes that he has missed out on so much of his son’s life, and the two embrace, crying.

Joey ends up confronting her father and he breaks down, revealing that he is back to dealing drugs again. As he tries to explain his actions, he says he doesn’t know how to fix that, as Joey reveals she has fixed it already by wearing a wire and recording proof of her father’s dealings,

Unfortunately, Joey is angry that Dawson brought this to her and forced her into this situation, and tells him that she doesn’t want to know him anymore, and that she will never be able to forgive him. 

Dawson's Trivia:

The writers of the show expressed regret over the storyline of Joey wearing a wire to let police hear his confession. Years later, they said they wished they'd never had that storyline.

Kevin Williamson quit the show at the end of the second season to concentrate on his new TV series Wasteland. This was canceled after just three episodes. Williamson would return to Dawson's Creek for the two-hour series finale four years later.

This marks the last appearance of The Ice House in the show. The owners wished to discontinue their affiliation with the series so the bar was "burned down".

Essential Playlist:

Classic Creek Critiques:

Gene Bertst: Last nights episode was in my top three fav. episodes! The sweetest thing was ehen Pacey did that whole thing wi his heart and Bump-Bump, i just meled. He looked so lost and sad at the end when Andie pulled away in the car, did notice how he didn't know what to do with his hands?

Whit116: Those who know me KNOW that I rarely cry at TV shows or movies (I don't cry, I tear and it's appened maybe 6-7 times in my life). But, this episode COMPLETELY got me! Honestly, I have never "teared" so much at one show. When Pacey and Andie were out on the dock and dancing...I started up. And when they were both crying and they kept focusing in on them in different angles I was just, wow. And the end...ohmigod, that killed me. That was such a great (not to mention incredibly sad!) episode and again, Meredith Monroe is an amazingly talented actress. Joshua Jackson is wonderful also. The two of them are just, perfect. That episode tore me apart. I wonder how they'll make her come back? I hope they continue to stay together forever, like they promised.

Rodney E: 

- Dawson was afraid he wasn't good enough for Joey.
- Joey was scared of bringing up her past troubles.
- Mr. Potter was feeling regrets about what he had done (or so it seems).
- Pacey had trouble letting go of his love.
- Andie was torn between hurting her love and getting treatment to make her
- Jack wanted approval from his father, but in a way that didn't make him
live a lie.
- Mr. McPhee wanted to reach out to his son, but was too set in his ways to
accept his son's decision.
- Jen was at the end of her rope seemingly rejected by everyone dear to

To sum up, it took the second to last show of the season to produce the best written episode. It made you care about the characters like we all did last year, but instead of simple girl-luvs-boy, boy-luvs-girl simplicity we saw young people sorting out personal problems in additon to their relationships. This is the Dawsons Creek you can put emotional investment in. * 10 out of 10 stars *

KurbyAce01 (Kristen) responds: You've got it... the episode was better written than many of it's prior episodes this season. I liked the fact that all the " who's with who" stuff didnt' crowd the plot. Next season hopefully will be written in the same fassion. In general, i liked last season better. The episodes of this season seemed to envolve an event, and then at the end of an hour, everything was back to the way things started. Well anyways, I love the show, but nothings perfect.

C.Liang: Okay, sorry, newbie here....Actually I logged onto this newsgroup just to ask one question? Is Andie coming back in future eps? Her and Pacey's characters and relationship was my favorite thing on the whole show. I mean, Dawson and Joey is all fine and dandy, but sometimes I just wish they woulda called it Capeside Creek or something instead of Dawson's's just gets a little too Dawson-centered for me sometimes... damn that better not be the end of Andie...

CoryanderX responds: I really don't see how so many people thought Andie was leaving for good. She wasn't moving, she was going to Providence for treatment so she could get better and then come back to Capeside. The whole reason she was going was so that she wouldn't have to REALLY move into a mental institution in a couple years.

AJR-5 drops the mic: True. If they wanted to get rid of someone they would just drown them ;)

Someone was asking for someone to email them the secrets from Abby’s Journal so it was part of Dawson’s Desktop I am assuming.


Y2kvan5047: Do any of you think that Dawson should date other people, if Dawson and Joey break up again? I agree that Dawson and Joey are made for each other but, come on he should met some other girls. Like Devon, or that Blonde that Pacey had the hots for what is her name? or anyone, intil Dawson and Joey have some time apart. anyone agree?

Paul A. Bradford responds: I'm about tired of the Joey/Dawson Yo-Yo thing.... we're together... we're not.. we are... we're not...  Don't get me wrong... I love Dawson's creek... but enough of the 90210 Kelly/Brandon yes/no/yes/no/yes/no thing.... I think that the season premiere next year will have Dawson move into the Gram's house and Jen/Jack will fight over who gets to sleep in Dawson's room :) Just kidding... Honestly... the Pacey/Andie coming of age love never gives up is the only
thing keeping me watching this show..

Anonymous Male responds: Dawson and Joey have to much of an affinity with each other to be with other people. Just my opinion.

Kiwi Snaz: Whoa. I lost it when Jen decided to move back in with her grandma. Dawson's speech about how he cares more for Joey than himself. Joey talking to her dad towards the end. Pacey hugging his dad?? Yikes! :\ What a sad episode!!!!

Whit116 (Whitney) responds: I teared up a bit when Pacey and his dad shared a hug and let out an "Aww". I thought that scene was great and full of emotion. I loved how Pacey's dad went "There's something else. Andie wanted me to give you something." and he opens

his arms. And then when Pacey just started to cry and say "I miss her so much, it's killing me." That was so sad! She better be back VERY soon! I missed her in the episode; not seeing her face and not seeing her interact with Pacey. And how great was the scene where Pacey beat the crap out of his father? That
was amazing. I just loved the fact that he finally had the guts to punch him and especially the case in which he did (calling Andie a "girlfriend with a few screws loose"). Ah...the punch was a TOTAL surprise for me! Whoa, damn. And the anger in his voice was so disturbing yet so amazing. Great job (as always)
Josh! :)

Roger responds: Heh,i predicted Pacey decking his dad this episode...i thought"all it would take is for him to badmouth Andie,and Whammo!" guess i was right! :-) i for one,was glad he punched him,i was like,"yeah dude!",but then after in the "hugging" scene i saw his dad as not ALL bad..still,his dad has a lot he should be sorry for i think. Yeah the whole thing did a turnaround on me!like at first i hated his dad and now my view of him changed after that!

Britney says she’s going to be on Dawson’s Creek:

Sparkleelz (Ellen): I'm really glad that dAwson knows it's not his fault to blame for the breakup. I was so touched when dawson said he "cared about [joey] more than [himself]" just shows home much he really does care for her!! Anyway...again, i'm glad that Dawson is more in control of the relationship now. It seems as if he's grown up a lot since the last relationship and knows how to deal with problems like these.

Daniel Habib: Now that Jack has moved in with Jen and Grams, I suspect a future plot-line will involve Grams confronting an assault on her value system once again when Jack brings home a boyfriend (which in itself is a sure season three development).

CoryanderX responds: Frankly, I can't imagine Jack being that rude. Jen's bad enough - "I want to come back, but only if you respect me, and I'll probably assault your religion some more" but Jack wouldn't force anything on the woman who's letting him share her home. Grams is willing to tolerate his decision, unlike his father - why would he rock the boat?

Rodney asks (but no answered): was it more heartwrenching last year with Joey and her dad at the prison fence (asking if he loved her), or when she confronted him about the drug dealing and the lying? Katie and that Mr.Potter-actor sure get a lot of dramatic scenes, don't they?

Talula96 (Amy) It felt so good to finally see Pacey and his dad connect, it is about damn time the man came to his senses! The whole scene with Joey and her dad in the living room of their house was so heartbreaking, especially when she lifted up her shirt to show the wire. I just hope that joey can find it in her heart to forgive Dawson, but i have a feeling that they won't be together again for a long long time. I guess i can understand how she feels right now though. Her final speech was very moving, and although i would like to think that i wouldn't blame dawson for everything that had happened. i probably would have. he was the one that saw it, and started it all, and he was right to go to the police, joey admitted that, but he is still, in her eyes, responsible for the family's splitting up again. Just one more thing...did you see the way bessie looked at joey as she walked inside?....she looked pretty pissed to me...i wonder if they will expand on that next season.

William Schwab: what? joey is insane!!! what won't she forgive dawson for? for doing the right thing? for trying to save her? for trying to be a good boyfriend and do what's in her interests? i mean joey tries to be so metaphorical, but in reality she has no idea what she's talking about. dawson didnt' do anything wrong.

Elsewhere0 (Lis) responds: I think it was a bad move on joeys part, but as always i love joeys character so i must defend her. i think that her angeer at dawson is irrational, but how would you act if you had gone thru all that? probably pretty irrational. its human nature. hses taking her anger out on an undeserving party, but people often do. i think joey is an amazing character, faults and all. it was a great episode

LiamOurKid responds: I agree she shouldnt blame him but right now she needs to get her anger out and he's the easy target. It's easier for her to blame Dawson then to blame her father after she just started to trust him. Because if she blames her father she'll start to blame herself if for trusting him. In her mind she believes if Dawson never said anything none of this would have ever happened.

Skitsch: instead of dawson asking joey how she feels and if she's okay, i wish he had gone to her, not said anything, and just hugged her. he could help her get

through this and they could stay together. but the writers never ask my opinion.

Faerie says: Ok people, how many of you where dying to see Pacey punch his dad! Especially after that I don't care how you get home comment! I'm ashamed to say it did bring relief!

Whit116 responds:I loved it. But, it came after the Andie insult- didn't it? He pushed his dad and said "Don't ever touch me again" and his dad said something about "losing a girlfried with a few screws loose" then WHAM! Pacey took him down. :) The tone of his voice was so disturbing, yet so incredible.

Ethan has a different take on why Joey acted how she did: I guess that I saw Joey's breakup with Dawson differently. I saw it as the classic pushing someone(Dawson) away before they got hurt. The end where she told him that "she could never forgive him" and "I don't want to know you" just struck me as to cold. I think that she said those things to push Dawson away, don't forget he could have died in that fire as well she didn't want to see him get hurt. I think that Joey feels that Dawson deserves better than her and her troubled life. It would fit with her insecure first season character. 

Also when Dawson told her that if she wouldn't do the right thing then he would, I think that she realized that she wouldn't do the right thing if she wasn't forced, and here was Dawson willing to risk everything they had to do the right thing so that Joey would be out of danger, the first season she wasn't strong enough to risk what she had with him be telling him about her mom's affair. When Dawson said that he would do the right thing if she wouldn't, he was basically telling her that he would spare her the hurt of having to turn her father in knowing full well that it might cost him the one thing that he cares for above all else.

I thought that this was the best episode of the season because (here is where the hate mail begins) Andy wasn't in it. With Andy gone the focus shifts from her to the main characters. It was great to see Dawson and Joey actually have a season one-like movie night. I never realized how much I missed it. Lets face it when you have two of the hottest upcoming starsJames/Katie, who just happen to have unbelievable on screen chemistry you don't separate them and barely have them speaking all season, you put them together, whether they are a couple or not and magic results. This season has been way to focused on Andy. I never got interested in the Andy/Pacey relationship because it has been done before, there was nothing new. Their witty at odds banter was just to reminiscent of Sam and Diane of cheers. Diane was even seeing a psychiatrist. I could name at least a half a dozen other couples that predate them. I hope we see less of her next season. I don't think that she should leave, I think that her role should be reduced, instead of Pacey being her tag along, she should be hers.

Broken348 (Dan Post) has a rant: I have always given the writers of Dawson's Creek credit for not doing the 90210-thing, but the drama of Wednesday night's episode was completely ruined during the last five minutes when the writers purposefully stepped into a 90210/Melrose pothole. The biggest mistake the writers created for themselves was resolving too many issues (Pacey and his Father, Jenn and her Grandmother,  and even to a point Dawson's parents). These resolutions eliminated many possibilities for a season finale "cliffhanger." It left the writers without conflict, so they traveled down the obvious path of a break up between the two main characters. Aren't we all tired of these "money-couples" breaking up  during the season finales? Give us something new, something out of theordinary. The season doesn't necessarily have to end on a positive note or end with any resolution, but please try and create something with substance. Do the writers think we will wait and wonder all summer about what will become of Dawson and Joey? Please people!!! It is inevitable that they will get back  together and Dawson will eventually deflower Joey in the climatic episode you all have been waiting for.

Also, do the writers think they're being creative by attempting to foreshadow the breakup in that lame three-minute introduction? They basically spelled it out for us. That introduction made the last five minutes seem even more pathetic. Why didn't James Van Der Beek look right in the camera and say "the characters Joey and Dawson will break up at the end of this episode?" It was that obvious, we all saw it coming!!!! Why not give us some vague foreshadowing, something that has us questioning what will happen during the whole episode? Oh, sorry, that would take talent. How do the same writers that had a student sleeping with a teacher during the first season create such banal crap? 


There is nothing wrong with a Dawson and Joey break up. I don't care if Dawson and Joey are together because couples break up; that much is quite realistic. Even though I felt the writers already ruined their "money couple" by typically breaking them up with an incredibly unrealistic, cheap and shallow line like, "Dawson I need to find out who I am without you," which only led to her going out with another guy. Stupid!! It is completely unrealistic for a sixteen-year old girl, who has been longing for the boy she grew up with, to  leave him only after a few short weeks. Excuse me I think I'm going to be sick. Since I brought that up (not the being sick part), let me mention that the writers were really reaching during those episodes with Joey and Jack.

The writers needed to hurry up and break up Joey and Jack so Dawson and Joey could get together before the season finale which would lead to the obvious break up  of our favorite couple. So they took the easy way out! Let's do we break up two attractive hormone-raging teenagers without creating unpleasantness in the group? Oh yea, I know.make one of them gay. It's a clean break, no hard feelings, and Joey can move on to the next guy without  hesitation. COP OUT!

With that said, I am not saddened by the fact that Joey and Dawson are apart, only that the writers took a 90210/Melrose cop out. Like I said couples break up. I was disappointed on how the writers broke them up. It was uninteresting and pathetic writing. My dog could have written a more creative ending. I'm sick of these shows keeping the money-couples apart for ratings. We are used to that, we usually see it coming and it's all too often unrealistic. The last five minutes were so desperate and lame I wanted to puke. We saw it coming and it made no sense. It was a grave attempt at stirring our emotions and interest.

Furthermore, writers need to write life-like, out of control moments that appear to blur the abyssal gap of the season finale and the first episode of the new season. Life doesn't repeat itself every ten months. Loyal fans will come back to the show in the fall even if you don't break up their favorite couple. It's the writing that will bring us back, not the sensationalistic break up between the main couple. So writers, be creative, try to think of something new, and if you can't think of something new, try and hide your lack of talent and give a love story a new twist, but stop writing predictable, mediocre, "we-all-saw-it-coming" rubbish.


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