Monday, November 22, 2021

RW451 - Dawson's Creek S04E11-12 - Tao Te


In this weeks episode of The Dawson's Creek Rewatch, Cory and Tom are living in the now as they discuss of season 4 episodes 11 & 12, "The Tao of Dawson" and "The Te of Pacey."

The Tao of Dawson:

Written by: Jeffrey Stepakoff

Directed by: Keith Samples

Original airdate: January 10, 2001


As Pacey and Dawson fish off a pier, the subject of Dawson and Gretchen comes up, with Pacey not being a fan, firmly falling on the side of “sisters are off limits.” Dawson explains that he is telling him how he feels to help him deal with it, in case something happens, reminding him that if Dawson was made aware of Pacey and Joey at the start of their own relationship, he might have handled it better himself. When asked what his plans are involving Gretchen, Dawson answers that so far planning nothing has worked out pretty good, so for now he will continue that path. 

Gretchen decides to get her truck back from her ex, Nick, at his college frat house. Pacey tags along, asking all about the ex and trying to push his sister towards him in hopes that Dawson will lose out. Upon meeting Nick, Pacey takes an immediate liking to him, even though he took the tires off of Gretchen’s truck and parts of her engine in an attempt to get her to stay the evening, passing it all off as needed maintenance. As the two chat throughout an evening party, Pacey finds himself identifying with Nick, wanting to be just like him.

Elsewhere, Dawson and Jack find a letter Dawson wrote to Gretchen years ago when they were younger, but never sent to her. Jack tells him he should give it to her now, but Dawson balks thinking it would be too much, reasoning that she knows how he feels. The two talk about how it feels to be friends with someone who is also dating their sister, using Pacey and Andie as an example, but Jack explains it was different then, as he didn't really know Pacey that well at the time. Dawson brings up the fact that he saw Grams hanging out with Mr. Brooks and making plans to have dinner. Dawson’s concern is that after having recently lost her husband, Grams may not know about Brooks’ condition and that he may end up passing on soon. He wrestles with telling Grams even though Brooks told him not to say anything, but Jack says he has to or he will, especially considering how Dawson would have liked to have known about the Joey and Pacey relationship ahead of time as well.

Meanwhile at the yacht club, Joey is getting ready to take off for the night, but Drue asks her to help get stuff to the store room and then accidentally closes the door, locking them both in with no way out, and no one left in the restaurant until Monday morning. As Joey tries to find food for them to eat she slips and falls from a shelf leaving Drue to catch her and promptly try to kiss her. Joey slugs him good and hard in his eye for his unwelcome advances and he backs off somewhat. As they reason they will have to stay the night, the two begin talking and Drue reveals why his mother and father split up, while Joey talks about how her and Pacey work well together because they are so different. Eventually, Joey shares her sweater with him to keep warm and they fall asleep.

Back at the college frat house, Pacey is partying it up as Nick steers his eye towards a college girl who seems interested in him. Pacey explains he has a girl at home, but Nick says that she isn’t here now and lets him know where to find an empty room and condoms. The conversation makes Pacey realize that Nick is not that great of a guy and talks with Gretchen, who reveals that she was actually pregnant and had a miscarraige, and never even told Nick about it. Pacey is understanding but is later disappointed when he sees Gretchen going upstairs with Nick to his bedroom as she appears to be falling back into her old college ways.

Back at Grams house, Dawson goes to talk to her and finds her dolled up with a new hairstyle and dressed up as he’s never seen her, commenting on her beauty. He goes to leave without saying a word about Mr. Brooks’ condition but Grams reveals she figured it out already, but is willing to move forward with what could be a wonderful friendship, reasoning that a moment of joy is more powerful than a lifetime of sorrow. Dawson then goes to see Mr. Brooks who asks for advice about some earrings he bought as a gift for Grams. He and Dawson discuss why Brooks has decided to start a relationship when his health is deteriorating, and he answers that he prefers to live and die on his own terms rather than letting the cosmos decide his life for him, which Dawson accepts and encourages him to give Grams the earrings. 

As Joey wakes up, leaning against Drue, she hears a buzzing sound and grabs at his pocket only to find a cell phone. She answers it and begs for their rescue, then accuses Drue of setting the whole thing up just to get her alone. When Ms. Valentine arrives and nurses her son’s black eye, she blames Joey for their predicament, but Joey retorts that it was all Drue. The mother replies that Drue would never sacrifice a weekend alone with his father to be trapped in a closet, letting Joey realize Drue’s true motivations.

Gretchen awakes the next morning to find that Pacey has fixed her truck. She explains that she came back here not just for the car but to say goodbye to Nick and this old lifestyle, also letting Pacey know that nothing happened last night between her and Nick. Pacey replies that he’s glad because she deserves someone better, someone capable of committing to her and making her the center of his universe. Gretchen intercuts with Dawson’s name, leaving Pacey to try and backtrack. When Gretchen returns to Capeside, she sees Dawson’s letter taped to her door, and after reading what Dawson wrote so long ago, she drives over to his place and the two kiss.

Dawson's Trivia:

Keith Samples got his start directing an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares in 1990. He went on to direct episodes of Wasteland, Party of Five, Roswell, Felicity, Reba, and Haven. He also directed the movie Single White Female 2: The Psycho, and is a notable film producer, with his biggest success being the Alexander Payne film Election.

Nick was played by Christian Kane who is best known for his roles in Leverage (a crew of high-tech crooks attempting to steal from wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen), and The Librarians (a group of librarians set off on adventures in an effort to save mysterious, ancient artifacts). He also headlined the 10 episode series Almost Paradise (a former DEA agent forced into early retirement runs a gift shop in the Philippines). He was in half of the 44 episodes of Close To Home (legal drama that tears away the facade of suburbia to reveal that sometimes quiet and tranquil streets can hide the darkest of crimes), and 21 episodes of the show Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff). Other series he headlined were Fame: LA and Rescue 77. Coming up he does a main voice for Peter Pan, Land of Forever (a modern retelling of the classic story, also starring Danny Trejo), Subject Unknown, and is currently filming Only A Dream where he stars as Scarecrow.
Grams quotes to Dawson “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows.” This is a passage from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Te of Pacey:

 Written by: Maggie Friedman

Directed by: Harry Winer

Original airdate: January 17, 2001


As Pacey’s birthday arrives, he recounts terrible experiences of his past birthdays to Joey, and makes her promise that tonight it will be just the two of them, to which she agrees. However, she later confides to Gretchen that their mother asked for Joey’s help in planning a surprise party for her son. Gretchen agrees to attend even though she and Dawson had a first date planned for that evening, a detail she leaves out when talking with Joey, despite her and Dawson seemingly having agreed that it’s not a big deal if they go out or if people ask them about it.

Meanwhile, Grams and Jen are experiencing the art of decoupage as Jen starts to question her about her sex life with Mr. Brooks, hoping to rattle her, but Grams is too quick for her granddaughter and the two laugh it off.

When Dawson and Gretchen speak about their date, he learns about the party and that Gretchen doesn’t feel like it would be the best time to tell anyone about their date and possible budding relationship, something that startles him and makes him ask the question that if she feels their date is something to hide, should they be going on one at all?

Jen continues her community service by volunteering to be the driver for young adults who may be in need of a ride after an evening of teenage partying, and runs into Tobey who also works there. The two end up driving together, and as they escort their drunken charges around town, they end up talking about Tobey’s boyfriend who sounds too good to be true. 

Later, Joey leads a blindfolded Pacey to his home but when they enter they discover that no one was quite prepared for the party with his father looking over from his hockey game and uttering a short happy birthday, followed by his mother, sister, her kids, and several of his friends who, caught unawares, quickly shout out a half hearted surprise. As they sit around and mingle, Mr. Witter insults his daughter, wonders who Jack is despite having met him, and insinuates that he was in the war when he turned 18 despite the requirement that he needed to be 18 to enlist. Mr. Witter comments about how maybe college isn’t right for Pacey and will probably flunk out or give up just like Gretchen did, wasting his money, despite Joey trying to defend him. Pacey’s mother shows her support for her son in a very “backhanded compliment” type of way while Joey tries her best to keep Pacey’s spirits up.

Dawson and Gretchen take Pacey’s sister Kerry’s kids down to the basement to show them a star light Gretchen had as a child and she tells them a story she remembered from back then. After the kids go upstairs, Dawson and Gretchen begin making out but are caught by Joey and Pacey who are shocked to see them together. Dawson talks to Joey in the kitchen about it and she wonders if they are in a relationship, to which Dawson replies honestly that they haven't really decided on that yet, leaving Joey annoyed while Pacey refuses to talk to Gretchen about it.

At dinner, his mother brings out his favorite meal, which is actually NOT his favorite, but Doug’s favorite, leaving Pacey more upset. The piling on continues after dinner as Pacey receives an ashtray from his sister Kerry as a gift, and some fireworks from his father. Once the family starts recounting their favorite Pacey memories, all of which are moments when Pacey failed or was embarrassed greatly during his childhood, Gretchen tries to show Pacey’s good side by recounting a time he tried to save her from a bully, but Mr. Witter turns it around once again to a negative experience. Pacey finally stands up to them all and gives in to their beliefs, explaining that he got rejected by his safety school and has consigned himself to just being a complete failure, and exits the house.

Tobey and Jen show up to the party having completed their jobs for the evening, and immediately Tobey gets into it with Jack, insulting him yet again as Jack wanders off. As Jen and Tobey later drive away Jen calls him on his boyfriend being fake, and trying to hide the fact that he has feelings for Jack, telling him that if he wants to actually get to know Jack, he needs to start being nicer to him.

Dawson and Joey drive around trying to find Pacey but it’s Mr. Witter who finds him at the docks after someone called the police station about a suspicious person hanging out there. Mr. Witter confides in his son about how he got rejected from the police academy on his first try and explains that it’s not that he doesn’t think Pacey is good enough for school or college, but rather that it might just not be the right thing for him. He then recounts his favorite Pacey memory which was a time when he gave Pacey fireworks for his birthday and he was so happy, which also made his father happy. Together they head back to the Witter household where everyone has seemingly left, however upon entering Pacey is greeted with a proper surprise party and the celebration begins anew.

Gretchen and Dawson talk, and she explains that her hesitation is because she is concerned about what happens if she leaves town. Dawson answers that he for sure IS leaving to attend college but isn’t concerned about the future, preferring to live in the now, taking a cue from Grams and Mr. Brooks. Gretchen appreciates that outlook and the two kiss.

Joey apologizes to Pacey for the terrible evening and tries to pick him up about his rejection letter, but Pacey replies that the two of them are moving in different directions, on different roads, farther apart from each other. Joey responds that these two roads will lead them back together as long as they let them. The two kiss and then head back to join the group as the fireworks shoot into the night sky.

Dawson's Trivia:

Harry Winer actually got his start with the 1975 documentary The Legend of Bigfoot, which chronicles the legendary creature, with emphasis on him being the missing link. He’s done more than his share of TV show and TV movie directing, But he did direct the 1986 movie SpaceCamp With Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, Larry B. Scott, and Joaquin Phoenix (credited as Leaf Phoenix at the time). In addition, he is an Associate Arts Professor in the Undergraduate Film and Television Department at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Winer and his wife Shelley Hack are Co-Presidents of the production company Smash Media, which develops and produces content for motion pictures, television and new media.

The crying guy did have a small role in Shake Rattle And Roll An American Love Story. He was a finalist to be the new Dennis the Menace in the movie that starred Walter Matthau and Mason Gamble in the titular role, but other than that, 19 other very minor bit roles here and there.

Mrs. Witter was played by Jane Lynch. She is best known for her roles as Calhoun in the Wreck it Ralph franchise, host of Hollywood Game Night, and Sue Sylvester on Glee. She’s appeared in over 200 shows and movies including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Two and Half Men, Criminal Minds, The Good Fight, and A Mighty Wind, as well as voicing characters for shows like Big Hero 6, American Dad, and Final Space among others. She did 2 Audible Original podcasts called Hot White Heist and The Bystanders. She has recently appeared in an episode of Only Murders In The Building (a Steve Martin and Martin Short Hulu series) and is currently filming an Apple+ series remake of Harriet the Spy (which will also star Lacey Chabert), and Ivy & Bean (two very different people become friends).

Essential Playlist:

Classic Creek Critiques:

​​Mal P reviews: Again, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this episode... "The Tao Of Dawson" stands for the "virtue" of Dawson. But I don't believe that it referred to just Dawson... it referred to every one of our characters as they attempted to settle the past, to settle their fears and come to realise that the mistakes you've made all contribute to the content, the virtue, of your character. Again, I note my dissapointment that the credits for this season haven't changed since midway last year. Perhaps next episode it will be changed. I pray.

The opening scene of this episode between Dawson and Pacey, was electric. I've stated this before, but I personally find that the best scenes this season, the absolute corkers, tend to involve Dawson and Pacey. All the tension they've encountered in the past, all the wrong words said to each other, it comes to the fore. With this episode, I was not dissapointed. The comic timing between James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson is simply amazing. It is certainly easy to feel odd at Dawson and Pacey chumming around together, generally talking like old friends considering the events of seasons past. Has Dawson forgiven Pacey? Has Pacey overcome his issues with Dawson? I don't think those questions will be answered for some time, but what is clear is that many months have passed since the inception of the love triangle, and time has a habit of healing wounds. The fishing expedition between Dawson and Pacey was a start... an event that can perhaps trigger the reunion of these two as firm friends. I for one, am delighted

they're hanging out ever so slightly, the Creek is a boring place without them.

The virtue of Dawson couldn't be better exemplified than when he told Pacey how he felt about Gretchen. I've said it before, and I will say it again, Dawson has come a tremendous way since the child he was a few years ago. His actions in the past few episodes have even made be wonder if there is room for improvement, his persona is so honourable and fair! Suffice to say,

Dawson did exactly what Pacey should have done last year, by sitting Pacey down and informing him that he was interested in persuing a romance with Gretchen, and that it appeared Gretchen too was interested. The most important part of the conversation came when Dawson told Pacey that he wasn't asking for permission, he intended to follow his heart, but he had

enough respect for Pacey to tell him before he did. Remember that in future Pace.

I did note that Pacey appeared slightly guilty at this fact, at what he [b]didn't[/b] do last year and thus his reaction to Dawsons news was more tempered than if nothing had happened between him and Joey. I also understand how uncomfortable Pacey could feel knowing that your sister might be starting a relationship with your ex-best-friend... especially the trouble it may cause for his relationship with Joey, considering how she tends to be... possessive when it comes to Dawson. However, as Pacey found out later on in the episode, Gretchen would be so lucky to have someone like Dawson.

Finally, it is noted that Gale is pregnant! I must say, considering the huge impact this baby will have on the Leery family, the issue has been put aside far too much. Perhaps in the future as the pregnancy approaches "deadline", we'll see more of the issues and complications of such a trying time. Jack's words to Dawson had a certain degree of truth to them. What is so appealing about Dawsons character, and I'm sure the ladies will agree, is that despite the heartbreak he has faced, despite all the pain he has gone through, he still in some way resembles the innocence and honesty of a child. This is a great quality to have and I hope that he never truly loses it. The point Jack was trying to get across was that perhaps Dawson should put his most appealing character trait to good use and tell Gretchen, through the eyes of innocence, through the eyes of a kid, how much he loves her.

The budding romance between Brooks and Grams seemed to come out of nowhere. But, since they are sub-characters, you can't really expect a build-up. I did understand Dawson being unhappy at their relationship as he would not wish hurt on Grams for anything - she is a precious member of his extended family. I thought that his concern was very sweet. If Brooks were to die, it would cause tremendous pain for Grams... But this storyline continued the theme that started with "Self-Reliance". You can't live your life afraid of being hurt... you need to go out there and experience the wonders this world and it's people have to offer you. This was hammered home for Dawson when it was explained by Brooks, Grams and Jack that you need to take risks... that a moment of happiness is worth a thousand heartbreaks. A good way to live.

The scene in which Gretchen finds the letter Dawson left for her was beautiful. The writers really know how to put up one or two scenes each episode that defines the show. As Gretchen ran to Dawson with tears in her eyes at the beautiful, innocent words Dawson said to her all those years ago, and still mean today, my eyes couldn't help but tear up. Remarkable. Love is in the air :)

It was very kind of Pacey to travel along with Gretchen to recover her "car", so to speak. Of course, considering the fact Pacey feels a certain kinship to Nick, his enthusiasm for the trip may have increased. One thing I noted especially, is that some of Pacey's banter, his  ise-cracks are returning to his character. An indication that slowly but surely he's overcoming his  insecurities? I would hope so. One thing however, I would not like Pacey to return to his uncomfortable joking around that he used to disguise his problems from the world, that he used to disguise how scared he really was. I want the wit to return with the maturity of age and experience. As noted by his jovial mocking of Dawsons musical tastes :)

I was dissapointed that Pacey attempted to paint Nick in a favourable light to Gretchen, especially considering Pacey was unaware of the reason for her returning home. The virtue of his character was put into question, and it would be for sometime this episode. While it could be said that Pacey was still "reeling" from Dawsons declaration of interest, it did seem hypocritical of him considering how much he put on the line, how many hearts he broke to be with Joey.

When they arrived at the college and met Nick, it was easy to see the repertoire Pacey had with him. In fact, it would be easy to assume that their characters were very similar. That theory would be shot to pieces later on. While I felt distrust at Nick's toothy grin, he was appealing in the sense he reminds of so many of my University buddies. Sigh. Kids these Days. The bath-tub scene between Nick and Pacey was ludicrous. I mean... what the... !! Hot tub? Outside a college?? With everyone looking on? A tad above realistic, even for Dawsons Creek. Nevertheless, the character interaction within was what was interesting. It became abruptly clear that Pacey and Nick share the same views towards education and a general slacker tendency. An amusing scene still.

Gretchen's mistrust towards Nick is clear, after all, he's the one who got her pregnant. I did think she had unresolved feelings towards him, despite her "obvious" interest in Dawson. When she went upstairs with him, I feared the worst, that she too would rip apart Dawsons fragile heart. But no, it became clear that this isn't the same Gretchen who would have sex with her boyfriend in the back seat of a car while listening to Lynrd Skynrd. Like what Joey did in the epsisode before with Dawson, she let go of Nick, let go of his ghost. She was "free" to start enjoying a romance with someone else. As Pacey, unvirtously, tried to get her and Nick to link up again, Pacey realised the true content of Nick's character. They are nothing alike. Despite the mistakes Pacey has made, despite the flaws in his character, Pacey is a good person. He would not deliberately set out to hurt someone, or be reckless with someones feelings for the sole purpose of "fun". And that was what Nick was asking him to do by trying to get him to betray Joey. They are indeed, nothing alike.

The conversation Pacey had with Grethcen was highly entertaining. When Gretchen informed him that she had gotten pregnant to Nick, the shame on Pacey's face was evident, and he showed his true virtue - he regretted his wrong actions. With regret, comes growth. He was hurt that Gretchen told Dawson before she told Pacey, but that is easy to understand... where he

stands on Dawson is still a clouded issue. Of course, Pacey being Pacey, his hero complex, wanting to beat down Nick, came up but luckily Gretchen was able to subside that.

The next morning, Pacey's virtue was assured as his conversation with Gretchen made him realise that Dawson, despite how uncomfortable it might be, would be wonderful for her. He realised that Dawson was someone he would be lucky to have chase after his sister. Full circle Pacey.

The virtue of Drue. Doesn't really feel right, does it? I mean, he's hard, diabolical and cruel. Or at least appears to be. I like to believe that there are reasons as to why Drue behaves the way that he does... why he's so confrontational, why he's so afraid of letting anyone get too close. Perhaps his extremely dysfunctional family, a mother that doesn't appear to love him and a father that has abandoned him are due cause? I would wish that the writers explored Drew's complex character more, but it seems that as a guest character, he's been relegated as a simple subplot, used to stir trouble between our various characters. 

It was further implied that Joey and Pacey were engaging in sexual acts. Suffice to say, my poor innocent mind was corrupted by this vile show :lol: I would hope that's all they do during the course of Dawsons Creek. I couldn't see how Joey got locked in the cupboard with Drue. Due to

unfortunate circumstances, this is a blank part of the story for me, so I'll ignore it. However, the circumstances that insued where we see Joey forced into conversation with Drew, were far more interesting.

It's easy to see that Drew is attracted to Joey. That much is clear. It was quite interesting how cold and rough Joey was with Drew in the storeroom, as they appeared to be locked in during freezing temperatures. Does Joey have feelings towards Drew? When he kissed her, and she hit him hard, it could be said that no, she doesn't have feelings towards him. However, her behaviour towards a kiss by someone she seemingly despises in Drew is different from how she would react to Jack kissing her in season 2. A little ambiguoity there... and we all know how much I want to see Drue's character explored :)

Let it be noted, that I saw the first signs of cracks in Pacey and Joey's relationship in this episode... despite the fact they didn't talk once! When Drew was questioning her about why she could stand to be with someone so different, I have no doubt that her words about passion and recklesness were sincere. But his line of questioning about how their lives were headed in

different directions - her to an Ivy League institution and Pacey… somewhere else, I noticed tremendous discomfort on Joey's behalf. I've seen the promos for next week, and I can't help but feel their academic standings will cause difficulty in their relationship. Nevertheless, Drue's words were true... it might be fun in high school, to have someone like Pacey, but in college... that's a different story.

Another interesting line of questioning by Drew was about Joey's virtue. Why she acts so harshly to the people around her. What she said has a certain semblance of truth... she does have a hard outer shell and once you get to know her, she's like butter. But this scene... I didn't feel that it was well written because Joey has come a long way since season 1, and I had

genuinely thought that she was overcoming her harshness. But oh well. Her virtue, that she was a good person, was highlighted when she felt sorry for Drue, no matter how much he's hurt her and offered him the coat for warmth. Further on, when she didn't make a big case about being locked in there to Mrs. Valentine, showed strength of character on Joey's behalf as she realised that Drue hasn't had it easy, especially with his father and didn't "tell" on him so to speak.  Perhaps some of those feelings are starting to surface... but I dream :)

Overall, I enjoyed this episode greatly. I alway do I guess. This episode told us that despite the faults of our character, there is a fine line between the "good" and the "bad", between the virtuous and the unvirtuous. This episode told us that all of the people we love so dearly, are virtous in their own ways. That gives you hope doesn't it?

phrising responds: When would have been the time for Pacey to tell Dawson? Should he have told him before the kiss at the end of Cinderella Story? Up until that kiss Pacey had no intention of getting involved with Joey because he thought he had no chance. Should he have told Dawson after the kiss? He tried to but when Dawson gave his little speech in

the woods about what Joey meant to him Pacey decided he would not pursue a relationship with Joey so he again did not tell Dawson. Should he have told Dawson during Stolen Kisses when Joey was running after him and then pushing him away? He was just trying to figure out what Joey wanted until the end of the episode so he couldn't tell him then. Should he have told him in the week between the end of Stolen Kisses and when Dawson found out? Probably he

should but he and Joey were both agonizing over how to tell him and when they finally agreed he spent most of his day trying to catch up with Dawson to tell but Jen beat him to it so it was too late. Now even if a right time to tell him could be chosen would the results have been any better? I see 3 possible outcomes from Pacey telling Dawson earlier.

1) Dawson tells Pacey that he can't pursue Joey and Pacey steps aside. The outcome of which is Pacey is miserable and Dawson is suspicious whenever Pacey and Joey spend any time together because he knows how Pacey feels.

2) Dawson tells Pacey that he can't pursue Joey and Pacey does so anyway. Dawson blows up just the way he did and we are in the same position we are now.

3) Dawson laughs in Pacey face because he feels Joey can't feel the same way about Pacey. Dawson then blows up just the way he did when he discovers that Joey does feel that way about Pacey.

Also Dawson did not tell Pacey before he followed his heart. He already approached Gretchen at the end of Self-Reliance which was some undefined period of time before he and Pacey went fishing. It could have been a week just the same time between when Pacey and Joey decided to become involved and he found out. If Gretchen had jumped at the chance at the Christmas tree he would have been in the same situation as Pacey during the Longest Day.

Finally then example that Dawson set by telling Pacey was set first not by Dawson but by Pacey in Modern Romance when he came to Dawson to ask if he could ask Joey out. I never saw Dawson ask Pacey his permission to start dating Joey even though Pacey liked her first

SLYN11 jumps in: If we go back in the episode to Pacey's scenes with Nick, the writers are

obviously paralleling the two characters. Although, Pacey is a better man than Nick, he still does share Nick's slacker academic tendecies. I think the writers may be paving the way for Pacey to go to college, and perhaps find some direction there. Because we all know that Pacey is highly

intelligent and probably could do well at any Ivy (if he applied himself). Hopefully, Joey realizes that Pacey has loads of potential and if he gets into college, they both could have bright futures. I don't think academics should cause their breakup, at least not in high school. What would be more interesting (and more realistic) is for Pacey and Joey to break during freshman year of college.

Rosi adds: hey mal, i may be a P/Jer, but keeping in line with your Drue/Joey fantasy, they do

have the whole broken family thing to bond over. and that "dad cheated on mother" thing. i think, *IF* they did get together, the relationship would be even more taxing on joey than her relationship with pacey. but i doubt she'd give up pacey for drue!!! *ergh*

Mal P responds back: I know, it's just wishful thinking on my part ;-) I would like to see Drue's

character explored more, but I don't think the producers will go in that direction. Not to mention how unfair it would be on Joey, having to deal with another complex boyfriend. Besides, for the most part, she's happy now, and I like to see a smiling Joey.

Mal P adds: What it all comes down to, is respect. Respect for a life-long friendship. I can fully understand Pacey's actions last season. I know first hand how overpowering an emotion love is, how it sometimes blinds you to reality and the consequences of your actions. I don't believe in the "unspoken rule" about not dating your best friends ex. It's a rule made to be broken. I thought that Pacey had a perfect right to start a romance with Joey - it's not like she was dating Dawson at the time.

However, where Pacey erred was by not informing Dawson of his intentions immediately after he realised that Joey felt the same way about him (of course, it's pretty useless in telling anyone if she didn't feel the same way, thus he had to find out). No "make-out" sessions in between, no hiding from him. He should have walked upto Dawson and told him, like Dawson did to Pacey about Gretchen, that he was head over heels in love with her, that she felt the same way about him and they planned to have a relationship. Of course Dawson would have been angry. It doesn't matter whether he found out from Pacey or someone else at the time... his two best friends romancing when Dawson himself was still in love with one of them... it would hurt like

hell. And most likely, he would have behaved the same way, ultimatiums, tantrums and even life-threatening ego boat races.

However, after all the harsh words have been said, after all the bile spewed forth, months later... Dawson could have *respected* the fact that Pacey told him upfront. That Pacey felt that all those years of friendship, being there for one another, was worth something...enough to inform Dawson of the most horrendous news he could possible imagine. And perhaps because of the

respect that was shown, Dawson forgiving Pacey could have been a lot easier. Of course, I understand how reluctant both Pacey and Joey would have been to tell Dawson. You don't want to hurt the people you love with such heartbreaking news. However, I could not excuse it.

Have I forgiven Pacey? Yes. Pacey has made enough of an effort this season, especially in "The Storm" that shows he is truly remoresful for making the mistake of not telling Dawson (i.e. "I'm sorry for the way things went down last spring"). He has proven to be a boy of character who is slowly overcoming his flaws and insecurities to become a wonderful young man, as

Dawson has.


Snoshie921: Last week, when I saw the preview of last night's episode, Joey and Drew were

kissing. I know he kisses her, but I saw something different in the preview. Joey was actually kissing him back. Did anyone else see this, or know why it was cut out of the episode?

Jasper: To me it looked like the same kiss but in the preview they slowed it down a lot to it looked more pasonate and like joey wanted to be kissed. I think its just another example of the superb marketing job they do for dawson's creek,.

Violet: Either way...nice punch.

Buppie: I have noticed this about "DC". They do a wonderful job of making you think one thing and then completely turning it around during the episode. Whoever comes up with these does a darn good job! I thought the same thing you did with the preview, but then of course it wasn't like that in the episode. Now I just don't know what to think about previews anymore!

Tigerlily: I rewound it & watched it again.

Drew: Katie really jacked him a good one, huh :) That was awesome! This week a new episode?

Digerati01: I don't know if I'd say the marketing people do a good job with the promos. They are completely misleading to the point where you can say "if so and so are seen doing this in the promo then it is most likely that what it looks like will not be the case at all." It's trickey, but trickery so predictable it tips you off everytime. I just ignore it now.


Joel C Davis asks: whats up with Dawsons LITTLE NICKY hairdo?

budSwimmer18 replies: my gf says it makes him look creepy!

Marcia: LoL!

Cindy Morgan says: I must say, Dawson looked mighty fine in a hat in the first few minutes of the show. (Of course, Pacey is the finer of the two, I can't forget that!) Maybe it just goes to show that he needs to cut his hair! heh, just a woman's sex drive talking, don't mind me!

I have to say, I was really worried about Joey and Drue! I'm glad we cannot depend on the previews to show us how things really will turn out. Such as the previews are, I *KNOW* next weeks episode won't be so bad. (Can't I hope??) Anyhow, Drue deserved the punch, he shouldn't have kissed her. I give kudos to Joey for realizing why Drue didn't tell her about the cell phone. It makes sense. Poor guy. I just wonder why Joey didn't say anything to Pacey about the kiss... uh oh? As far as Pacey goes, he did what was expected. He doesn't like the idea of

his "now close friend Dawson" in love with his sister. Many might say he has no right to say that, but it's a time honored tradition! One does not pursue the interest of one's best friend's sister. I'm glad, however that Pacey realized that the idea of Dawson and his sister would be okay after all. He got over a big hurdle there, I think. And he also acted most honorably in the party scene by keeping himself faithful to Joey. This gives me hope for next week's episode.

For Dawson and Gretchen.. all I have to say is WTG!!! As Toby Keith always says... "Getcha Some!" And didn't Grams look absolutely beautiful! And Mr. Brooks looked quite handsome.

The show was overally pretty dang good if you ask me! Now, I just await Mr. Mal P's review!

* Based on next week's previews, I think we can see what's coming...

Dawson will hook up with Gretchen (well, he already has actually). Pacey and Joey will break up this season and Joey will be available. Dawson will have to choose between the new love of his life and very first crush (Gretchen) and his first love (Joey). Who do you think he will choose and why?

Rick: Choose between Gretchen and Joey?? Please. How could Joey come close?

Mal P: Misleading previews ;-) You can be assured that the content of the episode will be vastly different from that which is indicated by the preview. I would suspect that Pacey is talking about his and Joey's academic paths not intertwining, not their love.

Lizabeth4112: Gretchen...why would he chose a child over a woman

Ingledon: If you want to see what Dawson is getting himself into, pick up a copy of the January/February 2001 issue of FHM magazine ( It has Alyssa Milano on the cover). Turn to pages 18, 19 & 20 and see what Sasha Alexander has to offer. What does FHM stand for?

foofighter: For Him Magazine

Tessa Kampman: I agree with you Mal, I think he is also talking about his father in one part… cause I suspect that the things he said are not said right after each somebody said before they are very good in making misleading previews! Pacey and Joey will not break up till at least #415!! And there will be PJNOOKIE!!!!! YAY

mivo: You sure? About the nookie I think. I haven't seen any episodes of the 4th season so far, but I just can't wait, and of course I wouldn't mind Joey loosing her virginity to Pacey. God, what am I talking, she isn't allowed to loose it to anyone else! :-) Pacey and Joey forever!!!

Ingledon: For Him Magazine. My local news stand doesn't carry this magazine. :( My question didn't have anything to do with next week's preview.

Notice I said that they will break up "this season" not next week. I'm just guessing of course. But my guess had nothing to do with next week's misleading preview. So feel free to answer the question if you feel like sharing your thoughts.

Dean Proudley: if joey does sleep with pacey it will be a very big deal for her (and him) and there is no way they will break up any time soon after that.


Randy wants to see Eve again: I saw Britany Daniel in a movie last weekend on TBS called "On Hostile Ground". It was about some giant sink hole in New Orleans. The movie kinda sucked but Britany is so hot! I wonder if they plan to bring her back any time soon to finish up the storyline with her being Jen's sister. Oh yeah!

^astro^: No...The writers and producers have said HEAPS of times that Eve ISN'T coming back. They said she was one of the biggest mistakes they ever made on the show. So that is one storyline that won't be revisited :P I hated her :P

Tessa Kampman: Allthough a lot of the viewers didn't like that storyline..i really think they should finish it in some way...I mean they can't just ignore it...well obviously they can, but as a viewer I think it's really unsatisfieing....

Mal P: I personally thought the biggest mistake was tearing apart Dawsons character for the sole purpose of making viewers root for the Pacey/Joey pairing. The writers didn't need to... P/J had enough spark to maintain loyal viewers without sacrificing Dawson. Now the damage it seems is irrepearable… hardly anyone, despite the grace in wich Dawson exists today, is willing to forgive him.

As to Eve, I thought that the idea of a temptress was good, however, the actress playing Eve lacked the ability to maintain sexiness but at the same time vulnerability... not to mention the writing during that time was apalling and thus they didn't have much to work with anyway. I don't think its needed to bring closure to her storyline... let's pretend it never happened, as with many things (the wall, Buzz etc).

Marcia: Technically, it sort of is finished. DC could easily state that they used the "Eve storyline" as a point to express Jen's mom's past promiscuity. I think leaving it undone sort of makes

it kind of realistic, then again, I don't think we watch DC for it's realism :)

rosi: they didn't need to. jen's mum already said what happened. and anyway, the episodes with eve were just PAINFUL to watch. *shivers* btw mal, why should we forget about the wall?!

or buzz? i thought they were quite good for the storyline.


itchicoo asks: How could Pacey be a loser if he's got Joey ? ? With a girl like her, he's no loser.

Sweetie143823 says: That is EXACTLY what I was thinking while I listened to him call himself a failure. I was like -  FAILURE??? He has Joey's heart. No way is he a failure!

SorrowRuffian agrees: He's also not a failure for a dozen or so other reasons. He's smart. He's good with kids. He's good with adults. He's strong. He's patient. He rebuilt a boat. He did all the handiwork for the Bed & Breakfast. And hey... he can hotwire a cop car.


Violet says: Did anyone else REALLY wanna cry during the "letter" scene? I'm actually glad to see that Joey hasn't always been in Dawson's life, that Gretchen came first, and now they're together. I remember now why I used to be addicted to Dawson's Creek during it's earlier years. I'm a full-fledge addict once again.

Hope2Changes says: That letter was the most heart-felt and endearing letter. :) This episode, despite the lame way he found the letter in the drawer, really redeemed Dawson's character. Those horrid previews have to go though.

Digerati asks: As sweet as that letter sounds. Just a question for the ladies. In real life if you were to receive a letter like that from a guy you knew that liked you would you be all melty and warm and fuzzy or more disturbed and creeped out? From my experience, verbose romanticsm and a flair for the melodramatic usually doesn't win over the girl, it weirds her out. It seems to only work once something stable is in place.

Sweetie143823 says: I would probably do just what Gretchen did, which is start to cry and go

running to the guy with open arms - especially if I had the same feelings for him.

SLYN11 says: It depends on who the letter is from. If it were from a life long friend (like in Dawson and Gretchen's case) then I would be moved and touched. But if it were some person I hardly knew...that would be creepy. Can you say stalker!


SorrowRuffian spots a continuity error: Wasn't Pacey's 16th birthday >BEFORE< Christmas? Like in the fall? And now his 18th is afterwards? Or am I totally remembering things wrong.

BlueFalcon responds: No you are right, his 16th birthday was like 2 years ago in September.

I seem to remember that's when he met Andie! (How time flies) I really wish writers would pay attention the the fact, that a birthday should remain constant on the show.

Rocky says: no but if you think about it... season 2 followed on from season 1... so it had

already probably gone past Christmas... you see?

Blue Falcon says: Actually, I forgot about that, it makes sense except for the fact, that Pacey threw himself a pool party, or something like that, and it was most definitely hot and sunny. But I guess you have to suspend reality when watching.

rosi says: they've showed dawson's birthday, pacey's brithday (twice after this week's ep), but they are yet to show joey's birthday?!?!?! or jen's?!?!?! isn't that a bit slack??

Rocky responds: maybe their birthdays are in the summer??

^astro^ explains: This is the official explanation from DC:


At first we thought that Season One spanned about a month -- from August until the end of September, meaning Pacey's birthday (not Josh's but Pacey's) was in October because Episode #202 aired in October. This also made sense because the Homecoming episode was #206 "The Dance." 

However, also in Season One, Joey has a line that indicates that "Season One" spans approximately 3-4 months (their first semester of 10th grade). Episode #100 is the start of

school in September. Episode #201 picks up right where Episode #112 leaves off meaning that it is around December (therefore Season 2 is the second semester of 10th grade). Pacey's birthday is in Episode #202 meaning his birthday is around the end of December or January. Make sense?

SorrowRuffian says: I dunno... I was pretty sure it was clear it was pre-christmas for Pacey's other birthday. It's been a while since I saw the episode. Anyone have a transcript of it, or the shows around it?

Ok... here we go. 

202 is Pacey's birthday. 

206 "The Dance" ... is that supposed to be a homecoming dance? I dunno about everywhere else in the US, but around here, Homecoming is typically in November.

207, "The All-Nighter" is a cram session for a midterm,which for the high school I went to (and the ones my friends went to), is usually pre-christmas.

216 is Dawson's birthday

217, "Psychic Friends" is the Winter Arts Fair.

So... I think the birthdays got shuffled.

I can't help it. I'm a writer, editor, and a filmmaker. I was also stage manager for local theatre. Things like this just leap out at me.

Brent E. Clark reasons: Yea but two-three years ago didn't the Northeast due to El Nino have

alot of nice, warm weather, no snow etc during what is supposely the winter months. So if it was indeed during the same time, then you can say it was warm enough for Pacey to throw a pool party for his birthday.


Lady… wonders: Some one please explain to me why some one with Pacey's miserable underachieving high school record and no college money would ignore the easiest and cheapest way in the world to get a college education. You can get into a junior or community college without even ever graduating high school and they don't turn anyone down who can come up with the $15 to $65 per unit fee (varies from state to state). From there you can go on to a state college. In California, the Cal State Universities don't even have a selection process. You apply, you get in, nothing to it. I didn't even have to take the SAT's or send them

my high school transcripts to get in, they accept pretty much anyone. It makes sense to me that Pacey would move to whatever city Joey's college is in and enroll in the nearest community college. Am I wrong here?

CJMAXP says: No, you are not wrong. I work in Higher Education and there are lots of options for kids like Pacey. First and foremost is the Community College route. Im not too familiar with Mass Higher Ed, but lets for the moment, pretend that Capeside is in Pennsylvania. Pacey could get into any community college with a high school degree. Take some core courses (english, math, science, some electives) and if he does well for two or three semesters could transfer into any of the PA State Schools or the Penn State System (two different entities) without much hassle. In fact with a little work he could probably get into one of the 14 State

System Schools now. Many have Summer/Winter or June January programs where a kid with less than stellar academic performance comes in in June and takes classes and lives in the dorms all summer. If he does great he may be able to stay if he does OK he will be able to come back in January when the freshman shake down (the 10-20% that leave after one semester)

is over. He has a ton of options.

J says: Basically, college isn't for everybody. We're expected to know exactly what we want to be when we're 17, and then we commit four years to achieving this career. But a decade or two later, are you really the same person? Did you make the best choice? Lots of us wind up in a

career totally different than our college major. And lots of college graduates wind up in jobs that don't even require a degree. Pacey doesn't know what he wants from life yet. So college might not be the place for him. I like this development. It's one of the more realistic plot points I've seen on the show. As bright as the guy is, he's not a student. It doesn't make Pacey a failure. He just has to find an alternative way to shine.

Javier Sanchez says: That was not the point the person was making. The point is that in the show Pacey states that his FALLBACK college refused him and therefore he had no college options. It is clear to all of us that it was a ridiculous point to make in the show, Pacey has many options if he wants to be in the same city as Joey and go to college. Sure, he is not college material (we can debate that as well since when he was with Andey he apparently got As, very funny that not he is supposed to be stupid, maybe he was cheating and Andey was doing his homework, hehehe). TO summarize, it was a mistake by the writters to say that Pacey's options

had ran out when his fallback college refused him and that was the point.

Bella Ok says: you know, alot of people also just don't take high school husband did awful in high school but did great in college, made the dean's list more than  nce...everyone's different.

CANDY AGAWA says: I agree with you. With Pacey everything is different, his father thinks that he can't do it and make it to college. If Pacey really tries he'll make it.

Jo says: Wow. You're pretty opinionated, Javier. The original poster asked a good question, and thought I gave a decent answer. Who are you to claim exactly what point she was trying to make? And who are you to speak for "all of us" while claiming it was a "ridiculous plot point"?

You're certainly not speeking on my behalf. You seem ignorant to the fact that the writers are planning ahead. They like to keep things somewhat realistic. But next season, there's a writer's dilemma. Most of the ensemble needs to stay together in a manner which does not look too contrived. I'm willing to bet that Dawson, Pacey, and Joey will return next season. I can't prove it, it just makes sense. But if all three were in the same college (or attending college in close proximity), the show would begin to venture into "90210" territory. Instead, they seem to going the route of "Good Will Hunting" or "Say Anything" So the writers' decision to keep Pacey out of college, provides lots of leeway for him to always be in the same place as his Ivy-League

Girlfriend. You might have a better idea, but you're not writing for the show. And frankly, I'm glad for that.


Mal P reviews: Hello everyone, great comments and opinions as always, I can completely

understand where everyone is coming from. Jerry, you especially my friend! Well, what an amazing episode! There was so much character interaction in it, I felt dizzy. For a while now, Dawsons Creek has been a little patchy in it's episodes, highly entertaining but something was *just* missing... I think "The Te Of Pacey" picked up the ball again. It felt like it had a sense of direction, of a good, well laid out pace. Not to mention the fact that it was at times hilarious, and at times touching. I really understood why each of these characters would react the way they did. Again, I note that the opening credits have not been changed. I continue to express my dissapointment at this, because while it is trivial, if TPTB can come up with such well-made promos, then surely they can come up with some new scenes in the credits! 

Well, I should start with Pacey since he was the focus of this episode! It is a dream of mine to have Katie Holmes waking me up to sing "Happy Birthday" in a sultry voice, and so I was rather incredulous at Pacey's reaction :) No, I jest... I can certainly understand Pacey's apprehension at celebrating his birthday, considering the unmitigated disasters they have been for most of his life. I found Joey's irritated line to him about setting the couch on fire to be highly amusing, and set the tone for the rest of the episode. It is quite strange isn't it... the first scene in an episode can make or break the rest of it. It sets the mood, the theme and the colour of the episode.

As Pacey went on and on about how much his birthdays have "sucked", I started to feel very sad for him. I remember in my own youth, birthdays were events I looked forward to with the greatest glee and anticipation. All my family being there, all my friends, having fun, cutting cake, watchingmovies etc... a wistful time indeed. For Pacey to experience such hurt during what is supposed to be a magical time... I truly did feel sad for him.

But my compassion for Pacey extends beyonds beyond just his birthdays. I've been extremely lucky to have two loving, devoted parents who would do anything for me. They pushed me to excel in school, sports, hobbies and whatever else I was remotely interested in. They've supported me throughout the bad times and the good and I really don't know how I would have turned out without them.

All of which contributes in making me feel sorry for what Pacey has had to endure throughout his life. For the more fortunate of us, I hope that this episode shows everyone what it's like to be in a family that expects you to do your worst. It certainly showed me.

When Pacey was having breakfast with Gretchen and Joey, I noted that the letter he recieved must have had something to do with his college applications. At first, I thought he had been too scared to open it, but as it turns out, the news contained within was quite unfortunate. I felt

dissapointed he didn't talk with Joey about this immediately.

As Joey led Pacey into his home, Pacey's hopeful optimism for a romantic evening made me cringe. This was not going to be a pleasant night. The look on his face when the blindfold was taken off and his stared at his own house looked surprised and... resigned. Resigned to an evening of torture, as he surely knew what to expect. As the door opened and his dad uttered a

pathetic "surprise" to him, those expectations were met. It wasn't just the bad timing of the surprise party missing Pacey's appearance, it was what the lacklustre response meant - another birthday disaster. Well, I guess nothing represents disaster for a guy more than a jab to the nether regions. Ouch.

Funny, but I'm sure many of us lads around the world winced - we know where he's coming from :) I appreciated Dawson, Gretchen and Jack's concerned glances, Pacey didn't really look like he was having the time of his life. I'm glad that the actor who plays Pacey's father has returned to the show.

No one represents "bastard" more than that guy. I found him to be extremely rude and without class nor tact. He has obviously not learnt how to interact with his son, despite the events of two years ago in which we saw a solitary bonding moment between him and Pacey during "Parental Discretion Advised".

At last we see Pacey's mother. My initial impressions were not good. For such a long time I had thought that it was Pacey's father who had constantly contributed to Pacey's extremely poor self-confidence, but as it turns out, his very own mother had been a direct cause of his issues with esteem.

Which brings me back to the statement Joey made in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" about how Pacey's mother deserved a medal. What?? Do these writers not read previous scripts? On the other hand, it could be said that Joey did not know Pacey's mother too well and was just speaking in the moment... hence the incredulous look on Pacey's face during "KKBB". It's certainly apparent that Mrs. Witter doesn't know Joey too well, if she can't remember her name,

especially after 15 years of knowing she was Pacey's friend.

The look on Joey's face as Pacey's entire family laid into him about his future was painful. The guilt she must be feeling as she realised everything Pacey said about "whatever effort he makes not mattering", coming true, must have been tremendous.

I'm glad that Pacey wanted to tell Joey about his problems with college. That shows signs of at least wanting to communicate, and thus perhaps Pacey has learned his lesson about keeping secrets from his girlfriend. However, I can understand why he'd be reluctant to tell Joey, she has placed so much hope on him passing into college, as expressed to Mr. Witter in this very episode. Dissapointing the people you love is hard (well, perhaps easy) enough... dissapointing someone like Joey who actually believes in you, is worse.

I don't think that Pacey really minded about Dawson and Gretchen kissing in the basement, nor them starting a relationship. It was quite obvious for him that those two were in the early stages of a romantic relationship. I believe he was more irritated by all the circumstances of that evening rather than anything else. Nevertheless, his diatribe to Gretchen was quite amusing.

That scene in which Pacey's *entire* family discussed in great detail every fault that Pacey has made in his life was heartbreaking. I take special offence to the way Doug behaved... I had genuinely thought he had been developing a fondness for his brother, a degree of caring, as demonstrated in "The Unusual Suspects". It seems not, or is it a case of the writers twisting history again? My first thoughts were of absolute, abject horror and when Pacey put his head in his hands as they constantly ripped into him, one by one…

You know, scenes like that make me wonder how Pacey turned out the way he did. You know, a good person. Despite all his flaws (directly caused by extremely dysfunctional family), despite all the mistakes he has made, you can't deny that at heart, Pacey Witter is a caring, compassionate young man. If he had to endure what happened at his birthday party all his life, it

would have been so easy for him to break, to fold and end up bitter, cold and hating everything and everyone around him. But he didn't... and I would like to attribute that to his tremendous strength. I've often called Dawson strong beyond belief in being able to handle the heartbreak he has faced in his life with such grace and excellence... I'd like to call Pacey that now too. The mere fact that he was trying his guts out to get into college with this kind of oppression makes his character very endearing. But alas, to have such hopes and ambitions dashed with that letter from the school that rejected him... compounded upon by the family "beating"... I can

understand why he became angry, said the things he did and stormed out. What Pacey said was all too true, no one ever seems to give him a break… especially around here *wink* :) Pacey's dad, despite his drunken stupour, was just then realising how much his "jovial" jabs were tearing Pacey apart. Perhaps he really was just "joking" around with Pacey, as always and had planned the fireworks birthday present to prove how much he cared. Which leads me to the next scene.

The scene between Pacey and his dad down at the docks was shallow and completely did not fit the way Mr. Witter was slamming his son earlier. I can realise how he'd realise how much his words hurt, but really, you've been given a chance to be a good father two YEARS ago, and still you fail to realise that words said, even in jest, can hurt a fragile child like Pacey greatly. I think even Pacey realised this, as he wistfully nodded his head and realised... he was never going to get a good father, and that he'll have to handle life without the support of loving parents. So, he bore it and went on, not really expecting an apology. The entire line about Mr. Witter not getting into the academy the first time was touching, really <rolls eyes>. As was his comment about Pacey doing "great things". Uh-huh. Oh well, at least Pacey has friends, good friends like Dawson and Joey. I'm so glad he had those two in his life early on... I'd like to believe they were

responsible for dragging Pacey out of depression and gave him an inkling of optimism and hope.

The conversation between Pacey and Joey at the end was... alas contrived. While I do realise it's unrealistic for someone like Pacey's academic record to get into a good college, I do think his dropping out was more of a way to keep Pacey and Joey together for the future as they head off to college. This was further "foreshadowed" by Joey saying that now their paths were

heading to the same place. I sincerely hope Dawson goes to a college that is close to Joey's so he might get a chance with her!

Right, onto Joey! I noticed the grimace on Joey's face as Pacey made her promise that the night will be just him and her. That sort of clued us in on what was going to go down later on. Joey was indeed extremely nervous about the planned surprise party for Pacey that night, as her conversation with Gretchen showed. After Pacey's diatribe to her about how horrible his birthdays have become, I can certainly understand why she would feel that way! Again, I found her asking if Pacey was going to kill her to be quite amusing.

Pacey was right about Joey's naive optimism. It was unfounded, as Joey herself realised during the events of that night. I don't think she quite understood what it must have been like for Pacey, to have to deal with his family everyday of his life. Perhaps she thought that any family was better than none, i.e. her own situation. I do think she felt genuinely sorry towards Pacey for not at least warning him about the surprise part beforehand.

What was more interesting however, was her reaction to Dawson and Gretchen making out in the basement. Hmmm... signs of unease and jealousy, despite grand declarations of telling Dawson to do what his heart told him to do? I do think she still has some issues to work out with them... although it could be quite possible that it was purely the awkwardness of the moment -

that there were people who were having "fun" while she had to sit through hell with hey boyfriend. I'm looking forward to seeing the next scene between Joey and Gretchen with delight :)

For once however, she decided to put her boyfriend first and forgot about Dawson and Gretchen's relationship as she went with Dawson to find Pacey. Her honesty in expressing to Dawson about how she felt at having placed so much of a burden on Pacey was endearing. But what Dawson said to her was fundamentally true... she has confidence in other people beyond the confidence they have in themselves. This is a clear insight into how Joey's mind works... especially with her relationship with Dawson. She expects him to be infallible and passionate and never have anything get to him. Joey's explanation of the "Witter" character was dead on. Eventually, they do come out with the truth, with the right thing, despite holding it deep inside your heart for fear of getting hurt... disguising everything you really are.

Right, Dawson. Well what can I say... again he proves himself to be endearing, heartwarming and with genuine grace. I really enjoy his new "soft-spoken" manner... how he clearly forms his words instead of blurting them out... how he expresses his thoughts clearly and with such honesty people can't help but respond to them. During the scene in which Gretchen was pretty much jerking him around, I noted the confusion on his face as he must have been scared whether Gretchen was changing her mind about them. After all, a lot of women in his life have

"changed their minds" so to speak, so that aspect is understandable. I love it how Dawson is the one out there, trying to get his and Gretchen's relationship started. I enjoy the manner in which this new Dawson... someone who is still very passionate but able to express that passion with so much more... action, behaves. As he talked to Gretchen, I noticed that he was very patient in dealing with Gretchen's emotions. However, he was firm... he stated that if they were to continue, then Gretchen had to come clean about their relationship, sort out her feelings and stop blaming Pacey and Joey or the family on her own hesitation. Well, action we got! I'm delighted to see Dawson acting like a normal teenage boy, doing the whole "make-out" thing in the basement with Gretchen :) You go Dawson! Being caught is the whole fun in it, the risk so to speak. Well, they looked decidely embarassed but it you have to go through it in growing up... it's part of the excitement! Come on, who here hasn't been caught in a compromising situation :)

I thought it was an indication of Dawsons nobility in jumping immediately to help Joey find Pacey. No compromises there, Dawson is truly there for his friends, in good times or in bad.

Gretchen. I thought her genuine concern and love for Pacey to be wonderful, I'm glad that at least one family member can be kind and generous to him, and see how much he's hurting.

While I thought she was going to break Dawsons heart for a split second (an action I could not forgive again by anyone), I can see why she'd be having second thoughts about her relationship with Dawson, after all, she is 3 years older and life has a way of tearing people apart.

I loved the reference to Princess Isabella Gretchen made, the story mirrors Dawsons Creek so perfectly that I can only begin to explain it in words. As a show about growing up and friendship, it's taught us that like Isabella with the stars, we meet so many wonderful people in our lives... so many new friends, so many new people. But as with growing up, and as with Isabella, we have to leave some of those stars behind, some of those friendships as we come to new and wonderful worlds. Beautifully written. And describes Dawson to a tee.

Gretchen of course, couldn't help but be caught up in Dawsons natural optimism in the final scene between them. I loved it how Dawson continued the theme of putting your heart out there and accepting that a moment of pure happiness is worth a thousand heartbreaks, a theme that has been running throughout Dawsons Creek for the last several episodes. Gretchen is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, she makes Dawson so happy. They both accept that their live will head in different directions but they're going to enjoy the moment. Which is a rather interesting aspect in Dawsons character. He's no longer analysing everything to death, nor is he thinking of the future so much. He's living in the now, without hesitation but with maturity... and I can

honestly say, he's a better person for it. Well done lad.

Onto the "supporting cast" (as it seems these days) of Jen, Jack and Tobey. I found Jen questioning Grams about sex to be quite well done and those two have a lot of genuine spark and appeal. The love is very apparent, and they have truly become comfortable around each other. Grams too is loosening up a great deal.

For this episode, I found Tobey to be actually... appealing in a way. I saw vulnerability in his character that I've seen before in someone we all know, Joey. He attacks to stop getting too close... and the way he made up a fictional boyfriend was an indicator of that. His scenes with Jack was... awkward, but far less annoying as was the first encounter in "KKBB" (I think that was the episode). While I do realise that it is unlikely just because two gay people meet that they'll automatically be romantic partners, as Tobey himself said, this is Dawsons Creek and they have a limited amount of time to show a relationship develop, especially for supporting characters. I hope something develops between them, a first for teenage TV. The scenes with the drunk kids were quite hilarious and the genuine laughter on Jens face sparkled. Michelle is a great actress. When Pacey in anger burst through them as they yelled surprise to him, the

look of shock on their faces were a highlight.

The final scene with the fireworks as Pacey and Joey kissed... cliched! I fail to see how the entire family could be so happy when just before they were so hostile. But, suspension of disbelief is an important factor in being able to enjoy Dawsons Creek. I think Pacey himself realised it was just a moment... it's not going to last and he will be forgotten again. Overall, I give this a 9 out of 10, as it was quite entertaining, despite blatant continuity flaws. It was funny, had a good heart and we understoof where a lot of these characters came from.

SLYN11 responds: Great review Mal...I enjoyed the episode as well. We finally got to see the Witter clan. What an awful brood, now I understand why Pacey was clamouring to live elsewhere. It was so horrifiying to watch Pacey's parents lay into him at the party. I literally winced at every disparaging remark they made. The writers did a great job on those scenes.


Especially the part about Pacey killing the dog...that was just low.

I also expected Doug to step up to the plate and defend Pacey. But it is clear the Witters have short memories and breakthroughs made in the past seem to be quickly forgotten.

I never saw Dawson suffer at all on the show. Aside, from losing Joey to Pacey (and many of us suffer heartbreak and recover), he leads a pretty good life. Parents who support and encourage him, friends who are true and understanding, and general knowledge of who he is and who he wants to be. (ie filmmaker)

I agree Pacey has had a hard way to go, but he will be a better man because of it. He also got some very juicy show-stealing storylines because of it. Can we say Pacey's creek? *Wink*

This was definitely a movie of the week moment. I think the writers were trying to create a happy ending type closure. But that really is not possible with this characters. I think TPTB have to decide whether want to create a show rich with realism, or an entertaining light hearted soap. I think they have been having trouble making up their minds on that issue.

I think Pacey still can get into college, TPTB overdramatized the whole thing...he could at least go to a community college in Capeside or even near the school Joey attends. In the US, there is a school for everyone. I would like to see Pacey get in or transfer to the school that Joey goes to, and then whip her academically...because Pacey is not stupid in the least.

Are u trying to restart the couples war Mal? LOL I have known from the first episode, Dawson and Joey do not have any romantic chemistry. I would rather watch Grams and Mr. Brooks get "busy" than see the lack of sparks between Joey and Dawson. Dawson needs a woman with some spunk like Eve (I know we all hated her) to take him to new heights.

No one likes to see their ex with someone else. It will always be somewhat awkward at first. I also think Joey is still in the process of letting go of Dawson. He was her ideal man for so long, it is hard to leave childhood crushes and dreams behind.

It will be interesting to see how Jack will handle these constant attacks on his gayness. Maybe this is where the slip up between him and a certain blond will come into play...

Once again TPTB are struggling with the tone of the show. So it at times (many times) seems choppy and uneven. But I enjoyed this episode so much that I am willing to overlook it. Can't wait until the next new episode!

Mal P responds back: While some of the opinions at FF were accurate in saying the family was so completely dysfunctional it was hard to believe, the end point was more the emotion of the scenes, of what Pacey had to suffer for all those years.

They should have just had his dad not really expound Pacey's virtues, simply be indifferent about it and Pacey coming to realise that no matter what happens, his family won't think much of him. It's alas how life works sometimes.

What can I say, I hanker for that ol' soulmate stuff :) Still, I don't really mind who ends up with whom... I love Dawsons Creek. I just think the best drama happens when Dawson is involved in the triangle :)

Indeed an episode that was so bleak all of a sudden became sappy… should've left it off with a tone of dispair and leave it at that. Oh well.

Happy Toucan replies: I think that the comment made by Joey in a previous episode about Pacey's mom was not so much directly in reference to his mom, but probably being more folksy

or colloqiual....when someone is a good person its common to say that their parents did a good job raising them, assuming that to be a good person you had to have some good influences.... so i dont think its a continuity issue....but here's an issue: The Whitter clan obviously knows Dawson, the nieces and nephews were hanging off could they not know Joey's name? Werent the three of them like inseperable when they were young? 

Mal P responds: However, take note of the season 1 finale, "Breaking Away", where Joey and Pacey had a discussion about their father... it was noted that Joey didn't really know much about Pacey's family due to his confessions of how badly he gets along with him. However, it was noted this season that Joey enjoyed Sunday brunch with Pacey's family, so I put it as lazy writing.

MTP says: Maybe when they were younger it wasn't the three of them that hung out together it was mainly either Dawson and Joey or Dawson and Pacey not the three of them all hanging out all the time.

Flkofcguls says: They may have gone a little overboard on the behavior, all crammed in one

zinger after the other, but watching it gave me the unspoken sense that Pacey was most probably an unplanned and unwanted child. I didn't realize he had a 2nd older sister. So with three kids to feed and clothe and the Witter's themselves not being all that bright or big moneymakers, it would seem that a 4th, unplanned child would have brought out many resentments in them that aren't nearly as apparent with the other three kids. Besides money issues, they also may not have wanted to raise a fourth child out of exhaustion, though

Pacey's mother seemed to me too stupid to actually be able to hold a job. I think I hated her more than I did Pacey's father. I think she ultimately seemed more insidious than he, like she had made a conscious decision to be a useless bitch as a mother to Pacey because now she was stuck home with yet another child.

I'm glad Gretchen spoke up for Pacey, but I wish one of his friends would have. I know that had I been in a room where one of my good friends was being hammered relentlessly like that, I would have told them all off.

And definitely- the scene with Pacey's dad was pure drivel. People that dumb, stubborn, nasty and set in their ways would not even understand how to make a speech like Mr. Witter did. It wouldn't even occur to them. What's worse was it was as if the writers spent 45 minutes telling the viewers to hate these people and then decided they wanted you to see that they weren't really that bad. Make up your mind, guys!

I really think, all in all, though, that the writing has improved markedly this season since the episode with the prank. They've delivered 5 consistently well written shows. Hope they keep it up.


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