The Great Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project: Season 4, Episodes 13-15

We’re rewatching all of Dawson’s Creek in honor of its twentieth anniversary. Will require some mind-numbing. Drinking game rules can be found here.

Season 4, Episode 13 “Hopeless”

By Nerdy Spice

Joey and Pacey are seen at middle distance through a window, their foreheads touching.

In an episode that embodies the classic, largely extinct phenomenon known as the “pre-February-sweeps filler episode,” Joey strikes a devil’s bargain with Mrs. Valentine to get time off for the senior trip. The sitch is that Pacey and Joey have to accompany Drue on his date with Anna Evans, the daughter of the head of the board, which Mrs. Valentine forced him to go on in order to further her social ascent or something. Mrs. Valentine lays out what we writers like to call “the stakes” in highly literal terms: “If she does [have a nice time], the days off are yours.” Little does she know how high the stakes actually are: no less than Joey Potter’s seemingly indestructible virginity is at stake. Buuut more on that from Janes later.

Anna turns out to be a little ditzy, but Pacey is evidently charmed, even introducing himself as Joey by accident (leading to a hilarious dry correction on the part of his not-quite-as-blond girlfriend). Drue is aggressively rude to Anna from the get-go, so Pacey jumps in and plays the hero, even helping her cheat at mini-golf, while Joey tries to talk Drue into behaving like a human being, even while Drue tries to push Joey’s buttons by pointing out how beautifully Pacey and Anna get along. Finally Pacey loses his temper and Drue, who’s racked up a lot of goodwill with your friendly neighborhood recappers by consistently being funnier and more entertaining than almost anyone else on this show, burns it all in one offensive and extremely unoriginal line about how pretty girls want to be smart and smart girls want to be pretty–and at the same time, we learn that Anna and Drue have already slept together, so not only is he a jerk, he is a jerk to women he’s slept with.

Pacey–who, as Drue points out, does love to play hero to blonde damsels in distress–seeks out a depressed Anna and tries to comfort her. She confesses that she wanted Drue to like her for more than the way she looks, and that she “blew it” because she fell into bed too easily. Pacey significantly fails to correct this incredibly sad patriarchal narrative, which… dude, if you buy into that oh-so-tired madonna-whore thing, no wonder your girlfriend won’t put out! Meanwhile, Joey tries to talk some sense into Drue. Drue is shamed into opening up, but his confession is incredibly stupid: he says he “isn’t good at girls” because he went to an all-boys’ school. Yeah, I don’t think you need a coed school to teach you how to treat women like humans.

Drue and Anna’s date ends with Drue telling Anna he’d like to go out again and the two of them kissing. [I always find the kiss between Drue and Anna so jarring for some reason. It feels like the build-up to the kiss was left on the editing room floor. And why is the camera like, a hundred feet away from them? So weird. –Janes] As far as I can tell, all this episode contributed to the overall arc of the season was giving Drue an opening to torture Joey about her virginity a few times just to remind us that the Big It is still hanging over her head.

Speaking of which, while Pacey and Joey debrief after the date, Joey suddenly completely freaks out, because she can’t even handle talking about other people who have had sex without flipping her shit. (Shot for bringing up sex at inappropriate times, and another for unreasonable anger at the boyfriend!) They have a sort of stupid fight where they agree they have a problem, then Joey unreasonably accuses Pacey of threatening to dump her if she doesn’t put out even though he said nothing of the sort, then Pacey does start arguing that now that they’re really in love, it’s Sex Time. Which, frankly, is stupid and mildly coercive. It’s obviously not about Joey waiting to be more in love with him, or really about him at all. And sex is great and all, and poor Pacey has been waiting a long time, but if he can’t think of a single reason why an eighteen-year-old girl could be 100% in love and still be scared, then he obviously has not been paying enough attention in health class. Anyway, Joey finally reassures him that she wants him, but that she’s scared, and Pacey says he’s scared too, and for some reason this makes Joey feel a lot better. Not better enough to strip down and give him her precious flower that very minute or anything, but at least enough to hug him without randomly accusing him of being a chauvinist pig.

Work on the World’s Most Boring Documentary continues, with Dawson interviewing a cranky old man whose movies no one ever watched. Dawson becomes Mr. Brooks’s medical proxy. Gee, I wonder if that’s going to blow up in his face. (Not that knowing it will blow up in his face makes watching the process any more interesting.) Mr. Brooks takes the time to give Dawson various pieces of cliched advice about falling in love and stuff, then hugs Dawson and tells him his film isn’t bad. Pro tip from a longtime TV watcher: that unexpected sweet moment is how you know the dude’s a goner. When Grams discovers that he isn’t taking his meds it only confirms the trope is progressing. Predictably, the episode ends with Dawson finding Brooks unconscious on the floor of his house. Aww, sad! Just kidding, I don’t care at all. [I love when I’m not the primary recapper and I can just daydream during the Mr. Brooks scenes. –Janes]

Sidebar: I think TV shows sometimes have old and sick characters stop taking their meds when it’s time to kill them off, because it makes viewers feel more comfortable with the whole storyline, like even if they get cancer or whatever, death will come in a way that they can control. No one wants to see Mr. Brooks taking all his meds, fighting desperately for life, and still succumbing to a horrible and painful disease, because then they’d have to confront the reality that death might come at any moment, and not wait until you’ve resigned yourself to your fate.

Dawson’s other, only marginally more exciting plotline is that he meets Gretchen’s friends. Gail decides to be rather magnificently evil by suddenly asking if there’s going to be alcohol at the club and drive-by curfewing Dawson on his way out the door. Well played, Gail. I can only hope to ruin my own kids’ nights out that efficiently someday. This doesn’t help Dawson feel like he’s meeting the ladies on an equal footing. It doesn’t help when the girls go into their own inside-joke-filled gossip session about Kira’s sex life, or when poor Dawson has to get his left hand stampd because he’s under 21. And it definitely doesn’t help when Dawson finds out the length of Gretchen’s “loser list”–the list of loser guys she’s slept with. Dawson is trying to be totally cool about this, and you can judge for yourself whether he’s successful by this incredibly uncomfortable smile:

Interior, darkish. Dawson is seen giving an awkward smile, lit by a small lamp.

But probably the worst part is when Gretchen confidently announces that she likes how Dawson isn’t a jerk because, as opposed to the parade of sexy musicians in her past, he won’t shred her heart. The evening ends in even more humiliation when the girls want to go get black-and-tans and Dawson has to volunteer to drive the car home, since he won’t be able to get in. Dawson gets major maturity points for not bursting into tears by this point, TBH. I certainly would’ve.

Dawson comes home and tells Gail, who of course has been waiting up for him because she’s so worried that he’s going to get hurt listening to a sweet folk singer, that he’s realized he’s going to get hurt in this Gretchen thing and end up on her Loser List. Gail immediately flips sides and argues that he shouldn’t be afraid of getting hurt, apparently because she’s realized that she has to “let her first baby go” (shot! Dawson is growing up!). But when Gretchen appears at the door looking for Dawson, Gail takes the opportunity to totally butt in again and tell her that Dawson shouldn’t end up on the “loser list.” Uh… way to let go, Gail. Once they’re left alone, Dawson tells her he feels like he’s holding her back, and then says that he doesn’t want to be the person she dates because there’s no risk. She reassures him that he’s made an impression and they joke about Dawson getting to see Gretchen’s tattoo. Naughty! (Shot for a euphemism!)

Toby shows up at Jack’s house, purportedly to invite him to volunteer as a reading tutor, but actually to woo him by negging about his “country-club” upbringing making him good at tennis. (Jack does not help the situation when he responds that it’s actually golf. Wow, you actually are the most country-club seventeen-year-old ever.) He promises that at this volunteer activity, it won’t be a big deal that Jack is gay. They do one of those TV dances where Jack demurs even though you know he’ll show up by surprise later, and lo and behold, he does. And, perhaps due to the humanizing effect of all the volunteering going on around them, Jack and Toby manage to survive several entire flirtatious exchanges without being rude to each other.

But then Toby invites Jack to coffee with his friends, and as soon as Jack figures out that Toby likes him he somewhat aggressively chides Toby and says that they don’t click and never will. The roughest part, though, is that this all happens after Jack has seen Toby’s friends, and he totally peaces out, leaving Toby to presumably explain why his friend just ditched them.

  • Um, Gretchen, “progressing to the next stage” after a few weeks of dating does not generally refer to “going out and meeting the friends.” –Janes]
  • “You wouldn’t know her. She’s your age, but she goes to a much better school,” Mrs. Valentine says to Joey of Anna Evans, like, well, Drue goes to Joey’s school, so… good burn on yourself?
  • “You are the perfect couple,” Mrs. Valentine says of Pacey and Joey. How does she know that? There’s no way she cares enough to pay attention to Joey’s love life. Do you think Drue just waxes on about Joey Potter and her Perfect Boyfriend who he’s Definitely Not Jealous Of at dinner? Honestly, I could see it.
  • Drue calls his mother a “Disney villainness” (um, YES), and then she makes this face:–Janes

    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 11.05.16 AM

    Own it, girl


  • Is forcing your employee to go on a double date with your pimped-out son… sexual harassment? –Janes [Definitely! On the other hand, Drue is also a walking lawsuit every time he comes near Joey, and he kissed her against her will at their place of work, and yet somehow her job at the yacht club is still less of a hostile work environment than her previous job, so basically… Joey’s professional life is cursed. —Nerdy Spice]
  • Pacey continues to be … not that great when it comes to Gretchen. I get it, he’s supposed to be all freaked out about Dawson, but… he tells her that her sweater is “not a going out of the house outfit” because it shows her midriff and tells her to put on a sweater and then basically calls her a prostitute on the way out the door. Shut up, Pacey. Why don’t you leave Gretchen alone and go back to saying adorably romantic things to Joey so we can like you again?
  • He kind of saves it by saying that being the perfect boyfriend is a tough job: “Long hours, very few rewards. Not that I’m in it for the rewards.” Not that it’s a particularly feminist thing to say, but… it made me laugh. So all is forgiven. “True love waits,” Gretchen quips.
  • Ew, Pacey needs to stop with all the weird policing of Gretchen’s sexuality. Can you have an Oedipal complex about your older sister? Lannister complex? –Janes
  • I love how Mr. Brooks acts like it’s such a concession to tell Dawson his movie’s good, but like, the movie is basically just a paean to Mr. Brooks himself. Of course he thinks it’s good?!
  • Drue says that Joey “knows as much about makeup as [he does],” but we all know that’s a lie. She has an eyebrow pencil!! –Janes
  • The exchange between Joey and Pacey when he sort-of flirts with Anna is so cute. She’s such a champ. –Janes


  • Pacey tells Anna, “It’s not really about power. It’s all finesse.” Dirty! (OK, fine, he’s talking about mini-golf.)
  • Pacey may be flirting with Anna, but let’s not forget that Joey and Drue basically flirt with every word that comes out of their mouths. Joey steals Drue’s phone (a total flirtation move) and when he says, “OK, what is your problem with mobile technology?” she says, “It’s invasive and irritating, like you.” Hee, and also, get a room, you two!
  • Drue meanly traps Anna by asking her opinion on “that whole electoral college controversy,” to which Anna enthusiastically opines that people should be able to go to whatever college they want… if their parents can afford it. Well, she’s not much better a person than Drue. (This was the spring of 2001, so yup, that was the haps in American politics back then. Shit, remember when we were all freaked out about hanging chads? Those were the days.)
  • I love that Pacey reacts to Drue calling him out on his white-knight complex by… offering to punch Drue in the face to protect the girls’ honor. Nice self-awareness, Pace. —Janes
  • It’s cute that Joey and Pacey are so shocked that Drue treats Anna like shit after he slept with her, when that actually makes his hostility and condescension make so much more sense. –Janes
  • The girls lay eyes on Dawson for five seconds and conclude he’s a nice guy–shot for unwarranted praise of our hapless hero! (Although in this case the show is actually making the point that Gretchen is with him precisely because he won’t “shred her heart.”)
  • No one hates Dawson’s Nice Guy complex more than me, but even I cringe when Gretchen says she’s dating Dawson because he “won’t shred her heart” and that’s why she no longer dates “sexy musicians.” That’s pretty rough. –Janes
  • Dawson gets so bemused at Keira’s sexcapades, and in the true spirit of the show, they are so tame. She had sex with someone twice in one night? Gasp! –Janes
  • There are two black people in this episode! A woman that Dawson judges for her sex life and an underprivileged child that Jack saves with his whiteness. So… I guess it’s not that exciting. –Janes
  • I canNOT believe that this is the episode where the vaunted Mary Beth Maziarz actually appears in person. It’s such a nothing episode and she’s such an iconic Dawson’s voice–why not have her come and sing “Daydream Believer” at the prom or something?! But the most hilarious part is that Gail was worried that Dawson was going “clubbing.” To listen to a nineties folk singer.
  • Apparently literally everyone in the world was wearing ribbed turtlenecks this winter. Drue and Joey’s date night outfits awkwardly match:
  • I’ve been having sex for years, and I’m still waiting for that “warm, wondrous glow” Drue is talking about. –Janes
  • Ah, the accidental date. Classic passive-aggressive guy maneuver. I feel for Jack, that’s happened to me so many times. –Janes [I actually don’t know if this counts as a surprise date! As soon as Jack asks Toby if he wants more, Toby a) frankly admits that he would like to be more than friends, which is not the behavior of a classic Surprise Dater, and b) explains that he wanted to become friends to get to know Jack better and maybe someday ask him out, which is different than thinking of this coffee as a date. In a classic surprise date, the person both refuses to admit they want more and yet treats you like you owe them even though you never agreed to more than friendship. Ugh, I hate that I’m defending smarmy Toby, though. —Nerdy Spice]
  • Joey actually takes offense to Pacey characterizing Anna as “reasonable” because she slept with someone on the first date. Ugh, slut shaming much? Pacey concedes that it’s “a little rash.” Is he describing the decision to sleep with Drue, or the symptoms you develop shortly afterwards? Oops, I guess I just slutshamed Drue myself.
  • Pacey calls Joey the “best relationship [he’s] ever had,” which is cute, but her competition is Andie and Ms. Jacobs so… kind of a wash. –Janes
  • Pacey and Joey’s fight about sex is so wonderfully nonsensical (and totally realistic). Joey says they have a problem, then Pacey agrees and says they should have talked about it sooner, and she jumps down his throat as if he’s threatening to break up with her. Then he says he’s been “fine with waiting,” but if they don’t progress to the next level, “it’s not because of [him].” Well, sure, if you’re the one who’s been “waiting” for her to have sex with you, then prooobably you’re not the reason you’re waiting. –Janes




This car ride where the girls careen from gleefully sharing details about guys they’ve slept with to cracking up over random inside jokes to singing along to the radio based on some association from years ago, is probably the most realistic depiction of female friendship this show has ever, or will ever, achieved.

This is my highlight not so much because it was memorably enjoyable in any way so much as because there weren’t a lot of other options.

Most cringeworthy moment

Gretchen is THE WORST employee. Gail catches her on the phone while working at the restaurant, and Gretchen hangs up and flippantly says, “Sorry. She’s a talker” (like, how about, “Sorry. I know I”m not supposed to be talking on the phone while I’m at work”?). Then Gail calls her out for not getting refills for some table and Gretchen’s excuse is “Friday night frenzy.” Um, if it’s Friday night and there’s a literal frenzy at the restaurant, maybe you shouldn’t be on the phone? Gail as much as points this out, and as soon as she’s gone Gretchen tells Dawson she has “her knickers in a twist.” Dawson (who, to be fair, has no idea that Gail’s rage is justified because he didn’t see the earlier scene) excuses it as “hormones.” Um, STOP DISMISSING FEMALE RAGE AS HORMONES AND DO YOUR DAMN JOBS, EVERYONE. “So that incredibly hostile vibe I just got was not about us,” Gretchen says in relief. No, Gretchen. It was not about you and Dawson. It was about you being a horrible employee who talks on the phone instead of refilling people’s wine and then accuses your boss of being wacked out on pregnancy hormones when she calls you on it.

Most early-aughts soundtrack moment:

This is more ‘90s, but Mary Beth Maziarz, of course, who sings the lovely “Waiting for a Sign” during Dawson’s disastrous date, and again (off screen) while Joey and Pacey agree to be “scared together.”

Drunkenness rating

Eight, including at least three mentions of Joey’s abject fear of sex. (I guess that shot is about to be retired forever wink wink)

Most wrongly used five-dollar word:

Gail refers to Gretchen as “a woman whom might actually be in a different place in her life.” “Whom?” Close, but no. Pro tip: If you don’t know, just say “who.” No one is judging … unless you get pretentious and use “whom” and do it wrong.

Season 4, Episode 14 “A Winter’s Tale”

By Janes

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 10.52.43 AM

It’s time for another classic high school milestone… the senior trip! What, did you think I was talking about something else? (*wink, wink*)

We open on Joey, Pacey, Jack, Jen, and Drue getting on the bus to go to a ski resort. (Which, by the way, seems super bougie for a place like Capeside. I went to a relatively snooty public school, and they just locked us in an arcade all night after graduation so we wouldn’t die in drunk driving accidents.) Gretchen, who’s dropping Pacey and Joey off, reminds us about Mr. Brooks’ illness, because otherwise we probably would have forgotten. Jen is being a downer about milestones never living up to expectations–ugh, didn’t we go over this already with Valentine’s Day and prom??–and Pacey and Joey are having the not-fun inverse of sexual tension–tension about not having sex.

From the start of the trip, everything in the universe seems to conspire to pressure Joey into having sex. Gretchen makes a comment about how everyone goes crazy and gets pregnant on these trips as she’s dropping them off, some lunkhead yells from the bus, “Who’s ready to get laid?”, and Drue, delightfully mischievous as ever, loudly whispers to Pacey that it must suck to be the only one who won’t “chalk one up this weekend” (shot for weird sexual euphemisms!).

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 4.18.49 AM

Plus, the Capeside teachers suddenly reach Gossip Girl-parent levels of irresponsibility, which makes everyone’s shenanigans a whole lot more convenient. First, Drue sneaks Anna (who, if you remember from “Hopeless,” goes to a “far better school”) onto the bus, and insists that once the teachers figure it out, it will be too late. Because I’m sure that the teachers wouldn’t, I don’t know, send this minor child home to her parents once they figure out that they accidentally kidnapped her.


Then the chaperone, after making a big speech about single-sex room assignments literally five seconds before, gives a nerdy-looking kid the authority to hand out cabin keys and leaves the kids alone with them. So, predictably, Drue takes a key for himself and his stowaway, then gives a key to Joey and Pacey to troll them about their sexual problems. (He also inexplicably gives one to Jack and Jen–ostensibly to be nice, but knowing him, he probably somehow intuited that they would make out and almost ruin their friendship. He’s just that good.)

Anyway, back to the universe trying to convince Joey to put out. Joey and Pacey are alone in their cabin together, and the situation is so overtly sexy, you could cut the awkwardness with a knife. Joey is tense and snippy, and it only gets worse when Pacey turns on the TV and it just so happens to be set to a porn channel. They have another slightly nonsensical conversation about sex, where Pacey says that they need to be able to talk about sex, because you can’t avoid it. “It’s everywhere, like water or air.” She says, “Can’t we just… breathe something else?” Heh. (Shot!) Then, after Pacey just said that you can’t avoid sex, he agrees with her that “this weekend does not have to be about sex.” Oookay. Famous last words.

Sidebar: Joey’s insistence on “breathing something other than air” is funny, but it’s also kind of sad. I remember being a teenage girl, and not even close to ready for sex, and realizing that sex was just fucking everywhere. Especially for girls, who are forced to decide whether they’re going to be known as a prude or a whore by the time they’re approximately fourteen. It’s pretty depressing.

At a big group dinner, Anna colorfully details her sexual exploits in various types of cars, and Drue calls Joey out because she’s visibly uncomfortable (also because he wants to bone her, but I won’t get into that again). Joey scoffs, right in front of Anna, that “the pleasure the average teenage girl gets from an average teenage guy in some keg party hook-up is negligible at best.” Super true, but also–rude. Drue starts spewing some classic MRA arguments, like that women have it super easy because “once they want sex, all they have to do is ask.” Except for trans women, or disabled women, or overweight women, or black women, or basically anyone who doesn’t look exactly like Katie Holmes. (And even women who look like Katie Holmes have to worry about getting raped and murdered if they ask randos for sex, while men only have to worry about rejection. Also–fuck you, Drue.)

Drue goes on to say that women should be the ones carrying condoms in their wallets, which inspires the guys to take out their condoms en masse. Pacey very obviously lies about forgetting his wallet, which leads to Joey getting all hurt and disappointed that he carries a condom around with him. I’m on Joey’s side for most of this episode, but this time she really needs to relax. He’s just being responsible, Jo, get off his grill!!

After, presumably, a night of frigid silences and/or nonsensical fights with Pacey, Joey has a really sweet heart-to-heart with Jack. Jack asks an obviously down-in-the-dumps Joey, “What’s your problem?” and she answers without hesitation, “Sex. Sex is my problem, sex is always my problem.” Ha! That’s unusually self-aware of her. (Also, that’s a double shot–one for randomly bringing up sex and another for abject terror!)

Joey says she has all this conviction about “waiting for the right moment,” that she doesn’t want to feel guilty or obligated, and she doesn’t (the hanging “but…” goes unsaid). Jack says, very wisely, “Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re so caught up in finding the right choice that you never stopped to consider that there may not be a right choice, or a wrong choice, just a bunch of choices?” This is actually pretty progressive sex advice to give a teenage girl, who are usually pressured to conflate their sexual purity with their moral purity. She responds, “You’re a real help.” Hee! He says she doesn’t need his help, because it’s just about what she feels. She says she feels fear (shot!), and Jack, on a fucking roll, says that “the most exciting things in life require more courage than we currently have,” and if she wants to do something, she shouldn’t overthink it. “That kind of fear that you’re talking about, sometimes that’s how you know it’s worthwhile.” Go, Jack, go!

Of course, that wonderful advice doesn’t have a chance to set in before Joey picks her ugliest fight with Pacey yet. Anna bounces to their cabin wearing a string bikini and asks them to come to the hot tub. Joey immediately assumes that Anna is hitting on Pacey, which (putting aside the fact that she ends up being right) is a little weird, since Anna is with Drue and asked them both to come. But of course, Joey always needs to project all of her insecurities on the nearest blonde, so she passive-aggressively tries to bait Pacey about the “virtually topless female” asking him to “come out and play.” Pacey says he’s glad they “tabled that whole sex discussion” to avoid this type of sniping (two shots for bringing up sex when you hope no one else will!), and Joey immediately jumps on him, saying that Anna is more the kind of girl he wants. “I want you, Jo,” he answers, “but there’s no sense in arguing the point if you’re so eager to refute it.” Joey concedes that she knows he wants her, but “doesn’t know why,” and he answers that if he were only in this for sex, “[he] wouldn’t have lasted nine months.” She’s clearly being unreasonable, but then again, he’s clearly not all that fine with waiting, so it’s kind of a wash.

Then they return to form, and their fight devolves into nonsense. Pacey says there’s nothing wrong with wanting to sleep with someone you love, and Joey answers, “But there is something wrong with not wanting to.” (Go, Joey!) Pacey says no, that’s not true, but then turns around and says that since she doesn’t want to have sex with him, she’s clearly still in love with Dawson. (Shot for inappropriate mention of Dawson!) She rightly (and finally!) says that he can’t just pin all of their problems on Dawson all the time, and he says, “Okay, okay!” as if he’s going to stop, and then goes right back to talking about Dawson. (Shot again!) He says he’s not scared about when they sleep together, because “if and when” they decide to do it, it will be right. “What I am scared of is that little piece of your heart that will always belong to Dawson Leery. I’m scared of that piece of your heart that always envisioned your first time being with him. I’m scared of that part of you that just doesn’t want it to be me.” Ouch.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 8.44.41 AM

Katie Holmes doing a great job of looking incredibly hurt

On the Jen/Jack side of things, Jen falls while getting off the bus and hurts her foot before ever getting a chance to ski. (LOL, so real. There’s always that one person.) Once she and Jack are in their cabin, the sexual tension is, inexplicably, laid on suuuuuper thick right off the bat. Jen asks him to take her pants off (no, really), because her bruised foot is somehow preventing her from doing so. He says that’s inappropriate, so she starts taking off her pants in front of him. He stops her, and says, “Would you want me to take my clothes off in front of you?” Her response is this HILARIOUSLY thirsty look:

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 5.43.41 AM

Right?? And she even lets out an “I’m so hot right now” kind of exhale along with it.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 5.44.25 AM

I know he’s her One True Love and everything, but she does remember that he’s gay, right?

Later that night, Jen breaks into the minibar in her and Jack’s room (again, why did they even take these kids to a hotel with minibars??), and gets gloriously drunk with Jack. They have some really adorable moments together, especially when Jack banters with her about whether she wants to have a wild adventure and she says, “Yes. I want to sit here with you.” Twoo wuv!

They go through all of the stages of drunkenness together: first the fun and flirty stage, then the sad and introspective stage, then the making terrible decisions stage. They each say the other is a “sexy drunk,” then Jack expresses his fear that no guy will ever love him, and then finishes with the kicker: “But most of all, I’m afraid I’ll never find a guy that I love as much as I love you.” Awwwwww!! If this weren’t such a classic, momentous episode, that would be the cutest line of the night.

And then they make out, because what else are you supposed to do after that?

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 10.06.22 AM

They start to take each other’s clothes off (!) until Jen stops it, tells Jack that he’s, um, gay, and then promptly gets caught with about a thousand liquor bottles. (But really, what did the teachers expect them to do? There was a minibar!!)

Before we can get to the climax of the episode (tee-hee), we need to deal with Dawson and stupid Mr. Brooks, who has gifted us with possibly the most contrived Dawson’s storyline since Tamara. Mr. Brooks is in a coma, being kept alive by machines, and his doctor informs Dawson that the “healthcare proxy” Dawson signed so he could pick up Old Curmudgeon’s medicines also gives Dawson the authority to decide whether Mr. Brooks will be kept on those life-saving machines or not. It’s all so patently absurd. I’m not a lawyer or a doctor, so I don’t really know how healthcare proxies work, but I’m pretty sure it’s not like that.

Sidebar: a quick Wikipedia search tells me that healthcare proxies are, in fact, used for end-of-life decisions (although not for “picking up medicines,” funnily enough). However, I don’t think that it’s still valid if someone is tricked into signing this form under false pretenses, let alone a 17-year-old kid.

Anyway, Dawson spends the whole B-plot wringing his hands about whether to kill off this old guy he’s known for all of five minutes. Every character gets to deliver some cringeworthy platitudes that hammer home the oh-so-profound episode theme: Sometimes There Is No Right Answer. Gretchen says “whatever choice you make will be the right one,” and when Dawson says he doesn’t know why he’s at the chapel with Grams, she says wisely, “That’s as good a reason as any.” Andy fucking Griffith, playing Mr. Brooks’ ex-best friend who stole his girl, tells Dawson, “in situations like these, you just need to have a little faith” (and then provides a definition of the word faith, just in case lots of five-year-olds decided to watch Dawson’s Creek that night). And in maybe the most embarrassing one, Dawson whinges, “How will I know I’m making the right decision?” and Mitch answers, “You won’t, Dawson. It’s Not That Kind of Choice.” Cue the violins of ridiculously contrived ethical gray areas.

This all converges with the A plot elegantly, if weirdly, in a phone conversation between Joey and Dawson. Joey calls him to console him about Killing Mr. Brooks, and Dawson starts talking about his Sometimes There’s No Right Answer philosophy in such a way that everything he says becomes a double entendre for Joey having sex. He says that at some point, it all becomes “too much for your brain to process” and you need to rely on “natural human instinct.” (Dirty!) “It’s terrifying at first, but it’s liberating.” LOL! If only he knew what Joey’s “liberation” would mean at this particular moment.

They then have a heavy-handed conversation about letting go, and how Brooks was waiting for his friend Andy Griffith to say goodbye, and then they–you guessed it–say goodbye. Okay, Joey, now are all ghosts “firmly locked away”?? We’re dying here.

Meanwhile, Pacey runs into Anna, and she immediately propositions him for sex. I know we don’t know Anna that well at this point, but it rings so false. It was literally just last week that she was telling Pacey how much she liked Drue, and how she regretted “falling into bed too fast.” I obviously don’t agree that she should feel bad about that, but why would she go from that to seducing Pacey while acknowledging that he “isn’t ready” to break up with Joey? It makes absolutely no sense. They clearly just needed a “blonde vixen” character and Jen is too busy making out with gay guys.

That being said, this dumb scene gives us yet another beautifully romantic Pacey speech. Joey arrives just in time to see Anna trying to kiss Pacey, and for Pacey telling her he would never even think about hurting Joey. “For me it’s not about wanting to have sex. It’s about wanting to share the most intimate thing that you can possibly share with someone, no matter how long you have to wait.” Aw!

Pacey sees Joey, and asks how long she’d been listening. She says, “Long enough to remember why it is that I love you. Why every part of me loves you.” Awwwwww! They both said exactly what the other needed to hear!

Then it gets a little less cute. Joey tells Pacey that he can still be angry at her, because he “doesn’t have to be perfect all the time” and because he’s “earned it.” Um, “earned it” how, exactly? By not literally trying to coerce her into having sex? He doesn’t have to be perfect, and he can maybe be angry at her for picking unreasonable fights every once in a while, but he’s definitely not allowed to be mad at her for not wanting to have sex. Ugh. [Maybe I have too much faith in the world, but I just assumed she meant “you earned it by putting up with my inexplicable and nonsensical fights for the last day and a half” —Nerdy Spice]

But then Pacey says they should “cuddle up” and he’ll read her a story, like they did back on the boat, and I fall in love with them again.

Just in time, because we’re coming up on one of the most classic P/J moments of all time. Pacey finds Joey brushing her hair, and offers to do it for her, which is beautiful and actually might be even more romantic than what comes next.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 10.35.10 AM.png

A newly-emboldened Joey asks about the condom in Pacey’s wallet, but Pacey, who by now probably thinks he’s never going to have sex again, doesn’t get it. She asks to see it, and he asks if she wants to throw it away. (Get there faster, Pacey!) She says, with Great Significance, “I want to throw the wrapper away.” Oh, shit!

Just in case he still doesn’t get it, Joey launches into one of the best romantic speeches of the whole series: “Pacey… This is about how you carried my bag off the bus yesterday. This is about how when we go to the movies and you buy a popcorn you always make sure you bring back a napkin so I don’t wipe all the grease on my jeans. And this is about how just last week when we were at miniature golf you took all of the shots first so I would know the correct path.”

Then, as she starts taking his clothes off (!), she starts to list all of their best shipper moments, like she’s storyboarding for a fan vid. “You taught me how to drive. And last year at prom, you knew that the bracelet I was wearing was my mom’s. You kissed me first, sweetheart. The second time, you counted to ten before doing it again just in case I wanted to stop you. You bought me a wall. We were alone on a boat for three months…” You get the picture.

Are you crying yet? If not, get ready, because Joey tells Pacey she’s going to count to ten, and then she’s going to start kissing him. “If you don’t want me to, you’re just going to have to stop me.” Her delivery is so passionate, she sounds like she’s about to cry at several points, and Pacey is so overwhelmed he can barely say a word. She finally kisses him with a whispered “Ten, my love,” and then…

giphy (2)


Ugh, I love this episode. That last scene is as devastatingly romantic as any classic P/J moment. And while the show’s treatment of Joey’s virginity never rises to the level of being feminist, their decision to frame it as a liberation from expectations of herself is refreshing. And yes, Pacey does allow his insecurities to get the best of him and pressures Joey a little, but since we don’t get the impression that she actually feels pressured by the end, it’s more realistic than a deal-breaker. (And although Joey definitely didn’t owe Pacey sex, she did have a notable deficit in romantic speeches.) Twoo wuv!

  • It’s a good thing Joey went through all of that in “Hopeless,” or she wouldn’t have gone on the class trip with Pacey–far away from Dawson–and they may never have had sex!
  • It’s cute that Pacey helps Joey with her bags when she’s obviously struggling. It’s less cute that the writers have him call her “Missy Self-Reliance” when he does it, drawing a direct line from Joey learning to be less self reliant in the last batch of episodes to her ability to finally put out.
  • This week’s before-they-were-famous guest star is none other than Tony Hale, aka Buster Bluth aka Gary from Veep!
    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 4.28.28 AM
  • Gretchen tells Dawson he has “better judgment than anyone I know” and that Brooks must have chosen him because he saw “how old [his] heart is,” and I don’t even know where to begin. (Two shots for wildly undeserved compliments!) [Don’t forget twenty shots for a mention of Dawson’s heart! —Nerdy Spice]
  • Jack makes a completely accurate meta-reference! He tells Joey their setting is “a little John Hughes,” meaning “that ‘authentic americana youth’ stuff–skiing, ice skating, arcades, nostalgia for a time we never really experienced.” For once, the John Hughes reference isn’t just a name-drop, but serves as an actual metaphor for how we have these overblown expectations for these big milestones–prom, senior trip, the “first time”–when really we should all just be living our lives.
  • It’s funny that Andy Griffith’s character was clearly supposed to foreshadow a D/J endgame with that whole “your first love always has a piece of your heart, even when you have a much happier life with another person” nonsense, but instead he actually ends up foreshadowing that Joey and Pacey will be the ones to build a life together.
  • I can’t tell whether the switch from Drunk Jack saying “solemn and introspective” and Drunk Jen saying “solid and introspective” was scripted or a line flub, but either way it works!
  • Pacey grabbing Joey’s hair right as they’re getting hot and heavy is, um, super hot:
    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 11.01.01 AM
  • Joey manages to get mad at Pacey for implying that they’re “those types of people” when all he said was, “It’s good for people to get out of town.” That’s… quite a feat. —Nerdy Spice
  • Major deja vu when Grams sits next to the bedside of yet another comatose paramour and declares that his fate is “in God’s hands.” Actually, though, his fate is in the hands of none other than Buster Bluth (his doctor is played by Tony Hale in an amusing pre-Arrested Development bit part), so… good luck, Mr. Brooks. —Nerdy Spice
  • Pacey and Joey’s room in the ski lodge is gorgeous and has a working fireplace and cable TV. How in the world did Joey afford the fees for this trip? —Nerdy Spice
  • I love the Tragic Chords of Betrayal that play when Joey discovers the condom in Pacey’s wallet. Jeez girl, I guess you’re the only one who’s allowed to get “goodies” from the clinic? —Nerdy Spice
  • Joey calls John Hughes “slightly tacky” ummm, we are NOT friends anymore. —Nerdy Spice
  • Other characters often pop up to utter dramatic things that reinforce Dawson’s notion that he’s the center of the universe, but Mr. Brooks’s “Pacey” drops by to utter possibly the most ridiculous one. This dude literally says that being freaking widowed is less pain (“oceans” less, in fact!) than losing your first love fifty years later. Come the fuck on. Maybe you just didn’t love your wife that much. —Nerdy Spice
  • Joey gets unreasonably angry at Pacey so many times in this episode that it’s almost not worth commenting on individual ones, but when he finally honestly confesses that he’s afraid of her feelings for Dawson, she acts like she’s the hurt one. Um, no wonder the guy was scared to be honest about his feelings. Ugh. —Nerdy Spice
  • I always forget about this, but someone actually showed me this episode way, way before I actually started watching it (back when I didn’t actually watch TV at all). The only part I remember is Jen and Jack rolling around on the floor and then Jen calling it off because Jack was gay. I was like, “Huh, I guess this is what TV is like… seems pretty silly,” and forgot all about it. —Nerdy Spice
  • To recap, last week, Anna was desperately craving Drue’s approval and wanted him to like her for more than sex. This week, she propositions Pacey for a night of sex while he’s still with Joey, while she’s on a ski trip with the guy she was pining for last week. It makes absolutely no sense unless you think that, because she slept with one guy on a first date, there’s literally nothing she wouldn’t do. Which clearly is how the writers feel about her. Ugh. —Nerdy Spice


I mean, Pacey and Joey boning, obvi. But if I had to highlight another scene, it would be that sweet interchange between Joey and Jack.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 6.32.05 AM

Not only have I sorely missed the Joey/Jack friendship, which has almost as much chemistry as Jen/Jack, but in an episode filled with stupid advice, Jack gives Joey some bona fide great advice. (Which may or may not have inspired me to watch this episode right before my first time to psych myself up, nbd.)

Most cringeworthy moment:

Everything about the Killing Mr. Brooks storyline is dumb, but the Dumbest Line of the Episode Award goes to Buster Bluth himself. When Dawson asks him the chances that Brooks will wake up again before he dies, Buster says, “I don’t know. But trust me, even if I did, that wouldn’t make your decision any easier.” Um… what?? I know it goes with the Sometimes There Is No Right Answer theme very nicely, but it literally makes no sense. Of course he would want to know the chances that Brooks will have some quality of life before he dies, that’s sort of the whole fucking point. [Yeah, um, is it even legal to unplug someone who might wake up at any minute?! –Nerdy Spice]

Most early-aughts soundtrack moment:

“I Will Love You” by Fisher plays while Joey and Pacey take each other’s clothes off, which also played in an episode of Roswell (and another of their songs played in Smallville). Fisher, for those who don’t remember, was a really big deal in the early aughts, mostly because they got famous on the internet, which was still novel in the year 2001.

Drunkenness level:

Oof, 34!! Including one for Jen making out with someone wildly inappropriate and one for Joey and Dawson talking about growing up and “letting go.”

Season 4, Episode 15 “Four Stories”

By Nerdy Spice

Exterior, day. Joey and Pacey kiss on a bench, a wintry scene behind them.

If after watching “A Winter’s Tale” you thought, cool, it’s all smooth sailing from here, Joey will stop being angry at everyone who lost their virginity before she did and maybe the Dawson mentionitis will stop, I am sorry to tell you that your hopes are going to be sorely disappointed by this episode.

As you may guess from the title, there are four stories in this episode!

In story one, “About Last Night,” Pacey and Joey are left behind at the ski lodge by the class bus because Drue (perhaps having sniffed out Anna’s inappropriate interest in Pacey) lies and tells the teacher they’re already on the bus. When they wake up, not yet knowing that they’ve been left behind, they’re spooning. Pacey gives Joey a sleepy but delighted smile, and Joey gives him the world’s fakest smile in return. It is SO AWKWARD. No wonder the guy spends the rest of the episode freaking out that he’s bad in bed.

Joey suddenly becomes a weird pod person who’s too good for breakfast crackers even though Pacey is paying for their bus tickets and a bunch of collect calls to relatives, and gets unreasonably offended at the notion that she might tell anyone that they had the sex because she doesn’t want to discuss her boyfriend’s “sexual prowess.” I mean, I think most people are capable of saying that they had sex without prowess coming up at all, but you do you. Since Joey brought it up at the inappropriate moment that she did, Pacey decides to ask about “the prowess.” (Yes, “the.” Don’t ask me, I’m just the recapper.) Joey honors one of our new season-4 drinking game rules by getting all offended for no reason and accusing him of “dragging his knuckles with the rest of them.”

Even Joey can’t help but be charmed, though, when Pacey, in rapid succession, presents her with a few chocolate hearts, tells her she’s never looked more beautiful, and then says he could do the “sweetness and the sarcasm” that they do for the rest of his life. She rolls her eyes and says he might just be the first of many, and he claims to be “the Neil Armstrong of the bunch.” OK, it should be offensive, but it makes me laugh. Joey, too. But as soon as he has her smiling again, Pacey decides to push his luck by asking after the prowess again. Joey smiles very sweetly to herself, eyes downcast, before telling him it was “very nice.” And you can tell she actually means it–she’s trying to tell him that she did have a good time and that the experience was what she wanted. But all Pacey hears is “nice” and now it’s his turn to take unreasonable offense. (Especially since, as we pointed out in season 2, THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT HE SAID TO ANDIE AFTER THEIR FIRST TIME. UGH!) Poor Joey thinks that the conversation is going great, until Pacey starts to complain that she didn’t say “mind-blowing” or “transcendent.”

Then comes the silliest part of a very silly scene, in which Pacey actually has to ask if she had an orgasm (though he calls it a “benchmark,” which, euphemism shot!). I feel like our favorite statutory rapist Miss Jacobs really fell down on the job if Pacey doesn’t know how to a) tell when the lady’s having an orgasm at the time and b) if he’s not sure, ask in the moment instead of the next day when it’s too late to actually do anything about the situation. Jesus, if you don’t even KNOW if she had an orgasm, how could it possibly have been “mind-blowing” sex? I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid, and completely unrealistic on the part of a kid who’s had serious sexual partners including one who was an adult woman (I mean, I feel a little weird calling a child abuser a sexual partner, but I think we are supposed to believe the dynamics of that relationship were reasonably “normal” in the day to day).

Whatever. It’s stupid. And then Joey insists that whether she had an orgasm doesn’t matter (ummm, spoken like a girl who’s never had one, amirite?), and then they move on to Joey being insecure about her performance, and then they finally get to Joey’s real concern: that Pacey not tell anyone about this because it’s private. Poor Pacey is like, Ohhhh, so this is about Dawson. Again. (Shot!) He asks what Joey would say if Dawson asked her about this, and Joey rolls her eyes and says that she would have to tell him the truth. (Um… couldn’t she just say, “Stop asking me creepy questions, guy I’m not dating anymore”? Although, of course, as we’ll learn later… she cannot.) Pacey, who’s acting like a big jerk, chomping away at his chips while asking Joey ever more upsetting questions, decides to point out that she hasn’t touched him all morning, so Joey finally throws her poptarts at him and leaves.

He finds her out in the snow crying and she tells him why it was nice: he pushed her hair back from her face and made her feel safe, “Like no matter what, you were going to be there and you were going to protect me.” She says that’s what she’ll remember years from now, and actually says the words, “I’m glad I had sex,” and mentions wanting to do it again, both of which are astounding feats of expressive power for a girl who couldn’t say the word “orgasm” five minutes ago.

In “The Big Picture,” Dawson deals with the aftermath of pulling the plug on Mr. Brooks, which just goes to show you that killing off a boring character doesn’t always cause said character to immediately cease boring you. [Luckily, it’s a standalone fifteen-minute vignette, so very easy to fast-forward through. –Janes] Instead we have to suffer through yet another episode about this guy that literally no one gives a crap about. Grams reveals Mr. Brooks’s giant collection of film memorabilia to Dawson and Gretchen and offers Dawson something to remember Mr. Brooks by. Instead of gratefully accepting, Dawson stomps out so he can… stand in the middle of Mr. Brooks’s yard. To his credit (or because the show had to fit a lot of not-particularly-interesting emotional aboutfaces into one ten-minute vignette?), he immediately apologizes to Grams for being rude. Then, speaking of aboutfaces, he accuses her of being “morbid” for wanting to go through Brooks’s stuff on the day of his funeral. Um, what was that about having no excuse for being rude, Dawson?

Grams is patient enough to explain to him that the pain’s not going to go away, but that they could at least get closure. Speaking of pain, is anyone going to bother to hug Grams and tell her that they’re sorry she lost her boyfriend? Why is everyone so worried about Dawson’s precious feelings?! It’s not like he was in love with the old coot!

Grams tells Dawson to sit with Mr. Brooks’s things to figure out why he’s so upset. Dawson and Gretchen discover a play written by Mr. Brooks and have fun reading it with each other, even though the scene revolves around a woman being called “a skirt” repeatedly. Gretchen, who apparently didn’t grasp what she was reading, declares that it was “sweet.” Go back to college and take some women’s studies classes, Gretchen. We finally discover why Dawson’s all pissy: Mr. Brooks got to make movies just like Dawson dreams of, but he had no one in his life. Dawson’s interpretation is that Mr. Brooks decided to “stop caring” (presumably because of his bitterness about losing his girlfriend five decades ago), not stopping to wonder whether maybe Mr. Brooks’s delightful personality had something to do with it. Then a lawyer shows up to tell Dawson he needs to meet with him about Mr. Brooks’s will.

In “Excess Baggage,” Jen is sent to therapy because the chaperone caught her throwing out a bunch of empty bottles on the ski trip. (Her cute still-a-little-drunk-the-next-morning please that they were “just, like, little airplane bottles” doesn’t seem to have worked.) Jen tells the nerdy therapist that she was drinking because she’d almost slept with her gay best friend. “You like to drink?” he asks. “Yeah, who doesn’t?” she says, and then experiences that awkward crestfallen feeling common to all therapy patients where they know their joke is about to be analyzed instead of laughed at. She proceeds to take great offense at his explanation of basic therapeutic boundaries, such as time limits and the therapist’s right to have a rest. Other Therapy Storyline cliches that get trotted out include Jen insisting she doesn’t need therapy, Jen accidentally dropping references to various past traumas, the therapist pulling some very basic reverse psychology to get her to stick with it, and Jen letting the reverse psychology work on her but claiming to see right through it. It’s quite the assortment.

In “Seems Like Old Times,” Joey and Dawson run into each other at the movie theater, but then after some very awkward small talk about the ski trip, they decide to go someplace and talk, at Joey’s suggestion. Yeah, because when you can feel yourself completely losing your shit just trying not to blurt out “I had sex with Pacey” in answer to innocuous questions, it’s best to suggest an activity that involves answering even more questions. So dumb. Anyway, Dawson reveals that he inherited some money from Mr. Brooks, and then comments that Joey seems different. And looks different.

Do you get it, guys? He knows her so well he can literally spot the womanhood on her. Vom. [Ugh, the same thing happened on Buffy, and I hated it then, too. Women do not have a magical maturity switch that flips when we lose our precious virginities! –Janes] [Or maybe she just looks different because she’s not cranky all the time due to continually repressing her desire for Pacey? —Nerdy Spice]

They end up at a diner, then hanging out on the swingset where they had their first kiss. Cue the inevitable remark about how “complicated” things are with them (shot!). Then Joey apologizes, meaning to apologize just for not being there this weekend, and Dawson magnanimously forgives her for Last Spring. Whoops! Awkward! (And, shot for extraneous mentions of last spring, although those words aren’t used.) Dawson reassures her that she’s a good friend–his best friend. Then, after they spend the night hanging out, Dawson ACTUALLY ASKS IF SHE HAD SEX WITH PACEY on the ski trip. What an ASS. Joey calls him on his inappropriateness, and he apologizes, but instead of slinking away with his tail between his legs, he gives her a whole big speech about how he wants her to live her life. Oh, how generous of you! What a fucking hero! Joey, for her part, launches into a whole speech about how the thought of sleeping with anyone but Dawson, especially Pacey, never occurred to her years ago–but, uh, then chickens out and says she didn’t sleep with Pacey. Dawson is understandably surprised by that windup.

Oh, it’s so bad. It’s so awkward and so bad. And look at Joey’s giant grin when she conjures away every step she ever took to get herself out from Dawson’s thumb and claims to still be the girl who’s saving herself for him:

Closeup on Joey, with a big old smile.

  • Mr. Kasdan, the trip chaperone, is doing a TERRIBLE job. Everyone was making out and getting drunk on his watch and then in the morning he actually physically shoves Drue on his way onto the bus! This isn’t 1956, dude. Corporal punishment, even for little devils like Drue, is not allowed.
  • How does Mr. Kasdan not check that that couple making out is actually Joey and Pacey?? Worst. Chaperone. Ever. –JanesDawson is all bitter at the small turnout of Mr. Brooks’s funeral, which seems like… not his place. Not that that’s ever stopped him before.
  • Gretchen assures Dawson he would never give up like Mr. Brooks, and then Dawson responds that maybe he would: “I lost the girl!” That’s a shot for unwarranted praise of Dawson, and a shot for Joey-mentionitis, and a shot for how Pacey and Joey Ruined Everything, but most importantly, referring to your ex as “the girl” (and implying that her loss was so catastrophic that it might cause you to give up on life entirely) seems like a very awkward thing to say to your current girlfriend.
  • As if he realizes how awkward that was, Dawson suddenly starts showering Gretchen with compliments about her style and grace and her “pretty-girl” smell. Nice save. (At which point Gretchen tells him how charming he is, earning him another shot.)
  • Gretchen urges Dawson to remember “that great big thumping heart” of Mr. Brooks. Um… once again, ALL HEARTS THUMP. (Well, except for Mr. Brooks now that he’s dead, I guess. Womp womp!) And, twenty shots for using this extremely stupid metaphor yet again (even if it technically isn’t about Dawson, it’s about Dawson’s standin, so I think it counts).
  • After all his fuss about how no one knows who Mr. Brooks is, when the estate lawyer asks if Mr. Brooks was “Some kind of movie star,” Dawson’s answer is “No, he was a pain in the ass… but he was my friend, and I’m going to miss him.” O-kay then.
  • There’s a hilarious fifteen-second slow-motion montage of Dawson Significantly Fondling Mr. Brooks’s fedora. I think Dawson likes that fedora more than he likes Gretchen.
  • Jen is like, “I don’t think I’m the kind of person who benefits from therapy.” And we’re supposed to think she’s wrong, but honestly, she ends up stalking her therapist so I don’t think she does benefit from it much.
  • Jen claims to be self-aware and the therapist responds with a decent burn: “Teenagers often confuse knowledge with wisdom.” Jen gets very offended that he called her stupid, which… is fair.
  • When Dawson asks, Joey claims the ski trip was “fine,” which is probably even worse than “nice.”
  • Mr. Brooks cautioned Dawson not to spend all his inheritance on “women and booze.” Gross. I mean no offense to sex workers–only to men who think of women as first and foremost things you buy. Mr. Brooks was the worst. Good riddance.
  • Usually I love a good montage, but I am so not here for this montage of Dawson and Joey’s Inappropriate Winter Flirtation (pushing each other on the ice, getting coffee). I will however note that when they aren’t actually speaking lines, their lack of chemistry is at least somewhat less obvious. Or, maybe it’s just that pretty much any two people in the world can look like they’re in love when they’re walking out of a cafe into a snowy night filled with twinkle lights.
    Exterior, night. Joey and Dawson emerge from a coffee shop holding cups of coffee and laughing.
  • “If you say ‘I’m a woman now,’ I will projectile vomit on you.” Ha! Preach. –Janes
  • Oh, Pacey. If you don’t know whether she had an orgasm, then that’s an answer in itself. –Janes
  • OMG, love the look on this PDA couple’s face after Joey storms out on Pacey. They look like he just killed a puppy. –Janes

    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 11.26.06 AM

    Why? Why would you do that?

  • Aw, it’s cute when Dawson says that Joey is his best friend. It doesn’t totally ring true anymore, but it’s very cute. –Janes


I’m not a huge fan of this episode, but Pacey telling Joey that he could do the “back and forth, the sweetness and the sarcasm” for the rest of his life is obviously adorable [Such an underrated scene! –Janes], and in keeping with Pacey’s knack of making romantic speeches.

Most cringeworthy moment:

No contest. Jen’s entire silly therapy storyline, Pacey’s decision not to care about Joey’s orgasm until twelve hours later, and Brooks’s sexist screenplay all pale in comparison to Joey’s giant, unnecessary lie that she and Pacey didn’t sleep together. Have a backbone girl! Tell him it’s none of his business! Jeez.

Drunkenness rating:

Twenty-eight, including the twenty for Mr. Brooks’s “thumping” heart and one for Joey being so afraid of sex that she’s walking around telling people she never did it.

Next installment here.

Previous installment here.


  1. “It’s cute that Joey and Pacey are so shocked that Drue treats Anna like shit after he slept with her, when that actually makes his hostility and condescension make so much more sense. –Janes”

    I’m confused by this. Why does that make more sense?



    1. Just because misogynistic dudes (such as Drue, who while he was definitely one of my favorite parts of the season, was also a terrible person) tend to look down on women who they sleep with. If she was just a random girl he’d been set up with on a first date, it would be a little extreme for him to be that mean to her.



  2. Everytime I see the beautiful love scene in Winter’s Tale I cry. It is so romantic and sweet. And Pacey was so shocked I’m surprised he could function! Truly one of the most memorable love scenes ever!



  3. I like to think that Pacey’s fixation on his “prowess” with Joey has a lot to do with the growing inequity in their relationship. Pacey feels academically inferior compared to Joey and he can see their paths diverging in the near future. I think in his mind, sex was the last experience he could give to Joey. After that happened, and as the school year came to an end, he realized how independent she was, and how many opportunities lay before her after high school. Resentment and insecurity bubbled to the surface and Pacey couldn’t take it anymore. To me that explains the timing of their breakup.

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s