Dawson’s Creek S04 E15 – Minisodes of Plot Development

Previously: Dawson said goodbye to Mr. Brooks but we weren’t paying attention because PACEPHINE WAS BANGING.

Four Stories

Chelsea: I have always hated that this episode follows one of the best episodes of teen virginity loss in the history of recorded television. This episode is essentially four minisodes all crammed together, none of them particularly interesting.

Kirsti: #ACCURATE. This episode is a snoozefest and I just need the whole thing to be Pacephine adorableness rather than whatever the hell this mess is. 

Chelsea: We lights-up on Jen and Jack, talking about how they’re not going to talk about how they made out really hard and almost had sex. I’m glad about this, let’s just all agree to pretend it never happened.

They’re getting on the bus when the teacher by the garbage cans from the night previous promises Jen that she’s in crazy trouble for drinking all the booze in the mini-bar. As soon as he’s done with that, he lambastes Drue Valentine for being late and laments that he also has to go find Pacey and Joey. Drue makes coffee quips and points to two teens on the buses sucking face. In a hilarious turn of events, they look just enough like Pacey and Joey that the teacher relents his search, but THEY ARE IN FACT NOT PACEY AND JOEY. The bus leaves.

K: Somewhere in there, we learn that the bus is departing at 6.30am, which WHAT THE SHIT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. Also, why would you be surprised that teenagers wouldn’t be where they’re supposed to be at the asscrack of dawn??

Chelsea: Where are Pacey and Joey you ask? Still entwined in post-coital high school bliss, of course. We’re treated to a hot second of looking at Joshua Jackson’s delicious shoulders before the two of them make smooshy puppy dog eyes at each other. But of course the happiness doesn’t last and both their smiles turn pensive as we fade into the


(from here on out this recap will be in four segments, one for each of our startlingly dull minisodes)

“About Last Night”

Pacey and Joey are forced to feed themselves from vending machines, having been left behind by their senior trip bus (we’ll leave the legality of that later) (K: It was the early 2000s, you could do whatever the fuck you liked?). Pacey asks Joey if she’s going to tell Bessie or Gretchen that they had sex, and Joey is super uncomfortable with that idea. Turns out – Pacey is just looking for a little reassurance that he’s good at the sexing. Which, to be honest, he’s probably not because he’s an eighteen year old boy, but who knows.

Pacey gives Joey a handful of candy and quips about how candy is a poor exchange for her virginity and WHY. (K: PACEY. STOP.) It’s not a good joke, and is super awkward, but Joey seems into it and they make out some more. Pacey tells Joey that he could do with their witty banter for the rest of his life  – “with you as my partner in irreverence”  – and I’m continuously reminded just how big a part Pacey Witter had in my own failed romantic fantasies while in high school.

The two sit to eat their chips right next to a couple of teens who are all over each other (apparently people near Capeside are 1000% cool with PDA) which prompts Pacey to ask Joey if the last night was good for her. Joey says that their time was “nice”, and Pacey goes on a crazy spiral about how clearly because she said “nice” and not “amazing” she didn’t have a good time. Joey insisted that she’s just reeling from losing her virginity, and Pacey wants to know if she had an orgasm, and just LA LA LALALALALALA I am not listening to them have this conversation in public.

K: PACEY. HONEY. NOOOOOOO. This is most definitely not a conversation for a public space. He also makes a comment about having been the “Neil Armstrong of the [guys that Joey will sleep with in her life]” and it’s played off as banter, but… is Joey’s vagina the Moon now?? That’s a super weird and confusing analogy, Pace.

Chelsea: Joey reminds him that she’s having her own performance anxiety, considering that Pacey was the one who already had sex. Pacey insists he wants to tell the world, and Joey tells him off from that idea and suddenly we’re talking about Dawson?! (K: W.H.Y.)

Joey insists she doesn’t want to hurt Dawson anymore (why are we talking about him?) and Pacey wants to know what she’s going to say to Dawson (seriously, you guys, why are we talking about Dawson?!) and when Joey can’t answer him, Pacey pulls back and munches his chips, pouting. He points out to Joey that she hasn’t touched him at all that day, which I guess means something? It must mean something horrible, because Joey storms out and the tinkly piano makes its first appearance of the night.

Outside, Joey is crying on the deck of the bus station when Pacey joins her. Joey explains that she called the sex “nice” because at one point Pacey brushed her hair away while he was on top, and it made her feel protected and… I feel like this girl needs to think less and just have more teenage sex with her hot boyfriend. But that could just be me.

K: Not just you.

Chelsea: Anyway, Joey is glad she had sex (duh) and glad she had sex with Pacey (double duh) and now she just wants to go home so they can have sex again. CHECK and MATE.

“The Big Picture”

Dawson and Gretchen pull up to the Lindley house. I’m guessing, based on their black clothes and somber faces, that they’ve just come from Mr. Brooks’ funeral. Gretchen says encouraging things to Dawson, and asks why Grams wants to see them. Dawson, of course, has no idea. He just knows Grams wants to meet them in Mr. Brooks’ garage. You know, as one does.

Turns out the garage is full of Mr. Brooks’ old movie reels, costumes, and props. Grams wants to know if Dawson wants any of it, before she tries to sell and donate the rest of it.

K: Grams. I love you, but maybe wait until, IDK, it’s NOT THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL to start throwing stuff away?

Chelsea: Dawson is pissy and wants to know what the point is – no one came to Mr. Brooks’ funeral, no one knows he exists. In a huff, Dawson storms out and I’m trying soooo hard to be nice because grief can make dicks of us all.

Which is pretty much exactly what Grams tells Dawson when she follows him outside. Grams lectures him about the importance of closure, and then tells Dawson to hang out in Mr. Brooks’ house when he says that it’s not lack of closure that’s bothering him. He takes her advice and acts out an old play of Mr. Brooks’ that Gretchen finds.

It’s a cute moment, until Dawson is back to being an asshole about how pathetic Mr. Brooks is because no one came to his funeral. Which then turns in to an existential crisis about how Dawson is basically just turning into crotchety, angry Mr. Brooks and that scares him and ewwwww no more Dawson. You’re out of Grief Credits, and back to making evvvvvvverything about you.

K: I’m starting a fifteen-years-too-late-petition to write Dawson out of the show. Who wants in?

Chelsea:  Absolutely, 1000% in.

Dawson kisses Gretchen for being such a great human girl with a modicum of depth to her emotions, before asking her to leave so he can brood over Mr. Brooks’ things. Just as the tinkly piano kicks up again, a lawyer-man drops by and asks Dawson to come see him about Mr. Brooks’ will. Dawson agrees, but not before saying a few lovingly disparaging things first.

K: Because that’s what Dawson’s do best. Also, his hair doesn’t move for the duration of this story, and it’s reeeeeeeally disturbing.

“Excess Baggage”

Chelsea: Jen Lindley walks into… somewhere, and ends up getting her bag caught in the door in a moment of pure physical comedy gold.

TURNS OUT she’s all discombobulated because the building she’s in is the office of a new shrink. (K: The quirky music is weirding me out, TBH.) He introduces himself and asks Jen why she thinks she needs to see him. She doesn’t think she needs to see him, but going to therapy is part of her punishment for getting drunk on the senior trip (in my high school, you just would have just gotten suspended). (K: In mine I think you would have gotten suspended and sent to see the school psychologist to make sure you didn’t have Hidden Pain About Things At Home, but definitely not an external therapist…) He asks her if she likes to drink, which she does, and she also explains that she was only drinking because it was so awkward to almost have sex with your gay best friend.

This entire scene reminds me of every. single. first. therapy. session. that I’ve ever had (minus the part where she breaks her therapist’s diploma) because Jen is all jumping around, nervous about the notes her therapist is taking, brushing all of her issues under the rug and adamantly declaring that she’s not ‘the kind of person who needs therapy’. And when her therapist responds in a professional and clinical manner to her freak out, Jen insists that he’s too cold to be a therapist. He tells her she’s free to go, and that he’ll cover for her with her school ::side at at dubious professional ethics::.


Chelsea: One foot out the door, she asks if she really is all that messed up. Her therapist then lays the smack down on her, naming not only her parental issues, but also the sarcastic mask she wears as protection and the safety she feels in being loved by Jack. But he also tells her that could all be bullshit, because she won’t stay to talk to him about whatever is really going on.

Naturally Jen sits her ass down on the couch, because yes, girl, you ARE the kind of person who needs therapy (and note:: there is NOTHING wrong with that, we here at Team Snark are 100% in favor of taking care of your mental health). (K: #PREACH.)

“Seems Like Old Times”

Joey runs into Dawson outside the movie theater, where apparently both of them are going because they want to be “lost in the crowd,” or something.

K: I get distracted because the Capeside movie theatre looks straaaaangely like the Sunnydale movie theatre. But whatever.

Chelsea: Dawson asks Joey about the ski trip, whether anything interesting happened, and maybe it’s because I already know but it’s like she’s trying so hard not to scream “I MADE SWEET LOVE TO PACEY.” Instead of the movie, though, they’re now going to get food together?

Inside some diner we’ve never seen before, we learn that Dawson was left in Mr. Brooks’ will and as such has inherited a large chunk of money – apparently it’s, like, college tuition large, so hot damn. Good for Dawson, I guess – whatever, I can’t be happy for him, so strong is my hatred. Dawson tells Joey that she looks different somehow (SEX GLOW DAWSON) and in the world’s worst attempt at distraction, Joey is all like “ohnothingtoseehere, let’s take a walk.”

K: Can we talk about how much I really really hate the fact that the “there’s something different about you…” post-virginity loss comment only ever gets thrown at female characters??

Chelsea: RIGHT?! Where’s all that adolescent male post-sex magic glow shit?!

The two walk to some local swing set and Joey apologizes for being a bad friend, and Dawson forgives her, although they are clearly talking about two different things. Dawson, apparently, will always have a small piece of Joey’s heart and the two cavort around downtown Capeside like it’s a fucking Danny K movie – dog petting, coffee, ice-cream, and a jazzy backtrack. It’s all sweet and cute until Dawson asks Joey pretty point-blank whether she and Pacey had sex on the ski trip.

K: It’s worse than that. He says that he has a “feeling” that something happened. An “unshakeable feeling”. Like, he uses the word “feeling” about five times, like he’s all “There’s a disturbance in the Force and I feel like it was caused by Pacey’s peen…” JUST STOP, DAWSON. It’s literally none of your business.

Chelsea: I AM DYING. 

Joey goes all doe-eyed, deflects like she’s a grand master, and eventually lies straight to Dawson’s face. Dawson is trying to be sweet, releasing her from the virginity pledge that they made to each other, which, like, duh Dawson, I don’t think she actually needs you to forgive her for a promise you guys made as preteens, especially now that you’re not dating. So I feel like it’s super uncool that Joey lies to him and makes the super duper selfish choice to lie about sleeping with her boyfriend. Dawson, of course, is relieved, and we fade to black.

Man, Pacey. You deserve way better than that.

K: My notes end with “That episode was shit”. That says it all, really.


Next time on Dawson’s Creek: Jen stalks her therapist and every couple in Capeside is looking for a place to bone in S04 E16 – Mind Games.


Chelsea (all posts)

A collector of coffee cups, a lover of books with broken binding, and the one true Ben/Leslie shipper. Feel free to check out all my bookish and pop culture nerdgasms over at www.youtube.com/TheReadingOutlaw!

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  • Brooke

    Even by this show’s standards, that was bad. And why the hell would Joey lie?

  • IkkeDumt

    The disappointment in this episode still lives in me now, all these years later. I really disliked it when it aired, and it seems I was right to.

  • Blinvy .

    This episode was such bullshit. It was like they wanted to spit all over the high everyone felt when Pacey and Joey had sex by making their morning after scene awful and then having Joey lie about them not having sex. 1. Why is Dawson even asking? It’s none of his business whether she did or didn’t sleep with her boyfriend of 9 months. 2. Why did she feel the need to lie? That’s fucked up beyond all repair. It’s like the writers were like, wow, everyone praised the last episode! Welp, lets just shit something out for next week because we shouldn’t have to try again for a while now.
    Everything about Dawson continues to be the worst forever and always. What a shitty fucking character. I’ve gotten into Riverdale lately and it’s hilarious how much the characters align with Dawson’s Creek to the point that Archie is totally the Dawson and I think the writers kind of know it and have made him a bit stupid and useless. It’s hilarious.

  • JA Jenks

    Guise. I’ve missed you.

    This episode however I have purposely stricken from my DC memory and to have it thrust back at me makes me sad and a little twitchy. So much bullshit. Dawson and Joey are the worst when they’re together. Just keep them apart for always cause all the moping and guilt and tension and deceit because of the guilt is truly horrendous.

    This is also the beginning of the crush Jen gets on her therapist which I always found to be gross and inappropriate.