Laura: I’ll preface this bit by admitting, up front, that I was pretty much in tears for most of the Dawson’s Creek finale. Not for the episode itself (more on that later) but for the fact that it was ending. Six years of my life were over, six years of TV lives that I had lived were moving on. A huge chunk of my life – that I’ve devoted time and energy and fanfic to – came to and end. And that deserved some mourning.
Amy: I really wasn’t prepared to have the reaction that I did. I was spoiled rotten for it, and I knew I’d be happy with the ending, but it’s been so long since I’ve been enrapt with the show. I, like Laura, watched every season except this past one, and I have no urge to go back and find the random episodes I managed to tape. But the finale. Wow. I’m still reeling.
Laura: So let’s get this show on the road…
Doug/Jack – I am all for the hotness of two boys together. I am all for the hotness of two hot boys together. I am unclear how two hot boys being hot boys together could manage to be so unhot. There was no chemistry. There was no…nothing. And there was certainly no need. First off, I have to say that it was insulting to me (as a heterosexual) that after all those stereotypical gay jokes that Pacey made to Doug all his life, they would actually make Doug gay. To my gay friend, it was even more insulting (although he was interested enough in seeing them kiss that he only said he wanted to slap Kevin Williamson a couple thousand times instead of the million he intended). Although it delighted me to hear that homophobe Kerr Smith (who really is straight, really!) had to kiss a boy twice in two hours, I couldn’t bear to watch it.
Now, before anyone disagrees with me or berates me for not supporting the furthering of gay characters on TV, let me say that I love Doug. I’ve loved him with every fiber of my TV-character-loving being since Season One when he was an ass. I loved him in Season Three when he was lovesick along with his little brother. And I have very specific ideas about Doug, which influenced my viewing, so I present to you my theories on Doug’s being in/coming out of the closet: 1) He’s resigned himself to the fact that he can’t have Bessie and no other woman is good enough or 2) He’s Jen’s baby’s real father and, since they didn’t want anyone to know and he knew she was dying, he’s forcing himself to live a gay lifestyle with Jack (not coming fully out of the closet until Jen was for sure dead) so that he can raise his daughter. Yes. I’m a shipper. Shut up.
Jack – They haven’t given him a storyline in three years and when they do it’s one I can’t stand (see above), but they also gave him one that knocked my socks off. Admittedly, it’s part of Jen’s and I’ll get to that, but in the scene in Jen’s hospital room where she says she doesn’t belong and he tells her she belongs to him? That they’re soulmates? I was already crying, but that one wrenched a sob out of me. Both actors were amazing in the scene and Jack’s inherent love of her that transcended everything else was completely apparent.
Amy: Oh my god, was that powerful. I think that the only real friendship that they’ve managed to not mangle in the past few years is the Jen/Jack one. Sure, there was that odd make-out scene on the ski trip, but it was easily ignorable. There is not one misstep in the finale regarding the Jen/Jack friendship. From Jack’s hurt from being kept in the dark about Jen’s situation to his asking to be the one to take care of her daughter – it was so real. Along with the soulmate scene, I sobbed at the first hospital scene when he crawled into bed with her. They both knew what was going on, and what was to come, but they held each other as he described the cute nurse he’s been flirting with. Because it was what Jen needed, and Jack knew that so he put all his hurt away and was just her best friend.
Laura: Jack is also the most uncomfortable kissing a man that any man can be.
Dawson – Still self-absorbed, still not getting it. But he showed some grace and he showed some emotion without crying like he did back in Season Three (thank you!). His scene taping Jen’s message to her daughter Amy was underplayed, which was a nice change, and when he hears the noise and looks back and sees Jen getting out of the cab? That was a nice juxtaposition and defined his emotions very well. And the one manly tear was a nice touch, as was the husky voice when Joey walked up to him.
And, while I realize they wanted the ending to be ambiguous for most of the show, I thought his scenes with Joey (save the last one on the table) were overplayed in the “You’re the one for me” kind of way. The last talk about being with each other forever– always being a part of one another–came across as much more fitting for their relationship and, as someone who wanted him and Joey together in the beginning (because she wanted it so badly), I thought it was a nice send-off for them. I’ll admit that I was spoiled for the ending (something I regret at this point), so my perceptions of the conversations may be biased by that.
Amy: I thought the resolution with the love triangle was incredibly well done. I, too, was all about Dawson and Joey in Season One. Then they both started to annoy me, and I fell in love with the Pacey/Joey dynamic. But, Dawson and Joey had the friendship that was the heart of the show – and while it’s been pretty nonexistent in the past few years, there is still a beauty to it when the writers let the characters just be. Can your soulmate be your best friend? Yes, and they hit that point home with Jen and Jack. It was touching here, in a different way, but still as important.
Laura: Joey – Still bad hair. I was SO proud that Joey didn’t mention her mother being dead once, even though Jen was dying and leaving her daughter. Do you see how she could have? But she didn’t. If nothing else, I’ll take that little bit away with me. She admitted things. I’m guessing she made a choice though we didn’t see it. And for anyone who thought the whole letting off the hook/not wanting to be let off the hook thing was ambiguous? You’re idiots.
Amy: I was a fan of the whole “I don’t have any other conflict in my life, so I have to make it up” comment. To me, that summed up the whole problem with her character – and it was nice to not only see Joey be called on it, but to call herself on it.
The wedding scene really struck me – when Joey danced with Dawson, she was nervous and a little uncomfortable. When she danced with Pacey, they just fit. No awkward conversation, no standoffishness. And when he kissed her, oh, the look on Katie Holmes’ face – it was like her breath had been taken away. Now, I can only
spend hours upon hours imagining guess what that would be like, but it spoke volumes of her take on the Joey/Pacey chemistry.
Laura: Pacey – First off, you know those commercials for Dockers that have the guy doing whatever and the woman is looking at him and he looks at her and they’re separated by glass or something and she mouths the words “Nice pants”? Yeah. That was me. Because, hello, did you see his ass in those? Daaaaaaamn.
Joshua Jackson is a fine actor and his performance in this episode reflected that. He was emotional and resounded in all his scenes. The “comedian” scenes in Jen’s hospital room were vintage Pacey, as was his being there/reacting to her breakdown in the room. He showed her the video (those were actually the original credits with the original choice for the show’s theme song) and he was there for her. The show never did really expand on their relationship – not just the sexual pact in Season Three, but the friendship that was shown in her dealing with the whole Pacey/Joey dynamic that season. This episode touched on it and showed that Jen and Pacey are the two with the most in common – both outcasts of a sort and, despite the fact that “you and I don’t need anything from each other,” they did need each other in a lot of ways. Strength is usually found in the most unexpected of places (See: Xander).
He still had his self-deprecating wit, his inappropriateness, his penchant for older women (who Amy has decided was named Laura Smith, for which I shall be forever indebted to her), and his doubts about himself and, as much as anyone, he was quintessentially Pacey.
Amy: I know I’ve said this a million times, but I will continue to say it a million more. No one, no one plays a boy in love like Josh Jackson. And that was so strongly reiterated here. When Joey shows up, how happy and excited he is with her – all their scenes, he’s so in love with her, but truly wants her to find her own peace. It’s Pacey that I’m going to miss the most.
Laura: The Tertiary Characters – Bessie was there. Doug was there. Gale was there. Grams was there. Alexander and Lily were there. Save for Lily, everyone who was there was there in the beginning. Different but the same. Bodie was absent (since he was gone in all of season two, Kevin probably forgot he existed or, to be nice, he was just furthering the whole Doug/Bessie mythos for me). Bessie had bad hair. That’s not nice. Nina Repeta is a pretty woman and should be treated as such. Doug’s been mentioned above, but let me repeat here that 1) He’s not gay and 2) He’s hot like LAVA. Gale, Alexander and Lily were background.
Grams. Grams, Grams, Grams. How do I love Grams? Yeah, she started out too strict and Bible-thumping but, as the Jack-is-gay scenario unfolded (“To Be or Not to Be…” and “…That is the Question”), she proved herself a pretty cool older lady. And she’s been proving it ever since. She and Jennifer (and consequently Mary Beth Peil and Michelle Williams) are amazing together. They play off each other, they work well together and there seems to be such genuine emotion between them. I’ll get to Jen later, but the final scene with her? When she just knew? And she walked over and made sure (she used to be a nurse! Continuity, how I love – and have missed – you). And then she hugged her and said she’d be with her soon? MY. GOD. I’m sobbing just typing it up, so you can imagine what a mess I was. There was almost no dialogue in the scene and yet the acting made it one of the most emotional, intense, heartfelt scenes I’ve ever seen. It was that good.
Amy: I’m still sniffly over that scene. “I’ll see you soon, child. Soon.” Good god, where are my tissues?
Laura: Grams pretty much rocks the fuckin’ house.
Amy: I just want to second that. And third, fourth and fifth it. Everyone needs a Grams.
Laura: The Writing – I’m not one to laud Kevin Williamson. He’s a hack. True, he wrote Season One which, let’s be honest, was intriguing enough to keep me hooked on a crap-ass teen show for SIX YEARS. But he also wrote Season Two which, well, with a few exceptions, sucked. But tonight. Tonight was good. Tonight was, at times, great. Tonight was heart-wrenching.
It was also four months in the writing, so let’s not get too impressed.
Joshua Jackson was quoted in TV Guide as saying “…I feel it’s my duty not to screw up these words because they’re so pretty.” When I read that, I thought ‘Oh, Jesus. Stop. He cannot help your career. He’s back to doing Dawson’s Creek because every other venture of his since he left has failed and failed miserably.’ But then tonight, I think I got it. Admittedly, a TON of stuff was cut out and, from what I know of it, I agree with a lot of the cuts. There were a couple of D/Jo scenes and a P/Jo scene and kiss. But I liked that the episode wasn’t about the triangle and, what it was about was, in large part, kind of making fun of it. Yes, Joey made a choice, but you know what? Marketing campaigns aside? It didn’t change anything. This episode was about their friendships and feelings that these people shared and that’s what drew me to the show in the first place and what has, for a majority of it, been missing.
Amy: Did anyone else get the feeling that Williamson skimmed through what went on while he was gone, and just went “What the fuck?” Because there were so many lines in there that felt like mini-commentaries on the way the story had gone: Joey asking Pacey about his life ennui, Joey saying that she runs away from the boy she loves because she’s got no other conflict in her life so she has to make it up.
What came across strongly was the sense of humour that Williamson injected into the script. A sense of humour that has been so sorely missing from seasons gone by.
Memorable moments include:
- Joey defending The Creek to her boyfriend: a nod to the audience that’s stuck by Dawson’s Creek for six years. (We like angst! Teen angst! Is that so hard to understand, naysayers?)
- The wedding scene – oh my, did I scare my cat by laughing so hard. They quickly recapped the Dawson/Joey relationship, giving us the fantastic line: “And I refused you because… well, I don’t know why I refused you.”
- Pacey driving Dawson and Joey back from the hospital. Pacey brings up the ever-present love triangle, then Dawson counters with “Now it’s a square” when Joey’s boyfriend calls her cell phone. I was actually quite proud of Dawson here.
- Jack describing the nurse to Jen: “His name is Max, he has a goatee.” “We can work on that.”
- The Sam/Colby scene mimicking the final scene from the Season One finale, only we get Paula Cole’s lyrics as dialogue (“I don’t wanna wait ‘til our lives are over… what will it be”). I’ve always enjoyed the self-referentialness of Dawson’s Creek, and this was just icing on the cake.
Oh, and I have to say that I was touched by the Joey/Dawson bed scene that mirrored the one from the pilot. It tugged at the teeny-tiny part of my heart that so loved that first season dynamic.
Laura: And I have to say that a lot of the reason the words were so emotional, carried so much weight and impact, is because the actors acted them. They didn’t phone in performances. They actually put themselves into their characters and made them alive and breathing (with difficulty, in Jen’s case) and real.
Which brings me to…
Jen – I’ve stated before that Michelle Williams is an amazing actress. The rumor (I’ve not actually seen anything declaring it as true) that she wanted Jen to die so that her days with the Creek were over – regardless of anything else that might come along – aside, I think Jen had to be the one to die simply because Williams was the only one who could pull it off. I think Josh might have been able to do it, but certainly not with the same emotional impact and aplomb.
There were little things like the breathiness of her voice that fit with her problem, and the simple glance that she gave her grandmother at the end. There were other things like the refusal to be mad or sad. The breakdown and the confession to Jack. There were so many words that she said that we’ve all felt – being an outsider, being alone, being brave without knowing how. There were things she said that, as a parent, made me weep simply because every parent wants those things and, no matter what you do, you can’t make them happen.
It could have been melodramatic and over the top but, for the most part, it was played low-key and evenly, and showed Jen as a girl who supposedly grew up too fast but, in reality, never grew up at all until she had to. But when she did, she did it well: with grace and style that, let’s face it, she totally got from Grams.
Amy: Michelle Williams was remarkable. She played the role with such sweetness, such strength and such dignity. I’ll miss Jen too.
Laura: Did Dawson’s Creek suck? Yes. Yes, it did. In varying degrees on every occasion. There were highs (MmmmSeasonThree) and lows (Seasons Four through Six, pretty much). There were good moments and bad moments. There was cheesiness and sincerity. There was hatred and love and, occasionally, ambivalence.
But through it all – and I was with them through it all – the Capeside crew managed to amuse and entertain and, in so many ways, become a part of my life. There will be other shows on Wednesday nights at 8pm. But there will never be another Dawson’s Creek.
And, you know, I’ll miss it.
Amy: Pass the tissues, will you dear?