The Moment I Finally Fell for Dawson’s Creek
I didn't cry while watching Dawson’s Creek until the Season One finale. This surprised me because I cry a lot during television and movies, and it usually doesn't take me 13 episodes to do so. But when I did finally cry, I cried two separate times throughout the last half of the episode. I didn't jump into Dawson’s Creek as fast as I thought I would. I didn't feel the initial spark, I didn't have to stop myself from binge watching the entire first season in one day, when it came down to watching an episode of Dawson’s, or an episode of something else, I would often pick the other show.
That is until I got to the finale, “Decisions”. I finally felt the spark, and was relieved to “get” the hype. Falling in love with a TV show is not so different from falling in love with a person.
At first you are excited to see the person, but you constantly remind yourself that there are more important things than seeing them. You know that it probably won’t work out in the end, just like you know that a TV show can’t stay that good throughout an entire series.You’re hopeful, but stay grounded. You don't want to set yourself up for disappointment. But slowly, you begin seeing that person more and more, and it’s what you look forward to most during the day. I could go on to type out all of the clichés about falling in love and how it is directly applicable to television, but I know anyone who has ever watched a TV show from start to finish knows what I am trying to say.
During the season finale, Joey goes to work and her sister informs her that tomorrow is their father’s birthday, and it is Joey’s turn to go visit him in prison. Joey’s father got caught selling drugs when Joey was very young, shortly after Joey’s mother had died of cancer. That meant that when her father was thrown in jail, Joey was left parentless for much of her childhood and teen years. Joey initially protests but ultimately has no choice. Dawson comes along with her on the four-hour bus ride to the prison. By the time they get there, visiting hours are over. Joey is livid, there’s no way she’s getting back on that bus just to come back tomorrow. Dawson suggests that they just stay overnight, so they book a room at a crappy motel. The next day they go visit Joey’s dad. About 1 minute into this scene is where I started to cry. Joey’s dad explains that he was hoping she would come visit for his birthday, but he didn't get his hopes up. He’s so happy that Joey is there. Joey is steadfastly cold to her father. It is obvious that Dawson is pained by the situation. This might have been Katie Holmes’ (the actress who plays Joey) best acting in the series so far. She is scarred by her father’s abandonment, lies, and infidelity. Joey is bitter; she can barely look at her father.
She is battling a lot right now. Her feelings for Dawson, her unstable home life, and whether or not she should take a scholarship she was just offered to go study in France for a semester. Joey’s father has so much wonderment and love for Joey. We can all feel it. He tells Joey how beautiful she is, he can’t believe how grown up she is. His warmth is heart breaking. I cried. The whole scene is painful. Joey’s father says he misses the family, and Joey really goes off. She yells, “What Family!?” Her life is in shambles, and it’s partially her father’s fault. This is a tough moment for the audience. We want to be on Joey’s side, we know how much pain she’s experienced in life, and much of it is her father’s fault. But it’s hard to not feel angry towards Joey for lashing out this way; her father is incredibly sweet. I don't think he ever actually says “sorry,” however,we can all feel how regretful he is. Heartbreaking. Joey storms out and Dawson is left sitting and staring at Joey’s father.
Next something really cheesy happens, but once I start crying I am extremely vulnerable to the rest of an episode. Joey’s father asks Dawson to tell him about his daughter. Dawson gets really passionate. He starts and ends strong. He says Joey is “funny and smart, a big ol’ scaredy cat, honest, she calls them just like she sees them. She’s stubborn, but she’s a really really good friend. Loyal to a fault. She believes in me, and I’m a dreamer so it’s really good to have someone like that in my life. If she goes away [to France] I don’t know what I’m going to do. She’s my best friend, she’s more than that…she’s everything”. This scene is particularly beautiful because the audience is presented with these two men that love Joey, however, in totally different ways. They both are fighting to understand their place in her life. I cried a lot.
I don't remember how exactly, but back in Capeside Joey ends up chatting with Pacey and at some point during the conversation she realizes she needs to get back to the prison and visit her father again. Pacey agrees to drive her. When they get to the prison it’s dark, and Joey has once again missed visiting hours. Pacey bribes the guard with twenty bucks and the guard leads them to a fence that separates the prison’s outdoor area to the outside world. Joey’s father walks up. I could feel that I was going to cry again. Joey touches her father’s hand through the fence. She tells him he messed up really badly by not knowing her. You can feel the emotion radiating off of both of them. Finally, Joey asks her father if he loves her. It can be assumed she feels desperately alone in the world . He says “of course I love you…. and so does Dawson”. Me, Joey, and Joey’s father all cried. ⊗