Dawson’s Creek Revisited: Season 4, Episode 21 – Separation Anxiety

Opening scene, Jen is grilling Jack about his love with Toby. She pretty much forced them to be a couple and so now she wants gossip.

Drue comes over and hands them their year books. Pacey and Joey are named class couple and apparently they haven’t talked since Pacey made a scene at the prom. Gretchen has gone back to school, too. She has? In June? Is that allowed?

The three start making bets about which relationships will make it, but cover their tracks when Dawson arrives.


At the Leery house, Gail interrupts Dawson in the study to meddle in his relationship with Gretchen. Dawson tells her to butt out. Doesn’t she have a newborn she could be tending to instead of this? Why do babies on this show never cry or need anyone?

Gail reveals Gretchen is leaving town. Wait, didn’t everyone already talk about that? Why doesn’t Dawson know this stuff? Gail says it’s her last day at the restaurant. She suggests Dawson talk to Gretchen and to open the conversation with him asking her to sign his yearbook. Dawson’s all, “Lame, Mom!”

Pacey’s fixing Gretchen’s car and she tells him that rent is paid till the end of the lease, which is end of next month. So I guess Pacey’s going to be homeless again?

Then they talk about how they’re passively avoiding their romantic ex-partners, and aren’t willing to actually face their problems.

At Jen’s house, a realtor is showing an uppity couple around. Jen’s like, uh, what? Seems Grams thought the most sensitive thing to do would be to sell her house and let this stranger deliver the news while having randoms walk through.

At the yacht club, Joey’s working and that guy from her college shows up to talk about his next party (Do universities generally go to small rich towns and throw parties?) He wants her to bring Pacey, and rather than simply saying they broke up, she drags out this awkward response. And wouldn’t you know it, he wants her to bring Pacey anyways because the Dean of Admissions has an offer for him.

Yep, that’s how college works. Why not, right? Joey, who’s still obviously in love with Pacey, seems jazzed about this.

Now he won't have a reason to humiliate me in public!

Now he won’t have a reason to humiliate me in public!

Jen is taking Grams to task about selling the house, which she’s doing to help pay for Jen’s college. No help from her parents? No student loan? And why in all this time has Jen not bothered to get a job? Grams’ plan is to move to a retirement community, and Jen’s not hip to this idea.

Dawson shows up to the restaurant to see Gretchen and sticks with his mom’s yearbook signing plan to jumpstart a conversation. Gretchen says she signed up for summer classes to make up the work she missed. Colleges have summer school? Well, this one does. Anyway, they start in a month and before that she’s planning to take a road trip. How much does this bartending gig pay to finance rent, a car, groceries, college courses and a road trip?

Gretchen takes the yearbook to write something in it before she leaves. Dawson tells her not to write “Have a bitchin’ summer.”

Joey shows up at Pacey’s place, gives him the Worthington party/admissions rundown and he cuts her off to tell her he misses her. And my goodness, does he have a stupid look on his face.

College? Blargh, me... miss you... ughfgd....

College? Blargh, me… miss you… ughfgd….

Without talking or resolving anything, he agrees to go to the party.

Pacey’s helping Gretchen pack groceries for her road trip, which looks like a pile of junk food. She thinks he shouldn’t go to this party, which is ridiculously dumb. He has some unknown offer waiting for him with no other prospects in sight and he should avoid going because he and Joey “need some time”? Gretchen, you disappoint me.

Pacey says he’s gotta go see what this offer is, and not because it might be a crack at a future but because it’ll be some kind of sign he’s supposed to be with Joey. This show is rife with bullshit magical thinking.

Pacey and Gretchen have a moment and hug and shit in case they don’t see each other again before she leaves.

When Jen and Grams pull into the retirement community, an old biddy who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “retire” gives them a lengthy lecture about getting a pass, and says “pass” about 30 times.

Dawson is screening his movie with his dad, who loves it, but he’s thinking about Gretchen. The house is neat, clean, quiet and devoid of all the baby paraphernalia a couple of middle-aged yuppie parents would own. Mitch gives him a pep talk that seems geared to getting his son to run off with his ex-girlfriend for the summer. Huh.

Pacey arrives to pick up Joey at her place for the party. He goes in for a kiss and, oh, denied!

Jen is hectoring Grams about selling the place and moving to the retirement prison. She says she should have taken out a loan if she was going to turn her nose up at her parents’ money. Well, yes. Yes, she should have. And in light of those stupid choices, Grams is nuts.

Joey and Pacey get to the party and she makes a weird comment about Pacey not missing a chance to show off in a suit. What? She goes off with other freshmen, who are from the area, I guess? How prestigious can this school be if so many freshman are located locally around Capeside? Pacey walks off with whatshisface to find the dean of admissions, arm around the guy like they’re old friends.

Dawson shows up at Gretchen’s place and flings himself at her, saying he’s coming along too. And nuts to boring old graduation ceremony in less than a week. Actually, I’m with him there. Graduation days are the most tedious milestones ever. She thinks he’s crazy, and so does he, and lookie there, she agrees to let him come. This is, I must say, more believable than Joey running off with Pacey all last summer.

Dawson starts writing his parents a letter and Gail bursts in to ask him to babysit so she can do something at the restaurant. Uh oh, Mrs. Leery, you might lose your built-in babysitter this summer. She sets the baby in a bouncy chair on the bed rather close to the edge and leaves.

Dawson starts talking out his guilty inner monologue to the baby, who doesn’t give a shit.

At the party, Pacey gets his offer: a chance to work as a deck hand on the dean’s ship. He’d not make a ton, but he’d see some gorgeous islands. Pretty reasonable offer, actually. It’s not likely they’d throw a college acceptance his way just because they like the cut of his jib. He seems disappointed, even though a summer job, which comes with a place to stay are both things he doesn’t currently have right now.



Jen tells Jack she won’t be going to college with him after all. He’s not mad, but he calls her out on her shit, how she got an out from going when she never wanted to go, and justifies leaving her best friend in the lurch because she’s martyring herself for Grams. Jen admits she’s too scared to go to college and leave her Grammy.

Pacey tells Joey about the job offer and she too is all sad about it. Christ, it’s like these kids think the world owes them something. It’s a job offer relevant to Pacey’s skills, age and education. What’s so bad about working for an important man all summer and making a good impression?

Joey wants to go home (because how insulting is it for him to be offered an adventurous summer job?) Pacey tries to talk her into staying, but they leave.

Gretchen pops over to Dawson’s, who is holding his sleeping baby sister. He puts her down in a nearby bassinet and fusses over her a bit. Then he references Alexander growing up close to his sister and maybe they’ll crawl into each other’s rooms too, and he just can’t stop with the Joey references. Gretchen’s face looks just less happy enough to realize this ain’t gonna work out.

She gives him a kiss and there’s a weird energy in the air and she says goodbye. Dude, I think Gretchen’s leaving without you. You put your foot in it about Joey one too many times.

Pacey drops Joey off, but she wants to go to his place “to just sleep”.

In the morning, Jen asks Grams to come to Boston with her. Grams think she’s worried about her, but Jen says she basically needs Grams around as her security blanket. And with some coaxing, but not too much (Grams uses the term “cramp your style”) it looks like this is going to be a thing.

Don't leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Joey finds Pacey at the docks, still brooding over not getting a freebie acceptance into college (Note, he didn’t even give them an answer, just left the party to sulk). He acknowledges he was a dick at prom and it’s his fault they broke up.

Dawson’s finished packing his bag and then ominously finds his yearbook waiting for him outside. Gretchen basically left a Dear John letter inside it for him to always remember the time he was ditched.

Dawson then finds Joey at a pier (How do these people always find each other on random docks and piers?) and they say very little.

MVA: Jen, “I’m an 18-year-old woman who can’t handle being away from her Grammy.”

(Not really the most verbose, but I enjoyed her use of the word Grammy for personal reasons.)


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