I'm fresh off of the Dawson's Creek series finale, the second time around.
When the show popped up on Netflix, I thought it time to revisit the thing that made me want to break up with all series forever because I have spent the last 17 years so. un.happy. with how Dawson's Creek ended (cue the spoiler alert.)
I've been keeping a little list of observations as I rewatched all six seasons, but the only thing that actually stands out is that, wait for it, I grew up. I know that's the least revelatory line you've ever read, but hear me out.
Time has shaped my ability to understand some of the nuance of love, and I now get that this story did have the ending that I thought Joey and Dawson should've had. I found this interview Kevin Williamson, the creator, did with THR a few years ago that sums it all up:
Williamson: It was agonizing! And painful! I actually wrote the ending with them together and then something was troubling me about it. I wanted to honor the show and what you start with. But where you end is just never in the same place. If I told you how I envisioned The Vampire Diaries ending, that's not quite how it actually ended. But it kind of is how it ended in a weird way. The facts are just different; the storylines are a little different but the feeling is all there. So that's what we did. This story was always a coming-of-age story in which I tried to break the mold and do a different version of 90210 and to do things differently. So why can't we redefine or at least show another side of what soul mates are? That's what I wanted to do. Ask me today who my soul mate is and I'll tell you that I have a best friend and there's no romantic connection and that best friend is my soul mate.
I love a full circle moment. What he says in the quote above about honoring what you start with will get me every time (I'm a leo, we're loyal to a fault), and it's something I have arguably struggled with. However, I have apparently learned a bit because I get that things did come full circle. Joey and Dawson did end up together, but just in a different way. And, I love/would choose/understand Joey and Pacey 100%. Ultimately, the show was never about a love triangle, but rather all the ways love lives and exists in life, if you're lucky enough to know it.
It was nice to revisit a seminal show from my young life, and hold the mirror up to myself to see what time has changed and what's stayed the same.
To paraphrase something Williamson says later in the interview, this show was meant for a specific moment in time. While there's lots that should/would be different about it, so much so it probably wouldn't even be the same show, in 2021, I'll leave those thoughts for another day.