The 10 Best Episodes of Dawson’s Creek, a list because Polly asked and the draft was still there

10. Abby Morgan’s Funeral : First it includes “Whatever Makes You Happy” by Paul Westerberg. Second, death and near death makes for good TV (see “Blind School Fire” episode of Little House on the Prairie, Pinky Tuscadero bumps her head episode of Happy Days, and that episode of Scrubs where Brenden Fraser dies). Anyway, badgirl Abby Morgan dies by falling off the pier and at her funeral Jen flames the entire congregation, the death also causes mousy-Andie to lose her mind. Literally.

9. Jr. Prom: So Jack, who is gay, is denied tickets to the Jr. prom by some Christian hooha. Since Dawson is trying to woo Joey away from Pacey he sets up this alternative prom at Leery’s Fresh Fish, and brings Joey as his date. Pacey goes with Andie (who sports some funky glittering alien makeup) and tension abounds. Finally, Joey and Pacey dance and their love cannot be denied by anyone watching. Dawson is outraged. Andie is heartbroke. I am totally cheering because it’s so awesome.

8. The one before Albert Brooks dies: I had a soft spot for ol’ Mr. Brooks. This cranky shut-in befriends young Dawson Leery, after Dawson wrecks his boat trying to save Pacey and Jen from some sort of tropical storm. While working off his debt, Dawson discovers that Mr. Brooks was a big-wig movie director back in like the 40s. The two become BFFs and work together on a documentary about Mr. Brooks. Eventually we learn that Brooks (who is romancing Grams) has some sort of cancer. Brooks decided to die with dignity by offing himself. Before he takes a mittful of pills, he and Dawson have a great conversation where Brooks hugs the boy while Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World” swells in the background. Gets me every time.

7. Pacey and Joey get stuck in a K-Mart: Who hasn’t had a fantasy about getting stuck in their favorite store overnight? The first step in Pacey and Joey getting back together.

6. The Ski Trip: Joey and Pacey do it. Albert Brooks dies (see reasoning behind #10). So awesome.

J. Principal Green resigns: After some rich dirtbag vandalizes Joey’s unity mural, Principal Green expels him. The PTA is up in arms and the School Board calls for Green’s resignation. Joey rallies the Capeside troops and tries to save the principal’s job. Despite what the students want, Green refuses to let the dirtbag back in school and he’s let go. He exits the school as the students line the hall and give him one final slow clap. Makes me cry every. single. time.

4. Christmas at the Leery’s: Audrey was easily the best thing to ever happen to the Capeside gang. After some sort of date-rapesque incident and breaking up with Pacey, Audrey spends much of the fall semester drinking her ass off and singing in Hell’s Belles (Emma’s band). The gang gathers for Christmas at Dawson’s house along with various hangers on including Audrey (who is taking every pill and slugging back every drink she can get her hands on); Todd, the movie director; Natasha, the starlet boinking Dawson; Eddie, Joey’s blue-collar boyfriend; and Joey’s Dad, who was recently released from prison after serving time for trafficking marijuana (or cocaine). Audrey calls out all the phonies in a most uncomfortable, yet hilarious manner, then she drives Pacey’s beemer through the front door.

3. Dawson’s dad dies : Mitch Leery is cut down in the prime of his life by a dude who falls asleep at the wheel. The gang runs back to Capeside to be by the mourning Dawson’s side. Everyone relives their best Mitch memories. Just typing about it gives me goosebumps. Dawson loses his shit when he hears his dad’s voice on the answering machine, ends up crying in his Jeep after the cashier at the convenience store tells him how proud of him his dad was.

2. The Potter girls open a B&B: After their dad burns down the Ice House because he doesn’t want to get caught dealing cocaine, the Potter girls decide to use the insurance money to turn their home into a bed and breakfast. Once the remodeling is complete the Capeside gang try to help the sisters fool the B&B dude from the Times by posing as guests. Of course nothing goes well, the furnace is out and the B&B dude is cold, and the gang spends the night hanging out in front of the fireplace talking about what memories certain smells bring back. Grams talks about how love is the hardest wood or something and that love is being content watching someone you love sleep, or some other kind of Gram-like wisdom. Anyway, this is the first time that we really understand how much Pacey loves Joey, because in the end he just sits in a chair and watches her sleep. Also, there is a dancing in the kitchen scene that makes me cry with embarrassment for everyone involved. I still love this episode.

1. Jen dies and Joey picks Pacey : Come on! Really you had any doubt?

23 Comments
  • holtz
    August 19, 2008

    Too many high school episodes, the best ones are the college episodes with Audrey. Although the episode where Abby Morgan dies and the one where they study all night and end up jumping in the pool are cool.

    • steve
      December 15, 2013

      have to disagree, high school episodes are better than the college episodes.

  • Jodi
    August 19, 2008

    See, I didn’t have the crush on Audrey that you obviously have. Mine is very Pacey-centric since he was the best character.

    But you are right, the all-night study session is a good one.

  • tam
    August 19, 2008

    I think you nailed it. I can’t think of any I’d add, except I think Dawson’s dad and the finale should be tied for first. I think they really did a great job with the ick that arises when a parent dies… but I may be biased. (And they NAILED the answering machine thing. Straight from real life…)

  • christa
    August 19, 2008

    ever since you hinted at this post, i’ve been compiling a list in my head.

    i agree with the finale. but my number two will always be the junior prom, when pacey runs his hand down joeys arm to the braclet that was her mom’s … and all that spinning. that is at least no. 2 if not tied for number one. i also recently saw the episode where joey decides to go with pacey on the boat for the summer.

    i love the part where dawson is sobbing on his dock.

    i’m a pacey-ite, too.

  • Jodi
    August 19, 2008

    I thought about including the boat episode, but it’s all kinds of hooha about the wedding leading up to about 10 minutes of good.

    Did you kind of want to punch Dawson in the face when he was sobbing on the dock? Because I totally did.

  • christa
    August 19, 2008

    not so much punch him in the face. i think i felt bad for him the first few times i saw it. now i get a pretty wicked case of the giggles every time i see it.

  • Jodi
    August 20, 2008

    I never felt bad for him, because he’s such a spoiled brat.

  • Joe
    September 25, 2009

    Stolen Kisses… such an important episode in the PJ relationship.

  • ck
    June 24, 2010

    a little late to the conversation, but come on…… THE LONGEST DAY episode is number one

  • yeahandalso
    August 29, 2011

    I agree that Pacey is by far a more appealing dude than Dawson, but the hopeless romantic in me always wanted Dawson and Joey to end up together…they belong together. Just the writers knew the fans like Pacey better. Also killing off Jen really just pissed me off, but I was glad Jack got a hot cop husband in end

    • Kyle
      July 14, 2012

      It was always meant for pacey and joey to be together. The foreshadowing is there even in season 1.

  • Lynn Reed
    September 19, 2011

    The Breakfast Club episode…

  • tinkerfly
    September 23, 2011

    Did everyone forget the episodes that made pace so hot. The blinking the teacher episodes??? I mean you have to be pretty hot to talk your teacher into risking her job and time behind bars just to sleep with you. So hot and scandalous!

  • tinkerfly
    September 23, 2011

    Sorry stupid Mobil changes the spelling of my words I meant pacey not pace and I meant boinking the teacher not blinking. Sorry!

  • Kyle
    July 14, 2012

    If youre a big PJ fan as am I, How can you leave out Stolen Kisses and True Love? You put Anti-Prom up(which there is a great pacey joy moment) but not TRUE LOVE?!?!? They sail off into the freakin sunset!!!!! And stolen kisses..dont you remember “It made me feel alive”. Cmon! Lol good list though

  • Simone
    July 22, 2013

    We can agree to disagree. I hated Audrey. I couldn’t stand a bone in her! As a PJ fan it made me furious that the writers put Audrey and Pacey together. Audrey belonged in Melrose Place or Gossip Girl, not a special show like DC. Audrey and Pacey should have been nothing more than a casual fling; I am so happy they didn’t end up together. They simply did not have the chemistry that Pacey and Joey had, and by the end, Audrey had just become a horror show.
    I hated Season 5, as far as I’m concerned it was the worst! For me Seasons 3 and 4 were the best! The Longest Day is my favorite episode.

  • Jenny
    January 16, 2014

    Which episode is it when Joey talks about what Dawson did when her mother died, she said that Dawson just sat next to her and didn’t say anything?

    Pls help

  • Maria
    March 26, 2014

    This is an old article, but I love(d) Dawson’s Creek so will weigh in and give my top ten, though I know everyone’s list would be different.
    10. Future Tense- Love everything about this episode, the scene with Jen and Andie and Joey on the dock. They promise to get together in ten years to see where they are, which you know won’t happen, cause drunk plans never work out. And I love the last scene between Dawson and Gretchen.
    9. Four Stories- Love every moment and ever scene, just a really good episode! And the ending is really good, Joey tells a big lie we know will come back to bite her and Pacey’s relationship.
    8. Guess whose coming to Dinner- Don’t know why I love this one, I just do. I like when they all come together in an episode, I like what happens between Jen and her mom, and Jen and Pacey.
    7. A Winter’s Tale- The scene at the end before Joey and Pacey finally sleep together is really nice, of course, but mostly love this episode for what happens between Jack and Jen. I wish their friendship would have been explored/show just a bit more.
    6. The Season 1 Finale- Nostalgia! I love the 90’s soundtrack and pretty much every scene. And it ends just the way it should!
    5. Coda-Almost picked this as my favourite. I LOVE what Joey says to Dawson at the end, when she’s sitting on his bed about his friendship being like magic, and the short conversation between Dawson and Pacey over the phone.
    4. The Anti-Prom-Because of the moment with Pacey and Joey dancing, because you just know that this is where all the joey and pacey stuff is about to hit the fan, once dawson and andie see them together.
    3. A weekend in the Country-As I said, I always liked the episodes where they all come together, for whatever reason. This one is funny and sweet and just really good, and of course has the moment with Pacey watching Joey sleep.
    2. The Graduate-Don’t know why I love this one so much, but I really love all of the last few episodes of the fourth season, after the prom. The last moment of this episode totally encapsulates who Pacey is. And my favourite moment is when Joey sees ‘Ask me to stay’ on her wall.
    1. True Love- Largely because of the nostalgia around it. I love the soundtrack (before the DVD version changed it) And I love when Dawson shows how much he cares by telling Joey to go. People say Joey left Dawson, but she was committed to staying, and only left because Dawson told her to.
    I really loved season 4, in case you can’t tell. I could go on about more episodes, but I won’t cause I probably look like I’m obsessed already…..but I’m not!

    • Jodi
      March 26, 2014

      This is a great list & I’m glad I’m not the only one super annoyed by how the DVDs totally changed the music.

    • Natalie
      June 11, 2014

      Good list but I have to disagree on one of your last comments. Joey definitely wanted to go she wasn’t content with staying and it was plain as day that the only reason she was was because Dawson was emotionally manipulating her. Dawson showing that he cared by letting her go? Shah, she’s a person and not Dawson’s property so he didn’t let her do anything. It’s more like he finally started paying attention to the writing on the wall (I.e. Joey’s miserable face at the thought of not being with Pacey for an entire summer).
      I can tell by the list and your comments that you’re a Dawson fan…my condolences. To this day Dawson Leery remains, for me, the most horrible excuse for a best friend (to both J and P) ever known on television. He was simultaneously vile and arrogant and deserving of all the misery he experieced.
      I would’ve preferred that he died in the end but then I didn’t want to hear that Joey picked Pacey by Default.

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