May 5, 2012
Dawson’s Creek 5.8, Hotel New Hampshire: It Took Five Years, But Dawson’s Finally Gotten Some
Summary: Dawson visits Pacey on his boat and confides that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life. The only thing he’s sure about is not going back to USC. Pacey tells him to take his time. He also notes that he’s never known what to do with his life, and now he’s found a job he likes. He tells Dawson about his attraction to Karen but doesn’t want to bother him with details. Dawson knows Pacey will help her even if there’s drama.
Joey and Jen study at Grams’, taking a break to discuss Jack and the upcoming frat formal. Jen doesn’t want to go, so Joey figures she’ll wind up as Jack’s date. She asks Jen how Dawson is, which surprises Jen. She says he’s better and is seeing a therapist. Joey’s having a hard time not helping him, but she’s happy Jen is there in her place. Jack’s frat has a meeting about the formal, which is mostly an excuse for the guys to hook up with hot girls. One of the brothers encourages Jack to bring some Worthington girls for them. He agrees, and a guy named Eric calls dibs on one.
Pacey goes back to Karen’s and asks her out, calling their potential date a “trial run” for a drama-free relationship. She doesn’t really want to accept, but he wears her down with his charm. Dawson has a session with Dr. Weir, telling her about the chat he had with Pacey. He feels like his friends are seeing him as someone breakable instead of the person they knew before. Dr. Weir brings up the film festival he unknowingly won and encourages him to take a friend and go to it.
Jen gets a visit from Nora and tells her she thinks she’s finally over Charlie. Nora admits that she feels herself giving in to his efforts to get her back. She doesn’t realize that Jen hasn’t also been getting love letters and pleas for forgiveness. Jen claims she doesn’t care, but she winds up crying to Dawson that she wants the same treatment Nora’s getting from Charlie. Dawson invites her to take a break from her life by accompanying him to New Hampshire.
Jack has also convinced Audrey to go to the formal, and she’s more excited about it than Joey is. As the guys pick them up, Dawson checks in at the film festival and gets gushing praise for his movie. His screening is sold out, which is ticking off a guy named Oliver Chirchick. Jen is mistaken for Dawson’s girlfriend, and she decides to have some fun with that, even if it means sharing a love-themed hotel room.
The Sigma brothers approve of Jack’s female offerings, though Jack wants to keep that quiet. He tells Joey that Jen won’t be there since she and Dawson went away for the weekend. Joey’s surprised but not worried. Pacey takes Karen out to dinner and they seem to have a good time. He tells her she deserves better than to be Danny’s mistress.
Dawson and Jen see Oliver’s movie (Smoke Crack and Worship Satan), which is so good that Dawson doesn’t get how he won the top prize. Jen and her ridiculous hat think he’s undermining himself. Oliver warns Dawson that his movie better be good; the winning movie usually has a unique vision, and he doesn’t want to lose to a “Hollywood slickster.” Then he sees Jen and tells her she’s pretty.
Pacey walks Karen home and notes that she isn’t smoking. She says she only smokes when she’s nervous or annoyed. He’s pleased that she’s neither right now; in fact, she was pleasant all night. He gives her flirty compliments and she tells him she had a great time, which makes him happy. Pacey goes to kiss her on the cheek, but she turns it into a makeout session, which they take into her apartment.
Dawson’s movie gets lots of applause. The head of the festival reveals that Mitch sent him a letter praising the film and asking him not to keep it out of the festival even though it was submitted late. Dawson reaches for Jen’s hand. He accepts his prize but finds it hard to say anything. He winds up talking about Mitch’s love of movies, which rubbed off on Dawson. He dedicates the movie to Mitch, saying he’ll think of him every time he looks at the prize. He adds a special thank-you to Jen.
At the formal, Audrey’s incredibly bored by a drunk Eric, who tells Jack she’s “all tease and no please.” Joey overhears Jack assuring Eric that Audrey’s easy and will definitely hook up with him. She gives Jack a disgusted look and walks away. Karen’s smoking now and tells Pacey that having sex with him doesn’t change anything: “This was a mistake. You’re not worth what I’m risking.” He asks her why she risked it, then figures out that it was to get back at Danny.
Dawson and Jen attend a post-festival party, where Oliver admits that Dawson’s movie was great. He learns that Dawson dropped out of USC and encourages him to visit his own college in Boston. Jen approaches, and it looks like Dawson is seeing her in a different way now. She tells Oliver his movie was great and he replies that she’s still really pretty. He adds that Jen and Dawson make a great couple.
Joey confronts Jack about his comments, which he points out are no different than from what she used to say about Audrey. Joey notes that she knows Audrey better now. She hates the jerk Jack has turned into. It’s like he was just waiting to come to Boston so he could dump his high school friends and make new ones. Jack says he feels at home there. He no longer has to worry about anyone else.
Joey accuses him of hiding and pushing his real friends away in favor of “wannabe pimps.” He mocks her for saying he doesn’t live up to her “standards of righteousness.” She corrects that she’s talking about common decency. Jack points out that everyone at the formal is having a good time; no one’s forcing anyone else to be there. Joey realizes that she has no reason not to leave.
Dawson’s feeling good about the evening; tonight was the first time in a while that he hasn’t felt guilty about Mitch. He thanks Jen for helping him. Jen thanks him back for restoring her faith in men. They discuss their past dramas, and Dawson says he thinks the two of them didn’t work out because Jen was never attracted to him. She just thought he was safe. Jen calls his bluff by kissing him. And then they do the same thing Pacey and Karen just did.
The next morning, Dawson tells Jen he’s pleased with the way his first sexual experience went. Pacey goes to work early to tell Danny he quits. He confirms that it’s about Karen, blasting Danny for putting him in the middle of his relationship issues. Danny announces that Karen already quit. He apologizes for the position he put Pacey in and says he can take his job back if he wants.
Jack comes by Joey and Audrey’s room to apologize, and Audrey easily forgives him. Jack is having a hard time bringing two groups of friends together. Joey feels bad for judging. She always thought she had an open mind, but now that she’s living in a big city, she has more to learn than she expected. Jack needs his frat, and his friends need to learn to accept that. Jack says he has to be less extreme.
Pacey meets up with Karen outside the restaurant, and she tells him she doesn’t regret what happened with them. He forced her to make a decision she should have made a long time ago. Pacey encourages her to give herself a chance, but Karen wants to do something new. Despite his best efforts, Pacey couldn’t save her from herself. Karen advises him to stick with Danny since he’s good at what he does.
Jen and Dawson pack to go home, but she thinks they need to have a talk. She feels awkward and doesn’t want to risk their friendship. Dawson clearly doesn’t see this as a big deal. Though he doesn’t know what will happen next, he’s ready for whatever comes, even if things have to change. Jen agrees that she’s ready, too. She doesn’t want to leave just yet, so Dawson says they don’t have to.
Thoughts: I think they only set this episode in New Hampshire so they could use the title. I mean, who cares about a film festival in New Hampshire? There were barely 50 people there.
The Jen/Dawson hook-up is so random. Yeah, yeah, emotional distress, gratitude, blah blah blah, but come on.
Eric is played by Ryan Bittle, who was Todd on the Sweet Valley High TV show. He’s definitely not as hot as Todd is supposed to be.
Audrey, we need to have a talk about your crimped hair.
Don’t most film festivals award prizes after all the screenings, instead of before the whole festival? I guess I’m thinking of the big ones like Cannes, but that’s probably because people vote, so of course they have to watch the films first.
Dawson talking about Mitch and sharing his love of movies is really sweet. It’s nice to find out where Dawson’s movie appreciation came from.