Dawson's Creek was not a show that I watched during it's regular network airing. Friends of mine recommended that I check it out, but it was never something that interested me. Then one evening while watching another show on The WB, I saw a commercial for the reairing of the very first episode of the show, prior to the final episodes as the series wound down. I watched the reairing of the Pilot and from that moment on was hooked on the lives of Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen.
The fourth season of Dawson's Creek is mostly about the relationship between Pacey and Joey and the problems and issues it causes among their friends. While Dawson and Joey have long considered themselves soul mates, they spend much of this season questioning that as Joey explores her relationship with Dawson's former best friend Pacey.
This season was also the final season for the group in Capeside, Mass. The kids graduate high school and move on to other things. In some cases, college is the answer, but not for all. The goodbyes to Capeside provided a solid emotional end to the season as the lifelong friends prepared for life beyond their sleepy Cape Cod town.
Katie Holmes, as tomboy turned beauty Joey Potter is perhaps the star of this season. Her relationship with Pacey and her attempts at keeping her friendship with Dawson alive completely turn her in many different directions, often unsure of where she is going or why she is going where she's going.
Joshua Jackson as Pacey gives a great performance, once again, giving good reason for the producers and writers to have him end up with Joey in the series finale. While their relationship ends before the end of the season, you always know how happy she makes him, yet he himself never really feels like he deserves someone liker her. In his mind, she is too good for him and that eventually breaks their relationship apart, in fine fashion at the prom I might add.
Michelle Williams as Jen didn't have as big of a role in this season, simply because she wasn't in the love triangle that blossomed at the end of season three. She did, however, have some great moments of her own, most memorably her trip to New York to see her father. In that episode we find out so much about her character and what has happened to her in her life. It allows the viewers to appreciate just how lucky she is to have Grams. Speaking of Grams, Mary Beth Piel is phenomenal in the role, serving as a role model for Jen, guiding her along life's paths in the best way she possibly can.
Kerr Smith is also solid as Jack, the gay football star, although in this season the football is downplayed thanks to an injury. Jack does get to explore his first real serious gay relationship, with Toby, and also spends a lot of time helping Jen through many of her issues.
James Van Der Beek leads the cast as Dawson, a young man torn between his love for films and his love for Joey, the girl that got away. Everyone knows that he is bound to head to California to pursue his movie career, but at the same time, people are rooting for him to go to Boston to be with Joey. In this season, something important happens to Dawson though, as he falls in love with someone else, a huge step in getting over Joey. His relationship with Gretchen is a nice divergence, yet something viewers know will never work out.
This show thrives on the ability to find different stories for each of the young stars. Sadly in this season we see the departure of Andie, played wonderfully by Meredith Monroe. Her character just wasn't left enough room to develop and midway through the season the decision was made for her to move to Italy. She reappears in the graduation episode and again in the series finale, but it is sad to see her go. She was a good part of the group.
A new baby in the family changes Dawson's life, while college applications weigh heavily on everyone's mind. This is the beginning of the end of Dawson's Creek, as once the group left Capeside it became hard to follow them all in the different directions their lives were going. While the show lasted two more seasons, this was the last Capeside season of Dawson's Creek.
The one drawback to this show, as was the case in the third season, is the replacement of the theme song. While the new song isn't necessarily bad, it isn't the song that belongs there and any fan knows that. Money issues rear their ugly head again.
All in all though, this is a great set of a show that helped to define the genre of teen soaps for many years and is highly recommended, as are the first three seasons.