All good things must come to an end. That sentence, divided in two, was the title of the two-hour series finale of Dawson's Creek, which aired at the end of the show's sixth season, ending a show that helped to bring about the rise of the WB as a television network.
Season six picks up not long after where season five left off, with Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) back at Worthington, Dawson Leery (James Van der Beek) working for a director in Los Angeles, Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) returning to the east coast after a summer on the road with his girlfriend Audrey Liddell (Busy Phillips). Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) and Jack McPhee (Kerr Smith) return for another year at Boston Bay College, and as the season begins, they are both still living with Jen's Grams (Mary Beth Piel).
Things certainly change pretty quickly for a number of the young adults who viewers watched grow up on the creek for the previous five seasons. Joey finds herself involved with a gentleman from one of her classes, who as it turns out, doesn't actually go to school at her college, but simply sits in on the classes, while working at a bar nearby. Of course, Joey ends up working at the bar/restaurant, Hell's Kitchen. Joey's new boyfriend Eddie (guest star Oliver Hudson) eventually heads to California for writer's school, but returns for a few final moments with Joey. Joey and Dawson continue to have a cold spell after their ill-fated hooking early in the season, but come to realize their friendship for each other is something that can't be denied.
Dawson enjoys his experience working with movie director Todd Carr (guest star Hal Oskan) and gets an opportunity to be a director when parts of the movie need to be reshot. He also gets a chance to make his dream movie, but backs out when the people in charge want to change the entire script. He dates a Hollywood starlet (guest star Bianca Kajlich), which leads to his riff with Joey. He also entrusts all his money to Pacey in an attempt to make his movie, and when Pacey's plan backfires, his friendship with Dawson is tested.
Pacey began the season dating Audrey, but her eventual slide into trouble spelled trouble for the pair. While Pacey got a job (thanks to Audrey's dad) selling stocks, Audrey fell deeper into trouble with drugs and alchohol, eventually leading to her having to head back out west to enter rehab. She also gets her first chance to sing, when a friend's band takes her on as a vocalist. Pacey finds out he is very good at his job and makes a lot of money, but when his hot stock fails, he loses everything, including his friendship with Dawson.
Jen meets CJ (guest star Jensen Ackles) who she pursues until the two finally become an item midway through the season. She volunteers with him at the college help line and even gets to host a benefit session of Lovelines with Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew, where everyone's love lives are out for the world to see, including hers and CJs. She also has to join her Grams as the show's matriarchal figure battles cancer.
Jack finds new love with David (guest star Greg Rikaart), a friend of CJs and they also have their problems, which like Jen's, get aired on the Lovelines benefit. Jack and Pacey end up sharing an apartment with Emma (guest star Meghan Gray), who also happens to work with Joey and Eddie at Hell's Kitchen.
As the sixth season draws to a close (in the episode prior to the finale), Joey gets the gang together to help Dawson make his movie after he loses all his money. The independent film he made helped him to land the gig viewers find him in when the finale comes around.
In the finale, which takes place five years in the future, Dawson is the executive producer for a WB show entitled "The Creek" essentially mocking the show itself. Jen is a single mother in New York, while Jack is back in Capeside teaching and dating Pacey's brother Doug (guest star Dylan Neal), who Pacey always teased about being gay, though he never was revealed that way until the finale. Joey is an editor with a publishing company in New York, while Pacey owns and operates the Icehouse Restaurant in Capeside, the place that used to be owned by Joey's family.
The gang reunites in Capeside for Dawson's mom's (guest star and former series regular Mary-Margaret Humes) wedding, where the group learns some startling news about Jen, Dawson gets to rewrite history through his television show and Joey finally chooses Pacey and they settle into their lives together, watching The Creek each Wednesday at 8 p.m.
It was obvious from the writing of the finale that creator Kevin Williamson returned to the show for that one episode. The finale was well done and well thought out and Williamson and producer Paul Stupin give a good commentary for the two-hour episode. The finale wrapped things up in a solid way, with everyone's loose ends seeming to be tied up, with Dawson getting his meeting with Spielberg and Joey and Pacey winding up together. The issue of whether Joey would choose Dawson or Pacey was one that divided fans of the show for six years, but I believe the choice was the correct one, though Williamson admits that he went back and forth when writing the finale.
Throughout the season, former series regulars Humes and Nina Repeta (who played Joey's sister Bessie), make appearances, as well as guest stars Mika Boorem, Taylor Handley (Oliver on The O.C.), Lukas Behnken (Topher on Everwood), Mimi Rogers and Jamie Bergman.
In addition to the finale commentary, the extras include a great booklet highlighting moments from the show and the characters that the actors created. This was a great addition to the set and I was happy to see it included.
Also, it was nice to hear the original theme song again, though just for one episode. Up until the finale, all the episodes featured the Jann Arden tune "Run Like Mad" over the credits, while the finale featured Paula Cole's "I Don't Wanna Wait." I imagine this was possible because the finale had been previously released on DVD and I am sure the company had already paid for its use on this episode. Either way, it was nice to hear it again.
This season set was a solid way to end the Dawson's Creek DVD series and the show itself provided good closure on a six-year run.