When it originally aired, Dawson’s Creek received quite a bit of flak from critics because its teenagers didn’t always talk like teenagers. Dialogue was a huge part of the series because so many of the characters were prone to monologuing their feelings about situations. Whether they used six-syllable words or not though, the show always pushed its characters to develop in interesting ways.
That’s why it’s so interesting to compare the first and last moments for the main characters. Despite all of that development, so many of them are right back where they started with their final lines in the series.
– Hey, there. – I want her to belong. I feel like I never really did.
Jen’s first line in the series is a simple one; it’s the accompanying visuals that make it stand out. She enters Capeside in a yellow cab and walks in slow motion across the yard to talk to Dawson Leery, making a big impression on him which leads to his infatuation. It also leads to the slow reveal of all of Jen’s secrets to this new group of friends.
When Jen enters Capeside, she’s very much an outsider continually trying to find a place to belong. That’s why her last words to Jack are so powerful. She doesn’t want her daughter to spend her formative years feeling out of place, and she entrusts that job to Jack since she won’t get to see her grow up. It’s such a sad moment for Jen, despite her having found a place with the first people who greeted her in Capeside.
– Hi… I’m Jack. – That’s the Dudleys, right there.
Jack spends so much time on the show trying not to stand out and be who people need him to be; even from his first moment introducing himself to Joey. Jack’s quiet and unassuming while she and Dawson argue. Jack just wants to get to his job interview, but he also doesn’t want to make waves.
That eventually changes as he becomes more comfortable with himself and his sexuality, but he’s aware everyone’s experience is different. Jack’s last line in the show is to remind Doug that there are other people on the beach after Doug kisses him; Pacey’s older brother isn’t out to the rest Capeside. Despite Doug having just professed that he wants to help Jack raise Jen’s daughter, Jack still tries to give Doug space to hide.
– Oh, my God. – As long as I need to.
For most of her time on the show, Andie’s character is used to develop Pacey, which is unfortunate, because she’s an incredibly compelling young woman. Both her first and last moments in the show revolve around Pacey.
In her first, she hits his father’s police cruiser, mistaking Pacey for an officer, and it doesn’t lead to the best first interactions between them. In her last, which actually occurs in a DVD-only scene in the series finale, she and Pacey discuss Jen’s declining health. She maintains that she’ll stay in Capeside as long as necessary, but it’s her only scene that makes it into the DVD, making it seem like she was never there at all.
– Joey, can I ask my favorite roommate in the whole world for the hugest of all possible favors? – Absolutely.
– What are you doing? – I’ll see you soon, child. Soon.
– At five o’clock this morning, all of the airline’s scheduled flights were canceled. – I love you both.
– Oh, hi, son, your mother and I were just discussing… – Need some help?
– What was that all about? – Look at you, you big Hollywood player.
– I’ll be right here… – What are you going to say; what are you going to wear?
– Ghandi. Spielberg was robbed. – I have no idea.