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"Coming Home," "Failing Down," "Two Gentlemen of Capeside," "Future Tense," "A Family Way," "Great Xpectations," "You Had Me at Goodbye," "The Unusual Suspects," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "Self Reliance," "The Tao of Dawson," "The Te of Pacey," "Hopeless," "A Winter's Tale," "Four Stories," "Mind Games," "Admissions," "Eastern Standard Time," "Late," "Promicide," "Separation Anxiety," "The Graduate," "Coda"
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. "Dawson's Creek" recuperated from the departure of Kevin Williamson in time to mastermind the series' shrewdest tangent yet, that which brought Joey (Katie Holmes) and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) together as boyfriend/girlfriend. Stoking the fourth and smoothest season of the show, the growing pains of that initially illicit union are deftly drawn within the parameters of entertainment for--I shan't kid myself--the young and the docile. Indeed, year four of "Dawson's Creek" is arguably the first (and, unfortunately, indisputably the last) in which all of the protagonists are recognizably human at regular intervals--even the series floaters are not their customarily boorish selves, with the exception of a snobby yacht club proprietor (Carolyn Hennesy) whom the creators just as admirably demonstrate no urge to redeem. (Of course, they can't resist a few geek-revenge moments at her expense.) Most of the season's missteps are, tellingly, not only a by-product of striking out into fairly virgin territory (literally, in some cases), but also harbingers as ominous as black cats and broken mirrors of "Dawson's Creek"'s downward spiral once the action moved from fictional Capeside to refinished sets posing as Boston.