**½/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras A-
starring James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, Joshua Jackson
screenplay by Kevin Williamson & Maggie Friedman
directed by James Whitmore, Jr. ("All Good Things...") and Greg Prange ("...Must Come to an End")
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. When it first aired, I was fuming. But I've not only come to terms with the series finale of "Dawson's Creek", I've grown to appreciate it, too. What I realized on a second viewing (not as superfluous as you might think: the DVD that facilitated a reassessment restores 20 minutes of footage cut from the broadcast version) was that my own tenuous identification with the main character, a movie lover and amateur filmmaker prone to befriending unattainable hotties, was getting in the way of appreciating a perfectly laudable reversal of expectations. There's no sense beating around the bush: Joey (Katie Holmes) picked suave Pacey (Joshua Jackson). The first "Dawson's Creek" scripted by series creator Kevin Williamson since the second season's "...That Is the Question" (in tandem with which he announced he was stepping down as the show's Professor Marvel), the two-part capper--aired as a movie-of-the-week--leaves Dawson (James Van Der Beek) without a fallback girl, as Joey romantically rejects Dawson on the heels of the passing of her alternate: single-mother Jen (Michelle Williams), who dies from a rare heart condition.