pjo/djo analysis by episode: 4.10, “self-reliance”So, this is kind of a good introductory post to talk about the PJo and DJo relationships (more so, why one works and one does not).
Joey says it herself here: when she thinks about the future, she sees Pacey - she grew up with Pacey…literally and figuratively - sure she “grew up” with Dawson, too but this is different. Pacey has always been this person for her, the one that forces her to see the future and actually lets her know that that is what she’s headed towards, and that scares the shit out of her. She doesn’t want to grow up as much as she wants to branch out - she wants to stay right here at this time and have nothing change because it’s the first time in her life when things are mostly good - she’s in love and she’s got things to look forward to even if they’re kind of scary. She’s got prospects, and friends, and a relationship, and her family isn’t struggling as much anymore, and things are finally good. It’s kind of that universal thing that everyone feels at some point or another, whether you liked high school or not - you want time to stop. Joey knows with Pacey that time will not stop, and it literally scares the living shit out of her (even though she has no reason to be scared with him because he loves her and he always will). Pacey will force her to grow up and right now? Joey thinks that’s a bad, bad thing.
Her relationship with Dawson is the exact opposite - she says it in this scene. When she’s with Dawson she is perpetually fifteen years old - full of love for the person who she calls her best friend. She can stay the same: things might change around her but she doesn’t have to - she can always stay the same with him. She can keep herself steady, and ignore the fact that her life is different and will continue to change forever and ever. Dawson is her security blanket and always has been - he is her safety net, he is there for her when she falls and dusts her off, and then holds her up to his impossibly high Dawson-like standards and eventually tears her down. So, yes in this scene she makes it seem like she’s ready to grow up and she’s ready for a future and she’s ready for Pacey, but she’s not. She’s not ready to grow and she’s not ready to change - she needs to realize that sitting in Dawson’s room with E.T. playing in the background and having the same argument over and over is no life. She needs to realize that the words “change” and “bad” are not even on the same playing field most of the time, and most of all? She needs to realize that while she loves Dawson - she’s not in love with Dawson, and she never has been.
The person that she’s with shouldn’t be one that changes her to fit his mold, the person with should be someone who lets her grow, who lets her become the woman she always knew she could become. The person she should be with (and is, eventually) is the right one because he is still there waiting for her at the end of everything - because he loves her no matter what she is doing in her life and what changing has happened over these months and years. He loves her for exactly who she is, and who she has always been despite the changes that have occurred…because even with all these things happening in her life and all this big change I keep mentioning, at the heart of it all? She’s still Joey, and he’s still Pacey, and that bond and the way they are together, the comfort of that relationship, and the scariness, and the level of desperate want and need that they have with each other? That never wavers - that remains the same through this giant sea of change, and that’s why at the end of everything, they’re the ones who have always belonged together, and the ones that always will.
What this scene really brings up? Dawson held Joey back - that is a fact - and Pacey let her go and knew somehow that she’d always come back to him, because people who are meant to be together always find their way in the end.
JOEY: Pacey, I do think about the future. I do.
PACEY: So what do you see when you see the future?
JOEY: Us. Me and you, Pace. We grew up together. You see, Dawson and I, we didn’t grow up. We are in that house, in Dawson’s bedroom, eternally having the same argument over and over again, in this endless cycle that goes on and on. And I can’t stop it. Because whenever I’m around him, I become 15 again.
PACEY: Well, if that’s the problem, and believe me, this isn’t easy for me to say, but.. you have to talk to Dawson. And then would you please call me?
Dawson’s Creek 4.10 - Self Reliance