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It made me feel alive.
—Joey[src]

Pacey & Joey is a relationship on Dawson's Creek, portrayed by Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes.

Overview

Joey and Pacey have known each other as kids and at 15 have a bantering love/hate relationship. They pick at each other and don't really know one another intimately, but still support each other in times of crisis. Paired on a science project, they spend a few days together and Pacey finds himself attracted to Joey, who rejects him kindly as she's in love with Dawson. Following both their break-ups with Andie and Dawson, respectively, they start spending time together and are surprised to find they're falling in love. In spite of the damage to both their relationships with Dawson, they start a romantic relationship and are together for most of their senior year.

After some months apart following their break-up at prom, they meet again in Boston. Although they were deeply in love, they show little evidence of this as they stay in the same friend group in Boston, both dating other people, with Pacey even dating Joey's roommate. Their second year in Boston, they find their way back to each other, but break up when Joey goes back to her ex. In 2008, they reunite at Gale's wedding in Capeside and old feelings are stirred. Joey and Pacey move in together at Joey's apartment in New York, marry and have children.

Story

bickering friendship: pre-pilot + season 1-2

Joey and Pacey meet as kids and, it seems, from the beginning have an antagonistic relationship, in the kid sense of the word with teasing and such[1]. This continues into their teen years, with the two bickering[2] and trading insults[3][4][5] at every turn[6]. At first, it seems that their sudo-friendship revolves solely around the fact that they are mutually friends with Dawson. But as the first season progresses, we see that the two do genuinely care about one another, no matter how they may try to mask it. One of the more substantial moments of their “frenemy” relationship, is in Boyfriend, when Pacey encourages Joey to go after her long time crush and mutual best friend, Dawson. He brings Joey to a house party where Dawson will also be. When Joey drinks too much, Pacey watches over her, even going as far as knocking out an older guy attempting to assault her. After being forced to spend a day together for a biology grade in Double Date, Pacey begins to feels attracted to Joey. The two have an intimate conversation about their fears of being stuck in Capeside forever. The next night, Pacey kisses Joey. However, she rejects his advances as she has feelings for Dawson[4], but this experience changes their dynamic from begrudging frenemies to something of a bantering friendship[7]. In Decisions, Pacey tells Joey a story he’s never told before about his father disapproving of him and wishing he was more like his brother. With this striking a nerve in Joey, she asks Pacey if he can give her a ride to visit her father in prison. Pacey says he could “borrow” his fathers car and they proceed to drive four hours to the prison. At the arrival, it’s past visiting hours and the guard refuses to let Joey in. Pacey bribes the guard and Joey gleefully thanks him.

Dawson and Pacey's friendship suffers slightly when Dawson and Joey start dating, although Pacey doesn't really blame Joey in any way[8]. When Jack is harassed by the community and his family over whether or not he's gay while he's dating Joey, Pacey asks Joey how she's doing[9]. The two also plan Dawson's 16th surprise birthday party together[10]. Pacey literally saves Joey's life when The Icehouse suffers an arson attack due to Mike Potter's drug dealings[11].

friendship: early season 3

Pacey and Joey's early season three friendship begins somewhat reluctantly/hesitantly, but they begin to view each other with much more sense of respect, and their arguing turns more into friendly banter.

Following Dawson's summer in Philadelphia and subsequent encounter where he rejects Joey, Dawson asks Pacey to look out for Joey, as Dawson wishes to put some distance between himself and her. Pacey, hesitant, ultimately agrees and comforts a heartbroken Joey at the end of her dock.[12]

Pacey and Joey take a road trip to pick up Andie from the recovery facility, and after the front desk person refuses to let them in, Joey schemes a way for Pacey to sneak in. When Pacey heartbreakingly discovers that Andie has cheated on him, Joey tries to give Pacey advice.[13]

Joey also supports Pacey when Dawson's PSAT test craze drives him and Pacey to fisticuffs.[14]

In the aftermath of both Joey and Pacey’s rejections, they begin to spend most of their down time together, with Joey helping Pacey fix up his new boat “True Love” after skipping school with him (Home Movies), and Pacey inspiring Joey to start a B&B with her sister while offering free labor in Secrets and Lies.

romance: season 3

Throughout the rest of the season, Pacey develops feelings for Joey that she is completely oblivious to for the majority, but even though his feelings seem unrequited at first, Pacey still continues to support Joey in any way he can. Ultimately, Joey recognizes her feelings for him as well, as he becomes the person who best understands her and they end up together in the season finale.

Pacey asks Joey to help tutor him, and in turn, Joey asks Pacey to take dance lessons at the Starlight with her (Four to Tango). The two sneak around, too embarrassed and unwilling to let anyone find out about these activities. However, this causes Dawson to become suspicious of them since he had found a condom and a conspicuous Pacey in his room, days earlier. Not knowing the condom was from an almost hookup between Pacey and Jen, he believes Joey is the person Pacey is having an affair with. Ultimately, this results in Pacey confronting Dawson about his possessiveness over Joey, as well as Joey lashing out at both Pacey and Jen, when she (and Dawson) catch them kissing. When Joey and Dawson leave, Jen suggests that the reason why both Joey and Pacey reacted so intensely in both instances is because they’re interested in one another. Pacey denies this, but he and Jen agree to just be friends. Subsequently, Joey returns to the dance studio and sees Pacey sulking at a table. She approaches and suggests she overreacted, and Pacey agrees. The two make up and leave together.[15]

In A Weekend In The Country, after hearing Joey muse about their lack of customers, Pacey arrives at the B&B with a plan to help business by contacting one Fredrick Fricke, a hotel reviewer to come and stay, and asking their friends to all pose as guests. Joey isn’t pleased, citing that the B&B isn’t near finished and that this is her last chance to keep a roof over her head, since Bessie is thinking of putting up the house as collateral. Pacey apologizes, but is unable to cancel before Fricke arrives, so he does everything to make Fricke’s visit as positive as possible. Outside, Mitch approaches him saying that the Potters should be proud to have a friend like Pacey but Pacey disagrees. Mitch continues, citing everything Pacey has done for Joey, and asks Pacey why he cares so much, to which Pacey has no response. Inside, the whole group sits around the fireplace and Grams recalls how her husband would read to her every night and nod off by the fire. She states that you know "you love someone when you can spend all night sitting by the fire, watching them sleep". At the end of the episode, Pacey comes inside to tell Joey something and finds her asleep on the couch. He puts a blanket over her and watches her sleep by the fire, revealing Pacey has feelings for Joey.[16]

Pacey is jealous of Joey and and her new boyfriend AJ, and also offended that Joey misses the opening night of his play to attend a party with AJ (Northern Lights). After an uncomfortable kiss with AJ, Joey does show up to the after party, where she confides in Pacey about her fears with concerning her relationship with AJ. Pacey reassures Joey that she shouldn’t worry about love, because you can find it in the most unexpected of places, and he would know.[17]

In the following episode, Dawson attempts to teach Joey how to drive, but fails, leaving both of them frustrated. Pacey invites Joey and Dawson to a house party to which Joey doesn’t approve, but she agrees to go. Throughout the night, Joey and Pacey argue over what their friend Dawson needs, Joey feeling that Pacey is a bad influence on Dawson, yet oblivious to Pacey's feelings of jealousy over her concern for Dawson. After the group is arrested, Pacey comments on his tiredness with incessantly hearing about Joey and Dawson's relationship, leaving Joey upset. Alone, Pacey confides in his brother, Doug, about an unnamed girl and tells him that she’s "the kind of pretty that gives you butterflies". Doug responds that Pacey needs to tell this girl how he feels. The next morning Pacey shows up to Joey’s to apologize, and she admits that she was worried about Pacey too, not just Dawson. Pacey attempts to tell Joey how he feels, but loses his nerve last minute and ends up teaching her how to drive instead.[18]

At school, Pacey comes to look at the mural the school commissioned Joey to do. Later, Joey gives a speech to the school and unveils the mural to her classmates, only to reveal that it had been vandalized. Pacey spends the following school day trying to find the culprit, ultimately finding out it was Matt Caufield that vandalized the mural. Pacey warns Matt that he has the rest of the day to apologize, and turn himself in. The end of the day comes, and Pacey finds Matt by his car. Matt admits to ruining the painting and they brawl, both getting sent to the principals office. Pacey faces expulsion, and later, Joey angrily tells Pacey that if he’s going to ruin his life, to do it on his own accord. Pacey, hurt, reveals his agreement with Dawson to look over Joey at the beginning of the year, claiming their whole friendship was simply a favor to their friend. Upset, Joey leaves and reveals to Dawson that she knows about the deal him and Pacey made. Dawson asks Joey if she can truly doubt that Pacey cares for her given that he’s facing expulsion for her. Joey finds Pacey painting over the ruined art with white paint. She joins him and the two make up.[19]

After what happened. Pacey continuously supports Joey as she rallies the students to support Principal Green who’s facing a racially motivated attack on his job after having expelled Matt Caufield. However, AJ comes to help as well, and Joey focuses more of her appreciation on him than Pacey, despite all his work. Pacey sees Joey kiss AJ and is visibly upset, which Jen notices. She follows Pacey out as he goes to hang flyers on the docks, and Pacey tells Jen that he has fallen for "the worst possible person he could ever fall for". Jen tells Pacey that he’s a good friend and that he should hold out hope for him and Joey. Later, Pacey leads Joey by the hand to a blank brick wall. He reveals that since her original mural was ruined, he rented the wall for her and bought her a can of paint. He believes that her next endeavor should be bigger and better than the last. Joey exclaims that Pacey inspires her in ways no one else would even think of and that she’s thankful for him.[20]

In Cinderella Story, Joey plans to visit AJ at his college, and spend the weekend with him to attend an awards dinner. When Joey calls AJ her friend, Pacey remarks that he is a friend that she kisses. Joey agrees, but states regular labels don’t work for long distance relationships. Pacey mocks her relationship, saying it is perfect for her, because it's not real. However, when Joey leaves, Pacey seems to regret what he said. Later, Pacey meets a child that he’s been arranged to mentor, and Buzz asks who he named the boat after. Pacey tells him that "true love" isn’t a person, it’s an unattainable idea. When Buzz asks who the unattainable girl is, and Pacey shrugs the question off. Later that night, Pacey opens up to Buzz telling him the girl's name is Joey. After some pressing, Pacey says that she’s so beautiful that she makes him believe there’s meaning to the universe. Back at the college, Joey finds out AJ is in love with another girl so she breaks up with AJ and calls Pacey to come pick her up so she doesn't have to spend the night at the train station. On the way home, an upset Joey confides in Pacey, telling him she believes that she is not meant to ever have a real relationship because there have only been two people in the world who have truly known her. Besides Dawson, Pacey assumes she is talking about AJ, but she confesses that she meant him. Pacey pulls over the car, visibly shocked. They both get out of the car, where Pacey demands to know what she means by that, and presses her to know if she really does return his feelings. Joey is still confused and oblivious, first apologizing for calling him, and then saying that he was the first person she thought of because he is somebody she can talk to, and is always there for her. However, she still doesn’t understand what he is trying to say, so Pacey kisses her mid sentence.[21]

The following episode opens with Joey clearly kissing Pacey back, however they quickly dissolve into argument when they break away. Joey angrily claims that he misconstrued what she meant to be a declaration of their friendship and denies that kissing him back at all. Frustrated, Pacey lies to her, saying the kiss was meaningless and just a spur of the moment impulse, and they silently drive back home. Pacey resolves to finally tell Dawson about his feelings for Joey, and get his blessing before pursuing anything. Unfortunately, when Dawson expresses to Pacey his appreciation for his loyalty to him, Pacey chickens out and is unable to tell him. Meanwhile, Joey eventually confesses to Jen that Pacey kissed her. When Joey says that it was out of the blue, Jen divulges that she is not surprised that Pacey kissed her, leaving Joey even more confused. Later, Pacey and Joey accidentally bump into each other and Joey apologizes for her anger, telling him it was not a big enough deal to get so upset over. Pacey is obviously hurt by how unphased she seems, but reluctantly agrees that it was meaningless and clearly a mistake, so they agree to be friends. However, Joey looks longingly at him as he leaves, further confirming that she may have feelings for him too, even if she continues to deny it.

Pacey's old friend, Will Krudski, joins Pacey, Joey, Dawson, and Andie on a trip to Dawson's aunt's house (Stolen Kisses). Even though they agreed to be friends, since the kiss, Pacey and Joey's relationship has been awkward and tense. After probing from Aunt Gwen Dawson expresses his desire to Joey for them to get back together. However, Dawson is still oblivious to the fact that Joey is hung up on Pacey, for example, she brings him up unprompted in conversation. Subsequently, Joey and Pacey are forced to share a bed when all other sleeping bags are taken, and they both (especially Joey), make a show out of not wanting to be in such close proximity to each other. In a conversation between Joey and Gwen the next day, Aunt Gwen tells Joey about two of her previous relationships. She describes one relationship in which everything was fine, but she just felt safe, and she left that relationship for a man who instead "made her feel alive" (directly paralleling Dawson and Joey vs. Pacey and Joey). That night, Dawson and Joey do a karaoke routine to "Daydream Believer", a song they also used to sing when they were young, leading Pacey to walk out out of jealousy. Joey immediately notices and follows him out, so Pacey expresses his upsetness that Dawson and Joey have so much history and rituals behind them, and even tells her that the reason he came on the trip was just to be with her. He takes her shock to be a confirmation that she does not feel the same way as he does, but before he can leave, Joey confesses that she felt Pacey's arm brush against her's in bed that morning, and it made her feel alive. Pacey gives Joey the opportunity of ten seconds to walk away if she doesn't want him to kiss her, and they kiss. However, they are quickly interrupted when Gwen catches them outside. A little later, Joey finds Pacey outside again, and they both express how it is hurting them to be lying to Dawson. Pacey tells Joey that he cannot always be the one taking initiative, like he has the two previous times when he has kissed her. As he is leaving, Joey stops him and decides to kiss him this time, while "Daydream Believer" plays in the background.

In The Longest Day, "True Love" is christened and is finally sea-worthy. It is revealed that for the past week since Stolen Kisses, Pacey and Joey have been sneaking around and making out, without any of their friends knowledge (with the exception of Jen). The two are happy together, however the burden of having to tell Dawson about their relationship is still weighing heavy on them, and Pacey promises to Joey that he will tell Dawson before the end of the day. The same morning, Jen accidentally spills the news to Dawson when she tries to console him, assuming that Pacey had already told him. Dawson eventually confronts the two extremely angrily, and forces Joey to choose between their friendship and what she could possibly have with Pacey in the future. This results in Pacey and Joey's first breakup.

Two weeks later, Pacey and Joey are not speaking to one another, and both have been virtually outcasted from the group (Show Me Love). Dawson still refuses to make up with Pacey, but on multiple incidents tries to entice Joey into giving their relationship another try, however Joey insists on wanting to stay out of their feud, and not be treated like an object to be won over. Pacey attempts to make things right with Dawson at Joey's request, but Dawson refuses, even believing that Pacey is just using Joey for sex. Joey's wall is still unpainted, but Pacey offers to renew the lease for her. In The Anti-Prom Joey is eventually coerced into maintaining a friendship with Dawson, though she clearly does not want to pursue anything further again. Pacey and Andie as well as Dawson and Joey attend a makeshift Junior Prom, in their respective pairs. However, both Pacey and Joey are both clearly unhappy without one another, eventually culminating in Joey asking Pacey to dance. Pacey comments that a pair of diamond earrings Dawson gave her do not suit her, and that a bracelet she is wearing is much more her. When Joey responds that it is her mother's bracelet, Pacey replies that he knows, because he remembers a moment six months ago, when she told him, even down to what she was wearing that day. Joey is amazed that he remembered such small details, and Pacey tells her that he remembers everything.

In the season finale, Pacey decides he is going to leave Capeside for the summer, and sail on "True Love". When Doug tells Joey about his plans, she confronts him, accusing him of running away from his problems, and without even saying goodbye. Later, Joey sees the words "ASK ME TO STAY" painted on the wall, and Pacey tells her that the ball is now in her court, and it is up to her whether or not she wants to fight for them. The day of Pacey's departure, Joey attends Mitch and Gale's wedding with Dawson, however she becomes more and more visibly upset, to which Dawson tells her to leave, because he knows the person she wants is Pacey. As Pacey is almost ready to set sail, Joey runs to the dock and tells him that she loves him. She decides to come with him for the summer, and the two set sail together.

romance: season 4

Throughout season four, Pacey and Joey experience many ups and downs in their relationship. While they are very much in love for a large part of the season, miscommunication, fear of their futures, and personal insecurities unfortunately lead to their breakup near the end. For example, issues revolving around Joey's bright college plans (and Pacey's lack thereof) as well as their relationships with Dawson end up being detrimental to the couple. However, despite their not-so-amicable breakup, they are able to end the season being on somewhat good and somewhat open-ended terms.

friendship: season 5

In their first year of college in Boston, Joey, along with Jen and Jack, play a game of speculating where Pacey could be at that moment (The Bostonians). Joey admits that wherever Pacey is, she just hopes he's happy. Later, it is revealed that Pacey is in fact in Boston as well, where he meets Jen and they catch up. When he asks about Joey, Jen states that Joey hopes he's happy, to which Pacey replies that he is. While eating at Civilization with Jen and Audrey, Joey gets up to use the bathroom and freezes when she sees Pacey through the window of the door to the restaurant kitchen (Capeside Revisited). He doesn't notice her, but Jen admits to her that he has been in Boston for two weeks already. The next day, Joey is upset that he never thought to talk to or contact her in the time he has been there, and worries that Pacey does not want to see her at all, but Audrey reassures her that she is not the type of girl guys get over. Later that night, she finds Pacey at his boat by the docks, and he looks amazed to see her before they quip about how they can't see the stars anymore in the city (like they used to on "True Love"). They seem to fall into their conversation and dynamic easily, and agree to put any hard feelings or the past behind them.

They continue to have a close friendship, even sharing inside jokes and with never-ending support for one another. When Joey is upset about Dawson and Jen dating, and even worried for her own future, Pacey continues to encourage and remind her of all her dreams she has already achieved thus far, and everything she should be proud of (Appetite for Destruction). In Something Wild, they are both extremely proud of each other's accomplishments, including Joey's grades and Pacey's promotion at the restaurant. At the bar, Pacey mentions the "other Joey", or the other side of Joey that very few people know, perhaps even only him. He describes "other Joey" as "the carefree girl who knows how to drink, and play strip poker, and go away on a sailboat for a summer", and in other words, not so brought down by constant worries.

In Guerilla Filmmaking, Pacey and Audrey recognize their feelings for one another. Both of them deny it at first because of their friendships with Joey, but she tells them that she loves them both, and she is happy for them if they decide to be together. When he, Joey, and Audrey go on a road trip with Charlie, in Highway to Hell, Pacey is protective over Joey against Charlie, and even threatens him if he hurts Joey. (Charlie also comments to Joey how strange it is for her ex-boyfriend to be dating her roommate, but Joey brushes it off.) However, Pacey is supportive of Charlie and Joey when she shows interest in him (100 Light Years from Home).

Pacey and Joey plan to both work in Capeside over the summer, and they have a meaningful conversation where Joey tells Pacey how much she admires him, and that he should believe in himself more (Swan Song). However, the same night, they both decide to go to the airport together to catch Audrey and Dawson before they leave, and Pacey ends up getting back together with Audrey, and going to L.A. with her.

friendship: early season 6

romance: season 6

Quotes

I think I'm in love with you. I know. I've known it since the moment we kissed, and maybe even before that. And as scary as it is, I don't want to deny it anymore. I don't want to run from it and I don't want to let it run from me.
—Joey to Pacey[src]
Listen, Pacey. If I'm thanking you for anything... it's for being yourself. It's for not caring what anybody else thinks. It's for knowing in your own heart what's wrong and what's right. And for being there this year... when I needed you the most.
—Joey[src]
You're off the hook. I never really put much faith in all that "if you love someone set them free" crap, as evidenced by everything I've done in my life up to this very moment... but I am determined to be happy, Joey. Happy in this life... And I love you, I mean, I always- I have always, always loved you. But our timing has just never been right. And the way I figure it, time is no man's friend. So I have to get right with that, and be happy, now. Because this is it, I mean, this is all that we get. If there is one thing I've learned from losing Jen, that's what I've learned. Actually, um, hold on. I'm not done yet. Because I also want for you to be happy. It's really important for me that you be happy. So I want you to be with someone, whether it be Dawson or New York guy or some man that you haven't even met yet. But I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel like I feel when I'm with you. So, I guess the point to this long run-on sentence that's been the last 10 years of our lives... is just that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. So you're off the hook.
—Pacey[src]
She’s so beautiful that every time you look at her, your knees tremble, your heart just melts, and you know right then and there, without any reservation, that there’s order and meaning to the universe.
—Pacey, to Buzz[src]
I mean, I know who I’m supposed to be with. I’ve always known...but then the fear kicks in. The free floating, anxiety ridden fear in the pit of my stomach that makes me run. Jen, I am completely comfortable with running. I really don’t know any other way.
—Joey, to Jen[src]

Trivia

  • Williamson's thoughts on the couple post series finale:

"I think Pacey and Joey are very much still together and have kids. I think they have had some ups and downs that have only enriched their relationship and made them stronger"[22]

  • When Gretchen returns to Capeside, she remarks to Pacey how she's not surprised that he and Joey ended up together[23].
  • As Joey and Dawson were construed as the 'endgame' couple for the series, some find it an impressive (and more successful) risk to take, that the writers ultimately changed these plans to pair up Joey and Pacey[24][25].
  • In 2022, Pacey and Joey placed 20th on Entertainment Weekly's 'The 100 best TV romances of all time'[26]
  • In a 2022 interview, Joshua Jackson reveals he advocated for Joey to end up with Pacey in the finale. He pleaded with Kevin Williamson and was very insistent on them being endgame.[27]

"I am the advocate! I was like 'Hell no! No. No. No. That's not gonna work for me. I had a whole conversation with Kevin about this. Like 'Look, I get it. This is the idea that you had in your head, but I'm just gonna ask you to watch the tale of the tape and this is the more interesting end for these characters."

Music

seasons of us | MARY BETH MAZIARZ
pacey watches joey sleep
daydream believer (cover) | MARY BETH MAZIARZ
joey kisses pacey
my invitation | SARAH SLEAN
i remember everything
promise me this | PANCHO'S LAMENT
ask me to stay
this year's love | DAVID GRAY
on the boat
say hello, wave goodbye | DAVID GRAY
meeting in boston
beacon street | RED CHORD
joey jokes that pacey isn’t over her
my friend | ANNIE PALMER
pacey tells joey he’s not over her
juliette | VANESSA DAOU
joey shaves pacey's beard and he kisses her
fate | ALISON LORRAINE
joey shaves pacey's beard and he kisses her
have a little faith in me | JOHN HIATT
pacey kisses joey at gale’s wedding

photos

Pacey and Joey/Gallery

Media

How Female Writers Influenced Dawson's Creek's Most Irresistible Couple (MARIE CLAIRE • MAY 2020)
20 years ago, Dawson’s Creek introduced a love triangle that changed teen soaps forever (VOX • MARCH 2018)

Videos

Notes and References

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