Back in the day, watching a season finale of a show was a high anxiety activity since there would be a summer-long break until the next season would start up again. These days, since we all binge-watch, we can literally finish season one of a series and start the next batch of episodes right away.
When Dawson's Creek was on the air (from 1998 until 2003), fans would tune into the season finales in late Spring (they would usually air in May) and have to bite their nails, waiting with anticipation for the following September.
Which season finales were amazing... and which ones didn't pan out that well? Here is every season finale of Dawson's Creek, ranked.
6 Season 2
The second season finale of Dawson's Creek isn't the most memorable, which is why it's ranked the lowest on this list. While fans of the show remember other finales (the one when Joey and Pacey go off on a boat was definitely awesome), season two just doesn't cut it.
The gist is that Dawson has learned that Joey's father, who has been in jail since forever and is now out, has been getting involved with selling drugs. Joey is so pissed off at Dawson, which is frustrating to watch since, of course, it's not his fault.
This episode is a classic tale of "don't shoot the messenger" and since that is exactly what Joey is doing, it's the worst Dawson's Creek season finale. Anyone who watches this teen drama wants to see Joey and Dawson as the best of friends, or they want to see them date. Since it seems like their friendship is in trouble after this episode, it's tough to watch.
5 Season 5
The fifth season finale of Dawson's Creek should be super exciting. After all, the group has been out of high school and away from Capeside for a year now. What are they going to do this summer?!
Unfortunately, the episode is literally about what they are going to do this summer... as in there is a lot of talk about this and not much else happening. This makes it the second worst season finale of Dawson's Creek.
The most frustrating part? At the very end, Joey acts like she's going to travel to Paris, making it a truly epic summer. But once the show returns for the sixth and final season, she says that Paris didn't happen. Talk about a massive letdown. It's a shame because character growth is such a big part of any TV show, and it feels like since Joey simply had yet another Capeside summer, she's not really moving on with her life.
4 Season 4
In the season four finale, everyone has graduated from high school. If any season finale of Dawson's Creek should be good, it should definitely be this one.
The question in this episode is, how will Joey and Dawson possibly survive without one another? He's about to go to USC and this will change their lives (and their friendship dynamic) forever. Yes, this is as melodramatic as it sounds (and so is the show in general). This isn't the worst finale, or the best, so it's right in the middle.
It's interesting to watch Joey and Dawson deal with this point in their lives. And since they end up kissing, no true fan can argue with that (well, unless they ship Joey and Pacey, but that's another story).
3 Season 1
The season one finale is ranked number three on this list and it really sets up the main drama of the show. Dawson's Creek is one of the teen shows that features a love triangle and it could be argued that the season one finale is the moment when everything starts moving in that direction.
When Joey and Dawson kiss, it's a really special moment, and it sets up the second season as the two soulmates will start dating one another. It's true that all of season one is about Joey having a big crush on Dawson and Dawson not really seeming to notice it... mostly because he's so into Jen. It's great that the season finale delivers on the Joey/Dawson romantic tension. If it hadn't, it would have been incredibly disappointing.
2 Series Finale
It's fair to say that everything is riding on a series finale. It was great news for Dawson's Creek fans when the very last episode turned out to be so amazing. The series finale is the second best season finale on the show, just missing the top spot.
It's true that if some fans wished that Joey and Dawson would be more than just friends, then it wasn't the finale that they wanted. But the writers and producers felt that it made sense for Joey and Pacey to have a happily ever after, and it's easy to see why. Joey and Dawson did grow up together and they have been in each other's lives for a reason. That doesn't mean that they are meant to be romantically involved.
The series finale features everyone traveling back to Capeside for Dawson's mom's wedding. Best of all, it's a two-parter, which means even more Dawson's Creek, and series creator Kevin Williamson came back to co-write the ending.
1 Season 3
The season three finale of Dawson's Creek is definitely the best one. There's one main reason why: this is the episode when Joey and Pacey sail on a boat for the summer season.
This isn't anything that fans would expect Joey to do since she's the good girl of the show and for so long, it seemed like she would only be with Dawson. While many teenage characters on TV dramas make these types of impulsive decisions, it's just not Joey. Somehow, though, it works here. It's an exciting episode and it also creates a lot of future conflicts. After all, it's strange for Dawson to come to terms with his soulmate being in love with someone else.
The third season finale has everything that is so great about Dawson's Creek: drama, best friends, and romance.