|“||Everything changes eventually. That's just the way life is and you have no control over it||”|
– Joey in Season 1
Joey has been best friends with Dawson Leery since they were very young. She lives with her older sister, Bessie , Bessie's son Alexander and (sometimes) boyfriend, Bodie. Her father, Mike, is in and out of prison for drug trafficking. Her mother, Lillian, died of breast cancer when Joey was thirteen. She was given the name Josephine in honor of Jo March, the heroine from her mother's favorite book, Little Women. Her middle name of Lynn can be seen on her passport shown in season 6. Joey is also the only character from the show to appear in every episode of the series.
Joey is smart, studious, and earns the prestigious honor of class salutatorian upon graduating high school. At the same time, she lacks world experience as a result of never really having set foot outside provincial Capeside. She begins the series as a tomboy, but becomes progressively more girly throughout the series while at the same time retaining her feistiness.
Season 1EditIn season one, Joey is the "girl next door". She is confused by her growth into a teenager and her developing feelings for her longtime best friend Dawson. She immediately becomes jealous when Jen Lindley arrives and steals Dawson away from her. She is intimidated by Jen, who grew up in New York, and doesn't know how to compete.She lives with her pregnant sister Bessie, and she works for her at The Ice House – the Potter family restaurant. She is frustrated with having to deal with work and taking care of her sister along with significant helpings of teenage angst. Nonetheless, Joey manages to be helpful with the birth of Bessie's son, Alexander, as does their critical neighbor, Evelyn Ryan. One day she is convinced to compete in the beauty pageant, which she does so that she can win the cash prize. But instead of winning the contest, she wins Dawson's heart, as he finally sees past his best friend image, and realizes that he has strong romantic feelings towards her. At the end of the season, she finds herself with the opportunity of going to Paris for the summer, but rejects it in favor of staying in Capeside with Dawson after she and Dawson kiss.
Season 2EditAt the start of the season, she and Dawson are a couple and things start out good, but Joey begins to think that she is losing her identity, as she can't see where Dawson ends and she begins. During a full moon, the new guy in town, Jack McPhee, kisses her. Dawson finds out during a school dance. After a huge argument, Joey decides to break up with him, even though for the first time they both say that they love each other. She says that she wants to "find herself", and so she breaks up with him.Joey and Jack begin dating afterward but the relationship ends just as quickly when Jack realizes that he's gay. Joey's father is released from prison and comes back into her life. At first this change is uneasy, but they heal the rift between them and she gets back together with Dawson. However, Dawson finds out that Joey's father is dealing cocaine. After a fire at the restaurant which was started by rivals of Joey's father, Dawson tells Joey. He convinces her to wear a wire, and get a confession from her father so that nothing like the fire will happen again. She gets the confession from her father and shows him the wire. Knowing that she had betrayed her father, she is understandably heartbroken and angry with Dawson for putting her in such a difficult position. She breaks up with him and tells him she doesn't even want to know him.
After Dawson returns from visiting his mom over the summer, Joey offers herself to him but Dawson rejects her. Joey flees and Dawson asks Pacey to look out for her. At first Joey is jealous of Dawson's relationship with Eve, but is soon distracted by the ratched behavior of her boss at The Marina, Andie's fling with him and her family's new business (inspired by Pacey) – the Potter B&B. As the season progresses, it becomes obvious that Pacey and Joey's friendship evolves into something deeper. Joey has a brief relationship with an Ivy League student A.J. Moller (Robin Dunne). This relationship makes Pacey jealous and forces him to confront his true feelings for Joey.
After months of build up, Pacey finally kisses Joey after she confides in him that he and Dawson are the only ones to "have ever known her in a way that no one else does." Joey initially is angry when Pacey kisses her; however, later she comes to realize that she may also have feelings for him, as well. During their spring break trip to the home of Dawson's Aunt Gwen (Gail's sister), Joey and Pacey confront their feelings for one another. Joey confesses that being around Pacey makes her feel more alive resulting in Pacey kissing her again. Pacey tells Joey she needs to figure out what she wants and leaves. Joey stops him and pulls Pacey into a kiss, having made her choice. After this realization, they begin a secret romantic relationship. When Dawson finds out about Joey and Pacey's relationship, he is furious, and the friendship between the three is never the same again.
Dawson gives Joey an ultimatum – him or Pacey. Joey pulls back from Pacey in an effort to mend his and her friendship with Dawson. Dawson, however, sees Pacey as his enemy and opponent in winning Joey's heart. He feels as though Pacey has shown no remorse for hurting him. Dawson tries his best to win Joey back, including throwing an alternative prom and taking her as his date. However, Dawson witnesses Joey and Pacey share a romantic dance before the night is over and is upset, feeling as though Joey led him into thinking that they had a future together by accepting his prom invitation.
In the season finale, Joey comes to realize that while she's just fearful of losing her oldest friend, Dawson, she has fallen in love with Pacey, and it's tearing her apart to deny her feelings for him. Dawson gets fed up of feeling like Joey is trapped with him when it's obvious she wants to be with Pacey, and he tells her to go be with him. However, he makes it clear that if she does, things will never be the same between the two of them again. Joey is in tears upon knowing that she has hurt her best friend, but she knows that being with Pacey is what she wants. She catches Pacey right before he is about to depart for his summer at sea and tells him she loves him. She joins Pacey on his boat and the two then sail off into the sunset.
Joey and Pacey return to Capeside from their summer at sea in the fourth season, and are quickly brought back to reality when they must confront the events of the past year and the subsequent fallout. Joey is eager to mend fences, though Dawson is still hurt by what happened. Pacey's relationship with Dawson never quite recovers, though the two are civil and acknowledge a shared history and group of friends. Joey and Pacey are chosen "Class Couple" and reaffirm their commitment to their relationship throughout the year, but insecurities threaten to overwhelm them as they begin to look to their futures beyond Capeside. Pacey has returned to academic probation while Joey dreams of admittance to the prestigious Worthington College in Boston. On a ski trip with the senior class, Pacey and Joey finally sleep together for the first time. However, when Dawson questions her, she lies about losing her virginity. Pacey finds out about the lie and is unsettled. He is further disturbed when Joey accepts money from Dawson to attend Worthington.
After Joey returns from New York with Jen, she discovers from Gretchen that Pacey was arrested for public drunkenness and that she also believes she may be pregnant. Bessie soon finds out that Joey believes she may be pregnant at Gail's baby shower, and Bessie argues with her about not being ready to have a baby, and having an immature boyfriend who would never cope with a child. Joey later defends herself by saying that whatever happens in her life will be different. Joey later takes a pregnancy test and finds out she is not pregnant, but the situation draws the sisters closer together. When Joey finally reaches Pacey on the phone, she lies about the pregnancy scare and is disappointed that Pacey didn't tell her about his arrest.
Pacey soon begins to feel insecure about Joey's success and their relationship despite her insistence that her future lies with him. He believes that he isn't good enough for her and that their futures are worlds apart. At their senior prom, Pacey breaks up with Joey, who is devastated. The season ends with Joey headed to Worthington and Pacey to another summer at sea. At the end of the season, as Dawson is preparing to leave Capeside for Los Angeles, in a scene reminiscent of Season One's ending, Dawson and Joey share a kiss.
In season five, Joey attends Worthington College in Boston, where she meets and befriends her roommate Audrey Liddell. Joey is studying English Literature, and for a time starts seeing her college professor, David Wilder. She sees Pacey upon his return to Boston and the two share a friendly reunion, but do not interact much for the majority of the season. Throwing everyone for a loop, Mitch is killed in a car accident leaving Gail, Dawson and baby Lily behind. Having been a witness to her mother's painful last days, Joey thinks that she can help Dawson through the process of grieving for his father. She attends Mitch's funeral, but is rejected when she tries to help Dawson deal with his whirl of emotions. Upon returning to her dorm room in Boston, a crying Joey is comforted by Audrey. While Jen convinces Dawson to go to counseling, Joey catches Jack in a 'bid' to get one of his frat brothers in bed with Audrey during the fraternity's Winter Formal.
Joey later joins the band, Aggressive Mediocrity, as lead singer with Jen's cheating ex, Charlie Todd (Chad Michael Murray). They embark on a whirlwind romance before she tells him to leave to pursue his dream of being a touring musician. She has an unforgettable run-in with a mugger, who luckily for her, gets hit by a car shortly after robbing her at gunpoint. However, when she is requested to be at his side in the hospital, Joey discovers that the mugger is also a drug addict, and has a young daughter, Sammie, with his wife, Grace. When the mugger dies with Joey at his side, she returns to the waiting room, and all of her belongings are returned, including the money. Thinking of Sammie, whose situation reminds her of the relationship she has with her own father, Joey leaves all the money hidden in Grace's backpack.
At the end of the season she returns to Capeside and Dawson confesses to her that he wants to be with her. She rejects him saying that all those feelings were in the past, but in the last episode she rushes to the airport, to declare her true feelings for Dawson. She catches him and they kiss. but Joey tells Dawson to go to Los Angeles as that is his destiny and that they'll meet up after the summer. As she goes to get a refund, she is offered the chance to go to Paris, and the audience is left hanging.
In the beginning of Season Six, it is revealed that Joey didn't end up going to Paris, but went home to Capeside. After not talking all summer, she and Dawson meet up and have a one night stand in her dorm room. The next day it is revealed that Dawson has a girlfriend in California. Joey breaks things off with him. She takes a job as a waitress at Hell's Kitchen, with the help of aspiring drummer, Emma Jones. Joey eventually falls for the bartender, Eddie Doling (Oliver Hudson). They both have a love for writing and literature, but it turns out that he is not officially a student at Worthington, as his family was too poor to afford the tuition. After Christmas, Eddie disappears without telling Joey, going back to Worcester to live with his parents. In trying to find him, Joey gets some help from Harley Hetson---the 15-year-old, alienated, headstrong daughter of her snobbish and somewhat misogynist English professor, Greg Hetson (Roger Howarth), whom Joey clashes with several times during the entire season. Harley lies, telling Eddie that Joey was pregnant with his child in order to lure him back to Boston.
Joey and Pacey begin to rekindle their romance after sharing a kiss at his apartment. After being locked overnight in a K-Mart together, they discuss their past and current relationship. Each admits that they miss the other. They briefly reunite, but when Eddie reappears in Joey's life, she breaks it off with Pacey (ironically Pacey and Joey break up at another prom). After Pacey and Dawson have another falling out after Pacey's stocks tank and Dawson loses his entire investment, Joey decides that it's time they worked things out for themselves without her in the middle because it "is not her fight" and that it never has been, and never will be.. After a heart to heart with Pacey on the dock, Joey brings everyone together to help Dawson make his movie. Joey finally goes to Paris and the final episode of the season ends with her standing before the famous Eiffel Tower.
The final two episodes are set in the future, approximately five years. Joey is revealed to be a junior editor living in New York with her writer boyfriend, Christopher (Jeremy Sisto). During this double episode, the five friends return to Capeside for Gale Leery's second wedding. Although she had originally planned to spend the weekend with Christopher, Joey runs scared after finding an engagement ring hidden in the couple's dresser while packing for the trip. The five friends reunite at Pacey's restaurant to reminisce about the past. Afterwards, Joey drops by Dawson's house and the two reestablish their friendship. During Gale's wedding reception, Joey and Pacey kiss (reigniting still lingering feelings between the two) but the moment is interrupted when Jen suddenly collapses. It is later discovered that Jen has a deadly heart condition.
At the same time, Joey ends her relationship with Christopher and finally chooses between Dawson and Pacey. Though she loves Dawson, she acknowledges that he is her soulmate who is tied to her childhood. A love that is pure and eternally innocent. She also can not deny she is still in love with Pacey. A love so real that has kept her running away from it and never completely ready for it. She has always known Pacey is the one she is meant to be with and after Jen's death, she finally decides to stop running and confront her feelings for Pacey. In the midst of their romantic entanglements, Joey, Dawson, Jack, and Pacey are all brought together at the Ice House, now owned by Pacey, to say goodbye to Jen, who dies from pulmonary congestion.
In the epilogue, Joey and Pacey watch Dawson's semi-autobiographical television series The Creek in their apartment, before calling up Dawson together where they discover he is going to meet his hero, Steven Spielberg, we also learn that they have renewed their romantic relationship and the series ends with them as a couple living together in New York.
Dawson Leery Edit
- "Detention" (1.07)
- Reason: They were dared to kiss each other despite him being with Jen.
- 1st relationship
- From Decisions (1.13) to The Dance (2.06)
- Reason – After Jack kisses her, she gets confused about who she really is and what she wants.
- 2nd relationship
- From A Perfect Wedding (2.18) to Parental Discretion Advised (2.22)
- Reason – Dawson convinced her to get her father to confess to burning down the ice house and his drug use while she wore a wire.
- 3rd relationship (almost)
- From Coda (4.23) to High Anxiety (5.06)
- Reason – Dawson shuts Joey out when his dad dies. Also a drunk Dawson tells Joey that his father's death was her fault because she convinced him to stay, making Mitch (Dawson's dad) go out to clear his head, subsequently dying in a car accident.
- 4th relationship
- From The Kids Are Alright (6.01) to The Song Remains The Same (6.02)
- Reason – After they sleep together, Joey finds out he has a girlfriend.
Jack McPhee Edit
- Full Moon Rising (2.05)
- Reason – She was still with Dawson.
Pacey Witter Edit
Main article: Pacey and Joey
- 1st relationship
- From Stolen Kisses (3.19) to The Longest Day (3.20)
- Reason – She feels guilty when Dawson finds out about their relationship and ends things with him
- 2nd relationship
- From True Love (3.23) to Promicide (4.20)
- Reason – They realize that they are different and it seemed like she had a bright future ahead of her while he felt like he was being left behind.
- 3rd relationship
- From Castaways (6.15) to Love Bites (6.18)
- Reason – Eddie comes back.
- 4th relationship
- From ...Must Come To An End (6.24)
- Note – Jen tells Joey her final wish is for Joey to choose between Dawson and Pacey. She chooses Pacey.
Anderson Crawford Edit
- Beginning:"Kiss" (1.03)
- Broke Up: "Kiss" (1.03)
- Reason: They didn't continue because she lied about who she was.
A.J. Moller Edit
- Beginning:"Northern Lights" (3.13)
- Broke Up:"Cinderella Story" (3.17)
- Reason: Didn't continue to be a couple because she finds out his best friend loves him and he loves her but doesn't know it yet.
- Almost Fling but never kissed
- Beginning:"Sleeping Arrangements" (5.12)
- Broke Up:"Guerrilla Filmmaking" (5.14)
- Reason: She met him when she wasn't over Dawson. Then she thought he slept with Audrey, and after finding out he never slept with her, she gives him another second chance. But she later bails on a date with him (by claiming she was sick) to go to a thing with Wilder who she later kissed and the next day tells him she can't go out with him off-screen.
Professor David Wilder Edit
- Kissed/Almost Fling
- Beginning:"Something Wilder" (5.13)
- Broke Up:"In A Lonely Place"(5.16)
- Reason: Joey inadvertently stands David up after getting mugged. This gives him the time to reflect upon the relationship and he realizes that he can't have an affair with a student.
Eddie Doling Edit
- First Kiss:
- "Instant Karma!"(6.04)
- Reason:Eddie thinks she only kissed him to get back at Dawson; so it doesn't lead to anything until later episodes.
- First Relationship:
- Beginning:"Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell" (6.07)
- Broke Up:"Rock Bottom"(6.13)
- Reason: He left without telling her
- Second Relationship:
- Beginning:"Love Bites" (6.18)
- Broke Up:"Catch-22"(6.20)
- Reason: They didn't see a future with each other
- First Relationship:
- Beginning: About a year or two before"All Good Things..."(6.23)
- End:"...Must Come To An End" (6.24)
- Reason: Joey breaks up with him over the phone after having found a ring in his drawer back in New York.