Previously: Four super sucky mini-episodes in which Jen went to therapy, Mr Brooks left Dawson a crapton of money, and Joey lied to Dawson about sleeping with Pacey.
Kirsti: Oh, hey, friends. Long time no see. MY BAD. Honestly, a big part of the delay on this has to do with the fact that I needed to find gifs for it, and finding gifs for Dawson’s Creek is practically impossible after season 3. I mean, there are Pacephine Tumblrs, but they suck at tagging things, and I’m not about to wade through 64 pages of posts on the off chance there’s something useable there. So instead I… just kind of gave up on giffing. Sorry. Have a giant wall of text instead?
We open in the Capeside High cafeteria – hello, old friend – with Joey and Pacey being smoochie and adorable. Apparently they haven’t had any Alone Time in two weeks and Pacey’s coming up with increasingly desperate solutions, including booking into the B&B under a false name, and skipping class to boink in the Capeside High boiler room. Pacey, honey. Buffy Summers would tell you that nothing good comes from visiting school boiler rooms.
Drue (UGH) walks in and starts yelling to the assembled students that he’s got the results from the senior class poll – all the “most likely to achieve” stuff that I’m not convinced any school outside of television land actually does. (I lie – we did one as a joke. I was voted third most likely to write a book, something I suspect had more to do with how much I read than any faith in my writing ability.)
Chelsea: My school had these. I also won ‘Most Likely to Write a Book’ and ‘Most Likely to do Standup’ but probably because my classmates only knew that I liked to read and did a pretty boss impression of our English teacher.
K: Aaah, teenagers. Always going for the obvious answer.
Joey and Pacey continue to be adorable while Drue stands on a chair and says he’s going to jump straight to the results for Class Couple. He announces that it’s “those two people so in love they make the rest of us want to puke on a daily basis“: Joey and Dawson. NOPE. Pacey agrees with my NOPE and they awkward their way to the credits.
HEY YEAH YEAH YEAH.
After the credits, Joey slams Drue up against a wall while Pacey watches on with a grin. Drue’s all “No fair, I can’t hit a girl” and Joey smirks that it’s “one of the few cultural advantages of being female“. Pacey grins and heads off to class. Drue is not well pleased. Joey accuses him of rigging the votes and insists that he fix it because she and Dawson just got their friendship back and she doesn’t want him or Pacey getting hurt.
Chelsea: If this were real life, I’d tell Joey to slow her roll and remember that it’s only going to be as awkward as she makes it. But this is Capeside, and this is bound to be a huge fucking deal. Stupid Drue.
K: He’s the worst.
Of course, Dawson chooses that moment to walk up. He asks if it’s “a mugging by invitation only“, which actually made me chuckle a little and now I feel dirty. (C: …I’m going to pretend I’m not judging you…) He’s already heard the news and calmly says that it’s just Drue being his usual dickish self and trying to get a rise out of them. He’s totally cool with the whole thing because they’re friends blah blah whatever. Drue scarpers, and Joey mopes her way off to class.
Later, at Leery’s Fresh Fish, Pacey’s trying to persuade Gretchen to go drinking with Doug and then sleep on Doug’s couch. Gretchen immediately sees through this plan and is all “OMG YOU AND JOEY HAD SEX AAAAAAAAAH!!!!”, which is a suuuuuper weird reaction to news about your little brother’s sex life. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m still not over finding a condom in my little brother’s wallet, and he was 24 at the time and had been in a relationship for five years…
Pacey gets adorably flustered, Gretchen promises she won’t tell anyone and says that she’ll either stay at Doug’s or with the worst fictional parents of all time tonight, giving Pacey and Joey plenty of alone time. (C: I’m just going to say it: I feel like it shouldn’t be this hard for two willing teenagers to find a decent place to do the dirty.) Pacey turns into a bouncy puppy and rushes off excitedly, leaving Gretchen eye rolling.
Meanwhile, Jen’s seeing her therapist. He asks why her relationship with Jack is ideal, and she says that it’s mostly because she can trust him. Annoying Therapist asks why she has trust issues with girls (and also straight guys), and Jen says that girls suck because it’s like the minute you hit puberty, everyone’s competing for male attention. “Teenage sluts aren’t born, they’re made,” she says, and I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ALL OF THIS.
Chelsea: No, no, noooooooooooooooooooooooo! Jen, don’t do it! You’re my role-model, here! I’m fully Team Jen! Just don’t go off on how you’re ‘not like other girls’ and perpetuating the misogynistic stereotype that girls can’t exist unless they’re in competition with each other! Fight the patriarchy, Jen!
He dredges up her early sexual history – she lost her virginity at the age of 12, and she was drunk the first half dozen times at least – then announces that their session is over and he’ll see her on Tuesday. I continue to hate this storyline.
Leery’s Fresh Fish. Dawson turns up, and Gretchen immediately swipes his coffee before informing him that one of the waitresses didn’t show up, but that she’s only staying until someone else shows up to take over. Then she tells him that “there’s never enough coffee in your coffee“, which makes me laugh because DAWSON DRINKS FROU-FROU GIRLY COFFEE DRINKS.
Chelsea: Yeah, I’m a little surprised he didn’t go with the “black as my brooding soul” motif – way to constantly break those stereotypes, Dawson.
K: Pff. Dawson’s brooding soul is light grey at best. He doesn’t have the creativity to get it any darker.
Gail phones because contrivance demands it, and that’s how Gretchen discovers that Gail and Mitch are out of town for the weekend. She’s surprised Dawson didn’t tell her, and he says that when she says it, it sounds like a conversation but when HE says it, it sounds like a terrible come on. It really doesn’t, Dawson, because you’re a walking Ken doll. Anyway, they resolve that Gretchen’s going to come over later for an early 00s Netflix and chill session – videos and popcorn and probably no sex.
Joey turns up at Pacey’s and hurls herself at him the second he answers the door. He mock-grumbles about how they never talk any more and she only wants him for his body and it’s hella cute. Joey pulls away to ask him when Gretchen’s coming home, and Pacey’s all “NEVER O’CLOCK!”. Joey gets worried face and asks if Gretchen knows. Pacey awkwards a little and says that he didn’t say anything, that Gretchen worked it out, and promises to do anything to make it up to her. Joey insists that she’s fine, just a little embarrassed. But she hugs him and looks suuuuuper panicky while Pacey’s busy kissing her neck. Fade to black.
Chelsea: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LIE, JOEY. Also, belated BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA at Dawson being a walking plastic eunuch.
K: You’re welcome for that mental image.
After the Not Commercial Break, Jen and Jack are in a coffee shop. He says that therapy must be doing something right, given that she’s going three times a week (um), and then correctly joins the dots that she picked a coffee shop opposite her therapist’s office with the intention of stalking him a little to learn something about his personal life. Jen, girl. Nooooooo.
Jen insists that it’s super weird that her therapist knows everything about her and she knows nothing about him and begs Jack to follow him because “that’s what friends do“. (C: NOOOOOOPE. Wrong, Jen. Friends don’t enable friends stalking their therapists. This, for me, is when this storyline started to tank hardcore.) Jack’s all “DUDE, NO” but eventually relents when Jen makes sad puppy eyes.
Meanwhile, Pacey is ordering pizza. It’s not going well, because he doesn’t know how to say “cheese” in Portuguese. Let’s just file this under “reasons why I’m glad I live in an era where I can order pizza online and not have to ever talk to an actual person, Portuguese speaking or otherwise. Gretchen comes in to grab some stuff, and Joey pulls her aside for a “please don’t tell Dawson I had sex” talk. Gretchen is in complete agreement on this subject because, like, who wants to tell their boyfriend that the girl said boyfriend is convinced is his soulmate lost her virginity to said boyfriend’s best friend who just so happens to be your younger brother?
Chelsea: Sometimes I forget how fucking crazy the relationship maps of this show are. It’s like being in the recap forest, and you lose sight of the fucking inane will-they-won’t-they trees.
K: She does point out to Joey that it’s super not hard to guess stuff like this, on account of Joey actually looks happy. Welp.
Pacey gets off the phone and says the pizza will be there in 45 minutes but he has no idea what will be on it. Again, THANK GOD FOR ONLINE ORDERING. He asks Gretchen where she’s off to, and she’s all “Netflix and chill with the Elephant in the Room, byeeeeeee!” and bails. Pacey and Joey smile awkwardly at each other.
Stalker-Thon. Jack and Jen have followed Therapist to a bookshop and are super not-stealthily peering at him from behind a shelf. Jack declares Therapist to be gay, based on the fact that he’s looking at Interview with the Vampire, and asks if they can leave. Jen’s all “whaaat” and insists that “straight people read Anne Rice“. Jack gives her the most amazing “Bitch, PUH-LEEZE” facial expression. I mean, I’m sure SOME straight people read Anne Rice. But there’s a metric crapton of homoerotic subtext. So.
Jen wants to know how Jack “managed to surpass me in the knowledge of all things gay“, and Jack says that it was Sex and the City. Or maybe it’s because he’s gay and you’re just an ally, Jen?? (C: #PREACH) Anyway, they resume stalking, but fail miserably because just then, Therapist comes around the end of the aisle and Jen bumps right into him. Jen’s super awkward, Therapist is pretty chill. She asks for book recommendations, and he hands her a flyer and says that there’s a poetry recital the following day and that maybe he’ll see her there. Jen gets all giggly and even more awkward and Jack’s all “WTF is wrong with you”.
Back at the Witter Beachhouse, the pizza has arrived. I wish I were eating pizza for dinner instead of steamed broccoli and zucchini with cheese sauce made of low fat ricotta and skim milk… ALAS. I also wish Pacey Witter were here, but he remains sadly fictional. Sigh.
Chelsea: Two for two with you there, Kirsti.
K: 100% OF SNARK LADIES AGREE, PACEY WITTER SHOULD NOT BE FICTIONAL.
Joey’s reassuring both herself and Pacey that she’s sure Gretchen’s just going to pick Dawson up so they can go out somewhere, and the fact that she’s going over when Mitch and Gail are out of town is meaningless. Pacey’s all “MITCH AND GAIL ARE OUT OF TOWN??? EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE OH MY GOD”. Then he and Joey determine that they don’t care about the whole thing, but in the way where they’re both lying and they actually care a lot. (C: And herein lies my problem with with the double standard of this show: it doesn’t matter, Pacephine. It really doesn’t. They have sex, you have sex, everyone has sex and IT’S FINE BECAUSE ADULTHOOD.) Joey changes the subject to making out because talking about Dawson and Gretchen is a mood killer. TRUTH.
Speaking of, they’re busy doing what those companies that keep using “Netflix and Chill” in their advertising campaigns think Netflix and chill means: sitting on the sofa, watching a movie. (C: Wait…..what? You mean when the youths at work talk about Netflix and Chill, they don’t mean TV watching party? WHAT MADNESS?!) The movie finishes – apparently it starred Nicolas Cage and Jim Carrey, so I’m 900% convinced it was the worst film ever made – and Gretchen goes to pull another video out of her bag. But Dawson spots that she has PJs and a toothbrush in there.
He makes a confused jokey comment about always going out on Friday nights with PJs in her bag (unsure if slut shaming), and Gretchen awkwards that she just likes to be prepared for any possibility. “And you spending the night is a possibility?” Dawson asks, surprised. DUDE. YOU’RE EIGHTEEN. YOUR PARENTS ARE OUT OF TOWN. YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS TWENTY TWO. WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THIS??
Chelsea: Sounds like Dawson needs a page from the Witter Life Guide, because Pacey is clearly all over the symbolism of having sex with your girlfriend when all adults are absent.
K: Gretchen asks if he wants it to be a possibility (C: EWWWWWWWWWWW), and things get hella awkward. Gretchen raises the subject of sex, and says things will be better if they just talk about it. But no one talks. Gretchen decides that telling Dawson about the first time she had sex is a good idea(???????), and Dawson remembers her douchy basketball playing high school boyfriend and declares that he hates him more than ever.
She tells Dawson that it’s his turn to talk, and he says it’s totally not fair because he’s the virginest virgin that ever virgined. Um. I mean. You could tell her about that one time you crashed your dad’s boat because a hot girl you met on a bus was giving you a blow job? But sure, Dawson. You’re pure as freshly fallen snow.
Gretchen pushes a little harder, and Dawson says that he thought about sex with Jen but it never would have occurred to him to ask. And Joey wasn’t ready, which was totally fine, but then all the badness happened and now he wishes she’d just fuck Pacey already so that the idea of he and Joey losing their virginities to each other can die the sad tragic death it should have died a long time ago. Gretchen’s all “How do you know they haven’t already?” and Dawson’s all “Oh, I asked and Joey told me they haven’t”. Gretchen looks a little hurt. Fade to black.
Chelsea: Just let the damn idea die, Dawson! Neither of you have to fuck anyone else to STOP the idea of fucking each other. It’s really that easy. Also – Pacephine have got you covered bro, no worries there.
K: RIGHT??? Like… she and Pacey have been together for at least six months by this point. They’re clearly serious. Get over yourself. Your penis ain’t special, Dawson Leery.
After the Not Commercial Break, the Netflix and Chill session has turned into a Sit At Opposite Ends of the Sofa While Pretending to Watch a Movie But Secretly Looking at the Other Person When They’re Not Looking session. Dawson asks why Gretchen keeps moving further and further away, and she says that she has to go because she was really wrong about something. She bails and he looks confused.
Cut to the Witter Beachhouse the next morning. Joey, wearing Pacey’s robe, bangs around the kitchen. He kisses her and tells her that there’s literally no reason to be up this early on a Saturday. She tells him she wants to make him breakfast and they’re adorable and smooshy and then she hands him a shopping list and shoves him out the door. Pacey heads towards the car just in time to see Dawson walking up to the front door.
He intercepts Dawson, who’s looking for Gretchen. Pacey says that she’s not there, and Dawson gets all worried and insists that they need to call Doug and make sure Gretchen got there okay. Pacey’s all “Okay, I’ll call him and then call you, cool BYE” but Dawson wants to go inside and call RIGHT THIS SECOND. Pacey reluctantly leads the way. Joey hears them coming, gets “OH SHIT” face, and hides in the bathroom with her bag.
Chelsea: I feel like hiding in the bathroom because you don’t want to be caught having consensual sex with your hot teenage boyfriend is indicative of some deep problems, Ms. Potter….
K: Elsewhere, Jen and Jack are at the poetry recital. Jack’s all “UGH THIS IS THE ACTUAL WORST CAN WE GO?” because Therapist isn’t there. Jen insists that he’ll be there because he invited her, and Jack eyerolls that it wasn’t an invitation, it was just polite conversation. Also, some therapists suck. And he should know, given his family history. Oof. Also, any therapist who’d date a patient is the actual worst. Jen insists that she doesn’t want to date her therapist and that she definitely 100% does NOT have a crush on him. Jack gets all “Suuuuure”, and asks why Jen wants Therapist to like her so badly. Jen insists that she doesn’t want him to like her, and Jack’s all “Right, because you luuuurve poetry…”
Meanwhile, Pacey’s on the phone to Doug, who confirms that Gretchen is at his place. Dawson’s relieved as Pacey rushes him to the door. Dawson tells Pacey not to tell Gretchen that he was there, and Pacey asks if they had a fight, because he’s happy to say something to Gretchen. Dawson says sadly that they didn’t have a fight, “I just think she’s seen the light“. That you’re a Ken doll who’s totally hung up on a girl who’s been dating someone else for nearly a year? That’s not a light, Dawson. That’s a BILLBOARD SIZED NEON SIGN, FLASHING OVER YOUR HEAD.
Anyway, Dawson sad pandas his way out the door. Pacey turns around to find Joey right behind him, looking thoughtful. Pacey sighs and goes after Dawson.
Bad Decision Poetry Reading. The place is now full, and Jack’s all “LOOK HOW NOT HERE YOUR THERAPIST IS CAN WE PLEASE GO?”. Jen replies “Would it kill you to listen to some poetry?” and Jack’s all “Yes, yes it would”. Who else remembers season 2 when Jack was really artsy and got accidentally outed by a poem he wrote for class? Yeah. I honestly can’t decide whether Jack would be down with a poetry reading or not.
Chelsea: Real Jack would be. But Heternormative Jock Jack isn’t, because we’d rather prove that you can be gay and into football than that you can be gay, into football, AND a lover of the arts. Stop trying to add depth to people, Kirsti!
Anyway, they go to leave and of course that’s the moment when Therapist turns up and is all “Oh, you saved me a seat, cool!”. And just as he sits down, the poetry reading starts. Jack is not impressed.
Back in Capeside, Dawson’s reading the paper at a coffee shop when Drue turns up and is all “You still mad, bro?”. Dawson insists that he’d forgotten about Drue’s prank “in the wake of greater personal tragedies” (DUDE. CHILL.). He wants Drue to fix things so that Joey and Pacey are class couple. Drue’s all “Nah, too boring”. He insists that Dawson and Joey aren’t over each other, that they’ve “fatally wounded each other’s psyches and doomed all your future relationships“. Right, because 18 year olds talk like that… Anyway, he finishes by saying that Dawson and Joey are a far more compelling couple than Pacey and Joey, and YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH, DRUE VALENTINE.
Meanwhile, Joey finds Gretchen sitting outside the Witter Beachhouse, and is all “Yo, everyone was worried about you!”. Gretchen says that she wishes she’d been around in season 3 to see how the three of them got into this hot mess where they’re all constantly so worried about hurting each other’s feelings and making sure they’re being nice. (C: Gretchen, girl. You DO NOT wish you were around for that. That’s why we recapped them for you – so you wouldn’t need to be.) She tells Joey that she shouldn’t have lied to Dawson about sleeping with Pacey. Joey insists that it was a private thing that she didn’t want the whole world knowing about.
Gretchen snaps that she didn’t want DAWSON knowing, and that’s a very different thing. She says that it’s not fair on Dawson and it’s not fair on anyone trying to have a relationship with Dawson. Joey gets bitchy right back at her and says that she wasn’t there for season 3 and couldn’t possibly understand. Gretchen snaps that Joey has to tell Dawson the truth.
Just then, Pacey comes back with a bag of groceries. Joey lies – DON’T MAKE ME CALL DOLORES UMBRIDGE, POTTER – and says that Bessie had a meltdown and she has to go home. (C: This girl is just a lying liar face who lies all the time. Fuck the Girl Next Door, I’m starting to come down more and more on the side of Joey Potter Selfish Asshole.) She bails, and Pacey’s all “Uhhhh, what just happened?” Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Pacey joins Gretchen on the porch and asks “Alright, what’d I miss?“, which obviously makes me think of one thing:
Anyway. Gretchen insists that he hasn’t missed anything, but Pacey pushes, asking if she and Dawson had a fight. Gretchen insists that he doesn’t care about her and Dawson. Pacey’s all “ORLY?” and asks why Dawson was there so early, which he totally didn’t tell her about if Dawson asks, and why Dawson seems to think they had a fight. Gretchen insists again that he doesn’t care, and Pacey says that he does because he’s pretty sure it involves him somehow and that’s why she won’t tell him what’s going on.
Gretchen tells him to ask Joey, and Pacey’s all “PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.” He promises not to tell Dawson or Joey, and Gretchen snaps “Great. More lies. That’s really going to help.” Pacey says the only lie he can see is his big sister not telling him what’s going on. Gretchen sighs and tells him that Joey lied to Dawson about having had sex. Pacey looks like a kicked puppy.
Poetry Reading. The poetry is now, thankfully, over. Therapist asks Jen and Jack what their favourite was, and they’re all “Favourite? What! They were all sooooo good…” and it’s super awkward. The poet – clearly Therapist’s wife/girlfriend/significant other – comes up to say hi. Therapist introduces them, and Jen gets sad panda-y.
Chelsea: Yeah, Jen, I hate it when I find out my licensed mental health care provider turns out to be married so we can’t enter into an illict, illegal, and unhealthy relationship. Damn!
Capeside High. Joey wanders in the yearbook room looking confused and declares to Dawson that this is the weirdest place he’s ever suggested they meet. Dawson says that he’s just helping out to make sure that the right things end up on the right pages. He offers her black coffee, and she’s like “……..you drink black coffee??”. (C: That thing I said before? About upending stereotypes? I take it back.) He says he doesn’t like it but he drinks it anyway, and this whole awkward section is basically a LOOK, THEY DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER ANY MORE thing.
Dawson apologises for asking whether she and Pacey have had sex, and says he doesn’t even know why he asked but suspects it’s the same masochistic side of himself that’s sabotaging his relationship with Gretchen. Joey bites her lip and looks like she’s on the verge of confessing, then just ploughs on with the relationship sabotage point. Dawson says that mentioning her every 30 seconds probably isn’t helping his relationship with Gretchen, and NO SHIT DUDE.
Basically, he doesn’t know whether to let Gretchen see how much of a hot mess he really is or whether to act cool, like the guy who gets the girl. “Maybe you ARE the guy who gets the girl,” Joey says with a smile. “I didn’t get you…” Dawson says. UGH. I HATE THESE TWO AND THEIR TOXIC FRIENDSHIP SO HARD. CAN WE GO BACK TO PACEY NOW? PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Chelsea: I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. If it weren’t for the fact that I’d seen them being nice to each other, by this point I’d wonder why anyone in Capeside would want these two within ten feet of each other!
Sigh. FINE. I’ll keep recapping. Dawson turns back to the computer, and says he realised that Drue’s like a Batman villain – big plans, terrible on follow through. He rigged the polls, then quit the yearbook staff before the results were put in. So Dawson’s fixing it. He drags and drops a weird, the-stalker-in-an-episode-of-Criminal-Minds-developed-this-in-his-basement photo of Pacey and Joey into the space designated for Best Couple.
Poetry Reading. Jen’s talking to Therapist and telling him how nice his girlfriend is also please confirm that she’s your girlfriend OMG I NEED TO KNOW SO BADLY. Therapist sees right through this, and says that he’s glad Jen could come. Also, he totally saw her and Jack sitting in the coffee shop for seven million hours and then following him to the bookstore. She asks why he didn’t stop her if he knew what she was doing, and he tells her that it was obviously important to her and that they’ll talk about it in their next session.
Jen wants answers now, and he eventually tells her that it’s the same thing they were discussing the previous day: basically, she needed to know if she could trust him. Excuse me while I smash my head into a wall. We went through this entire plotline for THIS?? Ugh. Jen announces that yes, she can trust him. Huzzah. Let’s all move on with our lives.
Chelsea: PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
K: Meanwhile, Gretchen’s down by the waterfront. Dawson finds her and says it’s a terrible place to go to avoid him but a great place to bump into him for a drive-by break up. Gretchen insists that she’s not planning on dumping him, but confirms that she has been avoiding him. She makes him promise to always be honest with her, because that’s the hardest part of any relationship because trust is an act of faith and you can never know if you’ll get it back.
She goes on to say that sex is mechanical, just like brushing your teeth, and this serves as an awkward segue for Dawson to present her with a gift: a brand new toothbrush. (C: SEX TOOTHBRUSH. Because nothing leaves you feeling more in need of that deep-under-the-gums clean than the prospect of sex with Dawson Leery.) Because she left her toothbrush at his place and it was super gross, so he replaced it. I continue to give zero fucks about these two. But I guess we should be grateful no one is sharing toothbrushes. So.
Cut to Pacey and Joey walking on the beach. He says that fixing the yearbook was a really nice thing for Dawson to do, given that she was so freaked out about it. Joey ponders the passing of the seasons and how it’s nearly spring already. Pacey jokes that “our new pastime is much more of an indoor sport“, and Joey says that she kinda wishes they’d just had sex on the boat when it was just them. Pacey says they would have missed all the scenery.
Joey asks him if he misses the time before they had sex, before everything was ABOUT sex all the time, and Pacey asks if she thinks they’re doing something wrong. (C: Girl, who are you kidding?! You’re a teenager – it’s ALWAYS all about sex, not just now, and not just because you’re having it.) She doesn’t. He doesn’t either, but he gets awkward. Joey asks him if Gretchen said anything to him after she left. Pacey insists that she didn’t and asks why. Joey gets all nonchalant as they get back to the Witter Beachhouse, and suggests they go walk some more. They head off arm in arm and we fade to black.
THIS EPISODE IS DUMB AND I WISH IT DIDN’T EXIST.
Next time on Dawson’s Creek: The college acceptance/rejection letters start arriving in full force in where in Dawson’s Creek S04 E17 – Admissions.