The Great Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project: Season 5, Episodes 7-9

We’re rewatching all of Dawson’s Creek in honor of its twentieth anniversary. Will require some mind-numbing. Drinking game rules can be found here.

Season 5, Episode 7 “Text, Lies and Videotape”

By Nerdy Spice

This seriously might be the most infuriating episode of Dawson’s Creek we’ve watched so far.

To sum up, the stakes are that Dawson must decide whether to go back to USC. The conflict is that Mitch died without updating his will to include Lily in the “living trust” that document established, and the fact that Mitch made such a mistake makes Dawson really angry and unable to make his decision.

On its face, this is merely a standard storyline for a primetime soap: using mildly stretched logic to illustrate the character’s grieving process (and provide a justification for keeping a character in the same city as the rest of the cast). EXCEPT that for Dawson’s entire life, Gail has been the breadwinner and, at the time of his death, Mitch was an employee in a restaurant that was founded by his own wife. At best, he may have had some assets of his own if the two of them had separate bank accounts, but if that’s the case, Gail almost certainly has assets that dwarf his, and no one even bothers to provide even an unbelievable justification in the form of some secret savings account Mitch had. Instead, the entire episode, everyone is wringing their hands about Mitch’s Big Mistake as if Gail and Lily are living in the Victorian age and are going to be thrown on the mercy of the poorhouse if there isn’t a man around, living or dead, to provide them with sustenance. And Dawson keeps whining to everyone that will listen that Mitch forgot to provide for Lily and it’s like, WHO CARES? HE HAD NO MONEY!! The whole thing practically caused me muscle strain due to all the eye-rolling.

So at the start of the episode, Jen escorts Dawson back for another shot at therapy with Dr. Weir, upon which he gives her this highly alarming look of dopey affection:

Closeup of white blonde man (Dawson) giving an affectionate look.

I actually don’t hate Jen and Dawson (hey, they both need something to do), it’s just, if I were Jen, I would be alarmed. Anyway, Dawson’s therapist turns out to be Pauley Perrette, from NCIS, and much more crush-worthy than Jen’s dweeby therapist, TBH. I just love her gravelly voice! She helps him work through his anger at his dad for his “mistake” so that he can make the decision on his own. So does Jen, who dedicates a song to him on her radio show, complete with a wildly uncalled-for mention of the night they went skinny-dipping (shot!). Finally Dawson decides not to go back to USC. Also, it turns out Mitch secretly entered his film in a festival in New Hampshire, and Dawson won, so Dawson kind of stops being mad at him after that.

Meanwhile, Joey is still working on the Made-Up Dead Female Writer project with Professor Creeper and a band of pretentious upperclassmen and -women in the English department. They are going through MUDFW’s letters and trying to figure out the addressee of a set of the most interesting letters, which begin simply “Dear I.V.,” and aren’t addressed. Joey is frozen by her own imposter syndrome. She’s visibly distressed during the group’s first meeting trying to keep up with a fairly pedestrian conversation where everyone declares the poet to be a lesbian because she makes references to Sappho. I count at least four references here, none of them all that much more abstruse than the Sappho one, so, four shots! Poor Joey really can’t hang with this crowd, but she manages to at least ask some questions, which is more than the rest of the pretentious assholes at the meeting are willing to do. (And at least she doesn’t bring up Little Women, which I think would have led to her immediate expulsion from the group!)

It’s Audrey, who’s auditioning for The Real World in this episode, who gives Joey the real inspiration she needs to solve the mystery: she films several versions of her audition, and in the final one, it’s just her talking to the camera about forgiving her mother in order to Be Herself, because at least she knows who that is. That inspires Joey to conclude that MUDFW’s letters were to the one person who would truly understand her: herself. All the pretentious kids are disappointed that Joey solved the mystery, as well they should be–Professor Creeper most of all: the evidence includes the fact that these letters were the only ones found without envelopes, and they also don’t include any small talk or asking the addressee about her own life, which means that if MUDFW had been writing to a friend, they would be super obnoxious, self-centered letters!

Meanwhile, Professor Creeper (who has an unsettling habit of staring at Joey’s lips while she talks) takes the opportunity to get her alone twice to discuss the problem.

Closeup of brunette adult white man giving an affectionate look.

Caption: He is ALWAYS making this face at Joey. Stop slobbering, Professor Creeper!

In the first tête-à-tête, he asks Joey if she thinks the more honest letters were to a lesbian lover, but Joey thinks it was to a friend. “If they were love letters, wouldn’t they be less honest?” she says. Professor Creeper grins creepily and goes, “There’s a paradox in there somewhere!” Um… no… there’s not. Then, after Joey solves the big mystery, he actually manages to give her some good advice, telling her that asking questions and not pretending to know everything is a good thing: “If you can feel comfortable not knowing, you can learn anything.” That’s actually great advice for someone like Joey who has imposter syndrome and thinks everyone else is more qualified than she is, because she’ll learn way more if she doesn’t try to act like she knows everything, and she’ll eventually realize that those other kids are way less knowledgeable than they’re pretending to be. But, I suspect Professor Creeper’s just using his advice to keep Joey acting vulnerable around him so she makes for easier prey.

Pacey is still working at the restaurant and growing increasingly bitter about his misogynistic boss, Danny, banging Karen. But not because he’s in love with Karen, oh no! He’s righteously pissed because he had to lie to Danny’s wife for Karen. Um, I’m so sure. This isn’t about feeling rejected at all, at all. Karen, miffed, gives him an idiotic lecture on how adults sometimes have to “make compromises.” Ugh, people who convince themselves that acting like shits is just this inevitable part of adulthood are the worst. But she shows up later at his boat to apologize under the moonlight, and he apologizes too. She explains that she got involved with Danny while the latter was separated. But when the restaurant throws a big fancy party for all of its investors, Karen and Danny are busy flirting when his wife shows up and Danny goes off with her. Karen mopes around the whole night, and Pacey makes a valiant attempt to comfort her by dancing with her and sweet-talking her. Then he shows up at her door with leftovers that night. She almost talks herself into ending things with Danny (I mean, having Pacey ten feet from your bedroom and visibly crushing on you is an incentive that could make pretty much anyone break up with their shitheel boyfriend!) but then Danny calls and leaves an apologetic voicemail and Pacey, realizing that Karen’s about to pick up the phone, goes back to being bitter and makes his escape.

  • Jen tells Dawson that therapy “is not really so bad.” Which just serves to remind us all that she loved therapy because she had the hots for her nerdy therapist.
  • Jen also says that Freud considered himself successful if he could convert “hysterical misery” to mere everyday misery. Two shots for what I think is a pretty inaccurate summation of Freud! Then while she’s yammering on about penis envy, Dawson comments, “I feel like I’m in a French movie.” Um… five shots for that completely nonsensical meta reference.
  • Hee, someone makes a Tom Cruise reference to Joey! Those are my favorite because it’s like “hey, who knew that in a few years you were going to be married to this guy who’s already like forty?” Audrey complains to Joey, “How come your film geek looks like Tom Cruise and mine looks like the kid who doesn’t want to go to the dance in Sixteen Candles?” Shot for that reference to Sixteen Candles, but um, did Joey get a new film geek or something? Because blonde Dawson looks nothing like brown-haired Tom Cruise except they’re both white dudes. They couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a handsome blonde guy?
  • Audrey is auditioning for The Real World, and, after a tacky joke about sleeping with a crushing film geek to get his video camera (at least, let’s hope it was a joke), she asks Joey if her tone should be “vamp, vixen, or all-out slut.” I was going to declare Audrey the MVP of this scene because it was hilarious, but that would have been premature, because after that, Joey complains that she doesn’t understand why Professor Creeper chose her for this project, and Audrey says it’s because she’s hot. Ughhhhhh. Ugh. I hate when people do that–just assume that any young woman who gets a great opportunity got it because someone had the hots for her, while of course any young man who gets a great opportunity must have been giving off the aura of some secret talent that only the opportunity-giver could sense. (Joey says “the goal of a college experience is not to be reduced to a piece of meat,” but Audrey blithely ignores her.)
  • One of the other students in the group theorizes that I.V. is a writer because MUDFW pretty much only talked about her insecurities as a writer, and “who cares about writing except other writers?” Hee.
  • I’m sorry, there’s no way a professor and five grad students wouldn’t think of the letters being a diary. That was like, the first thing people thought of with the Master Letters, which is clearly what this is based on. In real life Joey would have said that, and the pretentious girl would have been like, “Yeah, none of us said that because we thought it was too obvious. Nice try though, Frosh.” –Janes
  • Professor Creeper says that Joey got the right answer because she hasn’t had her mind closed by the “received wisdom” of her discipline, which she correctly identifies as a neg (shot!): “In other words, I’m too stupid to know better.”
  • Joey asks Professor Creeper who Derrida is and he says that “If literature were the Star Wars universe, he would be the Darth Maul.” For those who like me were too busy memorizing WB characters’ names to memorize the Star Wars universe, Darth Maul was apparently some kind of Sith Lord. It is utterly unclear to me what this has to do with Derrida, so five shots for the completely off-the-walls literary reference!
  • I get that marriages and affairs are complicated and all, but I can only laugh when Karen’s like, “But–but–he was kissing his wife! In public!” Perish the thought. –Janes

Highlight:

Even Audrey annoyed me in this sexist mess of an episode, but she does get off a few good lines. Audrey wants to dress Joey for her Dead Female Writer meeting, and Joey (who hates fun–shot!) argues that no one will care what she’s wearing. “OK, and where would Madonna be if she had that attitude?” is Audrey’s hilarious response.

Most cringeworthy moment:

Joey remarks to Professor Creeper that Rose was formal in her non-I.V. letters, as if she was being graded. “People can’t be at ease with other people who are giving them grades?” he says. Ewwwww! That’s such a gross line. He sounds like he’s two seconds away from inviting her back to his office for a little game of strip poker to teach her how to be comfortable with authority figures. Then he makes a big deal about how the writer was exactly Joey’s age when she was writing the letters. OK, we get it! Joey is practically a child, and you’re into that!

Drunkenness rating:

21 shots, including one for a Kafka reference by Professor Creeper. I TOLD you this was an infuriating episode.

Season 5, Episode 8 “Hotel New Hampshire”

By Janes

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 1.47.48 AM

Ugh, here it is. The inevitable Dawson/Jen pairing (part deux) is finally upon us. Like Nerdy Spice, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world, but it’s certainly not very interesting. Why couldn’t he have hooked up with Audrey? She’s the most fun, and she never would have given him a self-help book!

Anyway, Joey and Jen are studying together and generally seem like they’re getting along great. (Which is our first clue that everything’s about to blow up. We all know this will not stand.) Joey admits to Jen that it’s been difficult to accept that Dawson won’t lean on her during this difficult time, but she “can’t think of a better person to be there for him than [Jen].” And Jen, who claims to only want to be Dawson’s friend at this point, already looks a little uncomfortable and guilty. Oops.

The telegraphing continues when Dawson comforts Jen about Charlie trying to get back together with Nora. Dawson has been upset that his friends are still walking on eggshells around him, but luckily, Jen is too self-centered to resist crying on his shoulder about her own problems. (Okay, I’m being a little harsh, and this is a perfectly reasonable/realistic thing to cry about. It’s just annoying that this is what their whole relationship is based on.) Dawson weirdly kisses her forehead, consoles her, and invites her to a film festival in New Hampshire, where the ghost of AI Brooks will live on to torture a bunch of film nerds.

Then they get there, and everyone is treating Dawson like a celebrity (shot!) because his screening “sold out.” Which, NO. Even pretentious film nerds couldn’t pretend to care about a documentary this boring. Anyway, everyone assumes Jen is his girlfriend (even the hotel, which inexplicably gives them the honeymoon suite) and they both look way too happy about it. Then, when Dawson wins the top prize (ugh, NO), the head of the film festival talks about a heartfelt letter from Dawson’s dad about how they “could not ignore his son’s work” (shot!), and Dawson holds Jen’s hand. He fondly remembers his dad in his acceptance speech, and then gives a special thank you to “my girlfriend, Jen Lindley,” and they both crack up. It’s actually sort of cute, but–noooo, stahp.

Jen wears some adorable pink flannel pajamas to bed, which is not sexy and yet somehow still makes their hookup feel all the more inevitable. Dawson thanks her for finding a way to be there for him, and she thanks him back for “restoring [her] faith in the opposite sex” (ugh, shot!) and “giving [her] a place in [his] heart” after they broke up all those years ago. They then have a relationship postmortem, about five years after the fact, and I kind of dig it. Dawson finally admits that he “loved it” when he got the chance to humiliate Jen after she broke up with him (is he still “restoring your faith in the opposite sex” now, Jen??). He asks Jen why they broke up in the first place, and she says the standard revisionist answer: “Because you were in love with Joey.” He points out that she broke up with him well before that, which is refreshingly non-revisionist for this show. If they could just remember that Pacey dumped Joey instead of the other way around, we would be in pretty good shape.

Then it gets super weird. Dawson says that he has a theory about why they broke up: Jen was never sexually attracted to him. Um, what?? I mean, sure, Dawson’s season one hair was a pretty universal turnoff, but fifteen year olds break up for all kinds of dumb reasons, not to mention that she was a traumatized child and he constantly slut-shamed her. But sure, use this opportunity to guilt her for not having sex with you again. Then Jen responds by having sex with him, so… guilt is a good strategy, I guess?

The next morning, they have another postmortem, this time about having sex for the first time. They’re very honest and open with each other, and basically say they don’t want to lose their friendship, but they acknowledge that sex changes things, so they agree to explore how and if it will change the nature of their relationship. I still don’t think they have much chemistry, but it’s all very healthy, and very much the opposite of a D/J conversation, to be honest.

Meanwhile, Jack descends from obnoxious frat bro to gross misogynist pimp. The bros get together to talk about the winter formal and are immediately terrible. The head honcho says, “All right ladies” and then says, “No offense, Jack”–because gay guys are actually women, ha ha, get it? Then they ask everyone to give the names of “decent-looking honeys” who are “ready to put out.” (I mean, I guess that probably is the network TV version of what frat guys say behind closed doors.) Then they put the names on a master list of targets, which is horrifying, not least because we get to see Jack repeat, “The liiiiiist” in guttural caveman tones. The bros press Jack to add some “fine-ass Worthington chicks” to the list, and he does, because facilitating date rape is fun!

So Joey goes to the formal with Jack (even though they’re supposedly okay with him being gay, he still needs to bring a woman, because frats are the worst), and Audrey goes with Not-Gay Eric, for which Audrey wears an awesome Lorelai-esque colorful ensemble with intermittently crimped hair, while Joey completely overdresses in a brown ball gown and updo. Like, does she know what a frat is?

Anyway, Eric is immediately cheesy, telling Audrey she’s a “stone fox” (ewwwwww). Somehow, her creeper antennae don’t go up immediately, but by the time they’re at the formal and he’s talking about how much he “benches” (ugh), she’s all the way on board. He tries to put his arm around her and she hilariously snaps, “What are you doing??” Hee! (Take a shot!) Eric complains to Jack that Audrey is not as advertised, and Jack reassures him that Audrey is “easy”–just in time for Joey to hear it.

Joey rightly yells at Jack for trying to “sell Audrey to the highest bidder,” and he claims it was all “stupid, harmless fun,” which is probably printed on the Date Rapists of America seal. Joey asks when Jack “became this jerk,” although, to be fair to the writers, he’s been pimping out his female friends ever since he started playing football in season three. Joey calls his frat brothers “meatheads” and “wannabe pimps,” and Jack gets all offended, saying that she judges anything that doesn’t meet her “standard of righteousness.” “‘Standard of righteousness’?” she answers incredulously, “Try ‘common decency’ and ‘respect’!” YES! Go, Feisty Joey!

Then, College Joey rears her ugly head again. Joey walks in on Audrey forgiving Jack WAY too easily (she cutely claims she put him through a “grueling apology” and that he has “a lot of making up to do,” but that’s not nearly enough, IMO), and then proceeds to do the same. It’s fine for her to accept Jack’s apology, especially since Audrey already did, but then she absurdly tries to share the blame in the situation by admitting to “judging” the frat when she “really knows nothing about it.” Um, you know that they make lists of “easy” girls that they want to ply with alcohol, so you probably know enough.

Then, she basically apologizes to Jack about how she needs to be more open-minded about “big city” things like frats! What utter bullshit. You won’t find anyone in a “big city” who’s naive enough to think that frats can be safe places for women or the LGBTQ+ community.

I really wish I didn’t have to recap the whole Karen saga because it’s so brazenly pointless, but here we go. Pacey claims to want to “help” Karen, but with what, exactly? She clearly knows what she’s doing, and Pacey clearly just wants to steal her for himself. So he “helps” her by manipulatively asking her out on a “platonic” date, so she can get a sneak peek of “a life without heartbreak.” Ew. Then, predictably, they end up having sex, and he gets all upset that she’s using him. I mean, yeah–what did you think was going on here? I hate Karen for many reasons, not the least of which that she brings out Pacey’s worst trait–his savior complex–with a vengeance.

But then Pacey goes to the restaurant and Karen has quit! Could it be? Is this really the last we’ll see of her? I really don’t remember, because I usually skip all of her scenes anyway, but I hope so.

  • Wow, Pacey gives Karen TWO THUMBS UP when she agrees to go out with him, like a GIANT DORK. I love it. —Nerdy Spice
    Brunette white man (Pacey) gives two thumbs up to woman with curly hair seen from the back (Karen)

  • Jen tries to warn Joey that “prescription medication” could help her through the frat party with Jack, and Joey is like “Um, I think I can manage.” See, this is what happens when you try to be the Cool Girl.
  • Nora is so cute and charming! But she’s a WOC, so of course we never see her again.
  • I was so excited when Nora showed up (Charlie’s other girlfriend, who bonded with Jen when they took their revenge). I thought the show was going to at least attempt to provide racially diverse friends for the characters, but no. There isn’t even an ATTEMPT to pass the Bechdel test; it takes literally five seconds to become clear that she was only brought back to provide another turning point in Jen’s Charlie plotline. Ugh. —Nerdy Spice
  • “The words ‘progressive’ and ‘frat’ do not belong in the same sentence.” Hee! True.
  • I get irrationally angry when Pacey calls Karen a “woman” during his romantic speech, even though Karen actually is a woman and there’s literally nothing else he could call her.
  • Pacey makes an active effort to give Karen compliments, and all he can come up with is “beautiful,” “good taste in clothing,” and “no sense of humor, which you make up for with your sparkling smile.” So… her only redeeming quality is her looks? Sounds about right. [Classic neg! –Nerdy Spice]
  • Is it weird that I kind of love Oliver? He’s such a cartoon of a pretentious film nerd, and I love it. I mean, his movie is called “Smoke Crack and Worship Satan,” for God’s sake!
  • Jen’s face during her conversation with Joey about Dawson is SO full of awkwardness. She totally knows she’s going to hook up with him.  —Nerdy Spice
  • I am highly amused by Jen’s interpretation of Early Aughts Film Festival Chic. What IS that scarf? —Nerdy Spice
    Blonde white woman (Jen) wearing a black top hat and a long purple silk item that is tied in a messy knot around her neck.

  • Oh, Joey’s face when Jack casually mentions that Jen and Dawson are away for the weekend together is so sad! And how dumb is Jack for letting that drop like it means nothing to Joey? Ugh. —Nerdy Spice
  • Eric tells Jack that he used his “best lines” on Audrey, when all we heard him say to her is, “I don’t bench that much yet, but…” It would be kind of tragic if he weren’t so gross.
  • Karen smokes a cigarette after sex, because she’s soooooo worldly and not at all a cliche.
  • Oliver tells Dawson that he loves his film (shot!) because he once “took pride in being the only geek in America” who knew who AI Brooks was. Ah. Now I get it. As long as something is obscure, film nerds won’t care how boring it is.
  • Why is Joey apologizing to Jack for judging him? HE PIMPED OUT HER ROOMMATE TO A FRAT BROTHER. She SHOULD judge. —Nerdy Spice
  • I’m just gonna say it: I like Jen and Dawson. His high-pitched giggle when she says he gives her faith in the opposite sex is actually charming (even if I still feel nauseated by the notion that Dawson is some paragon of enlightened manhood). And their post-sex talk is very sweet and honest. I approve. —Nerdy Spice

Highlight:

Definitely Audrey’s reaction to Eric’s babble about benching stats. She openly rolls her eyes at him, refuses to engage, and snaps at him when he tries to touch her without her permission. And while I’m still angry that she forgave Jack so easily, it’s positively adorable when she says, “Next time you set me up, it better be with someone who’s secure enough with girls not to resort to ‘muscle and fitness’ talk.” Word.

Most cringeworthy moment:

Jack says that Joey is being “judgmental” because she says the frat brothers are “wannabe pimps”–while they’re in the process of pimping out one of her friends. That’s not a judgment, it’s just an observation!

Drunkenness level:

Six, mostly for Dawson’s stupid New Hampshire wankfest.

Season 5, Episode 9 “Four Scary Stories”

By Nerdy Spice

Closeup shot of brunette white woman (Joey) screaming.

Joey, Pacey, and Jack return from a scary movie, declare it passé (complete with oh-so-sophisticated commentary on horror movie clichés) and spend the rest of the night telling each other scary stories from their college lives… complete with even more horror movie clichés. Oh, the meta-ness! Shot!

I could pretty much stop there, because this episode has nothing to do with the plot. And at first I was just rolling my eyes like, OK, I have no idea why they bothered to make this episode, but I guess in the days of 22-episode seasons you inevitably ended up with some filler. But, as I was watching, I realized that I remembered this episode more clearly than pretty much any other episode this season, except maybe “Downtown Crossing,” which is even sillier and only marginally more plot-related. So in a way, these experimental episodes are totally worth doing even if they don’t advance the plot, because if they’re successful (or even if they’re not–because honestly the scary stories in this episode are… not the scariest), they kind of give the audience something new to mull over and to see. (For an example of an actually successful episode like this, I would say that the episode where Felicity and crew get shrunk and stuck in a shoebox by a magic spell is a great one.)

Joey’s story: Audrey, dressed as Carrie (shot!), leaves Joey at the library on Halloween so she can have unfettered access to a coursepack. A creepy guy is staring at them and warns Joey not to be alone after dark, so she seeks support from the cute guy working at the library desk. Only then it turns out the creepy guy was a cop and the cute guy locks Joey underneath the stacks trying to attack her. So she takes him out with some kickboxing moves (“you totally Crouching Tigered him,” the cop says appreciatively — shot for a somewhat inappropriate cultural reference!).

Jack’s story: Jack is hanging out in the frat house when all of his buddies disappear and he finds a kid tied up in a back room in the basement. It turns out the kid is a pledge who’s being bullied for being gay. Jack is confused since he’s never seen the guy, and all his brothers have been chill about him being gay. Then, when he’s getting the poor kid a glass of water, he sees a picture of a pledge class from ‘68 and realizes that he’s talking to someone from ‘68. But by then, the boy has disappeared. Ooooh, scary!

Pacey’s story: He’s driving Karen home for some reason in Danny’s car, when he passes a car with its headlights off and blinks his lights at the car. Karen is freaked out because she’s heard that this is a gang initiation rite. A newbie gang member is supposed to find the first person who blinks their lights at them and run them off the road. Pacey thinks this is dumb, but then of course the car makes a U-turn and heads straight for them. They try to take refuge at a truck stop, but Karen’s giant 2002 cell phone doesn’t get reception, the diner’s cell phone is out, and everyone is staring at them in a distinctly creepy manner. When they turn to look at their car, another car is parked right next to it: the one that was chasing them. They make haste to get away, only to be trapped with the other car heading directly towards them somehow. The car runs them off the road… so Karen picks a giant baseball bat out of the trunk and goes to confront the other car, which, if it was really a gang, I’m thinking they have weapons that would render your baseball bat somewhat moot, but OK. “I have to start meeting less angry women,” Pacey mumbles to himself. Heh. Anyway, when they go up to the car, it’s mysteriously empty. The end!

Grams comes home and tells them that they’re all too young to tell a truly chilling tale, and that “a truly scary story should… find you in a safe place and turn it into a den of nightmares.” Not bad. But her story makes no sense.

Grams’s story: Jen is at the radio station (playing a punk song whose main lyric is “Lights Out,” get it?) when a branch starts tapping on the window. She leaves to break it off, but then the door slides shut behind her, leaving her locked out. She wanders down the street and starts hearing creepy whispers of “Jenniferrrrr.” A man seems to be standing there whispering it, but when he falls towards her, it’s just a mannequin. Then she runs back into the radio station which somehow is now magically unlocked, and a shadow passes behind her, and then a mannequin, or possibly a dead body, falls through the window and breaks the glass. What? I have no idea what that story was.

But it works on the kids, who are all patently uneager to go to bed by themselves. Joey demands that Pacey walk ahead of her if they “brave the T,” so Pacey teases her about a man jumping out of the bushes from behind, and she pushes him and calls him her “escort,” and it’s all a nice little pocket of cuteness. I’d forgotten how many times these two actually talked in season 5. It’s great!

  • Joey says she’s “lost the will to scream.” Is that a Kevin Williamson Scream reference? I’m calling it. Shot.
  • Is Joey wearing PLEATED SWEATPANTS at the library? [I think it’s adorable and realistic! –Janes]
    Joey (brunette white woman) walks through the library past a blonde white woman (Audrey) in a tiara. She is wearing gray sweatpants that are pleated.

  • “That’s all we need. More predictable stories about a guy with a hook for an arm that kills the amorous couple,” Jack says. Shot for the meta reference! Then Pacey says those stories exist for a reason and Joey is all, “Right, to discourage teenagers from drinking and having sex in the woods.” Her face and tone say that’s a bad thing, but everything we know about her personality indicates that the message totally worked on her. (Shot for Joey hating sex!)
  • Ugh, I hate, HATE these extended genre homages. Like, shut up Kevin Williamson, we all know you made Scream. –Janes
  • I was trying to place the would-be rapist, and then I realized he’s the business school kid that Lorelai dates! —Janes
    bryce-johnson-pretty-little-liars

  • When Joey does her obviously fake high kick, I think of the alternate universe where Katie Holmes played Buffy and Selma Blair played Joey. Our lives could have been so different! –Janes
  • The kids make fun of hackneyed horror movies about “a guy with a hook for an arm” that are meant to “discourage teenagers from having sex in the woods.” I see what you did there, Kevin Williamson. (That’s ten shots!) –Janes
  • After Pacey’s story, it transpires that they are sitting around in a room literally filled with candles. Which of these nineteen-year-olds bothered to find and light this many candles? Completely absurd!
    Long shot of three people - two brunette white men (Jack, at the coffee table; Pacey, on the couch on the left) one brunette white woman (Joey, on the couch, right) -- in a living room surrounded by candles.

  • Joey blames reality television for… something. I’m sure she was happy when we entered the age of the Trite Viral Thinkpiece.
  • I once heard a theory that this episode was aired out of order, and it makes total sense. Why would they go from Karen dramatically leaving to a weird extended flashback to “before the drama”? And why would the writers put the brakes on the momentum from Jen and Dawson hooking up, making everyone wait another week to see how things turned out? The season was delayed for a month after 9/11, so they must have done some very haphazard reshoots to make this sort of make sense. –Janes

Highlight:

Pacey tells Joey she will “forever be the number one skittish kitten in my life,” and she gives him this flirty little smile. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Closeup of Joey looking up through lowered lashes and smiling demurely.

By the way, Pacey totally already called her a skittish kitten while they were flirting in season 3. AWWW.

Most cringeworthy moment:

Jack’s frat story gives the opportunity for a few cringes, starting with Joey making a gross, tacky roofie joke. Then, Jack lets slip that he also promised to bring Jen by the frat when his brothers heard she was hot. Is that really a great idea to reveal this just one week after Joey caught him pimping out Audrey to his brothers? Ugh. Of course, Joey thinks roofies are funny, so basically, don’t leave your daughter alone with ANY of these people.

Drunkenness rating:

Sixteen, including a shot for a Mad Max (the original version, apparently) reference from Pacey.


Next installment here.

Previous installment here.

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