The Great Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project: Season 5, Episodes 19-21

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 19 “100 Light Years From Home”

By Nerdy Spice

So, this was the 100th episode of Dawson’s Creek. When it aired, I still wasn’t yet watching it in real time (it took me till the middle of season 6 to catch on, because I’m very very slow), but I was a major Gilmore Girls fan, and I remember how the WB was just covered in ads for this big event, which turns out to be surprisingly inconsequential: the main story is that the gang-minus-Dawson go to Florida for spring break. (On the other hand, M2M, the underrated gem of the early aughts, shows up and sings. That’s pretty awesome. I’d almost call it event TV.)

OK, fine, there is one thing of significance. Dawson and Joey have a Grand Good-bye! Oh wait… that happens so often that we have a shot for it. So never mind.

The story of this Grand Good-bye starts with Joey and Dawson, bidding each other good-bye  (just a regular mini-good-bye, though) before she heads off to Florida, have a super awkward conversation about how they were about to get together before Mitch died. Joey says she’s kind of fine with it all because it’s better if “we don’t get to touch our dreams.” Wow, I didn’t know a woman could have a madonna-whore complex about a man. “I spend half the time wondering what might have been and the other half thinking, just as well.” Wow, “just as well”? That’s… kind of cold. I’m actually a little surprised Dawson wasn’t more offended. But they just amiably agree they’ll probably never “get it right” and Dawson makes a corny joke about her getting him a T-shirt with “My soulmate went to Florida and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” (twenty shots for the soulmate reference!).

The reason that Dawson’s not going to Florida with Joey is that he is supposed to be driving cross-country with Oliver for a meeting with a Hollywood agent who is interested in their film. Yay! Except OH WAIT, Dawson spends the whole drive having sepia-toned memories of Joey (Oliver actually sheds a tear at these, in a shameless bid by the writers to convince us that we too are verklempt at the thought of Dawson and Joey’s star-crossed romance) instead of focusing on the career he supposedly wants so bad. Oh, and the sepia memory-montages are totally awkward, because they’re way too short and are intercut incredibly awkwardly with the light-and-happy scenes on spring break. [I totally agree, but I still love it. I can’t help it, montages are my catnip! –Janes]

Eventually, the brilliant Oliver deduces that “the sun rises and sets with this girl,” and advises Dawson rather crudely to “hang your balls out there and tell her that.” (Shot!) Now, this does actually make sense, but instead of deciding to, I don’t know, HAVE THE MEETING and then see Joey THREE DAYS LATER, Oliver and Dawson decide to cancel the meeting so that Dawson can fly down to Florida to chase Joey to where she’s on spring break. Only problem is that someone else–namely, a bad boy with diamond-cut abs who plays guitar–already did that (more on that later).

So when Dawson shows up in Spring Break Mansion in the morning, Pacey gently tries to convince him that “that thing that you guys do to each other, the heroes of bad timing, you have got to give that up. It’s over!” When Dawson blithely declares with his usual solipsism that it’s not over because if he has feelings then there must be some reality to back it up, Pacey attempts not to take too much pleasure in informing him that Joey is in fact off with Charlie at this very moment. So Dawson goes to stand sadly on the beach.

Gee, this would be a lot sadder if Charlie weren’t so clearly going to be a flash in the pan.

OK, so back to the fun stuff. Joey, Audrey, Jack, Jen, and Pacey all go on spring break in Florida, where they’re staying at Audrey’s family’s summer house or something. Audrey and Pacey are still hot-and-heavy, with Audrey throwing out multiple heavy hints about how Pacey “isn’t even my boyfriend… officially,” and Pacey blithely ignoring them for reasons best known to himself. Things come to a head when Audrey’s childhood sweetheart, Chris, shows up. It turns out he’s actually famous now (I mean in the world of the show; the actor looks completely unfamiliar to me), so he invites them all to a concert with “this new band, M2M.” Hee! Love the product placement. For those who don’t remember, M2M was famous for a hot second at around this time with their song “Mirror Mirror.” TBH though, they’re still on my gym playlist. I’m not joking. That song was catchy!

Anyway, they all go to the concert, where Audrey confesses to Joey that Chris is her “Dawson.” Then, when Pacey figures out that Chris and Audrey used to date, Audrey tells him the same thing (Pacey, for once not completely rewriting history, says that Dawson is “his Kryptonite” and that women are never done with their Dawsons).

Pacey, because he’s an idiot on many many levels, objects to all of this because lying is for serious relationships, and they’re just having fun. Poor Audrey, totally deflated, stands sadly on the balcony of the house for just long enough for Chris to come find her there and ends up kissing him on the balcony–just as Pacey, having been talked into growing up by a saintly Joey, arrives with flowers. He leaves all sad, but finally Audrey womans up and tells him she wants him to be her boyfriend–and he agrees.

I used to find this sweet, but rewatching as an adult, I really don’t like how he treats Audrey, ugh. Just because she’s supposedly all slutty (and, as we’ve already learned, it’s NOT EVEN TRUE) he completely turns off the side of him that’s all foolishly romantic and pro-commitment, and assumes she could not possibly have feelings for him. It’s just really rude and sexist. And the lack of emotional intelligence he displays when he fails to catch on to her painfully obvious hints is out of character, too.

Jack, for his part, is apparently failing out of school. He’s drinking heavily the entire time they’re there, and when Dawson shows up late one night looking for Joey, he finds Jack wasted and standing on the roof. When Dawson tells Jack to come down, Jack takes him a wee bit too literally and jumps off the roof, luckily landing in the pool. Dawson rescues him, and, wrapped in a blanket to warm up, Jack sobs that he thought things would be easier, and that trying to make new friends didn’t work out–and that Toby has a new boyfriend. He wishes he could just start over. Dawson offers no helpful response to this, but at least he doesn’t (outwardly) compare it to himself and Joey, which you just know he’s doing inside.

Meanwhile, Charlie has been calling Joey every few minutes apparently, and eventually he actually shows up at the house in Florida. Joey is visibly flattered by this even though she correctly refers to it as “stalking.” She flirts shamelessly with Charlie without admitting it, even stopping him from hooking up with another young woman (Hilarie Burton in an early bit part!) by telling her he’s the youngest Hanson, all grown up. (Both of them are being utterly unreasonable here. Joey is openly salting Charlie’s game out of jealousy but pretending she doesn’t want him, and Charlie followed Joey to another state only to immediately start hitting on Hilarie Burton. Whatever.) Then they spend a day surfing together, once again flirting ridiculously.

When Joey comes in, she finds Jen–whose entire plotline is that she’s sick and can’t join in any of the fun, sooo…  an excellent foreshadowing of the finale–in the kitchen and immediately confesses she spent the whole day with Charlie. Jen tries guardedly to warn her about Charlie, but Joey gets progressively more offended and finally busts out with, “Come on, Jen, it’s not like you’ve ever had my feelings in mind before. I mean, what were your instincts telling you when you slept with Dawson?”

Ooohhhhh. Finally she comes out and says it! Joey was playing the angel in front of everyone else, but when Jen crosses her, the swords come out. Honestly, you have to wonder if part of the appeal of Charlie to Joey is the thrill of trying to “tame” a guy who once dumped a woman who took the virginity of your Star-Crossed Soulmate. But it’s also hard to blame Joey, honestly. She and Jen were sort of starting to act like friends, but Jen hooking up with Dawson on the DL the way she did is kind of proof positive that they weren’t really friends. Because if they’d been true friends Jen would have done things differently. And she didn’t do anything wrong, but that’s because they don’t really owe each other anything.

Wow I didn’t know I had so many thoughts about this.

Anyway, Joey, in a temper, takes Charlie off to the beach, where they sit by the campfire. When he, quite understandably, leans in for the kiss, she resists. He offers a tepid defense of his actions with Jen–that it was terrible but doesn’t define him, like, cool?–and then asks, “Haven’t you ever hurt anyone?” And Joey decides that since she broke up with Dawson a few times when he didn’t want her to, she might as well spend all night in a tent with a guy who likes to trick women into thinking he’s monogamous with them. Sure, airtight logic. She spends the night telling him long stories about her life. He, for his part, acts all fascinated and then brags about not having kissed her (shot for Charlie pretending to be sensitive!). Good choice, Joey Potter.

The worst part of all this? When they finally do kiss the next morning, it is this incredibly tepid, not-at-all-hot kiss. I mean, if you’re going to smooch a guitarist based on abs alone, which is CLEARLY what Joey is doing, what is even the point if you don’t even bother kissing with tongue? I feel like Joey is very bad at … whatever it is she’s trying to do.

  • Meta-reference shot, with bonus smug condescension from Dawson: Joey is watching some kind of spring break special on TV to prepare herself for spring break, and when she opens her mouth to comment Dawson remarks that he “feel[s] a quasi-feminist rant coming on.” Of course, Joey is in fact at best a quasi-feminist, so I guess he’s kind of right.
  • Joey comments that staying home and studying might be better than spring break. Shot for Joey hating fun!
  • Poor Jen. She and Dawson broke up two episodes ago, and he’s already back to referring to Joey as his “soulmate.” –Janes [AND Charlie has fallen for Joey and Joey is shoving it in her face! God, no wonder the poor woman ends up [spoiler] dying of a broken heart [/spoiler].]
  • Oh my God I love how Dawson starts his story of him and Joey with “Stop me if you get confused.” Stop me if you GET CONFUSED? Does he really think Oliver is too slow to follow a story that literally goes, “We got together, we fought, we broke up, we fought, we got together, we fought, we broke up, we fought,” ad infinitum?
  • Ew to Pacey’s joke about seeing all of his female friends naked at some point. First of all, I don’t think Jen ever actually took her clothes off, so–inaccurate, and second of all, that would be a gross comment even if he didn’t take Joey’s virginity, break her heart in public, then start dating her roommate. –Janes
  • I love how Jack is SO EAGER to introduce himself to Audrey’s hot childhood friend, like cool it bucko! So cute. It’s the gayest he’s been all season, not that that’s hard when his main plotline has been a horrified rejection of his hot closeted frat bro.
  • Audrey’s movie star ex-boyfriend looks so much like Josh Hartnett, I wonder if he was just supposed to be Josh Hartnett. –Janes
  • I love that Joey tells Hilarie Burton that CMM is a Hanson. What a 90s burn. –Janes
  • Pacey is generally a disappointment this episode. Audrey says she lied about Not-Josh-Hartnett because Pacey would have just asked a million questions, like “how many times [they] had sex” or whether he was “better than [Pacey].” And he doesn’t deny this! Gross! —Janes
  • AND he tells Joey he’s not going to “dive into another love triangle” and “lose the girl anyway” because he’s “learned from his mistakes.” First of all, mistakes? Rude. Second of all, you did win that love triangle, and then YOU BROKE UP WITH HER. IN PUBLIC. AT PROM. Take a shot for blatantly rewriting history! –Janes
  • Ew, why is Not-Josh-Hartnett groping Audrey and touching her neck without her permission! Hands-off, dude! –Janes
  • The false equivalence between Charlie cheating on Jen versus Joey breaking up with Dawson and moving on a year later drives me absolutely nuts. –Janes [YES! Like I said above, breaking up with a man who doesn’t want to break up with you is only equivalent to cheating on someone if you believe that men’s feelings confer an automatic obligation on women, which of course Joey, trained by long years of controlling behavior from Dawson, probably does.]
  • I’m kind of unmoved by Jack’s plight, but Kerr Smith’s crying has never been better. –Janes
  • Just like Pacey was always calling Joey “Joayy,” he also totally calls Audrey “Audrayy”!

Highlight:

Slim pickings for true highlights this episode, since when Charlie and Joey don’t sing they’re not actually that fun to watch. I’ll go with M2M showing up, because they are awesome:

Two women (M2M) sing on a stage at a beach, one with a guitar.

Most cringeworthy moment:

“You rule, you rock, you are a golden god, now accept it,” Joey says to Dawson, of the Hollywood meeting. “Golden god”? Holy hell was THAT some unwarranted praise. Shot!

Drunkenness rating:

Twenty-eight shots. We’re almost as wasted as Jack right now.

Season 5, Episode 20 “Separate Ways Worlds Apart”

By Janes

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 11.19.28 AM

RIP Charlie. It was nice knowing you and your abs.

We open on Audrey finding a scrunchie on the doorknob, and smiling cutely to herself that she’s just been sexiled. Except she hasn’t really been sexiled, because Joey and Charlie aren’t doing anything close to sex. They’re just cuddling and kissing—still without tongue! This would be kind of cute if he were going to be an actual love interest, but like Nerdy Spice said, what’s the point of dating a bimbo like CMM if there’s no sex involved?

 

Joey goes on and on about how the best part of their relationship is that they know nothing about each other (um, ouch?) and that they don’t have to bear the burden of “18 years of expectations.” Fair enough re: Dawson, but didn’t they just stay up all night doing the “getting to know you” thing in Florida? If he knows about the “7th grade crimping iron incident,” he probably knows everything he needs to know.

Apparently that was too subtle a hint, and Charlie does not understand that this is a casual fling. He gets a very convenient opportunity to go on tour with his band and breathlessly asks Joey to come with him (not to sing, just to be his groupie, I guess). When she points out that that’s crazy, he starts talking about staying. Joey has a shockingly realistic response to all this, and tells a swooning Audrey that it’s “not romantic, it’s frightening” and that “many levels have been skipped here.” Later, Charlie officially tells Joey that he wants to stay for her, and she freaks out. Which would be perfectly reasonable, except she thinks the issue is that her It Girl specialness somehow forces guys to give up their dreams “until they’re left sad and dreamless in Boston.” (Heh. That last part is kind of funny.) Ugh. Sure. When women change their lives for men, that’s totally normal–but when men do it for women, it’s the woman’s fault for hypnotizing the man with her big eyes and It Girl siren song. Shut up, College Joey.

At Charlie’s final show, Pacey and Joey have this adorable moment where Audrey says Charlie is “smitten” with Joey and Pacey says he “doesn’t blame him.” (Aw! True Love!) This inspires Audrey to pretend that Joey and Pacey are having an affair in order to help Joey break up with Charlie, which is insane on several levels. First of all, is Audrey really not at all threatened that her boyfriend was madly in love with her It Girl roommate less than a year ago? (Shot for pretending P/J never happened!) And second of all, wasn’t the whole point of this that Joey doesn’t want to break Charlie’s heart? Call me crazy, but telling him that his girlfriend is cheating with her hot ex doesn’t seem like the best way to let him down easy.

So there’s this whole dumb scene where Audrey and Joey pretend to fight over Pacey. Audrey goes so far as to call her a “slut,” and Joey calls her a “hussy.” Really? “Hussy”? Joey’s all worried that she “can’t even have a fling properly,” but she should probably be more worried that she can’t trash talk without sounding like Grams.

Even Charlie isn’t stupid enough to think this is real, which is pretty funny. He says, “That’s a lot to go through to break up with a guy,” and I actually feel sorry for him. But then Joey replies, “Would you have responded to anything less?” and I’m reminded that he’s stalkerish and kind of the worst. Oh, well.

But THEN, he does the cutest thing this side of Pacey buying her a wall, and freaking SERENADES her outside her dorm room window! With the song she sang the first night they kissed! I’m fully aware that this is also kind of stalker-y behavior, but I’m with Audrey. He could not be cuter. [WHAT?! This is not cute! I judge you! –Nerdy Spice]

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 11.10.34 AM

They say a sweet goodbye, and the Charlie saga comes to an end. And as fun as it’s been, it ultimately feels like a pointless exercise. Joey has been talking ad nauseam all season about taking risks and being a new person, but there’s nothing more It Girl-like than flirting (literally) with taking risks without actually taking any. I certainly didn’t want her to sleep with Creeper, but if she had (and it had been coded as a victimization), that would at least have developed her character a bit. And Charlie was an even more perfect opportunity—they could have had a fun fling, she could have realized that not all of her ideals from childhood were absolutely correct, and then it would make sense for her to reject Dawson’s imminent romantic gesture. But since their endgame is to bring D/J back together by the finale, the writers have boxed Joey into this weird place where she’s the default protagonist, but doesn’t really get to develop or change at all, because she needs to remain the pure, almost-virginal It Girl who represents all of Dawson’s childhood dreams.

 

It actually maddens me to no end that Charlie’s plotline ends like this. When I first saw this, I was just waiting for Charlie to prove that terrible men don’t change, no matter how smart or sexually pure you are. It would have been so much more interesting if Charlie had screwed Joey over in the banal, unromantic way that he screwed over Jen and Nora. But instead, Charlie leaves on an absurdly high note, telling Joey that she has forever changed him, because she’s so wonderful and perfect, no boy is immune to her charms. Even worse, he tells her he wants to become “a person of substance,” which just feeds the sexist notion that Joey can change him because she is a “person of substance,” while none of his previous girlfriends were. It’s fitting that Audrey makes a “you make me want to be a better man” reference (shot!), because this is about as retrograde as a Jack Nicholson movie.

Pacey and Audrey win for most boring plotline of the episode: Danny sold the restaurant and now there’s new management. Sherilyn Fenn plays the witchy new boss, who acts like a hard-ass capitalist who’s ready to fire anyone who gets out of line. Pacey thinks he’s going to get fired because he mouthed off to her, but they cast Sherilyn Fenn and her crazy-arched eyebrows, so we can predict that she’s going to fire Audrey just to get in his pants. What is up with all of these hot, successful older women sexually harassing young men in their place of their work this season? Like any woman who worked her way up in a male-dominated field could afford to be so unprofessional.

But the cringiest plotline belongs to Dawson, who reschedules that agent meeting from last episode, and is stupid enough to let Oliver–who claims he “shines in practice meetings…. with family members”–go with him. Dawson acts like a normal human, while Oliver immediately starts insulting the agent’s movies and going on unhinged rants about how talented he is. The agent sincerely asks if he’s on drugs, then escorts them out. I kind of feel for Dawson, but honestly, what did he think was going to happen?

They have a fight after this meeting, but it’s weirdly subdued. Dawson almost-calmly tells Oliver that he was pretending that they’re something they’re not and that he’s being “naive,” when most normal humans would be like, “WTF YOU JUST RUINED OUR CAREERS.” Dawson says “maybe” they shouldn’t make another movie together, and Oliver gets all doe-eyed and says, “Are you saying you want to–end the partnership?” And Dawson actually backs down because he feels bad! It’s official–Dawson is finally the saintly pushover he always claimed to be.

  • Did Joey wake up and secretly go get a blowout before sneaking back into bed with Charlie? WHO WAKES UP WITH HAIR LIKE THIS? —Nerdy Spice
    Joey sits in bed with a pink t-shirt and a perfectly flippy blowout.

  • I love how Joey is alarmed that Charlie is taking this all too seriously, even though she has already correctly identified him as stalking her in Florida. Not to blame the victim or anything, but maybe don’t date your stalker if you don’t want to be pressured into a premature commitment. —Nerdy Spice
  • Seriously, Sherilyn Fenn has never played a TV character who didn’t deeply annoy me. As Pacey’s supposedly tough boss who immediately embarks upon a course of sexual harassment herself, that streak is definitely continuing. —Nerdy Spice
  • I can’t believe Audrey is reassuring Joey she’s not a horrible person while Joey ignores Audrey being fired to rant about her dumb boy problems. —Nerdy Spice
  • Audrey calls Joey “Bambi eyes.” Lol! Shot for her awesomeness!
  • Charlie’s face of sheer disbelief at anyone other than himself being called a “fantastic male specimen” is everything: —Nerdy Spice
    Charlie smirks in disbelief (closeup).

  • I feel like Joey and Audrey were, subconsciously, all too glad to take out a little aggression on each other over the fact that, respectively, Audrey slept with Joey’s ex-boyfriend and that Audrey’s boyfriend will never love her the way he loves Joey.  —Nerdy Spice

Highlight

Let’s be real, a serenade from CMM was all any of us wanted back in the 90s.

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 11.16.07 AM

Most Cringeworthy Moment:

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 10.55.46 AM

I thought for sure it was going to be Oliver’s meltdown, but I forgot that Alex Pearl attacks Pacey with her mouth!! Gross! What is up with all of these female authority figures attacking Pacey with their mouths?!

Season 5, Episode 21 “After Hours”

By Nerdy Spice

Interior at a library, Joey and Dawson sit at caticorner chairs, Joey with a book and a coffee, and Dawson staring over at her.

Finals week is here, and Joey sits in the library studying Beowulf and economics while everyone else’s life gets very, very exciting. Somehow, this episode manages to make Joey the center of the universe even though nothing happens to her this episode, which is… impressive.

Dawson is her first study partner, and definitely the worst. He spends some time crinkling potato chip bags and laughing his incredibly dorky high-pitched laugh (TBH, that’s one of my favorite things about him because it’s just so adorably incongruous with the sexy leading man thing he was supposed to have going on, but people with annoying laughs should be self-aware enough to remain very serious at the library!) at the movies he’s watching to “study” for his finals. Finally Joey kicks him out, and good riddance.

He betakes himself to the theaters, where he runs into the “drama queen” film critic, Amy Lloyd, who he met at his screening. She takes him back to her place to “watch a video,” which Dawson seems, adorably, to think is the real purpose of his visit.

Of course they end up doing it on her living room floor instead, after some rather obnoxious discussion of debut films: she thinks first films are never that great, while Dawson thinks first films can be original, and names eight examples: Reservoir Dogs, Les Mistons, Strictly Ballroom, Maltese Falcon, Body Heat, Clerks, Ordinary People, Say Anything. Yup. It’s a list of eight movies, all by male directors (and I believe all white directors, though that’s harder to tell from IMDB). In fact I’m not sure that this entire show has ever once referenced anything by a female director. Why doesn’t Amy Lloyd, erstwhile aspiring female director, point this out?

Anyway, he discovers a videocassette of Amy’s own thesis film conveniently strewn on the floor, but she insists that she wasn’t actually made to be a filmmaker and tells him that her life has its consolations. Also, they talk about their breakups; she threw a Cuisinart at her ex’s head, while Dawson basically admits that he still wants Joey. Then Dawson, with his typical gross casual sexism, asks, “What makes a girl decide to spend the night with a guy she hardly knows?” Oh, shut up, Dawson. Amy Lloyd rightly responds to this with, “The same thing that makes a guy decide to.” But then she goes off on a weird thing about how women sleep with guys because of their shoes (no). Apparently she likes Dawson’s Skechers.

In the end she sends him packing with a remark that they’re in different places in their lives, but they agree to stay in touch (which doesn’t actually end up happening, at least on screen). I kind of like Amy Lloyd, TBH. Her shoe thing was dumb, but in general, she is quite charmingly feisty and bratty. Sort of a smarter Abby Morgan, all grown up–even down to the high-pitched baby voice.

Jack, like Joey, spends most of the episode studying. First he pops up at Pacey’s because he’s been sexiled by Grams and Clifton Smalls (who are claiming it’s for “choir practice”… gross! Shot for that unforgettably yucky euphemism!). He studies at Grams’ house, where she sweetly provides him coffee; he tries to bug Joey to help him study, only to realize that Joey doesn’t know multivariable calculus. The dumbest part, though, is that he shows up at the frat house to beg to use their files of notes and tests from previous semesters of the class. When they refuse, he lectures them about being kind to people and caring about their suffering, which is all very noble and everything, except that he’s literally there asking them to help him cheat! Luckily, his lecture does actually work on the hot closeted brother, Eric, who shows up at Grams’s place with pilfered notes from the frat archives and helps Jack prepare. In the morning, Jack heads off to the exam, but not before kissing Grams on the forehead after she hands him a paper bag full of baked goodies, in a very sweet wordless scene.

Grams looks to her right, her hands over her heart, smiling.

Joey’s third guest is Audrey. The backstory is that Pacey, after having been assaulted by his new boss Alex, is racked with guilt but decides, on the unwise advice of Jack, not to tell Audrey. The awkwardness is compounded when Alex shows up at Pacey’s apartment (really it’s Danny’s; Pacey is crashing there till Danny rents out the place) to “apologize” with a bottle of champagne as a gift. The scene only gets more inappropriate from there. Supposedly this woman has an MBA, and…I’m pretty sure that the correct response for when you’ve kissed a subordinate against his will is definitely NOT to come to his house uninvited, bring him alcohol, remark on how cute he looks in his uniform, and then suggest that you take over the lease of the apartment where he’s staying and “work something out” where he can stay on your couch. Maybe she should’ve studied a little harder in her What To Do When You’ve Sexually Harassed Someone seminar.

Due not to her kindness (as Pacey pretends to believe) but as an obvious part of her plan to rip Audrey and Pacey apart, Alex reinstates Audrey at the restaurant. Audrey quickly figures all this out, chalking it up to women having a special “shorthand” they use to communicate with each other, and quits her job in dramatic fashion. She then goes to bother Joey at the library, but Joey, refusing to believe that Pacey would cheat, suggests that he’s probably just preparing some kind of nice surprise for Audrey. Whereupon Audrey immediately forgets all her problems in the sheer joy of speculating about possible presents. She decides that he’s probably getting her earrings (to go with her turquoise ring, she says excitedly!), or a spa weekend. Heh.

Meanwhile, Pacey is not doing a great job keeping his distance from his predatory boss. That night, when he’s about to leave, he notices that she’s working late and invasively insists that she shouldn’t stay in this neighborhood late at night. (I bet the reason he wants this woman is that he knows Audrey would’ve laughed in his face at this obnoxious benevolent-sexism routine.) Apparently they’re close to where Joey was mugged. Ugh, I doubt that Joey would appreciate being used as an excuse for Pacey to cheat on Audrey! So he walks her home, where they almost kiss again, and then voluntarily urges her to “come by his place” to check it out.

He’s basically giving himself every possible opening to just start hooking up with her already, and barely squeaks by with his chastity intact… for now. But Alex decides to take him up on his offer, an hour later (at 2am) when he’s showering. For some reason Pacey acts all perplexed that she’s shown up in the middle of the night, like his invitation to her to check out his place wasn’t clearly a strategy to throw them together in an intimate setting (not that she’s blameless; she’s an adult and his superior so any hints he was throwing out should have been properly ignored). So then SHE manipulates him into forgiving her by getting all “Woe is me, I’m so bad at understanding people” on him, and then manipulates him into pouring her a glass of the champagne she brought over earlier, as if we didn’t already know she’d brought it over hoping to get him drunk and seduce him.

Audrey walks in to the door they incautiously left hanging open, just as Alex is waxing disgusting about the “heat” between them. “Might want to shut the door, Pacey. It’ll keep the heat in,” she says. Good one! She wins the scene again — shot! He chases her out to the road to offer a series of lame excuses, which she doesn’t believe. She accuses him of liking it because he doesn’t quit, which is admittedly a little insensitive, and he points out that he can’t just quit a job like she can, which is true but so totally beside the point that Audrey just storms off.

The worst part is that when he comes back in and finds Alex calmly waiting on the couch, looking for all the world like a cat that’s just finished sharpening her claws on your nicest coat and has curled up on the couch to bask in a job well done, he sits on the couch with her and starts passionately making out with her! Ugh, Pacey, you are the WORST right now! Then Alex quickly comes back to being the worst by stopping him. “Just knowing that we could do it, it’s enough,” she says. “It would just be inappropriate.” And I mean, I’m not saying that you have to sleep with someone just because you broke up their relationship with a series of obvious seduction maneuvers, but… come on. It’s just WEIRD not to.

Now that he didn’t get laid, Pacey decides he wants Audrey back and spends a brief ending montage calling her and leaving unpersuasive voicemails on her machine. She barely resists picking up, but you can totally tell she’s inches away from melting. Stay strong, Audrey! This Pacey is not the right Pacey to waste your girlhood on! [I forgot exactly how bad Pacey’s behavior is this episode. Alex is the real culprit, of course, but still. Audrey really shouldn’t forgive him. —Janes]

In the morning, a satisfied Dawson returns to the library with coffee for Joey. He asks her if she likes his shoes; she does. I guess this is supposed to be significant, in lieu of Dawson actually doing something about all these big feelings for Joey. At least he’s not doing his dorky laugh!

  • This scene with Jack and Pacey veers way too quickly between “it’s still sexual harassment if your female boss kisses you against your will” (yes) to “you are secretly attracted to her so that immediately means you’ve provided consent for everything and anything” (hell no).
  • Jack meets Alex, gets so flustered by her hotness that he forgets his own name, and then tells Pacey he’s “in trouble” right in front of her. Why is Jack so heterosexual?? —Janes
  • Dawson is possibly the most annoying library patron ever: eats snacks out of crinkly bags and laughs in an unbelievably high pitched voice at stuff on his laptop. SHUT UP, DAWSON.
  • Why is Jack, a mediocre student on his best day, taking college-level multivariable calculus?? —Janes
  • They meta-explain why they’re not doing a verbal rundown of how the sex was: because there’s no cutaway in real life, whereas in film you need to spoonfeed the audience the awesome sex they weren’t allowed to see. Oh, I see what you did there. Shot!
  • Audrey says “I think he could be cheating on me.” Joey’s not very bright response: “Who?” Audrey, rolling her eyes: “Carlos, the dorm security guard.” Shot for Audrey being the funniest person in this scene. That WAS quite silly of Joey.
  • Although Audrey follows this up with, “She’s a femme fatale with an MBA in How to Take Your Man Away.” Gross. True, but sexist.
  • I love how Audrey calls Joey “Bunny” all the time. It’s super adorable, as is the little wink she gives Joey when she talks about Pacey giving her turquoise earrings. And her turquoise ring IS awesome.
    Audrey is seen smiling with eyes downcast, wearing a big bright turquoise ring.

  • Amy says she may not have had as much raw talent as Dawson, and instead of preening and agreeing with her, he asks seriously how she knows that. Wow, Dawson actually openly doubts that a woman has less raw talent than him? He has grown up.
  • Ha, Joey does not know how to pronounce Worcester. She thinks it’s “worster.”
  • Amy Lloyd declares Dawson a “passionate guy.” Uh… shot for that completely unwarranted praise.
  • How are all these people getting into the student library? Neither Dawson nor Jack goes to Worthington.
  • According to IMDB, the fact that the movie Storytelling is playing in theaters when Dawson runs into Amy is a somewhat snarky nod to the fact that James van der Beek was set to star in, but then cut out of, that movie. Ouch! Shot!

Highlight:

After engaging in a series of not-exactly-sotto-voce conversations herself throughout her night in the library, and bringing Dawson over to giggle and crunch on chips, Joey decides that she’s going to be the arbiter of library quietness somewhere around 3am. She chases away two people who are making out on the chair across from her, telling them to get a room, and then she makes this hilarious face while saying, “It’s a library” in her snottiest duh voice:

Shot of Joey making a "duh" face while holding a printout full of highlighting.

I just watched it three more times and giggled each time. Love it. Shot for Joey hating fun!

Most cringeworthy moment:

Just every time Pacey and Alex are in the same room. EVERY TIME. It’s so gross and wrong.

Drunkenness rating:

Seven shots, not enough to make “choir practice” tolerable!


Previous installment here.

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