This was a strange episode.
Dawson and Joey are watching a horror movie, which you can’t tell at first, because all you hear are the sounds of a woman grunting, so it sounds more like a porno. Joey is all scared and freaked out by the killer chasing down a buxomy teen, and Dawson thinks it’s hilarious. Joey gets so disturbed that she turns the movie off and, rather than just admitting that she’s scared, says that she thinks horror movies are juvenile. “There’s already enough horror in the world,” she remarks, turning on the news to a story about a serial killer named, creatively, The Lady Killer, and reports that he may be heading toward The Creek. As she uses this perfectly timed story to try to illustrate to Dawson that she was right, she realizes that he’s disappeared from the bed next to her. How did he do that? Wouldn’t she have seen and felt him get up? She was sitting right next to him, for God’s sake! She looks around the room for him, and he pops out from under the bed wearing a scary mask, causing her to lose her shit (maybe literally).
Pacey reveals that, because he’s a giant DWEEB, Dawson’s favorite night of the year is Friday, the 13th, which also just so happens to be that night. Pacey wants to know his plan, because apparently Dawson is an amazing prankster on Friday the 13th, and his parents, having nothing to add to the plot this episode, will conveniently be out of town. Dawson tells Pacey that maybe Joey’s right; that the real world is more terrifying than pranks, just as a skull shoots out of Pacey’s locker! Oh, Dawson, you card!
Cliff, the football stud, stops by Jen’s class and asks her out again. She tells him that she’s really not into dating since Dawson fucked everything up by being weird last episode, and Cliff’s like “No shit, he’s a dud. Of course you’d be turned off to dating.” Jen defends Dawson, but can’t answer why they’re not still together when Cliff presses further. To avoid further awkward questioning, Jen agrees to go out with him. Jen remarks that Dawson is super funny, and Cliff gets super threatened and says that whatever funniness Dawson may have shown Jen before, he can do better. To illustrate just how low that bar has been set, Joey screams as she finds a rubber snake in her backpack.
Pacey continues to freak Joey out by discussing The Lady Killer over lunch. Apparently, he carves out his victims’ hearts after stalking them for weeks. His victims are always 100 miles apart, which puts them in prime location for him to swing through The Creek. Dawson shows up and announces his grand plans for the evening; a seance. Jen tells Dawson that she obvs can’t come because she has a date, and then asks Dawson if he’s bothered by that. Why? What do you hope to accomplish by rubbing your date in Dawson’s face, Jen? They go back and forth about how neither of them are bothered by it, as Pacey eats a dismembered finger that Dawson stuck in his fries. What a goofball!!! Jen then gets all butthurt that Dawson hasn’t tried to scare her yet, and asks if they’re even friends. Dawson’s “pranks” are all shitty, so maybe he already has tried to scare Jen and it just went over her head.
Dawson’s film class is discussing “Friday, the 13th”, naturally, and…wait, Dawson is a student in that class now? Like, he’s sitting in the middle of the room with his books out and everything! He must have some good dirt on that teacher or something. If it’s because he used a wheelchair to make a SteadyCam, I’ll scream. Cliff stops Dawson for advice on his date later that night and Dawson asks Cliff if he’s fucking high. He tells him it’s because Dawson is “imaginative and creative”, which flatters Dawson enough that he tells Cliff to let him think about it. This pleases Cliff.
Jen opens her locker and finds a note that says “You are going to die tonight”. She tells Cliff it’s probably Dawson’s stupid prank for her, and he offers to protect her. She asks him what their date will be, and he tells her that it’s a surprise, because he has no idea what the fuck he’s going to do. If he wants to one-up Dawson, why not get advice from anyone but the guy who could potentially sabotage your game?
We get a “Scream” rip-off sequence of Jen running around her house with a butcher knife on the phone with someone talking in a creepy voice. She’s convinced it’s Dawson, and plans on stabbing him if he shows up. She initially plays along, but then…fuck it, this scene was way longer and more drawn out than it had any right to be. Grams shows up and saves the day. Go Grams.
Joey goes over to Dawson’s, where he’s clearly trying to set up more “pranks” to pull during the seance. This prank looks like a Halloween decoration that he tied a noose around. So imaginative and creative! Pacey swings by to pick them up for “seance supplies”, which I’m guessing will be Lay’s ruffle chips and Diet Coke. Joey makes a comment about how terrible Pacey is at driving.
To illustrate that point, the next scene opens with Pacey driving up on the sidewalk to get to the store parking lot. He asks Joey to wait in the car, because he hot wired the car and can’t turn it off. Why didn’t Dougie, his cop brother, not shoot him or arrest him a few episodes ago, I find myself wondering.
Dawson and Pacey are in the store, and this guy and woman are screaming at each other an aisle over. The guy is being very physically abusive to the lady, and Dawson tells Pacey they need to mind their own business. And they say chivalry is dead. Maybe not on this show just yet, but I’m sure they will at some point. The guy storms off, and the woman, noticing them awkwardly watching the whole exchange, asks Pacey and Dawson if they need some booze. Pacey invites her to the seance, so she steals them a bottle of wine.
As Joey is sitting in the car, this normal looking dude strolls up to the window and acts all weird. He’s looking for Providence and needs directions. Joey rolls her eyes and gives him some of the most ludicrously vague directions ever. The guy doesn’t take her directions, probably because they suck, and Dawson has to step in to save the day. Maybe he should prank that guy too! He lectures Joey about the dangers of talking to strangers, just as Ursula and Pacey jump in the car and speed off, the abusive guy, Ursula’s boyfriend, chasing them on foot. I’m sure this won’t come back to teach us all a very important lesson!
Cliff stops by Jen’s to pick her up for their date, and Grams salivates over him. Legitimately. It’s kind of gross how into Cliff she is. Then we learn he volunteers at her church, and you just know she’s waiting for Gramps to kick the bucket to get some of that hot, high school quarterback action. Jen hoses her down and asks where they’re going. Why, to Dawson’s, of course! He’s having a bitchin’ seance! How cool is that!? Jen isn’t thrilled.
At Dawson’s, Jen confronts him about the note and the phone call earlier. Dawson has no idea what she’s talking about and tells her that he didn’t plan anything for her, because she’s lame and probably wouldn’t enjoy it.
Ursula opens the wine, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and tells them that they’ll need ice. Who the fucking fuck ices Cabernet Sauvignon!? I don’t care if the purpose was to have her open the freezer and find the mortifying head; why the fuck couldn’t the writers have her swipe a bottle of Pinot Grigio? Something that makes sense? I’m never partying with those dudes and their iced Cab.
So Ursula inserts herself as the leader of the seance, which isn’t really a seance as much as it is them telling scary stories. Dawson talks about The Lady Killer, who, for obvious connectivity reasons, leaves his victims notes and calls them before he kills them. Cliff then takes his turn telling a really stupid story about a snake and a baby, and everyone tells him he’s disgusting and should just shut the fuck up. Ursula takes her turn, talking about two guys who pick up a total stranger at a mini-mart without knowing that she keeps a huge knife in her purse. She’s obviously nuts, in case they didn’t lay it on thick enough. Everyone gets uncomfortable and, naturally, the power goes out.
Everyone tells Dawson that he’s a fuckhead for killing the power, and he has no idea what they’re talking about. Jen then reminds me that this was 1998, as the phone is dead too, so they can’t call for help. How convenient! Pacey tells Joey he’s thinking about asking Ursula to fuck, and she tells him he clearly has issues with women. Mommy issues, in my non-clinical opinion. He gets all offended and tells her that she has issues with denial, because she knows she wants to bone Dawson, but won’t do shit about it.
Jen is off on her own, a brilliant idea for a girl who’s semi-convinced she’s being stalked, and Cliff scares her. She opens the closet and bitches Dawson out, because there’s a bloody mirror with the word “tonight” on it. Cliff says absolutely nothing to reassure her in any decent way, as he’s still convinced that Dawson is just being the prankster he is.
Ursula and Dawson are trying to fix the fuse box, which he rigged with a timer to kill the power, because he’s such a prankster. But there appears to be some legit issue with it now. Ursula talks about her boyfriend, Eddie, and calls him a “psychopath”. She says she loves him, because she has a sixth sense about these things, like how Dawson wants Joey. Dawson denies it, and they rush back into the house when they hear a weird noise. As Dawson tries to find anyone else, Joey falls out of a closet, covered in blood. As he rushes to help her, we get the shadow of a person holding a knife, and one of the worst fake screams in the history of film.
Jen takes off the mask, and Dawson gets all pissy because it’s not funny if he’s not the prankster. Plus, Joey ruined a perfectly good sweater! Jen’s all, “Poor baby can dish it out, but he can’t take it!” and Dawson asks her what the fuck she’s talking about. He didn’t call her or leave her the note, and doesn’t want to prank her because they broke up. Everyone leaves the two of them to figure this shit out, and she asks him why, if everything is always going to be so awkward, did he invite them to the seance/horror story party? He tells her it’s because he wanted to see if this would help him get over her, and because he wanted to help Cliff, because I guess the best way to get over a girl is to help another guy bang her. All this pranking and controlled terror has got Dawson all hot and bothered, and he goes in for a kiss. Jen blue balls him, but asks him to leave her on his prankster list, because they’re friends and all.
Pacey and Ursula go outside, and he tries to work some of his older-lady-bangin’ magic on her. Eddie, Ursula’s psychotic boyfriend, jumps out of a bush, screaming that he’s going to kill Pacey. They run inside and lock the door, and the guy rages against it, beast mode style. He breaks a window as everyone screams and panics. They hear him run around the side of the house. As I’ve said since the first episode, having a ladder leading into your bedroom is a bad idea, and I’m proven right as they all realize that he’s climbing it to get into the house. They run into Dawson’s room, and Eddie jumps out and legitimately starts strangling Pacey. They find a bat and beat his ass with it, until Ursula tells them all to knock that shit off. She gets all pissy and leaves with Eddie, telling them that to make up for the damage, they should swing by the bowling alley, where she’ll give them a discount on shoes.
Nevermind the fact that a man just legitimately tried to kill Pacey, caused property damage, and forcibly entered your home, they all just kind of seem nonplussed by the whole turn of events. No one thinks to run to Grams’ and call the cops before they get too far away? They know where that bitch works! She just told them! This is not okay, you idiots!
Cliff walks Jen home and tells her that the seance was super fun (asshole), because it gave Jen the opportunity to be scared, something Dawson told him she’d enjoy. She doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, and he admits that it was him who called her and left her the note. As part of the call sequence, he had to break into her house, but she seems to have totally forgotten that part. He admits he likes her and didn’t want to screw up. She shoots him down, calling him a “Dawson Knock Off” (BURN!), and he asks for a kiss anyway. She seems inclined to oblige him, but Grams interrupts to drool over Cliff a little bit more. Gross. Jen tells Cliff that he needs to be himself to get into her panties and kisses him, because no one on this show knows how to stick to their guns.
Jen goes inside and Grams hands her a note. It scares her as she opens it, because it has one of those rubber band wind up things inside that sounds like a snake hissing. There’s also a note that says “Happy Friday the 13th! – Dawson” inside, because he’s such a fucking prankster. She smiles, because she knows they’re friends again. Hoo-ray.
Joey is tickled with herself for having successfully pranked Dawson. He asks her why she’d do that, and she gives the completely sadistic, and frankly quite sad, reason that she hoped he’d be sad if she died, and this was how she could test that theory. He tells her that he doesn’t know what he’d do if she died, and she smiles at him. He returns the question and, being Joey, she doesn’t answer, asking if she can spend the night instead if he won’t prank her and he agrees. She pulls back the blanket and finds a bunch of fake bugs underneath. How is that a prank, Dawson? You didn’t know Joey, or anyone else for that matter, was going to be sleeping over, which just means that you put a bunch of fake bugs in your bed that you’d have to clean up later when you wanted to go to bed. Seems inconvenient. Joey turns on the news again, and they report that The Lady Killer had been caught in The Creek. Who was this mysterious murderer? The guy who creeped on Joey at the store earlier in the episode, in case you didn’t see that coming!
So there was a serial killer in The Creek and no one died, except maybe for God.