Pacey and Dawson are hanging out in Dawson’s room. Dawson is trying to add levels to his characters in Cornball Movie 2: I Will Kill You. Pacey, meanwhile, is being a distraction, playing darts to his little heart’s content, claiming that his calling in life is to be a Dart Pro. Do those exist? Does Topps have an entire Dart Pro line of trading cards that no one buys? The conversation shifts to their fathers, with both of them avoiding the other’s question as to whether they respect their respective father or not. Apparently there’s a father/son fishing trip coming up and the boys are going with their dads. What kind of high seas hijinks will we see this week, folks?
Hey, it’s Pacey’s dad! Like, for real. I kind of figured he’d be some character they never actually cast. Remember, he’s the police chief, so obviously they had to write him as this super militaristic personality that includes being a real dick to Pacey at all times. Pacey clearly doesn’t like him.
Dawson takes some time out of his busy schedule of adding depth to his shitty characters to talk to Joey. Apparently, he’s been having some issues with Cornball Movie 2, and Joey unsurprisingly acts kind of pleased to hear that. Problem is, Jen has really been on the ball and has helped him so much, you guys! Joey, seeing someone else happy, gets all butt hurt and can’t even pretend to be nice when Jen meets up with the two of them. Jen asks Joey for her help on a story that she’s working on with Gail and wait, when did Jen start being a junior reporter? There has been literally zero allusion to this, and I’ll be shocked if it ever comes up after this episode. Joey is as confused as I am, but begrudgingly agrees.
Bro Dad is all whimsical, explaining to Dawson his odd romanticization of life at sea, which, I’ll give the writers credit, I’m surprised they were able to put 2 and 2 together on Bro Dad’s scuba themed restaurant and a fishing trip. They reach the ship and Pacey tells Dawson that he’s been keeping something from him. What’s that, you ask? Oh, nothing. He just fucking invited that bumbling goon Jack on the fishing trip too!
Oh shiiiiiiiiiiit! Dawson is not pleased.
At Dawson’s house, we see that the participants for Gail’s story on life as a teenage girl are Jen, Joey, Andi and Abby, because of course they are. Kind of wishing for an Ali Larter in a sports bra cameo right now, but oh well. Joey is not pleased that Abby is there, already throwing all kinds of shade at the other girls.
Am I surprised that Jack immediately starts making things awkward between himself and Dawson? No. Not at all. Dawson gets all pissy, asking him why he even came and Jack’s all “I was invited!”. Dawson tells Jack that he should be super worried, because Joey is a giant slut who will probably cheat on him with another Aspergery bus boy that weekend, what with that happening to him. Good one, Dawson.
Gail tries to kick off the interviews by asking Joey what the most important issue teenage girls face is. For Joey, it’s probably not knowing what to do if she were to seriously see a penis that was locked and loaded for sex. We’ll never know though, because everyone stays quiet.
Gail pulls Jen aside and asks what gives, and Jen says that the formality might be making everyone uncomfortable. They all knew what they were getting into. This isn’t Gotcha! Journalism – they literally all showed up to Dawson’s house at a set time and date. To break the ice, Gail proposes a ladies night with all the junk food in the kitchen that she probably has because she’s going through a divorce and ice cream and break ups. Am I right, writers?
Pacey’s dad continues his reign of terror, being super nice and assigning everyone roles for fishing. Well, everyone except for Pacey, of course. Pacey calls him on it, so he gives him some bullshit assignment that he sarcastically refers to as “the most important job”. His assholery is a bit over-the-top, if you ask me, but Pacey did spend 15-16 episodes proving to be a colossal fuck up, so I’m calling it a wash.
Abby proposes raiding Dawson’s room as a means of entertainment and goes off to do so. The other ladies, sans Gail, who I would think would have some objections to four teenage girls invading her son’s privacy, follow suit.
Jack is still trying to ensure that Dawson throws him overboard and leaves him to drown. He tells Dawson that he didn’t steal Joey, and Dawson counters that he’s an idiot if he thinks it’s over between he and Joey. Jack tells Dawson to get a grip and realize that if he respected Joey at all, he’d leave her be. Dawson’s all, “Psh, whatever”.
The girls find a porno in Dawson’s room. I kind of really hope it’s the footage of Pacey banging Tamara. Won’t that make for an interesting conversation the next time Pacey and Andi get together?
A fish starts pulling the line, but before Pacey’s dad can reel it in, it gets away. Naturally, this is all Pacey’s fault and he tells him he shouldn’t be surprised, what with Pacey being an epic fuck up all the time. Dawson decides that this is the perfect time to add insult to injury, and starts giving him shit for inviting Jack on the trip. He doesn’t even have a father, Pacey! Pacey, getting tired of everyone’s shit, tells Dawson to shut the fuck up and deal.
The girls are watching the porn in Dawson’s room. Where’s Gail been this whole time? There have been four unsupervised teenage girls in your home, I’d think that would be a cause for concern. The girls keep giggling/watching in awe, and Abby uses the obvious set up to call Jen a slut. Gail finally shows up and the girls act all innocent with what they were watching, which, honestly, sounded nothing like a porno aside from the cheesy music. Abby decides to out Dawson, telling her that it was a porno and calling Dawson a deviant in the process. Jesus, Gail, get rid of her.
On their way downstairs, Jen tells Joey that she won. Joey flips on her, telling her that every time she turns around, there’s Jen replacing her in another facet of her life. First it was as Dawson’s girlfriend, then his friend. Now she’s producing his movie and Gail is working with her! What the fuck is her problem!? Jen tells Joey that she needs to stop being such an insecure bitch; she’s not trying to be Joey 2.0 (Editor’s note: who would?). Joey tells her she needs to just let it go and accept that she’ll be a bitch to her forever.
The boys/men go to a bar and Dawson gripes about his dad not attempting to get his shit together. Pacey tells him to stop being a dick about his dad and storms off. Dawson’s all, “What the fuck, bro!?” and Jack chimes in that Pacey’s dad has subconsciously replaced Pacey with Dawson, setting a bar that Pacey will never be able to reach.
Now that everyone is sufficiently ladies night’ed out, the interviews can begin. Abby goes first and throws shade at everyone for being so insecure, calling out Joey for having a jailbird dad, Andi’s mom for being nuts, and Jen for being a ho. Gail, finally waking up and realizing how fruitless Abby’s comments are, tells her to leave. Abby gets all butt hurt and protests, but Gail holds firm. On her way out the door, Abby manages to cement herself in the Bitch Hall of Fame, calling Gail the town slut.
Wait, so the guys are sleeping on the dock? That sure is what it looks like, what with Bro Dad laying a sleeping bag on the dock. Don’t they live like 10 minutes away? Can’t they all pick up in the morning after a restful night of sleep in their own beds? Dawson asks Bro Dad what he’s doing with his life, and Bro Dad tells him he isn’t sure. Dawson, 16 going on 60, tells him that he needs to get his priorities straight and get his shit together. Bro Dad apologizes for being a disappointment and tells him that he’s looking for his passion in life, and will know it when he sees it, so can Dawson just back the fuck off already?
Mr. Witter, Pacey’s dad, is hammered at the bar and challenges Pacey to darts. Remember, you guys, that Pacey thinks he could be a Dart Pro. They begin playing. Sort of. I have no idea what fucking version of darts they’re playing, but it’s not a real game. Is Mr. Witter one of those guys who just makes up the rules to suit his own end as he plays? God, I hate those people.
Anyway, after throwing two darts apiece in this cockamamie version of darts, we get this super intense moment as Pacey throws his last dart, deliberately missing the board to let his dad win. Why? His dad calls him a failure again and saunters off, so Pacey, wanting to at least prove to the viewer that he’s not a fuck up, hits a dead-on bullseye.
The interview has developed into a fireside chat, and we get a montage of the girls talking about how they’re insecure. Yawn. We end with Joey’s bullshit justification, which is that she feels threatened by new experiences and people, and takes her insecurity out on everyone else. Or, you know, she could just show some self-awareness and admit that she’s a raging bitch for the hell of it.
Jack is lying on the boat suffering from motion sickness. Dawson is barely able to contain his glee at this, and decides to rub salt in the wound by asking where his dad is. Jack tells him that he bailed on the family after his brother’s death, and that he misses him. Dawson tells him he knows how he feels when it comes to missing his father and Jack’s all, “Okay, Dawson, your dad lives 10 minutes away and you can see him whenever you want!” and tells him to shut the fuck up.
Meanwhile, Mr. Witter is so wasted that he can’t even walk, so Pacey has to carry him back to the boat. Sort of; they make it about 20 feet before he drops his dad. It’s at this moment he chooses to stage a father/son conversation, playing the role of both father and son, with the father character expressing interest in Pacey’s schooling and love life. Pacey, so moved by his own acting prowess in the role of his father, starts crying because he wants to know why his dad gave up on him and refuses to love him.
The next day, we’re on the boat and the line starts going out. Everyone starts panicking for some reason (please be Jaws, please be Jaws) and Mr. Witter tells Jack to be a man and reel it in. Jack can’t do it, so Pacey takes over. After a really funny sequence of spliced together reaction shots to Pacey’s apparent fishing aptitude, Pacey manages to successfully reel in the fish.
Note: I didn’t Photoshop this picture.
On her way out the door, Gail thanks Joey for her help with the article. Hang on, they spent the night? That’s…not weird at all. I get that Joey’s known Gail since she was a baby, but what about Andi and Abby? Even Jen is kind of far fetched. Anyways, she tells Joey that she kind of feels sorry for herself because she always wanted a daughter, but never realized she sort of had one. In Joey! Joey was her surrogate daughter all along, and she’s so proud of her! Now all of Joey’s insecurities about Jen replacing her are sure to go away!
Abby is still at Dawson’s. Apparently she slept outside all night, which is awesome. Hopefully she catches something. She tells Andi that she’s tired of being the fucking scapegoat all the time and Andi’s all, “Then quit being a bitch all the time, yo!”. Abby tells Andi that there’s nothing intriguing in her life like a crazy mother or locked up father, so she has to create drama with her friends to fill that hole. Andi tells her that she should consider herself lucky, because those dramatic family elements kind of suck and Abby respectfully (for once) disagrees. Her mom shows up and she offers to give Andi a ride home, because now they can be besties too!
Joey, now riding on a high from Gail’s pride in her, tells Jen that she’s only competitive towards people she respects, making a really shitty attempt at apologizing for constantly being a bitch. Jen realizes how awful the apology is and calls Joey on it, saying that their little stalemate has gone on for far too long. Joey agrees, saying that she respects Jen, and Jen returns the sentiment.
Pacey won a trophy for catching the fish and, wait, what? Was this a competition of some kind? Were we supposed to assume it was, because nothing was ever mentioned. Dawson and Jack, now with some kind of newfound respect for each other, shake hands. I don’t really know why. Pacey is thrilled and Mr. Witter tells him that he’s proud of him. Haha, JKs. He tells Pacey that he should enjoy the moment, because he’ll probably never have another one like it, what with being a continual fuck up and all.
Pacey is deflated and Dawson asks him what’s up. Pacey says that he’s given up, because he’ll never win with his dad. Dawson tells him that he’s proud of him and doesn’t think he’s a fuck up, and he knows that Andi shares those feelings and that he should focus on those people instead. So nice, that Dawson Leery.
Bro Dad drops Dawson off at his house and walks him to the door. He tells Dawson that father/son relationships are complicated, but that he’s trying to be the best father he can be to Dawson. Dawson, finally realizing that maybe there are worse fathers out there, thanks Bro Dad for not being an asshole and always encouraging him to go for his dreams of making cornball movies. He doesn’t think that Bro Dad is a disappointment. They’re both super touched by one another’s sentiments and hug. We then get this weird moment where Bro Dad goes to walk in the house, realizes what he’s doing, and leaves, all while Dawson watches. I don’t know what that was about, man.
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons