Oh my God, this episode.
Joey shows up at the video store, where, conveniently, Dawson happens to be working again. Remember, he worked there in the Pilot? Apparently the writers did too. She needs The Crucible because she put off reading the book for a history class assignment. Unfortunately, another student had that same brilliant idea before she did. Dawson remarks how uncharacteristic it is of Joey to not have her school work done and she tells him that she’s been busy. After mentioning the bed and breakfast and getting fired, it becomes apparent that Dawson has no idea what the fuck is going on in her life. The whole exchange is really awkward. After whining about how she’s totally going to fail history, Dawson asks her if she wants to help him with a Blair Witch Project ripoff, er, documentary about witchcraft in The Creek instead of doing the assignment. Holy. Shit. He made a deal with his teacher to MAKE A FUCKING MOVIE instead of doing a research paper? What the fuck? Does he have incriminating evidence against the teacher or something? I honest to God have no patience for this fucking show anymore.
No bullshit, I just screamed “Just do the fucking assignment!” at my television.
Whoa. What just happened? Why am I on the floor with dried blood in my ears and nose?
Joey’s in to help Dawson with his stupid fucking movie.
Over a couple quick interviews with his parents and the principal, we learn the story of Witch Island, the subject of Dawson’s documentary. Back in the 17th Century, 13 teenage girls were sent there and burned alive, so people think it’s haunted.
The gang walks into school, talking about their differing opinions on The Blair Witch Project. Obviously, Dawson thinks it was a visionary cinematic masterpiece. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m burned out on mockumentaries 15 years later, or the fact that I just saw it for the first time at 28 years old, but that movie was dog shit. Ickso facto, Dawson is dog shit. They start talking about Witch Island, which Jen turns into a feminist rant about horny pilgrim girls being persecuted or something.
Dawson and Joey leave and Pacey remarks how cute it is that they’re friends again. Jen asks why she and Pacey have never done the horizontal lambada, and Pacey explains that it’s because they’ve never needed anything from one another like he needed motivation and praise from Andi, which keeps their friendship on a level playing field.
Andi is totally psyched about her new position as head of the disciplinary committee and tells the principal that she went through the school’s guidelines and has all kinds of new ideas.
Dawson and Joey are setting up for another interview about Witch Island. Dawson is happy that they’re back together, which gets Joey all excited until, oops, he just meant that he’s glad they’re making movies together again. Sensing the need for some salve for Joey’s wound, he tries to cover by saying that he is glad they’re friends again, too. Joey isn’t thrilled that she’s apparently in Dawson’s Friend Zone.
Through interviews, we get a little more back story about Witch Island and, hey! Two black students!
As the gang attempts to get on a boat to Witch Island, the proprietor of said boat sees the camera and makes fun of Dawson for his stupid documentary, saying that he’s hackneyed because everyone has been showing up to make faux documentaries since The Blair Witch came out. As he drops them off on the island, he tells them that they shouldn’t be there after dark. Jen throws some shade at him, essentially calling him a pussy and he gets all pissy with her, telling her that people go missing from the island all the fucking time. Spooky.
Looks like Witch Island is a historical site, complete with a tour guide and everything. She sees Dawson’s camera and makes fun of him, making her and the boat captain my new favorite characters.
In the gift shop, Jen finds a spell book and chides Pacey into the two of them trying a love spell, what with them having zero sexual feelings towards one another. He reluctantly agrees.
The tour guide brought Dawson and Joey to the cemetery, where Joey notices that there are only 12 graves instead of 13. The tour guide tells Joey that she’s right, and that the two prevailing theories are that either the girl was actually or a witch and never burned alive, or that her lover made the 200 yard journey by boat and rescued her. Or, maybe she died with all the other girls. That’s kind of a nice, happy medium between witch and rescue, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, the guide gives this incredibly dramatic retelling of the story of a horny orphan girl who was banished to the island, which is why it feels so lonely there. Since the story has nothing to do with her, Joey finds a way to relate it to her and Dawson, saying that the lovers were separated by circumstances beyond their control. Okay. The tour guide immediately gets bored by Joey and tells them not to go into the woods, unless they want to, in which case, she’s got maps.
Pacey and Jen are still in the gift shop and having started the love incantation. It should be noted that they lit a million fucking candles and that apparently the gift shop doesn’t have a cashier, or, anyone to monitor idiot teenagers playing with fire. Jen says the spell and drinks some gross drink. She tells Pacey that he has to drink and he’s all, “Fuck no! Okay.” and drinks it. The tour guide comes in and is rightfully like, “What the fuck is going on in here? Are you idiots trying to burn the place down?”, before giving them a map and telling them that they shouldn’t be in the woods after dark. It’s all so dramatic and spooky.
As they’re walking through the woods, Dawson is romanticizing the 13th witch, because he thinks it’s a super romantic story. Joey has no idea what the fuck he’s talking about. A moment later, they stumble upon a spooky building that looks like a church.
Back at school (wait, those idiots were able to skip school for that stupid documentary!?), Andi is going fucking gangbusters with her new role as disciplinary committee leader, handing out detentions to people for having open-toed sandals, sexy pictures in their lockers and…sideburns? Uhhh, okay.
Despite the fact that it’s on a historical site, the gang just walks right into the spooky church, which also has no adult supervision. Joey reads the story of how the townsfolk locked the witches inside and burned it to the ground, murdering them. Wait. They burned the church that they’re currently standing in, and very clearly isn’t burned down, to the ground? Did you guys even read your own fucking script? Seriously. Anyway, Dawson decides they should leave, because it’s getting dark.
As they’re walking through the woods, Dawson asks Joey why she’s so irked by his optimism. She tells him that it’s not his optimism that’s pissing her off; she wants to know what’s going on between them. He tells her that they’re just friends and she goes off about how he knows absolutely jack shit about her life lately, so how in the hell can they be friends? Dawson tells her that he just thought they needed space and Joey tells him that it isn’t just space; there’s no connection between them anymore, and that scares her.
When they arrive at the boat, they realize that Jen and Pacey have yet to rendezvous with them. The captain is all, “Strange shit happens on this island at night! I’m getting the fuck out of here, with or without you!”, and takes off. Yeah, that’s not a huge liability or anything, leaving four teenagers on an island overnight.
So now it’s dark, and we cut to Pacey and Jen, who are also wandering through the woods, but fortuitously seemed to have thought ahead and brought a flashlight with them for what was supposed to be an afternoon visit.
I swear to God.
Anyway, their magic brew hasn’t spawned any feelings between them. Pacey starts whining about how he’s tired of being the villain, what with being painted as the dick for not taking his clearly psychotic, cheating girlfriend back. Jen can relate, because she broke a 14 year old’s heart. He remarks that sex is good, love is bad and essentially proposes the idea of a sexual pre-nup; you bone someone with no feelings attached and just go right on being friends afterwards. With that in mind, he tells Jen that she’s cute, and she walks away from him.
Back in the gift shop, Joey’s reading the 13th witch’s diary. Specifically an entry about how she fears her lover is going to bail on her and that their relationship was nothing more than an illusion. Dawson reads way into this, because Joey’s been laying it on fairly thickly, and tells Joey their relationship was never an illusion. Joey tells him she wants answers as to why they aren’t back to annoying me as a couple, and Dawson asks her what the fuck her problem is that she can never live in the moment. She tells him that the moment currently sucks and that his rejection really fucked her up. He tells her that they’ll get back together if it’s meant to be and she tells him there’s no way that can happen at their current trajectory. Why’s that, you ask? Because there’s another diary entry about how the lovers were growing distant from one another, of course! As they’re about to continue their discourse, they hear the church bell tolling and bail. After they leave, the tour guide creepily emerges out of the back room. Does…does she live on the island?
I’ve got to hand it to her, though; that she was able to stay quiet and endure that inane squabbling between Dawson and Joey without killing herself is quite a feat.
Dawson and Joey find Jen and Pacey in the church, confused, because they thought Dawson and Joey were ringing the bell. The plot thickens because THERE IS NO BELL IN THE CHURCH! HOW SPOOKY!
Joey is still hung up on the diary. She reads Jen the last entry before her rescuer was supposed to come/she burned alive and is all cynical because she thinks the guy played her and possibly held one of the torches that burned her alive. Jen tells her that she needs to shut the fuck up and stop living vicariously through some dead broad’s diary from 300 years ago. Thank you, Jennifer.
Dawson asks Pacey if he made a mistake by taking time off from Joey. Not that you asked me, Dawson, but I think you made the right decision. For what it’s worth. He’s worried that they’ve drifted too far apart to ever get back together again, and that it’s all his fault for taking time off from her. Pacey comforts him by telling him that the Dawson he knows always follows his heart, and if his heart told him to take time off from Joey, then he made the right call. What about that time he followed his dick and crashed his dad’s boat?
Apparently Dawson and Joey fell asleep, giving Jen and Pacey the perfect opportunity to test out their sexual pre-nup. In a church. The woods are right outside, and you don’t run the risk of your friends seeing/hearing you, or pissing God off, you guys. After agreeing that there’s no personal feelings between them, they try to kiss, but find it too weird. As they take another stab at it and are about to get all hot and heavy, the church catches on fire! There’s lots of shouting outside and OH NO, THEY’RE RELIVING THE WITCHES’ EXPERIENCE!
Spooky! Are you not spooked? BE FUCKING SPOOKED!
So the fire and shouting continues. The doors are locked too and everyone is freaking the fuck out. All of a sudden, a giant fireball emerges from the front of the church, and everything just stops. Oh man, I really hope this was some kind of historical site amusement park ride. That would be awesome. They find the doors unlocked and get the fuck out of the church. By some miracle, they find a boat at the dock and hop in. What about the captain? They’re just going to leave him alone on a haunted island? What a bunch of dicks.
The shot of them pulling away from the dock turns into the closing footage of Dawson’s stupid fucking documentary to get out of having to write a paper. Apparently the principal is also their history teacher or something. Incidentally, when Joey needed The Crucible, the paper was due the next day. How long did this project take? It has to have been at least two days since then. How is that even remotely acceptable? The principal/history teacher thinks Dawson did a great job on his movie. Dawson thinks he found a love story on the island and a girl in the class points out that there were two people standing on the dock as they escaped. Spooky!
Andi is reprimanding a long line of students when the principal shows up and asks her what the fuck is going on. She tells him she read the school guidelines and is following them to a T. He tells her she fucked up, because the guidelines are from 1957, so of fucking course the kids are going to be violating them. In Andi’s defense, update your school guidelines.
Jen finds Pacey sleeping at the video store and tells him they should talk about what happened. He thinks the spooky happenings at the church were a sign, but Jen thinks that the only sign was that they still need to bone. After some discussion, they come to a sexual agreement wherein they can bang each other whenever they need some release.
Dawson and Joey are looking at the spooky footage, trying to discern who the people on the dock were. Joey thinks it was the tour guide and captain, but Dawson is convinced it was the witch and her lover. Maybe the tour guide and captain are the witch and her lover. Spooky! Joey thinks Dawson’s theory is retarded and Dawson tells her that he wants to think it was the witch and her lover because it’s a sign that they found their way back to each other after all. This leads to a drawn out silence during which I’m sure we were supposed to be trying to figure out the metaphor between those two and Dawson and Joey.
Dawson breaks the silence by apologizing to Joey for their drifting apart. You know, Dawson, Joey shares just as much of the blame in this as you. Joey tells him that he was right to ask for some time apart and proposes that they take the rebuilding of their friendship slowly. Dawson’s thrilled to hear this, because they can begin rebuilding their friendship by returning to Witch Island to solve the mystery of the mysterious figures. I hope someone guts them like fish.
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons