In a series with some pretty far-fetched and ridiculous story lines to this point, this definitely was the most contrived.
We open on some kind of commotion at a public forum. Turns out, it’s a school board meeting that the ever adult Dawson, Joey and Pacey are attending for some reason. Oh shit, The Creek is pissed about that badass Caulfield’s expulsion and think the principal acted extremely. Mr. Caulfield is all, “It was a harmless prank! Fire the black guy because now that Bodie’s back, we can’t have TWO!” prompting Joey to stand up and call the whole meeting/town’s reaction ridiculous. Mr. Caulfield throws some shade at Joey about her upbringing, which is a totally classy move that I’m on board with, and finally the superintendent intervenes in the kerfluffle by announcing that Principal Green has one week to lower that badass Caulfield’s sentence, or he’ll be asked the step down.
After the meeting, Gail approaches the hotter, younger reporter who replaced her and throws your typical female shade at someone she should view as her equal. She asks newbie what the story is, and the reporter essentially deems Principal Green a “whacko”, which I’m sure means we’ll get some fair and impartial reporting.
Joey is bitching (surprise) because she thinks that the superintendent’s ultimatum is unjust. She wants to do something about it, but complains about how teenagers are apathetic and unmoved by anything that isn’t TRL. I remember that show! Pacey suggests that she lead a revolution, which is both laughable and terrifying at the same time.
Since Pacey is just someone to take advantage of, Joey takes her bitching to A.J., who’s apparently still on this show. He also suggests that she needs to lead a revolution, and oh God, are they really going to run with this insane plot? Fuck. Bessie calls Joey in to watch the hottie reporter’s story and we get a montage of everyone’s reactions while watching the story. Naturally, it’s fair and balanced and, wait, no. It’s a story about how Principal Green is a fucking dictator who has let the power of being a HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL go to his head. We’re also treated to this lovely shot:
We eventually get to Joey’s comments on the meeting being ridiculous, except, would you know it – they twisted her words into calling that badass Caulfield’s PUNISHMENT ridiculous, burying Principal Green. What a frigid bitch. He was only trying to do what was just, Joey. And he did it for you! Obviously, Joey is pissed at being misrepresented like this.
At school the next day, Joey is calling a meeting to rally the students. Pacey chides her about the rally being his idea, only to round the corner and find that A.J. is standing there. He came into town to help with the protest. Apparently, getting kicked out of school for being a shitty assistant professor and abandoning your post is totally worth some statutory rape with an ice queen.
As they’re standing there, someone tells them that the principal is arriving and, holy shit, The Creek is protesting as he walks in. This is so ridiculous. They have signs and everything. Joey runs out to help him, and he doesn’t seem all too pleased with the frigid bitch who threw him under the bus.
Dawson, having put in a hard afternoon’s work, is naturally whining about it. Since paying for extras gets expensive, we get some exposition wherein we learn that Joey’s meeting went well and that they’re organizing a counter protest against the superintendent. Gail throws some more shade at the new reporter, thinking that she’s not telling the real story. Dawson suggests that she tell the story on her own and he’ll film/edit it and they can send it to the station to be run. Because that’s how it works. Gail turns the idea down because she doesn’t think the station would run the story from their former reporter. No shit.
Or not. At the students’ protest, Gail is interviewing Joey when hottie reporter swings by. She also asks Joey for an interview and Joey rightfully tells her to fuck off. She’s shocked. I’d be pissed, because you’d think a lot of this story would rely on Joey’s comments, that frigid bitch. Someone approaches Joey and tells her that the superintendent would like to meet with her. She has no idea what to do. Pacey thinks it’s a trap, but A.J. thinks she should do it. I honestly don’t care about this inane story line.
Wouldn’t you know it, Joey decided that Pacey could go fuck himself and decided to meet with the superintendent. Why did she do so by herself, though? Wouldn’t it be awesome if this became a Jimmy Hoffa-esque story and she winds up vanishing forever? As you probably could’ve guessed, what with every ancillary character being a caricature on this stupid show, the superintendent is super pompous, telling Joey he didn’t threaten Principal Green; he just asked him to reconsider. He tells Joey that he thinks her little protest is bullshit, and Joey counters by saying she’s petitioned 300 signatures and has a rally in the works. The superintendent doesn’t seem convinced and very smugly tells Joey that she needs to go back to school.
Gail and Dawson show up to interview Principal Green and he’s extremely hesitant to do so. He doesn’t think the story will help because if he acts out, it will only reinforce the image that he’s a sociopathic dictator. Can’t say I fault him on that.
Turns out that Joey’s signatures and rally were all a bluff (again, no shit), so now everyone is pitching in to make them a reality. Jack even hacked into the school’s website to do a posting about it, which I’m sure doesn’t violate the student handbook in any way. Jack also explains that Pacey got 500 copies of their new flier printed for free, which shocks Joey. How has she not picked up on his feelings yet? To keep everyone’s spirits up, Joey gives one of the most lackluster speeches I’ve ever heard, not that I was expecting anything more.
After her speech, A.J. tells Joey that he’s proud of her and she thanks him for being so encouraging. They kiss, which Pacey sees, causing him to act all weird. Can we just make this happen already?
As everyone is congratulating Joey, Bessie comes up to her, pissed the fuck off. You see, I failed to mention that they’re planning this rally at Bessie’s inn, and someone called and threatened to shut her down for using underage labor or something. Bessie thinks Joey should shut it the fuck down because every decision has to be extreme on this show. I’m just spitballing here, but couldn’t they move to another venue? Joey is pissed at Bessie’s lack of conviction, and when Bessie asks what the fuck she’s talking about, Joey makes it a race issue. Oh my God. Really? They secretly hate him because he’s black? That’s what we’re going with here? Okay. Bodie agrees with Joey, forcing Bessie to ask what the fuck is wrong with everyone and storm out.
A.J. comes in and tells Joey that he’s going to leave, what with effectively sabotaging her family income and making her a school board target. She tries to convince him to stay, and he tells her that she’s in good hands with Pacey. Not to mention that he’ll probably find his shit in boxes outside his dorm room when he gets back.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned good guy Pacey is angrily stapling fliers. Jen approaches him and asks what’s wrong. He admits that he has a problem in that he’s in an impossible situation because he fell for someone who will never return said sentiments. Jen thinks that he needs to tell her about his feelings, while he tries to compare himself to Duckie. I’m not even going to get into that. After whining for a solid five minutes, Jen tells him he needs to either nut up or shut up.
Next on Gail’s agenda is an interview with the superintendent. Dawson doesn’t think that she should do it, as it will only be half the story, but Gail disagrees. She thinks it will make her a better reporter for doing so. Except you’re not a reporter anymore, Gail. Remember?
At said interview, the superintendent reiterates that he doesn’t think that his request was unfair, and that the students are full of shit for trying to defend Principal Green. He makes some comment about his decision being for the good of the “community”, and holy shit, this was a race thing! Now that is fucked. Gail makes him read a line in his contract, wherein it basically says that he’s expected to act on the good of the students, not the community. And if the students want him to stay, he should stay. That would be acting on their behalf. He gets all pissy and leaves the interview. Yo superintendent man, ya burnt!
Nicki tries to sneak out of the house and Principal Green catches her. She’s off to the rally and he is upset. She asks him why he isn’t more angry, invoking Dr. King, and he admits that he is angry. He’s angry that he did the right thing and it blew up in his face. Nicki tells him that he has a ton of supporters, and that it would be good if he came and showed them that he supports their cause.
Looks like word got out, because a ton of people show up for the rally. Joey takes the stage and gives some racially intoned speech about how to town treats Principal Green like an outsider. Sigh. I just can’t. She wants everyone at the rally to talk about how he made their lives better. At first, no one wants to get up, probably for fear of being sniped, then eventually the hands start going up. I really wanted Joey to fail here.
A couple students talk, then Nicki stands and talks about how her dad would come home and talk about the students, and how he genuinely cared about them. On cue, Principal Green shows up and takes the stage. He thanks everyone for their support, and announces that since he won’t back down, he’s going to have to step down. But, he reiterates that he’s thankful for everyone that came out for him. The whole event is so underwhelming. Not even a shot fired. I don’t care about this anymore.
Jen congratulates Pacey on pulling the rally off and he’s self-deprecating. Joey, too busy taking all the credit/advantage of Pacey’s kindness, never thanked Pacey, making him feel like shit. What a frigid bitch. Seriously. That’s bullshit.
As Bodie’s congratulating Joey, Bessie shows up. Apparently. She did come to the rally and thought that Joey did a great job, and that Joey is talented and unafraid to accept any challenge. Oh, give me a fucking break.
The next day, Principal Green is packing up all his shit. Okay, seriously, doesn’t he have a contract? I can understand stepping down/being forced out if he fucked a student, but this is fucking horseshit. Honestly. This whole story makes zero sense. Anyway, Joey comes in and admits that she’s not sure if he should change his mind and stay. Wow. Way to stick by your convictions, Joey. Didn’t you just spend the last week tirelessly trying to stand up for what you felt was right? Ugh. She starts crying because she feels like she failed, and apologizes for having done so. I wish he’d tell her he agreed, but instead tells her that he’s never been more proud and thanks her for fighting for him.
As they go to leave, they round the corner to find that the students are lining the hall, applauding him.
SO CHEESY! Oh my God. And the song that’s playing has lyrics, “Thank God for the teachers and the children, so the garden can grow”. Seriously, what the fuck is that shit? He walks down the hallway and out the door while everyone applauds and cheers for him. Still, another black man just became a statistic. Also, whether they realize it or not, the writers absolutely just kept the black man down and made the white man victorious, so great job!
Surprise, surprise, Gail’s story is going to be run. Dawson’s all excited for her, and she explains that the producers actually want her to do special reports occasionally. Only she turned them down. What? She wanted to leave on her own and Dawson inspired her to find an avenue to do so. At the end of the day, she doesn’t think he’s changed at all and is still the quiet hero. Taking down his movie posters doesn’t change that. Don’t encourage him, Gail! Also, again, what was the point of all this?
We end with Pacey revealing a grand surprise to Joey. A wall. Cool. Turns out, he rented this wall for her to paint and continue honing her talents. At some point, you’ve got to stop with the grand romantic gestures and realize that she’s not feeling it. This is getting exhausting. Joey is again shocked that Pacey would help out a frigid bitch like herself, finally recognizing everything that he’s done for her and thanking him. About time.
“Thank God for the teachers and the children, so the garden can grow.” So fucking awful.
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons