Ignoring the obvious Michael Jackson joke.
We pick up right where we left off: the kiss. Joey immediately shoves Pacey off and starts hitting him, claiming that she feels like he took advantage of her. He backpedals, calling it an “impulse”, and she tells Pacey that he’s a fucking moron, because his little impulse has grave consequences for their delicately balanced universe. She’s referring, of course, to Dawson, who we’re apparently still supposed to believe is hung up on Joey. Personally, I haven’t thought about those two in a while. Pacey gets pissed at Joey for making a big deal out of a stupid kiss and she starts walking home. While I can understand her feeling taken advantage of, given her recent break up, she’s still being a giant bitch to the guy who drove quite a ways to give her a ride home. She refuses to get in the car as he rides alongside her, changes her mind, but tells him that she’s never talking to him again. Be more dramatic, Joey.
Bessie is grilling Joey about the giant stick up her ass, and Joey finally opens up about the kiss. Bessie can’t understand what the big fucking deal is, and Joey admits that maybe she did let him kiss her, having not stopped him and all. But she’s super worried about Dawson, which Bessie totally gets. She advises Joey to talk to someone, but never gives her that little chestnut about not being a raging bitch when she does so.
Meanwhile, Pacey opens up to Dougie about the kiss, who doesn’t see it as a problem either. Pacey agrees that he is worried about the ramifications with Dawson. Dougie makes some topical Speed reference, referring to Dawson as the bomb on the bus, and thinks that Pacey needs to talk to him about how he feels. Hell, he may even respect Pacey for coming to him and give him the go ahead. Yeah, Dawson is always the bastion of underwhelming reactions.
Jack is all excited about something. Turns out that since his dad is going to be out of town on a business trip, he invited Ethan to spend the weekend. Andi’s all, “Ohhhhhh, broooooooo! You’re going to be a real man now!”, forcing Jack to reiterate that Ethan is just a friend and there’s nothing sexual between them. However, he never mentioned any of this to their dad, which is problematic, because his business trip was cancelled, and he’s totally going to be a literal cock block now. Jack’s all, “Good, I’m glad. He can see me neckin’ with a dude and deal with it!”
At school, Jen tells Henry that she knows it’s his birthday. She has all these grand plans for it, and he tells her he can’t do any of them because he has plans with his family, which is totally reasonable, but couldn’t he just invite her along? She is his girlfriend. As he tries to console her, a football player walks up and tells Henry that he’s totally stoked for his birthday party. Jen is understandably pissed and storms off.
Dawson, apparently a 60 year old man now, is reading the paper at lunch and complains about how they’re bulldozing the woods to make condos. He thinks they should totally protest. Oh God. No. Not again. That was only two episodes ago, writers! Show some creativity/mercy! Pacey spares us all and suggests that they go hiking, like old times. Dawson is game.
Joey veers off from sitting with Pacey and Dawson, opting to sit with Jen and Andi instead. Jen starts venting about how Henry is a prolapsed anus, but Andi interrupts to make it about herself. She thinks they need a lady’s night to get everyone out of their funk. Some female bonding is in order, and if they hang out doing what will surely be super, amazing fun things, they’ll be more likely to open up and talk. Jen and Joey are in.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Ethan shows up at the same time as Mr. McPhee, who pulls Jack aside and wants to know what the fuck is going on. Jack explains that he’s having a friend over, and Mr. McPhee tells him to get Ethan the fuck out of there. He thinks the fact that Jack never asked him if Ethan could come over was shady as fuck, and that if it really were nothing, Jack wouldn’t have felt the need to hide it from him. Jack freaks the fuck out on him, telling him that Ethan is staying, and if that makes Mr. McPhee uncomfortable, then good; he’ll gladly watch him suffer.
I realize it’s only been like a day since the last episode, but I thought for sure that Buzz was a one-and-done character. Pacey mentions that he has to bail because he’s going bro camping with Dawson. Buzz wants to go, and Pacey tells him that there’s no way in hell he’s taking a 10 year old into the woods.
Is he wearing the same shirt as last episode? Could they not afford a costume change?
Andi, as you may have guessed, is super stoked to be having a lady’s night, while Jen and Joey are unsurprisingly less enthused. Jen tries to get Joey to talk about what’s going on, heavily alluding that she knows what happened. Joey wants to know how the hell Jen knows anything about her and gets all pissy that her life is common knowledge. Rather than getting offended at Joey’s unnecessary reaction to friendship, Jen reiterates that she’s there for her if she needs to talk. Hey Joey, how about return the sentiment? Jen’s obviously got shit going on in her life too, you frigid bitch.
For their super fun weekend together, Jack and Ethan are playing chess. Whoa there, fellas! Mr. McPhee comes in and asks what the happs are, and Jack tells him to fuck off; they don’t need a chaperone. After Mr. McPhee leaves, Jack apologizes to Ethan, who tells him it’s all good. I wonder if Jack realizes he’s slowly making himself look like a giant dick?
Dawson and Pacey show up at the run down, piece of shit fort in the woods. It looks like a Tetanus land mine.
Dawson starts in about how the run down fort is like his life; at some point it seemed larger and extraordinary, but now is a piece of shit. He’s been so focused on trying to reconnect to the person that he was, but has begun to realize that maybe that person sucked. Yeah, no shit. Pacey starts babbling some nonsense that seems to relate to Joey, but stops when they hear something. What is it? Why, none other than Buzz and his friends.
Jen and Joey are really hating lady’s night, what with the facials and nail painting and all. Andi, completely self-involved, won’t take the hint and keeps talking about how she wishes she was younger when everything was way simpler. Joey agrees with her, and the three start throwing shade at boys in general. Looks like their mutual hatred of guys has finally softened their hard candy shells a bit. Andi proposes that they go roller skating.
Ethan and Jack are leaving and Ethan invites Mr. McPhee along to dinner, who agrees and runs off to change. Jack is clearly pissed at Ethan for allowing such cock blockery.
So apparently Dawson and Pacey are cool with a bunch of 10 years olds crashing Bro Night in the Woods. Pacey takes one of the kids’ cell phones (what!? It’s 2000 and they’re 10!), and goes to call their parents. Oh man, I’d love to know how that conversation went:
“Hi, Mrs. Johnson. I’m your son’s friend Buzz’s mentor. Yes, I’m doing it as community service for kicking the shit out of someone at school. I do have a slight history of violence and had sex with a teacher. Anyway, I was wondering if there’s any chance Chad can spend the night in the woods with me, who Buzz just met two days ago, and another complete stranger? Of course there’s a creepy ass fort, why do you ask?”
Creepy cabins in the woods: the rape van of the 20th Century
“Neverland” really is an appropriate title for this episode.
Meanwhile, the kids want Dawson to tell them a story. Being wholly uncreative, he tries to pass off Jurassic Park and E.T. as his own work, but the kids call him on that bullshit. Guess not everyone is a Spielberg fan, you hack. So instead, he starts telling a story about a serial killer named Max who lives in those very woods and kills everything with an ax. Do you not realize that these are 10 year olds who you’ve agreed to spend the night in the woods with? You’re never getting any sleep. But as he tells the story, he realizes that they’re listening intently, which seems to make him light up a bit.
So Jen’s contribution to the evening was gaudy outfits, which they all wear roller skating. Andi won’t shut the fuck up, and in the course of her incoherence, mentions how Pacey used to take her breath away. Joey and Andi peel off of to keep skating, but Jen takes a break, observing the kids’ party room. Except it’s Henry’s party. There’s a clown and pinata. Uhhhhhh. Weird. His strangeness now seems more serial killer-y at this point, and I hope Jen is thoroughly creeped out.
Ethan is actually trying with Mr. McPhee, who is going on about some muscle car he used to have. Jack is an incessant dick to him. As he gushes about this car, obviously trying to be a decent guy, he keeps trying to relate it to Jack, who wants none of it. He mentions a classic car museum nearby, and Ethan is totally down with that clown.
Pacey digs up a box. Apparently, he and Dawson buried it years ago. Inside are all three (!) of Dawson’s Jurassic Park ticket stubs (enough!), a knife Pacey stole from Dougie, a picture of Joey, and some secret code that turns out to be he and Pacey’s Oath of Loyalty to one another. Foreshadowing! Dawson makes some remark about how weird it is to take a friendship and bury it in a box. What are you supposed to do with an Oath of Loyalty? Hang it in your locker? Anyway, that comment seems to make Pacey uneasy.
Jen tells Henry that it’s just a coincidence she saw his party; she wasn’t stalking him or anything. He’s humiliated that she saw his bizarre-ass party that his mom convinced him to have. Sure she did, you weirdo. Jen is just as embarrassed as he is, what with roller skating dressed as a hooker. He reiterates that the childish party theme was why he didn’t invite her, and Jen tells him that she doesn’t care about his weird fetishes; she just wants him to be open and honest with her. They kiss. Seriously though, I’d be way more embarrassed about inviting my fellow jock football players to that party. Seems like social suicide, regardless of whether he’s the quarterback or not.
Mr. McPhee took the guys to the classic car museum after all. He’s really into it, as is Ethan. Since he’s having fun with Jack’s newly sworn enemy, Jack pulls Ethan aside and starts yelling at him about how his dad is total bullshit, loudly enough that Mr. McPhee overhears. He decides to leave, but tells Jack on his way out that he actually cancelled his business trip to spend some time with him. Ouch.
Dawson is going on and on about Pacey’s loyalty, which I’m sure isn’t any kind of allusion to a giant meltdown when Pacey inevitably breaks the news to him that he wants to bang Joey. In the midst of it, he calls Joey his inspiration/soul mate, which isn’t excessive at all for a friendship that is hot and cold constantly. Pacey tells Dawson that the only reason he’s loyal is because that’s how Dawson cast him in his life, which doesn’t really make sense. He goes on to clarify that Dawson is great at creating worlds that people are a part of, citing his stupid Max the Serial Killer story from earlier. Don’t encourage him Pacey! No one wants Cornball Movie 3: Another Awful Horror Movie!
Ethan wants to talk to Jack, but Jack is mad as hell. He can’t believe that Mr. McPhee looked like the victim, when all he’s done is made Jack miserable. Ethan thinks that Jack needs to let it go, but Jack continues raging, being all, “He takes me to a classic car museum and suddenly all is supposed to be forgiven? I hate cars!”, and Ethan tells him that he needs to rethink his stubbornness. All he’s doing is losing more time with his dad by hating him. This seems to give Jack some pause.
Having had a blast roller skating, Joey spills about the kiss to Jen, who’s not surprised. Joey whines about how it was so random and wants to know what the fuck it meant if, or it meant nothing. Jen tells her that she’s really upset over something that supposedly meant nothing. Deep.
Jack approaches Mr. McPhee and asks him why he’s suddenly interested in his life. His response boils down to, “Jack is a good kid. I need to get to know him”. Jack’s fairly shocked by this explanation. Mr. McPhee moves a pawn on the chessboard, and Jack counters. Oh good; late night bonding over chess.
As the boys are leaving the next morning, Buzz says goodbye to Dawson, and mentions Max the Serial Killer. Dawson is touched that his unoriginal, cliché camping story had an impact on a child.
At the store, Pacey and Buzz run into Joey. They’re super awkward around one another. Pacey apologizes for kissing Joey. She was totally right about their universe collapsing, and it was just an impulse. Joey apologizes for overreacting because it was obviously a mistake that meant nothing. Pacey agrees that it was a mistake, and that they can go back to being friends. The whole exchange is awkward and stilted.
As Pacey and Buzz leave, Buzz asks if that was Pacey’s “true love”, and Pacey keeps denying. Meanwhile, Joey watches them walk away with longing in her eyes.
Jesus Christ, is this season ever going to end?
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons