First thing we see this episode is a videotape of Jen walking all casual-like, just being hot. Dawson’s watching the tape (Natch), calling her perfect. I hope this is movie footage and not stalker shit.
Joey’s none too impressed with Dawson’s devotion, and details how Jen’s too averagely gorgeous to be perfect. Her face apparently leaves nothing to the imagination. Now, see, I thought a dress could leave something to the imagination, but one would think a face is supposed to just put it all out there. Anyhoo, Joey outlines a successful upper class future for Jen, based entirely on her face. (Jesus, has she even seen this show?)
After Joey’s done being horrible at predicting the future, Dawson turns the conversation to his parents’ anniversary, and wants to talk gifts. Obviously, this is an uncomfortable conversation for Joey, who knows all about Mrs. Leery’s sexy affection for her co-anchor, Bob, so it’s lucky the tape cuts to Miss Jacobs and Pacey going at it. Of course, in the spirit of fine dramatic irony, they don’t know the dude in the shot is Pacey. But we do!
Dawson didn’t shoot the footage, but surmises he must’ve left the camera running out in the woods. Because most people would just leave their expensive equipment out in the woods running all night, and Pacey, who obviously knows its whereabouts because he’s in the movie, just happens to start snogging his teacher right in front of the camera without getting his face in the shot. Well, I suppose stranger things have happened. Not to me, but to someone, somewhere.
The two figure out it’s Miss Jacobs from school and the scandal of seeing a teacher get it on is a revelatory shock.
We’re now panning the Cape to some light pop rock and the leading foursome are gossiping about the Miss Jacobs sex tape. Well, kissing tape from what I saw. But it may as well be a sex tape they way these people have been treating kissing so far. Everyone finds this funny except Pacey, who truly seems surprised. So he really didn’t notice the running camera on a tripod in the spot where they’ve been filming a movie. Okie dokie! Dawson calls the tape pornographic. See? May as well call it a sex tape.
Pacey tries to play it cool to see if they know who the guy was, which is totally unnecessary because that probably would have come up by now in the conversation. Pacey now says he wants to see the tape and Joey says it’s so he can masturbate to it. Pacey calls her sexually repressed and Jen leaves, late for something, looking to get home before stiff old Grams calls the cops on her. Dawson follows her, and Pacey and Joey insult each other one last time.
Dawson and Jen are walking hand in hand through a nice nature scene and Dawson tells Jen how inexperienced Pacey really is, which is of course ludicrous at this point, but Dawson has had his first kiss so he’s now a worldly man of romance. Jen says the bigger the mouth, the worse the kisses, and Dawson says he never talks about it, which is 100% inaccurate if you count all the imaginary making out he’s fantasized aloud about to Joey.
And no kisses for Jen and Dawson today because Grams is spying on them in what Jen calls a menage a trois. Yep, just a threesome with grandma. Now they’re talking about repressing their urge to kiss to have an even bigger kiss next time, and you know, I’m already growing weary of all the weight put on some simple kissin’. Jen walks off, but then nuts to anticipation, she throws herself back at Dawson and they make out while Grams looks angry.
Inside, Grams wants to know if Jen’s kissing Dawson solely to upset her, which is a rather narcissistic view, and Jen says it’s just a kiss, which, oh, now it is just a kiss! Grams points out Jen had troubles being a big slut not too long ago, which all started with the evils of kissing. Jen’s tired of hearing about her exciting past sex life related back to her by her stodgy old grandma and Grams says she wants Jen to not be a big slut this time, and neither do her parents, and that’s why she’s spying on her out the window all the time.
Jen’s bored of this sort of conversation, says again that it was just a kiss and leaves. Grams, alone in the kitchen, repeats “Only a kiss” with a fatalistic whisper, which if someone were to do that in real life would be kinda weird.
Cut back to Dawson’s house and Mr. and Mrs. Leery are having a married people conversation about how unobservant Mrs. Leery is about her husband’s facial scarring. Dawson knows the scar’s origins and I guess this just shows us how bad of a wife Mrs. Leery is. Boinking Bob, doesn’t notice her husband’s scars. What else?
Mr. Leery tells his wife she should start coming home earlier so she can see more of his face and of course she can’t because she has some screwing around to do first. They have a open-mouth foreplay-type kiss in front of their son, which is inconsiderate, and Dawson gets the hell out of dodge.
Dawson enters his room to find Pacey in there (How the hell did he get in? Does everyone use that ladder?) and he’s rifling through all Dawson’s tapes looking for the one of Miss Jacobs, even though Dawson said he’d let him see it. Dawson is mad Pacey is messing up his dailies, and Pacey offers no excuse for acting crazy, or for having broken into the house. Dawson doesn’t even question the breaking and entering.
Dawson tells him he needs to cool his jets and retrieves the tape from a book that’s been hollowed out. Well, there’s a detail I wouldn’t mind knowing more about. Did he just have that lying around to hide illicit tapes in? Did he make it for the tape? But no explanation is offered.
Pacey sits down and wants to have a heart-to-heart with Dawson about his love life. He says he talks big and knows girls don’t usually want him, but this time he’s got a lady for real. Dawson is floored and wants to know who she is. Pacey reveals the guy in the tape is him. Dawson doesn’t believe him at first and Pacey said no one’s first time should be captured on video.
This brings to mind some small technicalities. The video was only zoomed in on Miss Jacobs’ face. Either they took the action down to the ground, where the camera was not aimed (Unless it was somehow self aware and a voyeur) OR Pacey in his virginal glory managed to make love to his teacher standing up yet not against the tree because otherwise that would have exposed his face and this narrative would make no sense.
Pacey at first wonders out loud if the relationship has any chance (Um, no) and then wants to know if he looked like a gave Miss Jacobs a good shag on the tape. Dawson looks a little weirded out at first but says he did fine, which what? What of the actual lovemaking could he really have seen? I think at this point he’s processing that his no-lady-having best friend lost his virginity before he did, and with a hot older woman. Pacey thanks Dawson for the tape, asks him to tell nobody about Miss Jacobs and leaves.
Next scene we’re back in town and Joey and Dawson are walking together and talking about anniversary gifts. Joey thinks folk art is the best idea because they’re white and middle-aged in the suburbs. Meow, Joey.
Dawson is talking about how gross his parents are with all the open sex they’re having around the house, but also says he’s jealous of all the action they’re getting. Oh, gross! No one thinks like that about their own parents. No one normal, anyway.
Joey says she’s surprised Jen hasn’t given up the goods yet and Dawson calls her unromantic. Joey says that to get in Jen’s pants he’ll probably have to off Grams. Then Dawson sees his mom fitting a man with a suit in the store. Is it Bob? Oh, it is! Joey certainly looks smug.
Mrs. Leery seems a little flustered, either because she was being inappropriate with Bob in a public place in a small town where everyone knows everyone, or because a teenage girl is giving her snotty looks. Mrs. Leery introduces Bob to the kids and Joey gives him attitude. Bob says Mrs. Leery was helping him with his on-air wardrobe issues, which suggests the station could use a stylist, or probably he’s just tellin’ some fibs.
Bob says he knows about Dawson’s film hobby and would love to see his work, which wins over Dawson right away. Joey seems pissed and Dawson notices a little but doesn’t think to inquire further.
Back at Grams’ house, Jen alerts her to the fact she’s going out to see Dawson, and then asks for some honesty instead of dirty looks. Grams says Dawson only wants to get in Jen’s pants, which is laughable because he’s so focussed on Jen’s mouth he may not even be aware of her vagina. Jen defends Dawson’s virtue, mentions his lack of sex-having and Grams says she thinks Joey and Dawson do the sex-having instead. Jen says they’re just friends, and then in a tactical error says also they may just have sexual tension but that’s it. Jen sure knows how to talk Grams’ language.
Grams asks if Jen has feelings for Dawson, which she does, and Grams seems to have a little romance in her because she warms a little. But then it’s back to the “mistakes girls like you make” and Jen laughs because she can’t win against Grams trying to close the barn door after the horse has run out. Grams says she’s not trying to criticize and Jen says she knows and that it’s really just judgement. Zing! Jen 1, Grams 0.
Back in town, Pacey is running over to Miss Jacobs, who’s dining alone in public, and sits with her. This seems a little unscrupulous. She talks curriculum with Pacey and he says he wants he wants more sex books. Miss Jacobs says all the literature he’s been reading in school has sex, but he’s wanting more of the good stuff and less of the sex-kills-you stuff. Well, good luck, Pacey.
Pacey talks about sex where people just wind up happy afterwards, alluding to his hopes for banging his teacher, and he holds her hand. She withdraws and he seems unreasonably hurt that she wouldn’t want to advertise their illegal relationship.
Cut to footage of Dawson’s movie and Jen is giving a weak performance running and screaming from the monster. Dawson wants Jen’s opinion, first asking for honesty and then begging her to like it. Jen first touches on her crummy acting and then praises the work and Dawson, who ignores Jen’s self-criticism, soaks it up. They make plans to go to the station the next day and Jen seems charmed Dawson is so awed by her that he’s surprised she wants to spend time with him. She says life doesn’t have to be so complicated, but this is Dawson’s Creek, so yes it does.
Dawson sits on the bed with Jen and gives her some old movie trivia and goes in for the kiss. He starts pulling her down to the bed, suddenly bolder and probably wanting action a little more since he now knows Pacey’s getting some, and she tells him to hold up because they have time to screw later. And this makes him love her more because although he’s horny, he’s old fashioned at heart and she seems virginal (which we know she isn’t) and he’s really into that.
Now they’re at the studio where Dawson’s mom works, it’s the next day and they’re trying to get Jen to scream properly for a voice-over. The sound guy asks about Mrs. Leery and Dawson doesn’t know or seem to care where she is today. I suspect foreshadowing.
Jen tries feebly to give a new scream, fails, and they quit for awhile. At the vending machine, Dawson apologizes to Jen for being a perfectionist, although we only ever see him do one take. They flirt a bit and Jen points out Mrs. Leery. Oh, and she’s kissing Bob. In the office. Well, secret’s out and some bummed-out rock music punctuates the point.
Jen and Dawson are sitting on a bench and he’s in a bad place. Jen tries to comfort him, saying that although they only ever banter and their talks are lighthearted that he can open up to her, and nope, he’s not interested. He goes right to Joey. They talk in her backyard and Dawson wants to know if she thinks people know. She says people always know and he’s like, well, we didn’t!
But of course Joey did know and now Dawson is mad she didn’t tell him. She says she didn’t want him to hate her for telling him (Which he may have) and that she thought he’d figure it out because he’s perceptive (No he’s not). But then Joey really nosedives the conversation into one about how Dawson didn’t notice the affair because of Jen, which is really not helpful or relevant at this point.
Now Dawson’s really pissed off. They go back and forth about Joey lying and her being threatened by Jen. Joey says she’s bored by Jen, not threatened, which sounds very untrue, and the argument ends with her stammering that she didn’t know how to tell him and Dawson stomping off, “Bye! See you later! Have a nice life!”
Pacey’s riding his bike to the video store (People used to rent movies on VHS, kids!) and sees Miss Jacobs dining out with a man. Uh oh!
Mrs. Leery comes home and asks Dawson where he was because she was expecting him at the studio. Holy bad judgement, Batman! Making out with Bob when you’re expecting to see your son at any minute? Good call, lady. He doesn’t let on that he knows. Mrs. Leery guesses that one of the women in his life is at fault and he runs off.
Now he’s at Grams’ house, declaring his honourable intentions towards Jen and he’s here to pick her up. He talks to Jen outside about whether he’s old-fashioned about fidelity. Oh, so now he’s going to open up. Jen says she’s glad to see him after it looked like he shunned her in favour of Joey. Dawson asks Jen to always be honest with him and she agrees casually.
But then Dawson goes on about secrets maiming and killing and Jen asks if maybe there aren’t just things people don’t want to know (Which of course there are, like for example how many men Jen’s been with) and Dawson has a one-track mind with no room for nuance and says no. Jen questions Dawson on why he thinks she moved to the Creek in the first place.
Now, Dawson thinks it’s for the saintly reason of helping Grams care for Gramps. But no, Grams is an RN and that ain’t why. Dawson’s about to have his innocence blown because here comes Jen’s reveal. Kids in the city grow up too fast and have the sex early, and Jen’s parents wanted her to move away because?
Dawson: To keep you away from kids like that?
Jen: No, I was kids like that.
Dawson’s like, “The sex part?” Yes, young grasshopper, totally the sex part. Pacey’s doing it, your mom’s doing it with someone else, and your girlfriend (who is taking her time with you) has totally done it and with multiple partners. Dawson’s like, so you’re not a virgin after all, huh? And his arms are crossed as he cradles himself with this dark news and this is just not his week.
Jen asks if he’s okay with this and he’s completely not but says he is and that it could be worse. He holds Jen’s hand under duress and the same bummed-out rock music plays from the studio to tie in the theme of ladies having sexual misadventures.
The music is still playing while Pacey stares at Miss Jacobs in school the next day. Jen approaches Dawson, who now seems to be avoiding her, and he gives her a dismissive answer for why he wasn’t around in the morning. She wants to see a movie, but he says he’s got homework. She offers to study with him and he pauses and says he’ll call her.
Jen can take a hint and wants to talk about the sex issue, but Dawson cuts her off and hightails it down the hall, literally running away from his problems.
Pacey goes to see Miss Jacobs and questions her on the dude he saw her with. He wants to know about her other potential partners because AIDS. She doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about as he goes on a jealous rant and she makes a quip about his charm when he acts his age. Ew, Miss Jacobs. Pacey wants to know if it’s gonna be him or that other man, Mr. Gold his name is.
Miss Jacobs then tells Pacey Mr. Gold is gay. This being the still-very homophobic ’90s where “That’s gay” is not considered an offensive thing to say, this is actually quite the breech of trust between friends as Mr. Gold, as a high school teacher, is not out. Bad form, Miss Jacobs. But do what you gotta do to smooth over your relationship problems with your teenage boyfriend. She also references Mel Gibson as a heart throb, which is another troubling ’90s issue altogether.
Pacey, satisfied by Mr. Gold’s homosexuality, now wants to know why Miss Jacobs wouldn’t hold his hand in public. She states the obvious (Uh, we were in public?) and suddenly everything makes sense to the poor boy who couldn’t figure this out for himself somehow. Miss Jacobs says she’s confused too and they share a moment.
Jen catches up with Dawson again and he’s still being distant, and of course wearing his signature necklace. He says he’s fine, which he’s not, and Jen presses further. Dawson’s like, I’ll say whatever you want me to say (Ass), and she wants to know why he’s avoiding her, though she completely knows why. He’s being petty again, so Jen lays out what she thinks he’s thinking: he’s feeling strange, that he doesn’t know her after all, that he’s jealous, that he wants a break. She pretty much nails it, and leaves.
Dawson’s now talking it over with Pacey in the video store they work at and is being a complete prude about Jen. He asks Pacey if it wouldn’t bother him that a girl he liked was not a virgin, and pretty much comes off like a sexist douchey-douche, considering he wasn’t nearly this horrified at Pacey having sex with his teacher, which is actually a crime.
Pacey takes the opposite view and thinks Jen’s done him a huge favour by knocking herself off the pedestal Dawson had her on and is giving him an in to her lady parts, which is also off the mark considering how long she took to kiss him. These two have Madonna/whore issues. Dawson doesn’t see it this way and can’t separate his beliefs about romance from his outdated views on sex.
Pacey calls Dawson out for being a chicken shit about sex, and rather insightfully points out the Jen he thought he knew was not the real Jen and to just enjoy it. Well, that’s not going to happen.
Dawson muses about his non-virgin girlfriend, how his loser buddy is knocking boots with a hot teacher and his parents’ failing marriage on their anniversary. Pacey asks whether Dawson has talked to his mom yet and Dawson says no. He’s going to do something much more destructive to the entire family and just tell his dad. Because obviously giving his mom the chance to do it herself would be healthier for their marriage, but Dawson’s got a hate-on for women who have non-marital sex right now so screw her. Playing a role in destroying his parents’ marriage is unlikely to improve life, but whatevs.
Cut to Dawson’s house in the evening and Mr. Leery is getting ready for his date with his wife. He’s talking about marriage and how much he loves his wife and Dawson keeps trying to interrupt him to tell him the horrible truth, saying “This isn’t the right time, but–” Mrs. Leery comes in, though, and stops Dawson from spilling the beans. She kisses her husband and leaves. Dawson loses his nerve, probably realizing taking revenge on his mom would mean hurting his dad.
Jen comes into the Ice House where Joey’s working and wants advice about Dawson. Joey’s very blunt about not being interested, but Jen is one perceptive gal. She says she told Dawson she wasn’t a virgin and suddenly Joey’s got a smile on her face and all the time in the world.
Jen says she’s mad at Dawson for being disappointed in her. Joey says Dawson is articulate but immature. Well, yes, that sounds about right. She nails his other failings such as pouting when he doesn’t get his way and seeing things only in black and white. And apparently he’s new to puberty and women, generally. Joey says she doesn’t envy Jen dealing with him, which is lies, lies, lies, and Jen asks if Joey’s trying to scare her off (Yes) and Joey says no (More lies!)
Jen asks what Joey would do, who alludes to the fact she’s not the right person to ask (Because she loves Dawson, d’uh) and she says ultimately she’d wait for him to grow up, which she’s been doing, herself, for quite some time now and plans on doing indefinitely.
Pacey’s at Miss Jacobs’ house and wants to know her age and sexual experience level, both of which are things only a 15-year-old boy would be stupid enough to inquire about. Miss Jacobs rattles off some numbers and Pacey seems mildly okay about it. She then knocks one off the list of prior lovers by saying “the one in high school” is Pacey, which makes him happy.
Jen is back at home talking to her comatose Gramps about what a slut Grams and Dawson think she is. She’s feeling the pangs of being judged and sad music plays as it cuts to Dawson viewing the moon, contemplating other people’s life choices.
Joey’s there now and Dawson gets in a dig about how she’s not his friend. But she pretty much is because she’s there to make him stop being an ass and talk to Jen again. He’s all, The world is hard; I’m a teenager! But then he starts talking about how he doesn’t think they’re friends anymore because things are changing, and Joey’s confused and irritated and starts talking in metaphors involving science and museums. But they make up immediately and talk about how they must’ve been married in a past life. Then there’s some banter with sexual tension and they make up some nonsense wedding fantasy story about themselves that is hard to take seriously and things go back to normal.
Joey hits the road with the line “All this subtext is making me tired.” Me too, Joey. And with one more weird wedding reference she’s off into the night, muttering to herself about the Smithsonian while Dawson stares at the moon to sad music.
Most Verbose Articulation: Joey, you’re on a roll. “It’s called social evolution, Dawson. What’s strong enough flourishes and what doesn’t we look at behind glass cases in science museums.”
Jen’s got episode 5 and I’ll be back for 6!