We’re in the Leery house and Dawson is alone in bed and flipping through channels. Nature shows are boring, game shows are beneath him and apparently rink-a-dink Capeside has a lot of multicultural viewing options because he finds Spanish, Japanese and Lebanese TV shows. Very interesting for a geographical location whose demographic seems to boast all of one non-white person.
Moving along, he finds some scrambled porn, complete with moaning and bad funk music, and he seems confused that the “movie channel” isn’t working. So, it’s classic old movies for him. And here comes Joey through the window, complaining about sleep deprivation. Seems the new baby is crying at night. So Dawson offers her his bed to crash in and with no hesitation, Joey takes him up on it.
They start discussing Gary Cooper movies and Dawson is musing over how you can’t just be a well-intentioned guy that gets the girl anymore: Smart but not arrogant, and not too full of himself. He almost seems to believe he’s a modern day Gary Cooper, which ha ha ha! No. And within half a minute he’s put Joey to sleep.
It’s morning now in the Leery house and things are tense and robotic with the Mr. and Mrs. Probably something to do with the infidelity. There’s a reference to couple’s therapy, and when Dawson leaves his room it’s such a relief to his parents that they’re no longer alone together, it’s like Dawson is the second coming and they barrage him with requests. But he’s out of there. Mrs. Leery tries to restart the conversation, but no dice.
Cut to Pacey, who’s complaining about how boring Capeside is to some random old guy on a bench. There was just a hurricane and someone gave birth at his best friend’s house, but I guess that’s all old hat. He then walks onto the road without looking and into the path of a moving convertible, which doesn’t come close to hitting him, but Pacey leaps back all dramatically and hollers at him. It turns out to be some cool guy looking for the high school. Pacey gives directions, but then asks for a ride. Nope. Off he goes.
Back to Joey’s house and there’s conflict. Joey can’t blow dry her hair because Bodie’s in the bathroom. But wait, didn’t she sleep at Dawson’s? She said the “human alarm clock” kept her up all night and she couldn’t study for her Spanish test. Jesus, get some ear plugs or go to the library. And looks like Bess is already back at work because ‘Merica and I’m wondering who’s looking after the newborn baby, but no one says.
Now we’re at the high school and Dawson is helping Joey cram for Spanish, but Joey wants to talk about Jen instead, “So, where’s your girlfriend this morning?” Dawson gives Joey no juicy news and the bell rings. Jen shows up and they’re all cute, talking about bowling. Joey leaves and the cool guy Pacey met shows up and Jen looks like she totally knows him. She’s super flustered and ditches Dawson. And Joey never really left and sees Jen walk towards Mr. Cool.
And Jen is sooo not happy to see this guy, whose name is Billy. Sounds like her parents thought he was bad news. Ah! So this is one of her previous sexual partners. He says he drove all night to see her, and she says it was only four hours away. She tells him she’s changed. And Joey’s not the only one who lingered around because Dawson’s watching her from around the corner. And looks like Jen hasn’t changed that much because now she’s skipping math to go for a drive with Billy.
Just as those two leave for a sexy drive, here’s Cliff. Last time I saw him, Dawson was chewing him out at the dance and making an ass of himself. Cliff asks Dawson if he’s seen Jen, so he can invite her to a BBQ, and what the hell, Dawson, you can come too. “Oh, and does Jen have a boyfriend?” “Yes, Cliff, it’s me.” And here I am feeling a little bad for the back-to-back-to-back social dissing Dawson just got.
Mrs. and Mrs. Leery now are talking about activities to do together, and Mr. Leery is not very interested. He gets in a few shots and Mrs. Leery wants to know when he’ll stop punishing her. I don’t know how much time has passed in three episodes, but my guess is not long enough for this guy to be over it yet.
Now we’re back to Jen, who seems to have completely left school for the day because she’s back home, and she’s saying Capeside has been good for her and she wants Billy to leave. Billy seems to be a bad planner because he says he has no money and he’s too tired to drive and he wants a place to stay. It’s still morning, right? Dude, nap in your car and drive the four hours home.
And now Dawson shows up. Again, isn’t it still morning? Did he follow her? How else would he have known to go back to her house in the middle of the day?
Jen takes Dawson aside and asks if Billy can spend the night at his place. Dawson is understandably affronted. Jen, this guy’s bad planning ain’t your problem! Jen lets Dawson know this is the boy her parents caught her having sex with. Good sell, Jen.
Without yet getting an invitation, Billy goes to his car, gets out a duffle bag and dumps the strap over Dawson’s shoulder. What a bold asshole. Oh, Dawson. For his trouble, Jen gives him a kiss on the cheek. But a kiss isn’t going to make this better.
It’s evening now, and Billy’s in Dawson’s room, poking around his stuff, calling Jen “Jenny”, alluding to his not leaving tomorrow and generally needling Dawson. What finally gets Dawson off his seat in anger is when Billy starts messing with his ET doll. He then says he’s not leaving till Jen is his again and challenges Dawson to throw him out of the house. Then he takes it all back. This guy is a pyscho.
Now he’s asking Dawson if he wants any of the dirt on Jen, and Dawson says no. But Billy plants some seeds of curiosity and it looks like Dawson is getting worried.
Cut to Joey, who’s studying near a bassinet. Dawson barges in and without regard for the sleeping baby and Joey’s frantic hushing, he starts loudly bemoaning his current drama. Joey threatens to kill him, and they take their conversation to the other room, not far away with no separating wall, and talk in not-so-hushed voices.
Dawson fills Joey in on the news of Billy and she’s loving it and brushing off all his valid concerns. I dunno, wouldn’t any teenage boy not want to house their new girlfriend’s ex-lover? Dawson says he thinks relationship problems might be hereditary and Joey says they’re unoriginal issues and the town is full of them. Which sort implies that while Dawson’s problems are not special, the town itself is special for its dysfunction, which is just as narrow a view, but anyway.
Joey tells Dawson to ride it out and everything will be just fine, and with that pep talk, Dawson is good as new and he happily slams the door on his way out, waking the baby. Fucker.
Now it’s… the next day? I think so. It was night when Billy was at Dawson’s, then day time when he saw Joey, so it must still be the same day and it sounds like Billy is still, in fact, in Capeside.
So, Dawson wants to talk turkey. Does Billy still have feeling for Jen? She confirms he does, but then goes on to defend his being there: they never got to say goodbye, he was the only one who treated her with respect, etc. Again, good sell, Jen. Shit, she really knows how to say the wrong things to get people to see her side.
Dawson asks if she wants Billy back and she hesitates and now he’s pissed. He tells her about Cliff’s BBQ, says he wants them to go together and for Billy to get the hell out. Jen says she can’t just send him away, but… what? Uh, yeah she can. She can’t put him up for the night, and he can’t afford a hotel, which should settle it. But Jen seems to think it’s somehow Dawson’s obligation to house this guy against his own interests, which he does not want to do. She then asks Dawson to be fair to her, and I think she won the self-absorbed Olympics this episode.
Now we’re at the video store, Pacey’s working, and Joey needs to rent The English Patient. It’s apparently to put the baby to sleep because it fell asleep to that movie when it was on TV the other night. This was before Netflix, kids.
While at the video store, Joey is looking to gossip about the Billy situation and wonders whether Jen will go back to him. Pacey is onto her, and Joey makes a terrible show of hiding how bad she wants Jen and Dawson to break up. Pacey calls her on her bullshit, says this is exactly what she’s been waiting for, and Joey gets pissed and leaves.
Back at the Leery house, Mr. and Mrs. Leery are home from one of their joint activities and they’re fighting about Mr. Leery’s lack of participation. Dawson overhears and sadly closes the door.
At the Ice House, Joey is working tables and is getting impatient with an indecisive customer, who orders a coffee and then harasses her for it 10 seconds later. Pacey shows up and asks Joey to do something that night, a party specifically. After their last conversation, I don’t think he should expect much.
She turns him down flat, while talking about gross restaurant chores right in front of customers, who she’s aggressively clearing a table for. She’s a pretty crummy waitress. Pacey says Dawson will be at this party alone, Bess overhears and sends Joey away even though they’re swamped. You’d think the new mom with the full-time job would be the tired, stressed-out person in need of some me time, but nope. Pacey drags Joey away and Bess seems happy to see her go.
Mr. Leery comes into Dawson’s room to talk. He asks where Billy is and Dawson says she’s probably with Billy. He then complains about the perils of being a “Nice Guy”. UGH. Dawson’s dad gives some sage advice that life is pain and there’s no way around it, you just have to cope.
Cut to Jen and Billy at the waterfront and he’s incredulous that Jen would choose a guy who has an ET doll (Collection figure!) on his bed. He asks for one last kiss, which Jen grants on the condition he leaves. He gets a small peck and she walks away.
Now we’re at the big party, and it really is a big party. This small town certainly boasts a robust teenage population. Joey’s there with Pacey and she’s the Debbie Downer of the whole shebang. Pacey’s off to chat up some girl and Joey tries to damage his confidence first. And Dawson’s here and Joey’s happy.
They revel in what social outcasts they are and Dawson suggests they go rent a movie. Joey likes the idea, but first Dawson wants to get a drink, I guess? Jen meets him while he’s opening a pop bottle. She apologizes, he forgives her immediately and they walk off, leaving Joey in the lurch without an explanation. Ouch.
Joey’s still waiting for Dawson to come back and this Fabio wannabe starts hitting on her. She turns him down, citing Dawson, and Fabio points to Dawson and Jen walking down to the beach. And now Joey wants the drink from the stranger.
Jen is still apologizing about Billy, but then Billy shows up and shits all over her game. Dawson is fed up and wonders why this guy is still here. Billy gleefully spills the beans on the kiss and stirs up more drama.
Joey’s getting drunk and is dancing awkwardly and Pacey takes her drink away. Fabio comes back to claim Joey, calls her Chloe, and Pacey attempts to intervene. No go, Joey-Chloe leaves with Fabio.
Dawson’s demanding Jen say the kiss meant nothing, which Jen initially said it did, but now she’s saying Dawson has to understand that it’s a confusing situation. She’s really good at torpedoing this relationship. She stands there and lets Billy tell off Dawson, then Dawson insults Jen’s past, which upsets her (Quite convenient so she can turn this whole thing around on him now rather than deal with this mess). Dawson says he wants to know where he stands and to choose and Jen walks off and leaves them both. Billy’s happy enough to have busted up Jen’s thing with her new guy, and Dawson follows her.
Now Joey’s kissing Fabio and Pacey comes to save her from “serial rapist man”. There’s a confrontation and Fabio throws a sloppy punch that misses and Pacey knocks the guy out in one counterpunch. Dawson comes running over, no longer chasing Jen in favour of this new drama. Joey passes out on the sand and when Dawson runs over to her she thanks him and calls him her hero. Ass.
The two boys are now escorting Joey home, trying to be quiet as to not alert Bodie or wake the baby. Pacey runs ahead and steps on a squeaky toy in the baby’s room (Why is he in there?), wakes the baby, turns off the monitor, and tries to calm him by talking frantically and jostling him around in his crib.
Dawson lays Joey down on the couch and talks to her about what a hard week she’s had. Pacey meanwhile tries to put a bottle in the baby’s mouth. Where’d that come from? Was it just laying out? Dude, don’t feed the baby spoiled formula.
Dawson is now telling a passed out Joey how he feels about her while he strokes her face. She reaches up, brings his head down and kisses him.
Now Pacey’s telling the baby the plot of The English Patient. Yeah. The baby likes the movie and understands the storyline. Kid’s obviously a prodigy. Dawson comes back to get Pacey, who leaves, and the baby doesn’t cry. Yeah, why not.
At the Leery house, Dawson’s parents are discussing how badly the try-new-things approach is working. Mitch says he loves his wife still and is willing to try. He wants to do something small, like dancing. This guy is a real romantic.
Dawson and Pacey are now rowing back to Dawson’s from Joey’s house and Dawson tells Pacey she kissed him, but that she must’ve been confused. Pacey then tells Dawson that no way, she is in love with him. Then he pulls an oblivious move and describes his feelings for Joey: she gets him, always knows what he’s thinking and feeling and he feels great around her. But no, that’s not love, with Jen it’s love because it’s new, unknown and exciting and that is what love is.
Now Dawson’s back home and Billy’s packing up his stuff. He’s heading home, Jen’s given him the boot and he warns that he can be back in town in under four hours if Dawson screws it up.
Dawson looks out the window after Billy leaves and sees Jen hanging out on the dock. He goes to meet her and starts apologizing, even though, I dunno, seems Jen owes him a few apologies instead. She cuts him off and starts talking to him about his curiosity about her life in New York, and how there is no mystery because she’s the same person, the girl who has to be in a relationship. This sounds like a breakup.
Yep, it’s a breakup. Dawson didn’t see that coming. And now he’s arguing with her, trying to talk her out of it. But no, she wants to be on her own for once and Dawson’s hurt. Jen says she’ll likely come crawling back and he’s like, nuts to you, you dysfunctional chick, and off he goes, but not without one last look at Jen.
And the background music is playing a sad song, the singer crooning “What have I done?” Subtle.
Joey: “Thank you, Satan, for completing this night of horrors by sending one of your disciples to finish me off.”
Jen’s up next and I’ll be back for 10!