We start the episode out in Dawson’s room and he’s upset because since his breakup with Jen she hasn’t tried to make plans with him. Huh. Interesting complaint, young grasshopper. Joey calls him out for being in denial the relationship is over. She wants him to get off his ass and move on. She tells him everyone’s going to look at him differently since he’s been dumped (Thanks, Joey) and girls might feel sorry for him, then mentions Jen will see other guys, and that he’ll need to choose whether or not he can be friends with her.
And cue the theme (Not on Netflix today. Wooo original theme!)
We’re still at the Leery house and Mrs. Leery gets a phone call… from Bob. Ooooh. Ballsy there, buddy. Gail tells him they can talk about whatever it is at the office. Mitch ain’t too impressed. Gail defends him calling the house, after having made it clear his concerns could wait. She says, “He didn’t mean anything. You don’t have to be angry with him.” And I’m out. Nothing more in this conversation is going to be as rich with emotionally tone-deaf nonsense as that. And that’s saying something with this show.
Now we’re at Capeside High, flowing in loose-fitting ’90s fashion. Dawson runs into Jen, who immediately wants to know if they can still be friends. So far, Joey’s 1 for 3. Jen doesn’t get an answer. In class, Pacey thinks the relationship can be salvaged. He feels the way to accomplish this is to pretend to be over her.
A girl interrupts the conversation to say nothing important, Dawson says, “Hi Mary Beth,” and so it looks like this Mary Beth is going to play some sort of role in this episode because that’s how TV scripts work.
Back to Pacey, he’s telling Dawson that Jen needs to feel unspecial so that she’ll return to him in order to feel special. Playing Into Teenage Girl Insecurities 101. Dawson thinks it’s a great idea. Now the teacher comes in and publicly embarrasses Pacey, who obviously did shit on his midterms.
Pacey and the teacher are having a chat. The teacher thinks he’s smart but underachieving. He wants Pacey to do extra credit and he’ll pass him, and he wants him to do it with a partner. Which partner? Oh, look, here’s Joey. They don’t want to work together, surprise, surprise, which is so weird for two people who spend so much time together. Must be all that sexual tension because that’s also how TV scripts work.
Dawson talks to Jen at her locker and says he wants to be friends. He asks her if she has fun plans over the weekend. And now Jen says being friends is a bad idea. This girl is all over the place. She says she has a date with Cliff, which means two whole weeks of learning to be alone are over. And that Joey is 2 for 3. Dawson maintains some composure and says he too has a date and they’ll be at the same place Jen and Cliff are going, the carnival.
Jen thinks this is all very weird, and Dawson ups the ante by suggesting a double date. Jen hesitantly agrees to this.
In the cafeteria, Pacey resumes sharing his plan for Dawson to get Jen back. It involves dating other girls. And look, it’s Mary Beth. Dawson asks her out and MB is concerned about saying yes because she knows he just had a breakup. He says he’s ready, which is quite the fib.
Pacey and Joey are doing their lab work and Pacey’s bored, calling it fascinating. Joey says it’s not supposed to be fascinating, it’s supposed to be educational, as though the two were mutually exclusive. They bicker and insult each other. The usual.
Back at the Leery house. Mitch wants to check in with Dawson about any untoward Bob phone calls. Dawson says no, and doesn’t seem keen on this conversation.
Morning at Capside High and the snails from Joey and Pacey’s extra credit assignment are dead. Pacey dropped the ball and Joey’s pissed. Pacey then details how he tanked their last chance at a decent grade: He came in, added food and more water, then thought the snails just didn’t like each other. Joey butts in with some crucial info that they’re single sex and can reproduce on their own. Pacey says he doesn’t listen to Joey when she talks. Well then.
Anyhoo, his idea was to create a menage a trois for the male snail (Though there was no male snail) in the hopes it would make the snail randy. No joke, this was his plan. But turns out the super sexy snail he picked to join the tank was carnivorous and that explains the lack of snails in the tank. Pacey apologizes and asks how he can make it up to her.
Now Joey and Dawson are walking along the creek and Joey’s got a net and is telling Dawson she’s disappointed in him for using Mary Beth. Dawson admits it’s shitty but isn’t going to cancel the date. They share a weird moment that could almost be romantic if Dawson didn’t have the social IQ of house cat, and then Pacey drives along and honks at Joey to move her ass, there’s snails to catch.
At the carnival, Mary Beth meets up with Dawson, and they have the sort of awkward greeting that can only be had when one party is romantically interested and the other party is just pretending to be. And then come along Cliff and Jen. And looks like Dawson kept the details of the double date to himself and MB is left wanting a private chat with her date.
Mary Beth calls him out in blunt fashion, and says it’s obvious he still wants Jen. Dawson denies it, but after some pressing he says, “Here’s the absolute truth,” and we’re no longer privy to the conversation.
Pacey and Joey are now rowing in what would be a very romantic setting, and are picking up their bickering where they left off. Pacey wants to know why Joey needs extra credit to begin with. Joey gives up nothing and they continue their majestic snail expedition.
Back at the carnival, Mary Beth is relating their past conversation for the audience’s benefit: Dawson is there at Jen’s request to make her more comfortable on her date with Cliff. MB believes this crap, or does she? Either way, she’s game to see this date through, for whatever reason.
Joey and Pacey are snailing around and since Pacey didn’t tie up the boat, it’s now floating away.
Cliff and Dawson are now playing a carnival game that actually doesn’t appear to be rigged. Cliff wins and Mary Beth suggests a ferris wheel ride. Nope. Dawson wants to continue to compete against Cliff with this silly game. But look at that, Dawson won. But then he pulls a dick move and instead of giving the stuffed animal to his date, he hesitates, looks at Jen and tells Mary Beth they need to talk. Jesus.
Pacey and Joey are now wading through the water, arguing with big words and complex sentence strings. When they get to the truck, Pacey tells Joey to get undressed and wear a blanket. After an angry outburst, she caves. Pacey quickly disrobes and throws on one of the two blankets he just so happens to keep handy. He hops in the truck to give Joey privacy.
And then some funky porno-esque rock music starts to play and Pacey watches Joey change through the rear view mirror. He sees little, but seeing as the internet is only in its early stages, he’s taking what visuals he can get.
Joey gets in the truck and Pacey’s smirking. Joey wants to know what his problem is and he says she’s fun. A little nudity and their relationship blossoms.
Back at the carnival, Mary Beth’s in the parking lot eating popcorn. And that’s weird because Dawson last said, “We need to talk.” So… she went and bought popcorn alone and went to hang out by herself on a car trunk until Dawson found her? I don’t understand this narrative.
She says she’s embarrassed and Dawson tells her all her suspicions were true. She says she didn’t really like Dawson all that much anyway, only felt sorry for him and then reveals a crush on Cliff (Making Joey 3 for 3) and since Cliff is hugely into Jen, she’s bummed out. But now that they’ve bonded over unrequited love, she thinks they can help each other out. And this translates into separating Cliff and Jen at the ferris wheel. I really don’t see this plan panning out. It’s about as inspired as throwing a few snails together in hopes they’ll have a snail orgy.
At Joey’s place, Pacey gets some of Body’s dry clothes and he asks again about Joey needing extra credit. He pushes and finds out she scored a 98. She’s angling for a scholarship and that’s why she wants the extra credit. And now Pacey is all supportive. Seriously, all this kindness started happening after watching her change.
At the carnival, MB and Dawson’s plan is going terribly. Mary Beth is making terrible small talk with Cliff and Dawson is fishing for info about Jen’s date. And now Jen doesn’t want to be friends. Dawson then takes her to task, saying she wanted to be alone so what the hell’s she on a date for? She has no good reason and so Dawson surmises the breakup wasn’t about self discovery, but just her not wanting him anymore.
But he still makes one last go of declaring his love. It doesn’t take and a sad Jann Arden song croons on.
Dawson’s alone on a bench now. Joey and Pacey seem to have made their way to the fair, and I guess that lab project no longer needs their imminent attention. Pacey asks for a private audience with Dawson. He wants “permission” to pursue Joey. Dawson is incredulous at first, and then totally cool about it.
And boom, just like that, not cool with it.
Oh, but now he is again. Go ahead, Pacey. Pacey leaves before there can be any more objections and Dawson’s left standing there looking like he’s a man of regrets.
Pacey drives Joey home and quickly puts the moves on her. And he gets shot down hard. But he explains far too eloquently for a teenage boy his attraction for Joey, who seems flattered, but is otherwise not interested. Before she goes in, Pacey references her feelings for Dawson.
And speaking of Dawson, he’s lying restlessly in bed and leaps out and rushes down the stairs. The phone is ringing, his parents are embracing in the next room, and no one is answering the phone because it’s probably that darn Bob again.
Dawson marches into the video store, where Pacey’s working, and tells him no, he’s changed his mind again, he doesn’t want Pacey to pursue Joey. Pacey says he’s too late and he and Joey have sexy plans for the future. Dawson says he’s full of shit and Pacey says yes he is. But then he tells Dawson to cut the crap and admit he likes Joey and make some choices.
Most Verbose Articulation: Joey: “Wait a second, you’re taking romantic advice from a guy who spent his evening trying to get three snails to sleep with each other?”
(That actually wasn’t the wordiest thing said by far, but it made me laugh.)
Jen’s up next with episode 11