Opening shot is Pacey watching Jerry Maguire (Apparently rewatching it constantly) in Dawson’s room. He’s suspended and living at Dawson’s (Avoiding mean ole dad) until he can return to school. He asks Dawson how everyone’s doing. He hasn’t seen Andie since last episode (It’s been a week) because she’s mad he got in trouble and he’s mad she doesn’t understand his oral objection to the teacher bullying her brother. Dawson thinks he should apologize and Pacey says screw that, I’m right, just like Jerry Maguire.
At Capeside High, Jen is kissing Ty goodbye. Seems he’s won her over, despite Bible study. At Joey’s locker, Jack is helping her with her bag and some guy walks past and says, “Nice purse,” to him. Joey’s annoyed, and what the hell is that banner on the wall? It says “School: now do as you’re told, punk.” Props department, seriously?
Okay, back to the plot, Jack is making jokes to lighten things up, and comes off very charmingly gay. Joey doesn’t see it, though, because people in the ’90s had shite gaydar. Jack leaves and Dawson meets up with Joey. He suggests she and Jack do something fun together and Joey expresses surprise he’s offering her relationship advice.
In English class, Pacey is back and the teacher wastes no time singling him out. Pacey hands in some work. The teacher hands him back his poem assignment, which was given an F. Pacey’s like, what was wrong with it? Teacher says it was shit. Pacey asks for advice on how to improve, and the teacher’s like, n’ah, you suck, so prepare to fail.
In the lunch room, Andie walks in and sits on her own rather than with Pacey, which is pretty icy. Dawson tells him to talk to her. Pacey wants to make her wait.
Joey sits with Jack and says she’s going to make him a romantic dinner on the dock. Would teenagers actually do that? I’ve never done something like that and I’m 31. Jack thanks Joey for sticking by him.
Pacey sits down with Andie, who wants an apology for calling her weak and insensitive, and then leaving her on the pier. Pacey wants an apology for her not standing by him. And Andie leaves the table and nothing gets resolved. Gotta say, I’m on Team Pacey here.
Jack catches Andie on the way out and they realize they’re both headed for the same destination: guidance counsellor. Seems he wants to have a chat. But who’s there? It’s their dad. Andie’s jazzed. Jack looks resentful.
That evening, Jack calls Joey and cancels on the dinner because Pa wants to take his kids out for dinner. Joey’s like, yeah, don’t worry! And immediately she calls up Dawson and meets him at a seedy looking bar and says she feels “dumped”. Way to make it all about you, Joey.
Jen and Ty are there (Ty is a regular), and while they get “stiff” drinks, Joey and Dawson wimp out and order Cokes. There’s a singer who finishes a set and then Ty gets onstage. Turns out on top of being a Jesus guy, and a partier, he’s also quite the pianist.
Dawson immediately takes the opportunity to point out the awkward fact he’s single and seated next to the two girls who have dumped him. Jen’s like, my boyfriend is a Bible-thumping hypocrite. Joey’s like, my boyfriend might be gay. And they’re both still better than Dawson, it seems.
Pacey’s somewhere like maybe City Hall looking up Code of Conduct bylaws for teachers. This being nighttime, I’m surprised anything in this capacity would even still be open. But it’s not like Dawson’s Creek has ever concerned itself with time continuity. But oh well, wherever this is, it closes in 20 minutes. So maybe it’s a public office in a small town that’s open till, like, 9:00 or 10:00 for some reason.
At dinner, Andie’s running her mouth about her mom being less loopy and what they’ll have for breakfast in the morning and how she made the honour roll. She tries to make Jack eat his feelings and make nice with dad, but Jack is stonewalling them both. Then he’s like, I’m fine, everything’s fine, nothing to say.
Then dad is like, well, your guidance counsellor called and I had to interrupt my life to get here, so are you gay or what? Jack says, would you even care? Would it be a problem? And dad’s like, uh yeah, since your brother’s dead and we have all these problems, I’d care. He basically tells him being gay ain’t allowed. Jack, who at this point is pretty obviously gay, looks crushed. And Andie finally looks like maybe she’s got some compassion for his plight.
Now Dawson and Joey are slow dancing in the bar, the way adults do and not like sloppy teens. Joey is like, you think Jack’s gay, don’t you? And Dawson’s like, I dunno, maybe. He makes some hints that he’s still interested and Joey drops some hints that she’s not.
Back at the table, Ty is saying he thinks Joey’s weird for not being with Dawson because Jack’s a “fruit fly.” And Jen bristles and says she doesn’t think he’s gay, but if he were? And Ty’s like, eh, I guess it’s his choice, and Jen says she doesn’t think it’s a choice. Ty says it is a choice, like ducks choose to quack, and Jack’s a quacker. Ducks choose to quack? As opposed to bark or something? Lame analogy, bro. Jen’s like wtf, and now she’s rethinking Ty.
At the McPhee house, Jack is in his room and Andie comes in with a weak apology on behalf of their dad for saying all that shit. Then she’s like, okay, how can we make him stay? And Jack’s like, uh, he’s a dick and he abandoned us, I don’t want him to stay. And Andie’s like, how can you expect him to accept you with that kind of attitude? Jack’s like, I give zero fucks about that.
He tells Andie she’s never going to make their dad approve of her by rattling off her list of accomplishments and Andie says there’s nothing wrong with wanting dad to be proud. Jack’s like, but are you proud of him? And Andie looks at him like, huh, no, I guess not.
Back at Jen’s place, Grams is loving Ty, which is just one more nail in the coffin of that relationship, and Ty wants to know if Jen’s mad about something. She says yes and he knows it’s about the quacking comment. Jen asks why he thinks it’s wrong. Ty’s like, oh, I didn’t say it was wrong, I said it was a choice. Jen: So you don’t think it’s wrong? Ty: Oh no, I think it’s wrong because Bible.
Then Ty brings in Grams, Hey Grams, where in the Bible does it condemn homosexuality? Grams says Leviticus. Jen calls Ty out for being a hypocrite and Ty says gay people, the gay movement, are destroying the world or something. The Tea Party didn’t exist yet when this was made, but no doubt Ty today in his 30s would be at rallies, carrying around some weird signs about the War on Christmas and eating Chick-fil-A on principle.
Then Grams pipes in, unable to contain herself, and Jen thinks she’s going to say anti-gay stuff. But she tells Ty to zip it because Jack needs love and tolerance and is probably scared out of his wits right now. Oh Grams, you old softie.
At Joey’s place, Dawson’s seeing her to the door and she says he didn’t have to walk her home. From the car? Was there a car? Did he take that motor boat again? Did they walk from the seedy bar? Anyway, Dawson says he wanted to walk her home, which really he could have done a lot more of on previous occasions instead of having her descend a ladder and row herself across a creek in the dead of night.
In the house, Joey wants to ask a question: Am I sexual? Pfft, because the dude in love with you is going to say what exactly? No?
She’s wondering if Jack, being confused, chose her because she was safe and non-sexual. Dawson thinks she’s very sexual, d’uh. And Joey’s like, well, you didn’t think so for pretty much forever, and you wanted sex machine Jen.
Dawson says he just didn’t see what was there, and Joey starts fishing for compliments and asks what was there, and Dawson obliges. He uses the word “blossoming.” Ugh. Dawson says him choosing you isn’t weird, but why did you pick him? Then he leaves so she can chew on that a bit.
At school the next day, Pacey’s waiting for the principal with some papers in hand. He points out the English teacher, Mr. Peterson, is a dick and in violation of the code of conduct. The principal’s like, meh, what d’ya want me to do about it? Pacey says nothing, just letting you know I did a shitload of legwork in my efforts to take down this asshat and there’s a school board meeting about him on Tuesday.
Then he pretty much says sorrynotsorry for going around your back since you were going to do dick-all about this anyway.
At the McPhee house, Pops is on the go, leaving Andie with the numbers of some nurses she can call to deal with his wife. He brushes off Andie’s protests and Jack comes in and says don’t come back. Dad’s like, ‘scuse me? Jack’s like, you’re an ass, save the gas milage, we don’t need you.
Dad tries to make a break for it, but Jack says no deal, we’re handling my shit right now! And out it comes, he’s gay. Jack’s like, you could tell, I see how you look at me, and you how treated me versus Tim. And then after a very powerful and emotional outpouring he apologizes to his dad and Andie for being gay. Andie goes to her brother and good ole dad says stop crying. And that’s where he loses Andie ’cause she tells him to get lost. And he does.
At school the next day Jack makes plans with Joey for that evening and she seems pleased. That’ll be shortlived.
No Mr. Peterson today, so it’s study hall instead because I guess Capeside doesn’t do substitute teachers. Jack catches up with Pacey and thanks him. Pacey, who’d been fighting the good fight with no support, looks visibly relieved his efforts mean something to somebody.
But that moment of feeling good is short lived because he then walks by the classroom and sees Peterson inside packing a box. He’s leaving. Pacey asks why since the board meeting hasn’t happened yet. Peterson says, eh, I’m just gonna retire now, why not? Pacey apologizes and Peterson says don’t because it was the one admirable thing he’s ever done. I’m not sure what he’s referring to. The spitting? The board meeting?
Pacey says respect isn’t about fear, it’s earning through respect and compassion. Peterson says, you ended my career, so should I respect you? Where’s your compassion? And I guess he doesn’t think bullying his students warrants ending his career in education, so there you go. And he gets the last word, which is very unsatisfying. And Pacey, rather than feeling accomplished for ridding the school of this psycho, looks like he feels bad.
And the moral here, kids, is don’t stand up to bullies because it’ll give you a bad case of the sads.
Ty comes over to Jen’s and she says it’s not going to work out. Ty’s like, we can’t disagree? Hey, I’m open! Change my mind then. And he charms himself into getting a second chance.
Pacey and Andie meet up outside and they both apologize. He’s feeling bad about the crusade he went on, like it’s a bad thing to stick up for the gay kid who’s being picked on by a sadistic teacher. She gives him this lame apology of sorts. She doesn’t address the fact she didn’t support him, and is like, “I held you to way too high standards and I don’t need a knight in shining armour so sorry I expected that from you.” What?! He didn’t meet your high standards by locking horns with the man tormenting your tortured brother? That’s not heroic? But he soaks it up like those words mean shit. And then he says her apology was better than his.
Ok, I quit.
Okay, fine, I don’t. Joey sets a romantic table, cooks a romantic dinner and gets her ass dumped ’cause she’s a girl and Jack don’t do that.
And Joey runs into Dawson’s arms, in his bed, because why not get consoled by your ex-boyfriend whose heart you broke?
Most Verbose Articulation: Pacey, “I’m running it on a continuous loop; it speaks to my current situation as a renegade moral crusader. So, what’s new in the land of higher education?”