Opening scene, Dawson’s bedroom, again. Only Dawson’s not there. Jen and Pacey snuck into his room while everyone was out to have sex. WTF… Yeah, that’s normal. Anyway, they can’t seem to make it work because despite considering themselves highly sexual beings, they just don’t have chemistry together.
After failing to consummate their lack of attraction for each other, they hear someone come home and Jen dives out the window. Pacey’s not so lucky and he tries to play it cool when Dawson comes in his room and sees him on the floor. Not that finding people in his room is new to him. Maybe not have a ladder leading to your window?
Dawsons asks how Pacey got in. Uh, the ladder? Same way Joey, Jen, Eve, Abbie, and every other asshole has ever gotten in uninvited. Then Pacey tries to leave in a hurry, but didn’t notice he was wearing only one shoe. No one would not notice this ever.
Something else? Pacey was clearly falling off the bed when Dawson walked in, and then he claimed to be playing Playstation. The TV is off. Dawson does not remark on this.
After the credits, Jack approaches Andie with letters he received after the news story about him being a gay football player. Ah, the days when people wrote letters instead of leaving comments on a website. You could still be an anonymous dick, it just took longer.
Andie encourages Jack to write back to this gay guy who was on the news for taking a boy to prom. The ’90s were an interesting time, when gay people started doing this sort of thing openly, but it warranted media coverage because everyone else was generally an asshole about it.
In the guidance office, which is very dark for some reason, some counsellor is attempting to be useful. Why is Pacey failing math and otherwise tanking at school? Problems at home, perhaps? How’s that awful girlfriend of yours? But because there’s never any point or use in confiding to a crummy guidance counsellor, Pacey’s out of there.
In the library, Jack is with Andie and trying to show her how to to a web search. Ugh, okay there, Grandma. This is the year 1999 or 2000. The internet’s still new, but it’s not that new. Jack is also online, look at Capeside high’s web site. This small town high school is more technologically advanced than Andie, who segues the conversation to Jack not having a boyfriend.
And then out of nowhere on the screen, this pops up:
Andie’s like, oh wow! Ben instant messaged you!
Okay, great, but what platform is this? How has this random Ben person just found Jack on this nondescript messaging system? This is the age of ICQ where people had long-ass numbers as IDs. But whatevs, the internet was clearly a mystery to the writers, who just made it work how they wanted it to work. Anyway, Andie is coaching Jack how to send an IM, even though she needed help doing a web search.
In the halls, Pacey catches up to Joey so he can borrow her notes. He reveals his ignorance over math shit and Joey’s like, dude, you have nothing going on in your life so you failing at math is stupid. Pacey wants her help and Joey is not interested, at first. But like with everything else surrounding Pacey, she caves immediately.
Jump to a dance studio full of old people and Joey reveals she’s trying to get a scholarship from them. All she has to do is not suck at ballroom dancing, and she needs Pacey’s help. And he’s like, oh! So that’s the trade-off! As though she hasn’t already discussed this whole thing with him en route to the studio and he’s just been confused this whole time about why he’s dancing with the elderly.
Back in Dawson’s room, he’s tidying his stuff and comes across something he knows isn’t his:
Back at the school, Joey’s assigning Pacey math problems. Uh, aren’t you going to guide him through them? Isn’t that kind of what help and tutelage entails? Pacey tells her not to tell anyone about their after-school dance classes.
So… this is the next day? Because they’ve already been to one dance class. Oh, who cares. Dawson’s Creek gives no shit about time continuity, so why should I?
At the school, Dawson wants to talk to Pacey about the condom he found in his room, but not before he had to listen to some stupid cover story about home decor to hide Joey and Pacey’s secret dance classes. Why they’re keeping this from Dawson is beyond me. Who cares? It’s just dancing. But Pacey runs off.
Back in the school, Andie and Jack are in the library together talking about the mystery Ben from the internet. Andie wants to know what he looks like, and some random woman comes up and says she dated someone “from the internet” before and he was hideous. Who is this woman? She looks like a teacher, but what teacher would talk like that to students?
Jen enters the video store– okay, what is going on? Are they at school? Is school out? I say I don’t care about continuity, but I lied.
Pacey’s not working, but Dawson is, much to a horny Jen’s surprise and disappointment.
Dawson tells her Pacey’s not working that day, and starts saying he’s been a flake and acting like he did when he was with Miss Jacobs. He then relates back how he found Pacey on the floor in his room, the random condom, the weird huddled conversation and cover story with Joey.
Jen wants to know if Joey was alone when Dawson found him in his room, and Dawson’s like, no, he was playing Playstation. Jen’s affecting pretty believable ignorance.
Meanwhile, back at the school, Joey and Pacey are in a very dark classroom alone, apparently working on math. Maybe go home to do this? Or a library? Why this incredibly dark science lab?
Pacey’s complaining that he can’t focus on his school work because when he was with Tamara Jacobs or Andie, he’d study and then they’d screw. So now he has to study without getting any sex after. Where’s my violin?
Joey mocks him and then asks if he’s trying to pick her up. He then alludes to his arrangement with Jen without revealing her name. He asks Joey if she wouldn’t want a no-strings, no-awkwardness sexual encounter and Joey’s like, uh, no? She then says if Pacey really wanted this casual sex thing to happen, it’d have happened already.
Back in the library, Jack’s getting a picture from Ben. They’re still there?! I know dial-up is slow, but shit.
I’d like to point out that in the ’99/’00 school year, that owning a digital camera was uncommon. So unless that was the case, this had to be scanned, and owning a scanner was also not common. But this guy just so happens to have a photo of himself on hand to IM to people he magically locates on a made-up server. Player alert!
Jack thinks he’s hot. Andie takes over and arranges a coffee date for them. Jack is less enthused about meeting an attractive man for a date than you might think.
It’s evening and Jen is still at the video store with Dawson. She’s now helping him do a display and while in the window, she spots Pacey and Joey going to the dance class. Jen wants to tail them; Dawson’s game.
They see them dancing, and considering this is only their second class, the fact Pacey is no longer stomping all over Joey’s feet and they’re gliding in sync is ridiculous. Dawson and Jen try to leave but the incredibly pushing dance teach grabs them and forces them onto the floor. They tell her they can’t stay, but she decides to announce to the class that “more young people” are joining them, to a round of applause.
And despite the fact Dawson is on the clock at his job, he stays and dances. The teacher says Joey and Pacey have been dancing in her class all week. UGH. TIME! Make sense!
Then the teacher’s like you used to date, right? You moved past your issues to dance! Jesus Christ, this is the most unlikely random bullshit. Everything about this scene makes no sense. Who is this abominable pushy woman? Why is Dawson not going back to work? How has a week passed?
Oh, and suddenly Joey and Pacey suck at dancing again, all stiff and shit. And the ridiculous teacher says they’re beginning a mating ritual. I’d be getting out of there and demanding a refund from this whackadoo.
The teacher says that people that dance this badly together are hot for each other. Because nothing screams sexual chemistry like two people who can’t stand to move in rhythm together.
At the McPhee house– wait, did Jack move in back home? Did I miss that somewhere? Was that when Andie came home from the hospital? Oh, who cares. She gives him a pep talk about love and shit. Jack’s pessimistic about the date and says he doesn’t even know if he’s ready to date yet.
…yeah, okay. Jack says this shit all the time, turning down this hot guy or that sexy opportunity. Note to writers: He’s gay, not castrated. Anyway, Jack’s like, if I go, I’m not just telling people I’m gay, I’m doing gay stuff too. Andie’s like, yeah? Well, that’s ’cause you’re gay. D’uh.
At the studio (Dawson’s still there. GO BACK TO WORK) the weirdo teacher is splitting the pairs and puts Joey with Jen and Dawson with Pacey. Everyone has to switch partners when the music stops.
Jen asks Joey when they started dancing and Joey calls Jen out for following them. Dawson wants to talk to Pacey about finding him in his bedroom. Apparently it’s been a whole week and this is the first chance he gets to ask him about it? Dawson asks about the condom, but it’s time to switch partners and Pacey scoops up Jen, who already knows Dawson found the condom. She says don’t worry because Dawson doesn’t suspect her; he thinks Joey’s involved.
Joey tells Dawson about the scholarship and Pacey needing help with math. Why they didn’t just share that in the first place I don’t know. Teenagers are so unnecessarily dramatic over nothing.
Pacey then takes over dancing with Joey and tells her Dawson thinks he and Joey are doin’ it. Joey’s confused and Pacey’s about to explain, but dives away to dance with Dawson again, who wants to know what’s going on.
Pacey’s like, dude, it’s just a dance-math thing. But then he goes on this tirade about Joey not being his girlfriend anymore and how Dawson’s not over her and blah blah blah. Pacey points out Joey’s gorgeous and obviously someone was going to be interested eventually, so what is with all this worrying about her dating other people crap?
(Generally speaking, people don’t like their exes dating their best friends, but moving along.)
Dawson’s not interested in talking about Joey, he wants to know why Pacey left a condom in his room. When it’s time to switch partners, Jen does what she should’ve done early and marches out of the classroom. I wonder if the teacher thinks she can charge for this.
In the coat room, Pacey says, “The storyline is starting to reach the limits of believability.” And that about sums up my opinion right there.
Pacey asks Jen why they couldn’t just have sex already and Jen blames society for some reason. Then they get all hot and bothered out of nowhere and their lack of actual sexual chemistry is awkward to watch.
Jack is outside the coffee shop staring at Ben, who’s waiting for him.
And Dawson and Joey walk in on Pacey making out with Jen in the coat room. What did they think would happen?
Dawson’s more confused than anything, but otherwise just bewildered. Joey, however, is grossly offended. And at first she tries to lay it on Jen, and Pacey’s like, whoa there, this was also my choice. She’s making an awful lot of fuss for something that has nothing to do with her. She storms off. Dawson smirks and leaves them to it.
When they’re alone again, Pacey reveals Joey knows about the arrangement and that it wasn’t just a kiss. Jen wants to know how she knew, and Pacey said he’d gone to her about the situation “hypothetically.” Jen’s upset and wants to know why all the boys are so emotionally drawn to Joey.
Jen then connects some dots about there being some attraction going on between Joey and Pacey, and says their own plans to do it are no good because there’s nothing there between them. It’s ends amicably.
At the McPhee house (Which is the not the same house as it was before. Where are they?) Jack comes home and Andie is sitting in the kitchen in candlelight for no apparent reason other than waiting for him. Turns out, Jack didn’t go. He had a moment of gay self-loathing and stood up Ben.
Joey and Dawson are talking about Pacey and Jen. Dawson’s saying Jen has fake sexual bravado. Joey’s wondering why Dawson, the big romantic, isn’t more upset they’re just using each other. Dawson’s like, meh. Joey won’t let this go and while she’s coming off as a huge prude, she’s more upset at the fact Pacey’s getting it on with Jen in general.
Dawson says he wouldn’t sleep with someone he didn’t love, but understands the impulse. Joey’s like, what impulse? Okay, srsly? Dawson delicately tries to explain the concept of wanting to just touch another person. This show really takes the Madonna/Whore thing to heart. Virginal Joey just can’t conceptualize even a kiss without love.
Joey forgot her coat and goes back. Pacey’s inside looking bummed out. Pacey tells her if makes her feel better, no sex actually occurred, and only finally does Joey acknowledge it’s none of her business and apologize for overreacting. She says Dawson talked her into realizing she was being stupid.
On the way out, the teacher asks them to stay for another class, oh, and there’s no scholarship. But hey, free lessons for six months? Is she that desperate for new blood? But no, they leave.
Most Verbose Articulation: Joey, “He convinced me to take pity on your poor, misguided testosterone-impaired self.”