Opening scene, Pacey and Joey are at the B&B and Pacey is complaining Joey doesn’t want to give him any more help with his lines. Tomorrow is opening night. Dude, you’re fucked. And Joey can’t go to opening night because she’s got a date with college boy AJ. I have no idea who this person is.
Anyway, Joey tells Pacey they’re going to try to see the Northern Lights, and feels like she has to explain what they are. Uh, where is Capeside located again? Pacey tells her there’s going to be no damn lights in this part of the world and AJ’s just trying to get some.
At the massive Capeside High, Joey and Dawson are walking together and Nikki interrupts to ask him why he’s dropped out of film class. Joey ducks out and leaves. Dawson says he just needs to recharge his batteries, as though he’s taking a sabbatical from work rather than shitting on his high school transcript.
Also, he was Nikki’s partner and they have a project due in three days. Whoa, dick move, buddy. He’s like, I’m sure you can get an extension and a new partner.
At the play rehearsal, everyone is running around and Pacey still doesn’t know his lines. Jack drags Andie away. Mr. Broderick is lying in bed waiting for his wife to pick him up. The nurse thinks he has a kidney stone. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. Those are like being in labour. He’s laying there like a wilted lily, calm as you like. Either this actor or the director know shit about kidney stones or the character is faking it.
He hands off all responsibility to Andie, and Jack says he’ll pitch in. Broderick gives a faint deathbed speech. Do they have morphine on hand at this school or something?
In the halls, Jen spots Henry, who runs away from her. She chases after him, heads him off and he’s like are you cancelling our date? You know, I’d point out running away from the girl you’re so into isn’t entirely a productive way to make things happen, but then again he is a teenager and they do stupid shit like that. Right? Or was that just me at 16?
Moving on, Jen tells him she’s not cancelling, even though Henry thinks she’s been avoiding him. She’s like, oh no, I just want to postpone so I can see the play. Henry then says he’ll go with her to the play. She doesn’t look like she wants that at all.
At the Potter place, Bess is helping Joey get ready and she recoils at the eyelash curler, calling it a medieval torture device. Because she’s not a makeup girl, blah blah blah. Yeah, most of us wouldn’t be either if we looked like that as teenagers. And there’s AJ at the door. Bess says Bodie will get it. Will this be another cameo appearance or is that comment just to remind us he still exists?
But it’s not AJ, it’s Pacey. It’s play night and rather than getting his ass to the set, he’s at Joey’s place, giving her flack for her date, saying he can only remember his lines with her. Well, that’s too bad. Pacey is not impressed with AJ’s credentials of speaking Latin and French.
Then Bess pops into the room again to say AJ’s there. And Pacey actually pushes her out of the room by her face and slams the door.
And for some reason, she doesn’t immediately reemerge and murder him.
Pacey tails Joey out of the room, unsuccessfully trying to convince her AJ’s a dud who’s just trying to get in her pants. She leaves with AJ, and Pacey’s giving her jealous mad face.
At the party, which is full of boring looking academic types who are standing around, AJ brings Joey a tin mug. He discovers it’s alcoholic and pours it out. Oh my god, this guy is such a square. They start talking and god, they have no chemistry. And Joey’s giving these flirty smiles and it’s like, why?
At the high school, Pacey’s not here. Looks like his side trip to Joey’s place was a dumbass thing to do. Andie’s freaking out because the show starts in 20 minutes. But no, apparently he’s around somewhere. Dawson goes to look and finds him in the dark gymnasium shooting hoops. And why does this gym look haunted and in need of repair?
There’s a homemade poster ad for quilting classes in the gym? What is with the props in this show?
Dawson gives Pacey a pep talk about going out there and just having fun, and then makes a smooth basket. Pacey derails the pep by saying Dawson seems pretty zen considering Joey’s out with a college guy. Then Dawson misses the basket. But he’s like, “Had to happen eventually.”
In the auditorium, Henry is looking for Jen, who brought Grams, thus rendering this completely not a date. Grams is like, why didn’t you tell me Henry was coming? I would have stayed at home so you could be alone. Ouch. Then the show is about to start, so Jen says let’s take our seats. And Grams is sitting in the middle. Ouch again.
Pacey shows up at the literal last minute and Andie throws a tie on him, says she doesn’t expect perfection and pushes him onstage. And with a slow start, he launches into it and the audience loves him.
Ugh, back to Joey and Mr. Dull Pants.They’re having a boring conversation about ambition. And he says he thinks girls who lose their moms young are driven to succeed. Uh, meh. I think there’s a wide range of reactions to loss that don’t include studying at school. For example, Joey’s a massive asshole.
Then they’re back on the Northern Lights. At one point the phrase, “Look at it from the particles’ point of view,” and AJ uses it to segue into a kiss. And afterwards, Joey’s like, uh, I got to go. Guess she was as turned off as the rest of us. Anyway, there’s an abrupt rejection for you.
Back at the play, it’s a big success and then there’s this big party after at this very dark bar-like location. For a high school play. Makes sense.
Jen’s at the party too, and Grams has come along. And Jen leaves Henry there with her while she goes to sit with Pacey at the bar. She wants to gossip with him about Joey instead of treat Henry with some consideration. And then Joey pops up, fresh off her shitty date.
Nikki and Dawson are eating together and talking film. And he’s saying he’s too over-analytical and not having fun anymore so that’s why he dropped the class.
Pacey’s talking to Joey and says he knows Lame-o kissed her and says her lipstick is smeared all over her face (No, it’s not).
Then they start talking about love and falling in love again, and so on. The subtext here is Pacey is in love with Joey and she doesn’t know it. Or maybe she does a little, I don’t know.
And then her date shows up. Did he follow her there? But she moseys on over and talks to him.
Then we hear Henry yell, “Jen!” and everyone looks at the ceiling. Henry’s in the rafters just like Pacey was in the play. He then makes her repeat after him: I, Jen Lindley, am embarrassed to be on a date here with Henry Parker. I’ve ignored him, taken him for granted, and spent the last five months of my life making him miserable, all to disguise the horrifying fact that I like him.”
Some guy in the background yells, “Get over it, man!”
Jen tells him to get down and he asks for a ladder.
Joey is walking with AJ and he wants to know if he did something wrong, though he asks in typical Dawson’s Creek wordy fashion. She basically says he’s too smart. I would have said too boring, but that’s me. AJ says he sucks with chicks. Then she asks him to describe the Lights. BLArhghjhj. I don’t care.
At the restaurant, Jack is helping Andie clean up. Okay, seriously? Was this fancy high school drama party catered? And catered for everyone who wasn’t even part of the play? Who paid for this?
Andie’s telling Jack the play was good for her. And when she sees Pacey sitting alone, she grabs her coat, I guess is now done cleaning suddenly, and goes to talk to him.
They talk about the play and Pacey’s grades. They have a moment, share a hug, don’t talk about getting back together.
Jen and Henry are walking, and hasn’t Henry blown it now? And why is Jen pretending to still like him? She basically tells him to chill out. And then she says he’s childlike, but isn’t trying to insult him. And they start kissing. AT no time does she explain why she’s been avoiding him.
Dawson arrives at Joey’s saying he feels lost, and Joey asks what he thought would happen after he took down all his posters and dropped film class. And now he’s having an identity crisis.
And out of nowhere, the stupid northern lights appear:
Because you can live in a place all your life and never see them and then suddenly when it’s important to a plot point, boom there’s the aurora borealis.
And Joey caps off this highly unlikely phenomena by saying, “I thought they’d be bluer than this.”
MVA: Pacey – You’re disappointed, aren’t you, about my return to the depths of academic mediocrity?