Hey! It’s Alek again. I’m a glutton for Capeside’s special brand of verbal BDSM, so I’m back for another post.
Dawson is teaching Joey how to drive stick, which is kind of a missed opportunity for a bad metaphor. Pacey is laying in the back of the truck for some reason, because God forbid he misses an opportunity to give Groucho Marx commentary on everything that his friends do.
Apparently, it’s Valentine’s Day, but Joey’s college boyfriend plans to spend it studying. Pacey rightly calls bullshit, but Joey insists that he’s simply dedicated to his education because no man has ever treated her respectfully. Pacey, meanwhile, plans to attend an anti-Valentine’s party hosted by a resident Capeside douchebag, and Joey is appalled that Dawson plans to go with him. She says that she’ll spend the night in with a Blockbuster rental, and I feel the only pang of genuine nostalgia that I’m likely to feel for the next hour.
We cut to Capeside High, where it’s the greenest goddamn February in Massachusetts. There are people in fucking shorts. I didn’t realize how close Boston was to the California state line. Pacey is convincing Dawson to come to the evening’s shitty party when Jack arrives. He’s been mining the athletes (pun intended) for information about the event, but couldn’t get the address. He did learn the password, though, because that’s a thing which is somehow necessary. It’s “I know Kung fu,” which wasn’t cool in 2000 and isn’t cool now.
Jen’s paramour Henry is giving blood to pay for her Valentine’s Day gift, but he’s evidently been giving too much. He convinces the nurse to bend the rules by waxing romantic, but I mostly imagine actor Michael Pitt as a serial killer, so it’s just unsettling.
Pacey is chatting up his cop brother, Doug, while he’s on his beat. He takes some homophobic jabs at Doug because of the music that he’s listening to, while I remember with growing disdain that Pacey is actually kind of a fucking asshole. He supposedly wants to hang out, but Doug explains that he’s busy patrolling a party at the golf course this evening, inadvertently revealing the location of the party in the most expository way.
I can’t remember if Doug is actually gay or not, but I’m going to guess that he’s the kind of guy who lives in a small town, but has a Grindr account where he describes himself as “straight-acting, maybe lumbersexual.”
At the McPhee house, Andie gets off the phone with her friend Kate, who she’s invited to hang out this evening because her boyfriend just dumped her. Jack is mad because Kate is his ex-girlfriend, and asks if Andie outed him. He’s upset that she didn’t, because he’s fickle about his token sexuality like that. All I can think about is how I’d rather watch Abby Morgan’s slowly rotting corpse than tolerate another scene of Andie being fucking Andie.
Grams is helping Jen pick outfits for her date, as only a Victorian-era Christian fanatic could. She insists that red is the appropriate colour, because she’s selective in her oppressive slut-shaming, then goes on to explain the religious significance of St. Valentine and suck every last ounce of fun out of this sham holiday. She loves the little black dress that Jen chooses, but advises that going without a necklace is somehow chaste and pure (SELECTIVE), while noting that Jen seems anxious. Jen assures Grams that she’s been on LOTS of dates with LOTS of guys, because Grams hasn’t called her a harlot in a while.
Jack and Andy are driving their friend Kate to the party, and they get to talking about relationships. Jack is about to come out when Kate breaks down and reveals that her ex dumped her because he turned out to be gay, which is pretty coincidental timing.
Dawson and Pacey are pantomiming golf when the McPhees and friend arrive. Kate immediately declares that Jack is her ex, then proceeds to tell everyone about her recent break-up and emotional fragility, because she has all of the social skills you’d expect from a budding career-beard. Pacey pulls Dawson aside to coax him into taking advantage of Kate’s tender feelings, and I guess that the rest of the group just stands, quietly, five feet to the left.
Thankfully, Joey arrives to break the awkwardness, but of course she only makes things worse. She’s here to babysit Dawson at the party! What a fucking wet blanket.
Henry picks Jen up for their date, and he looks like he gave enough blood to become an actual vampire. Jen is as alarmed by his deathly pallor as I am, if slightly less so because she’s seen it so often on Grams’ youthful face. They remark that they’re both wearing black, then Jen pricks herself on a rose, and the symbolism is obvious enough that I feel like I’m watching erotic Twilight fan fiction.
The rest of the gang, meanwhile, head to the party in what I can only assume are stolen golf carts (wouldn’t they have to be?). Pacey made sure that Kate was paired with Dawson, and she’s being so desperately insecure that I’d recommend counseling. Dawson assures her that she’s beautiful, “In the way that beautiful used to actually mean something.” Kate responds by being charmed instead of vomiting, like I just did.
Joey is still trying to convince everyone to leave, and Andie is freaking out as she’s wont to do. Matt, the host, greets everyone with threatening surliness, then makes them all do a shot to enter the party area. Andie passes as the designated driver, Pacey makes a now-unsettling Bill Cosby joke (too soon?), and Joey loses her shit like everyone just started shooting heroin.
Meanwhile, on Jen’s date with Edward Cullen, the poor fellow is slowly losing consciousness. Jen is irked with him, until he literally passes out. This is the only actual dramatic thing likely to happen in the entire episode.
Joey and Andie are taking a golf cart for a quiet joyride and being complete fucking losers. Just as Andie correctly identifies Joey’s wrath for Pacey as obvious attraction, officer Doug pulls the girls over. I can only assume that they’re going to rat everyone out because they are no fun whatsoever.
Henry is being taken away in a stretcher, and comes clean with Jen about his blood sales. He gives her his Valentine’s Day gift — a ring — and laments ruining the moment. Which, let’s be honest, he kinda did.
Dawson and Kate are flirting in the most infantile way, and I’m hoping that Kate is drunk and not just fourteen years old. Kate presumes that she’s been passed off on Dawson in an alarming self-deprecating spiral, but he’s mostly bothered by is the implication that he’s a nice guy. He insists that he could be the one taking advantage of the drunk girl, and Kate shrugs it off as if that’s not the creepiest fucking thing that he could say. Their repulsive kissing moment is interrupted by Kate throwing up (like I just did) and then Doug arrives with his flashlight.
Jen comes home to Grams and tells her about her disastrous night, while Grams completely misses the point. Jen gives her the traumatic facts, and she accurately describes how unfortunate poor Henry is. Grams calls her out for perhaps setting unreasonable expectations, and Jen reacts as though she has something to think about. If luxury is what Henry read from Jen’s bald-faced cynicism, then he deserves to be bled to death.
Doug breaks up the party as Pacey is attempting a keg stand, and he seems pretty psyched to be arresting his dickhead brother. I know I’d be.
In the drunk tank, Kate continues having her super vocal emotional breakdown, and Jack decides that this is the moment to tell her that he’s gay (I mean, sure). Kate unsurprisingly gets the hint, but reveals that she and Jack had passable sex as if that means anything. She then worries aloud that Dawson might be gay and just won’t fucking shut up. Joey is meanwhile disgusted that Dawson would attempt to kiss the drunken basket case, and Pacey makes fun of the unhappy couple. Everyone is a fucking asshole.
Joey highlights the pointedness of Pacey’s present dickbaggery, and he continues to be a jerk about the show’s central would-be romance. He makes a case for cancellation, but we’re only in season three, so it ain’t gonna happen.
Doug shows up with the village elders to release the cretins, but leaves Pacey to stew behind bars. Doug’s sexy when he’s being masochistic.
Jen, in the meantime, visits Robert Pattinson in the hospital, where he’s recovering on Jell-O. They have a heart-to-heart, and Jen reveals that she was treated poorly on past V-Days and had some anxiety. She gives him another chance to be normal and decides to keep the shitty ring. Henry decides that this visit somehow qualifies as a date. I wonder if he plans to celebrate by killing some yuppies later.
Kate ends her visit by having another pity party with Jack. He acknowledges that her visit reminded him of his closet days, and she tries to be supportive, but she might want to focus on her own mental health. I imagine her life peaking at age 36, while she’s taking drop-shoulder selfies with her platonic gay boyfriends in a club called Tops & Bottoms, then going home and chasing a handful of Xanax with a bottle of Grey Goose.
Dawson is having a talk with Mitch, and dad’s understandably unimpressed. He drops the hammer and tells Dawson that he’ll now be working at the new restaurant his mother is apparently opening. The music suggests that this is much more dramatic than a teenager taking an evening job.
In the next of a very long line of late-episode character resolutions, Doug gets Pacey to admit that he’s frustrated because of his growing attraction to Joey. He talks about Joey being “the kind of pretty that gives you butterflies” while Doug pretends that he doesn’t prefer a rippling, manscaped chest. Doug overcomes his own crushing, closeted loneliness to advise Pacey to go for the girl.
The episode concludes with Pacey arriving at the Potter residence to apologize to Joey. Joey tells Pacey that she’s worried about his morals because she’s negging him, I guess. He foregoes expressing his feelings by offering her a driving lesson, which is basically the most sex that anyone is having on the WB tonight.
MVA: Joey saying, “Pacey, I know it’s a hard concept for you to grasp, but some people are actually dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence.” Holy shit, Potter: lighten the fuck up.