Dawson and Joey are lying in Dawson’s bed, watching a lovey old-timey movie no teenage boy would ever choose to see, and Dawson’s like, I can’t watch anymore unrequited love shit, it’s too torturous. Obviously being dumped has given him a mad case of PTSD, poor soul. Joey’s like, I get off on unrequited love because being miserable forever is romantic. Dawson, run your over-sensitive ass away from this cold-ass chick.
They debate this, and Dawson takes the fairly healthy mental view of shouldn’t love make you happy? And Joey takes the dark road of love making you miserable and loving from afar is great. Well, that view point explains a lot. She assures Dawson they’ll have a happy ending, but I’d be doubting her tragic-happy ass right about now.
In the Leery kitchen, Dawson is asking his mom indirectly about what to do regarding Mr. Potter and the bag of drugs. Gail gives advice: Either tell your loved one about their shitty loved one doing shitty things– or confront the shitty loved one directly. No where in there is minding your own business, and Gail does not inquire further into this intrigue and starts talking about her estranged husband.
Basically, because Mitch hasn’t come back, she’s going to Philadelphia.
Dawson’s picking up Joey at her place and quite conveniently she needs to pop back in the house while Mr. Potter is moseying up to the front door. Now’s your chance, Dawson. He drops a hint and Potter then offers up the Ice House as a study spot to Joey and her friends. Dawson gives Joey’s dad the same look Joey used to give Dawson’s mom.
At the school, Jen and Jack are chatting and Jen’s talking about her paper on teen suicide, alluding she has plenty to say on the topic. Jack, not unfamiliar with angsty girls who have mental problems, takes this very seriously. But look! There’s Grams, and she’s at the school, wanting Jen to come home.
Jen’s not wanting this, “I have a home now.” You’d think she might want to run this by Jack first, no? I mean, does he think this is permanent? Jen’s like, I left for a reason! And she and a very uncomfortable-looking Jack go in the school.
Pacey’s dad is giving him a ride to school and Pacey hears on the police radio that the Ice House is under surveillance. Sheriff Whitter tells Pacey to mind his own business and not screw up his final exams. Pacey tells his dad to be more positive and his dad says ever since Andie left, Pacey’s been acting like a dick. Dang teenagers being all moody after breakups, amiright?
Dawson meets up with Pacey and we learn Andie hasn’t called Pacey yet.
Everyone in class now is opening up their exams, except Pacey who’s just laying his head down. Dude, get a grip. Being an asshole is one thing, but this is just stupid.
At the Ice House, Dawson approaches Mr. Potter and reveals he knows. He tells him to pull up his socks and stop trafficking cocaine through the family business. Potter’s like, I’m stuck. Dawson says unstick yourself.
At the Leery house, Gail and Mitch are finally hammering out some details about Gail moving and taking this new job. But wait! Gail’s leaving tomorrow. Okay, shit, what? That’s abrupt. Who the hell decides to move and does it the next day when they have a kid?
At the Ice House, everyone is studying and Sheriff Whitter walks in, wonders what Pacey is doing there (Because he’s actually studying, or because this is Capeside’s new drug den?) and he wants to talk to Joey’s dad, who he’s on a comfy first-name basis with. They leave the room to talk privately.
Whitter shows Potter a photo of the guy he’s dealing drugs with and asks him some questions. Potter’s like, I dunno. Joey pops in to break up the questions and the Sheriff leaves. Joey wants to know what’s going on and her dad offers up no info.
So now Joey think her dad’s being unfairly harassed by Pacey’s dad and talks to Dawson about it, who weakly defends the sheriff and then caves to Joey’s womanly wiles.
In the back room, Joey’s dad is going through his bag of drugs and looking all conflicted.
Jack and Jen are talking about Grams, and Jack thinks she wants to reconcile. Jen’s like, n’ah. Jack thinks Grams really wants her back, and Jen says, “But I don’t want to go back.” Uh… So, she’s really got some entitlement issues, eh? Jack graciously says no one’s making her go back, but still tries to talk about Gram’s point of view.
Jen’s like, I thought we were close! You want me to leave! And Jack tells her, yes, we are close, but turning my words around on me is bull. And shit around here is bad too, ’cause dad’s going to have to sell the house, and then we’ll both be out of a place to live. Then Jen basically threatens to kill herself. I’m not even kidding: “Well, then I will put myself out of my misery.”
Come to think of it, this isn’t the first time she’s made threats like this when she didn’t get her way.
Jack’s properly horrified and Jen tells him she’s moving out that night, then stomps off. He doesn’t try and stop her, probably because between coming out, his dad abandoning him, his mother and sister both losing their minds, he’s got no time for this drama. I don’t know where she stormed off to, because they’re at the Ice House. Also, where is everyone else? Conveniently missing from the table for no apparent reason?
At the Ice House, someone throws a Molotov cocktail inside and the place lights up.
Outside, Pacey argues with his dad, first about not taking his finals, and then about him being at the the Potter’s Ice House and making the Sheriff look bad. The argument results in a smack in the face from father to son.
Inside the Ice House, Mike Potter is watching the flames and scrambling over the big bag of drugs. Down the toilet they go. Meanwhile, the kids are still studying inside, but they don’t seem to be his priority at present.
And there are Jen and Jack calmly studying together again. I guess Jen didn’t rush back to pack up her shit like her tantrum implied. Anyway, they all smell fire and Joey rushes back to find her father. He hollers at her to get back (so he can finish flushing his drugs), and outside the Whitters see the fire and the Sheriff calls it in. Dawson drags Joey away from the flames while she screams for her dad.
Dawson then grabs a fire extinguisher, and the Sheriff is inside now. Jen stares stupidly and uselessly at the fire. Jack is like, WTF? and pulls Jen out.
Pacey Drags a screaming Joey out, while Dawson tries put out enough of the fire to clear a path to Mr. Potter. He then breaks the window to the back and gets him out. They all leave and the place is totally ablaze.
The kids are all watching the front door and Potter, Whitter and Dawson all emerge safe and sound. Joey embraces her dad and the fire truck sirens wail in the distance.
Once the responders are there, Dawson has words with Joey’s dad and tell him he needs to go to the police. Potter’s like, nope, can’t. Joey approaches and tells Dawson it’s his turn to get checked by the medics and calls him a hero. He’s cryptically evasive and then his parents arrive. Bess shows up with the baby. I know you were worried about them, but the place is still choking with smoke. Maybe not get so close to the cindering building with the infant?
Outside, Pacey and his dad having a fight. Pacey thinks his dad is an asshole for thinking Joey’s dad had anything to do with the arson. The Sheriff tells Pacey to go home and stop being stupid. They bicker a bit and then Pacey’s dad says it’s Pacey’s time of the month and Andie’s got a few screws loose. Pacey punches him in the face and gives him this epic speech about what a shithead he thinks his dad is, and then leaves.
At the Potters’, Bess and her dad are going over insurance papers and Joey wants to know why the police are so involved. Barring the fact that the police would be heavily involved in any acts of arson, she wants to make sure her dad doesn’t know anything about why it happened. He swears he doesn’t and she believes him.
At the Leery house, Dawson is talking to his parents about Joey’s dad and they’re telling him he needs to tell the police (Bet you wish you’d inquired a little further earlier, eh, Gail?) Dawson’s hesitant, but they insist. Dawson says he’s got another option he can explore, and he hops up and leaves. Yeah, like that would ever happen: “Okay, son! Let us know how your mysterious plan works out!”
At Jack’s place, he wants to know why Jen just stared into the fire and wants to know if her little suicide comments are real. She says no, but she thought about it when she looked at the flames. I’m not buying this at all. I mean, really, the only people who choose death by fire are either psychotic or monks trying to exact change in society, not whiny teenage girls who can’t get along with grandma. Yeah, her pal she kind of hated died in front of her, but I don’t think anyone’s ever set themselves on fire over such a thing.
Good old resilient Jack, who’s endured way more shit in his life and is far more functional, gives her a supportive pep talk and a hug.
Dawson approaches Joey outside at her place near the docks, which means he didn’t boat there. Walk? Does he drive? Pfft, whatever.
Dawson rips off the band-aid: I caught your dad dealing drugs, he had something to do with the fire; I talked to both he and my parents about it, I didn’t want you to have to know, but it’s gone too far (What with the near-death experience and all, right?) Joey’s response? I don’t believe you, he swore to me and I believe him. Dawson asks her why he would lie to her about this, and she asks him, “Why are you doing this?”
He’s like, well, we almost died, this shit’s getting too dangerous. She’s mad at him and he’s like, it’s not my fault, and she’s like, YES it IS! You couldn’t leave well enough alone? You had to get involved?! Not sure what that means. I mean, he was nearly killed in a fire. How was that well enough left alone? Also, he got her dad out of said fire.
I recall Dawson reaming out Joey for not telling him about his mom’s affair, and now she’s upset with Dawson for telling her about her dad’s illegal activities. What we have here is a failure to communicate. Plus Joey’s fucking nuts.
Anyway, she basically says she’ll dump him if he tells the police and he’s like, okay. Actually quite noble with the “I care about you more than I care about myself” bit. But forcing someone’s hand to turn in their own dad never worked out well for anyone, so I think we’re heading into breakup number two.
At the police station, Sheriff Whitter says Potter’s drug competitors set the fire and either they can help bust them, or the competitors will help bust Potter. I doubt that’s a viable plan. I’ve seen Law & Order, man. Joey’s not liking any of this and doesn’t want to do it.
The sheriff tells Joey her dad’s going to get them all killed, and Joey’s like, nope, we need to stay together as a family, drugs be damned, screw you all. Dawson asks for some time alone with Joey, and everyone leaves the room, hoping he’ll talk some sense into her.
She’s pissed because she’s not being given any choices, and Dawson’s like, well, I tried to talk to your dad and he wasn’t cool with not being a drug lord. Joey starts talking about this being a grey area, but the only other options I see other than what Dawson tried are just letting him go on selling drugs through the family business, which I don’t think anyone would reasonably be prepared to do for obvious reasons. Joey’s furious with Dawson the way a slighted wife rages against the other woman rather than the shithead husband. It’s a normal reaction, especially for emotionally immature teenagers with daddy issues, but irritating all the same.
At the Leery house, Mitch and Gail are talking and all this crazy shit has made him realize he wants his family back. But Gail says it’s too late. She wanted this pretty much up until maybe a day ago, and now no? She says, yeah, I’m still leaving, but we may somehow find ourselves back in love one day. Huh. Cool plan.
At Gram’s house, Jen is coming up the steps with a bag of her stuff to the tune of Alanis’ That I Would Be Good. Grams is happy to see her, but Jen’s got conditions about moving back in, not that she really has other options at this point.
1. She wants to talk about how she never felt good enough living at Grams’ house. Which, okay, probably fair.
2. That Grams acknowledge Jen’s been through a lot, more than most girls her age. Uh… has she? Losing an ill grandparent and watching her frenemy die are challenging and sad, and promiscuity has not done her any favours, but I don’t know that puts her in the top percentage of sufferings for teenage girls. Shit, even in the main cast Joey and Andie win the suffering Olympics. She also wants support, not judgement, and to feel like a family instead of just having a legal guardian.
Grams is onboard. But what is number 3?
3. Jack comes live there too.
Grams says he can take Gramps’ old room. Either she really wants Jen back, looks at Jack as another soul to save or just figures why not since the chance of hanky panky is nil. But regardless of her motives, Jack is movin’ in.
In town, Pacey’s staring at the water and his dad walks up to him and basically thanks him for punching him in the face. Classic bullies-understand-fists plot line.
He says Andie called and they had a nice chat and he feels like a dick for judging her without knowing her. Then he pulls out the best apology ever, the sort of which people with daddy issues dream of, but which only happen on TV: I’ve been a shitty dad, I don’t know you at all, I wish I could have been better, I sorted things out for you at school, etc.
And to think, it just took a punch in the face and one phone call from Andie? Totally reasonable turnaround impetus for an abusive drunk.
But he’s not done, Andie wanted him to give Pacey a hug, which he does, and Pacey’s crying, and this moment is brought to you by unrealistic outcomes and therapy wet dreams. But still, isn’t it warm and fuzzy? And Joshua Jackson is really crying because his nose is running, that thespian!
Speaking of crying, when Joey gets home and asks her dad about dealing drugs again, he takes a break from looking at a family photo to start crying.
She asks him why and he gives a lame answer about feeling like a failure for going to jail for being a drug dealer, so he thought drug dealing again would be the answer. Makes sense.
Anyway, he acknowledges the fire was his fault, basically, and admits to everything. They’re both sobbing and Potter’s apologizing. And look here, Joey was wearing a wire. He looks like someone shot his dog and Joey looks like a wet crumpled bag. But when she says she’s sorry, he takes some high road and says don’t be.
When they leave the house, the Sheriff is there, and Bess and the baby. She looks crushed and Mike Potter is led into the police car sans heandcuffs in possibly the most friendly arrest I’ve ever seen on TV. Guess they went to high school together or something, or maybe Whitter is just still feeling sensitive from his pow wow with his son just moments earlier.
Wait… the Sheriff was at the police station with Dawson and Joey, then he was with Pacey at a pier. Joey was gone all morning according to Mike, and she’s still wearing the same shirt as she was in the station, so this is the same day. If Sheriff Whitter was having a nice long chat with Andie, who called the house, and then found his son for that talk, but not before he called the school about the exams, when did they have time to organize this bust? It’s still daylight out.
Dawson’s outside, and he checks in with Joey to see how she’s doing, which is not well indeed. She’s feeling very dark and bitter about what transpired and Dawson correctly says they both did what they had to do, although being right isn’t really going to help his relationship one bit right now. She gives him a death look:
She basically says he’s dead to her and walks off. She’s mad at her dad, but thinks she might forgive him one day but is sure she couldn’t forgive Dawson, who out of everyone is the least to blame for this whole thing, and even saved Mike’s life. Well, hate the one you can look at, I guess.
Most Verbose Articulation: Pacey’s rant to his dad.
“Andie did more for my life in six months than you did in 16 years, you rotten son of a bitch, so if you wanna make fun of me, you wanna bust on me, that’s fine. But you so much as make one more even slightly disparaging comment about the woman I love and I swear to God, you’re going to be policing this town from a hospital bed, you understand me?
And one more thing: even if Mr. Potter was involved in all this, he’s still 10 times the father you ever were.”
And that wraps up Season 2. Here is a pie chart of all we have seen this round: