The real title of this episode is "Tamara's Return" and I got VERY EXCITED not only because I like Tamara (in spite of her propensity to commit statutory rape) but also because she is BFF with MEL FREAKIN' SILVER and so I thought maybe he would make a cameo and save me from everything. SPOILER ALERT: HE DOES NOT. And if that weren't sad enough, this episode is the most boring thing to ever happen on television ever, including everything that has ever aired on CSPAN. And if THAT weren't sad enough, the episode opens with Dawson and Joey making out.
And Dawson is wearing shoes and socks.
What season is it, even? She's dressed like it's spring break in Florida and he's ready to grab a hot cider on the first day of fall.
Joey stops the make-out sesh and says, "What are we doing? Can't we go somewhere else?" Dawson points out they can't go to either of their houses because the damn grown-ups are harshing their hormonal buzz, but Joey says that she's a 20th-century chick and needs climate control to really enjoy making out. Look, y'all know I hate siding with Joey, but it is humid in Wilmington approximately all of the time, so I kind of agree with her. Lots of times while I lived there I would tell Brandon it was too hot for touching and we would spend date night just gazing at each other from opposite ends of the couch. Dawson wants to bone, though, so he has no time for her logical complaints about the weather. And this is where any similarities between me and Joey Potter end, 'cause his comments reignite her libido and she mounts him.
Sorry. If I have to look at it, so do you.
Mr. Leery has decided it is time for him to contribute something to society other than terrible relationship advice, so he's going to start a restaurant! What could go wrong! He's beginning this project by meeting someone who's got a warehouse to sell. WHO COULD IT BE? MF-ing TAMARA, THAT'S WHO.
She's not moving back, she's just here for a few days to unload this warehouse that she mysteriously purchased with her teacher's salary, along with her red convertible and her beachfront house. Seeing her makes Dawson feel awkward so he leaves to go to school. Why was he here in the first place? Spreading sweater-vest joy throughout downtown Wilmington, I guess.
Dawson runs to find Pacey to tell him that Tamara is back, but before he can spill the beans Pacey interrupts him, assuming that Dawson needs relationship advice. He tells him that it's probably just that Joey is being "over-sensitive and sarcastic" and Dawson is being "self-absorbed and suffocating." Dawson didn't actually need relationship advice, and yet this seems oddly accurate. Pacey is the oracle, y'all.
Andie interrupts before Dawson can tell Pacey about Tamara. Dawson is v. stressed. I would like to think it's because of the sweater vest, but I'm sure it isn't.
Joey tells Jack he can take the day off work because Bessie's baby-sitter canceled so she can't open the restaurant. Instead of taking the free day like a normal human, Jack offers to run the place by himself. (Apparently nobody else works at the Icehouse, which explains a lot of Bessie's stress and also why it's such a hot mess all the time.) Joey reminds Jack that he doesn't even know how to mop the floor, but ultimately agrees to let him run the entire business for a day, even though she probably does not have the authority to do this. I would say that Bessie will be pissed, but that would require her getting her shit together long enough to notice what's happening.
Abby waves a bunch of cash under Jen’s nose.
She just got her allowance, which looks to be enough to pay my rent, although I'm not sure what she did to earn it since I'm somehow doubting that Abby does chores. She's dying to go shopping, but Jen says she really doesn't feel like shopping. "YOU CALL YOURSELF A WOMAN?" Abby replies, so you really get the sense that Abby knows a lot about feminism.
But Jen is too emo to care. Abby rightfully tells her to get over it because Dawson sucks, but Jen says it's not that simple and it's not just about Dawson, it's also about being on the outskirts of her former friend group. Abby does not care one iota, though. She just really needs to go shopping and she can't go alone because she is co-dependent and also will "drown in a sea of dresses and hair gel" if left to her own devices, so Jen agrees to go with to save her from certain death. Generous, really.
Andie drops a bunch of rented tapes all over the floor. Pacey picks them up and notices that one of the movies is Dumbo.
Turns out Pacey loves Dumbo. He really wants to watch Dumbo with her. He talks about Dumbo for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Blessedly, this conversation eventually moves on to Pacey asking Andie to walk around downtown with him after school on account of he has no other plans. This reminds me of my freshman year of high school, when Ryan Oliversen asked me to go to homecoming with him "if this other girl says no." Andie and I are both morons, because we both said yes.
Joey and Dawson are at an art lecture that is very well attended in general, but is especially packed for 4 p.m. on a Friday.
The lecture was given by super-successful Laura from the last episode, the high-powered interior design executive who despite her alleged success needed Joey's input on floor plans. Dawson hated it because it was a boring lecture about art, but also because "abstract impressionism is not really my thing." Joey, who is suddenly a big art buff even though she has literally never talked about art before ever, is very annoyed at how uncultured and lame he is. It's not that that's an invalid way to think about Dawson, it's just that Joey has never had a hobby or an interest in anything other than being terrible and making this face:
So I guess in a way we've come full-circle. In the midst of this, super-successful Laura comes over and tells Joey that she's teaching an art class tomorrow, and Joey can audit it if she wants. I'm as bored as Dawson was during that lecture.
Andie and Pacey are wandering around downtown and who do they run into but Tamara!
Pacey and Tamara just stare at each other for a minute without talking and then Tamara asks if he'll introduce her to his friend. He doesn't,
so Tamara introduces herself and explains that Pacey was her former student. It is super awkward.
She leaves to go check on her warehouse, and Andie says it looks like Pacey's seen a ghost. "Did she flunk you or something?" Pacey babbles for awhile and then ditches Andie to literally run after Tamara.
But he doesn't talk to her when he finally catches up with her, he just observes her creepily from behind some grass.
After art class, Laura examines Joey's drawings and says that Joey has a natural gift. Joey gives her this face
and Laura, to her credit, literally says, "What's with the face?" thus marking the first time anyone has ever called Joey on anything, but it's all for nothing because Joey just says she can't believe that Laura is serious and that the idea of seriously pursuing art makes her very anxious, probably because she has never once expressed any interest in it until now. Laura tells her that's normal, because "with talent comes responsibility." The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Joey is on her way to becoming Spiderman.
I'll admit that's a plot twist I did not see coming.
Andie changes into large, boxy overalls and heads to Dawson’s, where she picks a pair of his undies up off the floor and twists them into a knot.
She pretends she's there to get the English homework, but she really wants to talk to him about whether Pacey likes her. Dawson says that Pacey hasn't said anything to him about it, but that doesn't mean he doesn't like her, and why doesn't she just tell Pacey that she likes him? Andie says she can't, and she makes Dawson promise not to tell Pacey that she asked about him. He agrees. She goes to leave, but realizes she's been holding his (dirty) undies the whole time and wastes no time giving them back.
I kind of like Andie, honestly. She's still new to Capeside, which means that her boundaries and her ability to pick up on social cues are both still intact. It took Jen about half a season to become insufferable, so probably I will hate Andie by the end of this one.
Abby spent her entire stack of cash in 10 minutes. I would say that's irresponsible, but given her current outfit, I'm glad she's been out shopping.
Is it a blazer? Is it a shirt? Over another shirt? I don't know but either way, BURN IT.
She and Jen are congratulating each other on their friendship when Abby notices "the biggest babe" she's ever seen sitting right behind Jen.
Abby calls dibs on him which Jen is fine with since this guy is at least in his mid-30s. Abby is undaunted, because she likes guys who have "chest hair, body odor and illegitimate children." Dude's name is Vincent, and Abby invites him to come join them, but he says he can't because he has to get to work down at the docks, which is something only a swarthy man in his mid-30s would say. Abby shouts her phone number at him, and he hates her, but he's totally into Jen, probably because her mom haircut and sensible hoop earrings have led him to believe that she's close to his age.
Joey is sketching when Dawson pops up. She slams the notebook shut and gets very defensive when he asks what she was doing. "JUST DOODLING. IT'S NO BIG DEAL." She wasn't drawing nudes or anything so I'm not sure why the 'tude, but whatever.
He eventually wears her down and she tells him she's sketching a bowl of fruit, a continuation of what she was working on in Laura's art class. He's enthusiastic and encourages her to continue pursuing the hobby, which is nice, even if he's a bit over the top about it
so naturally, she's mad.
She asks why his weird obsession with Spielberg is his "life's purpose" while her interest in art gets relegated to a "hobby."He apologizes and says that "hobby" was a poor choice of words - even though I think it's the only word that really fits - but she's still mad, so they get into a fight and she leaves. The crux of this argument is, I think, that Joey has been sketching bowls of fruit for exactly one day and Dawson had the audacity to not instinctively realize that it's now her all-consuming passion.
Tamara is dressed in black and standing in the marsh grass, staring out at the water. Perhaps she is mourning the untimely death of a sailor, or wondering why Rose couldn't just move over a tiny bit so Jack didn't have to die.
Pacey joins her in the dunes. He says he wasn't sure if he should come see her because it was so awkward when they ran into each other downtown, but she tells him that's it's OK. "It's supposed to feel awkward," she says, then tells him that everything they need to say should be said in silence because the emotion behind what they really want to say is too overwhelming, which kind of seems like a nice way of telling him to shut up.
Pacey's into it, though. He asks if they can have a couple more seconds of silence. Soft music plays as they gaze out at the water, thinking of all the men, including Jack Dawson, whose lives were claimed by the sea.
Dawson tells Mr. Leery that Joey's new art obsession is making her super cranky. Mr. Leery says that "erratic behavior of the female persuasion" is usually not about whatever seems to be making the female act erratic, so Dawson should try to get to the root of whatever's really bothering Joey. This is a lovely dose of misogyny that helps explain why Dawson is such a sociopath and also why Mr. Leery now finds himself in an open marriage.
Pacey pops in to tell Dawson that he's not over Tamara. Dawson, in a rare moment of clarity, tells Pacey that the best thing he can do is stay away from her. There are girls his age, Dawson says, some of whom even like him! You can see where this is going: the conversation continues for about 4 seconds before Dawson tells Pacey that Andie likes him. YOU ARE WHY GIRLS HAVE TRUST ISSUES, DAWSON.
Pacey says it's different, because "Andie's a girl and Tamara's a woman." The conversation is cut short because Dawson needs to go find out what's crawled up Joey's newly artistic butt, but before he leaves he begs Pacey to stay away from Tamara.
Mr. Leery is inexplicably just now seeing Tamara's warehouse for the first time, even though he met her two days ago to see the warehouse for the first time.
Tamara says she's eager to sell and get the hell out of Capeside, and Mr. Leery, being the trunk of impropriety holding up the Leery family tree, asks if it's because of that rumor that she was banging a student. Tamara, rather than having the good sense to smack him, just says, "Something like that," then counters by saying she's heard that he's also "no stranger to scandal himself." Mr. Leery confirms that his wife was totally banging her coworker, but he doesn't want to talk about it. One might think that going through that experience would lead him to not ask other people to discuss their failed affairs, but I guess not. I kind of thought they might bang, what with the moody lighting and the close talking and this face
but they don't, and he also doesn't buy the warehouse, so this scene, like most of this episode, really has no point.
Joey left work early to go to an art exhibit, which Bessie let her do only if she took Jack with her because "he just sits around looking dopey." Shockingly, it turns out that Jack knows a ton about art, and proceeds to school Joey on trivia about the artist.
Joey is shocked that he knows so much about art, especially given that he sucks so badly at his job. He is super surprised to hear this,
although I'm not sure why because she's told him outright at least a dozen times how much he sucks. To drive the point home, Joey says that she and Bessie spend basically all of their time laughing at him. Wounded, Jack replies that he's just like one of these abstract paintings, in that only a shallow person would think they're meaningless. Joey realizes this is basically the exact same lame conversation she had with Dawson.
She apologizes for assuming that he was an idiot due to his terrible customer service skills. He tells her, "You ain't seen nothing yet," then looks at her butt.
I thought Jack was gay. Did I make that up? Isn't he gay? Maybe Joey's pancake butt is just that powerful? Nrehhh.
Jen and Abby are wandering around on the docks. They have apparently been wandering around the docks for two hours but Jen has just now thought to ask what they're doing there. They're stalking Vincent, OBVIOUSLY. Eventually they find him, doing his best impression of a shirtless Lieutenant Dan.
Abby invites him out for a "night on the town," which since they can't get into bars would probably consist of hanging out with Gram. Shockingly, he passes on this invite, telling Abby she's "an oversexed condescending teenybopper," which is an admirably spot-on description. But Abby is furious, probably at least partly because she spent all that money earlier and is still wearing this.
She storms away, and Jen apologizes for her, telling Vincent that Abby likes him and that's why she's being insufferable. Shirtless Jack Sparrow tells Jen that she's really more his speed, but before Jen can reply, Abby and her ill-fitting see-through blouse/rain jacket come back and demand that Jen hop to it already. Let's be real, we all know the real reason Abby's mad at her:
NONE OF US KNOW, ABBY. BUT WE AGREE THAT IT'S NOT OK.
Jack tells Joey that he would love to see some of her drawings, but she declines. "I'm just drawing fruit," she says. Jack encourages her to "draw what you love," and on cue, Dawson pops up.
He glares at Jack
so Jack leaves to run errands. Dawson then asks Joey to show him the art exhibit, maybe explain which paintings she likes. He apologizes for not realizing that she was super serious about this art thing, and says he just wants to be like they were before. He's trying really hard and being really nice, so naturally Joey's reaction is to be mean to him. "We're exactly the way we've always been," she snaps, "and I am so tired of it." Then she stalks away.
Pacey goes to see Tamara at her warehouse, which is full of toxic-waste barrels, glass cubes from 1990 and sheets of drywall. Why did she own this place to begin with? Maybe there's a meth storyline in our future.
Pacey tells her he's not there to pine for her, but to tell her that he's totally fine, which makes sense. Going out of your way to track someone down to tell them you are omg so over them is the definition of emotionally healthy behavior. They say goodbye again, and piano music plays as Pacey and his jorts go to leave, but then of course he comes back and they start a-smoochin!
Eventually they break apart. They both look troubled. They both have jazz hands.
Tamara says she has to keep cleaning because a buyer (presumably Mr. Leery) is coming back soon to look at the warehouse for the third freakin' time. Pacey, who is totally over Tamara in case you forgot, tells her that he knows it's over but he needs to know if she misses....teaching.
Tamara says yes, she misses....teaching. Very much.
Pacey says, "Good, because I miss you...teaching. Very much." I know this is really subtle so y'all might have missed it, but I am pretty sure that when they say "teaching," they are actually referring to "having sex with Pacey."
This whole exchange made me uncomfortable because I really like Tamara and Pacey, and that makes me feel gross, because it is super not OK to like them. I've been in Capeside too long, apparently. All my boundaries are coming down. Fortunately, Pacey leaves, and Tamara and I are left to contemplate our sins, bathed in the sunbeams of Jesus.
Abby is hella pissed at Jen because Vincent liked her better. Jen is wearing an Oriental rug, I think.
She tells Abby it's not her fault and that she wasn't even interested in shirtless Jack Sparrow. "Don't blame me just because you got rejected," she says. Abby's eyes burn with hellfire
and she tells Jen, "I didn't get rejected. That's your specialty." BURN. THAT WAS WAY HARSH, TAI.
Joey asks Dawson if they can talk, but by this point he's so gun-shy on account of her rage that he tells her he's afraid of saying anything to her because lately it only results in a fight. She says she's been trying to think of how to explain her behavior, but it's hard, because even she doesn't understand it. He's important to her, she says, but art is important to her too. She says that aside from him, she doesn't have anything going on in her life. This totally explains her 'tude in this episode; if I realized that my entire life was about Dawson Leery, I too would be cranky as shit.
To drive the point home, she says that someone told her to draw what she loves, and the only thing she could think of was Dawson. Then she presents this HIDEOUSLY UNFLATTERING PICTURE OF HIM, which made me laugh so loudly that I startled my husband and all three of our pets.
Dawson, of course, is totally touched, but Joey says she's not OK with it at all because if she ever lost him, she'd have nothing. She totally needs art to hold onto, she explains, because if she doesn't have a hobby outside of dry-humping Dawson's khakis, she doesn't have anything at all.
She explains that she wasn't fighting with him all this time, she was really fighting with herself. Part of her wanted to hold him close and part of her wanted to send him away. Sarcasm aside, I think this is another time when this show has done an admirable job of portraying a moment of pure teen angst. I remember feeling this exact push-and-pull way with my first boyfriend when I was 15, and while I'm not sure everyone goes through that type of complicated emotional situation - I am a Child Of Divorce, which I think exacerbated mine - I do think, maybe, we can all relate. Dammit, Dawson's. I hate it when you resonate with me. Fortunately, it never lasts long, and here it leaves me quickly when Dawson asks which part of her won and Joey replies, "I don't mean to sound like a blob of paint, but can we just let this be unresolved for now?"
^ Basically how I feel.
Downtown, Pacey spies Andie through a restaurant window, apparently eating a hunk of butter.
Ugh OK here it is clearly a sandwich, but my hand to God, it was butter the first time I watched it. Like this.
Pacey takes a bite of the butter sandwich, and Andie guesses that Dawson told him that she likes him. Pacey plays dumb, but Andie says it's fine because she's sure her crush will pass. Pacey is unconvinced. "YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!" he exclaims, and she begs him to stop torturing her. He says he can't. Something about her just brings out the sadist in him.
As Pacey's sprouting horns, Tamara walks by on her way to hop into her sweet red convertible. It's shot in a very deep and artsy way:
Like she's walking right through Pacey to get to that beach party. Symbolic! Andie notices her and says, "Didn't you know that woman?"
And Pacey says, "I did. Not anymore."
I can't help but be a little proud of him, in spite of myself.
That being said, MY GOD, THIS WAS A BORING EPISODE. So much art. So much angst. So very little caring. I resorted to wine to get through the back half of this recap. I sincerely hope it was less painful for y'all.