Season 2, Episode 7 (real title: "The All-Nighter") opens with Dawson in his room with his mom, watching a Liz Taylor movie and talking about Shakespeare. His mom is crying, because that is the appropriate reaction to hanging out in Dawson's room watching a Liz Taylor movie and talking about Shakespeare.
The movie ends, and Dawson and Mrs. Leery have a mother/son heart-to-heart about how they are concerned about each other. Dawson is worried because Mrs. Leery is so emo about Mr. Leery moving out, and Mrs. Leery thinks it's super weird that Dawson hasn't wallowed over his break-up with Joey. (Personally, I think they're both better off, but nobody asked me.) Fully embracing her emo role, Mrs. Leery tells Dawson that "every inch of pain that touches you makes you a deeper, more real individual."
Dawson is shocked to learn that life does not get easier when you're an adult. It sure doesn't, Mrs. Leery agrees. "You just go to bed earlier."
After she heads to bed (no worries, I'm sure she'll change into an outfit made of satin first), Dawson takes a moment to stare longingly at the open window.
There is still no screen in the window, and there are still no swarms of insects in Dawson's room, even though there's currently also a bunch of junk food in his bed. As if to mock me, he then eats some licorice.
The next morning this cranky-ass teacher is passing out blue books and talking about how everyone’s going to fail their English final, which is tomorrow.
Teaching is clearly his life's passion. Thanks for the vote of confidence, sir! Mel Silver would never.
Joey and Dawson are both a hot mess, full of teenage angst and existential dread at having to sit next to each other post-breakup.
Some guy throws a note at Jen. "DON'T FORGET TO SMILE," it reads in serial-killer handwriting.
Jen is sitting in front of this guy so I'm not sure how he knew what her face was doing to begin with. She does smile after she reads the note, which is the exact opposite of how I would react to it, because truly, there is nothing more annoying than a guy getting all up in your face commanding you to smile. I DO WHAT I WANT WITH MY FACE. And anyway since he's sitting behind her, there's no way he can know she's smiling. Dawson's writers. Try harder. Try at all.
The bell rings and Joey chases after Dawson. They're going to have to talk at some point, she says. Might as well get it over with. He says that she asked for space, so he's giving her space. Joey's getting exactly what she asked for, so naturally, she's unhappy.
Now that he's not getting to second base with her, though, Dawson is done with her shit. "WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT?" he asks, and then stalks away. U GO DAWSON!
Look at that guy over Dawson's shoulder. "About time," he's thinking. He's my favorite person in this episode.
At lunch, Andie is reading Jane magazine (RIP Jane I miss yoooou), which features a purity quiz that she would like Pacey to take so she can gauge his level of sexual experience. Pacey, flashing back on his statutory rape encounters with one Tamara Jacobs, doesn't want to play. Andie says it doesn't matter anyway because guys are all the same, just wanting girls to think they've got a "sordid sexual past" when they're all virgins. Pacey, sensing an out, goes along with this.
Jen's in gym class stretching before running, which is a wonderful way to pull a muscle. That guy who wanted Jen to smile is now offering to pace her on the run, because, he says lecherously, "I know when to speed up ... and when to slow down."
Jen is not interested, because it's a well-known fact that he's a manwhore, and maybe also because he is wearing tube socks and very large shorts.
Everybody had planned to go a study session for the test that not-Mel-Silver told them they're going to fail, but not-Mel-Silver got sick and had to cancel the session. Manwhore bro says this is a great opportunity for Jen to be treated to a private study session with him at his house because his parents are out of town. She's all, "I DON'T WANT TO BONE YOU, BRO," and he's like, "Nah that's not even what I meant! I'll prove it! Invite your friends!"
Andie is super not into it, but Pacey tells her they have to go because the guy’s parents are loaded and their house is insane. “THEY GOT A SATELLITE DISH!” he says.
My husband and I have DirecTV and prior to this moment I did not realize that our cable subscription signifies that WE HAVE MADE IT! BRANDON, POP SOME BOTTLES!
Andie is also powerless to resist the promise of digital cable, so she agrees to go with Pacey.
Then she inexplicably invites Joey,
and of course Pacey invites Dawson.
I don't know about y'all but this is a plot twist that I did NOT see coming! (JK I totally saw it coming.)
The tension ramps up immediately, when Dawson hops in the manwhore's car (his name is Chris, I guess) and sees Joey! He is very upset but he gets in anyway, because being in close proximity to Joey is still better than hanging out in his room with his teary-eyed mom.
The house is SUPER nice. No sign of the satellite dish, though.
They all go inside and are greeted by Chris' little sister, Deena.
She seems very upset, maybe because she is 9 at the oldest and is alone in the house at a huge desk, making business decisions or something. How did she get home from school? Who even knows?
Pacey immediately wanders off to the bar to watch satellite TV! Look at that definition!
TWO HUNDRED CHANNELS, GUYS! ON A 13-INCH SONY! Pacey is so happy. You really get the sense that the bar has been set low in his life.
Andie drags him from the room and makes everyone convene around the dining room table as she attempts to actually make this into a study session instead of the orgy that Chris clearly wants. Chris, sensing his sweaty fantasies slipping away, suggests ordering pizza, and he and Jen head to the kitchen, where he opens a nice bottle of wine that I would very much like to be drinking right now.
He tells Jen that it bothers him that she assumes the worst of him, believing that his manwhore reputation is true without getting to know him. She says given their previous encounters, what is she supposed to think?
Everyone spends this entire episode talking to/about this guy like he's a Regular Part Of The Capeside Gang, but I'm pretty sure we've never even been peripherally introduced to him. Meanwhile actual established characters (QB Cliff, MEL SILVER) have gone missing entirely, while other staple characters (Jack, Abby) are not mentioned or seen anywhere in this episode. Continuity has never been a strong point for this show (aside from its total dedication to making Joey the worst, bless), so whatever, but it's aggravating when they trot these characters out and act like we're all supposed to remember who they are.
Chris obviously agrees with me because he reiterates that Jen should get to know him before judging him. Jen seems to agree, because they shake on it! They've both got pretty weak handshakes.
Then he refuses to let go of her hand. This guy has date rapist written all over him. Later, he enters the study session holding a glass of that nice wine and reciting Shakespeare. He's also got "This Fucking Guy" written all over him.
Even Dawson is annoyed.
And then, as if that weren't enough, Chris finds Andie's Jane magazine and decides they should take a study break to take the purity quiz! Andie just really wants to study for this goddamn test so she agrees to the purity quiz break but only if she can be in charge of it. She hands out pens and papers, and says they'll all take turns reading the questions.
Everyone is to write down their answers and total their scores when they're done. Then it's just a montage of them reading questions. HERE IS A SAMPLING!
"Have you ever been intimately aroused by a relative?" (....?) "Ever gotten cozy in an airplane?" "Ever gotten cozy in your parents' bed?" "Ever gotten cozy in a public place?" "Ever caught your parents having sex?"
"Have you ever fantasized about a friend's significant other?"
Joey gets the last question. "Have you ever been in love?" she reads, her face falling. "If so, how many times?"
Dawson just kinda looks at her. He looks sort of cute. Who am I, even?
Joey can't deal so she runs out of the room. Dawson comes after her, and she blows up at him.
"I ASKED FOR SPACE," she snaps before storming out. "PLEASE RESPECT THAT." Never mind that when he tried to give her space earlier, she was all fucking whiny about that too. It's fine. It's just her way! So quirky!
When Joey leaves, Chris' little sister Deena comes in. She's been eavesdropping, and sums up the situation succinctly by saying, flatly, "Issues." DEENA SPEAKS THE TRUTH.
She introduces herself to Dawson, and he asks for coffee, which I understand because that is totally the first thing I do every time I meet a child too. Deena's unfazed, though. "You want drip or instant?" she asks. "Drip," Dawson replies.
"Appropriate," Deena says. Deena really gets me.
She asks for the details about Dawson's "little love affair," and when he declines to gab with her, she shrugs. "You're right," she says. "Why talk? People like you and me can say everything with a look." DEENA! YOU SAUCY LITTLE MINX. Maybe stop hanging around your brother so much.
Deena makes Dawson super uncomfortable (one of her best qualities, tbh), so he flees back into the other room, just in time to get everyone's PURITY SCORES! It's a percentage scale, based out of 100 - so the lower your score, the lower your purity. This is all super serious and scientific, you see, so everyone is primed to get real fucking upset about it. GET READY.
Chris and Jen are the least pure, coming in at 66 percent and 69 percent, respectively. If you think we get that piece of news without some snickering over the number 69, well, you'd be wrong, and probably have not been paying attention thus far.
Joey and Dawson are tied at 85 percent, stuck together in mostly pure misery. Andie clocks in at 92 percent, sealing her title as resident good girl, though I do wonder where she lost those 8 points.
But WAIT JUST A DARN MINUTE HERE, we are missing someone's test results!
He doesn't want to turn it in, and Chris says it must be because of question 16. Chris is dying to know Pacey's answer to question 16. Andie is confused. "What's question 16?" she asks. "LET'S READ IT OUT LOUD RIGHT NOW!" Chris suggests. Nobody's psyched.
Andie looks up question 16. "Have you ever had sex with someone twice your age?" Nobody says anything, until Chris helpfully speaks up. "So you laid the pipe with Ms. Jacobs," he chortles. "It's true after all."
Andie puts it all together.
Pacey doesn't confirm anything, but he doesn't deny it either. Everything's quiet and awkward, and then Andie leaves the room, and nobody stops her or says anything. Eventually Pacey gets up, shares a ~meaningful look~ with Dawson, and goes after her.
I mean, look. Chris is a douche - these people are not his friends, despite how much this episode wants me to think they are, and this was none of his business at all - but everything that happened with Pacey and Tamara happened before he knew Andie, so I'm not sure why she's mad about it. On the other hand, there was a way to tell her this story, and this wasn't it.
Never mind though because Chris is now preparing a tray with wine while testing the water in the hot tub! He tells Dawson not to worry about Joey because there's some serious make-up sex in their future! You're doing a great job of defying that manwhore rep there, sir.
He asks Dawson how he's doing with Jen. Dawson, who don't forget has totally known Chris forever THEY ALL HAVE, replies that Chris has obviously never had any trouble attracting the opposite sex. Jen's different, Chris says. She's too "with it," and "closing the deal" with her will require "a completely different strategy." I need to shower just from listening to him. Dawson does too.
He asks Chris to please not take advantage of Jen, because she's in a weird place, what with her dead grandfather and trying to figure out her place in the bustling social hierarchy at Capeside High. Chris does not care. He doubles down and gets even grosser, telling Dawson to watch the light outside the guesthouse, because when it goes off, it'll be because he's in there with Jen, "lowering our purity levels."
Jen and Joey are in the guest house, looking through the spare swimsuits that Chris' rich parents keep for poor guests who can't afford to bring their own.
Jen tells Joey she was sorry to hear about her breakup with Dawson, though she doesn't expect Joey to believe her. She says it nicely, so naturally Joey is super nasty. "You're right," she snaps. "I don't believe you."
Jen's over it. "Thanks, Joey, for making our conversation just as delightful as ever," she says. "YOU'RE WELCOME," Joey snaps, and Jen says, "You know, I thought maybe we didn't get along because we both had feelings for Dawson, but maybe it's because you're just a bitch." JEN! LOVE YOU SO HARD RN.
Joey recants. She didn't mean to be harsh, she says. She's just really tired of talking all the time. She just wants to follow her feelings, which per usual makes no sense, since she still loves Dawson but is ignoring her feelings to continue their breakup. She and Jen were talking really closely at this point. I kinda thought Joey might "follow her feelings" into a kiss with Jen, but she didn't. Good for you, Jen. You can do better.
Pacey finds Andie and she asks why he never told her about Tamara. "You should have said, 'Before you fall for me, I slept with my teacher,'" she says, which, nah. She tells him it's not an "admirable thing" that he did, and Pacey tells her she's being unfair and judging him before she knows the circumstances. It was about sex, he says, but there were also feelings involved.
Andie can't reconcile any of this. You're not that guy, she says, and Pacey says, "Of course I am! We're sexual creatures, and sex is never innocent!" I thought maybe we would get through this whole episode without anyone saying a sentence that made me want to vomit but I guess not. THANKS PACEY.
He tells Andie that he's sorry if knowing about him and Tamara changes the way that she thinks about him, but he can't change any of that, and if things are going to continue between them, she'll have to just accept it. Pacey is 100 percent correct, and aside from being upset over the way he told her, Andie is being really unfair - but I think I only understand that implicitly because I'm 34. At 17, I would have felt exactly the way she does.
Dawson pulls Jen aside to warn her that Chris is a slimeball who just wants to get her into bed. But oh snap, Dawson! Jen already knows and maybe is OK with it! Suck it!
As soon as Jen leaves, Deena pops up. "You dated both of them, huh?" she says, then asks Dawson whether Jen or Joey is "the one." Dawson refuses to discuss his love life with a 9-year-old, so Deena tries to bribe him by saying that she stole Joey's answer sheet and she thinks Dawson will be veeeeery interested in some of her responses, particularly the last question, about how many times she's been in love. (She also mentions that Joey draws little smiley-faces in her O's, which seems like the least Joey thing ever. "It kinda makes me want to puke," Deena says. I love Deena.)
Dawson asks for Joey's answer sheet, and Deena says he can have it for the price of one kiss. (Sigh, Deena. I had such high hopes for you.) Dawson refuses to kiss her, and Deena says okay, then gives up the good stuff anyway, informing him that Joey said she's been in love TWICE! Dawson's confused.
I was confused too, but then I realized that the second time was probably just Joey being completely and totally in love with herself. It would explain so much.
Chris and Jen are in the hot tub! He smooches her, and she says, "What if I don't want to?" He says if she doesn't want to then they won't. He's not a bad guy! He just wants to have fun! She asks what his idea of fun is.
I’m super grossed out, but Jen seems into it. She keeps doing this lately, where she's TOOOOTALLY INTO IT until she is abruptly TOOOOTALLY not into it - which is her prerogative, of course, but she seems really torn between being Bad Girl Jen From The Big City and Capeside Jen Who Lives With Grams In Bibletown. I wish she'd figure it out, if only so I can stop watching her awkwardly make out with this parade of sub-par dudes. Anyway, she confirms to Chris here that they're on the same page, so whatever. Commence disgusting smooching.
Dawson asks Pacey why he didn't just lie on his stupid purity quiz, and Pacey says that he didn't want to lie to Andie. Which is fine, but then why not - I don't know - TELL HER PRIVATELY, WITH WORDS, INSTEAD OF A YES-OR-NO QUESTION IN A MAGAZINE QUIZ?
Dawson thinks this makes total sense, though! He says he'd like to think he'd have done the same thing! Except he's having trouble lately saying what he means. Pacey says, "TRY HARDER," and so Dawson goes to talk to Joey again. She's super psyched!
She asks him to go away, but he's all hopped up on hormones and advice from Pacey. He tells her that he thought what they had was special. "I thought I was your world. When did you have time to fall in love with guy no. 2?" She's SUPER MAD that he stole her answer sheet, and she asks him why things can't just go back to the way they were before. Dawson says, "After everything that's happened, if you don't understand why that can't happen, then you don't get me."
Can y'all guess how Joey reacts?! If you guessed "she ran away," you are RIGHT! And as soon as she leaves, Deena walks out, clapping. "That was very emotional," she says. "Oscar-nominated. Really." Oh, Deena. You obviously haven't seen very much of this show.
He tells her to go away, and, astonished, she says, "You aren't crying, are you?" (This is how you know she doesn't watch Dawson's Creek. He cries ALL THE TIIIIIME!) He gives her a big ol' lecture about how kissing can ruin lives and friendships so she shouldn't rush it, and then she starts crying and runs away. Turns out Joey didn't run very far, and she heard everything.
She doesn't say anything but the look is clearly meant to convey, "Why are you yelling at a young child about kissing and making her cry?" Joey goes after Deena, and Dawson has just about given up on life when he notices that...
....THE GUESTHOUSE LIGHT IS OFF. JEN'S PURITY LEVEL IS NOT LONG FOR THIS WORLD. Dawson also realizes in this moment that his clothes are really fucking baggy.
EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.
Deena is hugging a frog in her bedroom when Joey comes to console her about life. I'm not including any of the dialogue, because taking advice from Joey is a stupid idea.
Everybody eventually passes out, and Dawson gets his baggy ass up first and finds everyone inside. The grandfather clock chimes and Andie wakes up and immediately starts freaking out because it's 6 a.m., the test is in four hours, and they've barely studied at all.
Jen wakes up naked in the guesthouse with some phenomenal bedhead.
Chris is there, but he's already up and dressed. He gives her a quick kiss, THANKS HER, and picks his watch up from behind the used condom wrapper. Just in case you were confused about whether they boned, y'all.
It's so skeevy, but I guess I am glad for the condom-wrapper shot, because I feel like I've contracted chlamydia just from watching this loser, so it's good to know that any ills that Jen suffers from this will not be of the sexually transmitted nature. She asks why he's thanking her and he says, "For a very fun night." BLEEECCCHHHH.
She says she'll get dressed and they can walk over to the house together, but Chris says Nah! I'll just meet you there! I feel bad for her, but on the other hand, he made it pretty clear he was just looking to hook up so...I don't know. Get it together, Jen.
Back in the house, Pacey takes charge! He consolidates Andie’s study guide so they can cram for the next three hours. We are then treated to a study montage, and the first shot is of a toaster. Look at this fucking toaster!
It's like two feet long! It's wood-paneled! Rich people, amirite?!
The montage also includes shots of everyone wearing the world's most awful sunglasses.
At first I thought maybe it was the same pair and they were just passing them around between takes, but at the end there's a shot of all of them together.
So nope. Even by 90's standards, they all just have terrible, terrible taste. Especially you, Chris.
Eventually they finish cramming, and to celebrate, jump in the pool with their clothes on.
The lyrics to the song playing in the background here clearly say, "FUCK THIS SHIT." Subliminal messaging I can get behind.
As they’re climbing out of the pool, Andie tells Pacey that she understands why he didn't tell her about Tamara. She was just shocked that he has so much experience, she says, while she doesn't. Then they trade some insults, say they love to hate each other, and kiss, so I guess they're fine now.
Joey’s wearing satin, which probably reminds Dawson of his mom. He asks if they can talk. Joey has given up on life, so she says sure.
He tells her he wants to take back their first kiss, because then, no matter what, he wouldn't be hurting so badly. But then he says when he thinks about all the good stuff the kiss brought into his life (LIKE WHAT?), it's worth it. Joey then drops the bomb on him: both times she fell in love were with him! BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY WERE.
The first time, she says, was with the boy she grew up with. The second time was after they kissed. And just because they aren't together doesn't mean her feelings for him have changed, she says. "It's me I'm unsure of." This is the exact same speech she gave him in the last episode, albeit slightly less dramatic, so I'm not sure why it placates him this time, but it does. He says he'll give her space, but that doesn't change his feelings, either. This whole thing is so stupid. Either be together or don't, but please have a reason for your decision.
On his way out of the house, Dawson sees Deena, who I guess does not have to go to school, and who apparently put her glasses back on and came downstairs to sleep on the couch after previously taking them off to go sleep in her bed.
He kisses her forehead, which seems kind of rude since he told her that kisses can ruin entire lives.
Deena's fine with it.
Do better, Deena. Do better.
And then, after all that, they get to school only to find out that not-Mel-Silver has postponed the test. So instead of going home or to another class, they all go pass out on the middle of the football field.
I guess being too cool for football games doesn't extend to sleeping on the mascot. Lucky, that.