Sidebar. Yes, sex is a big deal. Yes, losing your virginity is a scary prospect when you haven't done it yet. Yes, wanting to wait is perfectly valid, no matter what your reasons. BUT. Joey and Pacey just spent THREE MONTHS together on a TINY boat with nothing to do but each other, and while I find it wildly implausible that they wouldn't have had sex already in those circumstances, I find it completely and utterly unbelievable that they wouldn't have at least HAD THIS CONVERSATION at some point during the summer -- that Pacey wouldn't have tried to take it further, or asked for her reasons, or that Joey wouldn't have freaked out before now, or that the very scene we just saw wouldn't have played out about two days after they left port. The writers feel that they have to show it in order to keep us interested, I suppose, but the fact remains that it's lazy, non-credible writing. Why I expect better, I don't know.
All right, we've barely gotten past the opening credits and I've got many sidebars to go before I sleep, so let's move on.
A cluster of soccer moms chit-chat by their parked SUVs as we hear Jack "A Subplot Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You...Woo Woo Woo" McPhee saying he doesn't know why he got himself into this; he doesn't play soccer very well, he knows nothing about kids, and he's never coached anything in his life. Hey, that didn't stop The Flash. Pan over to the McPhees, kitted out in athletic-wear and heading towards the field as Andie "Final Countdown" McPhee tells Jack that "pee-wee soccer is a great opportunity to help mold young minds, teach them about teamwork and sportsmanship." Then she admits that it looks good on college apps, and offers to "take full responsibility" if it winds up sucking. "Damn straight," Jack grumbles. ["As it were." -- Wing Chun] They walk over to the kids, and Andie gives them a speech about enriching their lives, and the kids groan. Jack tells everyone who wants to have fun to raise their hands, and the kids all raise their hands and call out, "Me! Me!" except for one doughy blonde kid in braids. Jack bonds with Molly, the doughy blonde kid, who apparently doesn't talk and hates soccer, and wins over the rest of the kids with a short monologue on having fun and eating pizza after the games.
All you have to briiiiing is your love of everythiiiiing, at beautiful Mount Crusty Looooodge, where we find Dawson painting and brooding. Mr. Brooks comes out and chaps him for painting in the same spot too long, makes a sarcastic comment about why Dawson's distracted, and then chaps him some more to the tune of "leave the juvenile angst on the playground where it belongs." Mr. Brooks is officially beginning to grow on me. Dawson makes a face. Mr. Brooks then spots a stack of Dawson's photos peeking out of his bag and picks them up to take a look. Dawson asks him to leave his things alone, but Mr. Brooks reminds him that a kid who stole his boat isn't going to give him a lecture on "the sanctity of personal property" (heh) and proceeds to critique Dawson's snapshots thusly: "Pedestrian...wholly uninteresting...amateurish, and terrible composition, too." Dear Mr. Brooks: I love you. Love, Sars. Dawson grits his teeth and pouts. But, Lord love him, Mr. Brooks isn't done: "You -- you didn't take this on purpose, did you? Whew." Dawson slumps off the ladder and snatches the photos away from Mr. Brooks, who tells him, "As a photographer, you're a mediocre housepainter, Mr. Leery," and goes on to tell him that the photos have no emotion, "no spark." He goes back indoors as Dawson sarcastically thanks him for the "cogent analysis." "Cogent"? Shut up, Dawson. Dawson heaves a "poor me" sigh and gets back up on the ladder. ["And yet, I sense he doesn't plan to use that ladder to get over himself, as we've suggested so very many times over the years. What a waste of a prop." -- Wing Chun]
Capeside High cafeteria. Jen "My Kingdom For A Maybelline Gig" Lindley joins Joey at a table. Noting Joey's bummed body language, Jen banters a bit about getting "robbed" on the history test, but Joey admits that she thinks she "set the curve." Jen bites into an apple, eyes Joey, and asks her what's wrong. "Nothing...mashed potatoes are cold," Joey says glumly. Jen cracks that "it's just one tragedy after another today, huh," and Joey confesses, "The mashed potatoes are cold and so am I." "Is this about sex?" Jen asks through a mouthful of apple. "Is it that obvious?" No, Jen says, "it's...it's just that it always is [about sex]." Joey tucks her hair sadly behind her ear and says she thinks Pacey's starting to get impatient. Jen dismisses this by saying that Pacey loves Joey: "He'll wait." Joey tells her that Pacey isn't the problem, that "the waiting just goes on and on," and she's getting impatient herself, but for some reason she just keeps waiting. Jen asks her point-blank if she wants to have sex; Joey says of course she does, but she doesn't know if she's ready, and she doesn't know how to tell if she's ready, and everyone says that you "just know," but what if that's just something everyone says and nobody actually knows, blah dee blah. Do high-school girls really talk as much about "feeling ready" as they seem to on TV? Because my friends and I never talked about it that way. We talked about sex, sure, but it never took on this vaunted girding-of-the-loins-for-the-great-crusade tone. It's sex, not becoming a Jedi, for chrissakes. Anyway, Jen says that Joey would probably feel more ready "if [she] were actually prepared." Joey furrows her brow: "What do you mean?" Jen blathers on about how visiting a free clinic for birth control and "sex advice" is a "rite of passage" for New York City girls, similar to a bas mitzvah or getting a learner's permit. Oh, please. Shut up, Jen. Jen goes on to say that she doesn't think "anybody ever really knows if they're ready...but you do know if you're prepared. And...you're not." Joey nods ruefully. Jen proposes a Nantucket Nectar toast "to responsible sexual gratification." Shut UP, Jen. Joey raises her Nantucket Nectar: "To womanhood." Shut up, Joey. They clink bottles. Wave bye-bye to Jen, kids, because we don't see her again.