The Flash and Gale get ready for bed. They lie to each other about what they did that evening; they get under the covers. Gale says, "I'm glad you had fun tonight, Mitch," before turning her back on him and closing her eyes. The Flash stares morosely into the darkness of their bedroom. Could someone please roll in the world's largest box of crayons and color me totally over this subplot? Thank you.
On the front porch of Bessie's Bastard Barn, Joey leans her head pensively on her hand as Bessie's accursed pick-up pulls up in front of the house. Joey, in a weird non-reference reference to the whereabouts of the boyfriend: "I was beginning to think you'd skipped town on me." Bessie: "Yeah, I was up all night cleaning. Look, Joey, I need to talk to you -- things aren't working out for you and the Icehouse so, you're fired." Joey objects. Bessie says she doesn't think Joey should work there anymore. Joey says Bessie can't fire her. Bessie says, "Yes I can, and I am." Joey expresses guilt and remorse for the things she said and says she didn't mean them, but Bessie says, "Yes you did. Joey, you were right, I'm -- I'm in way over my head, I live in total chaos," and again I say, take a number, sister, but Bessie doesn't want Joey to have deal with it or to rob Joey of her childhood, "having fun and being young, not burdened with all my messes. It's not fair. It's not fair to you, and I'm sorry." Snaps to Bessie for acknowledging that Joey has way more crap to deal with than the average fifteen-year-old. Joey then refuses to accept her firing, telling Bessie that she thinks of the two of them as a team, which makes Bessie's problems her problems too, and that she loves Bessie and Alexander the bundle of shame and doesn't want Bessie "to feel like [she's] in this alone." Bessie: "Yeah, but you're my little sister. I'm supposed to be taking care of you." Joey: "You do. God, you do take care of me, Bessie," and snaps to Joey for acknowledging that without Bessie her butt would have landed in foster care years ago. Bessie says that one day she will get her act together and make Joey proud of her, and Joey says that she already is proud of Bessie, and they hug, and call me a softie, but I found this scene not only refreshingly low-key and realistic but also somewhat touching. And now, back to our regularly scheduled dose of vitriol.
Cut to class that morning, where the kids have to hand in their assignment. The camera pans across the classroom and over the various facial expressions of Joey (leafing studiously through her notebook), Dawson (unexcited and lantern-jawed), the same-sex-couple meatheads (pleased with themselves), Andie (apprehensive), Kenny (pondering vengeance), Jen (pre-crying), and Abby (scheming) as the teacher drones on about what he hopes they have learned. As they pass their assignments to the front, the same-sex couple describes their wedding; Kenny rats Abby out for not helping (go Kenny) while one of the meatheads mocks him and Abby protests; and Andie turns in her half since Pacey hasn't shown up to class yet, giving a feeble explanation based on her theory that "marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition," and -- but soft! What Monkey Boy through yonder doorway breaks? 'Tis Pacey, completed and Kinko'ed project in hand, and the teacher says said project looks "quite comprehensive." Whatever.
Cut to Capeside High exterior. Dawson is "so glad that project is over," but Joey "kind of liked the assignment," to which Dawson responds, "You did, didn't you?" like, buck up, little camper! Dawson gives Joey some guff about "Joey Potter climbs the ladder of corporate America" and then pulls her in for a kiss, and can someone please clue Dawson in that condescending to the little woman does NOT equal foreplay? Abby and Jen pass by and Abby tells them, and I admiringly quote, "Get a room." Joey asks, "What was that all about?" and Dawson says, "I have no idea," and any psych majors needing a textbook example of repression of unpleasant memories need look no farther. Pacey comes out the front door and Andie thanks him for "finishing the project." Pacey apologizes for his hissy of the previous day, saying, "I talked to your brother last night, and he explained to me that your family's not exactly the Rockefellers," and can I ask why this even matters? I mean, if I want a badly-written teen drama about class conflict, I'll rent The Outsiders, so enough already with the greasers-versus-Socs non-dramatic non-tension. Andie fails to call him on this, however, and accepts his apology, then asks if they ended up getting the sportscar. As they continue to bicker, we see a shot in the rearview mirror of a red convertible of a woman in sunglasses looking at Pacey, and as Pacey and Andie walk by, Tamara "Mary Kay LeTourneau" Jacobs eases her shades down and watches him go past, and memo to Tamara: try joining a dating service.