Props to Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick, Heather Donahue, Glark, owen, Sars, and the soothing effect of wrapping an assload of Christmas presents the entire time this episode aired.
Previously on Dawson's Creek: Principal Green put Andie in charge of the school's student disciplinary committee; she went on to beg Pacey to take her back and he turned her down cold; Joey took her shirt off, and Dawson told her to put it back on.
At the video store in which Dawson "Taranteeny" Leery apparently still works, Joey "Teen Avenger" Potter comes tearing in, praying that the store has The Crucible in stock. He says that someone checked it out an hour ago (which is just as well, because that movie was appalling), and she covers her face with her hands and says it serves her right for being "that girl." Dawson asks, "What girl?" and she replies, "The girl who rents the movie the night before an all-important paper is due because their [sic] debilitating Attention Deficit Disorder has gotten in the way of her actually reading the book." There's really no excuse for that, because the play is only a hundred and forty-five pages of rather large print, besides which it's a play, and reads faster than, say, Middlemarch. And it's actually a very engrossing read. I don't buy for a second that Joey couldn't have read the book in less time than it would take to watch the movie. Anyway, Dawson is (for once) less judgmental than I am and, while shelving videos, asks since when Joey is "that girl." She tells him that between taking care of Alexander and getting the B & B ready for business, she hasn't had much time for schoolwork. Dawson is confused, and says he thought she worked at the marina. She makes a taken-aback face and shakes her head. He asks what happened, and she says it's a long story. When he doesn't ask any follow-up questions, she asks what's up with him, and whether "Eve [has] helped [him] add any crimes and misdemeanours to [his] record." He tells her that Eve left town. Joey raises her eyebrows in surprise, and Dawson continues to putter around the store, clearly communicating that he has no interest in chatting with Joey, whom we're to think is his best and oldest friend. Picking up on his get-lost vibe, Joey cheerily says she'll see him around school, and starts to leave, flapping her arms and saying, "I'll be the one cloaked in failure." Dawson calls her back and suggests to her that there's a way she might not have to write the paper. Intrigued, she turns back, and he explains that after they got the assignment, he convinced "Green" to let him do something different, which Joey correctly guesses means that Dawson's making a movie instead. The principal is teaching their History class? And if it's a History class, why would Joey have to either read or watch The Crucible, which is not exactly a historical document? Whatever.
Dawson says that Jen and Pacey have also been excused from writing the paper in exchange for helping Dawson with his movie (the hell? What kind of crappy-ass school is this? Lazy bastards), and Joey covers her hurt feelings by saying, even more cheerily than before, "I guess my invitation got lost in the mail." Dawson says, "I would have invited you, it just..." Joey tells him to forget about it, and asks what the movie's about. He says that since they're reading The Crucible, he figured he might make a documentary about something that happened in the region: "Witch Island." Joey says, "So, basically you're ripping off The Blair Witch Project." Cut the "basically" part, and you've got it, Jo. Dawson says that he's insulted, and that he's making a "real" documentary: "I want to try and [sic] use the myth of Witch Island to tell a larger story about hypocrisy and religious persecution." You know, I think that someone's done that before. His name is Arthur Miller, and he's waiting for his cheque, All-Bran. Dawson asks Joey if she's in, and she delivers an overlong speech about the downward spiral her life will take if she doesn't, culminating in her agreeing to do it. She sidles out, while Dawson watches her go with -- if you can believe it -- a more smug expression than he has ever worn on this show. I hate you, Dawson.