In the hallway, Tyson fiddles with some equipment. (Sidebar: no way would Dawson's budget cover any of this stuff -- the camera, the lights, the sound deck, the dolly, any of it -- even if he kept the half of the prize money that he said he would give to Joey, and even if everybody on set worked for free. The poser-y little light meter alone would have run him at least three hundred. NYU students make "low-budget" films for ten grand, and they can't afford equipment like that, and I doubt that Capeside High had high-end stuff for Dawson to borrow.) Jen walks over to the shot board and rearranges some Post-Its, and he leaps to his feet to greet her. She asks, "Being a good boy?" Tyson says, "Always," and she responds, "What a disappointment." Jen says she has a stiff neck, and Tyson starts massaging her neck and shoulders; Jen remarks, "Mmm, feels like you've got some experience at this," and Tyson jokes, "In being manipulated into a neck-rub, yeah," and they both laugh. Jen: "Maybe I can also manipulate you into coming out with me tonight. I mean, I think that once we get this scene done I'm really gonna need to loosen up." Tyson: "I think that can be arranged. Of course, there's one stipulation. ["Stipulation"?] You've gotta put yourself in my hands." Jen: "Well, they are good hands." She smiles invitingly and walks out, and Tyson watches her go and makes an "I'm the man" face. Note to writers: that scene would have played a lot more effectively if Jen and Tyson didn't have the chemistry of stale bread.
Dawson, Chris, and Devon walk down the front steps. Chris says, "Dawson, all I'm saying is I don't think my character would play it hurt," and Devon whines, "And where is my anger coming from? I'm really confused," and the camera pans across a bunch of reflectors and dolly tracks and -- yes, Virginia -- two director's chairs with "Wade" and "Sammy" written on them. Note to writers: just because you didn't have someone say "what's my motivation" doesn't make the scene well-written. Dawson thinks "that's implicit," but Chris disagrees, saying he thinks Wade would "play it cool, I mean, retain a little self-dignity" and not wear all his emotions on his sleeve; Devon doesn't think Sammy would "blow a gasket over this." Dawson tries to explain, "Chris -- not everybody is as cool as you." Can we not have the words "Chris" and "cool" in the same sentence, ever again? Great, thanks. Dawson goes on, "When Wade finds out his girlfriend kissed another guy, he's crushed, okay, the last thing he's thinking about is preserving any self-dignity." Chris looks puzzled as Dawson turns to Devon and says, "And you're, you're an angry girl. I mean, that's, that's a part of the essence of who you are. Okay, right now you're frustrated that Wade can't see that you've moved beyond him." Devon nods; Sars shakes her head, because no way does Dawson have that much insight into anyone besides himself. Chris pipes up again in genuine dismay, "Dawson, man, I can't relate. I've never been there." Oh, for the love of pete. Dawson looks around and sees Joey painting at an easel with an admiring group gathered around her, which inspires him to flare his nostrils and explain, "It's agony. Complete, excruciating agony -- it's like your heart has been ripped out of your chest and stomped on, and you can't breathe, you don't want to eat, you can't function. Uh, it's," and he trails off and looks over at Joey again before continuing, "It's the most intense pain you'll ever feel and the worst part is there's no way to relieve it -- it's, it's unyielding merciless torture, and you know that it's yours for life." Dawson turns to Devon: "And Devon, you're -- you feel completely misunderstood. You think that this guy who you've believed in your whole life can't see the hope and potential of what you can become, and so -- you're, you're petrified, you're, you're, you're confused, you don't, you're afraid to stay with him, you're afraid to stay without him, you're frustrated, you feel so -- alone." Devon nods slightly. Dawson falls silent and looks back at Joey, whom we see in slo-mo, bathed in soft light and smiling self-deprecatingly; Devon follows his gaze and narrows her eyes thoughtfully. James Van Der Beek actually kept the scenery-gnawing to a minimum during that speech -- nice work. Now, if only the writers could figure out a way to make Dawson likable.
Joey sorts headshots; Devon strides up to her and says, "Sammy, I was wondering if I could speak with you for a moment." Lord help us all. Joey says, "It's Joey," and makes a "whatever" face as Devon says, "Riiiight. Anyway, I'm having a problem with this scene -- I don't really get where my anger comes from. Personally, I'm not angry by nature and I was just wondering if you could should me how you'd do it." Joey doesn't understand what she means, and when Devon explains, Joey says snippily, "Well, see, I personally am not angry by nature, so that would be the fictional part of this autobiographical tale." I don't know about that; I think Dawson got that whole "an angry girl" thing right, myself. Devon doesn't buy it, and since they didn't have enough money to pay Abby this week, she asks Joey, "So tell me -- how do you date one guy while you're still in love with another?" Joey snorts, "Look, I know what you're trying to do. Don't go there." Devon keeps pressing, referring to Joey "liplocked with that puppy-dog" and asking, "What is this Jack guy, a safety net?" As Jack materializes from a nearby doorway, Joey resists taking the bait: "Ooooh -- you're good. But I'm not that easily manipulated." Jack asks, "Is everything okay?" and Devon wants to know, "Tell me, Jack, what's it like being the transition guy?" Predictably, Joey loses her cool and snaps, "Would you stop it?" and Devon continues, "You know, it must be really hard opening your heart to a girl whose heart is reserved for someone else." Jack shoots Joey a worried look as Joey finally bursts out, "You know what? Look, you annoying little third-rate wanna-be, why don't you take your irritating self and prey on somebody who doesn't see through your pathetic attempt to masquerade bitchiness as research?" Sars adds, "And why don't you give Abby her job back, because she does it a lot better than you do?" Devon arches a pixie brow and says, "Thank you," and as she does her Norma Desmond float down the hall, Jack asks, "What was that?" and Joey fumes, "She's too short to play me."