Credits. Cat drowning in a vat of lye.
Back from commercials, Joey slams Drue up against a wall; Drue appeals to Pacey: "Ohhhkay, now how is this a fair fight? What do you want me to do, hit her back? She's a girl." Actually -- go for it, Drue. Maybe a swift uppercut will knock some sense into her. Pacey smirks at him; Joey sasses, "Sucks, doesn't it? One of the few cultural advantages to being female." Oh, right -- so taking advantage of a bullshit double standard like hitting a man because he "can't" hit you back makes you a strong woman? Whatever. If you start a fight, you'd best know how to finish it, boy or girl, so shut up, Joey. Pacey says it looks like she's got the situation "well in hand," so he's going to class, and Drue sarcastically thanks him for his non-help and makes a light-years-out-of-date dimpled-chads joke which prompts Joey to slam him into the wall again. Drue looks genuinely intimidated and tells her to chill: "Have you no sense of humor about this?" He goes on to say that he thinks it's funny that a majority of their classmates "still care after all this time" -- and so do I, but not in the "ha ha" sense of funny -- and cracks on the fact that she and Dawson only went out for, like, five minutes anyway. Joey sneers that it's obvious Drue rigged the poll. Drue issues a non-denial denial, and asks if she voted. Joey snorts that of course she didn't: "Most popular, best-looking, who cares?" Drue sniffs that, clearly, she does. Joey makes to get the slamming-into-a-wall hat trick, tightening her grip on Drue's lapels and snapping that it isn't a joke, it's her life, she and Dawson "are not a couple, [they're] not anything resembling a couple -- [they're] just friends!" She refuses to let Drue hurt Dawson or Pacey "by dredging up the past," and she wants him to fix it. "Fix this, Lame-a Bovary," Drue grunts, slamming his forearm into her nose and breaking -- oops, sorry, Drue just interrupts her to point out, "Oh, look, it's your 'friend,' Dawson." Joey releases Drue as Dawson "Bad-Hair-iet The Spy" Leery walks up and asks if the beatdown is "by invitation only." Heh. If only his hair didn't look like a scoop of rotten ice cream. Dawson says he heard about Drue's "practical joke" and calls it "pretty funny, actually." "You think this is funny?" Joey whines disbelievingly. Dawson gets to carve another notch in his meta-statements-about-the-show bedpost when he dismisses the whole thing as "patently absurd," adding that "[they're] just friends." Joey shoots Dawson a look like she's disappointed that he doesn't care more. Whatever, Princess. Get over it. "There's that word again…'friends,'" Drue smarms. Dawson points out that Drue's just trying to "get a rise out of" them, and they have to get to class anyway. Drue bolts. Joey rolls her eyes, and she and Dawson head down the hall together.
Cut to Gretchen "Rode Hard And Put Away" Witter sputtering, "You want me to go drinking with Doug?" That sounds kind of fun. Well, more fun than this, anyway. Pacey, seated on the other side of the bar at the IHOF, yammers on about her not having to come home at any "specific time," and she can crash on Doug's couch if she wants, blah bling blah. Gretchen smells a rat, and Pacey protests that he has purely innocent motives -- i.e. "drinking and driving is a no-no" -- but Gretchen leans on her elbows and asks gleefully, "You did it, didn't you?" Pacey dissembles that he didn't say that, but Gretchen says that he didn't have to say it -- he did it, and now he wants to do it again, and that's why he's trying to get rid of her and why he's "been in such a good mood ever since [he] got back from the ski trip." Pacey continues to shine it on, but Gretchen says she can't believe she didn't notice before, and she busts out a little more of her patented Men Are From Mars-vintage wisdom by observing that only two things "make a man this happy, and the other one is free beer." Shut up, Gretchen. Pacey sighs that that's not why he came to see her; Gretchen thinks it's sweet, but Pacey, so whipped by Joey's passive-aggressive moodiness he fears confiding even in his own sister, says that "sweet" would be not telling anyone. Gretchen reassures him that he didn't tell her: "I pried it out of your cold, dead hands. And, uh, you have my solemn word I won't tell anyone." "Anyone," Pacey repeats. "Anyone," chirps Gretchen, reminding him that she used to "be a high-school girl too." Yeah, twenty years ago. "And in the spirit of those days, why don't I just fail to come home tonight?" Pacey, grinning, asks if she's sure; she's sure, but Pacey owes her "big time." Pacey runs off all happy. Gretchen watches him go, then shakes her head and mutters fondly, "Freak."