"The theme of this year's prom is couples," Barbara Johns drones. "Please state your name as well as the name of your date." Jack stutters out his own name, then Ethan's name. "Excuse me?" Barbara sneers, and when Jack starts to spell the name "Ethan" for her, she cuts him off with, "A boy cannot go to the prom with a boy. The definition of a prom date is a boy and a girl." Jack doesn't think that's any of Barbara's business, but she's not done, saying that she doesn't understand why Jack needs to "cause a spectacle" and "ruin the prom for the rest of" the students. Like the sight of you in a strapless gown isn't a spectacle of ruination all on its own, you heterosexist T.J.-Maxx-fashions-wearing cow. Anyway, Barbara says that if Jack insists, she'll have to check with Mrs. Meyer, the faculty advisor. "You're not going to sell me a ticket?" Jack sputters in disbelief, and Barbara keeps up with the bigoted invective, asking Jack if he thinks him and Ethan dancing cheek-to-cheek and having their picture taken and so on won't "weird out even the ones who are sympathetic to people like you?" Jack looks like he might cry from frustration: "You can't do this." Barbara blows him off, saying he can try again after she talks to Mrs. Meyer and calling out, "Next!" Jack stomps off, passing Dawson as he comes up to the table, and Dawson asks if he's okay, and Jack sneers, "Fine," in Barbara's direction and says he has to go. Dawson looks after him as Barbara drones her little piece again. Dawson reminds her that they have gym class together, so she knows his name; Barbara repeats pointedly, "Please state your name as well as the name of your date." Get a life, Barb. Dawson says smugly, "Dawson Leery and Joey Potter." Barbara coos, "Oh -- happy couple, back together?" and we see a shot of Pacey sitting nearby and looking defeated as Dawson says, "Something like that, yeah," and Dawson walks away from the table with his tickets and sees Pacey staring at him sadly, and Dawson makes a little "ha!" motion with his mouth and keeps walking, and Pacey looks down at his tray.
On the front steps of Capeside High, Andie, Joey, and Dawson encourage Jack to file a formal complaint, but Jack, his head resting on his arms, doesn't want to deal with it; he appreciates their support, but "it's okay, I'm just not gonna go to the prom." Andie says he has to go, and Joey says that "at this point, it's political," and Jack says that's his point: "It's a prom, it's supposed to be fun. I mean, why does my entire life have to be a fight? Why does something that's normal for everyone else have to be so political for me?" Andie says that until things change in that regard, Jack has to fight, and Joey says they'll support him "all the way," but Jack isn't having it. Andie announces that, if Jack's not going, she's not going either. Joey's on board with that. Dawson's eyebrow shoots up in alarm, because if he and Joey don't go to the prom together, he'll lose his chance to manipulate her emotionally by dredging up times gone by -- oh, I mean, "win her back."