The episode everyone's been waiting for (read: "dreading") is, apparently, finally here.
Previously on Dawson's Creek: Joey and Pacey smooched at a really awkward angle; Dawson -- hold onto your hats, folks -- bitched to the Flash that Pacey stole his girl, and that it hurts; Joey told Pacey that "dealing with Dawson is a reality for" her, and Pacey reminded her in turn that "the guy hates" him and he can't fix it, so Joey sputtered that he could try; Jen said, "Oh, hello, messenger" to Jack, and then killed him; Joey said that she and Pacey spent three months at sea, but didn't come close to weathering the storm. Of clichés. And skillets. And anvils. And the tidal wave of Maalox that I pray envelops Manhattan in a swamp of cherry-flavored stomach-soothing goodness.
Fade up on English class, with the teacher calling The Two Gentlemen Of Verona "not one of the Bard's best, but an interesting apprentice piece nonetheless." As he walks the room all John Keating and talks about Silvia as an early version of Juliet, we pan to the back of the room, where Drue "But Soft, What Shite Through Yonder Window Breaks" Valentine plays with Joey "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Spine" Potter's hair. Joey whips around and tells him to knock it off, or next time she'll "draw blood." We're waiting, girlfriend. Drue adopts a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth mien and tells her, "It's your own fault -- I'm new here, and you're not being very nice to me." Joey mutters, "I'm not trying to be." Drue points out that Joey's not "very popular," so she can turn around now: "You're of no use to me." Joey sets her jaw and prepares to deliver a stinging retort, only to get busted for talking by the teacher and asked to share with the class "what The Two Gentlemen Of Verona is all about." Joey cringes and stammers for a moment, and the teacher tells her to speak up because he doesn't "speak mumble," and Joey rallies with, "It's about a girl who comes between two guys." The teacher makes a joke about Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place which, while probably funnier than any of the jokes on that show, doesn't get so much as a pitying chuckle from the class. Or from the recapper. The teacher asks what Joey thought of the play, and she dismisses it as unrealistic, characterizing Valentine as a "cardboard-cutout hero" and saying that Proteus "is unfairly painted as a villain." A few seats over, Dawson "Titus Foreheadicus" Leery shoots her a "whaaaaat?" look as she finishes, "I just think these scenarios are actually a lot more complicated," a comment Dawson responds to by snorting aloud. The teacher urges Dawson to elaborate on his "little chortle," and Dawson reluctantly does so, flicking his eyes at Joey intermittently while saying that he doesn't think the play's about a girl coming between two guys, but rather about the friendship between the two guys. "Which fails when the girl comes between 'em," Joey sneers.
Dawson corrects her that the friendship fails because one betrays the other: "Proteus is a lousy friend." Joey points out that "Valentine isn't such a great guy either," like, welcome back, Potter, and she goes on to say that Valentine is fixated on his honor, to the exclusion of everything else. Dawson scoffs that Valentine "was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice" in giving up the girl he loved, and does Joey "think that's a bad thing?" Joey arches a brow and tells him that the situation isn't that black-and-white. Hey, wait a sec. Do you think the writers want us to draw a parallel between The Two Gentlemen Of Verona and the Dawson-Joey-Pacey situation? Because you can totally draw a parallel, because the writing in both of them sucks ass. See what I did there? Anyhow, Drue raises his hand and suggests that he would love to see Dawson and Joey "engage in a prepared debate about the merits of the play," prompting a confused glare from Dawson and a hissed "would you mind your own business?" from Joey, but the teacher loves the idea, saying he's never seen so much "heat" generated out of one of Shakespeare's worst comedies. Drue smiles evilly, but the smile fades when the teacher suggests that Drue throw his own viewpoint "into the mix." Dawson smiles wryly. Joey gives Dawson a melted-wax-face look of apprehension.