Recap: Pacey is over at Casa Leery, playing darts by himself while Dawson reworks his movie script. When Pacey laments what a dumbass his own father thinks he is, Dawson rightly worries that the upcoming father-son fishing trip (with the two of them and their dads) is going to be a disaster.
After the opening credits, Pacey and Dawson are riding their bikes around Capeside when they run into Pa Witter in his police cruiser. Pa Witter fawningly tells Dawson that when he becomes a movie mogul in Hollywood he shouldn't become such a big shot that he forgets about all the little people in Capeside, where Pacey will no doubt be flipping burgers for a living. He then changes the subject to the upcoming father-son fishing trip and warns Dawson that he and Mitch need to be ready to reel 'em in hard 'cause they're going to be in the presence of fishing greatness. He then tells Dawson to keep an eye on his idiot son before getting back into his cruiser and driving off...and Pacey grumbles about the non-stop insults he gets from the fuckbag, which Dawson breezily chalks up to a father affectionately chiding his son.
Later at Capeside High, Dawson is waxing on to Joey about what a great movie producer Jen is proving herself to be, which Joey naturally translates as criticism that she wasn't nearly as good in the role when she produced his grisly Season 1 swamp creature flick. Dawson then wanders off - just as Jen ambles over to say hey and tell Joey that she's helping Shaggy D.A. conduct a focus group on teenage girls as the "new consumer phenomenon". Joey bitchily asks if she's now helping Shaggy D.A. do news reports in her spare time, and Jen ignores her cunty 'tude and explains that she's mostly interested in watching a seasoned journalist in action. She adds that Shaggy D.A. is looking for girls who are thoughtful and well-spoken, then wanks Joey about how she's the most articulate wondergirl she's ever heard speak her mind - all while Joey continues contorting her face in a pissy 'go fuck yourself, Jen' expression.
The next day, Dawson and Mitch arrive at the dock for the annual Capeside Fall Fishing Classic and climb aboard the Witter boat (titled Reel Action), where they're greeted by Pacey and Pa Witter. When Jack ambles aboard a few seconds later, Dawson's all, "The fuck is that guy doing here?", so Pacey sheepishly says that he (conveniently) forgot to mention that he invited his girlfriend's brother to join them for the weekend...and a few seconds later, Reel Action sets sail as a miffed Dawson glares poutishly into space.
Jen greets Joey and Andie when they arrive at Casa Leery for the teenage girl focus group...and Andie looks less than thrilled to see that Jen has also - for some God-only-knows-why reason - invited Abby to participate. Shaggy D.A. gushes about what a fun day they're all going to have, and instructs the cameraman to set up the filming equipment inside the living room.
Aboard Reel Action, Dawson sourly asks Jack why in blazes he would accept Pacey's invitation to go on a father-son fishing trip with him, Pacey, and their dads, so Jack explains that Pacey neglected to tell him that he (Dawson) was going to be here...and that since it's too late for any of them to exit the boat, they should just do their best to get along. Dawson dickishly chides his foolishness in leaving his hot new girlfriend unattended for an entire weekend and warns that some new guy could come along and steal her away, then self-piteously mutters, "Trust me, that sucks."
Shaggy D.A. asks her focus group participants what the most important issues facing teenagers today are and directs the question specifically at Joey, and Joey responds by mutely grimacing into space. When the rest of the group is equally as uncommunicative, Shaggy D.A. pulls Jen aside to worriedly tell her that so far she's gotten nothing in the way of useful feedback for her report. Jen points out that a small group of teenage girls who loathe each other and are crammed together in her living room is probably not the most conducive of environments to get them to open up...so Shaggy D.A. suggests to the gals that they engage in some girl bonding before extending the afternoon into a fun "ladies night". Abby looks alarmed by the mention of a ladies night and asks how long they're all going to be stuck here, and Shaggy D.A. says she reaaaaally needs them to connect with one another...and that she has enough junk food in her kitchen to bribe them into staying at her house until they're loosened up enough to answer her many questions.
Pa Witter snarls at everyone about how this fishing trip isn't a pleasure cruise, and that they're all going to have to work together to reel in the contest winning fish. He then barks specific orders at everyone - except Pacey, who he orders to do a series of grunt work assignments like baiting hooks and raising/lowering the anchor. Pacey complains about how hard is sucks to be the grunt man, and Pa Witter snappishly retorts that life sucks, a glum reality he suggests Pacey fully grasp prior to entering adulthood.
The gals, meanwhile, are pigging out in the Leery kitchen when Abby suddenly decides that she'd like to amuse herself by snooping in Dawson's bedroom...and eventually the rest of the gals follow her upstairs.
Jack offers Dawson a sandwich, says it'd be nice if they became friends, and points out that a highly intelligent and strong-willed person such as Joey can't be "stolen away". Dawson snarks back that he really doesn't know Joey all that well, and calls him delusional for thinking that things between him and Joey are truly, 100% over. Jack insists that he and Joey have something special going, and that if he respects Joey he should also respect him...and Dawson responds by shooting him an extra squinty stink-eye.
Abby snoops through Dawson's closet looking for contraband...and Jen and Joey join forces to barricade her inside the closet by physically blocking the door. Andie, meanwhile, cackles delightedly when she finds the porn flick Good Will Humping in a stack of VHS tapes.
Jack manages to snag a fish on his line, and Pa Witter rushes over and takes over the task of reeling...but when it looks as though the line snaps, he chews out Pacey for not installing one of the new fishing rods the way he fuckin' ordered him to. As a peeved Pacey stares despondently into space, Dawson ambles over to grumble at him for inviting Jack to infiltrate the father-son trip, so Pacey explains that Andie's always nagging him to include Jack in his man plans...then snaps at Dawson to stop fucking complaining about the guy already 'cause he's got far bigger things to be stressed out over.
The gals are sitting atop Dawson's bed, giggling in shocked amusement at the Good Will Humping sexcapades when Shaggy D.A. suddenly bursts into the room to ask what they're doing. Andie quickly shuts off the VCR and fibs that they were watching an educational video they happened to stumble across - but the jig is immediately up when Abby openly confesses that the "educational video" is a porn flick that belongs to Dawson, who's clearly a giant pervert. As Shaggy D.A. ushers the girls out of Dawson's room, Jen pulls Joey aside to call her out on her openly hostile bitchitude and ask why her treatment of her is still so blatantly cunty despite the tedious Jen/Dawson/Joey love triangle having run its course. Joey shoots her the stink-eye and snarls, "Stop encroaching on what's mine" and admonishes her for continually recasting herself in what she considers her life's role: Dawson's girlfriend/best friend/movie producer, and Shaggy D.A.'s assistant. She sarcastically asks Jen if she'll be getting a waitressing job at the Ice House next, and an exasperated Jen admonishes her for always behaving like such a rude, insecure dickwad.
That evening, the menfolk take a break from fishing and head to a local bar to play darts and shoot some pool. When Dawson complains to Pacey about Mitch's mid-life crisis, Pacey points out that at least his dad isn't a total shitbag parent - unlike the hell it is to be the perpetually crapped on spawn of Pa Witter. When Dawson scrunches his face confusedly, Jack interjects to explain to Dawson that he can't see Pa Witter for the emotionally abusive fucktard he is 'cause of the way he's always putting him on a pedestal for the purpose of making Pacey feel worthless. Dawson chews on that [somehow startling to him] revelation while staring contemplatively into space.
Over at Focus Group Central, Abby complains about how insecure teenage girls can be, specifically whenever she publicly lobs hurtful personal insults at Joey and Andie. A fed up Shaggy D.A. tells her they've heard enough of her "opinions", thanks her for coming, and hustles her out the door...and an incredulous Abby snarks, "You're throwing me out?", then bitchily calls Shaggy D.A. a trashy journalist who sleeps around.
Dawson finds Mitch laying out his sleeping bag on the dock to prepare for a night under the stars and judgey-ly asks what he plans on doing with the rest of his life. Mitch stares back at him blankly and goes, "Dunno" and assures him he's doing OK for money - at least for the time being. Dawson shoots him a look of incredulity and dickishly marvels about his willingness to spend two days fishing, when his priority should be job-hunting and developing some kind of game plan for his aimless life. Mitch sheepishly says he's sorry that his own son is so disappointed in him 'cause he truly wants to be the kind of man he can respect, then insists that there must something out there he can put his heart and passion behind (that hopefully pays something resembling a living wage).
Back at the bar, Pa Witter drunkenly staggers over to Pacey and nonsensically mumbles about how it's his job to protect him, and figures that the best way to accomplish this is to verbally abuse him in front of his friends [and his friends' parents] at every opportunity. He then notices a nearby dart board and suggests they play...and when he hits the bullseye, he barks, "Beat that!", which prompts a tortured looking Pacey to despondently stare into space before deliberately misfiring his dart. Pa Witter sneeringly says that losing is OK as long as he does it gracefully...and after he shuffles off disinterestedly, Pacey aims another dart at the board and easily hits the bullseye.
Andie laments her incessant need to be perfect...and figures that if she earns straight A's, she won't be seen for the fraud she imagines herself to be. Following that disembowelling, Jen shares that she initially felt relief at leaving the "hyper-accelerated world of New York" to live in a slow-moving podunk town - but then found herself quickly branded as the Capeside slut. Joey, in response, sheepishly explains that her defences go up whenever she meets people who have experienced things she hasn't yet experienced, and constantly worries about being an insignificant nobody her entire life and never leaving Capeside [like, for example, when she stupidly squandered the opportunity to spend the summer in Paris]. Jen quietly nods as if to say 'yep, that definitely explains a lot.'
Dawson finds Jack curled up on the boat, fighting a bout of nausea from being at sea all day. When Dawson grumbles at him about his aimless, man-child of a father, Jack tells him to have a little perspective, given that his father grew so tired of having an unstable wife that he abandoned the entire family to go live in Providence.
Pacey assists his drunkard of a father out of the bar and onto the nearby sand, where he abruptly collapses and passes out. Pacey wryly suggests that they have an impromptu father-son chat, then tells him about his amazing new girlfriend who's somehow under the illusion that he's special...then tears up and asks the unconscious fuckbag why he's given up on him and his specialness. He sobs while railing at him for not loving him as a father should: by completely overlooking how boneheaded and useless he's more than likely to become later in life.
The next day, Jack manages to snag another fish on his line, and Pacey rushes over and takes over the rod to reel it in. A visibly excited Pa Witter coaches him as he reels in what ends up being a gigantic fish.
Shaggy D.A. thanks Joey for so eloquently baring her soul during the focus group discussion, then says she's always wanted a daughter and likes to think of her as a surrogate daughter. She wanks her about how proud she is of the woman she's becoming, and Joey looks touched as the two hug.
Abby exits Casa Leery and notices Abby sleeping on the outdoor deck, covered with a blanket. She asks Abby if she spent the entire night here, and Abby snaps, "What do you care?" and says she's waiting for her mom to pick her up...and the two snipe back and forth, with Andie admonishing her for making her life a living hell. Abby argues that she's merely playing the role of the girl everyone loves to hate and has subsequently become the town's scapegoat - but Andie argues that she's less a scapegoat than an unnecessarily mean she-devil who likes to indiscriminately trash people. Abby rolls her eyes and says that being sweet is sooooo boring, as is her parents' boring divorce and her boring home life, and that she much prefers to stir up intrigue and drama. An incredulous Andie tells her she has no idea how lucky she is to have a normal life with non-loony parents, and Abby shrugs and chalks up that sentiment to the grass always being greener. When her mom pulls up a few seconds later, she asks Andie if she could use a lift home, and Andie decides, 'ah, what the hell' and climbs into the passenger seat.
Joey has a one-on-one with Jen to apologize for her cuntiness during much of this episode by nonsensically explaining that she respects the people with whom she's in imaginary competitions. Jen remarks on the contrived stalemate they've been locked into ever since her arrival in Season 1, then assures her that she's not trying to replace her as Dawson's #1 person and/or Shaggy D.A.'s surrogate daughter. The two then beam happily at other and agree on how much they respect they have for one another.
Pacey proudly holds up the trophy he won for reeling in the biggest fish of all the fishes caught during the Capeside Fall Fishing Classic, and the local reporters snaps his photograph. He happily tells his pa what an adrenaline rush this accomplishment has been, and Pa Witter dickishly tells him to always remember this awesome moment 'cause, given what a hopeless halfwit he is, he probably won't have many more like it. A deflated Pacey later tells Dawson he definitely set himself up for that insult and laments never being able to get a 'good job, son' out of the heartless bastard. Dawson tells him to forget about getting a pat on the head from his asshat of a father and to instead focus on all of the people in his life who do like and respect him, specifically a certain blonde lass who's likely to be very excited at the prospect of seeing him after an entire weekend apart. Pacey thanks him for his kind words and shuffles off.
Mitch drives Dawson home and says that father-son relationships can be complicated, and that he regrets the fact that he and his dad never really got along. He promises to do his best to father him in as non-toxic a way as is possible, and Dawson thanks him for being the kind of dad who lets him make his own mistakes and never makes him feel inadequate. He then clarifies his earlier bitchery by explaining that he's not so much disappointed in his aimlessness than he is worried about his inability to financially support himself, and assures him he feels very lucky to have him as a father. Mitch gives him a hug...then looks startled when, as the two approach the front door, he suddenly remembers that Casa Leery is no longer his home. He quickly scampers back to his car and drives off as Dawson heads inside for the night.
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