Recap: Dawson and Joey are watching Dangerous Liaisons in his bedroom...and when the movie ends, the two gabble about the conundrum that is unrequited love. Dawson says he finds the notion of a love that's not strong enough to overcome the circumstances profoundly sad, while Joey argues that sad stories are the most powerful kind, 'cause they demonstrate the sheer force of immovable love, despite the circumstances. Dawson asks her if she'll always love him despite the circumstance in which they're going to find themselves by the end of this season finale, and Joey responds by kissing him and chirping that it's a moot point now that they already have their happy ending.
Dawson asks Shaggy D.A. for advice on a [pretend] hypothetical: should he tell someone about a bad thing he knows about their loved one? Shaggy D.A. says he could either do that or confront the person who did the bad thing, then abruptly changes the subject and announces that she's decided to take the news anchor job in Philadelphia...given that Mitch has done fuck all to demonstrate that he's interested in resuming their marriage.
Dawson drops by Joey's house to walk her to school...and when he runs into Mike, he pissily asks him if everything he's up to these days is on the up-and-up. Mike's like, "Well, ish", then tells him and Joey that the under-renovation Ice House is available for them and their friends to use as a study haven to prepare for their finals. Joey chirps, "Kewl!", and then she and Dawson head off to school.
Grams intercepts Jen as she arrives at Capeside High and tells her she'd really really like it if she moved back home. Jen crisply retorts that she already has a home with Jack, and has zero desire to discuss this with her 'cause right now she has a class to get to.
Pacey gets a ride to school from his dad via his police car...and when he hears a message over the radio mention surveillance at the Ice House, Pacey's all, "Wuh?" and asks his dad if they're staking out the restaurant. Pa Witter snappishly says it's none of his business and warns him to not screw up his finals, prompting Pacey to ask why his fatherly advice never seems to take on a positive tone. Pa Witter remarks on how his attitude has gotten worse ever since Andie left town and says that no girl is worth screwing his life up over...and Pacey storms out of the car and grumbles to Dawson about what a snarly assbag his prick of a father always is.
Exam time! Pacey stares glumly into space when his teacher starts handing out the exams.
After school, Dawson drops by the Ice House to confront Mike Potter about the cocaine deal he witnessed go down between him and Pete. He chides Mike for being selfish, and that he can't grasp how a man who claims to love his family would be willing to traffic drugs through the family business. Mike sheepishly explains that he found himself stuck, and Dawson advises him to get unstuck...and to do it fast. Or else.
Shaggy D.A. tells Mitch she'd like him to move back into Casa Leery and finish raising Dawson now that she's 100% for sure definitely relocating to Philadelphia. When she adds that she's leaving tomorrow, Mitch stares back at her with an aghast expression on his dumb face.
The Capeside High clique is studying at the Ice House when Pa Witter stops by and snarkishly asks Pacey what the hell he's doing here. When Pacey's like, "Uh, studying..?", Pa Witter pulls Mike Potter aside to ask him if he's seen Pete the Coke Dealer around town lately. Mike says he has, but insists that their relationship is entirely non-coke related - just as Joey bounds over in a blatant attempt to listen in on the conversation. Pa Witter wraps up the mini-inquisition by complimenting the Potters on how great the new 'n improved Ice House is looking these days and heads out, and Joey laments how the Capeside P.D. seems to never want to leave them alone. When Dawson wanders over, Joey grumbles to him about the unwarranted scrutiny on her dad and insists that he isn't a criminal anymore...and Dawson just stares mutely into space while the two smooch.
Mike makes a beeline over to the back office to stare at his coke stash, and look seemingly oblivious to how fucking stupid it is to store such a large amount of blow in such an easily discoverable place.
Jack tells Jen it's clear that Grams wants to reconcile their differences, and urges her to consider making peace with the old lady so that she can move back in, not least 'cause Pa McPhee is about to put the family house on the market. Jen looks visibly upset by what she translates as being kicked out of a second home in a span of four episodes and brusquely tells Jack that she'll be outa there by midnight.
Some faceless person tosses a fireball into the Ice House, with the clear intention of burning the place down. Noooo!!
Outside, Pa Witter is railing at Pacey for blowing two of his finals, then orders him to gather up his stuff and come home with him - as opposed to hanging out with Mike Potter, aka known felon. Pacey refuses to obey and gets a smack across the face - just as the two realize that the Ice House is suddenly on fire. Amid the flames, Mike is desperately flushing his coke stash down the toilet, while Dawson and Pa Witter do their best to put out some of the more manageable flames with fire extinguishers. They're able to flee the restaurant, eventually with Mike in tow, before the fire completely engulfs the restaurant.
The Fire Department arrives and successfully puts out the fire with zero casualties. Joey hugs Mike and applauds Dawson for his heroic rescue of her father, but Dawson sourly says, "Some situations are too tragic for a hero" and bitchily stalks off. As Joey stares after him with her face scrunched confusedly, Mitch and Shaggy D.A. rush onto the scene, relieved that their son survived the fire.
Pa Witter tells Pacey he's pretty sure that Mike Potter is lying to him about his drug dealing and maybe even the firestarter, but can't charge him with anything on account of he has zero proof of any wrongdoing. The two then get into another screaming match, which crescendos with Pacey punching Pa Witter in the face after he mocks Andie for having "a few screws loose". Pacey snarlingly caps off the scene by telling his pa that, yeah, Mike Potter may be a druggie, but that the man is a waaaaay better father than he'll ever be.
As Mike and Bessie comb over the insurance policy paperwork, Joey asks them why there's police tape tied around the charred remains of the Ice House. Mike's like "Dunno", and Joey asks him if he really truly absolutely has no idea who started the fire, and he faux assures her that he really truly absolutely doesn't.
Shaggy D.A. and Mitch advise Dawson to report what he knows to police, but Dawson says he'll feel too horrible about being the person responsible for Joey's dad being carted off to prison a second time. Mitch points out that Mike is the one responsible, and that he's kind of a dumbfuck for re-committing the exact same crime he went to prison for. Shaggy D.A. concurs and says that Joey needs his strength, however little she's likely to appreciate his ratting out of her pa.
Over at Casa McPhee, Jack tells Jen he couldn't help but notice that she didn't immediately flee the Ice House while it was on fire, and asks her if it's 'cause she has some not-so-secret suicidal tendencies. Jen assures him she doesn't, though couldn't help but wonder if the flames were fate's way of giving her an out from carrying on with her aimless life of self-involved misery. As she tears up, Jack commiserates about how easy it is to push people away - but that it's not something one should do to have a happy life. The two hold hands for several seconds, then hug.
Dawson comes right out and tells Joey he knows for a fact that Mike is dealing drugs again, and Joey's all, "Wha-a-a-a?!" and says her dad swore to her that he didn't know nuthin' about nuthin' and had no idea who started the fire. Dawson's all, "What reason do I have to lie?" and strongly urges her to turn her dad in to the authorities, and Joey angrily begs him to stay out of her family's bidness and warns that their relationship won't survive this. Dawson stoically says he's willing to take that risk and do the right thing...if she isn't able to bring herself to do it.
Over at Police Headquarters, Pa Witter admits to Joey, Dawson, Shaggy D.A. and Mitch that he has no actual proof that Mike Potter has broken any laws, but is pretty sure that if the screws are put to him, he'll admit to drug trafficking and then help apprehend the arsonist...and to that end, they could definitely use Joey's help. When Joey balks at helping imprison her own father, Pa Witter points out that the man has betrayed her trust...and she snaps back that she trusts her father far more than anyone in Capeside's law enforcement racket. Dawson asks for a private moment to discuss this with Joey...and once they're in the room alone, Dawson tells her she has no choice but to help Pa Witter take down her dad, and she somehow refrains from pointing out that, on the contrary, she has every right to refuse to do the police's bidding and chides him for forcibly shoving this "solution" down her throat.
Shaggy D.A. and Mitch sit outside their property and agree that their one success in life is their dork son. Mitch tells her he's been reminded of why he loved being part of their family and felt like a father - and husband! - again, then implores her to stay in Capeside. Shaggy D.A. ruefully says she's been praying for his return to their family ever since he left, but now is pretty much meh about the prospect, and realizes that relocating to Philadelphia feels like the right thing for her to do. As Mitch's face falls, she says she's going to take "the unplanned route" for awhile...and that maybe one day they'll stumble upon whatever they've lost after she was caught bumping uglies with her co-anchor, Bob.
Jen arrives at Grams' house with her suitcase and tells her grandmother she's willing to move back in - but has certain conditions that relate to their need to address why their living arrangement went kaput in the first place [though it's undeniably because Jen is a ridiculously cheeky, self-absorbed ingrate]:
Grams agrees to Jen's saucy set of conditions and says she'll be more than happy to clear out Gramps' things from the spare bedroom in order to accommodate Jack.
Pa Witter finds Pacey on the dock, staring out at the sea, and sheepishly wanders over. Pacey makes it clear that he's not apologizing for punching him in the face, and Pa Witter acknowledges that he totally had it coming, and applauds his son for giving him that much-deserved face punch. He then tells Pacey he got a phone call from Andie earlier today...and that he found her to be an incessantly chatty gal - but also pretty darn sweet. She apparently referred to him (Pacey) as her hero for all the supportive stuff he's done for her this season...which Pa Witter admits was super nice to hear. He then hangs his head shamefully and apologizes for being such a shit father his whole life, and that Andie had instructed the two of them to make nice and hug it out. As Pacey bursts into tears, the two share an awkward hug at first, but then Pacey leans in for more of a tight squeeze and cries about how he misses Andie sooooooo much.
Joey returns home, finds Mike sitting in the living room, and comes right out and asks him if he's dealing drugs again. Mike reacts by ugly crying and admitting that, yep, he's gotten himself tangled in the world of coke trafficking...and explains that he only did it to provide for his family. Joey rails about how he was supposed to start a whole new life as a rehabilitated ex-con, and that he could have found a way to make an honest living...then admonishes him for ruining everything she and Bessie have worked so hard for. Mike whimpers about how much he wishes he'd died in the fire and is sooooo sorry...and Joey says, "I'm sorry too", and lifts her shirt to reveal that she's been wired up while having this conversation. Mike's all, "Wha-a-a?", then gets up and exits the house, and finds a team of police, waiting to transport him to jail. Despite the absence of any drugs or tangible proof of any crime having been committed.
After Mike is driven off by police, Joey stares sadly at Dawson...and when he asks her if there's anything he can do, she tells him there isn't. He gabbles about how they both did the right thing, and she's all, "Blah blah...", says she's never going to be able to forgive him for getting her daddy locked up a second time, and snarlishly decrees, "I don't want to know you." As a devastated Dawson stares back at her, she storms away and goes inside her house...and he murmurs, "See ya, Joey" and stands all hang-doggish-like in her front yard while the camera pans out.
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