Like any good mystery, events are kept at arms-length for most of this episode, designed to keep us on our toes as we try and work out which DC couple actually did the deed the previous night. It's at the expense of some of the more human elements, though, since we're mostly watching characters discuss things in such vague exchanges, purely to confuse the audience at home. Nonetheless, Sex, She Wrote initially works so well because Abby and Chris are pushed center stage as younger, skeezier Miss Marple clones -- trying to work out the sex mystery after stumbling across an anonymous letter. It's a fun ride, not without its flaws, but surprisingly warm at the end. And that sounded a whole lot more sexual than I had intended.
It's the last fifteen minutes that work really well here. I'm not at all eager to see Dawson and Joey jumping back on the romance train, but I do like them together as friends. It's been more than a little strained seeing them so distant these last couple of weeks, even if Joey did seem to grow as a character once she finally became more than some Katie Holmes-shaped parasitic twin permanently attached to Dawson's body. Their actions here, in which they both claim to have had sex purely to spite one another, is something so silly but awkwardly relatable. It's the kind of petty jealousies we all sort of indulged in back in high school, all to cover up genuine affection. Aww.
I also loved Pacey and Andie's story, and how it turned out to be Pacey who wrote the letter. It would be such a generic revelation to paint Andie as the teenage girl determined to ease up on the sexual activity. But Pacey is more surprising. He was written as such a horndog last year, so I appreciate the added depth the show is granting him this season. Strangely, everything is actually going well for him. His grades are up, he's in love with somebody who's actually good for him... and that's scary. But also really awesome. Aww. I like these two.
Finally, Abby's epiphany was welcome. I like Abby and consider her an important part of the Capeside ensemble, but she's repeatedly veered into almost sociopath territory this season, especially here and in The Election. But she seems to have finally realized how cruel she can be, and I liked that she came around in the end and took the F grade instead of hurting everybody else.
Sex, She Wrote initially feels sort of distant in an effort to push the 'mystery' theme of the episode, but the grand histrionics at the end are actually really endearing, each actor being particularly strong as their secrets finally come out. A-
Guest stars Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee); Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee); Monica Keena (Abby Morgan); Jason Behr (Chris Wolfe)
Writers Mike White, Greg Berlanti Director Nick Marck