Heh. And instantly it's icky and gross. I guess they're saving the big Joey/Pacey get-together for the finale. But the show did a great job of handling such a problematic event, even when the two characters in question barely play off each other this week. Because, you know, it is a big deal. Both of them are aware of the ramifications of a potential coupling, and the writers ensure that they both debate it before totally jumping in. Joey confides with Jen about the kiss, while Pacey turns to his brother. There are a ton of hoops to navigate through before they can finally make it official, but the outcome of the episode (with both happy and un-awkward about it, despite not pursuing anything just yet) is ridiculously mature.
This was a traditional 'split apart the genders' episode, something low-key and dialogue-driven, which is understandable considering how much discussion last episode's cliffhanger brings. Andie worked really well here, pulling her female friends together for a night of girly hoodoo. It's also really welcome to not see Joey and Jen be all tense around each other anymore. That was a hole that was well-and-truly bottomed out years ago. Here they're friendly and secure with one another, Jen once again acting like a wise guardian, encouraging Joey to confront her feelings and be comfortable with them.
The Dawson/Pacey story constantly dangled on that cliff-edge of corn, especially as we had annoying Jonathan Lipnicki stinking up the joint again, but I loved Pacey's nerves over telling Dawson about the kiss. It shows a ton of emotional growth on his part that he's willing to put his friendship ahead of his romantic inclinations right now, especially since we got our first true depiction of how deep-seated Dawson and Pacey are as friends -- with the camping and the time capsules and the childhood memories. It's all pretty sweet, and even though Pacey flakes out and doesn't tell him what happened, you can totally understand why it remains that uncomfortable barrier that he's struggling to overcome.
Equally successful was Jack's subplot with his dad. I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately, but it was another story that frequently felt like it was going to fly out of control, only to never disappoint. Mr. McPhee is growing, recognizing how great Jack is as a person, and coming to terms with his son's sexuality. Ethan was less manipulative than he was the last time he appeared, and it's nice seeing Jack's major arc slowly getting better over time. It's no longer always about gay-bashing, which is appreciated.
Neverland was another success, anchored by the consistently strong Joey/Pacey saga, but successfully making it about the two of them as individuals and their relationships with others, instead of merely being about the two of them getting intimate. The season continues to go from strength to strength. A
Guest stars Jonathan Lipnicki (Buzz Thompson); Dylan Neal (Doug Witter); Michael Pitt (Henry Parker); David Dukes (Joseph McPhee); Adam Kaufman (Ethan Brody)
Writer Maggie Friedman Director Patrick Norris