Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dawson's Creek - 315 - Crime and Punishment

Original air date: February 9, 2000

So, we last left off with the gang celebrating Valentine's Day by going to a scandalous Matt Caulfield party, even though nothing all that scandalous happened. But Matt Caulfield is totally evil, you guys. I know this because they told us he had sex with six different girls. Cheerleaders, no less. This guy is for reals, you guys. You might wonder why I'm focused on a one off character and his evilness, well, that's because he was masterfully set up for this episode.


This episode opens as gloriously as the last one ended. That is to say, it is a Joey/Pacey scene. Pacey shows up to encourage Joey, who is painting a mural. They further prove my point of them being on my Top Ten Best Couples list with the cute back and forth they have where Pacey makes a big deal about how much artists are revered (read he reveres Joey) and Joey knows him so well that she guesses why he's really there (his parents kicked him out of the house.) She also correctly guesses that the drama has to do with one of his sisters. This is already way more insight than Dawson ever showed into Pacey's life (he usually just brushed off Pacey's familial issues and flat out ignored how rude Pacey's dad was to Pacey). When she shows him her artwork (remember how she was scared to show Dawson anything she'd done? But she's super comfortable showing Pacey her public work before anyone else?), he does not hold back his real opinion, which is that he doesn't get it. He also doesn't get what it has to do with "school unity" which is what Joey and a bunch of other art students were commissioned to paint. I like that, I like that he's not mean but he's also very honest with his opinions and she takes it in stride. In short, they are super cute and very deserving of their spot on my Top Ten list.


Next day, Dawson tries to sneak a peek at Joey's painting but Joey refuses to let him see (hmmmm, interesting). Dawson then whines because Pacey got to see it and I yell at my tv screen for him to shut up because he's the worst. He is not owed a chance to see her work beforehand just because Pacey did. They banter a bit about whether or not Dawson is coming (he is), whether or not she wants him to (she does) and I wonder why we are bothering with this idea that they might end up together. Dawson and Joey's relationship died the second Pacey and Joey became friends this season and his crush on her rekindled. Better yet, I think their relationship died after this:

The Evil!Matt Caulfield is appearing before the disciplinary committee for cheating on a test. I wonder how he's supposed to be taken seriously as a "bad boy" evil guy when his crime is calling his mommy for help on a test but whatever. So, he openly admits to doing this, Andie recommends that he fail the quiz and serve a three hour detention but then Mr. Green decides that Matt didn't "break the spirit of the Honor Code" and lets him go with only a warning not to appear before their committee again. I don't even understand how you can be in violation of the Honor Code but not be in violation of it in spirit and somehow that gets you off the hook.

Mr. Green then asks to see Andie after the Committee breaks and she thinks it's because he thinks her punishment was an overreaction and that confuses me because I thought her punishment was fine, maybe retake the quiz with no cellphone handy instead of failing automatically but fine otherwise. Mr. Green tells her that she actually scored really well on the PSATs which means she's one step closer to earning a National Merit Scholarship. You know, the PSATs that Andie cheated on which was played for kind of laughs when she was appointed onto the Disciplinary Committee in the first place? Yeah, that shit is finally getting addressed.

Yep, you're fucked

Pacey bursts in on his brother, Doug and informs him that since the Witter home is full to capacity, Pacey has been sent to live with him. Doug protests a bit but finally relents, agreeing that Pacey can stay if he doesn't eat their mother's food, he uses coasters, and he keeps his CD collection in alphabetical order, by last name, not first. Pacey agrees but gets less enthusiastic about the idea when Doug asks if he's any good at decoupage.

Oh boy, this means we're in for some more horrible gay jokes!
*she said with as much sarcasm as humanly possible

Bessie is cutely excited for Joey's art unveiling and is getting her camera ready. Joey for some reason feels the need to remind Bessie about how much she hated high school even though Bessie points out that it's different now. Bodie comments that it's not that much different and asks if there are like, ten black students. Joey corrects him that there are eleven. Nice meta comment on the comments about this show's whiteness Dawson's Creek writers. Bessie relents and agrees that she hated high school but that she's so glad that things are different for Joey because she's super talented and special and everyone loves her and stuff. This is a praise Joey scene, I'm not really into those because it just serves to make her character a bit too perfect but whatever, it is setting up the obvious thing that's going to happen later.

So, at the school, Joey finally gets to make her speech about how she wanted to paint a mural that was about possibility because that idea is what unites them all as students. As she finishes her speech, she pulls the cord to reveal her mural.


Joey responds in her usual way, by running away. I can't fault her on this one though, that's pretty embarrassing and I probably wouldn't want to stand around to hear people laugh or pity me. Anyway, Dawson runs after her and tries to play down what happened to her. She tells him she feels humiliated and he tells her that nobody's humiliated in there except for whoever did that to her painting. Dawson, you don't know what humiliation is, which is weird since you experienced it not too long ago when your shitty film bombed. He then tells her to not take it personally which is stupid because when you put something of yourself out there and it gets vandalized like that, it is extremely hard not to take it personally, especially when yours is the only one to be defaced. Pacey catches up and basically says what I just said. Pacey and Dawson argue over who is right and before I can, Joey points out to them that neither of them are helping her and she asks them to forget about it and leaves.

Jack and Andie talk about what happened to Joey while they make supper. Jack jokes that he'll catch whoever did it and Andie can have the last laugh since she's on the Disciplinary Committee and can throw the book at them. Andie looks super uncomfortable before telling Jack that she's thinking about stepping down because she doesn't want to be in judgement of other students. Jack looks uneasily at Andie and says it's unlike her to bail on a commitment. Andie babbles about it taking up too much of her time and how her schoolwork is slipping before changing the subject back to the supper they are making.

Jack is unconvinced

Dawson goes over to the Potter B&B to try and talk Joey into repainting the mural. Joey isn't having it and I sympathize. It is incredibly hard to repaint exactly what you painted before, maybe not for some people but for me it definitely is. Once I paint or draw something, it kind of just goes out of my head and I just wouldn't have the will or desire to try to recreate it if something happened to it. Dawson gets all pissed that she's not jumping up and down ecstatically about his suggestion, to which she responds:

Joey: Newsflash, Dawson. I can’t always be your plucky little Joey Potter. I don’t have this unlimited reserve of goodwill and good faith in humanity, and– and sometimes I am going to be a little depressed.

I'm sorry what? Is this the same character we're talking about here? Since when has Joey been a beacon of positivity? She has always been super surly and snarky and kind of bitter about the world what with her mother dying when she was young and her father being imprisoned for drugs and all. What even is characterization?

So, Joey rightfully tells Dawson that he can't just expect her to start over on something that took a lot of work to complete in the first place and do it in one night but Dawson isn't having it and asks her why not. She snaps back that she can't for the same reason he hasn't shot a roll of film since January. Dawson tries to convince us and himself that the two are completely different and Joey demands to know that it had nothing to do with the fact that his film was poorly received at the festival.

I love it when Joey smacks Dawson with the truth

With complete sincerity, Dawson claims that his quitting had nothing to do with that (bullshit) and then he and Joey bicker some more about how Dawson has choices in his life that she doesn't, blah, blah, blah. Then Dawson leaves her the keys to the school and tells her to do what she wants.

Pacey goes up to a couple of random students in the cafeteria and asks them who they think vandalized Joey's mural, under the guise of him taking bets on who did it. Both guys hand over money and say they think it was none other than the Evil!Matt Caulfield because of course it was him.

Pacey goes to confront Evil!Matt about defacing Joey's mural. Evil!Matt plays coy about the whole thing but Pacey is having none of it. He tells Evil!Matt that he needs to apologize and then turn himself in before the end of the day.

Dawson walks up to where Joey's mural is still covered and takes a peek behind. He then looks pissed because Joey didn't do his bidding because he's a tool. Yeah, I know he was trying to help her I just hate the way he's going about it. I mean, if she wanted to repaint it and he was encouraging her and being supportive, I would be all for that but the way this is played it's like he's forcing her to repaint it because it is what he thinks she should do to make herself feel better. That's not cool. He asks Andie if she's seen Joey but Andie says Joey wasn't in home room today.

It's the end of the day and Evil!Matt hasn't made good on Pacey's demands. So, Pacey has waited for him by his car where they get into an epic battle of manliness.

Epic battle of manliness!!!

Principal Green breaks them up before they kill each other though. He demands they see him in his office.

Before Principal Green can unleash his fury on Pacey and Evil!Matt, Andie interrupts him and tells him she is stepping down from the Disciplinary Committee. Green is stunned and wants to discuss further but Andie says there is nothing to discuss, thanks him, and leaves.

Dawson and Evil!Matt's friend have been called in to basically rat on their friends. Principal Green is kind of stupid because if he really wanted answers, he would have asked Dawson and the friend, separately and in private, away from Pacey and Evil!Matt telling them not to say anything. But if they weren't all in a group, we couldn't have Dawson save the day and Evil!Matt reveal his true, mustache-twirling ways.

So, Dawson lets slip that they were fighting about the mural because he doesn't want Pacey to have another mark on his record, which I have to admit is a pretty solid thing for Dawson to do and one of the only times I've seen him be a friend to Pacey. Principal Green then asks Evil!Matt if he did it and rather than just say "no", Evil!Matt has to launch into some speech about how he doesn't give a rat's ass about some "stupid Chinese drawing". Dawson then asks how Evil!Matt knew what the drawing was, to which he quickly responds that Joey had been working on it for weeks so anyone could have taken a look. Dawson then says that even he didn't see it and he's one of her closest friends (so you see, there was a point to him not seeing it, so in the end he could be right and a hero.) Evil!Matt, then confesses to the whole thing, stating that Joey's art, a mural depicting the message of "possibility", was offensive to him and that he shouldn't have to look at it every day. Hey, hey you guys? I think Evil!Matt is the bad guy. I just wanted to point it out in case the writers were being too subtle about the whole thing. Here, let me help you visualize what they are trying to get across:

There we go

Andie finally confesses to Jack that she was the one who stole the PSAT answer sheet. Jack is stunned and doesn't understand how she could do such a thing. Andie explains that she thought that if she could ace the test, she could prove to everyone once and for all that she was better but that now that she is better, she is finding it hard to live with herself. I finally feel a bit of sympathy towards Andie since the writers first set on their mission to destroy this character. She did a shitty thing but at least she's finally showing some remorse for it and I totally understand her reasons for wanting to do it, wrong as they were. Andie says that she is going to confess to Principal Green and Jack tries to talk her out of it, not wanting her to get kicked out of school for cheating on something with the word "practice" in front of it. Andie is sticking to her guns about confessing.

That's what she said!
Er...I mean, you go, girl!

Joey goes to Doug's place to yell at Pacey for getting in trouble with Matt Caulfield. Pacey is angry that he's not being rewarded for proving that Matt did it but Joey tells him that what he did was reckless and that if he wants to wreck his future, he should do it on his own behalf, not hers. I'm totally with her on this point and it seems Pacey, darling as he is, hasn't quite gotten over his hero complex. Pacey lashes out at her and reveals that he was hanging out with her only because Dawson asked him to look out for her.

Joey is not impressed and rightfully so

She then gets really hurt and asks if that was the only reason Pacey was hanging out with her. Pacey looks confused but then he realizes that she really felt for him. She storms out before he can say anything else.

At a disciplinary hearing, Principal Green decides to expel Matt Caulfield. Though, I'm a little confused because Matt then asks "For the rest of the year?" to which Principal Green responds "For the rest of the year." he just suspended then? Because that sounds more like he's suspended and will have to make up the courses he fails to complete the following year, meaning he's being held back from graduation. To me, expulsion means you do not get to return to the school at all, ever. You are done there. But, whatever, I guess this is just a minor nit pick as it is essentially screwing him over hard either way.

Dawson is listening outside when Joey approaches and asks him how things are going. Dawson mentions that Pacey will be lucky to get off with just a suspension this time. Joey snarks that with the way things are going, Dawson should have just asked her to look out for Pacey.

She is throwing down this episode

Dawson tells her that it wasn't like that, he just couldn't be there for her and wanted someone she could turn to. Joey rightfully tells him that she never asked for his pity. He claims that he just wanted what was best for her but, let's face it, it was still a shitty thing for him to do. Ok, maybe it came from a place of good intentions, it's just a bit condescending to me that he felt he had to have someone look out for her as if she couldn't survive without him, that's what bugs me about it. But I also can't fault him too much for doing it because it is bringing me Pacephine. Dawson, your assholery has paid off for me...this time.

Anyway, Joey doesn't think that Pacey really cared about her which is obviously the thing that is really bugging her but Dawson tells her that Pacey is being disciplined in that room because of how much he cares about her.

I think this news pleases Joey...or it confuses her...troubles her?
Look, I can't really read Joey's expressions a lot of the time,
unless she's being snarky

Cut to Andie, tearfully emptying her locker, leading us to assume she too has been expelled.

Then we cut back to Pacey, coming out of the hearing room and praising Principal Green. He was not expelled or suspended but instead, asked to be a mentor to a troubled youth and I let out the biggest groan I have ever groaned as I remember the awful storyline that awaits me before I'm fully awarded with my Pacephine.

Pictured: Blinvy thinking about enduring some horrible child acting

Principal Green is admonishing Andie for cheating on the PSATs. Andie has come completely clean but has not ratted anyone else out for their involvement with it as none of them cheated off of it which is pretty solid. Principal Green says that he'll have to call the Educational Testing Service and they will probably cancel her scores, thus forfeiting her chance at a National Merit Scholarship. Andie nods in understanding and informs him that she has also cleaned out her locker in anticipation of her expulsion, since Matt was also expelled and her actions were just as bad. Principal Green informs her that she's nothing like Evil!Matt and that the punishment should fit the crime and the person doing the crime. He tells her to put her things back in her locker and that he will think of a more suitable punishment in a few days. Andie tearfully thanks him before leaving.

Joey is walking down the hall, ready to repaint her mural when she finds Pacey, painting over her damaged work with primer. He tells her that he wanted to give her a fresh start for her new painting. They banter back and forth a little bit before Pacey asks if she's going to thank him. She jokingly asks for what and Pacey starts listing his noble deeds and here is another reason why I love these two:

Joey: Tilting at windmills while in the throes of a misguided hero complex?

Pacey: Well, yeah, that too.

She can totally call him out on his obvious hero complex and he admits it and they just take it in stride. I love that. It shows how they can be honest with each other but not always get upset with said honesty but embrace it. It's really sweet. On top of this sweetness, Joey does thank him, for being himself and for knowing what's right and what's wrong and that she appreciates that he was there for her when she needed him. Then she asks if the only reason he did it was because of Dawson, to which Pacey jokingly agrees and Joey responds with "you need to get a life." before they smile at each other and continue painting together.

Oh and Dawson comes in at the end and smiles to himself because he helped get those two back together or something. Stop ruining my Pacephine moments, Dawson. Also, you will be eating that smile soon. Just wait.

One last bit of adorableness

So, that was Crime and Punishment and to be honest, as much as I love me some Pacephine moments, I kind of wish the episode had focused more on Andie's turmoil than the whole picture vandalizing nonsense. I mean, Matt Caulfield's character was just so over the top about his evil ways and wanting to paint over the mural because basically he's an ass who hates nice messages. It wasn't all that satisfying of a conclusion because he was little more than a strawman to be the big bad that Dawson and Pacey had to take down in Joey's honour. I think the episode would have been stronger if it had focused on Andie's part in the whole thing and actually dealing with her guilt over her past crime as she passed judgement over others. But, I'll definitely take this episode for what it is and sigh in adoration over the cute Pacephine moments. Yes, I'm making Pacephine a thing.

Anyway, stay tuned for the next recap where in Principal Green is raked over the coals for daring to expel a rich white kid because pretty much everyone in Capeside is awful. Next time is To Green, With Love.


  1. "Nice meta comment on the comments about this show's whiteness Dawson's Creek writers."

    HAHAHA WE SURE ARE RACIST! *Spike giving thumbs up*

    Also Dawson is the worst at being a supportive friend. Your "Oh Snap" gifs were on point.

    1. Dawson is the worst at everything, it's true.