"The Dance"

image Andie talks the usually reluctant Dawson, Joey, and Pacey into attending Capeside High's upcoming Homecoming dance. While Andie can't wait for the dance, the others are considerably less than enthusiastic, preferring to watch movies about organized school events instead of actually attending them.

image The next morning, Bessie drops Joey off at school. Before she gets out, Joey tells her sister about what happened between Jack and herself on the night of the full moon. Bessie advises Joey to not tell Dawson about the kiss. Meanwhile, Jen and Abby observe Brett Tompkins, Capeside's resident football jock, and his girlfriend, Christy. Abby schemes to make Brett hers by the end of Homecoming week. Inside the school hallways, Brett and Christy have a vocal argument, apparently not pleased with each other's attitude. Joey suggests to Dawson that they invite Jen to the dance, seeing how she could use the fun diversion in light of her grandfather's recent death. Outside, Pacey makes his anti-dancing stance clear to Andie, who refuses to believe that he does not and will not dance. After meeting up with Dawson, Andie tells the guys that she wants to invite her brother Jack to the dance, at which point Dawson brings up Joey's idea of inviting Jen. Despite Pacey's warnings to the contrary, Dawson and Andie decide to hook up Jack and Jen for the dance. Dawson heads home, where he finds his parents waiting for him on the front porch. Mitch and Gale tell their son that they've decided on a trial separation. Dawson doesn't like this idea one bit, but there's nothing he can do about it now.

image On the day of the Homecoming dance, Jack and Andie wait for Pacey to pick them up. Jack is not too excited about the dance, and he expresses his concern for their mother's well-being, who is currently alone in the house. Andie insists that she have one night of fun without having to worry about taking care of their mother. Back at the Leery residence, Mitch finishes packing up his car while a confused Gale stands nearby, watching. Mitch assures Gale that they can still communicate with each other despite the distance they'll be putting between themselves. With that, Mitch drives off in his car, leaving Dawson and a distraught Gale alone in their house. After Dawson finishes dressing up for the dance, he finds his mom working in the kitchen, silently crying to herself. He offers to stay home and keep her company, but Gale insists that she'll be fine.

image At Capeside High, the gang introduces Jack and Jen to each other. Joey, however, finds it hard to even make eye contact with Jack. Inside the gym, Dawson dances with Joey, as do Jack and Andie, while Pacey and Jen watch from the sidelines. When a slow song starts, Andie gets Jen to dance with Jack. While the relative strangers get to know each other, Andie once again tries to get Pacey onto the dance floor with absolutely no success. As the dance picks up the pace, Andie decides to switch partners, pairing up Jack and Joey while she dances with Dawson. This leads to a brief and hostile conversation between Jack and Joey. Dawson watches in curiosity as Joey abruptly leaves the gym, while Jack follows her out. In the hallway, Joey is furious with Jack for kissing her, despite the fact that he knew about her relationship with Dawson. Jack believes that Joey is not so much as angry with him as she is with herself for kissing him back. Neither of them realize that Dawson is standing nearby, hearing the recap of their forbidden kiss, until it's too late. Jack goes back inside the gym, while Joey runs outside, leaving Dawson alone in the hallway.

Mitch calls Gale from his motel room. Neither of them are too happy with the way things currently are, but Mitch believes that there is no other option for them. Meanwhile, Abby dances with Brett, while Christy stands alone outside the gym. Coming out of the bathroom, Pacey spots Christy and strolls over to find out what's wrong. Christy is not happy with Brett for virtually abandoning her in the middle of the dance. Pacey quickly consoles Christy, reassuring her that there are thousands of men who are more than willing to replace Brett as her boyfriend. Charmed by his words, Christy asks Pacey to dance with her, an offer which he cannot refuse despite his stance against dancing.

image Inside the gym, Jen tells Andie that she's calling it a night. Andie is disappointed with this news until her brother arrives and announces the same plan. As Andie suggests to Jack that he walk Jen home, Dawson butts in and demands an explanation from Jack of what happened between him and Joey. Jack acknowledges the mistake, but he won't apologize for it. In response, Dawson decks Jack with a right hook to his face. Outside, Dawson finds Joey sitting alone. They get into an argument over who should be angry with whom, but the growing crowd of onlookers forces Dawson to end the conversation and take off. Back inside, Andie witnesses Pacey dancing with Christy. Pacey looks up just in time to see Andie running off in dismay, so he immediately breaks off his dance with Christy.

image After Jack walks Jen home, she thanks him for the fun time at the dance. Jen knows that Jack likes Joey, and implores him to not give up on that wish. As Jack leaves, Mitch drives up to his house and watches his wife through the window. Knowing that it's too early for him to end the separation, Mitch leaves again. Elsewhere, Pacey catches up with Andie on the streets of Capeside. After Andie answers his question about what she sees in him, Pacey sincerely apologizes to her and asks for a dance. Accepting his apology, Andie dances with Pacey. Before long, the two share a deep and lengthy kiss. Back at Dawson's house, things aren't as happy. Dawson finds Joey waiting for him inside his bedroom. She explains that fulfilling her dream of having a loving relationship with Dawson left her with no more aspirations in life. Joey decides that in order for her to be truly happy with Dawson, she needs to venture off on her own and reach her own goals by herself. Unable to accept that it's over, Dawson tells Joey for the very first time that he loves her. Joey replies with the same proclamation, but she's made up her mind already. As she exits through the window and down the ladder, Dawson furiously flings some of his movie props across his room. He climbs through his window and watches as Joey runs off into the distance. With their relationship truly over, Dawson kicks the ladder off his roof, effectively sealing the bridge between him and his long-time best friend.

Written by Jon Harmon Feldman
Directed by Lou Antonio
Originally Aired Wednesday, November 11, 1998 8pm/7pm C
The WB Television Network

Synopsis Written By Alan Hufana