"Uncharted Waters"

Pacey demonstrates his skill with darts while Dawson watches several relationship-driven movies to help him add some depth to his script. One of the movies prompts Pacey to tell Dawson that he'll learn enough about dysfunctional father-son relationships when they join his father, John Witter, for a weekend fishing contest. On their way to school the next morning, Dawson and Pacey run into John. Dawson gets nothing but compliments from Mr. Witter, while Pacey gets the short end of the stick. After school starts, Dawson tells Joey how Jen is doing an excellent job of producing his movie. Jen shows up and asks Joey to participate in a report that Gale Leery is working on. Gale needs a competent panel to interview concerning the role of teenage girls as consumers.

Dawson and Mitch arrive at the docks Saturday morning. They board the boat, where Pacey tells Dawson that they're expecting one more guest. Dawson turns around to see Jack McPhee stepping onto the boat. Both Dawson and Jack are surprised by the other's presence. As the trip begins, Jack tries to make peace with Dawson, but that doesn't work out as smoothly as he hopes. John assigns Mitch, Dawson, and Jack to watch the fishing rods, leaving Pacey with the remedial jobs of taking care of the bait and anchor. When John loses a fish before he can reel it in, he takes it out on Pacey for not setting the newer fishing pole in that spot. Dawson is upset with Pacey for failing to mention Jack's invitation. Pacey, however, is in no mood to listen to Dawson's minor complaints.

Meanwhile, Joey and Andie arrive at the Leery household, where Jen is waiting... along with Abby. Gale helps the cameraman unpack his equipment and leads the girls into the house. The interview gets off to an extremely slow start, so Gale and Jen decide to spend a little time unwinding. In Dawson's bedroom, Andie finds an adult movie hidden in the stack of videotapes. The four girls sit down and watch it, getting so engrossed in the ludicrousness of the film that they don't even notice when Gale walks up to the doorway. After everyone leaves the room, Jen demands an explanation from Joey for why she continues to act coldly. Joey claims that she's fed up with seeing her roles in Dawson's life constantly replaced by Jen. Back downstairs in the living room, Abby's trademark insults force Gale to ask her to leave early. With Abby gone, the other girls open up and discuss their personal insecurities.

John takes the guys to a bar for a break from the fishing trip. Dawson can't understand Pacey's behavior, so Jack spells it out for him. Jack knows that Pacey can't compete with the Dawson's image in John Witter's eyes. Outside, Mitch explains to Dawson that he intends to find a job and lifestyle that he can pour his heart into. Taking the time for the fishing trip does not indicate a lack of priorities on Mitch's part. Dawson then returns to the boat, where he finds a seasick Jack laying on the deck. Jack puts Dawson's parental issues to rest by reminding him that Mr. McPhee left the family a long time ago and is nowhere to be seen today. While Dawson starts to gain a little respect for Jack, Pacey competes with his father in a game of darts at the bar. Pacey knows he can win this game easily, but the look in his drunk father's eyes leaves him no choice but to throw the game. Pacey tries to walk his dad back to the boat, but they end up on the sandy shore. Pacey spills his guts, begging his dad to love him unconditionally like any father should. Unfortunately, John is too drunk to make any sense of what his son is saying, much less stay awake.

Sunday morning, Andie finds Abby sitting alone in the Leery's front yard. Since her mother was expecting her to spend the night there, Abby had to wait outside all night. Andie listens to Abby explain her motives for acting the way she does. Abby actually envies the family problems that plague Joey, Jen, and Andie, because the normal nature of her own family has no drama. When her mother finally arrives, Abby offers a ride home which Andie happily accepts. Back inside, Joey confesses to having nothing but the utmost respect for Jen. Meanwhile, Jack gets a strong tug on his line. The fish is so strong that Jack has to hand over the reeling job to Pacey. After a seemingly endless struggle, Pacey nabs the gigantic fish which turns out to be the prize-winning catch. John lets Pacey keep the trophy, telling him that he probably won't have many more achievements in his future. Dawson consoles a crushed Pacey by reminding him that he still has friends who acknowledge his talent. Mitch drives Dawson home and almost enters the house himself. However, Mitch remembers at the last minute that he doesn't live there anymore, so he turns and leaves.

Written by Dana Barrata & Mike White
Directed by Scott Paulin
Originally Aired Wednesday, January 27, 1999 8pm/7pm C
The WB Television Network

Synopsis Written By Alan Hufana