"To Be Or Not To Be..."

Neither Dawson nor Pacey can believe their eyes when Jack unveils his latest contribution to Creek Times: a miniature replica of the fictional town of Creekside. Before Pacey leaves to take care of homework, he reminds Jack of their poetry assignment for Mr. Peterson's class. Turning to the resident scribe for help, Jack asks Dawson for a few pointers on writing a poem. Dawson advises him to listen to himself and write from the heart.

The next morning, Ty tries to talk Jen into giving him a second chance. She believes their religious differences will eventually present a major obstacle. Ty, however, insists that there's more to him than bible parties. Inside the hallways of Capeside High, Pacey shares with Andie the good news of the latest progress report he just received from his guidance counselor, Mr. Milo. Later, Mr. Peterson criticizes Pacey's penmanship and gives him two choices of action, both of which will result in a low grade. When Jack offers a few words to cheer up Pacey, Mr. Peterson hears this exchange and instructs Jack to read his poetry assignment out loud for the entire class to hear. Jack resists until Mr. Peterson makes it clear that there is no alternative. Reluctantly, Jack begins to read his poem, titled "Today". As the class listens, Jack speaks of an inner fear and a male figure. Before he can finish the poem, Jack breaks into tears and leaves the room. Not long afterwards, Dawson and Joey overhear a group of guys talking about what happened in the classroom and how Jack must be gay.

After school at the Ice House, Dawson and Joey discuss the spreading rumor of Jack's apparent homosexuality. Joey dismisses the idea without a second thought. Dawson, on the other hand, advises her to ask Jack about it directly. Offended by Dawson's insinuations regarding Jack, Joey abruptly ends their conversation. Over at the McPhee residence, Jack leaves for work without hearing a word from his sister. Andie tells Pacey that she would be disappointed if the rumors concerning Jack turn out to be true, because she believes their family has enough problems already. Pacey is disappointed himself with Andie's honesty. Back at the Ice House, Joey confronts Jack and asks him to explain the poem. Jack insists that there are no homosexual undertones in the poem and that he himself is not gay. Meanwhile, Ty persuades Jen into accepting his offer for another date. She sets the pick-up time for ten o'clock that night. Ty takes Jen to a blues club and shows her a whole new side to himself. They drink martinis and dance -- no bibles included.

Jack's poem has been posted all over the walls of Capeside High by the next morning, and Pacey and Andie immediately begin to tear down as many as they can find. In class, Mr. Peterson orders Jack to finish his poem, picking up from where he left off the previous day. Trying to save Jack from any further humiliation, Pacey stands up and begins to read the poem himself. Mr. Peterson stops Pacey and writes him a pass to report to the Principal's office. After Pacey angers him further, Mr. Peterson informs Pacey that will receive an "F" for the quarter. Their argument ends, for the moment, with Pacey spitting in Mr. Peterson's face. At Principal Markey's office, Pacey refuses to apologize to Mr. Peterson. Principal Markey warns Pacey that he'll get a one-week suspension if he can't apologize to Mr. Peterson by the next day. Pacey finds Jack sitting outside of the office. Jack has been called to meet with Mr. Milo. Expecting gratitude, Pacey instead learns that Jack wanted him to stay out of the matter. Outside, Ty discusses the previous night with Jen. When asked about his apparent hypocrisy, Ty explains that his religion expects him to be imperfect, so his form of lifestyle motivates Ty to go to church each week. Back inside, Andie and Dawson argue Pacey's choice to accept the suspension instead of apologizing to Mr. Peterson. Pacey insists that he knows Mr. Peterson's conduct was wrong. Before Andie can respond, they pass by Jack's locker and stopped in their tracks by what they see. Shortly, Jack and Joey arrive to see a crowd gathered around the locker. Spray-painted on Jack's locker is the word "fag". Instead of leaving the scene, Jack walks up to his locker and opens it as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Joey walks up to the locker and deeply kisses Jack while the confused students of Capeside High look on. Later, Andie finally breaks her silence with Jack and does her best to comfort him. She tells Jack how impressed she was when she read his poem, and that she can understand the fear that he must be experiencing. In Dawson's bedroom, Joey admits that the rumors may not entirely be out of the question. Dawson advises her to ask Jack if he's gay, because their relationship won't last if they're not honest with each other.

The next day, Pacey reports to the Principal's office and admits his shame over the spitting incident. However, Pacey refuses to apologize to Mr. Peterson, declaring that he will never respect the man after what he did. Later that night, Andie finds Pacey sitting alone at the docks. He tells her that he's been suspended for one week. Pacey then expresses his disappointment in Andie for not supporting him throughout his ordeal. Andie is equally upset with Pacey's reaction to her difference in opinion. Pacey explains to Andie that he feels responsible for instigating the whole mess. He leaves Andie on the dock, refusing her offer to walk him home. Meanwhile, Joey finds Jack cleaning up at the Ice House and asks him if he's gay. Jack assures her that he's not gay. As they hug, Jack tries to say something else to Joey... but the words never escape his mouth.

Written by Greg Berlanti
Directed by Sammy Smolen
Originally Aired Wednesday, February 10, 1999 8pm/7pm C
The WB Television Network

Synopsis Written By Alan Hufana