May 12, 2012
Dawson’s Creek 5.9, Four Scary Stories: Once Upon a Time…
Summary: Joey, Jack, and Pacey go to Grams’ house after seeing a horror movie they didn’t like. Jack thinks the scariest things are ones that are possible; that’s why Hitchcock is great. Joey wonders if she’s lost the ability to be scared. Pacey scoffs at that, and Jack notes that Joey was scared of Grams until just recently.
Joey goes to the kitchen for a snack and sees the front door swinging open. She thinks the guys are playing a joke on her. A ball bounces down the stairs and Joey goes outside, getting locked out. She leans against the door, which opens, making her fall back into the house. The guys are proud of themselves for scaring her.
Joey vows revenge, telling the guys she’s seen “disturbing things.” She tells them about going to the library with Audrey on Halloween (which explains why Audrey’s dressed as Carrie, pre-blood). Audrey thinks it’s too scary for Joey to be alone in the library on Halloween. A girl was attacked there last semester. Joey just questions Audrey’s costume since it’s too hard to tell who she’s supposed to be.
Audrey decides to hang out with Joey for a while before heading to a party, though Joey thinks Audrey’s still determined to get Joey to come along. Audrey tells her to count out loud to calm herself if she gets scared. Joey notes that there are a lot of people around, so there’s no reason to be afraid. Audrey thinks an older guy who’s eating peanuts is watching her and warns Joey to be careful.
As the night goes on, the library starts clearing out, and only Joey, Mr. Peanut, and a student worker are left. Mr. Peanut borrows a pen from Joey and tells her it’s not safe for her to be there after dark. She tells him her boyfriend is picking her up after football practice. Joey has more reading to do than she thought, and she makes sure the student worker will be around for a while. He sense that she’s worried about Mr. Peanut, who he thinks is harmless.
Mr. Peanut follows Joey into the stacks, asking her to come closer. She runs off to hide, then gets spooked by the student worker. He tells her Mr. Peanut just left but offers to call campus security. He sends her downstairs to get another book she needs, offering to go with her. Joey decides she’s safe now and goes down by herself to what looks more like a house than part of a library.
Joey hears noises and hides in a maintenance closet until they go away. She runs back up to the stacks, encountering Mr. Peanut again and screaming. She runs off again, this time finding the student worker. He says Mr. Peanut followed Joey, so he followed Mr. Peanut. Suddenly Mr. Peanut hits the worker over the head with a book and tells Joey she should have listened.
The worker fights off Mr. Peanut and starts to take Joey out of the library, but instead of opening the door, he locks it. He tells Joey that Mr. Peanut is a cop. Joey figures out that the worker attacked the girl last semester. She starts fighting him like she’s Buffy, which should be a hint to Pacey and Jack that the story is completely bogus. Once the worker’s unconscious, Joey tells the now-conscious Mr. Peanut that her kickboxing class paid off.
Jack thinks his frat house is scarier than the library after hours. Specifically, the basement of the frat house is frightening. He tells Joey and Pacey about having to clean out the basement with two other frat brothers. He finds a radio and tunes it to Jen’s station, then starts coughing. Another brother offers up some whiskey so they can lament their assignment to clean while the other frat guys are partying.
One brother finds a picture of his dad’s pledge class, 1968, and he and the other brother tell Jack about a pledge who killed himself that year. His roommate slept with his girlfriend, so he killed himself. Jack doesn’t feel well, so he heads to the bathroom, where he sees and hears someone’s shadow running away. When he goes back to the basement, the other two brothers are gone. The picture is sitting in a rocking chair, but it falls out and breaks.
The radio starts tuning itself, stopping on a song from the ’60s. Jack heads upstairs, hearing banging that seems to be coming from a closet. He opens the door and finds a frat brother inside, tied up with his mouth duct-taped. The brother tells him he was hazed and must have passed out. Jack tries to get the pledge to tell him who hazed him, though the two of them don’t remember ever meeting.
Jack wants to find some of the other guys, but the pledge says the brothers already hate him. He’s only in the frat because his father was one of the founding members. Jack is surprised since he thought all the brothers were nice. The pledge finally says that he told his roommate he had feelings for him. They were drunk and he’s not even sure he meant it.
Jack doesn’t get why the pledge being gay is a big deal; the other brothers were fine when he came out. Jack goes back to the basement to get his phone. As the radio tunes itself back to Jen’s station, Jack looks at the picture from the ’60s and recognizes the pledge. Back upstairs, the pledge is gone.
Pacey calls the story lame, as he should, and says the night calls for an urban legend. Joey and Jack mock him, as they should. Pacey tells them about spending an evening with Karen, then driving her home in Danny’s car. Karen teases him about his “little-boy crush” on Danny. (Amen, Karen.) Pacey says Danny’s the only guy who makes him feel good about anything, and doesn’t make him feel bad about not going to college.
They drive past a guy whose lights are off, so Pacey flashes his lights at the guy. Karen thinks this is a bad idea, having heard about that gang-initiation urban legend about people killing drivers who flash their lights. Pacey thinks she’s crazy, but the other driver turns around and starts following them. He starts ramming them from behind, freaking Karen out but making Pacey mad.
Pacey pulls into the parking lot of a diner, checking out the damaged bumper. Karen tries to call the police, but she can’t get a signal on her phone. They go into the diner, where everyone stares at them, including a guy I think might be Stanley from The Office. The phone is out of order, the calendar on the wall is from the ’60s, the lights on the “diner” sign burn out to spell “die,” and the food on the grill is burning. Oh, and the other car is outside.
Pacey calls out for the driver to show himself, though calling the diner patrons “inbred, redneck freaks” probably isn’t a good way of going about that. Someone kicks him and Karen out and they quickly head back to Boston. Suddenly Pacey slams on the breaks – the other car is sitting in the middle of the road. The two drivers play chicken, with Pacey swerving and making the other car drive off the road.
Karen makes Pacey pop the trunk, which contains a baseball bat. “I have got to start meeting less angry women,” Pacey says. Karen takes the bat over to the other car, ordering the other driver to get out. Pacey opens the door, but there’s no one inside. He suggests that they go home immediately.
Joey wonders if their generation just can’t be scared anymore. Pacey thinks she still checks under her bed at night. Grams comes home and laughs over the teens’ storytelling, saying they don’t have enough life experience to have anything truly scary happen. She wants to tell her own story, one that will really give the kids nightmares.
Grams’ story is about Jen, and it’s an experience Jen herself is too scared to ever talk about. It takes place during a night shift at the radio station. A branch is tapping against a window, so Jen goes outside to break it. The trashcan she used to prop the door open moves, and Jen gets locked out. Her attempt to use her student ID to open the door doesn’t work.
Jen heads down an alley to another door, but it’s locked. She hears her name being whispered and sees someone standing in the shadows. Well, not “someone” so much as a mannequin. Through speakers in the alley, Jen hears the record she’s playing skipping, and this time when she goes back to the front door, it opens.
Jen sends the show to commercial, spotting her student ID, which she dropped by the door, sitting on the radio. Jen’s name is whispered again, and as she looks up at the windows, the mannequin swings in upside-down. “Now that is a scary story,” Grams tells the kids, wishing them good night. She hopes she didn’t scare them too much. They try to pretend she didn’t.
Thoughts: Hey, Dawson isn’t in this one! Cool!
If these experiences had actually happened, I think Pacey, Jack, and Joey would have told each other about them before. I mean, who has a run-in with a driverless car and doesn’t tell everyone they know?
No way would Joey take a 204 course the first semester of her freshman year. Yes, I find that the least plausible part of the episode.
Oh, and I don’t think colleges let random non-students hang out in the library every night, eating peanuts, even if they’re really undercover cops. Though how did the student worker know Mr. Peanut was a cop? Okay, why am I asking so many questions about something that didn’t actually happen?
Jack doesn’t know the number of the campus radio station, even though Jen has a show there. You suck, Jack.
I liked Jack’s story better when it was the Buffy episode “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
Was Pacey’s story the writers’ way of making fun of Joshua Jackson for being in Urban Legend?
Yeah, hearing my own name being whispered creepily during Jen’s story wasn’t freaky at all. Thanks, Grams!