Props to KR, Strega and Sars.
Following the usual televisual Cliff's Notes, tonight's episode opens with Pacey "Dobler" Witter crossing the threshold of the Sanctum Dawsonorum, saying that he came over as soon as he got Dawson's message. Dawson "All-Bran" Leery is pacing the floor manically, I guess as a physical indication that he is, as he says, "freaking out" because it's almost midnight, he's about to turn sixteen, which is not, in his mind, the "major turning point" Pacey believes it to be. Au contraire, Dawson says, "I am eternally lost as a species on this planet." Note to the writers: Stringing a bunch of 25-cent words together nonsensically is not the best way to denote a character who ostensibly has an intellect advanced beyond his years. Dawson's last line didn't even approach meaning. Pacey rightly predicts that "this is going to be bad." Dawson continues: "I'm about to be sixteen years old in a matter of minutes and I am still me -- the same whiny, adolescent, big-talking, little-doing loser that I was a year ago." Pacey starts to disagree, but Dawson -- and all the readers of this site -- shout him down and, for once, take Dawson's side as he goes on while gesticulating wildly with, for some reason, an artificial arm: "It's absolutely true. Think about it. Every single person that I know is growing up and moving forward in some way. All right, Joey is busy finding herself, you've got this whole stable, do-gooder boyfriend thing happening, Jen...is...not necessarily moving forward but at least she's moving. Even my parents are starting new lives! And me, I'm in the exact same place that I was last year at this time." As Dawson heads into the closet -- and hey, that would be a move forward -- Pacey tells him again that turning sixteen is cause for rejoicing. Dawson remains unconvinced: "There doesn't seem to be anything ahead of me but more of the same. I'm stagnant; no wonder Joey dumped me. The only thing that I accomplished last year was realizing my feelings for her [which was really more of a discovery than an accomplishment, if you ask me], and I couldn't even hold on to her. She dumped me. For a gay guy. And can we please talk about this whole gay guy/straight woman thing? There's gotta be something going on there that we're not seeing." I'd venture to suggest that gay guys generally know how to style their hair and thus are more presentable in public, but whatever. Pacey sarcastically -- and rather wearily -- agrees that it's all part of the evil gay plan to keep the species from repopulating itself. Dawson tells him he should keep a close eye on Andie, rather an insensitive remark in light of the fact that her brother is the "gay guy" in question. Pacey tells Dawson that he needs to stop looking for answers to life's questions in the movies: "What you need to do is figure out what it is that you want, and make it happen. Okay? Be definitive." Dawson agrees, and squeezing a disembodied head in his hand (presumably a prop from his first movie) makes him realize that "Joey is the answer. I had her, I lost her, and now I'm going to get her back. How's that for definitive?" As Paula Cole's vocal stylings swell in the background, he tosses the head to Pacey and takes off in his coat. Where is a sixteen-year-old going to go at midnight? Damn permissive Cape Cod parents.
Sadly, we never do learn where he went, because the next scene is set in the kitchen on the morning of Dawson's birthday. The Flash has something on the stove as Bride of Flash wanders in wearing some rather fetching white pyjamas and a perfect (for her) coif. She crosses her arms upon seeing him and crankily utters, "Mitch." The Flash says, "Hey, you remember my tradition of cooking Dawson breakfast on his birthday, right?" She answers, "Well, of course. I just thought that --" At that moment Dawson comes in and greets his "Dad!" The Flash says, "You didn't expect me to forget, did you? The usual, for our regular customer," and hands him a plate. Dawson thanks him, and adds, "I must say, it's nice to have a bit of tradition this morning." The Flash says that reminds him that he has to speak to his erstwhile bride about "birthday present stuff -- highly classified," and they depart for the porch. The Flash starts out reminding the Bride that they usually buy Dawson joint birthday presents, but she cuts him off, telling him that he's "a little late" because she's already bought Dawson his birthday present: "I'm giving Dawson his first car tonight. An Explorer[!]." The Flash tells her that that's a big decision, and asks whether it isn't one they could have made together. Dawson, not so far away, keeps shooting furtive glances in the direction of the porch as Bride of Flash starts nagging the Flash about the bills -- slightly ironic in light of her announcement two seconds earlier of the purchase of a new car, besides which I never really had the impression that the Flash represented a significant cash infusion before the separation, but whatever. The Flash says, "I know that I should contribute more financially." The Bride of Flash scoffs. The Flash goes on: "And I've put the restaurant plans on the back burner, and I've looked into substituting at the high school." Dawson's ears prick up at this, and he kind of smirks. The Flash adds, "I will help out more as soon as I can, but still -- a car? That's a pretty extravagant gift for a sixteen-year-old." At this the scene ends, which I guess means that we're supposed to come away from it feeling like Dawson's parents are so selfish that they've even ruined his birthday with their petty bickering about money. In fact, what I come away with is that Dawson is one spoiled brat and that the Bride of Flash could have at least had the decency to get him a used car, or a Geo or something. [Note: The author, age 24, has never owned a car and currently drives a 1991 Dodge Colt owned by her husband.]