FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST -- THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, WE ARE FREE AT LAST!
Previously on An All-Star Tribute To James Van Der Beek's Ego: Dawson and Joey discussed whether she and Pacey could become friends, and Dawson told her that it couldn't hurt to show Pacey that she cares; Pacey told Andie about the deckhand job, and said he'd have to leave "soon"; Joey gave her schmaltzy graduation speech; Pacey told Joey he couldn't "be a friend to" her now, but it's not how he wants it "to end between" them, and then he walked to a plane.
Shot of the creek; on the soundtrack, crickets chirp as a testament to the millions of viewers who tuned out after Pacey left last week. Fade to the Sanctum Dawsonorum, where Dawson "Ick Magnet" Leery and Joey "Any Prat In A Storm" Potter watch The Creature From The Dork Lagoon, Dawson's horror movie from the first season. After a Joey mannequin gets beheaded onscreen, Dawson abruptly switches off the TV and comments that the movie sucks a lot more than he remembered. Uh duh. Joey expositions, for those of us pinned beneath bombing debris during the previous four seasons and thus ignorant of Dawson's myriad filmic "accomplishments," that Creature From Beneath The Dweeb won the grand jury prize blah blah blah and Dawson got $2,500 out of the deal. Dawson continues in the please-correct-me-when-I-make-fun-of-myself vein by saying that he spent the prize money on Creek Daze, a "self-indulgent piece of crap," and Joey naturally corrects him by meta-ing, "Blah blah blah blah blah." Then Dawson wonders how did they "get here," saying that it seems like just yesterday that they sat there watching E.T. and "wondering what tenth grade is gonna be like," and then it's time to leave for college. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: try recapping it. Joey orders a flame-broiled flank of exposition medium rare by saying that "some of [them] are going sooner than others" -- not soon enough, hon -- and she has the whole summer to "process [her] crippling anxiety," but Dawson's set to bolt for the left coast the day after next. Dawson waxes apprehensive, saying he's starting to second-guess himself on the whole summer-program thing, and that's Joey's cue to stroke his ego even more, saying that he has to "focus on the good," that not only does USC want him but they want him early, and "that's huge," like, Joey? Dawson doesn't need you, or anyone else, to tell him that he's the shit, because he already thinks it of himself, in spades, so if you can't get a backbone, stick a coat hanger down the back of your little cap-sleeved Pepto-pink t-shirt, but either way, stop lathering him up with praise. And shut up. In my dreams -- Joey keeps talking, but now it's to point out that Dawson should really start packing. Dawson tries to make a funny: "When you're in the kind of denial I'm in right now, there's just no room for packing." Clunk. Shut up, Dawson. Joey shrugs, "Okay."
A moment of silence, and we see the monster of the deep -- a.k.a. Pacey -- yanking Joey into the water; then we cut back to Joey flinching away from the screen and busying herself with her soda. Dawson asks if she's "heard from" Pacey, and Joey quickly says that "the sea creature from the deep remains incommunicado." Heh. Dawson makes "I'm sure once he's ready" noises, but Joey cuts him off, sighs heavily, and asks if Dawson ever feels "incapable of sustaining a relationship." "Sustaining"? Shut up, Joey. Dawson's "in touch with that emotion." Joey grumbles something about life lessons before saying she's learned never to get involved with a sea monster, "no matter how charming" -- it doesn't work out. Good advice, Joey. Now can we move the scene along, please? We know you broke up with Pacey; we can assume that you feel sad about it, because, well, we live in the world. Now get on with it, for the love of Mike. Dawson smugs that, "despite [their] mutual misery," he's had a "pretty decent time" chilling with Joey lately. Ohhh yeah -- nothing gets the girls like damnation with faint praise. Joey looks up, startled, and then smiles, "Me too." Dawson wishes it didn't have to end. Awkward pause. Joey observes that "everything has to come to an end." "Thank you, Sylvia Plath," Dawson cracks. And thank you, "writers," for yet another Dawson "joke" that not only falls flat but doesn't even make logical sense to begin with. Another awkward pause. "I just wish it didn't, is all," Dawson sighs. Then there's a weird edit where Joey's like "whatever" and Dawson points the remote at the TV and says, "Let's, uh…" and then there's a smash cut into the credits and a cat proceeding down a baggage ramp in its carrier. The hell?