On our last episode: Trista Rehn cut her stable of eligible bachelors from fifteen to seven, Jack Bauer barely escaped getting his head blown off by that crazy traitor Nina, and Sydney and Vaughn gazed at each other moonily and then shot a bunch of guys. Oh, wait. Those are totally different shows. On the last episode of Dawson's Creek: Jack hooked up with Tiny Gay Elfin David (TGED), who appears to be entirely too good for him; Stupid Boring Natasha broke up with Stupid Boring Dawson; Harley Flip-Flops (allegedly adorable moppet daughter of Joey's nemesis, Professor Flip-Flops) told Joey not to screw up her relationship with Oliver; Jen told Blandy Blands that if she decided to become a peer counselor, she'd be a hell of a lot better at it than he is; Pacey sort of started flirting with Emma and also continued, against all odds, to avoid being fired even though his behavior at the office is abhorrent; and Audrey got liquored up and drove Pacey's car into Dawson's house.
We open on the set of Kangaroo Jack II: This Time, It's Personal, where Todd announces that they've completed principal photography on what is surely the worst horror movie ever made. Well, he spares us the editorializing. We cut to a title card, reading simply "Monday." Remember that: it's Monday. They've just wrapped principal photography. Which means that the second unit probably has some shooting left, and Todd's got weeks of editing ahead of him before the movie is actually finished. Not to mention color correction, sound work, music, looping, credits and titles, et cetera. Post-production is a long process. And it's Monday. Make a note, because I'm going to make a big, bratty deal of it later. The cast and crew applaud enthusiastically, although Natasha pouts as she does so. I feel like this Natasha plot has dragged on about two episodes too long. I don't care about her at all anymore, beyond wishing that someone would drop something heavy on her head. Todd waves his bottle of champagne around and thanks the cast and crew for all their hard work over the past few months, then steps down into the crowd to shake some hands and pat some backs. Dawson looks around the set and beams. Natasha sidles over, looking crabby, and sarcastically compliments him on Todd's speech. Dawson opens his mouth to protest, but she cuts him off, telling him that Todd's warm and fuzzy commentary has Dawson "written all over it." Dawson makes a face as Natasha says the speech was nice, if bittersweet. "Or is it just bitter?" she snaps. "Well, that's what wrap parties are all about," Dawson non-answers awkwardly. In my experience, wrap parties are all about alcohol, but whatever. Natasha announces that Tag got her a gig in the new Spielberg movie. "It's only two days work, but who knows? It could lead to bigger things," she says. Dawson smiles at her. "Knowing you, Natasha, I'm sure it will." Natasha takes this as a dig, of course, but Dawson tells her that "not everyone in the planet is acting every second of their lives." Natasha shrugs that "everyone in Hollywood is [lying]." She hugs him and wishes him luck. "I've got a feeling about you," she says. "What's that?" Dawson asks. "That you're going to need it." Oh, burn! Not. Dawson makes a sour face as Natasha stomps off. He shakes his head. Above him, a tech turns off a klieg light…and we go to the credits.
Tuesday. Liberty Hell's Kitchen, where Joey is cooing into her cell phone, leaving a message for Oliver. Now, I'm the queen of leaving overly long, chatty, disjointed messages, but at least I don't do it in a Joey Potter-style baby voice. She twitters that she's back in town and she wasn't going to call Oliver because he hadn't called her yet and she's got her pride and she hasn't talked to him since Christmas, which wasn't really that awful, "on a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf scale," and he should give her a call when he gets a chance, or whatever, because she'll be there, just sitting around staring at the phone and waiting for him to call because she's nothing without some boy hanging around and telling her that she's the only thing keeping him from jumping into a combine. Joey hangs up and looks thoughtful. I have to say, as much as I love both my cell phone and my cordless phone, the advent of cordless telephonic communications has made dramatically hanging up on someone much less effective. Like, you can only punch the "off" button so violently. Anyway, Joey strolls through the bar and past the pool tables, where she overhears a girl yelping that plenty of people think she's sixteen, but she's "totally eighteen." Joey looks over and sees Harley Flip-Flops, sassy daughter of Professor Flip-Flops, a character clearly designed to be some kind of Joey Potter Mini-Me, and who does so only in the sense that she annoys me almost as much as Joey does. Joey grabs Harley by the elbow and drags her off, telling the boys that she's actually fifteen. Harley looks aggrieved as Joey wonders what she's doing there, since vacation "for the Britney and Christina set" is surely over. I don't know that Christina "Assless Chaps" Aguliera and Britney "Shut Up, I Sort Of Like Her" Spears are really all the rage with the teens anymore, but whatever. Harley explains that they are: she's living with Flip-Flops permanently now. "So, where's [Oliver]?" Harley asks. "He's the only nice person that I know in Boston, and he still owes me a root beer float." Joey chuckles to herself over the idea that Flip-Flops now has a bratty teenager living in the house with him, constantly torturing him. She asks Harley why she's not in school, in that case. Harley says she'll spill, if Joey will tell her what happened to Oliver. Joey nods, and Harley explains that she was on a field trip, and she ditched. Joey looks appalled. Yes, but can someone please do something about her roots? They look awful. Surely Katie Holmes has a case of Garnier Lumia in her trailer somewhere. Harley exposits that her mother is "doing research" in Bangladesh and she, Harley, is miserable. Joey rolls her eyes and tells Harley not to be so dramatic. "Right. Like you'd know what it was like to have your life ruined!" Harley huffs. Joey, bless her, doesn't get into the whole Dead Mother/Jailbird Father rigmarole, but just tells her that Oliver isn't there. And she doesn't exactly know where he is. "I can't believe you messed it up with him. He was amazing. Beyond amazing!" Harley sensitively opines. Joey mutters that she'll get Harley her goddamned root beer float, and then Harley has to go back to school. "I don't care how miserable it is. That's life. Life is miserable."
Cut to The Boston Fishtastic Undersea Exploratorium, or whatever the aquarium in Boston is actually called. Pacey, in his stockbroker costume and sporting the world's most ridiculously poofy hair, stands in front of a large tank and looks around cheerfully. Seriously, what is up with his hair? He looks absurd. I'm concerned that, one night, Joshua Jackson's pompadour is going to come alive and, in some sort of horrible coiffure-related Little Shop of Horrors type of scenario, try to strangle him in his sleep. Cut. It. Off, Josh. Anyway, Pacey looks around and spies Emma, sitting near a large tank and drawing. Megan Gray looks about forty-five, thanks to the lighting in this scene. She's a lovely girl, but the powers that be appear to be doing their best to ugly her up, with the silly wig and now this horrible lighting. So, Pacey says hello, not noticing that Emma has headphones on, and startles her. Now, when someone startles me, my reaction is generally along the lines of "[Loud squeal!] Holy crap! You scared the shit out of me!" Emma's, however, is a very low-key, irritable "oh, bloody hell." It sounds like the reaction someone would have upon discovering that she's gotten a spot of ketchup on the cuff of her favorite cardigan. Pacey apologizes for scaring her, and Emma explains that she just didn't expect to see a stockbroker in the aquarium. Which doesn't really make sense: she didn't expect to see him because he's supposed to be at work in general, not because he's a stockbroker specifically. It's not like stockbrokers are famous for, like, hating marine life or something. She's not running into a vampire in a cathedral. He sits; they banter. Emma wonders what Pacey is doing at the aquarium. He explains that his office is near there -- which she ought to know, since she's been there and all, but whatever -- and he likes to look at the fishies during his lunch hour. Long story short: this scene is utterly pointless. Basically, Emma thinks that Pacey isn't cut out for the evil, structured corporate life, but she doesn't have the balls to come out and actually say so, so instead she makes snarky comments about not wanting to be seen with him in his Corporate Ken Doll ensemble and he better get back to the office because it's almost one o'clock and blah blah blah. Could someone please explain to me why Pacey and Emma's relationship is supposed to be interesting? Or, if there is no explanation for that, why he never interacts w