Props to Liz, to Sars, to owen, and to Queen Victoria, whose birth gives me the holiday required to write the final first-season recap.
Previously on Dawson's Creek: Joey told Dawson that, in five years, she'd be "a million miles from here"; Pacey suggested that Jen was having "dumper's remorse" over Dawson, and she denied it; Joey told Dawson that, once she ditched the lipstick and hairspray, she'd be Joey again, and Dawson would no longer be interested.
Fade up on the Sanctum Dawsonorum. The hair of Dawson "Roger Bore-man" Leery looks like a skullcap made of ornately-crafted yellow foam rubber. He turns at the sound of Joey "Spine Iron" Potter climbing through the window, and marvels, "You're here!" Nonchalantly, she says she thought they were watching movies tonight. He stammers, "Yeah! I'm glad you're here, I just -- I didn't think...I didn't even get any movies from the store." He crosses to the other side of the room, and her face falls, but she plays it off: "Well, actually, I just dropped by to tell you I couldn't make it, so..." She moves toward the window, but he smirks, "You dropped by to tell me you couldn't drop by?" She flaps her hands and says, "Yeah," and makes for the window again. He asks her to stay: "We can watch bad reruns and throw sarcastic remarks at the television." And now, I present to you the meta-statement portion of tonight's episode, as Joey declares: "Well, for the record, I'm getting pretty tired of the television. I mean, the metaphor alone is making me nauseous." What metaphor? The metaphor...of what? Never explained. Doesn't make a lick of sense. She continues: "Every night it's the same: We hang out in your Spielberg-ized bedroom and watch obscure movies and TV reruns. It's so predictable!" Dawson stares dumbly back at her, and then clicks on the TV and plops his fat ass down on the bed, exclaiming: "This is a great show! It's a huge two-parter with a big cliffhanger!" Get it? Because this episode is part one of a two-part cliffhanger? Do you get it? The parallel? Between the character's line and the content of the show? Because they've never done that before. Joey replies, "'Cliffhanger'? Come on, Dawson, you of all people should know that a cliffhanger is merely a manipulative TV standard designed to improve ratings." Boo! Joey, you are the voice of dissent! Dawson is the voice of Williamson, and he argues, "No, a cliffhanger's purpose is to keep people interested -- keep 'em guessing what's going to happen in future episodes." Joey sinks down next to him, and retorts, "But just like in our own lives, they are so predictable. I mean, the producers put the characters in some contrived situation hoping that the audience will think that something's going to change, but you know what? It never does. It's back to the same way it was before your so-called cliffhanger. It's boring, Dawson." Joey's speech is particularly evocative for me, having just recapped an episode in which Joey and Dawson rehash the whole "things have to change"/"no, they can stay the way they've always been" non-debate for about the four billionth time since this series has been on the air. Yes, this episode for which you are now reading the recap does contain a cliffhanger, but no, the events that unfold do not have any lasting effect on the basic composition of the show. At. ALL.
But Dawson still has to toe the Williamson party line, and he protests, "Well, what if this time, it's different? What if this time, in the cliffhanger, something changes? You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?" Dawson snaps the TV back on, and Joey mutters, "It still sounds like one big tease to me, Dawson," and then glares at him balefully. It's almost as if she knows she still has two more years of exactly the same old shit ahead of her.