On stage, Pacey is acting like a drunk, standing on a fake skylight and telling his stage bride to tell him he's a drunk, and that she loves him. The stage bride does, begging him to please come down off the roof. Andie looks pleased.
At the after-party, Jack hands Andie an absolutely enormous bouquet of flowers. She thanks him effusively and marvels that he was able to assemble the entire after-party in a single afternoon. He tells her that she's the amazing one, and adds, "One word about how my people excel at decorating and you're dead." Uh. Thanks for the warning. Jen, with Grams and Henry, congratulates Andie as she passes by. The three members of the Lindley party stand silent. Jen spots Pacey sitting at a bar, suggests that Grams and Henry "grab some punch," and takes off, promising that she'll be right back. Henry helps Grams off with her coat (hey, he's an operator just like A.J.! Look out, Grams, he'll be talking about charged particles next!) and looks wistfully across the room at Jen.
Jen sits down next to Pacey, who thanks her for coming tonight. She says she wouldn't have missed it, noting the packed opening-night house. Pacey drawls, "And not a Witter in attendance! What a surprise!" Pacey adds that he's grateful that Dawson, Jack, and Jen are all there. Jen fills in the blank and asks, "You know who's not here?" Pacey plays dumb, and Jen says, "Joey." Pacey says that Joey couldn't make it because of her big date. Jen says it's too bad, because Joey missed "a great show, and an incredible leading man." You see? The metaphor? "Leading man"? Anyway. Pacey thanks her. Jen says, "Of course, you hardly noticed...barely missed her." At that moment Joey appears between them and asks, "Missed who?" Jen and Pacey manage not to look like they were just talking about her, and Pacey says, "Nobody."
Elsewhere, Nikki finds Dawson seated at a table and hands him a plate of crudités. She sits down and tells him she thinks he's taking "this whole precocious teenager thing a bit too far," explaining that people shouldn't get disillusioned and give up the film business until they're at least twenty-five. No, Nikki, actually Dawson should give up now. Other facets of his life that he should give up include his haircut, his improperly-employed fifty-cent words, his XXXXXL wardrobe, and the idea that he and Joey are anything starting with "soul" and ending with "mates." Dawson tells Nikki that his decision isn't that big a deal, since all he's really doing is giving up an elective. She tells him that he dropped film, which she thought was who he is. Dawson says that film is part of who he is. He reminds her of the conversation they had in the last episode I recapped, in which she told him that there's more to life than film, and tells her about coming home that night and taking all the movie posters off his bedroom walls. He goes on: "There's this image that I keep on coming back to. I'm ten years old. My parents have taken me to see Jurassic Park. I'm sitting there, fourth row centre, popcorn in lap, flanked by mom and dad. These two teenagers walk in -- a guy and a girl, probably our age. They sit in front of us, and they proceed to make out throughout the entire movie. [Nikki laughs.] And I remember sitting there just being shocked that anyone would rather kiss than watch this miraculous fantasy unfold on-screen. And at one point I actually tapped the guy on the shoulder and asked him if he wouldn't mind keeping it down. And he looked at me like, 'Look, one day, kid, you'll get it.' And here I am, all these years later, and I'm still not the kid who goes to the movie theatre just to make out, and I'm not the kid who sat between his parents anymore. I'm this third person who's too busy analyzing everything that I can't enjoy anything. I mean, the other two guys -- at least they were having fun. I'm just not, anymore." Join the club, All-Brat. Nikki asks him where he intends to look for the joy he's lost. Dawson laughs and says that he has absolutely no idea, and asks her whether she has any ideas. She asks him where he was when he "had it last." As I recall, he was on his dad's boat just before it crashed into a pier. He eats a piece of food and doesn't answer, which suggests to me that he's thinking the same thing I am.