I've got nothing left, folks. Nothing. I just don't care anymore. Joey's a bitch? Fine, don't care. Dawson's a smug, self-absorbed suck? Whatever, don't care. The writing is the primetime-drama equivalent of stereo assembly instructions translated poorly from the Japanese? Carry on, don't care. Don't care, can't care, haven't cared for a while, don't anticipate caring again for a good long time, and should never have cared in the first damn place, so if you'll excuse me, I have to go marinate in the sweet sweet love of the Samuel Adams brewery, so here's the recap: the gang graduated, and Pacey bolted to Florida. Okay? Can I go now?
"No"? "NO"? Look, I've suffered enough for you people! I've driven to Pennsylvania in the middle of the night! I've posted bail for literary conventions! I've sat at this desk with a bottle of tequila hooked up to an IV and a noose around my neck, and it's not like I get paid to -- oh. Right. Oh, dear. Okay, then. My mistake. Sorry.
Previously on They've Finally Broken Sars's Spirit And Left Her A Bitter, Gasping Husk Of Her Radiant Former Self: Gretchen ditched Dawson, but not before signing his yearbook using one-hundred-percent pure Vermont maple syrup as ink; Pacey told Joey that she deserves better than Capeside, and that he is Capeside; Jen harangued Grams into moving to Boston; Mr. K offered Pacey a job as a deckhand on his yacht.
Front lawn of Capeside High. Principal Derek Smalls, sporting a mullet that looks like he used a fan to style it, blathers on expositionally by welcoming the seniors to the graduation rehearsal, blah blah blah. Seniors mill about, not listening. Quick shot of the assembled gang. Principal Smalls tunes up the bass for an expositional rendering of "Ramble On," but not before letting us know that Joey won the Capeside Pinnacle Award and will therefore deliver the salutatorian speech at graduation. How convenient. Shot of Joey "Friends, Romans, Countrymen -- Lend Me Your Spine" Potter doing the blushing thing. Apparently, she has to give her speech, or a version thereof, at the rehearsal, and Principal Smalls calls on her to do so; pulling a "whatever" face, she heads for the podium, to sarcastic applause. "Go West, Young" Dawson Leery yucks it up. Pan across Jen "The Night The Lights Went Out On" Lindley, biting her lip wistfully, and Jack McPhee "-berace," grinning. Joey approaches the mic with trepidation, admits that her speech "isn't quite ready yet," adds that she doesn't have anything to say right now, and thanks the audience. The gang claps sardonically some more. Joey tromps back down, fists stuffed in pockets, and sourly tells them not to say a word. Dawson puts his hand over his heart and blinks rapidly, "overcome." Joey glares at him. Heh. Principal Smalls warns the assembled not to think about pulling any graduation-related pranks, and the gang turns to look expectantly at Drue "The Lizard King" Valentine, who smiles and ducks his head all "don't look at me." Principal Smalls makes a joke about security "tighter than Ricky Martin's pants." The joke bombs, and then in turn the joke about the joke bombing also bombs, and I think my joke about the joke about the joke bombing bombing just bombed also. See? When I said I had nothing, I meant it.
Off to the side of the stage, enter Pacey "Edna Pontellier" Witter at a jog; in the crowd, Mitch "The Flash" Leery knifes through the crowd to get to Pacey, and Principal Smalls continues to provide graduation-themed white noise in the form of bibbling on about "housekeeping details." The Flash intercepts Pacey, who apologizes for his tardiness with an excuse about his American history teacher yammering on past the final bell and starts to head for his seat, but The Flash stops him again; meanwhile, the rest of the gang has turned to stare openly at the two of them. Nice manners, y'all. The Flash says it isn't about the lateness, unfortunately: "It's about your grades." Pacey deems that "vaguely ominous." The Flash cringes that Pacey's "right on the bubble of being able to graduate." Well, it's a good thing the writers gave us a bit of lead-up to that after introducing the storyline eight months ago, because now we have a smidgen of emotion invested in the outcome of -- oh, right. They didn't. And we don't. Because they threatened to flunk him, and that's the last we heard of it until now. Pacey immediately gets bent out of shape, bitching that he sacrificed his "entire senior year" (he did? I don't remember that), pulled "double class loads," did everything the school required, blah blah bleh. The Flash tries to buck the little camper up, telling Pacey that "it's not over yet" -- if he does well enough on his English final, he'll graduate. Uh huh. Because the writers have set the plot up well enough to earn a cheap Bruckheimer-movie payoff like that. Not. Pacey looks over his shoulder to see Joey peering at him like he's got the world's largest piece of spinach stuck in his front teeth, then looks back at The Flash, who says pointedly that Pacey should spend the time before the final studying, not hanging out at the rehearsal. Pacey asks if The Flash is kicking him out. The Flash twangs a neck muscle by way of response. Pacey asks The Flash not to "do this to" him. The Flash is sorry; it's not his decision. Pacey glares over his shoulder again -- whether at Principal Smalls or at the gang isn't clear -- and waddles off in a really weird gait like he's got a full load in his pants or something, and the gang just keeps right on staring at him as a cat gets jammed into a gift envelope.