Big ups to Wing Chun, the best houseguest ever, and to everyone on the DC boards for their patience.
Oh, and by the way, YOU'RE THE MAN NOW, DOG!
Previously on Dawson's Creek: Jack fulfilled the episode's "encourage Dawson" quota by blathering on about serendipity and whatnot; Gretchen and Dawson got together while Cameron Crowe endorsed his royalty check; Joey told Pacey that they talk about the future, and he corrected her that they talk around the future; Jack and Tobey hissed and spat at each other, and then Tobey ran off sideways with a fluffy tail; Dawson confessed to Pacey that he has feelings for Gretchen, and Pacey, paralyzed with disgust, totally failed to shove Dawson's deck chair into the creek.
Fade up on a sleeping Pacey "Love Means Never Having To Say 'Shut Up, Joey'" Witter. A blue plate bearing a Hostess cupcake with a birthday candle stuck into it makes its way into the bottom of the shot, and Joey "Miss" Potter "If You're Nasty" serenades him with "Happy Birthday." Aw, that's cute. Pacey sleepily grumps at her to go away, and Joey looks annoyed and tells him to make a wish before she sets the couch on fire. Pacey wishes for "no further acknowledgment" of his birthday, except he says it a lot more floridly and self-pityingly than that. Joey shrugs, blows out the candle, and informs him that, now that she knows his wish, "it can't possibly come true." Pacey sighs heavily and struggles into an upright position, saying that he appreciates Joey's "naïve enthusiasm," but every single one of his birthdays since the tenth one "has been a complete disaster." He wanders into the kitchen, mummified in a blanket, and continues in this vein. "Well, at least you're not being dramatic about it," Joey observes dryly. Heh. Hey, Old Joey. Thanks for coming by. Oh, you have to -- no, wait! Stay! Pacey's making coffee ? Well, see you later. Pacey then kneels, crosses himself, and recites The Litany Of Childhood Trauma: at his first boy-girl party, he ate too much and hurled on a girl he really liked, and she dubbed him "Pacey Pukey," and his family latched onto the nickname and still uses it; when he turned sixteen, he threw himself a party, but nobody showed up. Okay, quick sidebar: it's worth noting here that, if they mean the party he threw for himself in Episode 202, tons of kids showed up to that, and also that, if we go by the timeline established by the end of the first season, Pacey's birthday actually falls in April or May, not in January. So we once again learn that, if continuity be the food of good writing, the DC creative team has gone on hunger strike. Okay, back to the pity party already in progress, where Pacey recalls getting "mauled by a dog" on his fourteenth birthday. And he's skipping the whole birthday thing this year. No, he isn't, Joey tells him. Pacey hugs her and says they could possibly "avert disaster" by spending the evening alone at the Witterschloss, and we switch to an over-the-shoulder shot of Joey lying guiltily, "I promise, just you and me." The sound of a cat bathing in nail-polish remover accompanies Joey looking guilty some more for about an hour and a half.