Then the credits roll.
This week, Dawson's Creek is brought to us by a movie starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Powder in some kind of witch-themed love story. Whatever.
Back in Capeside, Pacey and Dawson are riding their bikes on a lane beside the ocean, and setting a horrible example for the show's myriad young and impressionable viewers by not wearing helmets. Kids, don't ever ride your bike without a helmet on, even if Dawson and Pacey made it look like it was okay not to. It's not okay, and it's not cool. Okay, PSA mode off. A cop car with its lights flashing and siren blaring coasts along behind them so they pull off the road to a little paved path as the cruiser pulls up and stops beside them. We hear, before we see him, Sheriff "Hard-Ass" Witter, saying, I guess by way of greeting, "Dawson Leery. Capeside's own cinematic wunderkind," and shakes his hand, and he actually pronounces it "VOONderkinn'd." I don't want to cast aspersions on the vocabulary of a typical small-town law-enforcement official, but "wunderkind"? Who the hell would say that? And when did any of your friends' parents ever give you such an elaborate greeting when they ran into you on the street, hanging out with their own kid? How much is it necessary for tertiary characters to praise Dawson?
Anyway, The Sheriff isn't finished, and says, "You aren't gonna go forgetting us when you become a bigwig out in La-La Land, are you?" I hate it when people call Los Angeles "La-La Land," and furthermore, what a weird thing to say. Can we assume that anyone who is watching this episode is aware of Dawson's career aspirations, and doesn't need to have the plot recapped Dawson's Creek for Dummies style? Dawson turns on his false modesty, looking down and chuckling softly, and answers, "I wouldn't worry about that, Mr. Witter." The Sheriff remarks, "I'm sure you'll come back and visit Pacey in whatever fast-food joint he's flipping burgers at." Pacey throws up his hands and says, "Hey, the Witters all come from a long line of illustrious professions requiring uniforms, right Pop?" Dawson grins without any evident discomfort at the conversation. The Sheriff ignores Pacey and says, "Dawson, I spoke to your pop. I expect both of you on the dock at zero-six-hundred hours. Now, come prepared both physically and mentally, because you are going to be fishing in the presence of greatness. We are going to bring back the tournament trophy, Dawson, or we are going to end our lives at sea in pursuit of the big one that got away." Dawson, whose hair, if you can believe it, looks worse than ever before, and appears to have been coiffed into pin curls all around his face, says, "Okay, well, I don't want to disappoint you, but my father and I are not exactly accomplished fishermen." The Sheriff laughs and says, "Dawson, I have no doubt that with your brain and commitment to excellence, you'd make a first-rate first mate." Dawson doesn't look sheepish or embarrassed at this tribute, and instead of saying, oh, I don't know, "Thank you," he nods once as if accepting it as his due. The Sheriff claps him on the back one last time and adds, "In the meantime, keep Pacey out of trouble for me, would you?" Dawson says he will. Pacey, who by now has put on his sunglasses and is slouching defeatedly, waits silently for The Sheriff to leave, which he does. "Aye aye, Capitan," Pacey mutters as the cruiser pulls away. Setting new records for the depths to which willful ignorance can sink, Dawson admiringly says, "Your father's classic, Pacey." Uh, would that be "classic" in the same way that The Great Santini is a "[c]lassic dysfunctional father-son relationship," Dawson? It doesn't appear so, as Dawson grins and squints after the departing Sheriff. Pacey once again opts not to deck Dawson, and says only, "Oh yeah, he's a classic, all right. The man thinks my I.Q. matches my age. D'you hear that crack about flipping burgers?" Dawson's grin does not dim by a single watt as he answers, "He was obviously kidding," like, yeah, Pacey, Dawson would totally know better than you would what your own father meant by that. Not. Pacey gets on his bike and rides off; Dawson hesitates just long enough to roll his eyes at Pacey's back, then follows.
At school, Joey "Sour Grapes" Potter is asking Dawson how the movie's going. Dawson launches into a laundry list of all the stuff he and Jen are working on now, and says, at the end of it, "realizing that the budget isn't really as big as I first thought it was." Uh, how big did you think $1250 was, idiot-boy? Joey says it sounds like the typical pre-production chaos. Dawson says that actually Jen has everything under control, that she's a trouble-shooting dynamo, that she's constantly "putting out fires before they even ignite." Joey guardedly remarks that, "She's never worked on a film in this capacity, I mean, how does she even know what to do?" as if, when Joey produced Dawson's first movie, she was a veteran with Shine and Dante's Peak on her C.V. Dawson says that Jen has an innate talent for producing, and that "it's causing me to step up my game as a director. It's great." But Dawson, how could any outside influence improve what was perfection to begin with? Gag me. Joey somewhat snottily says that it's a shame that Jen didn't produce Dawson's first movie: "Think how much better it would have turned out." Dawson puts on his sincere face and tells Joey he's not comparing Jen to Joey, and that working on his film with Joey was one of the best periods of his life. He's just saying that Jen's being good at producing is "a surprise, that's all." "Who would have thought?" Joey answers. At that moment, Jen "Di Novi" Lindley walks up and joins them. Dawson asks Jen if her ears were burning. Jen says, "Dare I ask?" Dawson says he was just singing her praises about the amazing job she's doing. Jen looks genuinely pleased and stunned and starry-eyed, and very quietly breathes, "Thanks!" Joey smiles reluctantly, and says, "I'll just leave you two professionals alone to collaborate." Jen says it was Joey she was looking for. Dawson takes off. Joey looks non-plussed. Jen says she needs Joey's help: "I promised Gale that I'd give her a hand on this news report --" Joey cuts her off with, "'Gale'? Mrs. Leery?" Jen says the Bride of Flash is "doing a news report on teenage girls as the new consumer phenomenon." Good thing that story isn't about nine months out of date. Whoops, my bad, it is (tm Sars). Joey unclenches her jaw long enough to quite frostily say, "Oh. So now in your spare time you're helping produce news reports for 'Gale'." Jen says, "Hardly. I mean, I wouldn't exactly say that. She's just letting me watch her in action, and pick up a few tricks of the trade." Joey nods and glares. Jen goes on to say that they're looking for girls to come by Dawson's house tomorrow. Joey says, "What, spill their guts on local television?" Jen sort of laughs and says, no, to talk about what it's like to be a teenager: "Joey, we really need girls who are thoughtful and articulate and nobody I know speaks her mind more eloquently and honestly than you do." Joey is unmoved by this and adds scowling to her standard glare, but says nothing. Okay, all together now: That Joey -- what a beeotch!
Then it's evidently the next day because Dawson and The Flash are walking along the dock as baseball-cap-wearing fishermen mess around in various boats. The Flash is blathering on about the romanticism of the sea and after a lot of blah blah blah fishcakes concludes with, "Kinda makes you want to chuck it all and become a fisherman, you know?" Uh, Flash? "Chuck" what, exactly? Dawson chuckles condescendingly and says, "Fish is [sic] a viable career option for you now?" The Flash says, "Well, maybe." Dawson says, "What's next, Dad, a fireman?" I guess that The Flash decides he doesn't have the upper-body strength to smack Dawson's enormous head, so he apparently ignores that and, since they've by now arrived at the Witter Whaler, says to The Sheriff, "Permission to come aboard, sir!" The Sheriff grants him permission and shakes both their hands. Dawson says "hey" to Pacey, who starts to muse...something (he starts out, "You know"), and then jumps up and says