Opening scene, a flash from the past: Joey and Dawson are in his room watching the crummy movie he was making in the pilot episode. Remember the monster, and how Joey didn’t want to kiss icky ole Pacey? Dawson acknowledges the film sucks, and worse than he remembered it sucking.
They then rehash how that shitty movie won him some money that he then spent on his self-indulgent memoir of how he lost Joey. Somehow that awkward reference doesn’t derail the conversation and they discuss Dawson’s early departure from Capeside, which is coming up the day after tomorrow and dude hasn’t even started packing.
They commiserate over how Pacey’s been out of touch, and how both of them can’t hold down a relationship (Since at 18 they really should have that figured out by now, amirite?) and talk about how much they’ve enjoyed each other’s company.
Dawson, Jen, Joey and Jack are lying on the ground talking about summer jobs. They certainly have a lot of faith in the cleanliness of their town’s pavement, as though there isn’t loads of dried animal urine everywhere.
Then they play a game of Would You Rather? And Joey throws some shade at France by describing body odour as “French foreign exchange student bad.” Dawson grosses everyone out by making them imagine Grams having sex, and then after he makes movie plans with them all for that night, he leaves to meet his dad at a computer place.
Mitch is rattling off what would have been some flashy specs at the turn of the Millennium: 128 megabytes RAM, 32-gig hard drive, 56 K modem. But now it just sounds cute and slow.
Dawson says he’d rather have a Mac. Mitch is all, no, no, no, this PC is the best. Dawson’s like, well, I’d rather have no laptop then. I wouldn’t have thought Mac vs PC was going on this early.
Anyway, Dawson tries to dissuade his dad from spending thousands of dollars on something he doesn’t want. But no go, Mitch does it anyway, oblivious to the fact that actually a Mac would be a better use of money in the media arts field down the road. But what can you do.
At Grams’ place, it’s all packed up and boxed. Jen apparently has not begun cleaning and sorting her room. Grams and Jen plan a night time tea for their last evening in the house after the movies.
At the Leery house, Mitch wants to get the laptop up and running, and Dawson would rather keep his movie plans with his friends. Mitch picks a fight with him and can’t understand why an 18-year-old boy would rather be with his buddies his last night in town rather than hang out with his parents and baby sister.
Dawson says he’s been overbearing lately, but otherwise calmly and maturely tells his dad what’s what, and that he’s spending a portion of his evening with friends and that he’ll be back later. Mitch sulks and leaves.
Gail tells Dawson to go. I should point out they’re all outside and baby Lily is nowhere to be seen.
In the Caribbean, it looks like, sort of maybe (They are only calling it “Paradise” and there’s dudes with dreadlocks and some Spanish-looking houses), Pacey is wearing a lame Hawaiian shirt and borrows some guy’s cell phone to make a phone call. I am wondering what the hell kind of plan this guy’s got that he doesn’t mind handing Pacey his cell phone in the year 2001 to make a random long distance phone call.
He dials a million numbers and lets the phone ring all of three times before giving up. Well, wherever they are isn’t so exotic that it doesn’t have cell towers.
At the movies, Jack is going on about the colossal hugeness of Dawson and Joey saying goodbye. Srsly? No teenagers ever care this much about their friends’ brief failed romances. Their own, sure, but not shit that happened two years ago. Dawson mentions he fell in love with someone else this year, but… Joey. Poor Gretchen.
Jen and Joey talk about Dawson and Jen says if Joey asked him to stay, he would. Joey’s incredulous about asking him to avoid a great opportunity, even though *cough* *cough* FRANCE *cough* But then it looks like she thinks that’s actually true and seems to toy with the idea.
Looks like they’re seeing American Graffiti.
After the show, they have this weird exchange where everyone kinda needs to go home but keep offering to get a bite to eat. Then they awkwardly decide to go home. It’s like watching a questionable first date come to an end.
At the Leery house, Gail and Mitch are scrapbooking Lily’s baby book, which they have time for because she never cries or needs anybody.
Mitch is passively complaining about Dawson’s lack of interest in spending his whole last day hanging out with him. Gail plays armchair psychologist and calls Mitch out for feeling insecure about the future.
Dawson drops Joey off at her house and Jen and Jack wait in the back of the jeep while those two have a drawn-out goodbye filled with lame small talk about how LA has “lots of malls.” Joey tries to draw him into a conversation about what he’d say to Spielberg if he ran into him in LA. Uh, you do remember two other people are waiting in the car, wanting to go home and pack, right? Wrap this shit up, lady.
But Joey’s talking about Spielberg’s presence in his life as a metaphor for herself and her role in his life, and Dawson gets a little emotional. Then they say that they’ll see each other at Christmas and they hug, and Joey gets a little emotional.
Then Joey goes inside and feels all sad and conflicted and Dawson slowly walks away, also feeling bummed and stuff, then turns tail and goes back to the door, looks at it and says, “Bye, Joey.” That’s a little dramatic. Who was that for?
At the final stop, Jack and Jen present Dawson with… a cell phone. It’s huge, of course, and probably oodles of money. They said they felt he’d need one in LA, but there’s only 5 minutes of air time. Which is in stark contrast to Mr. Carte Blanche who handed Pacey his cell to use at his discretion.
Jack drives off after a friendly razzing and then Jen and Dawson have a warm goodbye in front of her house. He offers to sleep with her if she’s got five minutes. Womp womp.
Inside the house, Dawson finds a mac laptop. My googling suggests this is a Titanium PowerBook, which would have cost between $2,200 and $3,000 at the time. Fancy!
Mitch and Dawson bond over the technology and hug, as Apple products are wont to make men do.
Now Mitch wants to know how the goodbye with Joey went. Jesus Christ. Is it standard for people to not let you get over an ex like that? People do generally encourage those they love to move on, right? Dawson says it was underwhelming, and Mitch says it’s not over till it’s over.
Grams and Jen are having tea and talking about the Creek, and Grams says some people chase the happiness of their teenage years forever and it’s sad, but that won’t happen to Jen and her friends because they’re always moping about and being dramatic and depressed.
Jack then knocks and comes in and Grams feeds him cookies. She then tells stories about her early years married to Gramps. They used to avoid the heat of their apartment over his law office by sleeping on the roof. They weren’t scared of raccoons, I guess.
Dawson gets a call from Pacey, who’s on that cell phone again, racking up a bill like no one’s business (I once had a 5-minute call to Ireland that cost my husband-then-boyfriend $50 and that was on a landline in 2006). He asks him where he is and Pacey says, “Paradise.” Dawson doesn’t press for more information like a normal person would. How convenient. They slowly reminisce on that random guy’s dime and hang up after some heart-to-heart feels. Joshua Jackson certainly looks a lot puffier than he did in earlier seasons.
Dawson then stares at an empty suitcase, makes one attempt to pack and then grunts and leaves the house. And Joey’s already there, walking towards him. And since he’s got a lot of packing to do, they go to his room and watch ET instead.
Oh no, look at that, a full suitcase. He packed, then ET. Hey, what time is it? They saw a movie, agreeing to meet up at 6:00. But it was dark out when they got to the theatre. Probably about 10:00 when Dawson got home. Then talk with dad, call from Pacey, staring at suitcase, packing with Joey, watching ET. It’s, what? 1:00 a.m. now?
Anyway, they lay down and Joey talks about his awesome future girlfriend that she’ll hate. Then they start swapping memories from past seasons. The time Dawson and Eve got caught making out by the whole school, the time Joey offered to sleep with Dawson and he turned her down, the time Joey lied to Dawson about having sex with Pacey.
Dawson then laughs because of his friends, he’s the only virgin.
Dawson asks about her most life-altering moment and rather than when her mom died or her dad went to jail or the Ice House burnt down, or when she got accepted to college, or watching her nephew be born during a hurricane, she said the time Dawson first kissed her. Pfft.
And then like an asshole she asks him to stay, because accepting he’s going off to bigger and better things without her just doesn’t seem like the thing to do. Dawson, to his credit, doesn’t fold like a wet paper bag and stay. He says it’s time for him to go and this chapter between them is closing. So Jen was wrong.
Joey then gives this sorrowful goodbye that seems to wring more drama out of the moment. And Dawson says his most life-altering moment is now, saying goodbye to Joey. And then they kiss. And it’s the same basic shot we were left with at the end of season 1.
For the record, this would have been a swell way to end the series. All bittersweet and not tidily wrapped up in a little bow with the kids leaving the Creek into the unknown.
But NOPE! Two more seasons to go, folks.