Opening scene, Mitch totally did not survive that car crash. The restaurant has a closed sign saying “Death in the family” and there’s flashes of the Leery house with Dawson doing dishes and the baby crying. And looks like he’s the one who’s taking care of Lily.
Dawson’s talking to a funeral director, making arrangements for his dad’s funeral, specifically picking out a casket. I won’t lie, this is a weird scene for me. I did that very thing a little younger than his age, though I wasn’t alone like he is, which is uncomfortable.
Joey meets Pacey at his boat to deliver the news, which by now is a couple days old. Pacey’s been ignoring his brother’s calls. He is obviously upset by the news and wants to know how Dawson’s doing. Joey snidely responds, “Not good, his dad’s dead.” He hesitates about whether Dawson would want to see him now and Joey quickly talks him into making a visit.
At the Potter B&B, Grams and Bess are getting food ready for the funeral reception and Jen is talking to Jack about not knowing what to say.
At the Leery house, Dawson puts his wide awake sister into the crib for a nap, and gazes at her. We see she has instantly fallen asleep, which no baby has ever done.
Gail is similarly passed out in her bedroom. Dawson lies down on his bed and relives a memory from his 12th birthday when his dad gave him his first video camera. I rather like how they did this scene, not getting a kid to play young Dawson, and just having James VDB do it himself. Less cheesy, somehow.
His happy memory ends and Joey comes in and sees him smiling. She wants to know if there’s anything she can do, and he says he has to get to the funeral home and his mom’s sleeping, so can she watch Lily? She says yes and compliments the suit Dawson picks up, which is for his dad to be buried in. She then makes a big deal over her gaff, making Dawson then have to reassure her. Shit, she’s awkward at this. When he leaves she has this super intense face.
At the funeral, it’s a music montage. Grams is holding the crying baby, Joey holds Dawson’s hand briefly until he unholds it to give his mom another tissue.
At the funeral reception, Grams offers to hold Lily for Dawson, but he declines, saying that she’s his buffer, and when he holds her people avoid talking to him and offering platitudes. Grams, who mercifully seems to be capable to approaching grief with some grace, inquires about Gail, who’s upstairs and won’t come down. Dawson asks her what her platitude is and guesses “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Grams says she and the Lord aren’t on speaking terms this week. Grams is awesome.
Joey arrives at the Leery house and has a memory of Mitch putting the ladder up to Dawson’s room because he doesn’t want her climbing the trellis anymore. He then says Dawson will like her one day. So, Mitch was trying to help his son get some action with the neighbour girl? What a weird memory.
Jen finds Dawson inside and they have some comfortable/uncomfortable joking around about the need for alcohol or narcotics. Jen then offers him a hug and says she loves him, and that she otherwise doesn’t know what to do. He seems to enjoy the sincerity and takes the hug.
Joey finds Gail upstairs and manages to say all the right things to her. It’s all very odd. With her best friend/boyfriend who experienced something she’s familiar with, she’s awkward. With his mom, who she was harsh with during her affair with Bob the weatherman, she’s sage and kind.
Pacey shows up and Dawson says hi to him on the porch. They exchange some subdued pleasantries and Dawson reminds Pacey of the time Mitch caught them smoking in that very spot. Dawson has a laugh, but then says he has to go inside and be useful. He offers a handshake, but Pacey dives into a hug, which Dawson accepts.
Inside the house, Dawson is ambushed by the worst lady ever. She introduces herself as a friend of Gail’s from college. She wants to know how Dawson is channelling his grief, and he tries to escape the conversation but she won’t stop being inappropriate. Then the phone rings and the answering machine picks up and it’s Mitch on the recording. Dawson frantically tries to turn it off, but eventually pulls it out of the wall.
On the dock, Joey goes to talk to him, offers some stories about grief from her past, tells him it’ll get better. He says he had no idea when he mom died that it could feel like this, like being transported away and walking around in another reality. Which is actually pretty accurate. He then says Mitch’s death was his fault. He gives a detailed list outlining the series of small events leading to his dad driving that evening. Which is obviously nuts, but that’s grief for you.
Mitch had said he was disappointed in Dawson and he’s now living with the feeling his dad died being disappointed in him, en route to go shopping rather than driving him back to the airport. Though, if we’re going to go that route, let’s blame Joey too for jerking Dawson around to the point he wanted to quit film school in LA.
Grams is viewing her old house next door and sees Gail and bonds with her over being a widow. Grams is on fire at this funeral. She offers to stay for a bit and help with Lily, but Gail says she and Dawson have to tackle it themselves. I guess Gail wasn’t too concerned about Dawson dropping out of school if she’s thinking him sticking around is a great idea. I’d be taking Grams up on that offer.
Joey finds Dawson in his room after the reception and offers to stay, but Dawson has no interest and just wants to be alone. Possibly after all the chain-yanking and lack of support in other crisis, he’s just done with Joey’s brand of condolences.
Outside the B&B, Pacey tells Joey when he dies, he wants it to be funny, like getting hit by a clown car. Joey relays Dawson’s feelings about Mitch’s death being his fault, about him wanting to drop out of film school basically over her. And Pacey’s all, hey, you two never got your shot, maybe now it’s time. So… their being lovers and all serious only months ago means nothing? All water under the bridge? This is like their second meeting since their relationship exploded and everything’s hunky dorey?
Gail has a memory in the house of Mitch putting together Dawson’s crib. He says he is hoping for a freak kid who doesn’t play team sports and doesn’t peak in high school. Well, he got the son he wanted, so that’s nice.
Gail and Dawson talk about how Lily won’t know her dad, and Dawson says he’s not going anywhere any time soon. He also says he’s numb.
Pacey pulls into the Leery property and has a memory of Mitch teaching him to drive, which is nice. But then he turns back and when Mitch isn’t there, there’s a brief moment where he actually seems surprised. Weirdo acting choice. He wasn’t actually seen as being there, right? Just a recall of an earlier time? Or are you Andie now and seeing dead people?
Pacey rings the doorbell and wakes Dawson up. When asked how he’s doing, he replies, “He’s still dead, it still sucks.” Pacey asks him to go for a ride.
Pacey takes him to the crash site and relays the events of the accident, that some guy named Gary Peters worked a double shift and was asleep at the wheel, and that’s who killed Mitch, not Dawson. He gives him a very passionate and loving speech about his dad, but probably taking him to this location unprepared was not destined to be taken well. Dawson wants to go.
Back at her dorm, Joey tell Audrey about how Dawson wanted nothing from her at the funeral. She’s broken up about it, but doesn’t seem to see how past actions of breaking his heart in new and creative ways perhaps made him not want her company while he was in pain.
At the Leery’s, Gail and Dawson are having a gloomy silent dinner and Gail begins asking Dawson to go pick up some milk, but stops because the last time she asked that question, her husband died. Dawson goes to his mother, but then wordlessly leaves her to sob over the sink.
Dawson goes to get the milk, and the cashier tells him he’s sorry for his loss, and that he spoke to Mitch that night, and that Mitch said good things about him, how he had a romantic streak and was proud to know him.
And when he gets in the car, he stops feeling numb and has a good cry.
Then there is a music montage of the friends going out, Grams looking through an album, Gail bottle feeding her infant some juice (If this aired on TV today, the internet would explode with irate mothers citing the WHO and AAP).
The montage cuts to the friends going to Pacey’s restaurant, where at dinner hour he’s allowed to stop working and sit at the table and toast glasses with his pals. The writers of this show are constantly showing people in food service industries taking breaks and lollygagging. Have they ever worked one of those jobs? Or talked to someone who did?
The montage cuts to one of Mitch’s memories, of their final family photo and Dawson running off to the movies, and Gail going inside to feed Lily more juice probably, telling her husband to stay outside and play with his new fancy camera. Mitch looks around the yard and smiles at nothing in particular and then leaves his camera sitting outside on the tripod and goes in the house instead.
But don’t worry, everyone, he’s still out there today being a TV dad.