Pacey shows up at Dawson’s only to be met with a psychotic Dawson in the middle of a massive meltdown. Apparently, it’s his birthday (the big 1-6!), and he’s having a sort of existential crisis because at 16, he’s stuck. Everyone else he knows is trying to better themselves, including Jack! He may be gay, but at least he’s got his shit figured out! This leads to him making mention of a “gay agenda” that is trying to fuck with his life. Huh? Pacey tells him that he needs to chill the fuck out and ask himself what he wants. Joey! Dawson wants Joey and he’s going to get her back! Fuck.
Hey, Bro Dad is back! And he’s just chilling in the kitchen at Dawson’s, which isn’t weird at all, considering, you know, he and Gail are divorced. Gail is just as apprehensive about Bro Dad’s sudden reappearance and he explains that he always makes Dawson breakfast on his birthday, and thinks that some tradition might be good for their family. While Gail isn’t pleased, Dawson is happy to see him and thinks the breakfast is welcome normalcy.
Bro Dad asks Gail if they can step outside so they can confer re: Dawson’s birthday present. He proposes doing a joint present and she reveals that she already bought Dawson a brand new Explorer. 1) Nice marketing and 2) never in the history of ever has giving a 16 year old a brand new car gone wrong, so good on ya, Gail! Bro Dad is insulted and Gail tells him that he needs to contribute more financially to be taken seriously. This all happens within earshot of Dawson who can hear bits and pieces of their conversation while he tries to enjoy his birthday breakfast.
Pacey and Joey are planning a surprise party for Dawson. How nice. I think they only party I’d ever let Joey throw would be a funeral. You can’t spell “funeral” without “fun”, right, Joey? Jack walks in and everyone gets super awkward, so he immediately leaves. Pacey asks Joey how she’s doing and she says that she’s fine. Right.
Outside the restaurant, Jack, avoiding the awkwardness inside, runs into Abby and friends who immediately start gushing over Jack’s recent coming out. Apparently, he’s the first person to out themselves in The Creek, and word traveled to the next town, where of course Abby has friends. Abby tells Jack that she thinks it’s a shame he’s gay, because he’s so dreamy, and he calls her Satan. That’s not nice, Jack. She’s just complimenting you. Her feelings are hurt, but she continues talking to him, essentially telling him that she’s really not that bad.
Andi has decided to go to therapy where she explains that after Tim died, she became overwhelmed with everything at home compounded with maintaining her status as a model student. Haven’t we heard this song and dance a dozen times already? I feel like they go through it every episode now. We get it! Anyways, her therapist asks her what she wishes for, and she wants to get rid of her worries. So the therapist gives her a prescription; one night of imperfection to blow off some steam.
Joey, who’s fine, you guys, is incredibly self-deprecating about the whole “Jack coming out” thing to Bessie. Bessie tells her that it’s fine and Joey asks her what she should do now. Bessie thinks that she needs to find herself again, given that she broke up with Dawson and immediately went to Jack, never really giving herself time to do so. As if on cue, Dawson shows up right then and there.
Ty and Jen are wrapping Dawson’s presents. Ty is being really creepy behind Jen’s back and does some weird object lesson where he makes Jen close her eyes and slowly inches closer and closer to her face, eventually kissing her. Not one to let physical affection inhibit anything, Jen is getting into it when Ty blue balls her. What if Grams walks in, Jennifer?
Dawson and Joey are talking about the weather (deep friendship, you guys) when Dawson decides to ruin their riveting conversation by telling Joey that he wants her back. He still feels the connection between the two of them because they’re totally soulmates. Dude, you seriously need to get a grip sometimes. Joey reminds him that she still needs/wants to figure herself out and Dawson, exhibiting classic Creek bipolarism, storms off after telling her that if she doesn’t think they’re made for each other, she doesn’t know anything!
Pacey’s driving Dawson and Andi, who’s in the back seat of Pacey’s dad’s police cruiser acting wasted. Oh man, did they pick her up getting shit faced with Mr. Witter in an attempt to cut loose? That would be awesome. Dawson is all mopey because he’s playing third wheel on his birthday. Pacey tells him to lighten up and Andi freaks out in the back seat about some “cool place” they just drove past. Pacey tells her to cut the shit, and she explains that she’s just cutting loose courtesy of her doctor’s orders. And she really wants to go to that cool place! Despite the fact that it’s Dawson’s birthday and he’s already being a shit about feeling like a third wheel, Pacey agrees to go.
Everyone’s waiting at Dawson’s for him to arrive for his party and Jack shows up. Abby immediately starts humping on him, not at all subtly telling him that she wants to fuck him.
Ty and Jen are at the party too. Ty is extra creepy, lurking behind Jen, which is some kind of turn on. They start kissing and he bails on her again. She calls him on this bullshit and he tells her that he doesn’t want to get turned on by her and risk ruining a perfectly good pair of khakis. He knows about her history and that she’s super horny all the time now. She tells him that he’s a dork, and she just enjoys spending time with him.
Andi is behaving badly at the bar they went to. What are the fucking age limits to drink in The Creek? Pacey is getting annoyed with her shit and she provides some exposition about how she’s letting her id out to break everyone’s preconceived notions of who she should be versus who she is inside. Dawson is intrigued by this concept.
Pacey gets up to go to the bathroom and Andi suggests that she and Dawson get drunk. Dawson’s totally in. Oh shit! Is this going to be a very special episode? When the waitress comes over, Andi slyly tells her that she’ll have another Coke, but can she please have the bartender add more rum this time – she couldn’t really taste it the first time? Clever girl. Dawson pulls the same stunt and when the waitress leaves, they both reveal that it’s their first time drinking.
Abby is still harassing Jack, trying to get in his pants. He’s all, “Don’t you know what “gay” means, ho?”, and she tells him that she doesn’t think the concept of homosexuality is real; everyone’s just bisexual. Jack is intrigued by this concept.
Dawson orders another round at the bar and Pacey remarks about how much Coke they’ve drank. Get your head out of your ass, Pacey. They’re acting cartoonishly drunk. The proprietor takes the stage and asks if anyone else would like to sing the blues, because it’s open mic night. Dawson, thinking his life is so bad, decides to take the stage because he’s got the blues. Andi follows him.
You know how everyone has had that experience where their friend does or says something that just makes you sit there horrified, cringing? Like, so bad that you’re paralyzed and can’t do anything except let it play out? That’s this scene. Except Dawson and Andi aren’t my friends; they’re just assholes.
Anyway, Dawson and Andi take the stage and sing the blues. Dawson’s got the blues about Joey, obviously, and Andi’s brothers are dead and gay. This scene goes on forever, and like a car accident, you can’t look away. At some point Dawson mentions the surprise party, so cat’s outta the bag on that one, and Andi embarrasses Pacey by singing about how horny he makes her. Has no one noticed that these two are fucking 16 and hammered yet? Again, like Joey’s nasally beauty pageant routine, this scene is way too long.
Drunk ass Dawson and Andi don’t want to go to the party when Pacey tries to pry them away. The waitress shows back up and when Andi asks for another round, she asks for her and Dawson’s IDs. Finally! Andi switches on Bitch Mode and tells the waitress that they’re 16 and she’s going to report them to Pacey’s dad, the sheriff. Not cool, Andi. Things finally click for Pacey, because the $35 bill for five rounds of rum and Cokes didn’t clue him in.
Bro Dad remarks about the Explorer sitting in the garage, and becomes super condescending about Gail buying it without consulting him. Gail makes an already awkward conversation even more awkward by throwing shade at Bro Dad for not having his shit together enough to be worthy of being consulted. Ouch.
Jen and Ty are being super good friends, making out in Dawson’s brand new birthday gift. Guess someone’s gotta break it in, right? As things are getting heavy, Ty pulls the plug again. Jen’s all, “What the fuck, man? I need my dick!”, and Ty tells her that she needs to stop tempting him because he doesn’t believe in premarital sex. She tells him that making out isn’t sex and he basically calls her a slut, saying that he knows her history and that once she pops, she won’t stop.
Abby finds Jack in Dawson’s room and he explains that he was super intrigued by what she said earlier and is thinking of bisexuality as an option.
Dawson shows up to his party wasted and Joey, being Joey, spoils his fun, taking him to his room to try to sober him up. Dawson tells her that he can do whatever the fuck he wants; it’s his party and he’s got the blues! As they open the door to his room, they see that Abby and Jack are totally making out in his bed. Dawson’s reaction is hilarious; he starts laughing hysterically right in Joey’s face. I’ve never been prouder.
Back downstairs, Gail smells booze on Dawson’s breath and he tells her to take a chill pill. Trying to stave off further embarrassment, she brings out his cake and tells him to make a wish. And hoo boy, does he ever make a wish…In order, he wishes for;
1. His parents to stop being pricks to one another and bickering constantly.
2. Bro Dad to get his shit together, get a job and stop being a lazy asshole.
3. That his mom had never ruined her marriage by sleeping with her co-anchor.
4. Pacey needs to stop being a goodie two shoes and start being a fuck up again, because Dawson’s looking like the shithead with his head up his ass in their friendship now.
5. Jen to go back to being a slut.
Why no one in a house full of people try to stop him from being a giant prick at any point, I have no idea. Just like the blues scene above, this whole scene is super uncomfortable, yet you can’t stop watching.
But when he gets to Joey, he stops wishing and tells her that he accepts that she needs to find herself, which is why they can’t be together. However, before we start to think he’s being sincere, he makes an entire mockery of her, calling out “Joey?” while acting like he’s playing a game of Hide & Seek. It’s pretty awesome. He finishes off this spectacle in grand fashion; shoving his tongue down her throat, getting thrown off and landing face down in his own cake.
Andi and Dawson are both puking their guts out in the sink because they overdid it. Andi is mortified that Dawson’s parents saw her shitfaced and makes a comment about the “Evils of alcohol”. I guess this won’t be a very special episode after all. Bummer. They both swear off alcohol forever, before resuming vomiting.
Bro Dad asks Gail if he’s screwed Dawson up for life. Don’t be a martyr, Bro Dad – you both screwed him up for life! Gail thinks that he’s just being a 16 year old, essentially writing off any responsibility for his behavior that night. She tells Bro Dad that she’s taking his Explorer back in the morning and Bro Dad asks if they want to go halvsies on a piece of shit car. Gail agrees and thinks that Dawson should pay them for the balance after the down payment because he needs to get a job and learn about the value of money because we’re all supposed to have forgotten by now that Dawson worked at the video store with Pacey in the first episode.
Jack finds Joey, who’s super pissed, because the Katie Holmes’ School of Acting only teaches three emotions. She doesn’t understand why he’d come out and then start making out with Abby. He explains that because everyone has been so supportive of him coming out, it’s made him feel marginalized, and Abby knows a things or two about being marginalized. She made him feel better. Making out with her taught him something else too; he’s definitely gay. Joey tells him that she understands feeling singled out, but he needs to be happy that everyone’s been so supportive of him. Jack just didn’t want to be lonely, and being gay seemed like a lonely lifestyle to him.
Ever the creep, Ty waited for Jen to get home from the party by sitting in the dark on her porch. He doesn’t think that they should see each other anymore and Jen’s all, “No shit, Sherlock!”. Ty admits that he wants to fuck her, but isn’t willing to compromise himself for her. She calls him on his hypocrisy, citing his drinking and playing jazz, because apparently jazz is still seen as Satanic music in The Creek. He tries to pull the “It’s not you, it’s me” card with Jen and she tells him that it very clearly is her, since he was so willing to call her a slut. She just wanted to feel something pure, and making out with Ty did that for her. Again exhibiting classic bipolarism, Ty says that maybe it could work between them, and Jen tells him there’s no way, so he can go eat a bag of dicks.
Apparently, Dawson has sobered up and is chilling in his room. He apologizes to Joey, who tells him she forgives him. He tells her that he’s lonely, which is why he got drunk that night. I think there’s more to it than that, buddy. He asks why she went straight to Jack after breaking his heart, and she gives some weird explanation about needing to learn about someone rather than sticking with someone who she’s known forever. She wanted to be a whole person. Yeah, it’s kind of a confusing, bullshit excuse. Dawson tells her that he accepts her answer and that he loves her, passing out immediately after uttering those words. As Joey watches him sleep, she says she loves him too. Goddammit.
This episode was painfully uncomfortable. I’m so glad it’s over.
3.5 out of 5 Cringe Worthy Crying Dawsons