Well, I thought I might have some exciting news about t-shirts, but no. Stupid licensing rights.
We open with Pacey at the inn, annoying Joey. Actually, she’s been helping him learn his lines for the play, which, holy shit, that’s still a plot thread? I would’ve thought for sure that was a one-and-done story line. Looks like opening night is upon him, and he’s nervous he’ll fuck everything up, so he asks her to come to the opening show. She can’t, because she has a date with A.J., the college guy from a few episodes ago. She’s 16, so that isn’t weird at all. They’re going to a viewing party for the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Pacey balks at this, because it’s the perfect way to get into a girl’s pants. I’m sure he’s annoyed he’d never thought of it before.
Nicki confronts Dawson and wants to know why he’s not making movies anymore. She’s pissed, because she thinks it’s a mistake and selflessly doesn’t want to have to get a new partner. She asks if Dawson is still butt hurt about the evisceration he suffered at the festival, and he tells her that it has nothing to do with that; he just dropped the class. Totally clears that up.
Andi is freaking because the play is falling apart. Oh man, if we get another Andi freakout, I’ll be so happy. Jack swings by rehearsal and tells her she needs to come with him. He takes her to the nurse’s office, where the teacher has been diagnosed, by a high school nurse, mind you, with a kidney stone. He can’t do the play, so he hands the reigns to Andi, who is anything but confident in her ability to pull it off. The teacher tells her to suck it up because it’s always been her show, and he’s gotta go push a rock through his dick.
Oh God, this is going to suuuuuuuuck.
Meanwhile, Jen sees Henry and calls out to him. He totally avoids her, running off like a little bitch. She uses her feminine wiles and cuts him off and he starts babbling about how she’s going to cancel their dinner, as evidenced by the fact that she never makes eye contact with him ever since she agreed to go. Talk about being neurotic as fuck. She tells him she’s not cancelling, which seems to calm him down. At least it does until she tells him she’s postponing so that she can go to the play. Never the one to miss a date opportunity, Henry tells her he’ll go with her and scampers off. Jen doesn’t seem too thrilled by this.
Bessie expresses concerns about Joey going out with a college guy. I’m not really sure who’s side I’m on here. On one hand, it does seem kind of strange for a college guy to be so interested in a bitchy, frigid 16 year old. On the other, Joey’s never putting out, so it’s not like he’s got to worry about a statutory or anything. Pacey shows up and now he’s the one freaking because he cannot remember his lines. He needs Joey at the show because he can always remember everything when they rehearsed. She tells him she’ll come to the after party after she blue balls A.J., but Pacey isn’t convinced that A.J. won’t crack her code, and continues throwing shade at him, even after he’s shown up to take Joey out.
So apparently the Northern Lights viewing party is legit as fuck. There’s all these fancily dressed people drinking out of pewter mugs and shit. No one bats an eye as A.J. gets his 16 year old date a drink, because fuck alcohol laws in The Creek. At least that’s one constant on this stupid show. As A.J. explains that they’re in the presence of all these professors, who apparently commute from The Creek to Harvard everyday, he dumps out Joey’s drink. He thinks alcohol is such a lame way to seduce girls. He’d rather use his brain. Then…why did you get her a drink?
Anyway, the clouds roll in, and everyone starts to leave because there’s no way to watch the Lights now. Or they could just wait until midnight, which A.J. suggests. Joey’s on board, but is quickly realizing that this guy could be a creep, just like Pacey suggested. She asks if they can go inside to warm up/be around witnesses, and he proposes a walk instead. Yeah, at this point I’d hope a red light or two was going off.
Pacey hasn’t shown up for the play, and I’d like you take a guess as to what Andi is doing. Did you guess “freaking”? If you did, congratulations! You’ve won! Dawson offers to go look for him.
It doesn’t take him long to find Pacey in the gym, shootin’ hoops. Pacey makes a comment about my personal favorite moment of the series so far:
Anyway, Pacey’s been psyching himself out and knows he’ll ruin this play. Hell, he couldn’t even get his cues for Cornball Movie right! Dawson tells him that he needs to have fun, and that will get him in the zone. Pacey is confused by Dawson’s new found zen, asking why Dawson is soooo okay with Joey being on a date with College Boy. Dawson tells him he doesn’t give a shit, but by this point, you need to be hit in the head with a tack hammer if you haven’t figured out that Pacey clearly does.
Henry spies Jen sitting in the audience and goes to sit with her. Only, joke’s on him, because she totally brought Grams as a cock block. Hell, she even sits between them. The whole thing is awkward, because Grams obviously had no idea she was being used to crush Jen’s lover.
Pacey tells Andi that he’s out. He just can’t do the play. Andi’s all, “Oh HELL no!” and shoves him on stage. At first, he freezes. I wait with bated breath to see if this will really be a trainwreck. But no, he sees Dawson smiling and suddenly remembers all his lines.
Clearly not giving a shit that Joey was cold, A.J. and Joey are still on their walk. He asks her if she really wants to go to an Ivy League school like Harvard, and she tells him if she doesn’t try, she’ll spend her whole life wondering if she could have. This turns into some far-fetched psychobabble on A.J.’s part about how her drive is a response to losing her mother, which turns into Joey talking about her shitty foray into art and how it made her feel like her identity was mixed with Dawson. Oh God. The shitty art. Please, let’s keep that buried, shall we? A.J. starts talking about how the Northern Lights are charged particles of UV rays or something, which gets Joey all hot and bothered enough to let him kiss her. However, being Joey, she gets uncomfortable and bails, suddenly remembering something she had to do. Blue Ball Joey, back in business.
So everyone loved the play, of course. And apparently Jack is a stellar party planner, putting the after party together in one afternoon. At the party, Jen leaves Henry with Grams, which ,why is Grams at the after party? Also, you can’t help but start feeling bad for Henry at this point. What the fuck is Jen’s problem? She asks Pacey about Joey several times, mentioning that she thinks Joey missed out. She’ll be there the next night, you two. Jesus. Pacey keeps acting like he didn’t notice she wasn’t there, but lights up when she shows up behind him.
Nicki finds Dawson at the party and tells him she thinks he’s being stupid for dropping the film class. He tells her about how he took all his posters down, and realized that he didn’t have an identity. But…if movies were his identity, why is he giving them up? Ugh, he’s so frustrating. He starts telling her some stupid story about how he saw Jurassic Park and two people sitting in front of him made out during the whole movie, and how that was lost on him. Jurassic Park is so good! He realized that he’s so busy analyzing everything in his life, even with regard to film, that he doesn’t have fun anymore. Boring people with dumbass stories like this is not going to help you, Dawson! But, even he has to admit he doesn’t know what he’s going to do now.
Pacey grills Joey about why she came to the party. She kind of stalls, and Pacey guesses that, being the frigid virgin she is, he kissed her. She confesses that he did, and that it made her realize that she didn’t see the point in seeing A.J. again, because he didn’t make her feel the way she “felt” about our boy Dawson. Good. We’ve established that she’s over him too. Can we move on now? Pacey, apparently a philosopher now that he made it through a fucking play, tells her that there are still surprises in the world, and on cue, A.J. conveniently shows up at a party at a school in a town that he’s never been to before.
Someone calls out to Jen. Turns out that it’s none other than Henry, who’s taken it upon himself to get her attention by climbing into the rafters. Jen’s obviously mortified, but to get him to come down she goes along with a little pledge about how she’s been dicking him around. That is, until it gets to the part where she’d have to admit that it’s because she likes him. Jesus, dude. Did your dad rape your mom to conceive you? Be a little less aggressive. She obviously doesn’t repeat that part and tells him to get his ass down. At this point, I hate both of these two.
A.J. asks Joey if he did something wrong and she says that he didn’t. She’s just Joey. Get to know her, you’ll understand. She bailed because she was worried that he’d realize that he’d made a mistake kissing her because he’s so smart. She asks him if there’s anything he’s not an expert on, and wouldn’t you know it, he says girls. Holy shit, what bad writing. Specifically, he’s not an expert on their hopes and dreams. Barf. Somehow, and I don’t care to go back and watch, this segues into her asking him to explain what the Northern Lights look like, since she’ll never see them, and he gives this overly descriptive, pseudo-romantic version that ends with him saying that it looks like the sky is exploding. Joey thinks that sounds scary, because no shit. It would be scary if the sky exploded! Ask any civilian from a war-torn nation, you frigid bitch.
Jack and Andi are left to clean up the after party and Jack asks her if she’s okay. She’s great! The play provided her with structure and purpose that wasn’t linked to another person (read: Pacey), and that made her feel like herself for the first time in a long time. Good God, these idiot teenagers are so unrealistically introspective.
After realizing that he’s by himself outside, Andi approaches Pacey, who’s clearly bummed about something. She remarks that he’s at least getting the C in English like he was promised, and he tells her that she doesn’t need to care if he’s a dumbass again. He refers to himself as her “fixer-upper”, and she tells him that she never saw him that way, nor did she think he was a dumbass. They hug.
Henry and Jen are walking home and he tells her that he’s depressed. Yeah dude, you just outed yourself as the biggest fucking weirdo in your school. I’d be depressed too. Jen tells him to just cut the shit with the big, romantic gestures. He’s trying way too hard. Her words, not mine. He just wants to be completely honest with her and knows he can be. Jen knows she could never be 100% honest with him, but she could start by telling him that he has some serious dependency issues. He thinks that he can teach Jen to be honest and asks her what she’s thinking right that moment. She kisses him and they start making out. Way to reward bad behavior, Jen.
Bessie stops Joey from entering the inn because there’s a boy out back. Honestly, at this point I hope it’s Pacey there to profess his love so we can get this shit over with. Turns out it’s Dawson. He explains that he needed to see her because he felt lost. Go see a therapist, emo boy! Joey’s all, “What did you expect to feel like if you take down all your posters like a big, dumb baby?” and thinks that he lost his true north, which is apparently a thing. Dawson asks her what her true north is, and Joey admits that she doesn’t know if she has one. I have no idea what the fuck that means.
Since this episode is called “Northern Lights”, we’re damn sure getting some Northern Lights. They start and Joey thinks it’s funny that she waited all night to see them with A.J., but that they were visible with Dawson. I’m sure there’s some kind of hamfisted metaphor or symbolism in there that I’m overlooking, but whatever. Then, being Joey, she ends the episode by throwing shade at this rare, beautiful occurrence by saying that she thought they’d be more blue. What a frigid bitch.
3.5 out of 5 Crying Dawsons