Recap: It's early morning in L.A. when Brenda and her suitcases arrive at Casa Walsh. She goes upstairs to her bedroom and is dismayed to see that Brandon has replaced her furniture with a futon and mini pool table. She marches across the bathroom into Brandon's bedroom, asks him where her things are and demands to know how he could do this to her. Brandon greets her in a semi-conscious haze, then opens his eyes and stares at her in confusion. He asks her what's going on and how she got there. Mama and Papa Walsh must have heard them talking, because they burst into Brandon's room and are startled to see Brenda standing there. Mama Walsh tells her she's supposed to be in school - and in Minnesota. Brenda wears a pained look on her face and dramatically declares that she dropped out...and after that, the credits start to roll. Da na na na...da na na na...cha cha...
California University. It's freshman registration day, and we get a lot of footage of students hanging out on the campus lawn and standing in really long lines. Steve is in one of the lines and he throws something at Brandon, who's in a different line, to draw his attention to a hot girl wearing a skimpy bra top. Brandon's in line behind Ahn-drea (blech), and he tells her all about how Brenda came home unexpectedly from Minnesota. Elsewhere on campus, David complains to Kelly that he got shut out of practically every course he wanted. The camera then pans back to Steve, who's annoyed to learn that he has to take a math placement test, and then is asked by the person registering him to choose the geology course he wants to take. Geology? Steve is definitely not smart enough to be taking any kind of geology course. Incidentally, this registration process seems like a very disorganized and confusing way to sign up freshmen for their classes.
Ahn-drea pesters Brandon to go with her to try out for the university's newspaper, The Condor. Brandon declines, since he has no interest in reliving the horrors he endured while working with her on The Blaze for three years. I'm glad to hear he's declining because I don't think I could stomach them calling each other Ace and Chief on a frequent basis anymore. Ahn-drea lectures him about how he shouldn't blow off this opportunity, so Brandon tells her that he has enough problems to deal with, such as no dorm room, no man-cave, and Brenda's unwelcome return. Ahn-drea asks him why Brenda hated it so much in Minnesota, and he just shrugs and says, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
David tells Donna that he has to go and stand in the fee payment line because Mel fucked up something with his tuition payment. After that, he wants them to go to the radio station so the two of them can try out for on-air positions. Donna isn't totally convinced this is something she wants to do - plus she's really eager to call Brenda and get the dish on why she left Minnesota so abruptly. David, however, is oblivious to all that and steers her away from the pay phone.
Dylan gives up waiting in the long registration line. He runs into Kelly, who's very excited about how well her registration went. She asks him which classes he got, and he grumps that he didn't get any, and that he's not going to register, period. He adds that he can't stand CU, calls it a zoo, and announces that he's leaving. Kelly tries to stop him and tells him that he has to give it a chance, but he argues that he doesn't. He gives her a quick kiss goodbye, promises to call her later, and slouches off.
The Walsh house. Kelly calls Brenda from campus and is happy to learn that she's really back in Beverly Hills. She wants to know all the details about her surprise return home, but Mama and Papa Walsh are milling around in the kitchen, so it's too awkward for Brenda to get into it. She tells Kelly she'll call her back later. After hanging up, she ambles into the kitchen where Mama and Papa Walsh ask her exactly why she left Minnesota. Brenda tells them it felt all wrong, and that she didn't like her classes, the people, or the dorm. Mama Walsh tells her that she probably could have dealt with it without dropping out, and this makes Brenda snark that she thought they'd be happy to see her, but instead are giving her the third degree. Papa Walsh informs her that Brandon has threatened to move out now that he doesn't have his adjoining man-cave anymore, then makes the assumption that Brenda will be transferring to California University. Brenda stares at her parents like they're crazy and snarls, “Who said anything about me going to CU?” Papa Walsh stares back at her in shock, so Brenda explains that it's obvious what this experience has told her is that she's not meant for college. Papa Walsh insists that she will be going to college, and Mama Walsh tries to convince her that she merely had a moment of panic and should consider going back. Brenda tells them that she got in touch with her inner self, who decided it didn't want to go to school, and mentions that she came home early so that Papa Walsh could get 90% of her tuition money back. That was uncharacteristically thoughtful and considerate of her. She then announces that she's going to unpack her stuff, and heads upstairs.
California University. Kelly, Donna, Brandon and Steve are in a large lecture hall, taking their math placement test along with a large group of other freshmen. Steve cheats off some stranger because he is an unethical douchenozzle.
The Condor newsroom. Josh Richland introduces himself to a group of prospective freshmen journalists as the managing editor of The Condor. He warns them that he has a low threshold for stupidity, and preaches about how the paper is committed to professional standards and ethics, blah blah. He purposely shakes everyone's confidence by calling them little fish in a large pond, then hands out the writing assignments that will serve as tryouts. He informs the group that the deadline is 5:00pm the following day. A dorky guy with big ugly glasses asks him what if he can't get the assignment done in time because he has to take the math placement test, and Josh gives him a stony glare and rejoins, “What if a giant cow fell on your flat head?” Haha! Good one. He derisively tells the group, “Figure it out” and dismissively dismisses them. Ahn-drea takes a look at her writing assignment and goes up to Josh to tell him that she can't do it because it's a conflict of interest. He sighs at her impatiently and tells her that it's just an exercise to see what kind of writer she is, and then saunters off to talk to someone else. I so enjoyed that snub.
Student Union. Steve bugs Brandon to go with him to check out the Kappa Epsilon Gamma (KEG) fraternity now that he lost his “love shack” at Casa Walsh...but Brandon isn't really interested and says he's not a frat kind of guy. David, meanwhile, emphasizes to Donna how important it is for them to make a good first impression on the radio station's program manager. When they arrive at the radio station, they run into a blonde guy who David assumes is the man they need to impress. He makes an ass of himself doing an inane, impromptu audition only to discover that the guy is a Russian exchange student who barely speaks English and is looking for the financial aid office. Haha!
Beach house. Kelly's on the phone with Brenda, telling her how glad she is that she decided to return home. Brenda invites her to come over, but Kelly tells her that she has plans to go over to Dylan's place. At that moment, David and Donna arrive at the beach house and tell Kelly that they have an audition lined up for an on-air gig. Donna starts rambling about how they have to submit an air-check tape and is happy that David actually knows what the hell that is. Kelly tells them she's on the phone with Brenda and then hands the receiver to Donna. Donna asks Brenda why she left Minnesota, so Brenda tells her that it didn't work out, then asks her whassup with Kelly and Dylan not being broken up anymore. Donna sheepishly admits that she was a little premature when she told her that, and asks Brenda if she came back because of their breakup. Brenda sounds fake breezy when she assures Donna that her life does not revolve around her slouchy ex.
Dylan's house. Kelly's irked at Dylan for blowing off registration and asks him what he's going to do with his life now that he's not going to college. Dylan tells her that maybe he'll travel, and invites her to go with him...but Kelly has zero interest in doing that after their disastrous trip to France last summer. She then tells him how she got several classes she wanted, a cool apartment, and is excited about going to CU with her friends. She impatiently asks Dylan why he can't just go along with the program, and he moodily retorts, “The program sucks.” He then says he no longer wants to have this discussion, which prompts Kelly to snap, “This is like Europe all over again!” and storm out.
The Walsh house. Brandon enters Brenda's room to retrieve some of his stuff. Brenda's sitting on the futon, reading, and looks contrite as she apologizes for screwing up his housing plans. She asks him if he still wants to move out, and he sullenly says he doesn't know. She tells him she doesn't want him to, and that she doesn't want him to be mad at her either. He joins her on the futon and asks exactly what happened in Minnesota. She tells him that she got really homesick, kept thinking about how awesome the weather in California is in September, and realized that she just didn't want to be in Minnesota anymore. She says that she doesn't really know what to do with herself now, and feels "out of it". Brandon admits that he feels a bit lost at CU and is going to have to figure out exactly where he fits in on this new campus. The two then joke about how they're probably going to be sharing a bathroom in their parents' house for the rest of their lives.
The next morning, Brenda's still in her bathrobe when she ambles downstairs. Mama Walsh sees her and snipes that it's about time she decided to get up, and an annoyed Brenda points out that it's only 8:15am. Meow, Cindy. Mama Walsh announces that she's off to some volunteer gig, and tells Brenda that if she wants breakfast, she's on her own. Brenda tells her she'll probably swing by the Peach Pit for something to eat, which prompts Mama Walsh to stare at her disapprovingly and ask her if eating out at the Peach Pit is what she's planning to do with the rest of her life. Hopefully not, otherwise she's sure to get serious gut rot. Mama Walsh makes it clear that she agrees wholeheartedly with Papa Walsh about how she should go back to school. She doesn't think that Brenda gave the University of Minnesota a fair chance and suggests that there's always the option to go back in a few days.
The Peach Pit. Willie the cook is out sick, so things are abnormally chaotic at the diner. Nat serves Dylan his breakfast, but gets the order completely wrong, and when Dylan takes a sip of coffee, he spits it out and bitches about how awful it tastes. Brenda suddenly enters the diner, and Nat greets her with a hug and tells her how much he misses Brandon and wonders if he'd take pity on him and take his old job back...but Brenda tells him she highly doubts it. She sees Dylan and takes the seat at the counter beside him. He seems pleased to see her, and the two start chatting about their aimless lives. He warns her upfront that he doesn't want to engage in any college talk, and Brenda assures him that that will be an easy promise to make.
California University. Brandon has his arms full of books that he just purchased from the bookstore, and Steve is walking alongside him, bugging him again to check out the KEG house. Brandon's still not interested, so Steve begs him to at least come by...and describes it as "party USA" and "the playpen of the Western world.” Brandon finally caves in and agrees to go, and a gloating Steve tells him he knew he'd crumble. He then informs Brandon that he's been summoned to meet with a counsellor regarding his math placement test, and is worried that his cheating has been discovered. Oh, if only..
Donna tells David that while he's dealing with his unresolved fee payment problem, she'll deliver his air-check tape to the radio station. David has doubts that she can accomplish this simple task, and she wails that she's perfectly capable of doing it. Kelly promises David she'll make sure that Donna gets the tape to the radio station...then expresses how bummed out she is that Dylan has decided to blow off college.
The Peach Pit. Brenda has flagrantly broken the “no college talk” rule and is telling Dylan about how her ex-roommate's frequent doink sessions kept her from freely entering her dorm room...and then complains about how she wasn't able to get the classes she wanted, and the ones she did get sounded boring. Dylan concurs with her rant and mumbles, “It's all so lame.” Brenda complains that her parents just don't get it, and Dylan commiserates about how Kelly also doesn't get it - it being that there's more to life than attending college. The two then decide that if they're both doing nothing all day, they should do it together. A few minutes later they leave the diner, giddily climb into his Porsche and drive off.
Ahn-drea's dorm room. Kelly and Donna have dropped by for a visit and bring Ahn-drea a bag filled with croissants. Ahn-drea tells them how happy she is with her big dorm room, along with the computer and laser printer the university gave her as incentive to pass on Yale and attend CU. Bastards. Some guy passing by smells the croissants and pops in. He introduces himself as Dan Rubin and - incredibly - seems instantly smitten with Ahn-drea. He tells her he's a grad student, as well as the dorm's resident advisor. After he leaves, Donna and Kelly giggle at how much he obviously likes Ahn-drea, then invite her to come along to the bookstore with them. But Ahn-drea has to decline because she needs to work on her writing assignment for The Condor, which, incidentally, is a restaurant review of the Peach Pit.
The Peach Pit. Nat discovers that it's not the coffee that tastes bad, but rather the creamers that have all gone sour. Gross. In the midst of this chaos, Ahn-drea enters the diner and asks Nat for a menu, and then pulls out her notepad so she can document the experience. She orders the lobster bisque, but Nat warns her that she could get food poisoning if she orders that. It's pretty funny that he would tell her that within earshot of other customers. She then orders a ridiculously elaborate meal, so Nat grabs the menu back and tells her that she usually just orders the mega-burger or a tuna melt and doesn't appreciate her getting creative on him now. A few seconds later, the cook, who's filled in for Willie, accidentally sets a fire in the kitchen, so Nat rushes over and puts it out with a fire extinguisher. Ahn-drea witnesses all this and knows that her review will have to be scathing. As it should be, considering what a totally inept restaurateur Nat has consistently proven himself to be.
California University. Donna gets a ticket for parking in the faculty parking lot. When she and Kelly climb into the BMW, Kelly immediately notices a funky smell. She opens the glove compartment and finds David's air-check tape, which has completely melted after being left in a hot car for God knows how long. Donna takes it in her hands and stares down at it, expressing the vain hope that David has another copy. In the next scene, an angry David tells her that of course he doesn't have another copy of the air-check tape, and asks Donna how she can be so stupid. Uh...you have met Donna, haven't you?
Pier. Brenda and Dylan chat about their respective trips to Europe, and how full of culture the continent is. Dylan tells her that he and Kelly didn't have a good time there last summer and says that all she wanted to do was shop, while he wanted to do cultural stuff. Mmm...that's not what Kelly's flashbacks in the previous episode suggest. It looked like all Dylan wanted to do was sit in a cafe, moping and brooding about not getting into Berkeley, which I can totally believe. Brenda and Dylan then notice that someone who's been fishing on the pier has caught a fish, so they decide they'd like to rent a fishing pole as well.
CU radio station. Howard, the program manager, is listening to David and Donna bicker about how the air-check tape got ruined. Donna starts rambling nonsensically about how she'd never leave Brie cheese out in the sun because it comes with a label, unlike the air-check tape. I get that we're supposed to be charmed by the way they're unwittingly showcasing their adorable chemistry to Howard, but to me they just look like two mental patients having an inane argument at an inappropriate place and time. Howard, who must be mental himself, stares at the two of them thoughtfully and tells them he likes them.
Brandon reads over Ahn-drea's restaurant review and is dismayed that she was so hard on Nat. He tells her he wished she'd written a puff piece and not a hatchet job. Please. It's not a hatchet job if it's the hard truth. Besides, is it even going to be published in The Condor? I thought this was just an exercise to see which freshmen were good enough writers to join the paper.
KEG house. One of the fraternity brothers is giving a small group of prospective frat boys a little speech about how great the frat is, how they recycle, and the ways in which they're committed to giving back to the community. Steve, who seems puzzled by the frat's good works, introduces himself and Brandon to the fraternity brother. Brandon is surprised and intrigued when he learns that the fraternity has a keen interest in hockey. After a few minutes of mingling, Steve informs Brandon that he has to leave to go meet with the counsellor regarding his math placement test. On his way out, he passes a window and sees a couple amorously going at it. He looks relieved at this clear evidence of KEG debauchery and cackles to himself, “That's more like it!”
Pier. As Brenda baits the hook of her fishing line, she accidentally gets it snared on Dylan's sweatshirt. Naturally she has no choice but to press herself tightly against him to get it loose, and while she's doing that they stare at each other meaningfully. She tells him they can't go down this road again, and he's like, "Why not?" Why not? I dunno...maybe because you're dating Kelly at the moment. Fortunately Dylan quickly agrees with her, and the two decide they're better off as friends. Since they're both such douchetards, I'm not exactly sure who dodged the bigger bullet just then.
The Condor newsroom. Ahn-drea approaches Josh, and she's clutching her restaurant review. Josh abrasively tells her to leave it with him and he'll get back to her. But Ahn-drea being Ahn-drea feels the need to make a haughty declaration about how she won't be handing it in because she doesn't think she's cut out to be “a little fish”. Josh sighs and informs her that he knows who she is - the former editor-in-chief of The Blaze - and admits that they definitely want her at The Condor. She retorts that she doesn't think she has the killer instinct he's looking for, so he shoots back that if she doesn't join the newspaper, there isn't much point to being a journalism major. She smugly replies, “There's always pre-med.” There's no way Josh could know this, but he too just dodged a bullet of his own. Too bad he ends up dying in a fiery car crash next season.
The freshman counsellor has reviewed the results of Steve's math placement test. He scored so high - no doubt the guy he cheated off of was really smart - that the counsellor is recommending that Steve, aka The Gifted One, be enrolled in their advanced astrophysics program. Steve thinks fast and tells him that he doesn't think this would be in his best interest, and feels he should develop his other aptitudes and become a more well rounded person...by studying folk lore and the history of film, for example. The counsellor is impressed that this "prodigy" is taking time to smell the roses and approves a ridiculously watered down course schedule.
Brandon's about to get into his car when Josh Richland comes running over to him and introduces himself. He tells Brandon he'd like him to consider running as the freshman representative of the Progressive Party in the Student Senate. Apparently he heard about all about how Brandon lead the Donna Martin Graduates! protest last season and is very impressed. Yes really.
Pier. Dylan and Brenda are telling each other lame fish jokes when Brenda suddenly gets a bite. But after she reels in her catch, she finds a metaphor - I mean a little fish on the end of the pole and decides it's too young to fillet, so she throws it back into the water. She and Dylan then call it a day, and agree that they had a great time hanging out together. Dylan laments that they can't spend the rest of their lives slacking off, and the two climb back into his Porsche and head for home.
Beach house. Kelly leaves a message for Dylan on his answering machine, telling him she's sorry for getting annoyed at him for blowing off registration. Donna and David suddenly come rushing over with the exciting news that they got gigs as the only freshman DJs on the campus radio. They'll be working six days a week from 2:00am-6:00am. I wonder if it's occurred to either of them that this ridiculous schedule will preclude them from ever getting a full night's sleep.
Later, Kelly is washing up the dinner dishes. Dylan comes over to surprise her, and she looks happy to see him. She asks him where he was all day, so he tells her he went fishing with Brenda. Kelly looks slightly put out by that, so Dylan assures her that he and Brenda are just friends. (I see he left out the part about how he had openly suggested to Brenda that the two of them should get back together.) Dylan then announces that he's returning to campus the next day to register for classes, and this makes Kelly happy. That settled, the two start smooching.
The Walsh house. The family's in the kitchen, getting ready for dinner when Papa Walsh arrives home from work. He marches into the kitchen and declares that if Brenda doesn't want to go to college, she's going to have to get a job and pay rent. He says that she has a lot of talent and that maybe she'll make it big as an actress some day...and while he's saying this, Brenda and Brandon exchange a knowing smile. Brenda then makes her father look like an ass when she announces that she's going to California University after all. Mama Walsh remarks to her husband that their bitchy, self-entitled daughter needs to grow before charging into the cruel world...and Papa Walsh looks greatly relieved.