Recap: Mama Walsh is straightening up Brenda's vacated bedroom. Hurray! She's gone forever! Ding-dong, the witch is dead! Woot woot! Papa Walsh bustles in and tells his wife they have to leave for the airport, like pronto...and Mama Walsh says she just wanted to make sure the room looked cozy for Brenda's replacement. Papa Walsh assures her it looks great, and then steers her toward the doorway. She tells him she hopes Brandon remembers to meet them at LAX - and after pausing for a few seconds to mull that over, they both agree they'd better call and remind him.
The phone rings over at the beach house and Kelly, who's still in bed, fumbles around to answer it. When Brandon realizes that it's his mother calling, he waves his arms at Kelly, mouthing I'm not here, so she fibs and tells Mama Walsh that she just missed him. After that, she gets a reminder from Mama Walsh about tonight's barbecue. Incidentally, Brandon is sporting a mustache and goatee (not a good look) and Kelly cut off several inches of her hair (an OK look). She and Brandon start quibbling about who forgot to set the alarm, but they quickly concede that their incessant doinking is what distracted them. Kelly says it feels weird that no one besides his parents and Ahn-drea knows they're a couple, so Brandon reminds her that their friends were out of town all summer...then jokes that they could break up right now and therefore wouldn't have to tell anyone about their relationship. He then asks her if she's seen his socks, and she shoves one of her feet in his face to show him that she's wearing them. She then tells him she'd like a little more "distraction", so he climbs back into bed and mounts her under the covers.
LAX. When Brandon meets up with his parents at the airport, Mama Walsh informs him that the flight has been delayed. They happen to run into David, who has just dropped off Mel and Erin for a flight to Cleveland to visit her grandparents. David looks taller, but also blechier with his stupid earrings and grisly wet looking hairdo. He asks Brandon if they're at the airport waiting for Brenda, so Brandon tells him she's staying in London "for the year". Apparently, she did so well at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art she was asked to stay on as a full time student. [In real life: Aaron Spelling fired her ass for arriving late to work all the time.] Brandon and David agree that the London thing is "very cool" for Brenda, and Brandon cheekily adds, "At this rate, we may never see her again." Heh. Brandon then tells David that he and his folks are waiting for the arrival of "the girl who's going to be staying in Brenda's room this year". David looks confused and asks who that is - but before Brandon can explain, the [Brenda-free] opening credits roll. Da na na na...da na na na...cha cha...
Baja California. Dylan is camped out on the beach, guzzling beer and looking like a disheveled homeless person. A little Mexican kid comes running over, exclaiming, "Senor McKay!" then babbles in Spanish about how someone wants to talk to him about something "muy importante". Dylan makes a concerted effort to look mopey and unfazed, and mumbles that he'll get there when he gets there...then translates this into Spanish so the kid can relay back to the message sender what he just mumbled.
Hair salon. Kelly's stylist asks her how her new 'do is working out, and Kelly scrunches her face and says, "I don't know." Donna suddenly appears with her hair in curlers, gives Kelly a brusque hi, then walks across the salon to sit in her stylist's chair. Kelly's stylist remarks that she and Donna don't look quite so chummy anymore, so Kelly snarks back that Donna was the one who trashed the friendship. The stylist says she doesn't give a hoot who's to blame; all she wants is the juicy details. We then get a black and white flashback of Donna yelling at Kelly for siding with David after he was caught doinking Ariel Hunter in a limo during the Season 4 finale. Kelly snaps back that she's merely making the point that she can understand the kind of pressure he and his penis were under, so Donna accuses her of being just like Ariel - meaning she'll do whatever it takes to get the guy she wants. Huh? Kelly barks, "Get a life", so then Donna angrily orders her to stay the hell out of hers. The stylist, who clearly needs a life of her own, looks utterly transfixed by this juicy nugget of gossip. Meanwhile, Donna's stylist, Chad, asks Donna what's going on with her and Kelly, but Donna wisely says nothing. The two stylists then get together to conspire about how they're going to help these gals restore their friendship, and decide to seat them in chairs near the dryers so they'll be forced to talk to each other...and eventually they do. Donna tells Kelly that her dad's fellowship in Houston has ended, and she's been staying at their house since her return to L.A. She then looks sheepish and meekly asks Kelly if she can forgive her for her shitty behavior, and Kelly says she already has. Donna now realizes how stoopid she was to blame Kelly for David's cheating - well d'yuh - then prattles about the fantastic time she had this summer: swimming, shopping, and hanging out at the country club her parents belong to. That's nice. When I was nineteen, I spent the summer cleaning hotel rooms so I could pay my tuition. Donna gushes about how the guys in Houston were so cute with their adorable Texas accents, then gleefully reports that none of them gave "a hoot" about her virginity...prolly 'cause they had zero interest in hitting the sack with her. By this time, the stylists reappear, thrilled that the two girls have made up...and fortunately they disappear again just as quickly. Kelly tells Donna about the barbecue the Walshes are hosting tonight to welcome Valerie, and Donna's like, "Who's Valerie?" so Kelly explains that she's "the girl who's going to be staying in Brenda's room this year". Donna looks fake surprised and exclaims, "Brenda's not coming back?!" and Kelly just stares back at her mutely.
LAX. Brandon and Papa Walsh are eating lunch and watching sports on a TV monitor. Mama Walsh strolls over and informs them that Valerie's plane had to make an emergency landing in Denver, but that it should be arriving within the hour. Brandon says he hopes he recognizes Valerie, and remarks that the last time he saw her she was a fourteen year old chubbo with braces. Papa Walsh assures him that she's definitely over that awkward phase, and Mama Walsh gushes about how excited Valerie is about starting over - especially after all she's been through. Brandon suddenly remembers that, by scripted coincidence, Steve's plane (coming in from Hawaii) is due to land any minute. He gets up and hurries over to the baggage claim area to meet up with his boneheaded friend.
Steve is retrieving the luggage for Howie Long, a football player who has a brief, pointless cameo in this scene. A little kid asks Howie for his autograph, and then mistakes Steve for Troy Aikman. Brandon arrives at the baggage claim area, gets introduced to Howie, and then he and Steve get caught up on how their summers went. Steve tells him that Celeste dumped him during their Hawaiian vacay after she ran into a guy she knew in high school, who she immediately realized was the true love of her life. Steve says he's not too broken up about getting dumped and wants to re-connect with the true love of his life - Kelly - and tells Brandon he's going to need his help in winning her over.
Hospital. Ahn-drea strikes up a conversation with a woman who had the misfortune of being in the hallway at that moment, and starts nattering at her about how today's the day she finally gets to take her baby home. When Ahn-drea learns that the woman also has a preemie in the NICU, she tells her she has to hear their story and then starts recounting the dreary tale. Several weeks ago, she and Jesse were supposed to take Hannah home, but Ahn-drea sensed that something was wrong, even though everyone kept assuring her that the baby was fine. After stalling for several hours, she finally gave in and agreed to take Hannah home...but while she was giving her her last in-hospital feeding, she noticed that the baby was turning blue. Fortunately, the doctors were able to get her breathing again and she fully recovered. Ahn-drea then lectures the hapless woman about not being afraid to follow her maternal instincts and advocate for her baby. After that, Jesse exits the NICU carrying Hannah, and Ahn-drea wishes the woman luck with her preemie.
Beach house. David shows Kelly the shit-tastic video he cobbled together for some kind of extra credit assignment, and it's basically a summary of what he did all summer. Babyface invited him to go on tour with him and his band to Japan (as fucking if), and the video includes what I'll assume is fake footage of crazed Japanese girls shrieking, "David Silver! David Silver!" Around this time, Ariel threw him a party to celebrate his big break...but not long after that, things started to go south. Babyface finally came to his senses and dropped David from his tour, and this prompted Ariel to break up with him the next day...and, oh yeah, she gave him crabs. David concludes his lame production by narrating that this season he'll have his own dorm room, and that his grandfather gave him a car...which he in no way deserves. Kelly is impressed by the hilarity of the video, and David tells her that his professor gave him an A- on it (seriously?) and urged him to get involved with campus TV this fall. As David gathers up the last of his boxes from the beach apartment, Kelly tells him about the Walsh's barbecue...but David declines to attend. Kelly points out that he'll have to run into Donna eventually, but he tells her he doesn't want to show up and ruin the barbecue or Donna's evening. The phone rings, and it's Brandon calling to announce that Valerie has officially arrived in L.A. and that he's going to swing by the beach house to pick her up. He also gives her a heads up that Steve has his heart set on starting things up with her again...but Kelly isn't fazed by this and says every time he gets dumped, he gets all sentimental about her. She assures him she can handle Steve, then says she's a lot more worried about how Dylan is going to take the news of their coupling.
Baja California. Dylan slouches over to a beach bar, orders a beer, then sits at a table with the bar's owner/manager. The guy reminds him about the tab he's been running up for the past two months and says it's time to settle up. He looks quasi concerned when he asks Dylan what the hell happened to him, and Dylan mumbles that he got ripped off by people who were supposedly his family. He did alert the police, and after a brief investigation they showed him mug shots of Kevin and Suzanne, his so-called family. The Mexican guy tells him he can return to L.A., but only if he leaves something behind as a show of good faith that he'll one day return to pay his bill. He suggests the expensive watch Dylan is wearing...or his Porsche. Dylan opts to leave the watch, and the guy promises he'll get it back once his bar tab is paid in full.
Beach house. Kelly's primping for the Walsh's barbecue when the doorbell rings. It's Steve, and he's clutching a Hawaiian orchid lei, which he puts around her neck. He leans in to kiss both of her cheeks just as Brandon arrives. Steve and Brandon are surprised to see each other there, so Kelly tells Steve that Brandon came by to give her a ride to the barbecue. Steve insists that hewants to take Kelly, so Kelly and Brandon decide it's time to come clean and admit that they're dating. Steve is dismayed by the news and moans about how badly he wants to find the great love of his life, so Brandon and Kelly offer to scour the earth for a woman who'd be willing to lower her standards long enough to date a bonehead like him. Brandon suggests that maybe Valerie could be his great love, but Steve highly doubts that she could be very cool, being from Buffalo and all.
The Walsh house. Kelly, Brandon, and Steve arrive at the barbecue, and Brandon introduces everyone to Valerie. She's super perky and bubbly, her hair is styled in a short blunt bouncy bob, and she looks totes adorable in a white crop top and jean shorts. If memory serves, this cutesy facade starts to wear off soon after this episode.
After dinner, everyone (sans Donna and Kelly) plays basketball. Mama Walsh fills Donna and Kelly in about how Valerie's parents were their best friends in Minnesota...and Kelly assures her they'll make Valerie feel right at home. At one point, Valerie has to chase the ball in their direction, and she asks Kelly and Donna if they want to join the game, but they politely decline and say they wore the wrong shoes. Valerie flashes them an apple-cheeked grin and says she'll have to remember that excuse next time someone tries to rope her into playing basketball. After she scampers off, Donna gushes about what a nice girl she is, and Kelly remarks that she's handling recent traumatic events very well. Donna scrunches her big face in confusion, so Kelly explains that she heard about it first hand while she was hanging with the Walshes this summer. Donna scrunches her big face in confusion again and asks her if she and Brandon are dating, and Kelly confirms that they are...but urges Donna to keep it on the down-low, since Steve is having trouble adjusting to the concept. Though, not really, because it looks like he's acting pretty flirty with Valerie. We then get a black and white flashback of Kelly over at the Walsh house for dinner. The phone rings, and it's Abby Malone calling to tell Mama and Papa Walsh that her husband, Victor, committed suicide the night before. After the flashback, Brandon saunters over to ask Kelly and Donna if they're ready for dessert...and in the next scene, the gang has congregated in the living room to pig out on carrot cake. Steve doesn't want to hang out at the Walsh house all evening and suggests taking Valerie out on the town, and everyone agrees that that's a fabulous idea.
The gang arrives at the dance club where Jesse tends bar...and for some reason he's serving drinks while decked out in a tuxedo. They introduce him to Valerie, and Steve invites Valerie to jig with him on the dance floor. She asks him if Brandon and Kelly are an item, and Steve grimly replies that their hook-up is already old news. Valerie stares over at Brandon and Kelly and gives them the stink-eye...not exactly sure why.
Dylan's house. Dylan boozes it up in his messy house while listening to all the phone messages he got over the summer. One is an attempted collect call from Brenda, and another is from Brandon, telling him that Brenda decided to stay in London for the year. This prompts Dylan to grumble about how Brenda promised him she wouldn't be in London forever. He then gets enraged when he listens to a message from Iris, who chastises him for his remarkable stupidity for allowing his entire fortune to be stolen.
Dance club. Jesse's on the phone with Ahn-drea, but he's too busy to talk, so he hands the receiver to Donna. Ahn-drea is at home breastfeeding (a visual I did not need), and she and Donna get caught up on their summers, blah blah. After the call, Donna happens to spot David entering the club with a girl, and she stares at the two of them with a stricken look on her face. She then rushes over to the gang and tells them she's going home, then starts to flee toward the door. Brandon spots David and his date and correctly guesses that that's the reason Donna has suddenly bailed...and Kelly gets up and runs after her, snarking "Great timing" at David along the way. She reaches Donna and tries to convince her to stay, but Donna says she just wants to be alone. Before she leaves, she shoots David one more I'm a sad little doe look.
Brandon drops off Kelly at the beach house. After smooching on the back deck for a little while she invites him in, but he says he should probably sleep at his house, since it's Valerie's first night in her new home. Kelly understands and compliments him for being sensitive, considerate, and sexy...and the two indulge in another smooch.
Steve and Valerie, meanwhile, are lounging in the back of Brandon's Mustang, staring up at the stars. Steve tells her she has incredible eyes, and she tells him to just go for it and kiss her already...but just as Steve puckers up, Brandon reappears to drive them all home. Steve slumps back in his seat, bummed about missing his chance.
The Walsh house. Mama and Papa Walsh are hanging out in the kitchen, waiting up for the kids. They talk about what a great thing it is that they've taken in Valerie, and Papa Walsh remarks that she's always been a good kid. A few seconds later, Brandon and Valerie arrive home...and Brandon teases his parents about inventing excuses to wait up for them. Valerie gushes about how much fun she had on her very first night in L.A., and a delighted Papa Walsh gives her a fatherly hug goodnight.
Donna's on the phone with Kelly, whining about the effect David still has on her. She wants to know if he's pining for her in any way, and Kelly pretends to have problems with the phone connection and says it keeps cutting out on her. She hangs up and starts to head inside the apartment, but then pauses to look around as though she senses someone staring at her...and someone is. It's Dylan, creepily watching her from what looks like a bridge (?). Weird. He has a sudden flashback of when they broke up, which serves as a reminder of what a giant douchebag he was at the end of Season 4.
The Walsh house. Brandon and Valerie enter their shared bathroom at exactly the same time and decide that they'll need to devise a system. Brandon reminisces about how she was the first girl he ever kissed, and she tells him she always thought he and Brenda had such charmed lives and the perfect family, blah blah. They hug good night, and when she re-enters her bedroom and closes the door, she rolls her eyes warily. She sits on the window seat, opens a box that looks to be a stash o' weed, and dials her friend Ginger in Buffalo. She tells Ginger she's already going out of her mind and that nothing in Beverly Hills is the way she thought it would be. As she rolls a joint, she derisively calls Brandon and his friends "avocado heads" then snarks that they're soo into being from L.A. and mocks them for not even attempting to get a drink from the bar they went to tonight. She tells Ginger she met Steve Sanders, son of B list actress Samantha Sanders, and that "he seems kind of dumb" (an accurate assessment) and is pretty sure he "gives good credit card". She says that Mama and Papa Walsh are harmless enough, and that everything will be cool as long as they don't try to pull any parental trips on her. But if they do, she'll "just put on a happy face and dance"...and I really have no idea what that's supposed to mean.