Recap: Brandon runs into Dylan in the Peach Pit parking lot and tells him he just finished his last final and is a free man until next semester. Dylan asks him what he's going to do with his freedom, and he just shrugs and goes, "Nerthin'." Dylan suggests they go on a road trip together and do some camping...and leave in, like, an hour. He explains that he has no time to waste, because his probation starts in three days and he'll have to surrender his driver's license. Also, he wants to travel by way of motorcycle. Brandon thinks this over for a few seconds and tells Dylan he's in.
The Peach Pit. Steve tells Muntz that the After Dark is a disaster in the making, and that he highly doubts the nightclub will be ready for business in a mere two days. He adds that Clare and David are ill-equipped to run a nightclub and deal with an egomaniac like his father...and speaking of Rush, Steve says that if the man weren't such a miserable sack of shit, he'd feel sorry for him for sinking so much money into the After Dark. Muntz bobs his head up and down and pretends to agree with Steve and tells him he's better off not being associated with the nightclub. Nat enters the diner, and when Steve asks him how everything is coming along, Nat grins and exclaims, "Fantastic! It's really coming together." Steve shakes his head and mutters, "Poor guy." A minute later, Clare comes over and tells Steve how amusing, fun, and professional Rush is...and this prompts Muntz to tell Steve that maybe things at the After Dark are going to work out after all. Steve growls at him to shut up, then goes over to the After Dark and peeks inside. He's dismayed when he sees his friends clustered around Rush as he holds court and shares funny anecdotes.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh is worried about Brandon and Dylan camping under the open sky, but Brandon assures her they'll be fine. Papa Walsh is more concerned about Dylan's poor driving record, but Brandon points out that Slouchy's past his toxic stage...so then Papa Walsh says that maybe this trip will help rekindle their friendship. Kelly drops by to tell Brandon she got an A in her Abnormal Psychology class, and as a reward received an invitation to attend a seminar led by Professor Finley. Kelly explains to the Walshes that Finley is practically reinventing the field of modern psychology with his crackpottish "new evolution" theory. She then goes upstairs with Brandon to help him finish packing, and once they're alone they start making out. Kelly says that he and Dylan better not compare notes about her - and then suddenly Valerie appears and says, "'Cause if you do, Kelly and I are going to have to spend the weekend gossiping about you and Dylan." Kelly tells Valerie about the seminar she got invited to, and Valerie says she too got an invitation. Apparently, her screwed up family made getting an A in Abnormal Psychology a cinch. The doorbell rings, and Valerie scampers downstairs to answer the door. Kelly grumps at Brandon that she's not exactly thrilled by the prospect of spending all day with Valerie at the seminar, but immediately backpedals and promises him she'll do her best to get along with her.
Downstairs, Dylan has arrived to pick up Brandon, and Mama Walsh tells him she's worried that it's going to be too cold to camp in the mountains. Papa Walsh reminds her that Brandon knows how to build a fire from his boy scout days, and Dylan assures her they'll both be fine. When Kelly descends the staircase to say goodbye, Dylan stares up at her hungrily before he and Brandon head out on their motorcycles.
The Peach Pit. David and Clare are having a lunch of diner junk food with Rush. David tells Rush he didn't think it was going to be possible to get all the work done that needed to get done in time, so Rush wryly retorts that most problems can be solved with a little teamwork...and a lot of cash. He then turns to Clare and asks her to tell him about Ray, specifically where he's played before...and Clare mutely stares back at him like a deer in headlights.
After Dark. Donna tries to counsel Ray on how to overcome his stage fright, and asks him what's the worst thing that could happen. According to him, that would be: getting up on stage, opening his mouth, having nothing come out...then puking and falling over dead. He thinks it's too soon for him to be doing a gig at a club like the After Dark, but Donna points out that he's always going to feel that way until he forces himself to do something to get him past his stage fright.
Dylan and Brandon arrive at their motel, check in, then head over to the restaurant. They shamelessly flirt with the attractive waitress, but she's not remotely interested and quickly shuts them both down. Brandon starts to tell Dylan a story about Lucinda, but Dylan interrupts and grumps that he hates hearing her name mentioned 'cause it always reminds him about how she tried to hustle him to get financing for her film - at the same time Brandon was "hustling" Kelly while she was posing as his beard. Brandon glumly asks him what he wants to talk about, then sarcastically says, "Jack Kerouac?" and promptly bitches about how much he hates Jack Kerouac.
After dinner, Brandon calls Kelly while Dylan's in the shower...and Dylan emerges from the bathroom just as he's finishing the call. Dylan snarks that he didn't have to wait until he was in the shower to call Kelly, so then Brandon admonishes him for the brazen way he ogled her at the Walsh house earlier. Dylan snaps that he doesn't want to talk about Kelly, and would rather focus on hitting the open road the next day and doing some camping. Brandon suddenly gets all sucky and dramatically declares that he's heading back to L.A. first thing in the morning.
Finley seminar. Kelly and Valerie arrive at the hotel where the seminar's being held. Valerie glances around, unimpressed by the "pod people", and wonders aloud if it's lame to be attending a psychology seminar while on semester break. Um...probably. She asks Kelly if she wouldn't rather go shopping, and Kelly declines and says she wants to hear what Finley has to say. After they take their seats, a grad student gets up in front of the room and babbles something about there not being any "externs" here...and Valerie's like, "What's an extern?" so another grad student explains that it's an outsider who's critical of someone else's search for meaning. Valerie's like, "Um, of course" then furtively glances around for the nearest exit. The guy on stage introduces Professor Finley, who turns out to be a creepy looking middle aged, bespectacled man in a wheelchair. He kicks off the seminar with three words: "We have evolved." Everyone claps effusively while Valerie looks even more bored.
Motel. The next morning, Brandon and Dylan kiss and make up after they agree not to say the "K" word (Kelly) anymore. They start up their motorcycles and hit the road.
Finley seminar. Professor Finley is babbling about modern man and the last two thousand generations, and Valerie mutters, "Shopping's looking better and better." Kelly shushes her and says she wants to hear this. Finley then starts preaching about the possibility of something greater and how everyone is a "shining man"...but says that people are in limbo and incapable of changing their own lives. He tells the audience he wants everyone to go home and be transformed, and for some reason this totally transfixes Kelly. Finley asks his grad student helpers to split everyone into groups, and Valerie wisely uses the opportunity to flee to the nearest mall. The grad student who's sitting beside Kelly advises her not to let the likes of Valerie influence her, and that if she wants to change her life, the last thing she needs is "some negator" holding her back. Kelly thinks this over for a few seconds, and agrees. [For the record: it's generally a red flag whenever a cultish group starts inventing its own weird vocabulary.]
Road trip. Dylan and Brandon pull onto the side of the road 'cause they have to pee really badly. As they're relieving themselves, a police car pulls up behind them, and a cop gets out and informs them they're peeing on sacred burial ground. He orders them to hand over their drivers licenses, says he could arrest them for trespassing and desecrating a religious shrine...then decides there's a better way to punish them. When he suggests work detail, Dylan makes a face and goes, "Chain gang?" and Brandon quickly says they'll accept work detail as their punishment.
Finley workshop. Professor Finley's wheeling himself around the room as the groups discuss...well, whatever it is they're supposed to be discussing. Kelly tells her group that she's not exactly sure why she came to the workshop. The group leader asks her to talk about the fire and how it affected her life, so Kelly tells everyone that her mother was a model, which meant that looks were very important while she was growing up. As she's talking, Finley wheels behind her and eavesdrops. Kelly admits that part of her still thinks that looks are really important, but compared to almost dying in a fire, they're meaningless. Finley interrupts the entire seminar to remind everyone that they're supposed to be creating a moment of clarity by sharing at least one truth about their lives. He stares right at Kelly and says, "Don't analyze." He asks her if she's happy with her life, and she lets out a snort and says it's not that simple a question...and he give her a long creepy stare and orders her to set aside her fears and tell the truth. Kelly looks thoughtful for a few seconds, then recalls that when the flames inched closer to her during the fire, everything stopped but her own thoughts. She was thinking, "Please, God, don't burn my face. Burn the other girl if you have to." Yikes. Kelly admonishes herself for thinking those thoughts, especially since Alison helped save her life. Finley wheels closer to her and places a hand on her shoulder...and somehow Kelly doesn't flinch from his touch (or general ickiness). She tells the group she wants to change her life but doesn't know how.
Road trip. The cop tells Dylan and Brandon that their work detail will consist of digging a two foot hole in the shape of a circle, with perfectly level sides and a perfectly level bottom. He tosses Brandon a measuring tape and hands Dylan a shovel, and orders Brandon to supervise the operation. When he leaves them to their task, Dylan throws down the shovel and refuses to start digging. Brandon reminds him that the cop has their drivers licenses and that they promised to do the work detail...and after some annoying bickering, Dylan agrees to dig the hole, but doesn't want Brandon to think he's supervising him.
KEG house. Donna drops by to tell Steve she wants to pick his brain. She reminds him that he was David's business manager during the Home and Away episode in Season 3, and recalls how nervous David was about performing his "music" in front of a crowd and asks Steve how he motivated him. Steve says he threatened to break David's fingers if he didn't get on stage and that seemed to do the trick. Donna jokingly asks him to do the same to Ray, since he's supposed to perform at the After Dark tomorrow night but is paralyzed with stage fright. She wails that she doesn't know what to do, so Steve deadpans, "Why don't you just sleep with him?" Bwahahaha! Hahahaha! He then tells her how annoyed he is that she'd come to him and ask him about anything connected to the After Dark, since it's very painful for him to watch her, David, and Clare work on the nightclub that was entirely his idea. Donna sheepishly apologizes and tells him she didn't realize it was such a sensitive issue. She starts to head out, and he stops her and tells her that if she really wants to inspire Ray, she should go straight to the source: Vince Lombardi. Um...OK.
Road trip. Dylan is wearily digging the hole when the cop returns. He asks Brandon how it's coming along, and Brandon says it's fine, but the cop isn't at all impressed with the hole's quality. Dylan throws in the towel, grumps about how there's no such thing anymore as forced labor, and stalks off. Brandon asks the cop if there's another way they could make amends for their illegal urination, but he says no and leaves. Brandon tells Dylan he'll dig for awhile, and that when the cop returns, they'll switch places.
Beach house. Clare has just twigged onto the fact that Ray has a problem performing in front of an audience. She wryly tells David that Donna's in her room watching a video of a football coach giving his players a pep talk before a game...and David suggests they go have a chat with Donna. Just as they're heading down the hall, Kelly arrives home and excitedly tells Clare that the greatest thing just happened to her...and that Professor Finley called it "a breakthrough ascendency". Clare stares at her blankly and goes, "A what?" but then David interrupts and summons Clare to Donna's room, like pronto. Clare tells Kelly to hold that thought and rushes off to deal with the current crisis at hand. David explains to Donna that it's unlikely a thirty year old video of Vince Lombardi is going to help motivate Ray on stage. When Kelly appears in the doorway, Donna asks her how the psychology workshop went, and she gushes, "Fantastic!" and says that Professor Finley is one of the most remarkable people she's ever met. Ick - seriously? David jokes that maybe Finley can help Ray with his stage fright, and an irked Donna ushers everyone out of her room so she can watch the Vince Lombardi video in peace.
Clare tells Kelly that she and David need to have a quick pow-wow in private, and Kelly looks disappointed that neither of her roommates (or David) appear to give a rat's ass about her psychological breakthrough.
Road trip. Brandon and Dylan dig the hole together and idly wonder what it's for. The cop returns and asks them if the sides and bottom are perfectly square...and, of course, they're not 'cause Brandon and Dylan really suck at hole digging. The cop gives up on the notion of a perfectly shaped hole and tells them they're done their work detail, then returns their drivers licenses. After that, a truck arrives with tribe members, and the cop tells Brandon and Dylan that they're free to leave, but he'd really like it if they stayed for the evening.
The tribe members set up a tent that will serve as a sweat lodge. Brandon asks the cop what the hell a sweat lodge is, and he unhelpfully answers, "At the very least, you'll sweat a lot." Brandon and Dylan look like they really want to flee and end this tedious storyline, but for some reason they can't bring themselves to disappoint their "host".
KEG house. To humor Steve, Muntz pretends he's not interested in partying at the After Dark. He says he also told a bunch of other brothers not to go to the club out of loyalty to Steve...but they didn't care and went anyway. Steve tells Muntz it's OK if he wants to go to the After Dark, and Muntz thanks him and quickly rushes out. After that, Rush drops by, and Steve gives him a dirty look and grumbles, "What do you want?" Rush tells him he came by to tell him he's sorry and that he feels lousy about Steve getting shut out of all the planning for the After Dark. Steve bitches about the way he's been holding court with his friends, then bitterly snarks that he should go flirt with Donna and Clare some more. Rush insists that he didn't mean to cut him out of the picture, and explains that he was trying to keep him from getting busted after the fire...and that this was the best deal he could make. He says the After Dark doesn't mean anything to him unless Steve can be a part of it, then urges him to put in an appearance on opening night. Eventually Steve softens and agrees to come, and the two hug it out.
Road trip. Brandon and Dylan are inside the sweat lodge, worried they might sweat to death. The cop starts praying to his dead grandfather, then tells Dylan it's his turn. Dylan acknowledges the people who have been looking out for him during the last few months and says they're the reason he's alive. When it's Brandon's turn, he just mutters about how glad he is that Dylan's still alive so that they were able to share this experience together.
After Dark. The club is filled with mostly white people, boogying rhythmlessly on the dance floor. Ahn-drea arrives with Jesse, and they compliment Clare and tell her what an incredible job she and the rest of the team have done with the club. Jesse asks when Ray is scheduled to perform, and Clare evasively says she was just about to talk to David 'bout that, then excuses herself. She goes over to where David's sitting, and he tells her he's worried about Ray ruining the club's opening night. Well, d'yuh.
In the back room, Donna channels Vince Lombardi by using a floor plan and pointer to instruct Ray about where he should enter and then stand on the stage while he's performing. She tells him to imagine that he's the best player in the Superbowl, and that he's been waiting to play this game his entire life...then kisses him for good luck. For some reason, the DVD version of this episode didn't include Ray's debut performance at the After Dark, so I don't get to make fun of his ghastly, breathy voice in this recap.
Road trip. The next morning, Brandon and Dylan discuss the sweat lodge experience. They agree they learned a lot on this adventure, and Dylan says that for once he isn't dreading his return home. He then babbles about how everyone's flawed, even Brandon...and Brandon tells him he shouldn't assume the worst about people, and that they're not always out to get him, blah blah. With all the world's problems solved, the two scamper toward their motorcycles and hit the road for home.
California University. Kelly slips a letter under Professor Finley's office door...and suddenly the door opens and he wheels himself into the hallway. She tells him she didn't want to disturb him, and he assures her she didn't and invites her inside. She re-introduces herself, and he stares at her creepily and says he remembers her. She tells him she just came by to let him know how much she appreciated his workshop, then asks him if he started "evolving" after the accident that put him in his wheelchair. Instead of answering, he starts gabbling about how it's a gift to suddenly experience something that puts one's entire life into focus. Kelly says that right now she's not the person she wants to be, and he tells her that it's because she's still evolving. He then wheels closer to her and tells her she can change her life, then warns her that a lot of people won't understand her quest for a greater purpose...or her sudden, blind loyalty to an icky cult leader who is already making all the skin on my body want to crawl off.
Dylan's house. Brandon and Dylan return from their road trip. As Brandon runs straight to the toilet, Dylan checks his phone messages. He's stunned when he hears a message from Jonesy, who tells him he located his millions...then orders him to grab his passport, head south, and tell no one. Yay!