Recap: Brandon voice-overs a brief recap of last season's graduation episode, telling viewers about how scared shitless the 90210 gang was about "taking a giant step into the great unknown called life". They've all vowed to continue hanging out together in a desperate attempt to cling onto a declining TV show that Aaron Spelling probably should have pulled the plug on after the fourth season. (It was never the same after Shannen Doherty got fired.)
Brandon's on the phone with someone at the Los Angeles Times about a job he recently applied for. He says he'll do anything, including writing obituaries, but the answer's still a definitive no. When he gets off the phone, he complains to Kelly that no one will hire him because he doesn't have any experience - but he can't get the requisite experience 'cause no one will hire him. Kelly points out that he has had job offers - but they entail relocating to the Midwest and splitting up the 90210 gang, which the producers are unwilling to do. Kelly removes the drawers of a dresser she wants to move across the room and finds a stack of letters, cards, and photographs that Brandon received from Tracy Gaylian while they were dating. (It's unclear when exactly she would have given him such a large pile of stuff; it's not like they were ever in a long distance relationship and had to keep in touch by writing and sending photos.) Kelly shoots Brandon the stink-eye and snarks, "What's all this?" and Brandon reminds her that he unceremoniously dumped Tracy last season so they could re-hook up. He goes, "What's the problem?" and Kelly says, "No problem" just as Valerie barges into the room. She makes a crack about Kelly's awful decor changes, and the three mutely stare at each other for several loooong seconds to remind viewers that the fur's really going to fly this season now that Valerie and Kelly are living under the same roof. A few seconds later, the opening credits roll, and Season 8 officially begins! Da na na na...da na na na...cha cha...
Beach house. David and Donna are arguing about their living arrangements, now that David's lease at his old place has officially expired. Donna insists that she wants him to move in with her, but David and his penis have no interest in being downgraded to roommate status just 'cause she doesn't have the stones to tell Felice that they're now hitting the sheets. He flatly asks, "Either we're living together or we're not. Which is it?" and Donna meekly retorts, "Don't make me say not." I guess you're not, Davey.
The Walsh house. Valerie tells Steve she just got her sixth job since graduating from CU, which is Customer Services Specialist for a fragrance company. I'll assume this means she's the company's newest Perfume Squirt Girl. She blabs to Steve that Brandon didn't get the job at The Times, then asks him to keep a lid on it - but when Brandon ambles into the kitchen a few seconds later, Steve shoots him a sympathetic look and says, "Sorry. Gotta be a bummer." Brandon glares at Valerie, who sheepishly apologizes for opening her big mouth. Steve hands Brandon his AMEX card and says to charge him for the rent (is Brandon a merchant now?), 'cause he's all tapped out, save for his emergency savings account - the existence of which peaks Valerie's interest. Kelly enters the kitchen and asks Steve if he could take little Erin to her soccer game, cause she's blowing off her baby sister to go shopping with Donna (the fuck?). Fortunately for her, Steve has nothing better to do with his day and agrees to take the cute little tot to her sporting event.
The Peach Pit. Papa Martin writes Donna her monthly allowance check, and she pretends to look shamefaced for still being financially dependent on her rich daddy. He insists there's nothing to be ashamed of and that he's happy to support his grown daughter indefinitely. She laments about how hard it is to find a decent job - and this prompts Papa Martin to suddenly remember something, and he pulls out a business card from his pocket and says it contains the contact information for a friend of a friend of Felice's: a woman named Vanessa Markley. Apparently, she owns a styling/fashion agency and is looking for a second assistant. Donna perks up at the promising lead and thanks her father.
The Walsh house. Brandon is sitting in front of the computer, sprucing up his resume. He promises Kelly he'll throw away all of his Tracy memorabilia, and Kelly apologizes for her bitchitude. Brandon says what they really need is a vacation (um, haven't they been slacking off all summer?), and Kelly likes the sound of that, but reminds him that she starts her work at The Foundation next week. She then announces she's off to the mall, and Brandon carries the stack of Tracy memorabilia over to the trash can and dumps it...but then a few seconds later scoops it out of the trash and stares wistfully at the photos. Kelly unexpectedly re-enters the room, sees what he's staring at, and shoots him the stink-eye.
Soccer game. Steve is cheering on little Erin, since none of her family members could be bothered to show up for her game. Steve notices that a little redheaded kid (with a typical TV child bowl-shaped hairdo) is getting shoved around by some pint-sized hooligans. He goes over to the dejected kid, learns that his name is Zack, and advises him not to let other kids push him around so much. A shapely young woman rushes over - hey, it's Hilary Swank! - asks Steve what the hell he thinks he's doing, then chides Zack for talking to strangers. Steve introduces himself and tells her to chillax, and she snappishly asks him if he's a parent or even knows anything about parenting. Steve says he can tell when a kid is being beaten up on a soccer field, then explains that he was only trying to teach Zack how to protect himself - the way his father should be teaching him. Hilary Swank haughtily tells him she'd probably find a reference to Steve Sanders if she looked up the word jerk in the dictionary (seriously, writers?), then stomps off with Zack. A dismayed looking Erin informs Steve that Zack doesn't have a father, and Steve looks sheepish and mutters, "Ouch."
The Peach Pit. Donna calls Vanessa Markley on her cell phone, which seems to have very bad reception, to set up a job interview. She probably should have used the land line at the beach house for an important call like that.
After Dark. A bubbleheaded waitress named Marcy pops by the office to inform David that the plumber (who's currently there to fix something) is recommending replacing one of the bathroom sinks. She also reminds David that he still has to pay for the waitresses' new uniforms, which apparently Donna designed. David shakes his head in bewilderment and mutters, "How did Val do it?" and tells Marcy that business is down nearly 60%. Yikes, David must really suck at nightclub management. Maybe Valerie really was the brains behind that operation. Donna drops by to tell David that she's interviewing for a job as a second assistant to a fashion stylist, and he congratulates her on possibly finding something in her field. Donna then glances around the office and notices that David is storing all of his clothes there, and he says he's still looking for a place to live. She urges him to pleeeeease move into the beach house with her, but he's not interested in doing that unless they can sleep in the same room and regularly bump uglies. Marcy interrupts their conversation to tell David that the plumber is now recommending new drain pipes, and David lets out a weary sigh.
Steve is in the car with Erin, and he praises her soccer skills and offers to take her out for some ice cream. On their way out of the parking lot, they pass Hilary Swank, who's having problems starting her car. Steve stops and politely tells her that it sounds like her fuel system is flooded, then gives her some helpful tips on how to successfully start her car. She bitchily snaps, "So you're a child psychologist and an auto mechanic?" and Steve says he was only trying to help Zackmake it home. Heh. Hilary Swank follows his tips, and the car starts. After Steve smugly drives off, Zack tells him mom he thinks that the prematurely balding curly haired guy is nice, but she just makes a face and is like, "Whatever, kid."
Mall. Kelly assures Donna that it's A-OK to not to jump into co-habitating with David just 'cause he popped her cherry during last season's finale episode. She grimly confesses that living with Brandon isn't exactly what she dreamed it would be like, then says she's worried about all the Tracy memorabilia he's still hanging onto and staring wistfully at. Donna's like, "But don't you still have stuff of Dylan's laying around?" and Kelly admits she does, but breezily retorts, "That's different." Mmm hmm.. A few seconds later, the two run into Valerie, who's wearing a blue lab coat and squirting perfume on people (was I right, or was I right?). She tells Donna and Kelly that it's part of her executive training, then orders them (and by them, she really means Kelly) not to tell anyone about this. Kelly mocks her for her amusing career choice and flounces off with Donna...and Valerie glares after them while her boss glares at her.
David complains to Brandon and Steve that Donna refuses to tell her parents they're doing the horizontal mambo. He wonders if perhaps she's ashamed of him, but Brandon says it probably has more to do with Donna's strict Catholic upbringing. He theorizes that doinking him out of wedlock has filled her with an unbearable amount of guilt...atop the guilt that Felice would be regularly dispensing if she had any idea that her daughter's sainted virginity was no longer intact. He advises David to give her space, but David just whines that he wants a commitment and says he's envious of the kind of intimacy he and Kelly share as they happily live and sleep together. Brandon wryly says, "It's not as easy as it looks" then suddenly decides he'd like to throw Kelly a surprise birthday party. Er...OK.
Drug store. Donna thanks Kelly for accompanying her to the pharmacy while she gets her very first birth control prescription filled. She wails, "Sex and pills go against everything I've ever learned!" but Kelly assures her she's just protecting herself and David. Donna exclaims, "I never imagined I'd be standing here buying birth control pills!" just as Felice - ack! - appears out of nowhere and asks her daughter whassup. Donna gets all frazzled as she tries to make idle chit-chat with her uppity mother - and when the pharmacist announces that her pills are ready, Donna pales and is all, "Wha-a-a?" and Felice looks aghast and exclaims, "Birth control pills?!" LOL. Kelly comes to the rescue and says, "Yep, they're mine" and needlessly tells Felice that her doctor thought they might help regulate her. Felice lets out a huge sigh of relief that her sweet cherub is still pure, and apologizes to Kelly for invading her privacy, then ambles off to buy aspirin. Donna thanks Kelly for covering for her.
Donna is having her job interview with Vanessa Markley at an outdoor cafe. Vanessa's assessment of Donna is that she's "very talented - raw to be sure - and naive, to be expected". That was barf-inducing, to be sure. She tells Donna what she really needs is a first assistant for an upcoming photo shoot for a swimsuit catalogue that's scheduled in Honolulu in three days. Donna stammers, "So, uh, do I have the job?" and Vanessa confirms that she does...then mumbles that she needs an aspirin and rushes off to the bathroom.
After Dark. It's a slow night at the club, and a despondent looking David grumps to Brandon and Steve that he's thinking of closing up early. Steve spots Marcy across the room, likes what he sees, and heads over to flirt with the bubblehead. Valerie, meanwhile, drops by the club to tell David she'd like to buy her way back into the After Dark, but David says he doesn't think it's a good idea 'cause he doesn't want to jeopardize his relationship with Donna. And speaking of Donna...she suddenly rushes into the club and excitedly tells David that she got a job! In Hawaii! Which starts on Thursday! David's all, "Wha-a? You're moving to Hawaii?" so she explains that her first assignment is in Honolulu to work on a photo shoot featuring famed photographer Fernando Caldero. She invites David to tag along - and when he says he can't afford it, she offers to exchange her first class ticket for two coach seats. David mulls that over and says, "I guess I can shut down the After Dark for a week" (since no one wants to club there anymore anyway), then turns toward Brandon and Steve and asks, "Why don't we all go? We owe ourselves!" (Not sure how he figures that.) Steve and Brandon say they're both in, and Brandon adds that he's going to try again to convince Kelly to push back her start date at The Foundation.
The Walsh house. Valerie asks Steve to loan her money so that she can go along to Hawaii, and promises to pay him double interest as soon as she gets job #7. Steve says he'll forgo charging interest if she agrees to doink him while they're in Hawaii, but she makes a blech face and says, "We've been there, done that." She negotiates him down to staying in a room with him that has two beds, and he's like, "Deal!"
Kelly holds up two wallpaper samples and asks Brandon which he prefers, but he grumbles that he's not a wallpaper kind of guy and says they need to talk about the Tracy memorabilia he hasn't yet gotten around to throwing away. (Just throw it away, Brandon; you were never that into Tracy, even while you were dating her.) Valerie suddenly barges into the room and announces she's decided to go to Hawaii, then tells Kelly she hopes she can also come. Kelly tells Brandon it would be unprofessional to ask The Foundation to push back her start date by a week just so she can lollygag on a Hawaiian beach - well, d'yuh - but urges him to go without her and have a fabulous time.
Restaurant. Steve's having dinner out with Marcy, and she's decked out in a cleavage bearing dress and babbling about her nail polish. The waitress rushes over to take their order...and, surprise surprise, it's Hilary Swank. She apologizes to Steve and Marcy for keeping them waiting and explains that they're really shorthanded tonight. Marcy snootily retorts, "That's not really our problem, is it?" Steve asks Hilary Swank what she's doing here, and she snaps, "Some of us have to work for a living!" and asks if she can take their drink orders. When Marcy makes another snide comment, Hilary Swank tells her she's "one of the dumbest people walking the earth" - haha! - and Steve orders her to apologize to bubblehead. By this time, the manager has rushed over to see whassup, and Marcy tattles on Hilary Swank for calling her dumb, and for some reason Hilary Swank dumps a drink on Steve...and promptly gets fired by the manager.
The Walsh house. Brandon tries to get Kelly to change her mind and come to Hawaii, but she thinks it's best if she stays home and says they can celebrate her birthday when she gets back. She urges him to go, and after they exchange I love yous, Brandon finally leaves.
Honolulu. The 90210 gang arrives at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. Donna's boss, Vanessa Markley, is huddled in the back seat of the cab, looking green around the gills. She mutters, "Just kill me" as Donna and David help her out of the car and into the hotel.
Brandon checks into his room, then ambles over to the balcony, where he wistfully recalls his last conversation with Kelly (via audio flashback). He walks over to the phone, picks up the receiver, and stares at it...while Kelly stares at her phone at the Walsh house. Neither ends up calling the other.
David and Donna check into their room, and Donna's all stressed 'cause she correctly assumes that Vanessa's illness will put her out of commission for the photo shoot. David tries to get her to chillax by reminding her they're in paradise, then apologizes for pressuring her about their living situation. He says he's willing to wait until she's finally ready for them to move in together, and she thanks him for his continued patience.
Steve and Valerie check into their room, and Valerie is dismayed when she sees that there's only one bed. She points at the sofa and tells Steve he can sleep on that.
Vanessa informs Donna that she's putting her in charge of tomorrow's photo shoot. She assures the cherub she can do it 'cause she's soooo smart, talented, capable, awesome, amazing, blah fucking blah.. David concurs (why is he at their work meeting?) and offers the services of the 90210 gang, who can pitch in and help out as needed. Vanessa nods approvingly, but gives them a word of warning: don't piss off Fernando (the photographer).
Steve brazenly ogles sexy women as he strolls around the resort with Valerie and Brandon. He announces he's taking a dip in the ocean, so Valerie and Brandon go over to the bar to discuss Season 8's new living arrangements. She tells him she still doesn't trust Kelly not to break his heart, and Brandon thanks her for her concern, but tells her to back off and knock off her hostility toward Kelly.
David and Donna meet with Fernando Caldero, who sneers and calls the upcoming photo shoot "amateur hour" and says he only accepted this gig 'cause he thought he'd be working with Vanessa Markley. Donna assures him she has everything under control, but Fernando snarks that she doesn't have Vanessa's eye and calls her a poser. Haha! David's like, "Whoa dude" and informs him that Donna was ranked at the top of her design class (really? she was?) and Donna says she takes a lot of pride in her work and will prove it to him. Fernando rolls his eyes and goes, "Fine. 7am. No screw ups."
Back in their room, reality and panic start to set in. Donna wails, "There's no way I can pull this off! I don't have a clue what I'm supposed to do!" She [correctly] predicts that the photo shoot will be a total disaster, and nervously clings onto David.
The next day, the photo shoot gets underway...and things already look chaotic. Fernando barks orders at Donna and tells her to "anticipate", and she responds by frantically rushing around the beach like a chicken with its head cut off. Valerie, meanwhile, notices a hot male model - this is our first sighting of Noah Hunter - and remarks on his hotness to Brandon and Steve...but Brandon just shrugs disinterestedly and goes, "If you say so." In an Abbott & Costello type sequence, one of the props for the modelling shoots slips into the ocean and starts to float away, and Steve tries to rescue it while Donna trips over stuff and breaks some of it, and Fernando glares at her in dismay and bellows, "What are you doing?!" In the next scene, Donna gets into a dingy with a group of models in order to transport them to a nearby boat, and accidentally pokes a hole in the dingy with a pair of scissors. As it quickly sinks, the models end up in the water, and some of them panic and yell that they can't swim. Steve, Brandon, David and Noah dive in and bring the models safely to shore. An enraged Fernando calls Donna a stupid, worthless idiot and accuses her of ruining the entire shoot - and Noah steps in, tells him to chillax, then calls him overrated and under-talented. Fernando's like, "Oh yeah?!" and shoves Noah, and Noah responds by punching him in the face. Fernando threatens to sue him, then snarls at Donna, "You're finished!" and storms off. The 90210 gang thanks Noah for his help and everyone introduces themselves to the show's newest cast member. Noah notices Steve's blistering skin and warns him he's getting a sunburn.
As the gang heads back to the hotel, Tracy Gaylian appears from out of nowhere and chirps, "Brandon!" She asks him if the whole gang is here, and Brandon chuckles uncomfortably in reply.
Donna moans to David that this is the worst day of her life and that she was crazy to think that an incompetent dumbass jerk like herself could pull off a photo shoot. Well, d'yuh. David tells her that Fernando is the jerk, but Donna continues to self-piteously mope and says she has no idea how she's going to tell Vanessa how badly she fucked up.
Brandon meets up with Tracy in the hotel restaurant, and she gleefully introduces him to the guy she upgraded to after he dumped her: her fiance, Eric Anderson. Brandon's all, "Wuh?" then tells her how fantastic it is. Eric excuses himself to make a phone call, and Brandon gives Tracy a congratulatory hug just as Valerie and Steve arrive. Tracy invites the gang to come along on a day trip with her and Eric to Waimea Falls tomorrow, and they accept. After Tracy scampers off, Steve remarks on how great she looks, and Valerie mockingly adds, "Of course, she's no Kelly" then sheepishly apologizes to Brandon for being unable to resist making catty remarks about Kelly.
David fills in Vanessa about how horribly the photo shoot went, then ushers her over to his and Donna's room. Vanessa apologizes to Donna for putting her in such an untenable position and takes full responsibility for Fernando's cuntiness. She asks Donna to forgive her, which was nauseating, and Donna gives her a grateful smile and a hug.
Valerie laments to Brandon and Steve about how sad it is that they all came to Hawaii without a plus one. She then spots Noah hosing off the deck of a nearby boat and sashays over to him to flirt. Noah calls her out on her cliche come ons, then chides her for not lifting a finger to help her friends during the photo shoot. Hee! He digresses and offers her a drink, then explains that the boat belongs to a rich person, not him (a poor person).
The next day, Tracy tells Brandon that Eric had some sort of emergency, so he won't be able to make it to Waimea Falls with them...but they all head off regardless. After hiking in the lush, Hawaiian jungle (that sooo reminded me of Lost) for awhile, they come across a gorgeous waterfall - and everyone dives in and frolics in the water. Donna watches Brandon and Tracy and misinterprets their frolicking as flirting and scrunches her big face in concern. I guess she somehow missed the memo that Tracy is engaged.
The Walsh house. Donna immediately gets on the horn to tattle to Kelly about Brandon's water frolicking with Tracy, who they just happened to run into in Honolulu. Kelly reminds her that Brandon dumped Tracy to be with her and says they were probably just being friendly. She declares, "I trust Brandon" but as soon as she gets off the phone, she stares worriedly into space.
Steve is laying on his bed, moaning about his sunburn, and for some reason Noah is rubbing nut oil on his back. Valerie uses the opportunity to ask Noah out for tonight, but he says he's busy later, then offers to take her and her friends hiking tomorrow. Valerie says that her friends are all busy, but that she's available, and he's like, "Er...OK" and heads out.
The next day, Noah and Valerie are horseback riding in the mountains, and he shows her the lovely views. Valerie gushes about how romantic it is and leans in to kiss him twice, but he pulls away both times. Ouch. He assures her he's attracted to her bosomy form, but isn't really into doinking a woman he hardly knows. Valerie scrunches her face in disappointment.
Tracy tells Brandon that him dumping her was the best thing anyone's ever done for her...and Eric chimes in and thanks Brandon for cutting her loose so that they could get together. Tracy says it wasn't until she met Eric that she understood what he (Brandon) felt for Kelly, and says he's lucky to have her. She gives Brandon a thank you hug just as Kelly - ack! - enters the bar and bitchily snaps, "Well well. Isn't this a pretty picture?" Brandon's all, "Wuh? What are you doing here?" and she glares at him and brusquely retorts, "Donna called." She's about to angrily storm off, but Brandon hastily introduces her to Eric, Tracy's fiance. Kelly's like, "Tracy's what?" then looks sheepish and mumbles, "I am sooo embarrassed."
Later, Brandon and Kelly canoodle in bed together. They chuckle about Tracy being engaged and safely off the market, and Kelly sheepishly says, "I feel like a jerk." (As well you should.) After that, they giggle about the wallpaper samples she wanted him to choose from, and the two start smooching.
Noah is leading Steve, Valerie, Brandon, Donna, and David on a hike through the jungle. Valerie tells Brandon she really digs Noah, but doesn't dig the fact that he fixes boats for a living instead of being the rich owner of a boat. David and Donna, meanwhile, bicker about their living arrangements again, and David says he's contemplating living with his dad to save on rent (which I guess also means living with Jackie and Little Erin). He tells Donna to go ahead and catch up with the rest of the gang, then bends down to tie his shoelace. He suddenly loses his balance and falls to the ground, then somehow rolls down a steep hill and lands - splat! - in some water. After a few minutes, the gang wonders what's keeping David, so they backtrack to see whassup. Noah and Brandon notice David's hat laying halfway down the hill, and the two exchange worried glances as Brandon urges Steve to take the ladyfolk back to the car while they launch a rescue. They're quickly able to find David clinging to a rock near the shore, and he whimpers that he hurts everywhere. Noah and Brandon drag him out of the water, then carry him to the car...and as Donna and Valerie fuss over him and make sure he's really OK, Noah and Brandon congratulate each other on the successful rescue mission and share a manly handshake.
That evening, the gang gathers together at the hotel nightclub to enjoy some traditional Hawaiian entertainment: a fire-eater and hula dancers. Donna tells David how skeered she was when he went missing for ten minutes, then says she's finally going to grow a pair and tell her parents that they're shacking up in the full sense of the word. Noah arrives at the nightclub with a pretty girl, and Valerie looks put out - but then quickly perks up again when he says he brought her for Steve. (Give it up, Valerie. It's obvious he's not into you.) Noah then announces that he'll be flying back to Los Angeles with them 'cause he's taken a job working at the marina...and Donna offers to let him live on her parents' boat, even though she should probably get their permission first. A birthday cake for Kelly is brought out, and she blows out the candles as everyone cheers.
The gang lands at LAX, and Donna tells Noah that she spoke to her parents, and they're thrilled that he'll be living on their boat. Brandon and Kelly break off from the rest of the group and head over to his car - which, they quickly discover, has a flat tire. Brandon insists on changing it, and a few seconds later they hear glass breaking from two thugs breaking into a car. Brandon puffs up his little chest and ambles in the direction of the sound to investigate, and one of the thugs confronts him and snarls, "What are you looking at, man?" His cohort, who's now occupying the car they're about to steal, urges the thug to get in...and the two squeal past Kelly and Brandon. Kelly shakes it off and says, "That was scary" as Brandon gets to work changing the flat. They get alarmed when the carjackers suddenly return and start firing shots out the window. One of the bullets hits Kelly in the abdomen, and she collapses into Brandon's arms. Brandon begs her, "Stay with me!" and the rest of the 90210 gang (plus Noah) comes running...and Brandon yells for someone to call 911.