Recap: It's lunch time at West Beverly High. Brandon is sitting alone under a tree, eating his sandwich when he hears singing. It's coming from a girl sitting on the other side of the tree wearing headphones. She's cute, so Brandon chats her up and invites her to join him on his side of the tree. Her name is Melissa, she's a senior at West Beverly, and she's spending her lunch hour reading over the course calendar for Harvard University. She has an admissions interview this weekend and thinks her chances of getting in are pretty good. After the friendly chat, Melissa heads off to class but accidentally leaves behind a paper she wrote for Latin class. It was graded A+ so she probably is smart enough to attend Harvard. Incidentally, I'm a little surprised that West Beverly High offers Latin. I didn't think most public schools taught that subject anymore.
The Walsh house. That evening in his bedroom, Brandon looks up Melissa in the student directory. He finds her phone number and starts to dial, but then loses his nerve and puts the receiver back down.
Brenda's room. Brenda and Kelly are tying up the phone, trying to win a radio contest. Brandon enters her room and snarks at the two for hogging the phone line, which then opens up a whole can of worms about who he's so desperate to call. Brandon tells them that he has to call a girl about returning a Latin paper she left behind during lunch. He then gets all sorts of unsolicited advice about how his telephone manner should be when he's talking to a girl: confident, cool but not cocky...and so forth. Kelly even coaches him to ask the girl out right away so she doesn't have time to invent an excuse not to accept. But she also cautions him that if the girl claims she has to babysit, then she's definitely not into him. Kelly dials the number and tosses the phone at him.
Brandon begins the conversation by telling Melissa that he has the Latin paper she left behind and then swiftly asks her if she's free for dinner Friday night. She turns him down because she has to BABYSIT on Friday night! And on Saturday night! Brenda and Kelly advise him to put an end to his humiliation and get off the phone immediately. In their opinion, nobody ever has to babysit that much. Brandon challenges Melissa's alleged babysitting plans and tells her that if she doesn't want to go out with him, she should just say so. I disagree. A polite, tactful excuse is so much more palatable than the harsh truth when you're the rejectee...but it's a moot point here because Melissa has changed her mind! She tells him she's going to find a replacement babysitter so that she can go out with him after all. Brandon hangs up the phone, sits back, and looks proud of himself for scoring a date. With a senior no less.
Melissa's house. Brandon picks up Melissa, and does so in a civilized fashion by walking to the door and ringing the doorbell...as opposed to rudely honking from the driveway like Kelly's always doing. In the car, Melissa apologizes for coming off as a senior snob when they first met - which I don't really think she did. But given that Brandon told her under the tree that he's a junior, she's certainly doing some major settling. Of course, Brandon isn't actually even a junior yet. In the Beverly Hills, 90210 universe, he has two more years of high school to go after this one, which would only make him a sophomore. Melissa is very surprised that Brandon hasn't heard anything about her, including one very specific, impossible-to-ignore nugget of information. For now, though, she doesn't elaborate further.
The Walsh house. Kelly and Brenda are still trying to win the radio contest. Even Papa Walsh can't get a phone call in edgewise. The inconvenience is all worth it, though, when they finally get through with the winning answers and start whooping and hollering with joy. The radio guy then announces that their prize is...skydiving lessons for two! What kind of stupid prize is that? How about some concert tickets, a new CD, or some cash? Brandon hears this announcement over the radio while driving with Melissa and laughs out loud because it is such a stupid prize, but also because Brenda is afraid of heights.
When Brandon drops off Melissa at her house, she tells him she had a good time...but says she feels like she's deceiving him. And so she invites him inside and brings him into a nursery. At first Brandon assumes that the sleeping tot inside the crib is her baby brother, but she quickly corrects him and tells him it's her son Joey. Ugh, what a blechy name. It always reminds me of that annoying kid actor from Gimme a Break! Brandon looks very shocked and kind of dismayed at the sight of little Joey.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh is not enthusiastic about the radio contest prize Brenda won, and forbids her to go skydiving...and Papa Walsh reminds her that she doesn't even like going on roller-coasters. But for some inane reason, Brenda is determined to claim her shitty winnings. Skydiving seems more like a dare than a desirable prize, but then I would find absolutely no enjoyment from leaping out of a plane and crapping my pants until the parachute opened.
Brandon tells Brenda that tonight he found out about Melissa's baby. She's pretty shocked and starts peppering Brandon with questions that he could not possibly have the answers to. Is she getting married? Who's the father? What do her parents think? The only thing Brandon knows for sure is that he isn't sure if he wants to ask her out again.
West Beverly High. Steve gives Brandon the back story on Melissa. Apparently she dated some Frank guy for awhile and they were considered to be a really great couple until he knocked her up. He didn't want anything to do with a baby, but she did and decided to keep it...and so the relationship instantly went kaput. Steve warns Brandon that he'll have nothing but problems if he goes out with Melissa, but for some reason his cautionary advice prompts Brandon to go off in search of Melissa so he can ask her out again.
In another hallway, Melissa has just gotten back a paper and earned a terrible grade. She runs into two snobbish girlfriends, who I'm assuming used to be her BFFs before she had her baby. She gives them an open invitation to come over and visit Joey, and is pulling out photos of the little gaffer for them to look at. But they're not really interested in her wee one, and saunter off down the hallway without even glancing at the photos. Ouch.
Skydiving training. Brenda and Kelly are part of a group session. The instructor, Don, is super hot and attracts the attention of Kelly. She brazenly ogles Don while Brenda just sits there and looks freaked out by what she's signed herself up for.
Melissa's house. When Brandon picks up Melissa for date #2, she tells him she'd like to go to a noisy place for dinner because Joey is going to have to come with them. He takes them to Old Faithful, aka the Peach Pit. Brandon probes into her life a bit, asking how her parents reacted to her pregnancy and why she decided to keep the child. She shares with him that her parents were very supportive of her decision, and that she felt she had to take responsibility for her actions. But she's confident that Joey will not stand in her way to live her dream and attend Harvard...which is really admirable, but also naive and unrealistic if she thinks she can do all this on her own. Nat comes over to make goo-goo eyes at the baby, and is visibly shocked when he learns that it's Melissa's child, glaring disapprovingly at Brandon. Pace yourself, Nat. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to become overly invested in Brandon's life, as well as the lives of all of his friends.
The Walsh house. Mama and Papa Walsh are relaxing in the living room when Brandon comes home from his date. He tells them that Melissa has a baby, and Mama Walsh looks very concerned about her son hooking up with a baby mama. Brandon puts her mind at ease when he remarks that if he never sees that noisy, slobbering mess of a baby, it'd be too soon.
Early the next morning, Mama Walsh wakes Brandon to tell him that Melissa's downstairs. She has her noisy, slobbering mess of a baby with her because she's in a total bind. Her parents are out of town and her babysitter bailed out at the last minute, and she has the Harvard interview in half an hour. Brandon just looks at her blankly and stupidly asks, "Oh no...what are you going to do?" She doesn't bother explaining that he's the solution to her urgent problem, and simply hands him the baby while giving him a quick rundown of when he last ate, pooped, and passed gas. Then off she goes to her interview. It takes less than a few seconds for Brandon to become overwhelmed, and he shouts for his mother to come help him.
Mama and Papa Walsh are on their way out, and Brenda can't stay and help 'cause she's going to the second instalment of her skydiving training. Brandon's only hope for a baby helper is Steve, who only shows up because the two of them had had prior plans to watch a basketball game on TV. Unfortunately, however, Steve's idea of helping is to phone up various video rental places to see if they have an available copy of Three Men and a Baby. I don't know how helpful a movie about three clueless men caring for a baby would be to two clueless teenage boys caring for a baby...but it doesn't actually matter because when the cable on the TV goes out, so does Steve.
Skydiving training. Brenda and Kelly are vying for the attention of Don. Brenda is still queasy at the thought of jumping off an airplane, and she has a silly daydream that she's a WWII pilot and the success of the Allies rests in her parachute's ability to open in time.
Joey's relentless crying eventually stops, and as a reward Brandon gives him some ice cream. Which one should never do. But then, leaving a baby with a teenage boy who has a general disinterest in babies is also something one should never do. Melissa returns from her Harvard interview looking grim. She snaps at Brandon about feeding her baby ice cream, but she's mainly upset because the interview didn't go well. The interviewer doubted her ability to handle the course-load at Harvard while taking care of a small child. So now Melissa is doubting her decision to keep Joey. Yikes. I thought she'd say she was doubting her decision to go to Harvard. But then we learn that her mother went to Harvard. And her mother's mother probably went to Harvard. It's expected of her.
The next morning, Brenda is practicing her skydiving form on the edge of the bathtub. Brandon is in a cranky mood and feels badly about Melissa and her botched university interview. Brenda tells her brother she admires Melissa for having to deal with important things...things beyond just clothes and guys. She has an idea how Brandon might cheer her up.
Melissa's house. Brandon shows up with a bouquet of baby rattles. Melissa is touched by the gesture and tells him she wants to take a drive, just the two of them. Her parents can keep an eye on Joey, but they have to work later so she promises to return home soon...which is clearly not going to happen. She tells Brandon she needs a break and is desperate to do something crazy.
Skydiving day! Brenda and Kelly are in the airplane, dressed in their gear and ready to dive/jump/end their lives. Brenda looks freaked out and tells Kelly she doesn't want to do it. And Kelly responds by actually pulling her out of the airplane with her! They scream for a little while, but eventually their chutes open and they begin sailing downward. I wonder if this experience has cured Brenda of her fear of heights...or if it's been compounded into a fear of airplanes as well.
It's dark out, but Melissa still doesn't want to head home. She kisses Brandon and they start making out. She wants to get really lost, stay up all night and watch the sunrise. But she also feels guilty about being away from Joey and so her crazy adventure must come to an end. She asks Brandon to take her home.
The Walsh house. Mama and Papa Walsh are in bed, reading. Brenda comes into their room and confesses that she went skydiving against their wishes. But she's so exhilarated and feels that she truly understands the meaning of life now that she doesn't mind getting into trouble with them. However, since she's still in one piece, Mama and Papa Walsh no longer seem to care that she went behind their backs and therefore have no punishment to mete out.
Melissa is at the door when Brandon opens it. She's upset, has Joey with her, and says they had nowhere else to go. Her parents are furious that she left Joey in their care and then stayed out so late, which caused them to miss work. Brandon offers to take Joey off of her hands for a couple of days to give her a much needed break, but she's so confused about everything and is still considering giving him up. Mama and Papa Walsh come downstairs, and Melissa bursts into tears and excuses herself, saying that she's a mess. Mama Walsh instantly perks up, as this is just the sort of maternal, serious heart-to-heart emergency she's been waiting out since the pilot. She follows Melissa into the living room and works her benevolent magic on the stressed out girl.
West Beverly High. Brandon goes back to his lunch tree and finds Melissa there. She's in a much happier mood and tells him that Joey said "Maa", which is one short step away from saying "Mama"...so there's no way that kid's getting put up for adoption. Melissa also arranged a half time schedule at school so she has more time to take care of Joey, even though it might take a semester longer to graduate. Brandon extends an invitation to dinner for her and the baby, but she opts for some alone time with her tot and politely takes a rain check. Then off she goes, and is never seen at West Beverly High again.
Farewell Melissa...we hardly knew ye.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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