Recap: Brandon and Steve are walking down the hall at West Beverly High, discussing the upcoming SATs. Steve has signed up to attend the Alfred B. Cook SAT prep course in an effort to not crash and burn on this important test, and he wants Brandon to take the course with him. Brandon, however, doesn't believe in studying for the SATs since the point of it is to test what a person already knows. Also, the course costs $500 and he doesn't have access to the kind of dough Steve does.
The Blaze newsroom. A stressed Ahn-drea is having a meltdown about the SATs and is annoying everyone in her orbit, like more than usual. She's also railing about expensive prep courses (like the Alfred B. Cook course) 'cause she thinks they put financially challenged shlepps like herself at a disadvantage. Clearly, she's been talking to Steve. Brandon does his best to try to shut her up when he tells her that he's not taking any prep course, and that they're not helpful anyway. Ahn-drea starts whining nonsensically about how bad she is at taking standardized tests...which I find hard to believe considering her neurotic tendency to be over-prepared for everything. Her freakout has made her almost hysterical, and somehow Brandon is able to restrain himself from giving her a hard slap back into coherence.
Kelly's house. Brenda and Donna are sitting on Kelly's bed quizzing each other for the SATs. Kelly, however, isn't at all interested in studying and is leafing through a women's health magazine, reading up on self breast examinations. She asks Brenda and Donna if they know what malignant and benign mean...and then throws out some scary statistics about incidence rates of breast cancer. Brenda tells them that two years ago her aunt died of breast cancer - and from this moment on, we will be forced to contend with the depressing specter of deceased Aunt Sheila, who died at the age of thirty-five. Kelly unbuttons her shirt and announces that she's going to do a self breast exam, and so Brenda and Donna take a break from their studying and do the same. As the three girls simultaneously check themselves for lumps, Brenda suddenly looks distressed. She's found a lump in one of her breasts, but she's too freaked out to tell her friends.
The Walsh house. Brenda is standing in front of the bathroom mirror - letting the water for the bathtub run for no particular reason - and feeling the lump while she stares back at her pale, frightened face. Downstairs at the dinner table, Brandon is complaining to his parents about all the stress he's enduring over the SATs. In the midst of his whining, Brenda makes it downstairs and joins the conversation. When Brandon assures Brenda she'll probably do fine on the SATs, she gets all snappish at him for making any predictions. Mama Walsh looks over at her with a puzzled expression, not sure if this outburst is just part of her daughter's regular bitchy prickliness, or if something is actually wrong. Admittedly, it is a tough call.
Brenda enters her parents' bedroom to ask for private female time with Mama Walsh. The two go to her room, and Brenda tells her how she, Kelly, and Donna all did a self breast exam earlier that day...and that she found something that feels like a lump. Mama Walsh also feels it and assures her that it's probably nothing serious, but Brenda is tearing up, scared that it might be cancer like Aunt Sheila had. Mama Walsh hugs her and once more assures her that everything will be all right.
In the kitchen the next morning, Mama Walsh is complaining to Papa Walsh about not yet having a family physician in California. She wants to take Brenda to see a doctor as soon as possible, and Papa Walsh promises he'll ask around for a recommendation. Mama Walsh then invokes the sad story of her deceased-from-cancer sister and relives that horrible time, lamenting that the problems started because she had a useless doctor who couldn't diagnose worth shit. Brenda enters the kitchen and realizes that Papa Walsh knows about her breast lump, and immediately gets all pissy at her mother for telling him. Well duh, he is her father, and should probably be kept in the loop about stuff like this...but Papa Walsh doesn't really help his own cause when he suggests that the lump could be nothing more than an ingrown hair. Poor stupid Jim. As soon as Brandon comes downstairs for breakfast, the conversation abruptly shuts down because boobies are too embarrassing to discuss in front of a teenage boy.
Science class. Brenda and Kelly are listening to a boring lecture on the anatomy of the human ear when the class is interrupted by a knock at the door. It's Mama Walsh, who's come to take Brenda out of school so she can go to her doctor's appointment. Brenda's first reaction is to snark at her mother for interrupting her school day, but a minute later she de-snarks when Mama Walsh tells her that the appointment is with a doctor who came highly recommended...and that she's a female doctor.
Doctor's office. The attractive, pleasant Dr. Donner - who also played Amy on The A-Team - enters the examination room and greets Brenda and Mama Walsh. Mama Walsh immediately starts babbling about Brenda's lump and about her sister who died of breast cancer. She doesn't let Brenda get a word in edgewise, so eventually Dr. Donner banishes Mama Walsh from the examination room so she can speak with Brenda privately. Dr. Donner tells Brenda that their relationship is confidential, and that any discussion about her health will not take place when she's not present. She also assures Brenda that the lump is likely nothing serious - but to be sure, she will need to do a needle biopsy to determine what the thing actually is.
West Beverly High. Still stressed about the SATs, Ahn-drea scopes out Steve and literally chases after him once class lets out. He's off to the Alfred B. Cook SAT prep course and because Ahn-drea is so desperate to glean any information she can about how to prepare for the SATs, she asks him if they can get together afterwards. Steve gamely agrees and invites her to his house that evening for a study date.
Doctor's office. Dr. Donner is doing a needle biopsy of Brenda's breast lump. Brenda is clutching her mother's hand, grumbling about how much she hates needles. The doctor ignores Brenda's whining and quietly does the procedure as Brenda's eyes are dramatically squeezed shut. Dr. Donner is able to determine that the lump is a solid mass, and she's frank about the various things it could be...which includes cancer, though it's hardly likely in someone so young. Mama Walsh turns pasty white and starts freaking out, which in turn freaks out Brenda. Nice going, Cindy. A procedure to remove the lump is scheduled for Saturday, which is the same day as the SATs, so Brenda will have to make up the test another time.
The Walsh house. Once again Mama Walsh is rehashing the sad story of her sister's cancer, but Papa Walsh assures her that the situation with Brenda is not the same thing, and that she does not have cancer. Brenda enters the kitchen and snaps at them that she doesn't want them talking about her behind her back...and could Mama Walsh please stop freaking out because her freakouts are freaking everyone else out. Brandon arrives home from school and is curious about why Brenda left school early. And so Brenda tells him about the lump she discovered, and that she went to the doctor, and that the biopsy was inconclusive. He looks worried, but Mama Walsh reassures everyone that the chance of this tumor being malignant is highly unlikely. Brandon then makes an effort to be upbeat and jokes about how lucky Brenda is to miss taking the SATs...but right now this is the last thing on her mind.
Steve's house. Steve gives Ahn-drea some general pointers about taking the SATs, and tells her she'll likely do well because she's already smart. Well...book smart. Ahn-drea sighs wearily and lays down on his bed, then momentarily takes off her glasses to de-stress. Steve the Horndog eyes her spectacle-free face and tells her she's cute. Ahn-drea really should consider getting contacts if she has any interest in attracting a boy during her high school years. Steve gets so turned on by her naked face that he practically mounts her and starts kissing her. Ew blech. And she enthusiastically kisses him back...and for at least a few seconds, the two look like they're going to get it on right there. Double ew. But when it finally sinks in to Ahn-drea that she's laying beneath Steve and kissing him on the lips, she springs up from the bed, gathers her books, and runs home screaming.
West Beverly High. During the lunch hour the next day, Ahn-drea spots Brandon and nervously approaches him. She's worried about running into Steve, but Brandon tells her he's definitely not meeting Steve for lunch that day. What's more, Brandon needs her as a sounding board to unburden himself about something, but it must remain a secret. Ahn-drea agrees, and so he tells her all about Brenda's breast lump, and how he's freaking out now because he can't freak out in front of Brenda...the way Mama Walsh has been doing. Ahn-drea is sympathetic and looks extremely hopeful when she tells him he can always come to her. About anything. Romantic feelings he may secretly have for her, for example.
Elsewhere on campus, Brenda is telling Kelly and Donna about her breast lump. They're shocked, but like everyone else who's learned about this so far, assure her that it's probably nothing. Somehow Kelly feels responsible for the lump being discovered, which is silly since early detection is the key to successfully treating cancer, but Brenda tells her she's glad she found it. But then Kelly sort of blows it when she remarks on how hard it must be to deal with all the waiting and not knowing for sure if the lump is harmless...or something that will eventually kill her. And then Kelly and Donna create more tense awkwardness when they express how happy and relieved they are that neither of them found a lump in their breasts.
Dylan sneaks up to Brenda while she's at her locker and tries to envelop her in a from-behind-reach-around, but she gets all mad and pushes him away. He starts babbling about the SATs, but she's on the verge of tears and hugs him. Her momentary warmth confuses Dylan, and so she tells him about the lump and having to go to the hospital to have it removed and analyzed. After school, he takes her home and walks her up to the door. He tells her he wants to be at the hospital with her, but Brenda gets all prickly again and accuses him of not wanting to touch her when he found out about the lump. He tries to explain that he was just very shocked, and that of course he still loves her...but she pushes him away and runs inside the house.
Brenda's room. Mama Walsh comes in to chat with Brenda, who's brooding about her imminent cancer diagnosis. She's afraid of losing a breast and doesn't know how she'll ever go out on a date if that happens. And then she has a freakout and wails about why this is happening to her and wonders what will happen if it doesn't end up OK. Mama Walsh is kind and patient, and assures her they'll cross that bridge if they need to. Brenda then abruptly brushes off her mother and tells her she needs to make a private phone call, which I guess is her diplomatic way of telling her mother to get lost...and so Mama Walsh promptly leaves. Brenda really runs hot and cold with the loved ones in her life. She dials Dylan's number, gets his answering machine and tells it, "I love you too."
That night, Brenda dreams about her funeral...only it's morphed into something out of a horror movie where all of her friends are taking their SATs and answering questions that are all Brenda-centric. Cindy rouses her out of the dream and tells her they have to be at the hospital in an hour. Brandon then comes in to see her, and once again tells her everything will be OK, and that he'll be thinking about her. She wishes him luck on his SATs.
Hospital. In the operating room, Dr. Donner tells Brenda that the procedure will last thirty minutes. Once the lump is removed, it will be analyzed within two to three hours to determine if it is malignant or benign. This is really amazingly speedy health care service.
West Beverly High. Steve and Ahn-drea are both sprinting down a hallway to get to the classroom on time to take their SATs. They literally run into each other and have an awkward conversation about how their kiss was a repulsive mistake of gigantic proportions. The SAT moderator hears them gabbling outside the classroom, addresses them as "lovebirds" and orders them to come in and get ready to take the test.
Hospital. Dr. Donner is talking Brenda through the procedure. She's found the offending lump and removes the whole thing. Brenda will have to wear a bandage over the incision and keep it dry for the next two days.
West Beverly High. Brandon can't focus on the SAT because he's too distracted about Brenda's lump removal and the possibility of her being diagnosed with deadly cancer. He gets up, tells his teacher he's bailing out, and leaves school to head over to the hospital.
Hospital. Mama and Papa Walsh are in the waiting room while Brenda is in the operating room. Papa Walsh once more reassures his wife that this situation is not a replay of Sheila's illness, and he stubbornly refuses to worry until there's something to worry about. Brandon then appears and tells his parents he gave up trying to focus on the SATs. He'll take the test another time. And then Brenda is brought out in a wheelchair by the doctor, and two seconds after that, Dylan appears with a bouquet of flowers. She's happy to see everyone, and the entire brood heads over to the Walsh house.
The Walsh house. Everyone is anxiously waiting for the results of the lump analysis. Mama Walsh is still so freaked out, that when the doorbell rings, she rushes over to the phone to pick it up. Brenda reprimands her for picking up the phone since she agreed to let her answer the doctor's call herself. At the door are Kelly and Donna with a bouquet of flowers and a fruit basket. Kelly apologizes for putting her foot in her mouth when Brenda told them about the lump, but happily all is forgiven. The phone then rings, and it's Dr. Donner. After a tense few seconds, Brenda smiles with a look of enormous relief. The lump is just a fibroadenoma, which is a non-cancerous and common benign tumor. Everyone is happy, and I'm also in a celebratory mood now that this bleak cancer/not cancer episode has finally reached its conclusion.
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3/12/2019 10:04:46 pm
I have to hand it to Brenda; after learning with her she might have breast cancer, she did her damndest to squeeze all the sympathy I had for her out with each succeeding scene as she dresses down Mother Walsh, Father Walsh, Brandon, Kelly, Donna, and finally Dylan. The only time I felt a twinge of empathy come back was when I heard Mother Walsh tell Brenda it was up to her to reschedule her SATs as she lay in the gurney......
1/22/2022 08:41:35 am
Poor Brenda. The person who does these recaps seems douchey and rude .
3/19/2019 07:09:58 am
Thank God they didn't take Steve and Andrea's relationship any further. I love how when Kelly is taking the test in Brendas dream she circles that she wants brenda to leave her, her boyfriend. Lol. Rewatching this series 25 years later and i just realized Dylan and Brenda don't spend that much time together and when they do they are typically fighting. Like in the palm springs episode. I don't even think he was in the last episode i watched at all. They really didn't have that deep of a relationship.
The Dylan/Brenda relationship deepens in season 2. Luke Perry was not part of the original cast line up. Aaron Spelling actually had to pay Perry's salary with his own money for the first 2 seasons. Fox producers were not convinced of keeping him full time yet. So he was only in about 15 episodes in season 1 and in some of those episodes he appeared in one or two small scenes. However in season 2 he is in every episode and he has more scenes with Brenda.
3/19/2019 08:25:25 am
That's an excellent point on the Dylan/Brenda relationship - rewatching now (since learning of Luke Perry's unfortunate passing) I see that Brenda spent as much time pushing him away as she did letting him get close to her. No wonder Dylan headed out to Baja to surf all those weekends:)
4/2/2019 11:30:02 pm
This seems totally weird now since Shannen Doherty dealt with cancer IRL.
10/26/2020 07:31:23 am
"Jonathan Washington says This seems totally weird now since Shannen Doherty dealt with cancer IRL"
4/3/2019 03:44:23 am
10/26/2020 07:28:57 am
I love this episode. Brenda was not whining. She was a teenage girl who has a lump on her breast. She was scared. I don't blame her. Steve kissing Andrea, man lucky girl, I would love if Steve kissed me. :)
1/22/2022 08:42:40 am
1/22/2022 11:12:18 am
"Cassie Exactly.The OP must be perfect. 🙄"
1/22/2022 08:44:57 am
Dude. Brenda wasn't whining. She thoyght she had cancer. That's scary and in real life the actress Shannen does have it. Stage 4.
9/6/2022 02:41:19 pm
“Ahn-drea really should consider getting contacts if she has any interest in attracting a boy during her high school years.”
9/6/2022 03:48:38 pm
Omg lighten up. They’re fictional characters from the 90s.
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