Recap: On a tennis court at West Beverly High, a pre-Friends Matthew Perry is in the midst of a training session with his coach. When he finishes, he encounters Brandon, who's been waiting around to ask him if he'd be willing to give an interview for a profile in the Senior Spotlight feature of The Blaze. Matthew Perry doesn't seem to want to do it, so Brandon strokes his ego by telling him how impressive he is: straight A student, member of the debating team, former intern at the Governor's office, and overachiever who's about to snap at any moment due to all the pressure he's under. Matthew Perry gives in to Brandon and agrees to grant the school newspaper a rare interview.
Elsewhere on campus, Brenda is walking with Kelly and Donna. She's eagerly anticipating her SAT results, which should be arriving in the mail any day now. I guess this means she was able to retake the test after missing it during the previous episode. Donna, however, doesn't seem very interested in getting her SAT results - she's far more interested in shopping for some fabulous new outfits.
Brandon is chatting with Ahn-drea at her locker, proudly telling her that he scored an interview with Matthew Perry for the Senior Spotlight feature. She's very impressed and exclaims, "Way to go, Ace!" Blech. Minutes later, Brandon runs into Steve and asks him to share everything he knows about Matthew Perry. Steve tells him that the guy's father is a self-made man who earned millions in real estate deals, and then predicts that Matthew Perry is so awesome that he'll earn a Rhodes Scholarship, marry Miss America, and run for president.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh is sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by papers. It looks like she's doing their taxes. Brenda arrives home with Kelly and Donna, and is excited when she learns that her SAT scores have arrived. She tells everyone she wants to be alone when she opens the envelop and dramatically rushes out of the room. Kelly notices Mama Walsh working on the taxes and asks why she doesn't just hire an accountant. Mama Walsh quips that she's married to one, and so this begs the question why Papa Walsh isn't doing the family's taxes. Brenda runs back into the kitchen and shrieks excitedly. She did great on her SAT, getting a score of 1190. Donna suddenly looks queasy, and both she and Kelly abruptly leave so they can go home and see if their SAT scores also arrived.
Matthew Perry's house. Brandon is looking around the elegant, stately home. He notices a glass display case filled with guns, and when Matthew Perry enters the room, he sees Brandon staring at it. He opens the case - without even needing a key, which seems like a major safety issue - and takes out one of the guns. He lets Brandon hold it and shares with him that his father taught him to shoot when he was six years old. Yikes.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh is railing to her husband about all the money that's being shamelessly wasted in their household, particularly the outrageous entertainment expenses and non-deductible interest charges they've accumulated, blah blah. Brenda comes downstairs, looking for Brandon. She's disappointed that he's not home yet because she's eager to know how he did on his SATs...so that she can either rub it in his face if her score was higher, or sulk and feel bad about herself if her score was lower.
Matthew Perry's house. Matthew Perry tells Brandon that he's uncomfortable with the interview being tape-recorded, so Brandon agrees to just work off of his notes. As they're strolling around the grounds, Matthew Perry's father pulls into the driveway. After an introduction to Brandon, he tells his son how he met up with an old fraternity friend who just happens to be in charge of admissions at Stanford University. This irks Matthew Perry and he reminds his father that he specifically asked him not to speak to anyone in admissions at that university. He gets even more irked when his father tells him he gave a copy of his screenplay to some agency to look over. Brandon is surprised that Matthew Perry wrote a screenplay and is really interested in reading it. Matthew Perry tells him he hasn't shown it to anyone, but he's willing to let Brandon have a look at it and give his opinion. I'll give him mine: it's a badly written, amateurish piece of crap about a troubled teenage boy who wants to gun down his father because the man dares to have high expectations of his son. Incidentally, I wonder if Matthew Perry's father even read the thing, or was at least aware of its premise before he gave a copy of it to an agency.
The Walsh house. Brandon arrives home and is immediately descended upon by his nosy and overbearing sister. He opens the envelop with his SAT scores, looks pleased, and then tortures Brenda by telling her he's not going to share his results with anyone. But when her persistent nagging wears him down, he gives in. He scored 1190, exactly the same as she did. Mama and Papa Walsh find this adorable, but Brenda loses interest in this about 10 seconds later when she sees a shiny new toy: Matthew Perry's screenplay. She announces that she's interested in reading it, grabs it off the kitchen counter, and runs up to her room. Brandon follows her and the two crack it open. Brenda reads aloud..
The "I Want to Shoot My Father for No Compelling Reason" Screenplay
Act 1, Scene 1
Matthew Perry is talking to his hot, bikini clad girlfriend - actress Sharon Case for all you Young and the Restless fans. He's telling her how much he wants to kill his father, and asks if this sort of talk turns her on. Of course it does - teenage girls always swoon whenever their boyfriends turn out to be homicidal nut-wrenches. Sharon Case tells him it scares her when he talks like that. He then puts his arm around her and she meekly walks with him over to the pool house, because this is an unrealistic and nonsensical screenplay.
Brenda takes a quick break from reading this crappy thing to answer the phone. It's Kelly, calling to tell Brenda that she also did pretty well on the SATs: 1050. Both girls are now curious about Donna's scores. Apparently she told Kelly that her scores hadn't come in the mail yet - but during that conversation she sounded kind of weird. Gee, Kelly, I wonder what that could mean. Brenda changes the subject and tells Kelly that she and Brandon are reading a screenplay that was written by Matthew Perry. Kelly tells her that she used to hook up with Matthew Perry, but his father didn't think she was good enough for his Wunderkind, so she got dumped like yesterday's news. Brandon suddenly blurts out that the screenplay is getting weird, and so Brenda abruptly ends her conversation with Kelly to get back to it.
The "I Want to Shoot My Father for No Compelling Reason" Screenplay
Act 1, Scene 2
Matthew Perry opens the glass display case and takes out one of the guns and stares at it. We are to assume that he is planning on using it to kill his father. What a psycho.
West Beverly High. Brandon is trying to explain to Ahn-drea that Matthew Perry is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is. Ahn-drea doesn't want him to bury the story, but suggests that he change the angle. For example, he could portray Matthew Perry as a crackpot who recently wrote a terrible screenplay that seems to focus on a personal desire to murder his father. That would definitely be a whole lot more interesting to read than a Senior Profile about a mere overachiever.
Kelly is strolling down the hall with Brenda, reading from a big directory of American colleges. She's most interested in schools that offer a high male to female ratio. The two run into Donna, and Brenda asks about her college choices, but Donna just looks annoyed and says they have a long time before they have to start worrying about colleges. She then flounces off, leaving Brenda and Kelly standing there looking puzzled and clueless. They're both still curious about her SAT scores even though by now it should be obvious to them that she did get them, her scores were shitty, and she doesn't want to advertise how dumb she is.
Some unidentified class. As the teacher hands out a test, Donna looks nervous and shifty. She eyes the clock and then stares down at her blank test sheet and looks like she's going to start weeping. Suddenly she jumps out of her seat and pretends that something horrible has happened with her contact and runs for the door. Kelly just kind of shrugs at Brenda, and Steve chuckles along too. Nice friends she's got there.
Outdoors on campus. Matthew Perry asks Brandon what he thinks of his screenplay and then makes a strange remark about how truth is stranger than fiction. Brandon looks confused and asks, "Is it true?" And Matthew Perry responds with, "What do you mean?" What do you think he means, idiot? Based on the screenplay that seems fairly autobiographical, he's asking you if you're planning on gunning down your father. But Brandon quickly backs off and tells him that the godawful screenplay is simply riveting. Matthew Perry hands him box seat tickets for an upcoming L.A. Dodgers game, and makes an odd remark that he won't be around to use them. That's because he'll either be in prison for shooting his father or dead...if the shooting ends up being a murder-suicide situation. Brandon is confused about the deeper meaning of that comment, but has no desire to explore anything deeper with this nut, so he just accepts the tickets. But Matthew Perry has noticed his hesitancy and snarkily asks him if he wants the tickets or not, then stalks off. What a weirdo.
Brandon finds Dylan in the hallway and asks him about his relationship with his father. Specifically he wants to know that when things got really bad, did Dylan ever want to hurt him? Would he have shot him with a gun that was stored in a glass display case, for example? Dylan's response is that when he was having problems with his pa, Brandon and Brenda kept him from going over the edge.
School has let out for the day and Dylan, Brenda, and Kelly are strolling outside. They notice Donna a few yards away, smoking a cigarette and hanging out with a guy wearing a brown flannel shirt. She's definitely starting to hang with the wrong crowd.
Matthew Perry is in a session with his therapist. He's in an angry mood, telling the therapist that he feels like nothing more than a reflection of his father, and how he hates taking orders from him. He screams that he wishes his father were dead. Dead!
The "I Want to Shoot My Father for No Compelling Reason" Screenplay
Act 1, Scene 3
It's dark outside, and Matthew Perry has just arrived home. His father is home, working alone in his study. Matthew Perry lifts a flower pot and takes the key that's underneath it. It's a bit silly that he wouldn't have a copy of his house-key on a key ring or something, but logic isn't exactly this screenplay's strong suit. Matthew Perry lets himself in the house through French doors and is skulking toward the gun display case. He opens it, takes a gun and loads it with bullets. From inside the study, his father has heard something and calls out to him. Matthew Perry keeps creeping along the darkened hallway, the gun in his hand. He enters the study, and his puzzled father looks at him, sees the gun, and asks him what he's doing. Matthew Perry answers that he knows exactly what he's doing, and then points the gun at his father and fires.
Brandon's reading of the screenplay is interrupted by Mama Walsh, who tells him it's very late. She also remarks that it must be some story to keep him so engrossed. Mmm...not so much.
West Beverly High. Kelly and Brenda are discussing colleges again. Kelly says that one of the main factors that should be weighed when choosing a college is sun or snow...meaning they should decide if they prefer hanging out at the beach or going skiing...because college is nothing if not one big party all the time! Mrs. Teasley, the school's vice principal, approaches them and asks if they've seen Donna...and tells them that Donna missed a scheduled meeting with her. Brenda and Kelly haven't seen her all day, and Brenda wonders aloud what's going on with her.
In the school's parking lot, Matthew Perry is about to leave for home in his awesome red Porsche. Brandon catches up with him and tells him he has a few last minute questions, so Matthew Perry invites him to hop in. While pulling out, they see Dylan and Brenda in his Porsche and Matthew Perry pulls alongside Dylan and dares him to race. Dylan declines, and so Matthew Perry hits the gas and does a tire squealie down the street. Dylan remarks to Brenda that the guy has a death wish. That he does...but hopefully it'll kick in before he tries to shoot his father.
Fred Segal store. Brenda is out shopping and runs into Donna. Brenda asks her why she's been ignoring her friends and cutting classes, and Donna tells her they should all get used to it because she'll be lucky to get a job while everyone else is in college. And then she breaks down and tells Brenda she's a big idiot because she did horrible on her SAT. Her mom told her that she'd better find a rich man to marry her because she's too stupid to take care of herself. Yikes, Felice. Don't you know you have a brilliant future clothing designer on your hands?!
Matthew Perry's house. Brandon tells Matthew Perry that he finished reading the script and tells him it's pretty good. He asks Matthew Perry if the main character in the screenplay is him and he just snarks, "Get real." Inside the house, Matthew Perry's father is home, and Brandon flees the room when the two get into an argument. Matthew Perry didn't get into Stanford, and his father is mad that he wasn't able to "cut it". Matthew Perry stalks out of the room and tells Brandon it would be best if he went home. As Brandon gathers his books from the Porsche, he finds a gun. He furrows his brows concernedly.
Brandon calls Ahn-drea at the Rap Line. Hey - good continuity from the The Gentle Art of Listening episode. He tells her that Matt is driving around with a gun in his car and is worried he's going to off his father at any moment. He even called the police, but they told him there's nothing they can do. Nothing, really? Not even investigate whether or not this minor is in illegal possession of a firearm? Sounds like the police are just being lazy. Ahn-drea tells Brandon that this problem is too far out of her league. She also said this in a previous episode when a rape victim tried to get help from a Rap Line volunteer. So far the Rap Line hasn't proved to be much use to any Beverly Hills teen in need.
The Walsh house. Brandon shows Matthew Perry's disturbing screenplay to Papa Walsh, who isn't sure he agrees that it's a prelude to murder. Brandon is convinced that Matthew Perry is all fucked up, but Papa Walsh just encourages his son to talk to the guy, and maybe he'll open up in time to resolve his most serious problems by the end of the episode.
Matthew Perry's house. Brandon goes over to Matthew Perry's house, possibly to prevent a shooting. He knocks on the door, but no one answers. Remembering the scene in the screenplay, Brandon looks under the flowerpot and grabs the key that's underneath it. Incidentally, keeping a copy of the house key in such an obvious "hiding spot" really is a security risk. Brandon lets himself in through the French doors and yells out if anyone's home. He tip-toes through the hallway toward the study. Scary music starts playing as he slowly opens the door to the study and - reek! reek! reek! - no one's in there. Brandon breathes a sign of relief.
West Beverly High. Brenda implores Mrs. Teasley to help Donna, but Mrs. Teasley tells her it's inappropriate to discuss Donna's situation with her...kind of like it was inappropriate when she told Brenda and Kelly that Donna hadn't shown up for their scheduled meeting. Brenda implores her to not write off Donna because she's actually very smart...and Mrs. Teasley manages to keep a straight face and tells Brenda she's meeting with Donna later.
Brandon is at the tennis court, asking the coach if he's seen Matthew Perry. Nope. Brandon then goes to The Blaze newsroom to report to Ahn-drea that no one's seen Matthew Perry all day. He remarks that maybe that the screenplay will provide a clue as to his whereabouts...and suddenly he thinks he knows where to find him! He runs over to the computer/technology lab and asks Dylan if he can borrow his car. Dylan generously hands over the keys to his Porsche.
Mrs. Teasley asks Donna why she thinks her grades have gone down the toilet, and Donna stupidly answers that it's likely because she's been noticing guys. But then she gets serious and explains that she can't take tests because her tiny brain can't seem to handle any kind of overload, and it makes her mind go blank...then bursts into tears and calls herself stupid. Mrs. Teasley suggests that if she has problems processing information visually, she may have a learning disability...and if she has a learning disability, there are ways they can accommodate her during test-taking.
Matthew Perry's house. Brandon is running around the property like a headless chicken, yelling at Matthew Perry to show himself. He finally finds him in the pool house, drinking. Matthew Perry opens the door for Brandon...and Brandon notices that he's got the gun in his hand. He's playing target practice with his father's various certificates of achievements and trophies, which for some strange reason are displayed in the pool house and not the study, which would make more sense. Matthew Perry starts babbling about how he feels like he needs to top his father but can't ever seem to, and that this makes him feel like a failure. And then he points the gun at himself. Brandon is now panicked, but tries to diffuse the situation by telling Matthew Perry that he wants to help him and be his friend...at least for the remainder of this self-contained episode. Eventually Matthew Perry crumples and gives up the gun. He's shaking with his face buried in his hands. Phew.
West Beverly High. Donna tells Kelly and Brenda that she's not a dummy after all because she's been diagnosed with a learning disability that has "some fancy name". Donna, you are a dummy because you don't even know the name of your learning disability.
Dylan snarks at Brandon for not filling his car with gas. I guess the drive over to Matthew Perry's house used up what little was left in the tank. Brandon makes it up to Dylan by handing him and Steve tickets to the Dodger game...the same tickets that Matthew Perry had given him earlier. He smiles and says he got them from a friend.
Mental ward. Brandon arrives at the hospital just as Matthew Perry's father is finishing up a visit with his trigger-happy son. He looks sad and defeated, but thanks Brandon for everything he did to help. He also tells Brandon that he's getting help for being such a douchebag of a father. Brandon is pleased to hear it and goes into Matthew Perry's room to pay him a visit. Matthew Perry is happy to see Brandon, and says he wants to proceed with the interview for The Blaze. He can't hold his crazy madness inside anymore and thinks that maybe his failed, lame, fake suicide attempt could possibly help others. Brandon tells him that he came to watch the Dodgers game with him, and produces a tiny TV. No doubt Matthew Perry is on the road to recovery and will soon be destined for bigger and better things.