Recap: This episode opens in a seedy pool hall, where Dylan has been spending several hours shooting pool. As he settles up at the bar, the bartender compliments him on his much improved billiards skills. Dylan is flattered by the compliment, then needlessly mentions that he has to get home and have dinner with his mother. The man chuckles and remarks that he didn't know Dylan was such a mama's boy. That's kind of a leap. Eating a meal with one's mother does not a mama's boy make.
West Beverly High. The gang is eating lunch outside, and everyone is trying to coach Dylan on the best way to deal with his mother, Iris. Supposedly she's extremely difficult - even though she really isn't. Dylan's mostly just mad at her for leaving him when he was six years old, which is understandable. Kelly advises him to be honest and tell his mother how he feels, while Donna thinks the best course of action is to tell Iris what he thinks she wants to hear and then just quietly do whatever he wants. Steve concurs that Donna's suggested method is the best approach because parents are generally pretty oblivious. Except, of course, for Mama and Papa Walsh, the home-grown Minnesota bumpkins who represent the gold standard for parenting. Dylan mumbles about how he's totally bummed out because he can't handle a 24 hour, live-in mother. He gives Brenda a chaste kiss, then gets up and slouchily slinks off somewhere so he can mope in private. Once he's out of earshot, Brenda tells the gang she's very worried about him; he's been ditching a lot of school lately and acting really moody. When Steve accurately points out that Dylan is always moody, Brenda insists that Iris is the one responsible for his most recent wave of moodiness. She hasn't met the woman, but says really sarcastically that she "can't wait". Likewise I'm sure, Porcupine.
Economics class. The teacher is handing back an assignment for which the students had to develop a portfolio of profitable stock options. Steve and Kelly did very well, while David's picks were losers. But the student who had the most well rounded portfolio with the highest return was Donna...as in Martin. Everyone, including Donna, is like "Wuh?" The teacher then gives Donna an even more swelled head when he compliments her special knack for choosing the most lucrative stocks. Steve, meanwhile, is so pumped up by his faux earnings that after class he tells David, Donna, and Kelly they should invest in stock, like for real. David isn't willing to risk what little cash he has, and Kelly and Donna look unsure about forking over money for something that isn't a sure thing. Steve points out that if Donna had actually invested cash in the stocks she identified in the assignment, she would have made a bundle. As Donna mulls it over, Kelly advises her not to be stupid. Ouch. Ever since Donna discovered that she has a learning disability in the April is the Cruelest Month episode, she doesn't react so well to people calling her stoopid. Suddenly she's motivated to prove her smartness to her skeptics, which ironically are her closest friends, and tells Steve she's totes up for some real life stock purchases.
Brenda and Dylan are walking across the school's parking lot together. Brenda is babbling nonsense to make the point that Dylan isn't listening to a word she's saying...and instead of this being a cue for her to shut her pie-hole, she starts nagging at him for not wanting to open up about his mom problems. Dylan apologizes for being so spacey, and the two climb into his Porsche for the drive home from school. When they arrive at Casa Walsh, Dylan is aghast to see Iris's car in the driveway. Wryly he remarks to Brenda that his mother is probably reading Mama Walsh's palm.
At the kitchen table, Iris is showing Mama Walsh how to feel the pulsating of the earth by rubbing the palms of her hands together. I tried that, but the only thing I felt was really warm palms. Mama Walsh, who seems very grateful to have an exciting new friend enhancing her humdrum life, enthusiastically rubs her palms together and pretends to feel the earth move. She's all, "Whoa!" which pleases Iris enormously. LOL. Brenda and Dylan enter the kitchen, and Dylan bluntly asks Iris what she's doing here. Iris explains that when she called the Walsh house in an effort to track him down, she and Mama Walsh got to talking - and before she knew it she was invited over for a mother-to-mother bonding session. Brenda bitchily asks Dylan if he's going to introduce her to his mother...but before he gets a chance, Iris springs up from her chair and runs over to Brenda. She gushes about how her psychic powers have revealed to her that Brenda is strong-willed, loving, and intensely loyal. Naturally Brenda agrees with this assessment, even though pigheaded, loathsome, and self-absorbed are far more accurate descriptors of her shitty personality. Mama Walsh asks Brenda to help her set the table because she has invited Iris and Dylan to stay for dinner. Dylan immediately looks grumpy - well, grumpier - at the prospect of having to eat across the Walsh dinner table from his mother.
Bank. To prepare for her stock market shopping spree, Donna withdraws all of her savings and closes her bank account. Not sure why she had to completely close the account, but OK. Kelly is at the bank with her, grumbling about how stupid she is to throw away her hard-earned money on such a risky venture. There's that word stupid again. Donna looks hurt by the name-calling, and after the teller hands her her cash, she gives Kelly a frosty look and flounces away angrily.
The Walsh house. During dinner, Iris is grousing about how much L.A. has changed since she moved to the tranquil paradise that is Hawaii. She definitely prefers Hawaii to L.A. and describes to the Walshes the awesomeness of her "tree-house at the top of a pineapple mountain". That sounds...imaginary. Like something out of a children's nursery rhyme. Dylan rolls his eyes, clearly weary of listening to Iris blather on about "paradise". Papa Walsh decides to jump head-first into this one-sided conversation and inquires about what sort of work Iris did in Hawaii. She tells him that she sold t-shirts on the beach and then joined an archaeological expedition. But mostly she spent a lot of time just mellowing out. She then gazes intensely at Papa Walsh and tells him how Hawaii is a great place to drop one's inhibitions, suggestively suggesting that if he ever went there, he should grow a beard and swim naked. Ew and ew. She then tells the Walshes that Hawaii really mellowed out Dylan...but Dylan swiftly argues he wasn't so much mellowed out as bored out of his gourd. When Iris wants to share what a psychic once told her about Dylan, he makes it clear he has no interest in being the next topic of conversation and abruptly leaves the table. Brenda quickly follows him, and the two talk outside. He complains to Brenda that Iris is driving him to the brink of madness...but Brenda tells him she doesn't think Iris is really all that bad and suggests that she's just trying to be a mom. Brenda then brings up their recent camping trip, and throws it in his face what a killjoy he was during that weekend. She reminds him that all he did during the entire episode was whine and bitch about how little Iris cares about him. Suddenly the front door opens, and Iris steps outside and tells Dylan it's time for them to go home. She hugs Mama Walsh goodbye, and bids Brenda adieu by calling her "a magical young lady". That Iris really likes to talk some bullshit. Dylan says goodnight to Brenda, promises to call her later, and grimly trudges behind his mother.
As the Walshes clean up the dinner dishes, Papa Walsh tells his family he thinks Iris is eccentric. Brenda calls her flat out weird, while Brandon and Mama Walsh agree that her kookiness is somewhat charming. Brenda then spoils the levity of the moment when she points out that it really only matters what Dylan thinks of Iris...and it's not good.
Dylan's house. Now that they're alone, Iris tells Dylan what she really thinks of Brenda...which is that she has "an extremely negative aura". D'yuh. Talk about a giant understatement...but it's immensely rewarding to know that someone in the Beverly Hills, 90210 universe - even if it's just a recurring character - is clued in enough to see through to Brenda's inner bitch at first glance. Iris chalks up Brenda's sour disposition to her being a "scorp"...a sign, incidentally, that isn't astrologically compatible to Dylan's sign. All of this trash-talking about his girlfriend pisses Dylan off, and he barks at his mother that their relationship is none of her business...and to further punctuate his displeasure, he gets up and storms out of the house.
Pool hall. Dylan shows up to shoot some pool and blow off steam. And by blow off steam, I mean drink himself silly. He orders a beer and chases it with a shot. The bartender informs him that a skid named Falcone wants to play him for money. Dylan is into that idea and rapidly binge drinks his entire mug of beer.
West Beverly High. Brandon and Ahn-drea are in The Blaze newsroom, about to put the paper to bed when Brenda bursts in to share her distress about Dylan "flipping out". It's the third day this week he's ditched school, and Brenda has no idea where he goes. Brandon is unsympathetic about Dylan's propensity toward drunkenness and tells his sister that Dylan's truancy is his problem. Ahn-drea is slightly more sympathetic and advises Brenda that all they can really do is be good listeners when he's ready to talk about his mom problems. She then nosily asks if Iris is really that bad, and Brandon says no at the exact same time Brenda says yes. Brenda insists that Iris is a "space case", while Brandon maintains that she's merely a little flaky. Brenda then sternly reminds Brandon that Iris is so nuts that she's taking their mother to a mind gym that day. Hmm...a mind gym. Sounds like a place where people go and imagine they're working out.
Mind gym. Iris and Mama Walsh are barefoot and decked out in their mind gym workout gear. They enter a private room and recline on cone-shaped lazy-boy type chairs. They each put on a pair of dark shades, which launches some sort of simulated faux LSD trip inside their heads. Groovy.
The Peach Pit. Brenda and Dreary Dylan are sitting at a table together. At the counter Nat asks Brandon why Dylan is more morose than usual, so Brandon tells him he's having issues with his mother. Back at the table, Brenda rebukes Dylan for skipping school and causing her to worry. When he insists he's fine, she snaps that he doesn't look fine. She then reminds him about an important trigonometry test coming up that they need to study for, so he agrees to come over to her house later and hit the books. For now, though, he has somewhere to be, and grouchily staggers off in the direction of the seedy pool hall.
Mind gym. The faux LSD trip is over, and the brains of Mama Walsh and Iris have returned to their default lucidity. They sit at a table and a mind gym waitress serves each of them a disgusting concoction of ginger, garlic, and orange. Iris tells Mama Walsh that she comes to the mind gym a few times a week - I'm guessing she has a mind gym membership. (Thank you folks! I'll be here all week!) She likes to regularly chill out from the stress of dealing with her uncommunicative, surly son. She remarks that she knows she can't erase her mistakes of the past...but is now determined to do something about the future.
The Peach Pit. Donna and Steve enter the diner and seat themselves at the counter. Steve fake orders an elaborate celebratory meal from Nat, then explains that he and Donna bought stock that's already gone through the roof. Donna, however, is ready to sell and bank her earnings. Steve disagrees with that idea and insists on letting the profits ride. Like the horse's ass he proves himself to be in every episode, he remarks that while Donna may look like a dumb blonde, she's really the wizard of Wall Street.
Pool hall. Dylan is chugging more beer and shooting pool. Falcone, a greasy young hustler, approaches him and challenges him to a game.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh, who's still under Iris's Svengali-like spell, serves her family some overly spicy Pakistani take-out for dinner. The grub makes Papa Walsh tear up, and Brenda declares that it's inedible then accuses her mother of "going off the deep end". Dramatic much? Brenda then launches into another whining session about the evils of Iris, and how she needs to lighten up on Dylan. Mama Walsh stands up for her new BFF and bravely retorts that Dylan doesn't exactly make things easy for Iris either...and Brenda counter-retorts that Dylan's so wound up he's liable to snap at any moment.
Pool hall. Dylan is shooting pool with Falcone, and he's on a winning streak. Falcone looks pissed off when he loses the game, and unhappily hands over $500. A cocky Dylan takes the pile of cash and guzzles the rest of his beer.
The Walsh house. It's the middle of the night when the doorbell rings. Brenda rushes downstairs and finds a sloshed Dylan on her doorstep. He drunkenly leans toward her for a kiss, but she's repulsed by his booze-laden breath, and shoves him away. Dylan staggers inside and heads straight for the Walsh's liquor cabinet. He's annoyed that Mama and Papa Walsh don't stock the kind of scotch he favors, so he pours himself a glass of something else...I'll assume it's whiskey. Brenda is furious at his rude, drunken behavior and eventually orders him to get the hell out of her house. After a few gulps, he puts his drink down, gives her a dirty look, and snarls that he can't count on her. He lurches toward the door...and probably gets behind the wheel of his Porsche before drunkenly weaving the streets all the way home. Nice job, Brenda.
Brandon's room. Brenda enters Brandon's room to tell her brother about the drama that just occurred downstairs. She asks Brandon if he thinks she screwed up by throwing Dylan out, but he assures her that she didn't. Brandon then comes clean with Brenda about Dylan's mini-bender during the Camping Trip episode. He says he didn't want to make a big deal about it at the time, but Brenda snaps that it IS a big deal, and that, like everything else, it's all Iris's fault. Brandon points out that life is a bit more complicated than relentlessly scapegoating Iris for Dylan's bad behavior. He tells her that Dylan needs to be held responsible for his inebriation issues.
West Beverly High. The economics teacher is talking to the class about stocks, specifically the issue of holding and selling. Donna turns to Steve and whispers to him that now that they've tripled their money, they should sell - but he disagrees. The teacher interrupts their private conversation and asks them to share what they're discussing, so Donna tells the class that people who make a profit off the stock market shouldn't get greedy. After class, she announces to Steve that she's taking an honest profit and getting out. Steve tells her not to be stupid, which marks the third time Donna gets called stupid during this episode. All of this bitchy name-calling makes her even more determined to follow her instincts and sell her stocks.
Brenda and Kelly are standing in front of their lockers when Dylan saunters over. He kisses Brenda good morning and apologizes for his drunken house-call last night. Brandon leans toward Dylan and sniffs him, remarking how much like a stenchy brewery he smells. Incidentally, today is the day of the big trigonometry test, and Kelly makes a wisecrack about how boozed-up Dylan will probably ace it. Angrily he tells her to shut up, and Kelly barks back that the only thing worse than a drunk is a mean drunk. True enough. Dylan would be so much more enjoyable to watch if drinking mellowed him the fuck out. Dylan gets pissy, decides he can't deal with school that day, and stalks off. Kelly urges Brenda and Brandon to not get sucked into Dylan's addiction problems and just let him hit rock bottom. Brenda's reluctant to stand by and let Dylan hurt himself, but Kelly - who went through exactly this kind of shit with her ex-druggie mom - insists it's actually not helpful to try to save him. Brandon manages to stop Dylan before he drives away in his Porsche. He grabs the keys and tells Dylan that he'll drive him anywhere he wants to go. Not surprisingly, he tells Brandon he wants to spend the day at the seedy pool hall.
Pool hall. A dismayed Brandon observes Dylan as he drunkenly shoots pool with Falcone. Brandon's shocked when Falcone tells him he's already won back the $500 he lost from Dylan the previous night. Brandon tries to persuade Dylan to leave and warns his wino friend that Falcone is playing him for a chump.
Walsh house. It's 10:30pm, and Iris is over at the Walsh house, worried that Dylan is still out somewhere, carousing. She confides in Mama Walsh that sometimes he doesn't come home until well after midnight, and that last night he didn't come home at all. She suspects he's drinking again and is at her wit's end with his moody, slouchy demeanor. In the meantime, Brenda arrives home. Mama Walsh and Iris ask her if she knows where Brandon and Dylan are, but she has no idea. She tells them she knows Dylan has been drinking, but that today Brandon refused to let him drive. Iris grumbles that maybe Brandon should have refused to let him drink - a remark that unleashes a fury-filled response from Brenda's inner bitch. She snaps at Iris, telling her she has no right to criticize Brandon when he's been there for Dylan, unlike her negligent ass. I don't usually side with Brenda's inner bitch on any issue, but I have to agree. Mama Walsh tries to smooth everything over and assures Iris that if Dylan is with Brandon the Boy Scout, then he's fine.
Pool hall. Falcone wins the pool game, and Dylan tells him he wants a chance to get even. Falcone refuses and just wants Dylan to pay up what he owes. Dylan admits that he doesn't have the money on him...and as soon as the words leave his mouth, a bunch of Falcone's hooligans surround Dylan and Brandon. A few minutes later they're taken outside, and Brandon is physically restrained while Dylan gets the crap beaten out of him by the hooligans. When they're done thrashing him, Falcone warns him that he wants his $800 by tomorrow. The hooligans go back inside the pool hall, and Brandon helps Dylan stagger to his feet.
The Walsh house. It's 1:00am and Mama and Papa Walsh, Iris, and Brenda are worriedly waiting in the living room. Brandon arrives home with a bloodied-up Dylan, who immediately gets into an argument with Iris about staying out late once again. He rants about how he can't respect her because of the way she walked out on him when he was six. Meanwhile, the Walshes discreetly disappear to the kitchen to give them privacy. Brandon assures his irked father that he wasn't involved in any drinking or pool hustling - he was just trying to keep Dylan out of trouble. Papa Walsh tells him he no longer feels any sympathy toward Dylan, and thinks that the slouchy lad has deeply rooted problems that are too far beyond their coping abilities. He also tells Brenda he doesn't want her to hang out with the troublemaking lush until he has a better grip on his life.
Living room. Iris is at a loss with how to handle her boozy son. She tells him she loves him, but he doesn't buy it. He gets up and walks out of the house, leaving Iris to rant to Mama Walsh that "this is ridiculous". It is ridiculous. And tiresome. We're not even halfway through Season 2 and I'm already tired of all the screen time that gets devoted to Dylan's ongoing alcohol problems. Iris whines that she doesn't know how to be a mother, and Mama Walsh says it's not possible to figure out motherhood in one month...but insists that Dylan still needs her. Iris finally admits that because she walked out on Dylan, she doesn't expect him to forgive her, and that she doesn't deserve to be part of his life.
Outside the Walsh house, Brenda relays Papa Walsh's edict to Dylan that she's not allowed to see him until he gets his head screwed on straight. She tells him she doesn't want to lose him, and Dylan hugs her, promising all will be aw right.
West Beverly High. Before class, Steve runs into Donna and Kelly and bitches at Donna about the shoe company they invested in, which burned to the ground. He now regrets listening to her and her stupid ideas. That's a total of four stupids lobbed at Donna this episode. She haughtily tells him he should have listened to her when she advised him to sell, and reveals that she sold her stock right after he called her stupid the other time. She points out that she made a lot of money, and that he shouldn't ever call her stupid again. Dense, dumb, or half-witted are still on the table, however.
Dylan's house. The next morning, Iris makes Dylan a big tasty breakfast. He feels bad about his outburst last night and apologizes for blurting out that he has no respect for her. She tells him he's entitled to feel that way and knows she can't make up for all those lost years. She wants to be there for him, but finally accepts that he doesn't need a full-time mother. She tells him it's obvious that he can take good care of himself, which is both funny and ironic since his face is still bruised up from his drunken adventures the night before. Iris deduces that the best thing for her to do is abandon him again give him his freedom. However, before she leaves, she hands him a big check. Turns out when she split with Jack, he gave her a lot of money to stay out of Dylan's life, but she never spent a penny of it. She's now going to hand it over to Papa Walsh so he can set up a trust fund, which will allow Dylan to become an emancipated minor. She tells him to make a good life for himself, and that maybe the two of them can build a relationship based on something real...and if all goes well, maybe someday he'll want to call her "mom" instead of the less maternal Iris.
The Walsh house. Iris arrives to say goodbye and thank the Walshes. She hugs Mama Walsh and asks her to take care of Dylan. Brenda apologizes to Iris for snapping at her last night, and they both agree that Dylan is not an easy guy to love. He's also not an easy guy for me to watch on my 50" flat screen TV when all he does most of the time is look miserable and drunkenly stumble around
As Dylan loads up the car with Iris's luggage, Brandon tells him that when he returns from the airport, there's someplace they have to go. Dylan assumes he means to the seedy pool hall so he can pay Falcone the money he owes him...but the someplace Brandon is referring to is the place Dylan once took him when he needed a friend: an AA meeting. You are wise, Grasshopper Brandon.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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