Recap: It's the end of a school day at West Beverly High, and Brandon runs into Emily Valentine, who he hasn't seen since the Wild Fire episode. The two have a friendly chat and quickly catch up on their busy lives. He tells her he's on his way to meet Brenda to take her over to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where she's scheduled to take her driver's test for the third time. Emily grins and asks him what Brenda's problem is - which could be interpreted as a loaded question, but I'm pretty sure Emily means 'what is Brenda's driving problem?' as opposed to 'what is Brenda's general personality problem?' Brandon chuckles and reveals that his sister has problems with parallel parking...and that she's so hopeless that all the practicing in the world hasn't helped her improve.
In another hallway, Brenda is walking with Donna and Kelly. She's carrying on about how freaked out she is to take her driver's test, and tells them all about a recent dream she had in which she's driving a transport truck that she has to parallel park. Brandon comes over, interrupts her hand-wringing, and tells her that he's ready to go, and that Dylan is meeting them out front. Apparently, Slouchy is tagging along to the DMV for moral support. A stressed out Brenda leans into a group hug with Kelly and Donna, who do their best to mumble a few half-hearted words of encouragement.
DMV. Brandon and Dylan anxiously look on as Brenda takes her driver's test, which for some reason is being conducted in the parking lot of the DMV. Is this really how prospective drivers are tested in Beverly Hills? Brenda seems to be doing pretty well, which isn't saying much considering the fact that she's not driving in any actual traffic. She does, however, get visibly nervous when the instructor asks her to parallel park between a pair of pylons. Brenda stupidly blurts out that she always blows this part of the test. The instructor, who seems like a bit of a kook herself, encourages Brenda to visualize the car being parked "like a snake slithering across the ground". Magically this visualization technique works, and Brenda manages to successfully park the car between two pylons without knocking either of them down. Yay! She passes her test.
The Walsh house. Over dinner, Brenda is regaling her family with the riveting tale of her driver's test. Mama Walsh is so full of pride that she offers to prepare a celebratory dinner on Friday night for Brenda and all of her friends. Brenda accepts her mother's offer, then turns her attention to another matter. She boldly suggests that since Papa Walsh helped Brandon buy his '65 Mustang, she should now be entitled to drive the car half of the time. Brandon makes a loud "Errrr!" noise and points out that Papa Walsh didn't help him buy the car, he merely helped him get the engine fixed. Brenda then whines that she can't be without wheels, so Brandon suggests she get a job and buy herself a car, the way he did last summer. Brenda doesn't like the notion of expending any of her energy working and tells him it isn't up to him...even though it kind of is up to him. Her nonsensical retort also highlights her stubborn aversion to getting a job and earning money to pay for the stuff she wants...as opposed to sitting back and getting everything handed to her simply because.
During this exchange, the phone rings and Mama Walsh gets up to answer it. It's Cousin Bobby! Mama Walsh sounds delighted to hear from her nephew. After a quick chat, she hangs up the phone and returns to the table. Brenda wants to know if Bobby called to congratulate her on passing her driver's test - and I'm not confident she's kidding. Mama Walsh informs the family that Bobby is considering transferring to UCLA and wants to come visit them. This news causes Papa Walsh to furrow his brows and look concernedly at his wife, and his reaction is the first clue that something is amiss with Cousin Bobby. Brandon, however, seems oblivious to the strange undercurrent between his parents and immediately exclaims how awesome it'll be to have Bobby in California; it's been years since he's seen his favorite cousin.
West Beverly High. Kelly is pestering Brenda for details about her college age, hunky (..hopefully?) cousin. In particular, she wants to know if he's available. Brenda is clearly uncomfortable talking about Bobby and abruptly shuts down the conversation by telling Kelly he's not her type. Yep, something is definitely amiss.
Brandon's car. As the twins drive home from school, Brenda tells her brother that she feels as though they abandoned Bobby when they moved to California. She then remarks how weird it is to grow up with someone, only to have them suddenly disappear from their lives. Sort of like all the friends they made during self-contained episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 and then never ever see again. As soon as they pull into their driveway, a basketball soars over the car. We then get our first glimpse of Cousin Bobby...and see that he is in a wheelchair. He's been playing basketball with Papa Walsh and is apparently kicking his ass. There's an unmistakable mood of enforced gaiety during this scene, brought on by the way Papa Walsh over-compliments Bobby's amazing basketball skills, and the overly enthusiastic greeting he gets from Brandon. When Bobby sees Brenda stride toward him to give him a hug, he calls her "gorgeous" and "a real woman". And if that isn't blechy enough, he makes a quasi-creeptastic remark to Brandon that if he and Brenda weren't first cousins...and then his voice trails off. What I think he meant to imply was that he'd be into tapping that. If he and Brenda weren't first cousins. Which they are. So ew.
Hours later, Bobby and Brandon are sitting together in the living room, getting caught up on their lives. Bobby's a bit surprised that Brandon hasn't turned into a typical California, brain-fried surfer dude. Brandon laughs and tells him about his embarrassing surfing attempt in The Green Room episode. The conversation then turns to girls, and Brandon dishes about Emily, the girl he's currently sweet on. Bobby encourages him to go for it, and admits that he's totally interested in meeting some California babes of his own. This comment makes Brandon suddenly look very sad, and he brings up the subject of Bobby's accident. Bobby, however, is not in the mood to discuss his disability, or the accident that caused it. He takes off his shirt, pulls a blanket over himself on the couch and tells Brandon that he had a long trip and needs to get some sleep.
In the master bedroom, Mama and Papa Walsh are talking in hushed voices about Bobby and the ramifications of him moving to California and attending UCLA. Papa thinks that Bobby is pretty self-sufficient, but Mama is concerned he might be too much of a responsibility for them to take on. She's sad about Bobby's injury, but also relieved that it's not Brandon sitting in a wheelchair...since it so easily could have been. I guess there's a lot we don't know about Bobby's accident.
The next morning, the Walshes come downstairs and find Bobby cooking up a big breakfast for everyone. Everyone gushes over the food and falls all over Bobby, over-thanking him for his thoughtfulness. After this cringe-worthy love-fest, Brenda and Brandon head over toward the Mustang to get to school. Brandon tells his sister he's going to do something crazy and let her drive - but Brenda passes on the offer. She tells him she'll drive when she has to drive. I don't know what that means exactly, but it is a complete180 from the other night when she was so annoyingly adamant about "needing wheels" and becoming part owner of Brandon's car.
West Beverly High. David is doing his "voice of West Beverly" schtick in the DJ booth when he sees Donna walk by. She gives him a flirtatious little wave, and he immediately bolts out of the booth, runs after her and asks her if she wants to go to a movie that evening. Donna tells the over-eager boy she'd love to go, but can't because she has plans to attend a big dinner at the Walsh house. Oh yeah...the celebratory dinner for Brenda and her new driver's license. Donna suggests to David that they go to a movie another night, and he seems agreeable to that.
Kelly approaches Brenda at her locker and asks her what time tonight's dinner is. Brenda looks at her blankly; clearly she's forgotten all about it. Donna comes over and asks Brenda if it's OK to bring David to the dinner party. A horrified Kelly asks "Why?" so Donna has to awkwardly explain how he invited her out to a movie and she had to turn him down because of their plans. Kelly derisively asks her if she's dating David Silver, and then turns to Brenda with eyebrows raised and a funny look on her face. Brenda doesn't like the idea of David coming to the dinner and tells Donna there may be "too many people". Kelly tells Brenda she's looking forward to meeting Bobby, and Brenda decides it's time to come clean and tell her friends about Bobby's accident and subsequent disability. Kelly and Donna say they're sorry to hear about his paralysis, which prompts Brenda to bitchily snap that Bobby doesn't need their pity. Furthermore, if they're going to act all weird around him because he's in a wheelchair, then she'll just cancel the dinner altogether! Scenes like this always make me marvel at how Brenda and her inner bitch manage to keep a single friend...let alone friendships with two well-connected A-list gal pals, plus a boyfriend.
The Blaze newsroom. Ahn-drea hovers over Brandon and asks him what time the big dinner is. Ugh, Ahn-drea's also invited? Brandon informs her that the dinner is at 7:00pm, so she asks if she can bum a ride with him. He answers by suggesting that she ask Brenda to pick her up, because sooner or later she's going to have to break in her new driver's license. Heh. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Brandon has just used his sister's poor driving record to avoid being alone in a car with Ahn-drea. Emily Valentine enters the newsroom and announces that she's taking a journalism class this semester and wants to gain some writing experience by writing for the school paper. A smitten Brandon immediately offers to let her help him write the sports page, but Ahn-drea, who is jealous, petty, and intent on keeping Emily as far away from Brandon as possible, assigns Emily to cover boring PTA meetings instead. Emily politely concedes, telling Ahn-drea, "You're the boss". Gaa! I really cannot wait for Gil Meyers to join the faculty of West Beverly High in Season 3, 'cause he gives Ahn-drea the heave-ho from her position as The Blaze's editor-in-chief and awards it to Brandon...and it is so super awesome to watch her meltdown.
The Walsh house. Bobby is playing basketball with Brandon, Dylan, and Steve. Kelly makes her appearance and immediately catches Bobby's eye...but he barely has time to flirt with her, 'cause a minute later, Brenda, Donna, and Ahn-drea also arrive. They're a bit late because they had to go pick up Ahn-drea, and Valley traffic was heavy. Of course, it was Donna (not Brenda) who did the driving, which prompts Brandon to lecture his sister about how it's time she started driving. She snaps at him to leave her alone.
Later that evening, the gang is playing charades in the living room. Kelly is trying to mime "The Naked Gun", which Bobby correctly guesses. Now that her turn is over, Kelly looks for a place to sit down, and Bobby uses the opportunity to invite her to sit on his lap. This seems like a weird thing to suggest to a girl he barely knows, but Kelly doesn't seem to think it's at all strange. She goes over to him, lowers her caboose on his lap, and puts an arm around him. Mmm hmm.
Hours later, the party breaks up. All of the guests, except for Kelly, head home, and Brandon and Brenda announce they're tired and want to go to bed. This leaves Kelly and Bobby alone together. On her way out of the living room, Brenda glares at Kelly and bitchily wishes her a good night. Bobby joins Kelly on the couch, and the two have a friendly chat. She politely inquires about his accident, and he confirms that there's no real chance of him walking ever again, but that he's grateful he didn't end up a quadriplegic. He swiftly changes the subject and invites her to go horseback riding with him tomorrow. She accepts, and the two indulge in some harmless kissing action before she says good night and goes home. As the camera follows Kelly out the door, we see that Brenda had been spying on the two of them through the bannisters of the staircase like a creepy voyeur.
The next morning, Brenda wakes Brandon to tell him that she's worried about Kelly and Bobby hooking up. She doesn't think it's possible for a superficial Barbie doll like Kelly to be genuinely interested in a disabled person, and worries that Bobby will get his heart broken. Brandon tells her he's not really worried, but then goes downstairs to talk to Bobby. He finds his cousin on the phone, reserving horses for the afternoon. When he finishes, Brandon warns him about Kelly's general flakiness with boys and urges him to take it slow it with her.
Stables. Bobby gets help mounting his horse, but once he's in the saddle he looks like a pretty confident rider. He rides alongside Kelly, while Brenda and Dylan ride together. Brandon is slow to mount his horse and brings up the rear, looking nervous and not in very good control of his horse. They probably should have started him off on a pony. As they trot together, Kelly invites Bobby to come along with the gang to a house party that evening. She warns him that there'll be mostly high school kids there, but he tells her he wants to go because he knows she'll be there. Uh oh. Someone's crushing.
House party. Bobby and the gang arrive at the house party. Bobby looks up at the house, which is kind of perched atop a hill, and looks dismayed by all the concrete steps that lead to the front door. Brandon, Dylan, and Steve take charge of the situation and lift him and his chair and carry him up the hill. The party is in full swing when they enter the house. Brenda and Dylan disappear to dance together, while Brandon and Steve go off in search of drinks. Some random girl fake stumbles over Bobby's wheelchair and ends up in his lap and spills her entire drink on his shirt. After that, everything pretty much goes downhill. A long-haired stoned looking guy points to the wheelchair and rudely asks Bobby what happened to him, and as Bobby tries to maneuver around the house, he finds stairs in every direction.
A scrumptious piece of eye-candy strides over to greet Kelly. His name is Tal, he's the host of the party, and an old friend of Kelly's. [Mmm...Tal. Why have we never seen this golden-haired hunk before, and why is he not a recurring character?] Tal asks Bobby if he can get him anything, and the now surly Bobby tells him he wants a beer. Tal regretfully informs him that his parents have a strict no-alcohol policy during his house parties. That settled, he turns his attention to Kelly and asks her to dance. Kelly looks hesitantly at Bobby, who stiffly gives her the go ahead. Kelly hands him her purse to hold, which is pretty hilarious, and flounces off to dance with her sexy friend while Bobby sits in his wheelchair, watches the two of them on the dance floor, and looks sad. When Steve comes over, Bobby asks him to tell Brandon he's not feeling well and wants to leave. A few minutes later, Kelly finishes her dance and returns to retrieve her purse from Bobby's lap. Bobby suddenly shifts into self-deprecation mode and talks about how not fun it is to go to a party with him...unless, of course, he were to get drunk and start doing wheelies. That probably wouldn't be any fun for anyone except him. Bobby then squashes any possibility of a romance with Kelly by telling her how great it was to meet her, that she's sexy and looks great when she dances...but that he realizes she couldn't possibly be interested in him romantically. He then goes slightly further off the rails and starts raving about how dating a guy in a wheelchair is a novelty that soon wears off, because sooner or later she's going to want to dance with her boyfriend. Kelly looks confused and stricken by Bobby's angry onslaught. Brandon and Steve come over and Bobby tells his cousin he wants to leave, but that he'll take a cab home so the rest of the gang can stay and enjoy the party. Brandon dutifully goes off in search of Dylan so they can carry Bobby back down the front steps. Steve suddenly channels Brenda's inner bitch and glares at Kelly, snarling, "Nice work, Kel." And then Brenda herself appears and bitchily asks her what she did to crush Bobby's soul. Kelly tries to explain that the evening took a bad turn when he got a drink spilled on him...and that after her dance with Tal, Bobby started acting really dickish toward her. But she insists to Brenda she didn't mean to do anything to hurt him.
The Walsh house. Brandon and Bobby are in the living room, talking about what happened that evening. Bobby admits that sometimes he tries to pretend like everything is normal, but then realizes how people must see him. He feels like a drag to everyone, and doesn't believe a woman will ever want to get serious with him, which is why he blew off Kelly during the party. Brandon tells him that that's self-defeating, which it definitely is...but at least they're finally having an honest conversation about Bobby's disability instead of maintaining the annoying facade of fake joviality they've been doing up until now in the episode. Bobby tells him he doesn't understand how difficult it is to be in a wheelchair. He still imagines he can walk, and wonders why this had to happen to him. Brandon then reveals the missing piece of the storyline puzzle by recounting how, three years ago, the two of them went skiing together. They were on a steep hill and Brandon dared Bobby to take the jump, which he did, and hit a tree. Jesus...he's bloody lucky he didn't die instantly. Brandon feels guilty about it, which he probably should, but Bobby tells him not to blame himself. He doesn't want to lose Brandon's friendship by burdening him with the hardships of his disability. Brandon then says that from now on they don't have to go on pretending that everything is perfect...which would mean a lot more if Bobby didn't just disappear into the ether the same way so many other characters from other self-contained Beverly Hills, 90210 episodes have done.
The next morning, Bobby is in the kitchen cooking breakfast for everyone again. The doorbell rings and he goes to answer it. It's Kelly, and she wants to talk. They retreat into the kitchen and he offers to make her some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Kelly gets right to the point and tells Bobby how unfairly she thinks he treated her last night. She says she likes him and has fun with him. Bobby accuses her of only liking him as a friend, and she's like, "Duh, dude. I've only known you for two days." Kelly then tells him to lighten up, and not expect a girl to give him a lifelong commitment when they first meet. That said, she does admit to thinking about whether or not she could see herself with someone in a wheelchair, but that she knew it wasn't something she could figure out in her head. However, she is hurt that he didn't give her the benefit of the doubt...because she was really just thinking about how much she likes him. Bobby finally does lighten up, and a few seconds later Brenda and Brandon enter the kitchen after shamelessly eavesdropping on their entire conversation. Mama and Papa Walsh also make an appearance, surprised to see Kelly at the house so early. Papa Walsh sees the breakfast that Bobby made and tells him he'll definitely be a welcome addition to the Walsh household if he decides to move to California and attend UCLA. Bobby diplomatically tells his uncle that if he does, in fact, get into UCLA, there's no way in hell he'd want to live at Casa Walsh with all of them. He'll live in the dorm, or get an apartment of his own.
Now that Bobby's visit is almost at an end, Brandon asks him what he'd like to do today. Bobby has a great idea: watch Brenda drive a car! The camera then cuts to the next scene, where the four of them are piled in the '65 Mustang with Brenda behind the wheel. She's very nervous about putting the car in reverse, and the four of them almost get hit by a passing car. She manages to make it out of the driveway, but then hits the curb before eventually shifting into drive. License or no license, there's no way in hell this girl should be operating a motorized vehicle.
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