Recap: In a hallway at West Beverly High, Emily is walking toward her locker when she spots Brandon...at least a guy who looks like Brandon from behind. She goes right up to him, puts her hands on his neck, and gives him a sensual neck rub. The guy quickly turns around and reveals himself to be not Brandon, though he did enjoy the feeling of Emily's hands on his neck so much that he's willing to be Brandon if it means more of her sensual touching. He informs Emily that he's just been assigned to a new locker, which, not coincidentally, is the one Brandon was using...up until that day. Ouch. That's harsh, dude.
In a different hallway, Ahn-drea is surprised to see Brandon stationed at his new locker...and correctly guesses that he switched lockers so he could more easily avoid Emily. In her usual judgey way, she chides Brandon for not being direct with Emily about wanting to break up with her...and Brandon sheepishly admits that he's not an in-your-face kind of guy and prefers to avoid confrontation whenever possible. He should think seriously about growing a pair. Steve saunters over, as do Donna and Kelly...and the three pause their conversation in order to catch David's on-air announcement about a parade float contest. The gang agrees that they want to enter the contest and that the float should be constructed at the Walsh house. That settled, everyone disperses and Brandon happens to spot Emily as she enters The Blaze newsroom. His first instinct is to flee, but Ahn-drea urges him to face Emily and tell her that their relationship is over. This must be one happy day for Ahn-drea, who never likes it when Brandon has a girlfriend who isn't her.
Inside the newsroom, one of the student volunteers is reading an anonymous letter that was sent to the school paper. It's the seventh such letter the paper has received, and this one mostly ridicules the rich kids at West Beverly, which I would assume is the vast majority of the student body. Emily comes right out and asks Brandon why he changed lockers, so he mumbles something about needing a locker closer to the newsroom so it's more convenient - but Emily doesn't look convinced. She invites him out for the evening, but he declines and tells her he has to study, so she invites herself over to study with him, but he shoots her down again. Emily looks hurt by Brandon's frosty attitude toward her, but she tells him she understands - even though it's clear from her tone and body language that she does not understand...and is about to gear herself up to channel Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. That was such an awesome movie.
The Walsh house. Dylan and Brenda are dry humping on a pair of outdoor loungers. The latest dilemma in their annoying relationship is that they can't seem to take their hands off each other, even in public. Brenda abruptly pushes Dylan off of her and barks, "Time out!" She reminds him that they're supposed to be studying for history class and tells him how sick she is of them making out all the time. She thinks they should immerse themselves in something more intellectually stimulating than kissy face. Something cultural. Like a music concert, perhaps.
It's Friday night, and Brandon is at home, working on the computer when the phone rings. He answers it, but the caller hangs up...and a minute later the exact thing happens again. When the phone rings a third time, he snatches up the receiver and angrily barks at who he assumes is the crank caller, but it's Steve calling from the Peach Pit. He's appalled and confused that Brandon is staying in to do schoolwork on a Friday night, so he convinces his friend to come by the Pit, grab a bite to eat, and hang out for awhile.
The Peach Pit. Brandon and Steve are sitting at a table, eating Nat's junk food and discussing the Emily situation. Steve advises Brandon to be firm with her about their break-up. Minutes later, Emily enters the diner and makes a beeline over to their table. She calls Brandon on his bullshit excuse about having to study all evening, but he handles it smoothly and tells her he's just taking a break. She then asks to join their table, so Steve voluntarily gets up and leaves, mumbling something about making a phone call. Emily sits next to Brandon and starts rambling about their kismet, so he swiftly blurts out that they shouldn't see each other anymore. In an effort to pretend what's actually happening isn't really happening, Emily apologizes for slipping Ecstasy in his drink and acknowledges that it was a really stupid thing for her to do and that she'd never do anything to hurt him. Brandon remains firm, even after she begs him to forgive her and offers to do anything if he gives her a second chance. He tells her they can be friends...but friends only. After that brush-off, Brandon walks her to the parking lot; when she reaches her motorcycle, she fake exclaims, "Oh my God!" when she sees that her tire has been slashed. She accuses the phantom pen-pal, and then dramatically (and hopefully rhetorically) asks why he didn't also slash her throat while he was at it. Brandon buys her martyr-esque phony act and comforts her with a hug.
The Walsh house. Brandon and Mama Walsh are preparing a makeshift bed for Emily in Brenda's room. Emily did such a good job pretending to be frightened over her slashed tire that she was able to convince Brandon not to make her go home to an empty house. She tells him that her parents are away for the weekend...but this ends up being another lie in her intricate network of lies. To put it mildly, Brenda is not happy to have to share her bedroom with Emily. She invokes the Ecstasy incident and warns Brandon that Emily is taking advantage of him, but Brandon hushes her and tells her not to tell anyone that Emily spiked his drink that night. He's worried that she might become an outcast at school, and Brenda reluctantly agrees to keep her trap shut.
Sometime during the night, Emily slips out of her makeshift bed and creeps into Brandon's room. She climbs into bed with him, mounts him, and starts kissing him. In his groggy, half-sleepy state, Brandon kisses her back...but when he realizes what's happening, he pushes her away and tells her to leave. She saucily claims that if they make love right now, he won't want to break up with her - and he counters that by saying that in order to make love he has to be in love. Ouch again. Emily agrees to leave the room, but not before she declares her love for him. Brandon starts to look worried, and it's about damn time.
The next morning Mama Walsh is in the kitchen, gabbling on the phone with Emily's mother. Emily comes downstairs and when she realizes who Mama Walsh is talking to, she snatches the phone from her and tells her mother about the tire slashing and clarifies that she slept in Brenda's room. When she hangs up, she tells the Walshes that it looks like her parents unexpectedly arrived home early from their fictional weekend trip. Mama Walsh and Brenda exchange a look of skepticism.
In the driveway, the gang is busily working on their float. David is - naturally - filming the work in progress, which greatly annoys Steve. David explains that he's required to film their work so they can disprove any accusations that the float was professionally built. Apparently, this has been an issue at West Beverly High in recent years. By the looks of this hideous float, I don't think anyone would actually doubt that it was cobbled together by a bunch of vapid teenagers who can barely swing a hammer. As if to emphasize this point, Donna shows up wearing a cute pair of overall shorts, but tells everyone it's a new outfit and she doesn't want to get any paint on it. Emily emerges from the Walsh house wearing Brandon's favorite baseball shirt, and this immediately catches Brenda's attention...and she remarks to Kelly and Donna that Brandon is going to go ballistic when he sees what she's wearing. Emily says hello to everyone, while Brandon just stares at the baseball shirt, but ends up saying nothing. Ahn-drea strolls over to Emily and compliments the shirt, which prompts Emily to needlessly explain that she spent the night with the Walshes and is wearing Brandon's shirt 'cause she didn't have anything else to put on. She then tells Ahn-drea that she and Brandon got "a little...you know" and Ahn-drea immediately gets jealous and pissy and scuttles away, while Steve and Dylan give Brandon a WTF, really? look. He assures them he didn't lay a finger on her, but doesn't have the heart to be brutal since she's clearly not getting the message. Dylan sternly advises Brandon to dump her and dump her good. Emily confronts Brandon once again and accuses him of avoiding her. Brandon expresses his annoyance that she's wearing his favorite shirt, so she starts unbuttoning it, which exasperates him. He tells her she's driving him crazy...but not in a good way.
Violin concert. Brenda and Dylan are at a violin concert, which is their first attempt to culture themselves and curb their amorously immature behavior. Unfortunately, once the violinists start to play, they stare at each longingly, hold hands, and before long they're locking lips. The next day, Brenda recounts to Kelly the failed experiment to keep herself and Dylan from making out in public, so they're going to try again at another concert. What a pointless sub-sub-plot.
Elsewhere on campus, Emily apologizes to Brandon for wearing his favorite shirt and tells him she'd understand if he never wanted to speak to her again. He's pretty good-natured about it, and jokes that they have to speak to each other because they both still work for The Blaze. At that moment, some random kid rushes over to tell them that the phantom pen-pal has struck again; another anonymous letter was sent to The Blaze, and this one is even more freakish than the last eight. They all hurry to the newsroom in time to hear Ahn-drea reading it aloud. Basically, it's a threat to burn down the school. Oh no!
The Walsh house. The phone is ringing while Papa Walsh tries to make it in the back door in time to answer it...but by the time he does, the caller has hung up. He then looks down at the answering machine and notices sixteen messages waiting. In the next scene, he plays the messages for his family. They're all from Emily, and they're sad, weepy, and one of the calls is a little raunchy. Papa Walsh thinks that Emily is more than a little imbalanced, because she had to have known that the entire Walsh family would likely hear these pitiful cries for attention left on their answering machine. Mama Walsh expresses sympathy because she knows how long a broken heart takes time to mend. Brenda, who is far less sympathetic, compares Emily to Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction. Hee! The phone rings again, and it's yet another hang up. A fed up Papa Walsh takes the receiver off the hook.
The next morning, Brenda and Brandon are on their way to school when they discover two packages from Emily on their front step. One contains Brandon's baseball shirt, which has been cleaned and pressed. The other is a cake. Brandon is about to stick his finger in the frosting for a small taste when Brenda snappishly warns him not to eat it. Considering that it's from Emily, it could be laced with Ecstasy...or something even more gross. Like dog poop.
The Blaze newsroom. Emily brings an old Corona typewriter to the newsroom and tells Ahn-drea that she's giving it to the paper as a parting gift. She's quitting 'cause she blew it with Brandon and doesn't want to be where she's not wanted. Ahn-drea encourages her to stay on at the paper, and for some insane reason invites her to come along to the gang's inauguration/official photo of the hideous float. Emily wavers, but Ahn-drea insists that she belongs in the picture.
Elsewhere on campus, Brenda is telling Donna and Kelly how she and Dylan have plans to attend another concert and try their hardest not to exhibit their obnoxious public displays of affection. The trio then spots Emily in the hallway and Brenda starts ranting about how Emily is obsessed with Brandon. Kelly and Donna don't think she's so bad, but Brenda just continues to stare daggers at her.
The Walsh house. It's inauguration day for the hideous float. Ahn-drea shows up with Emily, which prompts Brandon to ask her why the hell she brought that nut-wrench along. Ahn-drea lamely explains that she didn't want to leave her out. As everyone poses for the photo in front of a camera with a timer, Emily manoeuvres herself behind Brandon and leans in to kiss his neck just as the picture is taken...and Brandon finally finally snaps. He yells at her to leave him alone and chastises her for not being able to take any of his not-so-subtle hints. Emily's response is that she can't help herself because she loves him, and reminds him that she had her pick of guys when she first arrived at West Beverly - wuh? really? - and thought they had something special. She then offers way too much information when she tells him that she wanted her first time to be with him 'cause he was special, but now he has just made her feel like the slut everyone thought she was. She then finally storms off. For a tiny second Brandon is tempted to go after her, but Steve holds him back. Steve sometimes has his useful moments.
Steve is at the Walsh house for dinner that night, regaling Mama and Papa Walsh with the story of Emily's dumping. Mama Walsh once again expresses her sympathy for Emily, probably because her experience raising Brenda has taught her that teenage girls don't always act rationally. And speaking of irrational behavior, the phone rings and it's another hang-up. This time we know for certain that it's Emily, because she's shown making the harassing calls from a phone booth. When she phones again, Steve jumps up and answers, pretending to be a Jersey-talkin' goon from Sal's Pizzeria. A confused Emily hangs up. Papa Walsh and Brandon are amused, but Mama Walsh tut-tuts them for making fun of Emily. She thinks the best course of action is to speak to the nut-wrench's parents. The doorbell rings, and it's Ahn-drea, who wants to show everyone the latest letter The Blaze received from Emily...er, the phantom pen-pal. This time it's a death threat poem against "abusers of love". Hey Brandon, it's for you! Detective Ahn-drea has been doing some sleuthing and discovered that these psycho letters were all typed on the old Corona typewriter that Emily had gifted to the paper. She calls the letters "a cry for help", while Brandon just considers them threats. I think they're illegal and should be turned over to the authorities in case this girl turns out crazy enough to actually burn the school down. The phone rings again, and a fed up Papa Walsh takes the receiver off the hook for the second time in two days. In the phone booth, Emily looks frustrated when she gets the busy signal.
Violin concert. Brenda and Dylan enter the concert hall and take their seats. When the music begins, it looks as though they might possibly be able to resist the temptation to paw at each other.
The Walsh house. As Ahn-drea, Brandon, Steve and the Walsh parents discuss how best to deal with Emily's troubled soul, Emily sneaks onto the Walsh's driveway where the hideous float is parked. She has a can of gasoline with her and gives it a hard stare.
Violin concert. Brenda and Dylan are entranced as they watch the intense soloist. As the screechy violin music plays in the background, Emily is in a crazy rage, splattering white paint all over the float. She then rips the whole thing apart and pours gasoline all over it. We then go back to the concert, where Brenda and Dylan have managed to not tongue each other throughout the soloist's performance.
The Walsh driveway. Emily's face and clothes are smudged with white paint, and she's sitting on the gasoline-doused float. She stares down at her lighter, obviously contemplating setting the whole thing on fire. By this time, Brenda and Dylan are on their way back to the Walsh house. When they arrive, they're shocked to see Emily sitting on their trashed float. Dylan notices that it's soaked in gasoline and warns Brenda that the situation is dangerous...and that Emily is clearly "whacked". Emily starts snapping at Brenda for hating her and turning everyone else against her because of her resentment for going on that ill-fated date with Dylan during the Wild Fire episode. Brenda denies this and lies to Emily's face about her still being part of their group...but also points out that since Emily broke Brandon's trust, it's going to take awhile to get it back. She then assures Firestarter that Brandon has an amazing ability to forgive, but that she'll first need to give him his space. It would also help if she stopped destroying property, writing psychotic letters to the school newspaper, and crank calling the Walshes. Emily looks thoughtful, apologizes for almost torching the hideous float, and hands over the lighter, which Dylan promptly snatches. Emily then accompanies Brenda and Dylan into the house...not sure why. Brandon and his parents are shocked to see Emily looking disheveled and smudged with paint. She apologizes for behaving like a total psychopath for the past few weeks - specifically for writing all of those letters to The Blaze, repeatedly calling the Walsh house, slashing her own motorcycle tire, and, most egregiously, slipping Brandon Ecstasy at the underground club. She explains that she went a little crazy - OK, a lot crazy - when she lost him, but mostly she hates herself right now. Brandon urges her to get psychiatric help, which she readily agrees to do in order to give this episode a neat, tidy conclusion.
Later that night, Brandon comes into Brenda's room. He and their parents drove Emily home, and they all had a big long chat about Emily's mental deficiencies. Turns out Emily has been seeing a shrink on and off for years, but it didn't take. Brandon theorizes that Emily is a lonely person, but can't stand the thought of being close to anyone either. The two then talk about the damage she caused to the hideous float, and the tenseness of those crazy minutes when Emily was about to set it on fire. Brenda tells him that she was able to get through to Emily by assuring her that she'd always have two friends in Beverly Hills. Wuh? When the hell did she say that? Someone's telling tales to make herself look good...but it doesn't really matter, since like most of the show's guest stars, Emily will mostly disappear into the ether. That is, until she makes a brief reappearance during the Christmas episode...and again during Season 4 with a really really terrible hairdo.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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