Recap: West Beverly High is decorated for the Christmas season, and this episode opens with an announcement by David (from his DJ booth) about the upcoming winter dance.
Brenda, Kelly, and Donna are walking together down the hall, discussing how happy they are that finals will soon be over. That settled, Donna changes the subject to something far more pressing: the outfits they're planning to wear to the winter dance. Kelly mockingly tells Donna she should wear a big sign that says even though she's at the dance with David Silver, she's still available. Donna tells her she's being mean, and Brenda laughs at the hilarity of Donna dating a pipsqueak who's a year younger than they are. Donna insists that these snide comments are mean, and Kelly interprets this touchiness as a sure sign that Donna and David are getting close. Donna vehemently denies this and methinks the girl doth protest too much about having a romantic interest in David.
In a different hallway, Steve runs into Brandon and asks him if he's going to the winter dance. His answer is no because: a) he doesn't have a date, and when Steve calls that a lame excuse, b) Brandon reminds him of how badly he sucks at all types of dancing. Brandon, in fact, hates dancing so much that he doesn't even like to be in a room where people are dancing. Steve tells Brandon he's thinking of "breaking down" and asking Kelly to the dance, because in his delusional mind she deserves another chance. Brandon points out the obvious, which is that Kelly was the one who dumped him...and that ever since she dumped him, she's never once expressed the desire to resume their romantic relationship. Steve breezily replies that he's forgiven her...for the sin of breaking up with him, I will assume.
Steve spots Kelly at her locker, sneaks up behind her, covers her eyes, and does the old "Guess who?" trick. Kelly tells Steve she knew it was him because of his sweaty palms. Ew. He wastes no time coming right out and inviting her to go to the winter dance with him, but she tells him she already has a date. The two enter their history classroom together, at which point Steve arrogantly orders her to break her date, but she refuses. She then drops the bomb that her date is Chuck Wilson, and Steve does not react well to this news. Turns out Chuck is Steve's longtime nemesis, and this rivalry stretches all the way back to when Chuck, a former child actor, played Samantha Sanders' son on The Hartley House. Steve tells Kelly that "Chuckie" only asked her out to piss him off, to which Kelly retorts that he's not the center of the universe...and that every time she gets with a new guy he tries to ruin it. Donna barks at Steve to shut it because the class is about to take their history final.
After the exam, Steve sourly tells Brandon that if he fails his history final, it'll be Chuckie Wilson's fault. Brandon asks who the hell Chuckie Wilson is, and Steve jests that he obviously doesn't watch enough television...in particular, cheesy, shit-tastic re-runs from the '80s.
Steve's house. Steve plays Brandon a tape of The Hartley House in order to show him some footage of Chuckie Wilson when he was a child actor on the show. According to Steve, he's just as obnoxious now as he was back then - the proof being that he's recently been expelled from every private school in Los Angeles. I guess that explains why he's suddenly attending West Beverly High. After a long, painful clip of The godawful Hartley House, Steve mercifully shuts the TV off. He tells Brandon about how he used to visit his mother at the studio while she was filming, and Chuckie would hit him, bite him, pull his hair, and break his toys. Steve would always get the blame 'cause no one wanted to risk upsetting Chuckie, who would refuse to do his scenes if he got provoked into a tantrum. Even Samantha played along and was always super nice to Chuckie at the expense of her own son. Steve then recounts what Chuckie said to him when he started attending West Beverly: "Watch out, Steve-o. Chuckie's back." Steve took this obvious reference to the doll horror movie as a threat, but Brandon tells him it sounds like Chuckie was just kidding around and thinks that Steve is making a big deal out of nothing. Steve then confides in him that there are plans in the works to put together a reunion show for The Hartley House. Yeesh...based on the clips Steve plays of it during this episode, that seems like a really unmarketable idea. Samantha enters Steve's room, and Brandon promptly congratulates her on the reunion...but she says that the deal hasn't actually been signed yet. However, it's looking good, and the executive producers are thinking they might even be able to squeeze a TV movie out of it. Seriously? Of course, all of this will only be possible if Chuckie agrees to the deal. He'll be coming over to the house for dinner later, and Samantha warns Steve that he'd better be on his best behavior.
That evening, the doorbell rings and Steve answers it for Chuckie, who has a lovely bouquet of flowers for the dinner host. He asks Steve if he's planning on coming to the winter dance Friday night, and smarmily says that he and Kelly will be really hurt if he doesn't show. And speaking of Kelly, Chuckie asks if it's true that she's a really great first date, which I'm guessing is code for how likely is it that he'll get laid right after the dance? Naturally this angers Steve, who wants to kick him out for that remark. The two start to argue, but manage to stifle it when Samantha makes her entrance. Incidentally, she looks totally stunning in a smart red blouse and black skirt. Samantha is happy to see Chuckie, who swiftly pours on his schmoozy charm.
The Walsh house. Kelly is over at the Walsh house for dinner, and the table is being set for dinner while Brenda provides her family with a general plot description of The Hartley House. She mentions that Kelly is going out with Chuck Wilson, the guy who played the impish little brat on the show. Kelly then tells everyone that she's known Steve and Chuckie since elementary school, and so doesn't want to be put in the position of having to choose between them just because they hate each other. Fortunately for her, Chuckie is yet another of this show's throwaway guest stars, so it's not really a choice she needs to consider for the long term.
Steve's house. Dinner is finished, and as Chuck heads out he wishes Samantha good night and cheekily tells Steve he'll give Kelly his regards. Steve's response to his phony regards is a stony glare. After he leaves, Samantha tells Steve he will have to apologize to Chuckie for acting like such a douchenozzle during dinner. This, of course, makes Steve angry, and he accuses her of taking Chuckie's side against him like she did all those years ago when he visited her at the studio. Samantha admits to kissing the kid's ass, but mostly 'cause she's concerned he won't agree to do the reunion show. She tells Steve how much she needs this show...and that if she gets it, his college tuition will be paid for. Steve points out that his father has already agreed to pay for that, which seems to hit a sore spot with Samantha and she snaps that Steve shouldn't rely on his father's promises. Steve apologizes for his rude dinner time behavior, and explains that Chuckie always knows how to push his buttons. Samantha strokes Steve's ego by telling him he's so much more mature than Chuck, and that he should just be nice to the guy.
The Blaze newsroom. Some random guy runs in to give Ahn-drea the boring scoop that there might be a Hartley Housereunion show...and since Chuck Wilson goes to school at West Beverly, maybe he'll agree to do an interview for the paper. Ahn-drea and Brandon exchange a look of wry amusement, and Brandon tells the eager lad that The Blaze doesn't run celebrity puff pieces. Right - it only covers hard-hitting school news. Random Guy argues that there's a story here and makes his pitch: kid actors are a weird breed, which is evidenced by the fact that Chuck has gotten himself thrown out of the last three schools he attended. Brandon chides Random Guy for wanting to turn The Blaze into a supermarket tabloid - which is only funny 'cause supermarket tabloid would be a huge step up from the irrelevant, low circulating rag it currently is. To Brandon's dismay, it looks like the idea of doing a celebrity "puff piece" is starting to grow on Ahn-drea. But she muses that such an article takes a certain degree of sensitivity...and so she assigns it to Brandon. Random Guy looks a mixture of deflated and pissed off, and I really don't blame him.
Brandon finds Chuck Wilson at his locker and introduces himself. He asks the former child star if he'd be willing to grant him an interview for The Blaze. Chuck is very affable, and the two banter pleasantly. After initially promising that he'd have his publicist send Brandon a press pack, he realizes how pretentious that sounded and instantly backtracks by telling Brandon he's free to be interviewed right now...and so the two go outside to talk. Chuck tells Brandon that he credits Samantha Sanders with teaching him all about acting and the world of show business, and that she and Steve are like family to him. And speaking of Steve, he suddenly strides over and interrupts the interview, looking none too happy. In front of Brandon, Chuck maintains his affable disposition and jokes off Steve's hostility toward him as "sibling rivalry". Steve then tells him he came over to apologize for the crappy way he behaved at dinner last night, to which Chuck snarks that it's obvious he can't seem to help himself...and this leads to the two of them bickering. Chuck accuses Steve of being insecure, but that it's understandable 'cause it's perfectly natural for adopted kids to be insecure. Steve advances on him, demanding to know how he found out that he was adopted. Chuck sneers that he's known about it since he was seven years old, and that everyone on the set of The Hartley House knew. Steve gets so angry that he's powerless to contain himself, and he takes a swing at Chuckie which sends him flying into a lush patch of vegetation where the two continue to go at it.
Vice principal's office. Chuck is checking out his shiner in a mirror, sarcastically joking to Steve how great it's going to look on camera. He asks Steve to take the rap for the fight because it's getting increasingly difficult to get acting gigs if he keeps getting into trouble. Steve's response is, "Eat it" so Chuck ups the ante and tells him that if he refuses to take the full blame for the fight, then he'll refuse to do The Hartley House reunion show. Oh no! Chuck then makes a snide remark about how badly Samantha needs this opportunity to revitalize her dying acting career. Steve accuses him of blackmail, and Chuck fully agrees that it is.
Later, Brandon is confused as to why Steve is the only one who got suspended, since Chuck was the one who provoked him. Maybe it's 'cause Steve threw the first punch...and the way the scene was filmed, I didn't witness Chuck throwing any punches at all.
Steve's house. Steve is sitting on his bed, watching another godawful re-run of The Hartley House. Samantha pops into his room, looking completely gorgeous in a black lacy gown. She's on her way out for the evening, but first wanted to let Steve know that his dinner will just need heating up. She also shares that the reunion show may not go ahead because Chuck is wavering about it. At the moment, Steve doesn't give a crap about the show and tells her that he got suspended from school that day. Samantha gets angry when she finds out it's because he punched Chuck in the face, and now realizes why the kid might not want to do the show. But Steve wryly assures her that Chuck will agree to do the show. His lame blackmail scheme has made sure of that.
West Beverly High. Brenda, Kelly, and Donna are discussing the punching of Chuck by Steve. Kelly assumes that the fight was about Chuck asking her to the winter dance, which makes Donna sigh and wistfully hope that one day two boys might fight over her. Well that's just dumb...albeit prophetic, because in Season 6 two guys (Ray Pruit and Joe Bradley) do fight over Donna, and it's nauseating to say the least.
The Blaze newsroom. Random Guy now wants to write a story that provides readers with a blow-by-blow of the fight between Steve and Chuck. Brandon happens to enter the newsroom at that moment and Random Guy starts questioning him about what the fight was about. Brandon tells him to give it a rest, while Ahn-drea agrees with Random Guy that this is a legitimate news story. Brandon correctly argues that this is more gossip than news, so Random Guy announces that if no one's going to write the story, he will because the public has a right to know. First of all, no they don't. Secondly, The Blaze is not a real newspaper, so it's hardly like anyone is depending on it to stay informed about anything remotely newsworthy. But this is all a moot point because Brandon ain't talking. He's not willing to jeopardize his friendship with Steve for a faux news article in a pretend newspaper.
Steve's house. Steve is once again torturing himself by watching yet another mind numbing re-run of The Hartley House. It's a sickly sweet, vomit-inducing scene with Chuck and Samantha. Chuck wants to know where he came from, so Samantha lovingly tells him how there was so much love between her and his daddy that it created a whole other person. Steve drifts off as he's watching this drivel...and in his dream he suddenly appears in the scene with his mother, and asks where he came from. Samantha describes for him how an egg and a sperm created a zygote, which eventually turned into a fetus...but Steve tells her he wants to hear the "there was so much love that it created a whole other person" explanation that she just offered up to Chuck. Grown up Chuck then appears in the scene and starts taunting Steve about being adopted. TV Steve then orders real life Steve to embark on a journey to go find his biological parents. Real life Steve suddenly wakes up from this extremely weird, confusing reverie and looks thoughtful.
The next morning, Samantha enters the kitchen while Steve is glumly eating his breakfast. She tells him she has a surprise for him and leads him out to the driveway where his brand new car is parked! It's a thank you gift for convincing Chuck to agree to do the reunion show. Steve isn't impressed with the car and accuses his mother of being insensitive, and for telling Chuck that he was adopted even before he knew about it. Samantha is shocked to hear this and assures him she never told Chuck about the adoption; in fact, she has no idea how he knows. Steve then drops the bomb that he's going off on a search for his real parents. This makes Samantha get all teary-eyed, and she tells him she's been the best mother she could be.
The Walsh house. Still suspended from school, Steve shows up at the Walsh house to gauge Mama Walsh's opinion about adoption. He asks her if she'd be mad if her hypothetical adopted children wanted to search for their natural parents. She tells him she wouldn't be mad per se, but she might be more afraid of losing them. She then turns the question around and asks him to consider that his birth parents might not want to be found. Especially when they learn they sired a bonehead like Steve.
West Beverly High. David doesn't yet have his driver's license, so he's forced to humiliate himself by asking Donna if she'd be able to pick him up and drive them to the winter dance. It's either that, or his dad will have to do it. Donna tells him it's no problem for her to drive, and that she'll pick him up at 8:00pm. Brenda, Dylan, Chuck, and Kelly are watching this exchange with amused fascination from afar. Kelly still doesn't know what Donna sees in the little runt, but Dylan defends David as a good kid. Chuck chimes in and says that older women/younger guy hookups are hot right now. After her conversation with David, Donna joins the group and gets some good-natured ribbing. Dylan jokes about the stigma of going out with a younger guy, while Kelly jokes about her getting arrested for robbing the cradle. Donna once more insists that she and David are not dating. Brandon then comes over and asks to speak to Kelly privately. Away from the others, he chides her for still hanging with Chuck even after all the shit that went down with Steve. Kelly, of course, thinks Steve is just jealous about Chuck asking her to the dance, so Brandon fills her in about the douchey way Chuck has been giving Steve a hard time about being adopted. She asks Brandon what she should do, and he gives her a vague answer that she should "just think about it".
Sound stage. Chuck is talking with a man I'm assuming is his agent, Norman, about how the studio is a great venue to sign the deal for The Hartley House reunion show. Samantha shows up and remarks that Steve should really be here, since he was the one who got Chuck to agree to do the show. Chuck agrees with that, and the three of them toast Steve with glasses of champagne.
Samantha asks Chuck exactly what Steve said that was so convincing to make him agree to do the reunion show, then cuts to the chase and asks him how he found out that Steve was adopted. Turns out Norman spilled the beans about the adoption to Chuck because he was feeling jealous of Steve; it was Norman's best effort to squelch one of the kid's many tantrums on the set. Samantha is enraged at Norman for betraying her trust just to make a spoiled brat feel better, a remark that immediately raises Chuck's hackles. He snarls at Samantha that he was the one who kept the show on their air all those years. (That's really nothing to brag about, Chuckie.) Samantha declares that she's had enough of putting up with him, tells the two of them that she's backing out of the reunion show, and then storms out. Norman and Chuck look upset and call after her, trying to convince her to reconsider.
The Peach Pit. Steve is sitting at a table by himself looking glum. Dylan enters the diner, and is ordered by Nosy Nat to cheer him up...so Dylan sits down and gives it a shot. Steve tells him that he was adopted and that he wants to find his biological parents so he can ask them why they gave him up. Dylan cautions him to consider if this is really a good idea, and reminds him what a good mother Samantha has been to him.
Steve's house. Steve finds his mother crying in her elegantly appointed living room. She tells him she's not doing the reunion show - hurray! - and that she now knows about how Chuck was cruelly taunting him about being adopted. She apologizes to Steve and now regrets making him be nice to "the little bastard" all those years ago. They hug it out, and Steve starts crying because he's still intent on meeting his birth mother. This, in turn, makes Samantha cry again, and she tells him she's dreaded this moment for so long because she's frightened it might mean she'll lose him.
Winter dance. Donna and David arrive at the school in her fancy BMW. They sit in the car for a few moments, talking about the evening ahead. He asks her if she's nervous, and she says she's not...and then he asks her if she feels weird going out with him, and she says she doesn't, since they're not really going out. Ouch. But then she tells him how proud she is to be going to the dance with the best dancer at West Beverly High. Er...OK? David is flattered by the compliment and leans over to kiss Donna. She kind of breaks away from him, but then instantly apologizes. Awkward.
Steve's house. Steve tells his mother he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, but he feels strongly about seeking out his biological mother. Samantha gives him all the information she has, which is the woman's name - Karen Brown - and that she was very young when she had Steve, and hails from a little town outside of Albuquerque. Apparently, that's where Steve was born. Steve decides that he has to go there. Tonight. I wonder why Steve wouldn't first hire an investigator to determine Karen Brown's exact whereabouts, or even if she's still alive. Wandering around Albuquerque with no real plan seems like a complete waste of time.
Winter dance. Donna and David enter the auditorium. Donna looks visibly uneasy to be seen with her pre-pubescent date, and is troubled that she doesn't see Kelly. Chuck, however, is there, so she reasons that Kelly must be around somewhere.
Steve's house. Kelly comes over, and she's wearing a darling red and white coat-dress. She heard about Chuck's adoption related taunts to Steve and figured that the best punishment she could think of was standing him up. Someone sure thinks highly of herself. Anyway, she invites Steve out for a drive, which he happily accepts. As they drive around in her convertible, Steve tells her about his plan to search for his birth mother in New Mexico. Kelly shudders when she learns he'll be taking a bus, and offers to drive him there instead. But he says he needs to leave Beverly Hills behind for this very personal mission.
Winter dance. Brenda and Dylan are having a fun time dancing together. She reminds him that he'll be spending Christmas with her and her family. What's this? Brandon has come to the dance after all! Fortunately he's not dancing, just milling around the food table. Ahn-drea then enters the auditorium wearing a puffy, layered v-neck blouse with oversize filmy sleeves...and so far this is the second time she's shown up all puffed up at a school dance. She sees Brandon by the food table and makes a beeline right over to him. Not surprisingly, she starts yammering about the story Random Guy wanted to write for The Blaze, documenting the fight between Chuck and Steve, and agrees that it's nothing more than gossip after all. Brandon is pleased she was finally able to see reason, but suggests that she leave "business" behind for one night. Hee! Ahn-drea invites him to dance, but when he points out that he can't dance for shit, they enjoy some punch instead.
Donna and David are dancing, and this is attracting a lot of observers. David is getting all funky with it, flailing his body around and thrusting his tiny hips.
Steve and Kelly make an appearance at the dance and, along with everyone else, stare at the spectacle of David's frantic pelvic thrusting. When the song ends, everyone claps and Donna throws all caution and good taste to the wind and gives David a big smooch. She then makes an official announcement to her catty friends that she likes David, as in likes likes, and that it's tough tamales if any of them have a problem with it. Ahn-drea thinks this declaration is sweet, and Brandon seconds that and puts an arm around Ahn-drea. Jesus, Brandon. What have I been saying about giving this lonely, love-starved girl these kinds of mixed messages?
Chuck is pissed off when he sees Kelly with Steve and bitches at her for standing him up. She retorts that she doesn't go out with people who hurt her friends, and then flounces off with Steve toward the dance floor. An incensed Chuck tattles to the nearest teacher that Steve is present, which I assume he isn't allowed to be since he's currently suspended. The teacher asks Steve to leave, and the gang immediately rallies around him, urging the teacher to allow him to stay...but Steve concedes, mainly because he has a bus to catch. Chuck taunts him about taking a bus because his mommy took away his wheels, which is a dumb taunt 'cause Steve currently has two sets of wheels that were given to him by his mommy. Steve calls Chuck "a has-been", pretends like he's going to hit him, but then runs his hand through his hair instead. Slick move, Steve. The gang snubs a forlorn looking Chuck as they loyally follow Steve out the door.
Bus station. The gang is all there to see Steve off. Ahn-drea has her arm hooked around Brandon's arm as though they're a couple. Boundaries, Brandon! Boundaries! Everyone simultaneously wishes him well on his journey, and they all look very sad...as though he's a soldier going off to war. Brenda tearfully tells him they love him, and Kelly adds that they'll always be his family. They all clump together for a group hug before Steve breaks away and boards his bus. Kelly rushes over to give him a final kiss on the cheek, and then off he goes.