Recap: Brenda and Dylan are in the Walsh's living room, studying for their midterm exams. Well, Brenda is studying...while Dylan is draped across the couch, looking bored as he lazily fondles her hair. Brenda admonishes him for goofing off and constantly distracting her with his bedroom eyes when they're both supposed to be studying. Dylan accuses her of being obsessed with studying, which she denies because of all the time she's spent playing kissy face with him during her allotted study time. What a completely nauseating argument. Brenda suddenly gets up, packs up her books, and announces that since they're not getting anything accomplished in the living room, they're going to have to relocate to a public place. Somewhere well lit so they won't be tempted to dry hump each other. Dylan doesn't look pleased and grumps, "Not the library!"
The Peach Pit. Brandon is working the evening shift, reciting facts aloud as he waits on customers. Most of the gang is also there studying. Nat declares that he loves midterm exams because after the library closes, everyone heads straight over to the Peach Pit. Kelly, who's not so much into studying, approaches the counter and asks Nat for some change so she can pick out a song from the jukebox. Nat tries to open the cash register, but it keeps jamming. Brandon then comes over to give it a hard whack, and the drawer finally opens. This seemingly insignificant detail will be important to us later. Sort of.
Brenda and Dylan enter the diner. Dylan scoffs at the idea of studying in a noisy diner and tells Brenda it's doubtful that they're going to be able to get any work done. But she insists it's possible, then tells him that she needs to consult with Ahn-drea about something. She bossily orders him to find them a table and order her a coke.
At closing time, everyone starts packing up their stuff to head home and call it a night. Steve and Ahn-drea leave together, which is weird...but I'll assume he's giving her a ride home and leave it at that. David, Donna, and Kelly all leave the diner as well, so the only customers left are Brenda and Dylan. Brenda wants to stay so she can finish up the last chapter in her book, so Dylan agrees to help Brandon with some recycling stuff in the alley behind the diner. They give each other a long, blechy, drawn-out kiss while an icked out Brandon waits. Just as Brenda resumes her studying, the little chimes on the Peach Pit's front door rattle as someone enters. The noise startles Brenda, but she's relieved to see it's just Ahn-drea. Steve apparently forgot his CliffsNotes, so she came back to retrieve them for him. She and Brenda banter for a minute, then wish each other a good night.
In the alley, Brandon and Dylan are amusing themselves by tossing and juggling empty soda cans.
Back inside the diner, Brenda is engrossed in her reading when the chimes on the door rattle again. She assumes it's Ahn-drea again...but when she turns around, she's stunned by the sight of a stenchy looking guy holding a rifle. He points it at her and ominously warns, "You do what I tell you, and you won't get hurt." As he edges closer, Brenda begs him to put the gun down. He asks her if anyone else is there, and she tells him that her useless brother and boyfriend are outside in the alley. He aims the rifle at her again and warns her that if she screams, she'll die. He orders Brenda to open the cash register, so she rushes behind the counter. He impatiently smashes up all the dishes and glassware sitting on the counter with the length of his rifle, which totally freaks out Brenda even more than she's already totally freaked out. She struggles to open the register because, as we now know, the damned thing is prone to jamming. But after whacking it hard a few more times, it finally opens. The gunman orders Brenda to put the money into a bag, and she does so while weeping. When she hands the bag to him, he gets a crazed look on his grisly face and mutters that she's kind of cute. Ew. This only makes Brenda cry harder, so he pokes at her with his rifle and orders her to thank him for complimenting her cuteness. After she wails a thank you, he instructs her to get on the ground and start counting...then warns her to forget she ever saw him. Brenda starts counting and the creepy gunman disappears.
Brandon and Dylan, meanwhile, have finished their inane game of juggling soda cans and go back inside the Peach Pit. They're shocked by the mess of broken dishes and glassware, but even more so by the sight of a badly shaken Brenda huddled on the floor behind the counter.
Minutes later, the police arrive. They take Brenda's statement as Dylan and Brandon look on with guilt-ridden sheepishness. The detective suggests that the robbery probably wouldn't have happened if the front door had been locked. No duh. Nice going, Brandon. Nat mumbles something about how he was going to get security cameras, but didn't...so that's also not helpful. Nat tells everyone that the most important thing is that no one was hurt...but Brenda just hangs her head in shame and apologizes to him for giving the gunman all of the money in the register. In his usual folksy way, Nat assures her it wasn't her fault. The detective is pretty pessimistic about being able to catch the gunman, but tells Brenda that she did everything just right. Suddenly, Mama and Papa Walsh burst into the diner looking overwrought. They rush over to Brenda to hug her...and while they're doing that, Dylan goes over to the table Brenda was sitting at and, to everyone's horror, remarks that her purse is missing. Oh no!
The Walsh house. Due to the theft of Brenda's ID, Papa Walsh announces to his family that the locks will be changed the following day, and Mama Walsh suggests installing an alarm system. Uh, sorry, Walshes...you already did the alarm system storyline in the Ashes to Ashes episode and it turned out to be a complete fiasco. Dylan tells the Walshes he highly doubts the gunman will show up at the house, and Brandon promises Brenda that they'll never leave her alone ever again. Brenda brushes off the entire incident, breezily declaring that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Mama Walsh non-sequiturs that this might be a situation that a certain Mr. Pony could help out with. She then provides the background details regarding the origin of Mr. Pony, and we get some fake flashbacks from Brenda's childhood. Here's the story in a nutshell: Mr. Pony is a little stuffed horse that Papa Walsh bought for Brenda after she fell off of her actual horse and was too afraid to ride anymore. Somehow this stuffed toy was instrumental in helping her overcome her fears about falling and gave her the courage to get back on her horse.
As Brenda gets ready for bed, Mama Walsh enters her room with Mr. Pony in hand. Brenda is happy to see her childhood toy again and clutches him as she crawls into bed. Mama Walsh assures her that they're there for her if she needs them, and then gives her a hug. Brenda hugs Mr. Pony close to her and falls asleep. Hours later, she dreams that she wakes up and walks into her bathroom. As she stands in front of the sink, she hears a rifle cock and sees the stenchy gunman behind her. She wakes up in a cold sweat and hugs Mr. Pony tighter.
The next morning, Mama Walsh shows her husband a brochure for a crisis hotline. I hope it's not that godawful Rap Line that Ahn-drea volunteers for 'cause those amateurs don't know what the hell they're doing. Papa Walsh just kind of shrugs and cautions his wife against pushing Brenda into any kind of counseling. He thinks it's enough that she has lots of people around her who love and support her and tolerate her bitchitude. As if to prove his point, Brenda bounds into the kitchen a few seconds later, ready for school. When her parents ask her how she slept, she fibs and tells them she slept great.
West Beverly High. Donna is aghast when she hears that the Peach Pit was robbed and that Brenda was held up at gunpoint. She tells Brenda that if it had been her, she definitely would have peed herself. Steve suddenly appears in the hallway and asks her how she is, remarking how blown away he was when he heard that the diner had been robbed...and Brenda flippantly quips about how happy she is that she wasn't blown away. Badoom bah! Brenda then spots Dylan at his locker, sneaks up behind him, and jabs her finger into his ribs as though it's a gun. Oh dear...someone isn't dealing with her post traumatic stress very well. Dylan is very concerned about what Brenda must be going through after her ordeal and remarks that he'd love to go after the gunman and kick his ass. He apologizes for not being inside the diner when the robbery happened, but she assures him it wasn't his fault and kisses him...but as they kiss, she has a flashback of how the two of them kissed in the Peach Pit just prior to the incident. The image of the gunman flashes in front of her, and she gets spooked by the sound of the school bell.
Study hall. Brenda is trying to focus on studying for her midterms, but she keeps hearing the rattling of the chimes that were on the Peach Pit's front door, along with the voice of the gunman. Ahn-drea suddenly enters the classroom and seats herself beside Brenda. She tells her that she was at the police station, filing a report about the robbery, and recounts how the cops doubt they have the smarts to catch the guy. She continues to prattle endlessly about the case until Brenda finally snaps at her to shut the fuck up. She says she'd like to forget about the robbery, but can't do that when everyone keeps yapping about it. Ahn-drea looks taken aback, then meekly apologizes and (mercifully) stops talking.
The gang is gathered in the hallway, and everyone is discussing the general suckiness of having to study for midterms. Kelly announces that she's going home to take a long hot soak, and Brenda agrees that that sounds like a great idea. Steve inquires if he can join them and make it a threesome, and he says it jokingly, but it's still ew. Brandon remarks that he has to work the afternoon shift at the Peach Pit, and a fearful looking Donna asks him how he can go back there after it was held up. Brenda tells her she shouldn't avoid the diner, 'cause it's unfair to punish Nat for circumstances beyond his control...and the gang takes that under advisement and agrees to continue frequenting the diner. As Brandon heads off, Ahn-drea rushes after him. She tells him how worried she is that Brenda isn't handling the aftermath of the robbery very well, and this is evidenced by the fact that she doesn't want to talk about her ordeal. Brandon suggests that maybe Brenda doesn't want to talk about it with her. Hee! Ahn-drea isn't put out by that delightful zinger and tells him it's imperative Brenda talk about the robbery with someone...even if it isn't her.
The Walsh house. Brenda's swift descent into madness becomes apparent when she goes on a cleaning frenzy and starts piling her clothes all over her room. When Brandon asks her what the hell she's doing, she tells him she's sick of studying, so she's doing this instead. Brandon ignores this red flag and tells her she's a very strong person and that everyone is totes impressed by how well she's dealing with the trauma of nearly getting shot. He then shares with her that Ahn-drea is worried because being held up at gunpoint is a real shock to the system - but Brenda blows that off too and tells him she doesn't want to burden anyone...nor does she want their pity.
That night, Brenda has another nightmare. She dreams about how she kissed Dylan in the Peach Pit the night of the robbery and begs him not to leave the diner - but he leaves anyway, and the gunman enters and orders her not to scream. She then screams and wakes up in a cold sweat, looking terrified in her dark bedroom. Mr. Pony is definitely going to need some reinforcements.
The next morning, Mama Walsh tells her husband she thinks Brenda has gone a tad cuckoo. When they go up to her bedroom to investigate, they find Brenda frantically piling her clothes everywhere. Papa Walsh reminds her that she has midterms, and Brandon is worried he's going to be late for his midterms if he has to wait much longer for his unhinged sister to pull herself together. Brenda promises to be dressed and ready to leave for school within a few minutes.
West Beverly High. Brenda is sitting in a classroom about to take a midterm. The teacher rings a little bell and barks, "Go!" which was just plain weird. I've taken many exams in my lifetime and have never seen a teacher ring a bell and yellgo. The sound of the bell causes Brenda to have another flashback about the rattling chimes just before the gunman entered the diner. She then has a hallucination/vision/day dream that the gunman shot Dylan and Brandon, and starts screaming. Everyone in the classroom is like WTF?! and turns around to stare at her like she's a mental patient. Dylan rushes over to her desk, and she covers her face and quickly bolts out of the room. Dylan follows her into the hallway and asks her what's wrong. Her mind is a jumble of confusion, and for a second she's convinced that Dylan and Brandon were shot by the gunman. Dylan calmly explains to her that no one was shot, and Brenda gets very wigged out by her crazy behavior. Dylan envelopes her in a soothing hug.
The Walsh house. Brenda's laying in bed with Mr. Pony, looking despondent. Mama and Papa Walsh enter her room, and Papa Walsh gently asks her if she wants to come downstairs for dinner. She tells him she's not hungry. He heard about her meltdown at school, and tells her they're going to have to figure out how to deal with the trauma of her recent ordeal. He doesn't want her to pretend that everything is OK when it's clearly not. Brenda is mostly worried that her parents will be disappointed in her, but they assure her they're not...at least not about this. She tells them she thought the memories of the robbery would fade, but every little sound seems to bring it all back, and her visions get more gruesome each time. Papa Walsh is now forced to admit that their love and support may not be enough to see her through this particular crisis, and he suggests they get her some professional help. Brenda gets all weirded out by the idea of seeing a psychiatrist, but Mama Walsh assures her there's nothing to be embarrassed about. She even went ahead and made an appointment for Brenda to get her head shrunk the following day.
Psychiatrist's office. Brenda is recounting for the psychiatrist what happened during the robbery, and also the psychological effect the ordeal has been having on her. The therapist, who seems really wooden and impersonal, tells Brenda that her reaction is normal, and that it has a name: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She encourages Brenda to get all of her feelings and anxieties out in the open, and then urges her to think of a time and place in her life when she felt safe and happy. Brenda recalls riding her horse as a child, and uses that as her "happy place". But when Brenda closes her eyes and pictures herself riding, the gunman suddenly appears and puts a gun to childhood Brenda's head. Panicked, she tells the psychiatrist that he just violated her happy place...and that line probably shouldn't have made me burst out laughing. The psychiatrist promises her that they'll get rid of the bad man by the end of the episode.
The Walsh house. The gang is in the living room, trying to figure out how to make it seem as though they're not all there to ask Brenda how her therapy session went. Ahn-drea thinks they should just be honest about their concern, but that idea goes out the window when they hear the Walsh family car pull up in the driveway. Everyone scrambles to pretend as though they've gathered together to play a game of Scrabble. Brenda and Dylan enter the house, and Brenda seems amused by the sight of everyone in her living room. She looks at the Scrabble board and remarks that the letters don't appear to form actual words, so Kelly breaks down and admits that they're here to see how she's doing. Brenda's not upset at them, and tells everyone she's feeling better and far less confused. David and Kelly each tell her that they've been to a therapist before and that it's really no big deal. The phone then rings, and it's the police! They picked up a suspect who matches the description of the stenchy gunman and want Brenda to come in and look at a lineup. This development causes Brenda to panic, and she tells her parents she can't do it, then scampers upstairs.
When Brenda stops freaking out, Papa Walsh and Dylan urge her to consider going to the police station to look at the lineup. Papa Walsh points out that she'll be behind a screen, and Dylan guilts her by saying if she doesn't help to get the guy arrested, he could rob someone else. Brenda starts yelling at them about how afraid she was that the guy would kill her, and that she wants to go to the station, but she's afraid of that too. She rants loudly and nonsensically about wanting the freedom to be angry - blah blah - but then finally agrees to go down to the station.
Police station. The detective who's been working the case comes out to escort Brenda to the room where she'll view the lineup, and everyone wishes her luck. As the suspects enter the room adjacent to the one she's in, Brenda studies each of them carefully. Hey, the fourth guy looks like the gunman! It is the gunman! Brenda stands up, stares at him intensely and positively identifies him as the perpetrator - and she barks at the police detective, "I want you to put him away." A victorious Brenda returns to where her family is waiting. The detective thanks her and tells the Walshes they have a very brave daughter. As the Walshes start to head for home, Brenda hangs back and asks who the gunman is, so the cop tells her he's a strung out seventeen year old. Come on. That guy looked a helluva lot older than that...but then maybe he's seventeen in the same way that the main cast members are all supposed to be seventeen during Season 2.
Near the entrance of the Peach Pit, Brenda tells Dylan she isn't sure she can ever enter the diner again...but after a lot of encouragement, she finally goes inside. Nat is happy to see her, and very happy that she was able to identify the gunman. She and Dylan then join the rest of their friends, who are already seated at a big table. Brenda tells them it doesn't feel at all scary to be back there. The groups then whines and moans about having to take their midterm exams.
The Walsh house. Brandon enters Brenda's bedroom to say goodnight. He sucks up once more and tells her it took a lot of courage to return to the Peach Pit. She retorts that she's gotten enough praise lately - no fucking duh - and that she's very tired, but is confident that she'll finally be able to get a good night's sleep. She then asks him to hand her Mr. Pony, which he does, and then he gives her a brotherly kiss on the forehead.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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