Recap: It's the first day of school, and we're treated to a Brandon Walsh dream sequence, an idea which the writers shamelessly recycled from The Green Room episode in Season 1. Brandon is lounging at the beach, being groomed and fondled by three adoring girls. He then stares hungrily at a hot blonde woman striding toward him, calling out his name in a sexy, breathy voice. But then her voice slowly transmutes into the shrillness that is Brenda's voice...and a few seconds later Brenda is waking him up to get ready for school.
We get a montage of the gang getting ready for school. Kelly is trying on various shoes to find the ones that best go with her jeans and red blazer, Steve can't decide which shirt looks best, and Donna restyles her hair a bunch of times and comes up with a scary looking 'do. Ahn-drea spends her morning sharpening pencils because a) she doesn't have any fashion sense, and b) trying to style her over-processed hair would be an exercise in futility.
West Beverly High. Brandon and Brenda pull up in the school's parking lot in the yellow '65 Mustang convertible. They spend a moment reminiscing about their first day of school a year ago, when they had just moved to L.A. and pulled up in Mondale, Brandon's shitty brown car. Brenda's outfit for the big day is a pair of baggy brown pants and a striped shirt with a loosely tied tie around her neck. Blech - I am not a fan of the 'shirt and tie' look on women. Within a few minutes, the twins meet up with Donna, Kelly, and Steve, and they all stop for a moment and stare at the front of the school building with a look of resigned dread.
David is in the radio booth, continuing his schtick as "the voice of West Beverly". Scott Scanlon knocks on the window to say hi. He's wearing a very large cowboy hat that he must have picked up during his summer in Oklahoma. Over the air, David announces that the school will be hosting Hello Day, and Brenda suggests to Kelly and Donna that they show a little school spirit for the occasion and do some kind of performance. I've never heard of Hello Day, so I have no idea if it's something the writers made up, or if it's a real thing high schools in the U.S. do. Anyway, Kelly doesn't have any school spirit and therefore has no interest in performing anything on Hello Day...but Donna's totally up for it.
Scott enters the radio booth, and he and David get caught up. They start off by asking each other if they scored in the sack, and neither did. Big surprise. David then stares at Scott's giant cowboy hat with dismay and remarks that it's kind of...big. Scott explains that it's a Stetson and that it's supposed to be big. He hands David some country western music CDs, which David also looks at with dismay. Scott suggests that he play some of the songs on his radio show, and David responds by curling his lips with distaste. And so begins the rift between their friendship.
Someone on a motorcycle pulls into the school parking lot at the exact same time Dylan rolls up in his Porsche. He stares over at the motorcyclist, mesmerized when the person turns out to be an attractive girl with short blonde hair and dark roots...and a guitar strapped across her back. Dylan smiles to himself and saunters over to her. He remarks that they're both late on their first day of school, and they banter for a minute before introducing themselves. Her name is Emily Valentine, and she's just transferred to Beverly Hills from Marin County. So far she's not thrilled with L.A., so Dylan gets all flirty talking up the great things about L.A. living, then boldly asks her out on a date.
Brandon's at his locker when Emily approaches. It looks as though her locker is going to be next to his locker this semester. She complains that the lockers are too small to accommodate her guitar...which they probably are, but I don't get why she has to lug that dumb thing around while she's in class all day anyway. She and Brandon introduce each other, and he assures her that once she settles in, she'll love West Beverly High. He also knows of a place where she can stash her guitar for the day, which turns out to be The Blaze newsroom. They go to the newsroom, chit-chat some more, and Brandon impulsively invites her to a football game. She looks like she'd be totally into it, but before she can answer, Ahn-drea bursts into the newsroom and starts babbling to Brandon in her usual annoying rambley way about all the stories she wants to publish in the paper that year. Brandon cuts her off and greets her with a calm and pleasant "Good morning." Ahn-drea stops, chuckles, and becomes self-aware for about three seconds before she launches into another mind-numbing babble about how she's been in the newsroom since 7:00am, is totally wired, and that she wants this year's paper to be even better than it was last year...maybe even award winning. Be still my heart. She's interrupted again, this time by Emily, who asks her if she can stash her guitar in the newsroom. Ahn-drea tells her it's fine, gives Emily the once-over, and asks her if she's interested in working for the school newspaper. Emily wisely declines. I wonder if anyone besides Brandon can be convinced to work for The Blaze anymore, considering how Ahn-drea somehow gets re-appointed as editor-in-chief every bloody year.
Girls' washroom. Kelly, Brenda, and Donna are trying to decide what musical number they want to perform on Hello Day. Donna suggests Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer, but wants to tweak it to Addicted to Sex because that's appropriate for an audience of teenagers and high school faculty members. Brenda reminds Donna that Hello Day is a G-rated event, so the girls resume racking their tiny brains trying to come up with another idea. From inside one of the stalls, someone suggests Addicted to Clothes. OMG, that's brilliant! Emily Valentine emerges from the stall, and Kelly snottily asks, "Who are you?" and Emily responds to her in the form of a question: "The newest member of your group..?"
Lunch time. Dylan reminds Brandon how he and Brenda are on-again, off-again...then informs him that he has a date with a new girl tonight. He's planning on bringing her to the Peach Pit, but doesn't want things to be awkward. Fortunately for Dylan, Brandon doesn't seem to really care who he dates...but, of course, he doesn't yet know that Emily is double-dipping.
Elsewhere on campus, Brenda, Kelly, Donna, and Emily are eating lunch together and chatting. Emily is curious about what kind of car each of them drives, so Kelly and Donna tell her they both drive BMWs. Brenda is forced to admit that she doesn't own a car 'cause she's still too dumb to get her driver's license.
The Walsh house. Brandon is surprised to see Emily hanging out in his kitchen with Brenda, Kelly, and Donna. Emily shares his surprise and asks him if lives there, so Kelly clues her in and tells her that Brenda and Brandon are "the Minnesota Twins". Brenda invites Emily to a Walsh family hosted barbecue just as the phone rings. It's Dylan...calling for Brandon. Emily hears the name "Dylan" and mentions to the girls that she met a tall, slouchy, James Dean lookalike named Dylan that morning. Brenda, Kelly, and Donna exchange knowing looks, but none of them says anything.
The Peach Pit. Brandon is waiting tables, getting back into the swing of his part-time job. Dylan and Emily enter the diner and seat themselves at the counter. Nat, who can't seem to mind his own business if his life depended on it, bounds over excitedly to meet the newest member of the West Beverly High clique. As he gushes over the young blonde, Brandon discreetly tells Dylan how surprised he is to see him on a date with Emily...because he has a date with her tomorrow night!
The Walsh house. Brenda is gabbling on the phone with Kelly, and Kelly advises her to tell Emily about the baggage of her past/present/whatever the hell it is relationship with Dylan.
Dylan's car. Emily and Dylan are parked in the Hollywood Hills somewhere, staring out at the city lights. They kiss, and Dylan tells her that he just broke up with someone, but that they're not really broken up, but not together either. Jesus, Dylan...pick a label and stick with it. He also tells Emily that he's not looking for a serious relationship...but that doesn't appear to be a problem, as she seems fairly agreeable to a casual fling, and leans in for another kiss.
The Walsh house. Brandon interrupts Brenda while she's studying to tattle on Dylan for going on a date with Emily and bringing her to the Peach Pit. Brenda shrugs and says that Dylan is free to see whoever he wants, and that she's not going to behave like a jealous person now that he's dating another girl. Say what? What the hell kind of calm, rational response from Brenda is that? As soon as Brandon leaves the room, she gets on the horn with Kelly and confirms to her that Emily "made the first move", which is a totally false assumption on her part because it was Dylan who asked Emily out.
West Beverly High. David is in the radio booth, and he has to pee really bad. But instead of just putting on something by Led Zeppelin and taking a leisurely bathroom break, he pulls Scott into the booth and puts him in charge of switching over to the next song. Scott looks delighted to be in charge for the next two minutes or so, since it gives him just enough time to slip in a country western song so he can get it played over the school's PA system. I mean radio station.
Brenda is talking to Ahn-drea about how troubled she is that Dylan has started to see someone else. In fact, she was so troubled last night that she almost called Ahn-drea at the Rap Line. Sounds serious. Ahn-drea tells her there's not a lot she can do about Dylan seeing another girl, and Brenda says she understands that...but then says that Emily and Dylan can't possibly be in a serious relationship because she also has a date with Brandon that night. This news, of course, crushes Ahn-drea's soul, and she asks Brenda where they're going on their date. It doesn't matter, Ahn-drea, because Brandon is never ever going to love you, so give it up.
Emily runs into Steve in the hallway and tells him she's lost. He helps her find the Tech Room, and they chat and flirt a little. Emily thanks him for his help by kissing her finger and putting her finger on Steve's face. Kelly happens to catch this coquettish gesture and haughtily remarks that there's a name for a girl like that...and then she, Donna, Brenda, and Ahn-drea unanimously agree that that name is slut. There are also words for this kind of bitchy name-calling, which are catty and spiteful. I also find this uppity behavior very hypocritical - particularly of Kelly, who supposedly suffered so much after she was labeled a slut when she got doinked by a popular jock in the woods during her freshman year...as was documented in the Slumber Party episode.
David empties his bladder and emerges from the boys' washroom to the sound of a mellow country western song playing over the school's airwaves. He hurries back to his post and starts railing at Scott for trying to ruin his reputation as a dorky deejaying hip-hop wannabe. Scott seems confused by David's anger, but then he always has the same dumb, confused look on his face.
Lunch time. Kelly, Brenda, and Donna are sitting outside together, sharing their lunch. Emily comes over and informs them that she can't make the next rehearsal for their Hello Day performance because she has to go to the gynecologist to get a prescription for birth control pills. In hindsight, Emily will wish she had simply told these snide bitches that she had a doctor's appointment and just left it at that. She over-explains that two of her sisters got preggers when they were teenagers, so her mother figures that with Emily it's better to be safe than sorry. Brenda blurts out a bitchy wisecrack before she abruptly stands up and storms off to find Dylan. She's able to track him down quickly and demands to know if he's planning on seeing Emily again...then spills the beans that Emily's going out with Brandon that evening. Dylan looks annoyed and frustrated and says he can't win with her. He reminds her that she was the one who cut him loose and told him they should see other people...and so he did. Brenda snarks that she didn't think he'd start dating someone else so quickly. Brenda then implies that he's only seeing Emily because she's willing to hit the sack with him, which makes Dylan sigh wearily. He tells her that she can't have it both ways and walks away. Run far and fast, Dylan.
Brenda is recounting to Kelly and Donna the bleak conversation she just had with Dylan...and how she's unsure if Dylan is doinking Emily, or if he's still in the planning stages.
David is wrapping up his radio show for the day and dedicates the last song to a girl who rides a motorcycle. Brenda and Donna look surprised, and Kelly's all, "Wuh?" - obviously put off that she's no longer the focal point of David's pubescent desires. Emily walks over to the bitchy clique and wonders aloud if David was referring to her, and Brenda snaps that all the guys seem to be lining up for her. She then glares at Emily and angrily tells her to have a good time at the gynecologist's...which is silly 'cause who has a good time at the gynecologist's? Stirrups are no one's idea of fun. Emily looks baffled at Brenda's sudden hostility, so Kelly fills her in that Brenda and Dylan used to date for nearly a year.
Scott returns to the radio booth to apologize for playing the country western song. David has since mellowed out, and concedes that some of the students actually liked it. Scott invites him to hang out at his house, but David tells him he has dinner plans and can't make it. Scott then tells him he brought back something "explosive" from Oklahoma, and says he wants him to come over soon so they can blow up whatever it is together.
The Walsh house. Brenda is being bitchy to Brandon about his date that night with Emily. Brandon doesn't seem to mind being sloppy seconds, so Brenda starts blabbing about how Emily is on the pill. Brandon accuses her of stirring shit up, and says that Emily being on the pill is none of her business. Brenda just sneers that she hopes he has a great time on his date and storms out of the room. She really needs to work on coming up with better snappy comebacks during these contentious interactions.
Brandon's car. Emily tells Brandon that she now regrets going out with Dylan. She lays some of the blame on Brenda for not telling her about the history she has with him, but Brandon points out that it all happened so fast. True enough. He pulls into the exact same spot that Emily and Dylan parked in the night before. She teases Brandon for bringing her there so they can make out; he doesn't deny it, and leans in for a kiss. Emily comes clean with him about the Groundhog Day nature of their date, and tells him that she and Dylan also parked here last night. But Brandon isn't upset; on the contrary, he jokes that he won't get points for originality. She chuckles, and they kiss again.
West Beverly High. Brandon runs into Dylan and tells him that he thinks Emily really likes him, and now he wants to know where he stands. And by stands, he means: does Dylan like her? And by like her, he means did he doink her the other night? Dylan assures him that he and Emily did not seal the deal on their first date, which would have been incredibly slutty for both of them because it also was the day they met. Brandon looks very relieved to hear this.
Scott's house. Scott is showing David his collection of fireworks, all spread out on the patio table. He then pulls out the .22 rifle that his Oklahoman grandfather bought for him. David isn't into playing with fireworks or firearms and gets totally weirded out when Scott aims the rifle toward the sky and pulls the trigger. He gets angry at his reckless ex-bestie and storms off.
The Walsh house. It's the night of the barbecue, and Kelly and Donna start the evening by making catty remarks about Emily's presence there. The menfolk, on the other hand, all seem to be quite enamored of her...and Brandon encourages her to play her guitar. This prompts Brenda to sneer, "Oh good, a hootenanny!" And then sarcastically apologizes for being rude. But Emily calls Brenda on her bitchiness - which I found quite refreshing - and accuses her of going out of her way to be rude. She then reminds Brenda that she was the one who invited her to the barbecue, and that she's free to ask her to leave. Brenda haughtily retorts that she wouldn't dream of making her disappoint her swooning fans. Mama and Papa Walsh just stand there mutely and aghast, while Dylan makes a weak-kneed attempt to stop Brenda - but she glares at him icily and snarls at him to stay out of it. Dylan instantly shuts his mouth, but I can't blame him because Brenda has never looked as scary or on the verge of schizzing out as she does at this moment. Emily quips to everyone that she feels like she's in Knots Landing and snaps at Brenda to grow up. Hee! She explains that she was only trying to make friends...but now thinks she shouldn't have bothered. She leaves the Walsh house in a huff, and Brandon glares at his sister for ruining a perfectly good hootenanny-barbecue.
Later that evening, in the Walsh kitchen, Mama Walsh admonishes Brenda for her cunty behavior and says she's never seen her act like that before. That may be, but Brenda's uncontainable bitchiness has been steadily escalating for the last season and a half...and it was only a matter of time before she caused an embarrassing scene like this. Mama Walsh says that she thinks Emily is a friendly girl who's just trying to fit in and urges Brenda to put herself in Emily's place. Nice try, Cindy, but Brenda's far too self-absorbed to have empathy for someone who's not her...plus she's being driven mad by thoughts of the sweaty, naked, entwined bodies of Dylan and Emily. Mama Walsh tells her that if she feels this strongly about Dylan, then maybe she should just be with him. She concedes that while Papa Walsh may not like it, ultimately he wants her to be happy. And being emotionally balanced and mentally sound wouldn't hurt either.
Brenda goes to Brandon's room and tells him not to hate her. He says he doesn't, but then he has to live with her, so it was probably a wise answer.
West Beverly High. David is busy setting up the audio equipment for Hello Day. Kelly, Donna, and Kelly are dressed in form-fitting black dresses and tights, and they all have their hair pulled back. Donna says she doesn't think Emily will show up to do the number after being bitched out by Brenda last night. No duh. Why would anyone show up after being the target of such a venomous tantrum? Kelly wants to cancel their performance, since without Emily as the lead singer they don't actually have an act. She also tells Brenda she doesn't blame Emily one bit for being mad because of how heinous Brenda's behavior was. Brenda finally seems to acknowledge how appallingly she treated Emily, but can't figure out what she should do about it now. Kelly actually has to spell out to Brenda that she needs to apologize. And if that doesn't work, she should beg for Emily's forgiveness.
Brenda finds Emily at her locker. Emily is suitably bitchy to her, and I enjoyed that a lot. Brenda admits that she deserves it, and tells Emily that she's sorry and doesn't know what got into her last night. She wants another chance, but most importantly she wants Emily to hurry up and let bygones be bygones 'cause it's Hello Day and they have a show to do! Emily comes around, but only after needlessly confessing that she's still a virgin, even though she's on the pill. Brenda is delighted to hear this because she now knows for sure that Dylan and Emily did not "hook up" in that way.
Showtime! On stage, Emily introduces their number, which is the song Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. Emily does the singing - she's actually not half bad - while Kelly, Donna, and Brenda stay clustered together in the background, twisting their hips and chanting dum do dee do dum dum. Judging from their outfits, I guess they didn't realize they wouldn't be parodying Robert Palmer's back-up girls after all.
In the crowd, Brandon is standing next to Ahn-drea, who admits that Emily has a pretty good voice, but then wonders aloud if Emily can write. Why bring that up, Ahn-drea? Emily already told you she has no interest in writing for your stupidBlaze. Not everyone shares your exact interests.
Scott comes up to David, wearing his huge cowboy hat again. He compliments David on his Hello Day MC-ing abilities and apologizes for freaking him out by firing off his rifle the other day. David tells him he really changed over the summer. Scott doesn't think he's changed all that much, but tells David that he's a big man around campus now...and laments the fact that he, on the other hand, is still a geek. Scott asks David if he wants to hang out next week, and David promises to call, but it doesn't seem as though he really wants to call. He advises Scott to "cool it with the guns". Good advice...if Scott's not more careful, he could accidentally fatally shoot himself at his own birthday party.
Dylan is eyeing Brenda appreciatively as she does her hip twists on stage wearing her tight black dress. When they're finished, everyone claps enthusiastically. Afterward, the four girls hang out in the hallway and babble about how awesome they are. After the other girls leave, Brenda and Emily are left, still chatting. They notice Dylan, loitering in the hallway. Emily tells Brenda that Dylan is a helluva guy, and advises her not to throw away what they've got...which is a jealousy-fuelled rollercoaster of a relationship that'll eventually fizzle out during Season 3. Yep, that's worth holding onto. Brenda thanks her and strides over to where Dylan is waiting for her.
Dylan's car. That evening, Dylan and Brenda are parked in the same romantic spot where Emily went on her dates with Dylan and Brandon. Brenda tells Dylan that she wants to start over, and admits that she got scared and needed time to think things through. She adds that while they were broken up, she realized how much she missed and needed him, and that what they have is more than physical. They tell each other, "I love you", and then kiss. He assures her that nothing happened with Emily, other than some harmless tongue action. Brenda acknowledges that it was none of her business, and apologizes for everything her psychotic behavior put him through. Dylan doesn't mind...he just seems happy to have this albatross around his neck again - I mean be in a relationship with Brenda again. They kiss once more, and the scene fades out.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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