Recap: Brandon and Emily are laying in bed together, spooning. I guess this means he's still crashing at her San Francisco pad. She kisses him good morning and tells him that so far he's the only guy she's slept with in this bed. Brandon is touched and remarks that after spending the last three nights sleeping on the couch, he's glad to have made the transition to her comfortable bed. Emily gets up to make them some tea, and the two talk about her love of flowers and her time in the mental ward. Brandon sheepishly reminds her that he only visited her once, but she assures him he has no reason to feel guilty. She now realizes she had to get to the bottom of her various mental disorders, and then get serious about her life if she wanted any happiness. To that end, she went on Prozac, reconciled with her family, returned to school and studied hard. Brandon says he's proud of how far she's come and gives her a kiss. When their lips finally unlock, Emily looks at him expectantly and says, "Dim sum?" Brandon stares back at her quizzically and says he's never tried it, and that he's more of a mega-burger kind of guy. And speaking of mega-burgers...
At the Peach Pit, Nat serves a mega-artery-hardening burger to some poor bastard...and then the camera pans over to a nearby table where Donna, Ahn-drea, and Brenda are gathered. Donna tells them that she and Kelly are about to endure Hell Week with the rest of the Alpha pledges, and Brenda and Ahn-drea say how relieved they are that they don't have to be subjected to the stupid ritual. They wonder where Kelly is, and Brenda says she thinks Kelly might still be mad because Dylan chose to spend Thanksgiving at the Walsh house instead of with the Taylors. Donna points out that Kelly did invite Dylan first, so Brenda retorts that she had no way of knowing that. Isn't this all kind of a moot point now since the Taylors also chose to spend Thanksgiving at the Walsh house? Kelly breezes into the diner and apologizes for being late. Brenda asks her if she's OK, and she hangs her head sheepishly and tells her that the ugly scene that went down at Casa Walsh during the previous episode was between her and Dylan and had nothing to do with Brenda...and Brenda just stares back at her and is like, "No duh." Kelly says she hasn't talked to Dylan since Thanksgiving and doesn't see the point, since their relationship has a disturbing tendency to degenerate into an emotionally toxic disaster. Brenda changes the subject and tells the gals that she has her first college play rehearsal later! And opening night is on Wednesday! Donna, Kelly, and Ahn-drea all tell her they want to witness her stage acting debut. Ahn-drea then tells everyone about Thanksgiving at the Rubins'...and how she noticed that the bartender was the same guy who tended bar at the Walsh's anniversary party. Donna says she remembers chatting to Jesse at the Walsh's party and gushes about what a nice guy he is. Ahn-drea says that Jesse asked for her number, so Kelly asks her whassup with Dan. Ahn-drea makes a face and says she doesn't want to see Dan anymore, but because she's so socially stunted when it comes to dealing with males, she has no idea how to break it off with him. Brenda remarks that for a person who barely had a date in high school - no kidding, right? - she's really making up for lost time. All four girls chuckle.
KEG house. The pledges are being forced to do push-ups...and when they're done with that, KEG president Mike hands out file folders and orders the pledges to memorize bios on all their fraternity brothers. They'll be required to recite this information on command whenever a brother asks, and do pretty much any other stupid or humiliating deed the KEGers can think of. John Sears dramatically announces, "Welcome to Hell Week, boys."
Over at the Student Union, the Alpha Omega pledges are being forced to march around campus in their bathrobes, slippers, shower caps, and they all have cold cream slathered on their faces. The guys who happen to be standing around in the Student Union cheer and clap at the spectacle, including Dylan. Leslie Sumner, who's leading the march, notices Dylan in the crowd and orders Kelly to give him a kiss. Kelly tries to explain that she and Slouchy haven't been getting along that well lately, but Leslie insists and tells her it's no big deal. Kelly gives in and shuffles over to Dylan and acknowledges that they're still pissed off at each other about Thanksgiving, but she's been given a direct order to kiss him in front of everyone. Dylan looks totally willing, and their kiss ends up being a long drawn-out smooch and he gets cold cream all over his face. Damn. It looks like these kids might be getting back together after all.
Dan runs into Ahn-drea in the dorm, but she can barely bring herself to look at him and squeezes out a curt, "Hi." Dan is bewildered by the cold greeting and tells her he's been calling her all weekend, then asks her if she's checked her messages. When they reach her room, she tries to brush him off with a "See ya later" but Dan refuses to take the hint and asks her if he can come in. He reminds her that a few days ago they spent Thanksgiving together at his parents' house, and since then he's left her six phone messages and she hasn't called him back. He goes over to her machine and hits play, and the first message is from Jesse, who called to invite her out to a softball game. Dan finally starts to get a clue and says, "Who the hell's Jesse Vasquez?" and Ahn-drea mumbles that he's just a friend. Dan repeats Jesse's last name with disdain, and blows any remaining scrap of likability he may have had left when he says, "What is this? Some equal opportunity program?" Ahn-drea gives him a dirty look and asks him what kind of racist remark that was, and Dan tells her not to accuse him of racism and reminds her that they're dating and doinking on a regular basis, and makes it clear he's very miffed that she's giving out her number to other guys. Ahn-drea tells him he's a great guy (ugh, he's a terrible guy), but that she's not in love with him and can't seem to force herself to feel anything more than barely lukewarm affection for him. She says she doesn't want to hurt him, and he argues that breaking up with him is hurting him. He angrily storms out of the room...and as he's doing that, one of his message starts playing on the answering machine, and in it he tells her he loves her. Ouch. But good riddance to him and that awful shaggy hair.
San Francisco. Brandon and Emily are eating out in Chinatown. Brandon orders rice curd, and Emily teases him about his adventurous culinary spirit. Brandon insists that he can be a risk-taker and, for some reason, starts to list all of his failed romances from the last year and a half:
Brandon looks contemplative and suddenly realizes that he never told any of these girls that he loves them...and Emily adds, "Including me." He asks her what that says about him, and she turns the question back onto him, which is fair enough since it is his emotional disorder. He says maybe he's never been in love before, and Emily suggests that he's afraid of love. Brandon looks contemplative again and says maybe he's incapable of love, so Emily gazes over at him and says, "I hope not...because I love you, Brandon." He dutifully returns the I love you, and the two stare longingly into each others' eyes.
California University. Brenda's at her first rehearsal of The Mask of Melancholy. The weird writer/director gives the actors a synopsis of his grisly play, and starts babbling about the removal of the one true mask everyone wears: clothing. He tells Brenda that her part is the key to the play, then asks her to look over the lines of her "big speech". Brenda reads it aloud, and it's a depressingly incoherent monologue about how she's tired of "the lies, the deception, and the denial that defines [her] daily existence." She reads a little further on her own and looks startled when the scene calls for her to do a full monty. She tells the writer/director she doesn't want to do that, but he tells her that stripping naked will have a huge impact on the unsuspecting audience. No doubt. He then cleverly strokes her ego by telling her she has the potential to become a great actress and that she shouldn't let her inhibitions to hold her back...and then babbles about how art is truth, blah blah. Brenda stops arguing and tells him he's right, and that she's A-OK with standing on a stage in front of an audience of her college peers while proudly baring her naughties.
Student Union. It's now the KEG pledges' turn to be forcibly marched around campus, and they're dressed in sweats and have helmets atop their heads. Steve is grinning like an idiot, and this annoys John Sears so he orders Steve to drop to the floor and give him twenty push-ups while singing the alphabet song. Steve complies as Kelly and Donna look on from across the room. Steve looks suitably chastened after that public humiliation, and the pledges are then ordered to continue their march of shame. Steve rushes over to Kelly and Donna and tells them he desperately needs their help...and asks them if they have a dress that will fit him. Kelly finds this really hilarious for some reason and nearly busts a gut laughing.
Beach house. Steve is wearing an ugly flowered dress and curly blonde wig. Kelly and Donna jokingly tell him he looks beautiful, and Donna finishes off his drag queen look with a coat of lipstick. Steve complains that John Sears has it in for him, so Donna asks him if it's because he called him out on his creepy move on teenage Denise at the Downey House. Steve says it's partly that, but also 'cause he warned Kelly about what a douchenozzle the guy is. Regardless, he's determined to make it through Hell Week in one piece and not let John blackball him out of the fraternity. Kelly and Donna then take a photograph of him to create irrefutable proof that he fulfilled a stupid pledge requirement by dressing up as an unsightly woman.
San Francisco. Brandon and Emily spend the day together doing touristy things. We get a montage of scenes that show them rekindling their romance: a ride on a horse carriage, Brandon chasing Emily down the street while they both laugh, Emily hand-feeding him a hot dog in a park, and the two returning from a tour of Alcatraz. After that, the two stroll along the dock and look down at all the sea lions. Emily appears to be an expert on the subject, and explains that the sea lions migrated to the dock after the earthquake of '89...and even though people have tried to move them elsewhere, the sea lions seem to like it there best. Brandon says, "So do I" and leans in to kiss her. He then asks her which of them will be moving where so they can be together...and Emily looks touched that he'd consider moving to San Francisco for her, and they kiss again.
KEG house. Steve shows Keith the photo of himself wearing the flowered dress and wig, and to Steve's dismay, Keith orders him to put on that get-up again, go out in public, and hand out copies of the photo to whoever might want it. Why anyone would want a copy of that photo is beyond me. Keith then tells him about the upcoming KEG scavenger hunt, and informs him that his assignment is to break into Professor Randall's office and steal his signed Jackie Robinson baseball. He dangles a key in front of Steve's face, but Steve tells him to forget it, and tries to explain that the writers already did a similar storyline in Season 3 about a legacy key...and it almost got him thrown out of high school. Keith tells him he knows all about the legacy key fiasco, and says it was the reason they chose him for this particular mission. John Sears suddenly enters the room and snidely asks how everything is going...and Steve grabs the key from Keith and replies that everything is fine.
Park. Ahn-drea and Jesse are strolling through the park before the softball game. He comes right out and asks her why a Jewish girl from Beverly Hills would want to date a Latino homeboy like himself. The question he really should be asking is: why would a nice, easygoing guy like himself want to date a socially inept fussbudget like Ahn-drea. Ahn-drea haughtily explains that she grew up in Van Nuys, not Beverly Hills, and that she's been out on dates with one white guy, one black guy, and one Republican...and so dating "a homeboy" is soo not a big deal. Jesse seems satisfied with that answer and tells her that he's a second year law student at UCLA, and that he got his undergraduate degree at Yale. Ahn-drea grins at the mention of Yale, and Jesse says he had to be sure she'd go out with Jesse Vasquez the bartender, not Jesse Vasquez the future lawyer.
San Francisco. Brandon and Emily return to her apartment after their busy day of sightseeing and shopping. He pulls out a replica of a cable car he bought and tells her how happy he is that they found each other again. Nosy neighbor Rosie barges into the apartment, and Emily orders her to entertain Brandon while she takes a bath. Rosie informs Brandon that she's taking it upon herself to prevent Emily from throwing her life away...and since it doesn't look like she (Emily) is going to say anything, she (Rosie) has to. Brandon obviously has no idea what the hell she's talking about, so she explains that Emily has been invited to study marine biology at the prestigious Cousteau Institute in France...and is supposed to leave in three days. Rosie's worried that Emily will pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so she can be with Brandon, and Brandon furrows his brows and looks contemplative.
The next morning, Brandon wakes Emily with a kiss. She sighs happily and says she'd love to wake up next to him every morning for the rest of her life. They lock lips again, and then Rosie interjects herself into their lives again to bring them breakfast and discreetly ask Brandon if he talked to Emily about the Cousteau Institute. He tells her he hasn't, and she tells him to get on with it, since her flight leaves in two days. She tells him he'd have to be a real douchebag if he allowed her to throw away her dream of becoming a marine biologist...and adds that if he really loves her, he'll make her go.
California University. Steve is standing on a chair in the middle of the Student Union wearing the fugly old lady dress and wig and handing out copies of the photo. David, Dylan, Donna, and Kelly are gathered around, laughing at his discomfort, and he gets annoyed and tells them to beat it. After that, John and Keith stroll over and tease him about how ravishing he looks, and then start sexually harassing him by lifting his skirt and trying to sneak a peak at his granny panties. As they walk away, Keith tells John he thinks Steve's a good guy, but John derisively calls him a wimp. Keith disagrees and points out that he's done every stupid thing they've ordered him to do as part of Hell Week, but John says that the real test will be whether or not he can pull off the theft of Professor Randall's baseball. He highly doubts Steve has the guts.
San Francisco. Brandon is browsing Emily's book collection and remarks how obvious it is that marine biology is her passion. She argues thathe's her passion, so Brandon comes right out and tells her that Rosie told him all about the Cousteau Institute. He says she shouldn't pass up this incredible opportunity...but Emily looks uncertain and tells him it's not his decision, and says she may not be ready to move to France. Brandon insists that she is ready, but Emily whines that she couldn't take losing him again...and is totally willing to forgo the Cousteau Institute for the sake of their relationship. Brandon gives her a hug and offers her a vague promise about how they'll maybe try to work something out, if possible.
California University. Kelly joins Brenda at a table in the Student Union as she's going over her lines for The Mask of Melancholy. Kelly asks her what time the show starts that evening, and Brenda tells her she doesn't have to come...and strongly advises her to pass on it. Kelly looks confused, so Brenda hands her the script and points to the part that calls for her to strip naked. Kelly gasps in horror, so Brenda gabbles about how standing on stage in the buff is a totally appropriate thing to do in a college play...and that she has to be willing to take chances as an artist. Kelly asks her if Mama and Papa Walsh are planning to come, and Brenda wryly says she doesn't expect them to put in an appearance. Dylan comes over to the table with drinks and tells Brenda he's seen posters promoting the play all over campus...and hearing this makes her even more nervous. She tries to convince Dylan to stay away from opening night, but he looks pretty eager to come.
San Francisco. Brandon and Emily stroll near the Golden Gate Bridge. She's still trying to decide whether or not she wants to go to France and asks Brandon if she should go...then worries about what will happen if it ends up being horrible. Brandon encourages her to take a leap of faith and points out that if she doesn't go, she may regret it for the rest of her life. Emily thinks over this advice and agrees that she can't go backwards in life. Halle-fucking-lujah. The two exchange I love yous for the hundredth time this episode, and he rushes her back to the apartment so she can pack up her stuff and put an end to this tedious, repetitious, overly kissy storyline.
The Peach Pit. Mama and Papa Walsh are eating out, and Nat stops by their table and asks them if Brandon is planning on returning to L.A. Papa Walsh gruffly retorts that he'd better, since he's already paid for his tuition next semester. Dylan then slouches into the diner and expresses his surprise seeing them eat out. Mama Walsh explains that with Brandon gone and Brenda busy with play rehearsals all evening, she decided to take the night off from her usual Holly Homemaker schtick. Dylan asks them if they're going to see Brenda's play later that evening, and they both look surprised. Clearly they had no idea that The Mask of Melancholy was being unleashed on the public this quickly.
The Theataaah. The gang shows up to witness Brenda's stage acting debut. David clearly doesn't want to be there and asks someone to please explain to him what the hell experimental theater is. Well, David...it's usually a very bad combination of writing and acting. Dylan arrives soon after, followed by Mama and Papa Walsh. Brenda peeks out at the audience from behind a long black curtain and is mortified when she sees her parents.
San Francisco. As Brandon helps Emily pack, he comes across the baseball shirt he gave her when he visited her in the asylum in Season 2. She tells him how much she loves it, and the two kiss for the bloody thousandth time this episode. He assures her she's doing the right thing by going to France, and she now fully agrees. She asks him to write and call her, and maybe even come visit her in France sometime. Brandon's like, "Yeah, whatever" and points out that they have nine hours before her plane leaves, and that it's more than enough time for one last romp.
Brenda's on stage, dressed in a strange looking black cape, and she's delivering her banal speech about lies and deception. Papa Walsh leans over and asks his wife, "Is it me, or is this really awful?" and Mama Walsh confirms that the play is indeed the shits. When the naked moment arrives, Kelly alerts the audience by exclaiming that Brenda's really, actually going to strip down to her birthday suit. This news instantly perks up David, but Mama and Papa Walsh just stare at each other in shock and horror. Brenda strips off her cape, but has a tight black dress on underneath. She then removes that, but has another layer on. The audience starts to laugh, and the writer/director looks really pissed off that she's gone so far off script. Brenda then starts ad libbing about how maybe masks aren't so bad...and that it's obvious God wants people to be clothed, otherwise he wouldn't have invented sexy lingerie. This amuses the audience even more, and Mama and Papa look greatly relieved that she didn't bare all. After the show, everyone tells Brenda how great she was...despite the suckiness of the play. The writer/director tells Brenda he wants to speak with her privately and angrily asks her what the hell that was, so she explains that her parents were in the audience. He describes the changed ending of his play as a travesty, and reminds her that her job was to deliver his lines and take his direction. Brenda argues that her version was way funnier and that the audience obviously loved it. When he grumps that she turned his play into a farce, she promises to go back to the original script tomorrow...but then he backtracks and tells her not to change a thing, and that she did great.
Steve tiptoes in the dark hallway toward Professor Randall's office and lets himself in with the key Keith gave him. He shines a little flashlight around the office and immediately spots the baseball...but as soon as he grabs it, a security guard bursts into the office and catches him in the act. He barks at Steve to "Spread 'em. Now!" Spread 'em?! LOL. Is there a full body cavity search in store for Steve? Steve's eyes widen and he looks panicked.
San Francisco. Emily is wearing her stupid beret again, and she's finally ready to jet off to France. Brandon is glumly sitting on the hood of his car, and she starts babbling to him about making him promise to be faithful to himself...if not to her. It's probably good that she has such low expectations of him, considering his hook-up with Kelly at the end of Season 4. The two exchange their final round of I love yous just as the cab arrives. They kiss again, and she walks over to the cab and climbs inside. Brandon pretends to look sad as he watches her drive off...then climbs into his Mustang and hits the road.