Recap: Steve and David are staring at the Peach Pit's jukebox. Steve complains that they can't relate to the music in it and urges David to tell Nat to update it. David doesn't have the nerve to say this to Nat, then notices he's standing right behind them and nudges Steve. Steve turns around and grins sheepishly at Nat, who smarmily tells the two how much he loooves the '60s music in his jukebox, and then saunters off.
Elsewhere in the diner, Brenda is telling Donna, Kelly, and Dylan that she can't come on their ski trip 'cause she has too much homework to do. The three try to convince her to come, but she firmly declines and they pretend to look disappointed. Dylan asks her if she's grounded and she says, "Not technically, but my parents want to know when I'm going to learn how to set limits for myself." We've all been wondering that for quite some time, Brenda.
The Walsh house. Donna calls Brandon to beg him to talk to his parents about allowing Brenda go with them on the ski trip. Brandon assumes that Brenda's been grounded, but Mama and Papa Walsh tell him she isn't, and are themselves surprised to hear that she's not going on the trip. Brenda arrives home, and her parents sarcastically tell her they're sorry to hear she's grounded. Brandon explains that Donna just called, so Brenda admits that she used being grounded as an excuse to bail on the ski trip. Uh, no she didn't, writers. Papa Walsh jokingly asks her if she'd like to be grounded, and Brenda says that would be fine with her - as long as she doesn't have to go skiing ever again.
Upstairs, Brandon is wringing his hands with worry about what he's supposed to tell their friends when they ask him why she's not on the trip. Well, Brandon...you could just tell them: SHE DIDN'T WANT TO GO SKIING. THE END. Brenda begs him not to be mad at her and tells him she's going through a lot of stuff right now, and he bitchily retorts that she's always going through stuff or going to extremes (true enough) and he's tired of dealing with it. She morosely says she is too, then wishes him a fun trip. He doesn't answer and stalks off looking annoyed.
The next morning, Mama Walsh invites Brenda to come along to a swap meet with her and Papa Walsh in Pasadena, but she declines and says she just wants to have a quiet day at home and "not think too much". She goes back upstairs and gets dressed, then decides to investigate the warped wood on her window seat. She pulls up a couple of boards then reaches inside and finds a bandana, a peace sign necklace, and a diary. She blows the dust off of the diary, opens it, and starts reading. It belonged to a girl named Wendy Edwards, who grew up in Casa Walsh during the 1960s. The episode then begins its first of many purposeless time travel sequences to the Swinging Sixties...which unfortunately was also the era of stringy hairdos, unkempt mustaches, and tie-dye. The Edwards (Walshes) are eating their dinner on TV trays and watching coverage of the Vietnam war...and Will ('60s Brandon) is wearing horn-rimmed glasses and railing about communist sympathizers in the U.S. The doorbell rings and Wendy ('60s Brenda) rushes over to answer it, and it's a ghastly looking '60s version of Dylan - whose name is Peter - wearing a grisly wig and mustache. Papa Edwards barks at Wendy that he doesn't like Peter's politics and doesn't want her dating a "crumb bum" like him. I've never heard the phrase "crumb bum" before, but considering how many '60s stereotypes are wedged into this expendable episode, I'll just assume it's another contrived cliche from the decade of free love.
The Peach Pit. Sal ('60s Nat) is also sporting a bad wig and hairy mustache, and is nattering at his customers in a fake Italian accent. Will is working the dinner shift, while Ronnie ('60s Steve) and Seth ('60s David) sit together at the counter...and both look unspeakable with their shaggy retro hair and hideous clothing choices. Peter, Wendy, Mary Anne ('60s Donna), and Michelle ('60s Kelly) enter the diner. Seth tells Ronnie how hard a boner he has for Mary Anne, and Ronnie says he heard she's a prude (she totally is)...then babbles about how they're in the middle of a sexual revolution, and advises Seth to do his best to get Mary Anne in the sack. He suggests breaking the ice by asking her what her sign is, so Seth ambles over and does exactly that. Mary Anne responds by showing him the actual signs she's been carrying around: one is an anti-war poster, and the other reads Vote for Bobby. Michelle grins and chirps, "Pretty groovy, huh?" Um, yes, '60s Kelly - it's both groovy and far-out. Will suddenly comes storming over and admonishes Wendy for collecting signatures in support of Bobby Kennedy at a Simon & Garfunkel concert. Wendy calmly explains that they want him to make it onto the ballot in time for the primary...and when Will scrunches his face and goes, "Why?" Peter slouches over and says, "So he can be president and end the war." Out of nowhere, Sal barrels over and yells at the kids to get out because he doesn't want his place to turn into a hippie joint. Peter gets angry and accuses him of violating their civil rights, and Sal brusquely retorts that they just violated his stomach. The teens exit the diner except for Will. Wendy apologizes to him (not exactly sure why) and asks him not to tell their parents about the incident. Wendy then tells her diary that after that night, nothing would ever be the same again...and we're shown some archival footage of Bobby Kennedy campaigning.
June 5, 1968. After the polls close, Wendy and her friends go to a park for a victory celebration. The plan is this: once they're finished drinking, drugging, and babbling cliche hippie nonsense, they'll head over to the Ambassador Hotel to see Bobby. Incidentally, Peter is now doinking Michelle, and for some reason Wendy is sitting beside them on a bench, watching the two make out. Some random chick shows everyone her groovy joint, but Wendy isn't interested in getting high, so she abruptly gets up and leaves. Peter follows her and tries to get her to stay, but she still insists on leaving. A few seconds after that, she runs into a tearful Mary Anne, who informs her that Bobby Kennedy has just been shot.
Back to the future..
The Peach Pit. Nat offers Ahn-drea some pie, but she tells him she's too stuffed to eat another bite. Brenda enters the diner and shows Ahn-drea and Nat the diary she found in her bedroom. She tells them it was written by Wendy Edwards, who lived in her house and had a brother named Will, who worked at the Pit in 1968. Nat says he thinks he might possibly remember him. Brenda says she's planning to go to the research library and look up Wendy in an old yearbook, and Ahn-drea and Nat do their best to feign an interest in Brenda's boring new project.
Research library. The librarian instructs Brenda to go up to the sixth floor and "see what they have in the stacks". What the hell kind of reference service is that? (I can say that, being a librarian myself.) Brenda shows the librarian Wendy's diary and asks her what she was doing in 1969, so she recalls that she was in junior high, and came to the university for the big hippie be-in. Brenda skips through the pages of the diary until she finds a reference to the be-in...and once again we're forcibly dragged back in time.
Wendy tells her diary she's not cut out to be a hippie, mostly 'cause she doesn't dig gettin' high, man. We're then shown some footage of young hippies dancing in stereotypical hippie fashion: vapid, drugged out facial expressions, swaying, and a lot of above-the-head arm waving. Michelle is getting into the groove, and Wendy remarks that she aspires to be more like her. Peter is standing in front of a microphone, lecturing to the other hippies about the pointlessness of the Vietnam War. Will, who's dressed in his ROTC uniform, brusquely interrupts Peter and asks the crowd if they believe in the constitution, then barks at them that freedom is worth fighting for. Peter, in turn, interrupts Will with his anti-war babble, and the two start arguing...and eventually the conflict deteriorates into a shoving match. Michelle throws herself between the two men to prevent any more fighting and drags Peter away.
The librarian stifles a yawn and tells Brenda, "That's powerful stuff". LOL. Since the library's about to close, she offers to go to the sixth floor stacks and pull any information she can find on Wendy Edwards.
Sunset Strip, April 1969. Wendy goes to the Peach Pit to ask her brother for a favor. It seems that Michelle flipped out while watching 2001: A Space Odyssey...and by flipped out, she means that Michelle took a lot of LSD and now needs a chocolate milkshake and somewhere private to recover from her high. Will sternly asks his sister if she did any drugs, and she tells him she's only ever tried mushrooms. He agrees to help Michelle (apparently he's always had a little crush on her), but says that Peter isn't welcome in the diner and will have to wait outside.
In the next scene, Peter and Wendy are going at it in his van, looking like they're perilously close to doinking. Wendy tells him she doesn't think this is a good idea, so Peter mumbles that he wants to make love to her and tries to convince her to live in the moment. He then stupidly tells her they're only hooking up 'cause Michelle is currently out of commission and "on her own trip". Wendy immediately puts the brakes on...and a few minutes later Peter drops her off at the Peach Pit. She tells her diary that after rebuffing his sexual advances in the van, she lost him forever.
Back to the future..
The Walsh house. Mama and Papa Walsh return home from their swap meet with a vase. They find Brenda sitting up in bed sobbing, and when they ask her what's wrong, she blurts out that she didn't go on the ski trip because she loves Dylan...then moans, "Poor Wendy." Papa Walsh looks confused and goes, "Who's Wendy?" Mama Walsh tells him in a low whisper that Brenda is losing it. Well, d'yuh.
Beverly Hills, May 1969. Ronnie and Seth are discussing Seth's horniness again. Seth says he's taking Mary Anne out to a concert later but doubts she'll put out, so Ronnie advises him to tell her whatever he thinks she wants to hear in order to achieve penetration.
After the concert, Seth and Mary Anne hang out in his dorm room. He unplugged his clock radio earlier so she wouldn't realize how late it was getting (I guess she doesn't own a watch), so she's stunned when he tells her it's after 2:00am. She's afraid of getting caught in his dorm room after hours, and Seth fans her flames of fear by telling her that the RAs are stationed by the elevators. With nowhere to go, he talks her into hitting the sheets with him...and we learn that after she put out, he never ever spoke to her again. Classy, Seth.
Back to the future..
Brenda tells her parents she can't put Wendy's diary down [try harder, Brenda] and that she can relate to everything Wendy went through, even though it was close to thirty years ago. She insists on reading a passage to her parents, who can barely mask their boredom at the tedium that was Wendy's teenage-hood.
Back to the '60s..
Wendy wants to go to a peaceful anti-war rally, but Will argues that it's probably going to turn violent. By scripted coincidence, his graduation from the officer training corp is taking place the exact time of the rally, and he tells her that if she supports him as his sister, she'll put in an appearance. He angrily tells her that because of the upcoming rally, his unit can't march around on campus - egads! - and this has him so enraged that he kicks in the television set and storms out of the house. Mama Edwards starts crying, and Papa Edwards gives Wendy the stink-eye and snarks, "Do you see what you've done to this family?!" It's an odd question, considering that Will was the dumbass who just destroyed a perfectly good TV set. The next day, the protesters take over the university's administration building. Wendy wonders if the rally wasn't just a pretext for this to happen and tells her diary she had a sense of dread about what would happen. She's about to flee the building when Peter gets bonked by a police baton, and she and her friends are rounded up and arrested. She's charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, but eventually the charges are dropped - hey, just like Brenda's were during the Cuffs and Links episode! Will got shipped out to Da Nang, and Wendy sadly writes that she never got to say goodbye to her brother.
Mama and Papa Walsh pretend to look fascinated and are like, "Whoa dude." Brenda then looks really awkward and silly as she flashes them the peace sign, and it's just as odd looking when her parents reciprocate and bid her good night.
The next morning, Brenda comes to the breakfast table and brings that fucking diary with her. She remarks on the similarities between her and Wendy and tells Mama Walsh that Will wrote her an incredible letter from Vietnam, and it's off to the Asian war zone we go..
Will is writing his sister a letter, complaining that war is disorienting and morale among the troops is low. He writes that he can't wait for some R&R in Bangkok...but is also resigned to the fact that there's no use in complaining, since they have a job to do. He signs off with, "I love you and miss you."
As Mama and Papa Walsh look sad and reflective, Brenda announces that she's determined to find Wendy Edwards...and her parents are like, "We don't really give a shit, but knock yourself out."
Research library. The librarian tells Brenda she couldn't find anything on the sixth floor 'cause everything's so disorganized (sounds like a really well-run institution), but she has a contact at the Alumni House and managed to score the last known address for Wendy Edwards. She asks Brenda what she'll ask her when she finally meets her, and Brenda says she's very curious about a bunch of numbers Wendy wrote in her diary, and wants to know what they mean.
Back to the '60s..
Peter comes over to Casa Edwards and tells Wendy he came to say goodbye. Things for him have been "intense", so he's driving across the country with Michelle. They're headed to Woodstock and he invites Wendy to join them, but she points out that Michelle probably wouldn't appreciate her coming along. Peter grimly retorts that Michelle probably wouldn't even notice, since these days she's perpetually spaced out on LSD. He then tells Wendy he's not planning to come back to California, and may even go as far north as Canada to avoid the draft.
Back to the future..
Brenda drives to the address the librarian gave her. She sees a woman gardening and asks her if she's Wendy...and miraculously she is. Brenda tells her she has something that belongs to her, and shows her the diary. Wendy is stunned, and describes seeing it as a jolt from the past. The two go inside her house, and Wendy fills her in on what happened to the gang: Michelle burned out early and died of a heroine overdose in '71. Shocker. Peter became a writer, and Will never made it home from Vietnam. I forget what she said happened to Seth and Ronnie, but my guess is they're probably living lonely, sexless lives in a basement apartment somewhere. Brenda asks Wendy what the numbers in her diary mean, and she explains that they were the road numbers to get to Woodstock. A-ha! Dull mystery solved.
When Brenda arrives home, Brandon is there...along with the rest of the gang (sans Ahn-drea and Jesse). Turns out the slopes had no snow and the weather was rainy. Kelly announces that David's grandparents invited them to spend the weekend at their fabulous house in sunny Palm Springs, and everyone excitedly heads toward the door. Brandon notices that Brenda rented Woodstock, and for some reason this makes everyone chortle.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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