Recap: The gang is having a baby shower for Ahn-drea (blech), and for some reason Jesse feels the need to film it. Valerie perkily offers to take over filming so that Jesse can sit next to Ahn-drea as she oohs and aahs over the frilly pink baby outfit Donna bought. Incidentally, Brandon shaved off the unsightly facial hair he was sporting during the season premiere and I'm very happy 'bout that. Kelly reminds everyone that registration at CU is in two days, and Brandon says he got an urgent phone call from Josh Richland this morning. Kelly derisively refers to Josh as "a one man National Enquirer" and is surprised when Brandon says he agreed to meet with him later. As Valerie continues to needlessly film the shower, Donna announces that she's not going back to CU this semester...and then the opening credits roll.
Independence Bank. The banker confirms for Dylan that his millions are indeed gone and that all that's left in his account is a small savings bond. He warns Dylan about the financial penalty for cashing it early, but Dylan yells that he's desperate for money and storms out of the bank. Outside, he encounters Donna, who starts gabbling about Ahn-drea's stupid baby shower and that everyone missed him when he didn't show. Dylan tells her he just got back from Mexico, and when she asks him if that's where he and Kevin set up the new business, he evasively mumbles that he just went there to "kick back". Donna starts nattering about how she spent the summer with her parents in Houston, and that lately she and her uppity mother have been soo busy. She motions over to Felice, who's at the ATM, then excitedly announces, "I'm debuting this Christmas!" Dylan stares at her blankly and mutters, "Debut..?" and she gives him a look like he should know what the hell she's talking about and prompts him with, "Debutante?" Dylan tries not to laugh, but an involuntary chuckle escapes him as I laughed out loud at the TV screen. When I first saw this episode back in '94, I didn't realize young women in America actually "debuted" anymore, so I was surprised when this outmoded tradition was corroborated on that episode of The City when Olivia Palermo snootily told Whitney about how she wore Manolo Blahniks to her "deb ball". Just. Unreal. Donna invites Dylan to the charity benefit/ball the following evening and tells him that everyone's going to be there and that it's for a great cause: college scholarships for inner city kids. Dylan says he'd be interested in buying a table at the benefit (uh, isn't he newly broke?) and Donna relays this to Felice when she walks over to join them. Felice says that buying an entire table might be "too generous" but Donna explains that Slouchy's practically a mogul now that he owns a hot new environmental research company. Felice looks impressed and Dylan mumbles, "I love a good cause, what can I say?" just as the banker pops his head out of the door to summon Dylan over. He excuses himself to go back inside and finish his banking, and Felice says they'll wait for him, then remarks to Donna that it's the least they can do for $2,500.
The Walsh house. Valerie bounds into the kitchen, looking shapely in a black crop top and full length skirt. She complains to Mama Walsh that she doesn't have anything fancy enough in her wardrobe to wear to the ball, and that it's a huge problem 'cause Rush will be chauffeuring her and Steve there in his Bentley. Egads! Mama Walsh asks her if she looked through Brenda's closet for something suitable to wear, and Valerie snorts, "Size two? I wish." Mama Walsh decides, in that case, there's only one thing to do - and she gets her wallet out and hands Valerie one of her credit cards. Probably not the smartest precedent to start out making. Valerie fake protests for a few seconds and says she doesn't want to be a burden, but Mama Walsh insists she's not and that she wants to treat her...so Valerie gives her a hug, gushes about how amaaaazing she is, and heads out. On her way to the front door, she passes the living room where Brandon and Josh Richland are having their meeting. Josh sees her and asks her if she could convince Brandon to run for student government with him, and she chirps, "Probably" and flounces off. Josh and his penis are mesmerized by her sass, and he tells Brandon how envious he is that he gets to share a bathroom with such a hot girl. Brandon ignores Josh's horny ravings and tells him he's not cut out for politics and has zero interest in running for student government. Suddenly the phone rings, and Mama Walsh steps into the living room to tell Brandon that it's Kelly calling. Josh looks confused and goes, "Hey - I thought Kelly Taylor was just your pretend girlfriend."
Kelly's at a luncheon (or something) at the Martin estate, and she tells Brandon she called him to get a reality check from all the rich, vacuous people she's currently surrounded by. She tells him that Donna's gone off the deep end, and that she somehow enlisted a flunky named Travis to fly in from Houston for the sole purpose of escorting her to the charity ball tomorrow night. Kelly then tells Brandon the real reason she called: to report that Dylan's back in town. She's about to elaborate further...but when she sees Felice heading in her direction, she cuts the call short. Felice informs her that she and Dr. Martin will be covering Donna's portion of the rent until she's able to find a new roommate - and Kelly looks puzzled for a few seconds, then goes into the kitchen to ask Donna if it's true she's moving out. Donna shrugs uselessly and mumbles, "You know how I am." Uh yes: cowardly and immature. She confirms that she'll be spending a few months in Houston in order to "debut" on her parents' rich peoples' party circuit. Suddenly, Felice appears in the kitchen and orders Donna to go back outside and mingle with their snooty guests.
Beach house. Kelly tells Brandon about the Martins' luncheon thing, and how much like a Stepford zombie Donna was acting. It also freaked her out that every time she attempted to talk sense into her, Felice would appear out of nowhere and interrupt the conversation. Brandon says he doesn't think it's that big of a deal that Donna's dropping out for a few months to go to a bunch of parties with rich people...and then Kelly looks contemplative and it suddenly dawns on her that this is about Donna wanting to avoid David. Well d'yuh. Brandon tells Kelly she's been especially high-strung ever since the Dylan sighting, and Kelly admits she is and wants to know when they plan on telling her ex about their coupling. She says she hates being in a love triangle, like when she and Brenda pathetically vied for Dylan's attention in Season 3, but Brandon assures her that this is a totally different sitch, that they're not in high school anymore, and that hopefully the writers realize they've long since fished that lake dry. He then offers to have a one-on-one talk with Dylan about their relationship, and Kelly looks relieved to be off the hook.
The Peach Pit. Donna brings Travis from Texas to the diner, and she's enthusiastically greeted by Nat. David happens to be standing at the counter, and when he sees Donna and her new beau, he glances around in desperation for the nearest exit. He pays his check, but while he's doing that he drops change on the floor, which Travis picks up for him. Donna stares at David with a stricken look on her face, and he politely asks her how she's doing. She says fine, then introduces him to Travis, who invites him to join them for a bite to eat. David glances over at Donna, who makes it clear he would not be welcome and wisely declines. After David flees the diner, Travis asks Donna if he did something wrong, and she says in fact he did the exact opposite.
Dylan's house. Brandon drops by and finds Dylan guzzling beer and looking slovenly. Brandon stares with dismay at his beer bottle, and this annoys Dylan and he orders him to stop. He then says he's been missing Kelly lately, and Brandon's like, "Even though your relationship was a toxic cesspool and you fought all the time?" He mentions that Brenda recently called from London to hit up Papa Walsh for some money and asked how he (Dylan) was doing. Dylan mumbles that the Season 4 finale seems like a long time ago, as do the friendships he had in high school...except for him (Brandon) and Kelly, of course. Brandon doesn't know how to respond to that, so he just mutely stares at Dylan like a deer in headlights.
Campus daycare. Ahn-drea and Jesse are checking out the daycare they're planning to register Hannah for. Bo-ring. Could someone please explain to me why these two dullards and their spawn are still on the show? Ahn-drea tells Jesse they're lucky to have gotten accepted, but he's doubtful. He doesn't like the look of the daycare and complains that it's too institutional, but Ahn-drea disagrees and says it's a warm and nurturing environment. He derisively asks her if she's OK with having a stranger caring for their baby, and Ahn-drea starts whining about how neither of them has any family members who can watch Hannah while they're both in class, and points out that campus daycare is free. She points out that she can spend time with Hannah between classes, and Jesse concedes that maybe daycare won't be so bad.
The Walsh house. Brandon's on the phone with Kelly, telling her that his earlier visit to Dylan's house was definitely not the right time to tell him about their relationship. Kelly points out that there never will be a right time to tell him, but she can't get into it further 'cause she's off to attend Donna's pre-ball reception. Valerie suddenly appears in their shared bathroom wearing nothing but a black bra, panties, and heels. She stands in the doorway of Brandon's room...and after he ogles her near nakedness for a few seconds, he tells Kelly he has to go. Valerie nonchalantly holds up her new dress and asks him if she got all the makeup out that she spilled on it, and Brandon just stares back at her, discombobulated. He says it's hard to focus on the dress given "the other scenery", and she looks faux surprised at his reaction and says that since they're practically family, she assumed it'd be A-OK to prance around the house in sexy lingerie.
Bel Age Hotel. Kelly's sitting at a table with Donna, Travis, and the Martins, looking bored out of her mind. Donna's decked out in a bridal gown for some reason, and the way her boobs are tightly wedged into the skimpy top part of the dress makes for some pretty scary cleavage. Her ugly platinum hair is slicked back with the ends curled up (Florence Henderson style), and it too looks unspeakable. Travis tells everyone at the table how eager he is to see Donna do "the Texas dip", and D'Shawn suddenly appears and says he's never heard of a Texas dip, and he's from Texas! Kelly implores D'Shawn to join their table so she'll have someone normal to talk to, and Felice purses her lips disapprovingly. By this time, Brandon has arrived at the ball and saunters over to the table and warmly greets D'Shawn. Back to the dip: Donna explains to everyone at the table that the Texas dip is the bow that a debutante does before society [aka: aimless rich people] at the presentation ball, and Travis interjects and nauseatingly refers to it as "a precision maneuver with strength, timing, and feminine grace". Felice urges Donna to demonstrate the dip, so Donna gets up...and as she's mentally readying herself, Felice sets the scene and explains to everyone that when Donna does the dip for real, she'll be presenting herself to Houston society as they wait in breathless anticipation. Brandon looks as though he's trying really hard not to laugh, and Kelly looks totally weirded out. Everyone watches with incredulity as Donna slowly lowers herself to the floor, leans forward, and gives them a disturbing eyeful of her squished, ample cleavage. Felice looks deeply moved by the "precision maneuver" and claps with delight, and Kelly leans over to Brandon and murmurs, "They've turned her into a trained seal." Brandon nods as though he finally understands the gravity of the situation, and agrees that Kelly should probably try to talk some sense into her dimwitted, brainwashed friend. Donna, meanwhile, stands upright again, then folds her hands in front of her and glances around the room, looking as doe-eyed and virginal as she can muster. I really wish someone would put a bag over her head every time she wears that stupid expression on her face.
The Peach Pit. Papa Walsh is aghast that Valerie spent $300 on one dress, but Mama Walsh insists that that's cheap, considering this is Beverly Hills. Papa Walsh thinks she maybe should have shopped somewhere other than Rodeo Drive, especially since it was on his dime (good point) - but Mama Walsh explains that she and Brenda ran into the very same problem when they first moved to L.A. Across the diner, Dylan slouches in, looking more unwashed and slovenly than ever. The Walshes stare over at him and start whispering...so Dylan glares at them, then approaches their table and says that whatever they're saying about him they should just say to his face. Mama Walsh tells him they weren't talking about him and apologizes if it looked that way. Dylan snarls back that they're not welcome [in his half of the diner, I guess], then tells them to enjoy their meal. Huh? After that, he storms out the back door, and Nat chases after him. He tells Dylan that Papa Walsh is welcome at the diner any time, so Dylan snaps back that he can buy out his share of the diner and sell it to Papa Walsh. Nat screeches, "What's happening to you?!" and tells him that all of his millions have finally gone to his head. Dylan mumbles that he doesn't know what he's talking about, and that he's going through a rough patch. Nat blurts out that he can't blame Kelly for hooking up with Brandon after the douchebaggish way he treated her all summer, and Dylan stares back at him, stunned, and asks him to repeat that...and stupid Nat realizes that he just spilled the beans about something that was in no way his business.
Bel Age Hotel. Steve tells Brandon he has the hots for Valerie and asks him to put in a good word to increase his chances of penetration. Travis strolls over and asks them if they know where Donna is, and they tell him they don't...and in the next scene, we see that she's in the bathroom with Kelly. Kelly remarks that she and Felice seem to be getting along well lately, and Donna hears the sarcasm in her voice and says she knows she doesn't approve of what she's doing. Kelly comes right out and says it's dumb to drop out of school to learn how to curtsy...and that it must be hard to see David now that they're broken up. Donna yells back that she did see David recently, and that it was easy, and she doesn't appreciate Kelly trying to bring her down. With that, she flounces out of the bathroom, and storms off down a hallway. D'Shawn notices her meltdown and follows her to see whassup, and she starts yammering about David and how their breakup makes her feel like a failure, blah blah. D'Shawn cheers her up by reminding her that she has a big fan club, and that he's a charter member. (Has this guy lost his damn mind??) He adds that she's special, and she responds with a little girl giggle and thanks him. He then asks her to dance, and she accepts. Back at the table, Dr. Martin is railing about universal health care (the fuck?), and Felice purses her lips with displeasure when she sees Donna and D'Shawn dancing. A few feet away, Brandon and Kelly are flirting and playing kissy face when they're suddenly interrupted by a glowering Dylan, who has crashed the ball still dressed in his dirty t-shirt and jeans. As he glares at the two of them, Brandon sheepishly explains that he tried to tell him about him and Kelly when he stopped by earlier, and apologizes that he found out this way...and Dylan snaps back that he shouldn't ever feel sorry for him. The two start to argue, and everyone within earshot turns around to watch the spectacle. Felice gets to her feet and sternly orders Dylan to take this somewhere else...and Valerie, who was dancing with Steve, has twigged onto the fact that this hot-tempered drunk is Brenda's ex-boyfriend, but when she asks if he's "Brenda's Dylan", Donna corrects her and says he's "Kelly's Dylan". Dylan snaps at Brandon and Kelly that they make him sick, then picks up a wine bottle and starts guzzling. After that he blurts out, "It's great to have friends", knocks over a bunch of glasses, and slouchily storms out of the room.
Night club. Dylan arrives at the night club where Jesse tends bar in his tuxedo. The two have a pleasant chat until Dylan orders a drink and Jesse reminds him he's underage. This annoys Dylan, so the skanky blonde woman, who's sitting next to him at the bar, offers him her drink. Later we learn her name is Eberlee (no, I'm not kidding.) The manager of the club comes over and asks Jesse if there's a problem, and Jesse says there is, so Eberlee suggests to Dylan that they go elsewhere to drink, and he agrees. Before he leaves, he tosses money in Jesse's direction and insults him for not being "a real bartender". ?? Dylan's not only a mean drunk, he's a nonsensical drunk.
The Walsh house. Valerie is standing in the doorway of Brandon's room, casually snacking on something. She asks him if Dylan is always like that, and Brandon says if by that she means condescending and belligerent, then yes...he is always like that. She replies, "I thought he was kind of dashing" which is a highly disturbing interpretation of what went down at the ball. Brandon advises her to stay away from Dylan and explains that he's an alcoholic, so Valerie quickly changes the subject and tells him she had fun at the ball, and that tomorrow she and Steve are going to registration at CU together. Brandon tells her that Steve is a good guy and a good friend...and she correctly guesses that Steve told Brandon to tell her that, then promises to take it under advisement.
Martin's house. Donna joins her mother in the kitchen as she's brewing a pot of tea. Felice remarks how sweet and considerate Travis is - unlike her boorish 90210 friends. Donna explains that Dylan blew up when he saw Kelly and Brandon kissing, which makes Felice snark, "So, Kelly can't control her impulses - and her ex-boyfriend, who is a bad drunk, can't control himself." Yep, that about sums it up. Donna apologizes and says she had no idea that that would happen, and Felice tells her that the behavior of her friends reflects on all of them. She haughtily adds that what may have been acceptable when she was fourteen just doesn't work anymore. Donna scrunches her big face in confusion and says she didn't do anything wrong, so Felice informs her that she made a giant spectacle of herself when she danced with D'Shawn. Donna argues that if the sight of her dancing with a black man offends someone, that's their problem, and Felice is like, "Mmm, no...it's kind of our problem too." She tells Donna she can't be naive (or be friends with non-white people) if she wants to "debut" to Houston society. Felice then says they'll put tonight behind them, and that they have an entire fall season of mindless parties to look forward to. Donna just stares into space, looking contemplative.
Dylan's house. Kelly knocks on Dylan's door a couple of times and he finally answers, looking disheveled and chest-hairy in an unbuttoned shirt. Ew. She tells him she hates seeing him like this, and says they should talk this out over a cup of coffee. When she enters the house, she's startled to see Eberlee standing in the living room wearing a bathrobe...and Dylan does a from-behind-canoodle with her while Kelly glares at him. He tells Kelly they've been spending the evening doing body shots, then demonstrates by doing a shot from Eberlee's neck before he kisses her. Kelly snarls, "Are we even yet?" and tells him how stupid she feels for coming over to apologize. Dylan continues to act like a total dick, so Kelly heads toward the door muttering, "It's over. It's soo over" and then Dylan bellows, "So what did you come here for?!"
Walsh house. Valerie slips a joint in her pack of cigarettes just as Steve arrives to take her to registration at CU. He tells Mama Walsh about Dylan's drunken antics at the ball, and she's shocked (though not that shocked) and says that Brandon never even mentioned the ruckus. Valerie comes downstairs and manages to keep a straight face as she exclaims, "And on a school night, no less!"
Dylan's house. The next morning, Brandon drops by to check on his wino friend, who's sprawled on the couch. Brandon pokes him awake, and Dylan looks at him, startled, and asks him how he got in...and Brandon wryly tells him the door was open. He tells Dylan he can drink and be as big a self-destructive douchebag as he wants, but he won't allow him to treat Kelly so shittily when all she's doing is trying to help him. Dylan whines that Brandon didn't tell him about his relationship with Kelly before the ball, and Brandon admits that that was wrong, but insists that he still needs to apologize to Kelly.
Campus daycare. Ahn-drea is dropping off Hannah for her first day at daycare, and she's babbling nonsensically at the unfortunate daycare worker about Hannah's various needs and routines. The daycare worker's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" but then accidentally refers to the tot as "little Anna". Ahn-drea bitchily corrects her, saying, "It's Hannah - with an H - then gets even huffier when the daycare worker writes "HannahVasquez" and not "Hannah Zuckerman Vasquez" on her name card. OMFG. When the daycare worker leaves the desk to get a fresh name card, the daycare director appears and assures Ahn-drea that Hannah will thrive in this program, and tells her that soon she'll be walking crawling, talking, and getting bigger...and naturally this displeases Ahn-drea because: a) she's afraid she might miss one of Hannah's baby milestones, and b) she's an irrational asshole who no one can ever please.
Beach house. Dylan drops by to talk to Kelly, but Donna tells him she's not home and assumes she went to the university to register for her classes. She invites him in, and when she sees how contrite he's acting, she assures him he doesn't owe her any apologies for last night and says she felt bad for him. Dylan says that Felice probably doesn't feel very bad for him, and Donna tells him that she and her mother don't feel the same way about a lot of things these days. She moans about how she was counting on hiding out on the party circuit in Houston for the next few months...but because her mother is a brazen, snobbish bigot, it's no longer an option. She then tears up and whimpers about how hard it is to see David, and that she's fixated on the fact that he cheated on her. She says she doesn't want to be on the same campus as David, but Dylan points out that he's just one skinny guy who can be easily avoided. Donna looks momentarily cheered up by that nugget of advice and invites Dylan to go to registration with her and "face them together". He thinks it over and says he'll meet her there, and she lets out one of her stupid hmm giggles.
California University. Kelly is lamenting to Brandon the end of summer. He tells her how "disgustingly wholesome" he feels compared to the hot drunken mess Dylan perpetually is, and Kelly grins back at him and says how attractive she finds that. Out of nowhere, Clare approaches them wearing a horrible red crop top. What is it with all the crop tops on this show? Were they really that much in style in the mid '90s? Clare announces that even though she's a year younger than all of them, she got a full year credit for taking high school AP classes, so - ta da! - she's now a college sophomore. That sounds...somewhat implausible, but then I'm no expert on how the admissions process works at fictional American universities. After Clare and Kelly amble off, Brandon locates Josh at a table hustling volunteers for The Condor and tells him he's decided to be his running mate after all. Josh is delighted, and the two shake on it. Meanwhile, Ahn-drea has Hannah with her, and is on a payphone telling Jesse she changed her mind about putting their daughter in daycare. Yawn.
In the Student Union, Donna runs into David and manages to have a civil conversation with him. He says he thought she was going away for a few months, then asks her if she forgives him for doinking Ariel. She says she doesn't, but that it's a big campus and wishes him a nice semester. She then notices Kelly sitting at a table and goes over to join her. She asks if she can move back into the beach house, and a pleased Kelly tells her her old room is waiting for her, and that she left everything as it was because she hoped she'd come to her senses and return to CU. Donna informs her that Dylan dropped by the beach apartment earlier to apologize. Kelly looks unimpressed and says it's too little too late, but Donna urges her to give Slouchy a chance.
Pool hall. Uh oh. Dylan is guzzling beer and shooting pool. I guess this means he didn't make it to registration.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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