Recap: Ray wraps up another grisly musical performance in Reno and exits the stage. In the back hallway, a skankily/scantily clad girl rushes over to him and gushes about how amazing he is (bwahaha!). She propositions him (bwahaha!) just as the pay phone starts ringing, and Ray tells her it's probably his girlfriend calling...which it is. Donna's calling from the Peach Pit to tell him how badly the After Dark is sucking now that he's no longer headlining. She offers to talk to Valerie about reinstating him, but he bitchily snaps that he doesn't need a manager. Donna meekly apologizes and says she's looking forward to him coming home, but he retorts that she shouldn't count on his return to L.A. anytime soon. Donna then starts whining about how he's been on the road for two months and asks him if he wants to be with her or not...and he says he does, but that he's not so crazy about her family or any of her friends 'cause they're not his "scene". [Here's a small piece of advice: if you have a boyfriend who comes right out and says he hates your entire family and every single person in your life, consider that a giant red flag and flee immediately.] Ray gabbles about how being on the road is good for him 'cause there aren't any distractions and he can get lots of songwriting done. Donna pouts about being considered a mere distraction, so he tells her to get her ass to Reno so they can be on the road together. Donna says she's not much into that idea and Ray says, "I thought you loved me" so Donna replies, "Of course I love you." Somehow Ray assumes that this blechy declaration of love means that she'll be booking the next flight to Reno, and he abruptly ends the call before Donna can explain that there's no way in hell she's going to start following him on the road.
After Dark. The club is featuring two people doing horrible performance art, and everyone in the audience starts heading toward the nearest exit. I guess we're supposed to believe that in all of Los Angeles there isn't a single reasonably talented band or singer Valerie could book for the After Dark. Upstairs in her office, Valerie moans to Steve about what a disaster the club is turning into, and Steve agrees that it is indeed dying a slow, painful death. Apparently, now that Pumpkin Head isn't singing his raspy-voice music there anymore, no one knows what to expect. Steve suggests she try booking some artists of the hip-hop variety, and Valerie scrunches her face with disdain and goes, "That sock hop thing?" which is kind of hilarious coming from a nightclub owner. The phone then rings and she answers it - but it's clearly someone she's trying to avoid, so she pretends to be a receptionist and gets off the phone quick. She explains to Steve that the unwanted caller is an Australian death metal band named Bloody Rouge, who she almost booked and now refuses to leave her alone. Steve shrugs disinterestedly and urges her again to go in the hip-hop direction, and Valerie agrees to give this new-fangled music genre a try.
Clare laments to Donna how awful the performance art thing was. Well d'yuh. Just book a band...any band. David ambles over and offers Donna a ride home - and of course this irks Clare, so she snarks something bitchy at him and he snarks back. God I hate these two. Steve comes over to tell David that Valerie gave him the green light to schedule a hip-hip night, and David looks very excited 'bout that. After he and Steve head out, Clare confides to Donna that she still really misses David.
California University. Chancellor Arnold tells Brandon about a young student he'd like to recruit to CU, and he needs him entertain him for awhile. They enter the chancellor's office and there's a young boy sitting at his desk and fiddling with some kind of device. His name is Warren and, as Brandon soon discovers, he's a rude, surly little snot. When Brandon offers to give him a campus tour, he sneers that this is just a courtesy visit since he plans on attending Harvard.
After Dark. David arrives to the sound of a repetitive hip-hop-lite beat being played by a young African-American kid...and when he sees David striding toward him, he abruptly stops playing. David asks him whassup with him using his equipment without permission, and the kid rudely explains that he's Juwan: Willie the cook's nephew. David rushes over to the stage and tries to replicate the beat...but he can't do it very well, so Juwan gives him some pointers. Willie enters the club, looks over at Juwan disapprovingly, and reminds him that his shift slinging hash at the Peach Pit is about to start.
Student Union. Brandon is getting a sundae for Warren when he runs into Donna. The two chat for a minute, and Brandon delivers the sundae to Warren, who makes a suggestive remark about Donna's fake hooters. Brandon tells him to cool it, so Warren reminds him that he expects to be entertained - otherwise he'll tattle to the chancellor and tell him he's the reason he's turning down CU.
Elsewhere in the Student Union, Donna asks Valerie what happened between her and Ray...and adds that Ray goes berserk every time she mentions Valerie's name. Valerie tells her "the truth", which is that Ray is a great guy (he's a bad, bad guy) and that she was once attracted to him and gave him mixed signals (?). But she now fully grasps how much he loves Donna, and Donna says she's worried about losing him and would like Valerie to reinstate him at the After Dark. Valerie agrees that that's a great idea and promises to do her best to convince Ray to return. Oh joy.
Dylan's house. The hypnotherapist is finishing up a preliminary session putting Dylan under and says she wants to do his first "regression" that evening. Fuuuuuuuuck.
The Peach Pit. Willie warns David that his nephew is trouble and that he can't say no to a fight. Steve enters the diner, discovers that David wants Juwan to DJ at the club on hip-hop night, and is aghast and exclaims in horror, "That gangster kid?!" Nat comes nosing around, as he so often does with conversations that have nothing remotely to do with him, and assures Steve that Juwan is a good kid. He then reminds Steve that he has his own legal problems and shouldn't be such a judgmental douchenozzle. Fair point, Nat. Now go away.
The episode takes a sudden, hilarious turn into After School Special territory as a group of inner city kids at a community center (or something) are being forced to watch a video that urges them to "squash it" instead of resolving conflicts by fighting. The instructor who's running the session tells them it takes guts and heart to walk away from a fight, then says, "You've got to check yourself before you wreck yourself." After that gem, he blurts out, "Squash it!" and slams his fist against his palm, and somehow the kids manage to not laugh out loud or even discreetly snicker among themselves like I would have done. David, who's been standing at the back of the room watching, sees Juwan and bellows, "Yo, Juwan!" and Juwan's friends make fun of him for being summoned in street lingo by a white dork. David remarks that thesquash it stuff sounds really cool, then tells him he wants him to DJ with him at a hip-hop event at the After Dark later. He assures him it's already been cleared with Willie and his parole officer. Juwan says that Willie disapproves in his taste in music 'cause he equates gangster rap (even though what he was playing earlier wasn't even close to being gangster rap) with actual gangsters. David says they'll show him it's not the same thing, and the two agree to meet up later to rehearse.
Dylan's house. The hypnotist starts to put Dylan under...and he has a vision of himself in a different era, like maybe the '20s or '30s. He's standing near a railroad track, and a train has just arrived. Suddenly his phone rings, and he's jarred out of his hypnotic state. It turns out to be an annoying sales call, and the hypnotist chastises herself for forgetting to turn off the phone. Dylan tells her about the vision he had, and she says they'll try another "regression" tomorrow.
The Walsh house. Warren is spending the night at the Walsh house (not sure how that came about) and he haughtily complains that when he visited Cornell, they put him up in a luxury hotel with twenty-four hour room service. Brandon wryly tells him there's a bag of chips in his desk drawer. Warren laughs at him for still living with his parents and says if Papa Walsh's balding head is any indication, he too is destined to be hairless at an early age. Haha! Valerie enters the room in her bathrobe and Warren just stares at her, completely transfixed. Brandon introduces them, and Valerie just murmurs, "Cute" before she flounces back to her room and dials Ray's motel room in Reno. He picks up, but once he realizes who he's talking to, he snarks that he has nothing to say to her and hangs up.
The Peach Pit. The mangy looking lead singer of Bloody Rouge is ranting (in an atrociously over exaggerated Australian accent) to Nat that he can never get a hold of Valerie. Elsewhere in the diner, Ahn-drea, Clare, and Donna are joking about the lack of sex of in their lives (of course, in Donna's case it's self-inflicted). Ahn-drea reports that her failed marriage is improving little by little, then plants the seed that she's becoming more open to the idea of moving to Idaho. Yay!! Hurray!! Woot woot!! Mangy Guy walks over to their table, leers at Clare, and grosses her out further when he starts flirting. A few seconds later, Valerie enters the diner, and Mangy Guy puts his flirting on hold to rush over to her. She quickly introduces herself to him as Kristen McDougall and tells him that Valerie is unavailable...forever. Mangy Guy gets upset and complains that Valerie booked his band and now has to pay them, then natters about how someone will "bloody well pay for this...bloody big time".
After Dark. David is wearing a stupid hat and playing hip-hop-lite music with his DJ equipment. Juwan remarks that he's pretty good for a white guy, and David chuckles and says he may be white but he ain't vanilla. LOL - yes you are, David. You're as vanilla as vanilla can be. Juwan joins him for a few minutes, but then has to leave for his Peach Pit shift, so the two agree to meet up later for a final sound check. David hands him a stack of flyers promoting hip-hop night just as Steve enters, and when Juwan is safely out of earshot, he irritably snaps, "You might as well take an ad out in the Bloods and Crips newsletter." He then tells David he's on his own with the event...but David doesn't look too broken up, since it's never been clear what Steve was actually contributing to the effort anyway.
Valerie calls David and tells him he's on his own for hip-hop night. She's off to Reno on a mission to convince Pumpkin Head to return to L.A. and be reinstated as the After Dark's headliner.
KEG house. Brandon has brought Warren to the KEG house and discreetly thanks Steve for taking the kid off his hands for a little while. Kelly remarks that Warren seems like a perfectly nice boy...but then eats her words when he pokes her ass with his pool cue. When Brandon rushes over to admonish the little snot, he shoves his cue in Steve's direction, and this forces him to spill his drink all over the floor. Brandon loses it and starts yelling at Warren to clean it up, then yells that he shouldn't bother whining to the chancellor since he's not planning on going to CU anyway. He then glares at Warren and snaps, "And you know what? We don't wantcha!" Warren scrunches his face, starts crying, and runs out of the house...leaving Brandon staring after him, wide-eyed. Kelly chastises Brandon for his [totally justified] outburst and reminds him that Warren's just a kid.
After Dark. The dance floor is filled with white people awkwardly bopping to hip-hop-lite. Donna and Clare enter the club, and Donna gives David a "thumbs up"...and Juwan notices and tells David he should definitely tap that and/or Clare. Clare remarks to Donna that she finds David to be particularly hot while he's DJing on stage, so Donna wishes her good luck with that and heads out. Bloody Rouge is loitering outside the club, and the mangy lead singer notices a poster that has a photo of Valerie and realizes he's been tricked. He bribes the bouncer to let him and his band enter and they all swagger inside. One of them looks around and sneeringly calls hip-hop night "a bleedin' tea social" (fair point) and wants to blow...but instead of blowing, the band starts randomly shoving people, and fights break out when some of the guys punch back. Mangy Guy declares they owe it to Valerie to cause some damage. David notices what's going on and is like, "Whoa, chillax" - and Mangy Guy responds by picking up a large speaker and throwing it at him. Bloody Rouge then storms the stage and demands to be allowed to play and makes a racist comment aimed at Juwan and his friends. They, in turn, get irked and want to retaliate with gunfire, but Willie rushes over and tells Juwan, "Check yourself!" Juwan snaps back that he can't live his life without respect, but David too urges him to stop. Juwan looks contemplative, remembers the cheesy after school special video he saw earlier in the episode, then slaps his fist against his hand and says, "Squash it, man. We out." His friends all do the hand thing and check themselves before they wreck themselves...leaving a very confused Mangy Guy staring after them.
Reno motel. Valerie arrives in Reno and goes straight to Ray's motel room. She tells him that Donna sent her, and the two just stare mutely at each other.
Dylan's house. Operation Hypnotize Dylan is underway yet again. This time Dylan has a vision of himself in the boxcar of a train with a girl, making out and drinking wine. When the train stops, a man climbs into the boxcar and finds the two stowaways. He grabs the girl, and Dylan looks on helplessly as the man violently kisses her, then drags her off the train. During all this, she's begging Dylan to help her. Dylan is suddenly jarred back into coherence and looks haunted by his pathetic uselessness in his past life.
After Dark. The police have arrived, and the members of Bloody Rouge are all being arrested. Juwan tells David the "squash it" thing really worked...which was good 'cause he had no idea how else to handle the situation. Willie comes over and tells Juwan he's proud of him for not resorting to violence. Clare tells David what a disaster the evening was, but David disagrees and points out that a lot of people showed up for hip-hop night. They start bickering (gaa!), and Juwan watches them in amusement then does the "squash it" gesture. David sees it and immediately stops bickering and apologizes to Clare for anything he's ever done or ever will do in the future. LOL. Clare tells him he looked pretty hot on stage and thinks she may actually like hip-hop. The two start making out, and I guess this means that their dysfunctional, chemistry-free relationship is back on.
Reno. Valerie tells Ray that Donna needs him back in L.A., and they both want him to return to the After Dark. Ray agrees, but says this time things are going to be on his terms.
Dylan's house. The hypnotist theorizes that maybe Dylan's vision was just a subconscious message and not anything that actually happened in another life. She assures him that they can find out the truth, so I guess we're in for more pointless hypnotism sessions.
The Walsh house. Brandon arrives home and is surprised to find Warren in the kitchen eating ice cream. He whines to Brandon that he doesn't like it when people yell at him, so Brandon tells him he's going to have to develop a thicker skin if he plans on going to college. Warren says he doesn't want to go to college...and explains that he'd miss his family, pet dog, and bedroom too much. Brandon advises him to consider attending a local college so he wouldn't have to move out, and then transfer to Harvard (or wherever) when he's ready. Sounds like a fantastic plan.
Reno. Ray has finished his final performance, and Valerie meets up with him immediately afterward. He tells her he's really looking forward to returning to L.A and seeing Donna again, then says how different she (Valerie) seems. He asks her if she wants to go get a coffee, and she gives him a suggestive once-over and replies, "Or something." Ray gets irked and says he thought she changed, so she tells him to "just roll the dice and see what happens". He replies, "No way" and Valerie pretends as though he just passed her morality test and informs him that if he'd taken her up on her "or something" proposition, she would have had to tell Donna. LOL. Well played, Val.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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