Recap: Valerie's in the Walsh's garage, rummaging through a box labelled "Brenda's Stuff". She sifts through all the Dylan paraphernalia and finds a framed, autographed photograph of him that reads: "To Brenda, Love Dylan". LOL. Valerie's staring at it intently when Mama Walsh enters the garage to dump some garbage into one of the bins. Valerie springs up and says she's looking for Brenda's old poetry notes...and for some reason, the top button on her jeans is deliberately, brazenly undone. Was this some kind of weird fad in the '90s I didn't know about? Mama Walsh believes her fib and reminds her to turn the light off when she's done. Valerie stares at Dylan's photo a little longer, then heads back into the house...with her jean button still undone. Mama Walsh announces that dinner's ready, and Valerie acts overly delighted that they're having Mexican takeout. Incidentally, Brandon's out on the campaign trail, which is why he's not home for dinner. Valerie asks the Walshes if they've ever heard of Jack McKay, and Papa Walsh asks why she's asking, and she says her business ethics professor just happened to mention his name in class. Papa Walsh tells her that McKay made a fortune, lost a fortune, then lost his life when he pretended to get blown to smithereens in Season 3. He then sums up Jack's life by calling him a crook. Mama Walsh explains that they got to know Jack a bit 'cause Brenda was dating his son...and Valerie looks faux perplexed and pretends to stumble upon the connection that Dylan is Jack McKay's son. Papa Walsh asks her if she's met Dylan, and she tells him she hasn't, and he advises her to keep it that way. He says that Dylan has given his family enough grief for a lifetime, and Valerie pinky swears never to mention his name again...then stares contemplatively into space.
California University. David is filming a story about the election with an on-site anchor, who's reporting that the campaigning on campus has reached a fever pitch...but then David sneezes, so the anchor has to completely re-do his piece. What - the sneeze couldn't be edited out of the footage? Brandon is campaigning, but no one seems to want to stop and talk to him except Kelly. Josh tracks him down and tells him that The Condor is backing the Latino party, which is a major blow since he's been the paper's editor for two years. Um, shouldn't The Condor remain neutral as a matter of policy? The campaign manager for the Latino party, Alex Diaz, struts over to gloat about the endorsement and tells Josh and Brandon that if they drop out of the race, he'll make sure they get positions within the Latino administration's cabinet. Josh declines and tells him they're going down swinging, but this displeases Alex, and he sneeringly refers to Brandon as "the chancellor's lackey", a nickname that will soon wear out its welcome.
Beach house. Donna informs Kelly that she found a third roommate. She says this person has already seen the apartment and loves it, and Kelly's eager to meet her. Donna says she's waiting on the deck and mentions that she knows Brandon from the task force. As the two head outside, Kelly correctly guesses that the prospective roommate is Clare...and isn't thrilled. Kelly tells Clare it's probably not a good idea for them to live together, since she and Brandon are a real couple now...but Clare assures her she's no longer interested in him because he was so lousy in bed - meaning it was lousy that he never showed the slightest interest in having sex with her. She also promises that her dad's checks will never bounce, so Kelly agrees to give the arrangement a shot.
Josh and Brandon arrive at the Peach Pit in Josh's shitty little car. Brandon chides him for being a terrible driver, so Josh explains that he grew up in New York, and therefore didn't start driving until he moved to L.A. That might explain why he dies in a fiery crash at the end of the episode (spoiler). The two enter the diner and notice that Steve has hung up one of their campaign posters. Josh sees D'Shawn milling by the counter and tells Brandon it would give their campaign a boost if D'Shawn endorsed them, so Brandon ambles over to ask for the favor...but D'Shawn politely declines and says he has to stay neutral.
Ahn-drea's/Jesse's apartment. When Jesse arrives home, Ahn-drea tells him she's off to the Meet the Candidates debate on campus. Jesse's annoyed she's going out since he has a rare night off from working or studying and wanted to spend time with her. Ahn-drea insists that she has to go to support Brandon, and Jesse retorts that Brandon's not going to care whether she's there or not [Jesse: no one's going to care if she's there or not] and Ahn-drea gives him the stink-eye and snaps, "I care. OK?" Jesse tells her not to get upset, and she tells him she's not...but then admits she is. She starts railing about how Brandon never asks for her opinion or her take on the issues, then huffily exclaims, "And I used to be the editor!" LOL. She self-piteously adds, "Now what I am is a mom." Yeah, that's gotta be a major bummer...for Hannah. Jesse looks sympathetic and gives his miserable sack of a wife a from-behind hug.
The Walsh house. Brandon's primping for the debate when Valerie enters the bathroom and asks if he'd mind terribly if she skipped the dumb thing. He tells her he doesn't care, but reminds her that Steve is expecting her to show up. She winces and asks Brandon to tell Steve that she just needed to veg for the night. She then tells him about how Papa Walsh got stern with her when she mentioned Dylan's name. Brandon explains that he used to be Dylan's financial adviser and that Dylan's very rich 'cause he owns some bio-tech company...but that lately even Nat's sick of him because he sleeps all day and plays pool all night. Valerie smiles at the mention of pool and remarks that it used to be her father's game.
Debate. Ahn-drea arrives and looks around the large auditorium for Brandon. When she spots him, she rushes over to him and asks him how he's doing. He tells her he's freaked out 'cause Josh isn't here - apparently his shitty little car broke down on the freeway, and he (Brandon) doesn't have any kind of back-up speech prepared. Ahn-drea offers to write something for him, but he declines since the debate is about to start...and then hurries onto the stage to sit with the rest of the candidates. The debate quickly gets ugly as the candidates argue with each other. When the mediator finally maintains order, she announces that it's the Independent Party's turn to speak. Brandon strides over to the podium and tells the crowd that Josh isn't here because his car broke down...but that it doesn't matter because this debate has been a waste of time since no one's talking about the issues. He reminds everyone that what they have in common is the "incredible laboratory called CU", and encourages them all to make a commitment to listen to each other, learn from each other, and put personal agendas aside. If they don't, the university is sure to go to hell in a hand-basket, and all will be lost forever. Everyone claps enthusiastically, and by now Josh has arrived and is standing at the back of the room looking very impressed.
Pool hall. Dylan's slouching next to a pool table when Valerie struts in wearing a sleeveless denim shirt. She gives Dylan an appreciative once-over, asks him if he's looking for a game, and acts as though she's never played before. Dylan's intrigued by this shapely stranger and invites her to take the first shot, which she does...and then quickly ends up winning the game. He compliments her on her win, and then this inane dialogue occurs:
Valerie: Well, what did I win?
Dylan: What do you want?
Valerie: What do you got?
Dylan: What do you need?
Valerie: (holding up a beer) How about one of these, and we'll work from there?
Valerie takes a swig of beer while eying him, and Dylan is impressed by her ability to keep up with his nonsensical repartee. After playing pool for awhile, Valerie puts away her pool cue and prepares to leave. Dylan suggests they go somewhere else, and she's like, "On a first date?! What kind of girl do you think I am?" Dylan suggests that she's the kind of girl who might like some company, but she tells him he's got to ache for her first. He assures her he is aching, but she says he's not aching adequately enough, then sexily sashays out of the pool hall. OMFG.
Beach house. Clare is snoring so loudly that Donna and Kelly can't fall asleep. They stumble out of their rooms and wonder what to do about the noise, but neither has any ideas.
The Walsh house. Josh tells Papa Walsh how great Brandon's speech at the debate was and that they probably picked up hundreds of votes as a result. Brandon tries to downplay his performance, but Josh tells him to cut the crap, and that he knows Brandon wants to win the election as much as he does. Elsewhere in the house, Valerie comes downstairs dressed in her silky pink bathrobe. She runs into Mama Walsh, who remarks that she was out pretty late last night. Valerie tells her that after the debate, she drove to the beach to clear her head. Mama Walsh warns her that the beach can be very dangerous at night, but Valerie assures her she kept the windows closed and the doors locked. This, for some reason, prompts Mama Walsh to remind her how much she loves having her in their home, and the two hug.
Beach house. Clare has woken up, refreshed, while Donna and Kelly are slumped over the breakfast bar, exhausted from being kept up all night by her snoring. Clare gushes about how well she slept, and says she kept the window open so she could breath in the fresh ocean air. Donna and Kelly inform her that she has a loud snoring problem...but Clare doubts it could be that bad, so Kelly plays her a tape of it. Clare looks mortified and apologizes, and says she's tried every remedy - but the only thing that really helps is having a guy to canoodle with. She jokes about asking Brandon to join her in her bed, but Kelly assures her they'll come up with a solution.
The Peach Pit. Nat tells Dylan they need to get a new AC for the diner, and Dylan gets annoyed and derisively calls the diner The Money Pit. He then slouches behind the counter and encounters Steve, who starts gushing about Brandon's great campaign speech during the debate - but Dylan cuts him off and rudely snaps that he doesn't want to hear it. Steve assumes he's still angry because of Kelly dating Brandon, but Dylan informs him that he's "on the chase again" with some nameless slutty chick he met last night. Steve is like, "Me too!" and says he's smitten with a gal named Valerie who lives at the Walsh house.
Student Union. Josh, Brandon, Kelly, and Donna sit at a table and discuss the campaign. Josh thinks they're gaining a lot support and that momentum is finally swinging their way. Kelly offers to get coffee for everyone, and on her way to the cafeteria passes Ahn-drea, who's sitting alone, pouting like the big baby she is. Kelly invites her to join them at their table, but she retorts, "I wouldn't want to interrupt their strategy session." Kelly, who can't seem to leave well enough alone, asks what the hell she's talking about, so Ahn-drea whines about last night and how Brandon was so busy being Mr. Candidate that he didn't even take a second to ask how she was doing. Wow. It is in-fucking-credible that she would make a debate event, which no doubt was highly stressful for Brandon, all about her and her stupid feelings. She goes on to complain that Brandon had no interest in hearing her ideas on how to get more votes, and instead just walked away. Well, d'yuh - take a hint. Kelly, whose patience with this moron is starting to wear thin, tells Ahn-drea to stop being so fucking neurotic and just go over and talk to Brandon already...and eventually Ahn-drea does.
Alex Diaz saunters over to the group and hands out an article Josh wrote for The Condor last season, which alleges that Brandon took an exam for D'Shawn so he could maintain a high enough GPA to stay on the basketball team. Josh admits to writing the article, but tells Alex he never published it because it ended up not being true. Alex doesn't buy that and says that it just wasn't in his best interest to publish the article, then warns him that they'll be discussing this at the next student senate meeting unless he and Brandon drop out of the race. Josh refuses, so Alex declares that "exam-gate" could potentially disqualify Josh as a candidate and get Brandon thrown out of school. He stalks off, and Ahn-drea calls him a creep.
Ahn-drea looks over the article and says it's mostly just hearsay and conjecture. Josh says he shouldn't have written it and worries that it could threaten the campaign, so Ahn-drea suggests putting out a flyer, refuting the article point by point, and then use it to make the argument that CU needs a new crop of independent student leaders who won't tolerate such slimy politics. Josh likes the sound of that strategy, but Brandon would rather just drop out of the race. Josh then gets the idea to ask D'Shawn to get his account of the story, but Brandon doesn't want to stir that hornet's nest in case D'Shawn got someone else to take his exams. Donna offers to talk to D'Shawn and says it won't be a problem to find out whether or not he's been cheating.
Pool hall. Valerie shows up for a second nauseating go-around with Dylan, this time decked out in a short black dress. She looks around for him, but he isn't there yet, so she takes a seat at the bar and lights up a cigarette.
Student Union. Ahn-drea arrives on campus just as the student senate meeting is about to start. A stressed out Kelly tells her that Donna and D'Shawn are nowhere to be found, and that Brandon is too nervous to go into the meeting room. Ahn-drea offers to give him a pep talk and finds him upstairs looking anxious. She starts lecturing him about how he's a born leader and reminds him how he single-handedly led the epic Donna Martin graduates! protest in Season 3. Haha! That was such an awesome episode. She tells him about how he has nothing to be ashamed of, then orders him to go into the meeting and stand up for himself. Brandon thinks that over for a few seconds and asks her if she'll go in with him, and she does. Inside the meeting room, Alex Diaz is railing to the student senate about how Brandon helped D'Shawn cheat. He says that these athletes are considered disposable, and that they're almost always people of color, while the tutors are usually white! When Brandon tries to speak up for himself, Alex yells, "You're out of order!" and then D'Shawn enters the room and shouts, "You can't handle the truth!"...LOL. What D'Shawn actually says is, "And you're out of line." Everyone at the meeting turns to stare over at D'Shawn, who says that everything Alex is accusing Brandon of isn't true. He says that Brandon refused to help him cheat, which forced him to study on his own, which enabled him to maintain his GPA and remain on the basketball team without help from anyone. He admonishes Alex for assuming he's not intelligent enough to attend CU and labels that as racist - and Alex falls silent and looks completely deflated.
Pool hall. Dylan slouches in, sees Valerie, and the two start flirting. He's like, "Who are you?" but she remains vague and evasive. She tells him she's not really in the mood to shoot pool tonight, and when he asks her what she has in mind, she bats her eyes at him suggestively.
Student Union. Steve is busily handing out campaign flyers and learns that Alex was summarily fired as the campaign manager of the Latino party. Haha! Kelly and Steve tell Brandon they think he and Josh are a shoo-in to win the election. Steve then asks them if they've seen Valerie around anywhere...but of course no one has.
Dylan's house. Dylan and Valerie are in bed, languishing in the sweaty aftermath of their coupling. He grins at her and asks where she learned that trick, and she jokes about how she ran away and joined the circus. They banter about that for a little while and he asks, "Who are you?" again before they start going at it again.
Beach house. Donna is pumping air into a large male blow up doll for Clare. In lieu of an actual man, she and Kelly think he might help with Clare's snoring problem.
Dylan's house. Valerie tells Dylan she has a curfew and asks him to drive her home. She directs him to Beverly Hills, and he's shocked when she tells him to stop in front of the Walsh house. He's all, "Wha-a?" and angrily accuses her of setting him up, then says she knew exactly who he was when she first entered that pool hall. Valerie responds with, "Sweet dreams!", exits the car, and rushes into the house. What a head case.
Beach house. Donna and Kelly are sleeping peacefully, and Clare is spooning her blow up doll, not snoring. Hurray! Boring crisis averted.
The Peach Pit. It's Election Night, and Josh and Brandon are anxiously awaiting the results. Everyone stops by and wishes them well, including Mama and Papa Walsh...but Brandon informs them it'll be hours until all the ballots are counted. D'Shawn stops by to express his support and tells them he encouraged the entire basketball team to go to the polls and vote for the Independent Party. Josh discreetly tells Brandon he needs to get out of the diner for awhile, so the two scamper outside into the parking lot. Josh invites him to come along for a ride, but Brandon wisely declines. He asks Josh what they'll do if they actually win, and Josh quips that they'll just make it up as they go along. He then walks over to his car and says he'll be back in around twenty minutes. He drives down the alley, and a few seconds later Brandon hears a loud crash, and sees that a large truck has smashed into Josh's car. He starts to run toward it, but before he can get anywhere near Josh, the car bursts into flames.
A little later, police and firemen are on the scene, and Brandon just stares at the wreckage in disbelief. Kelly comes over and gently asks him if he's OK, but he's far too dazed to answer. She informs him that he and Josh won the student election, but Brandon has no reaction to this as he watches them load Josh's charred remains into the ambulance.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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