Recap: Kelly and Colin are hanging out at the Peach Pit while they babysit Erin...and it looks like Kelly is pawning the adorable tot off on Colin while she attends Joe's trial (in support of Donna). Across the diner, David tells Valerie that maybe he should watch Erin instead of going to court, but Valerie assures him she'll be fine with Colin. Brandon and Susan enter the diner to pick up some takeout, and they joke to David and Valerie about the romantic night they have ahead working in the newsroom. As Brandon and Susan play kissy face in front of a diner full of customers, David remarks to Valerie that the two look really happy together...but Valerie hints that all might not be well with the couple. She says it's like the saying goes, "While the cat's away, the mouse will cheat." [It's the mice will play, idiot.] Valerie dishes to David that there was a lot of cheating going on during Thanksgiving, then wonders aloud what she should do about it. David gives her a funny look and is like, "Why don't you not do anything about it?", which I thought was excellent advice, though low scoring on the needless drama scale.
Pasadena. The Rose Queen hopefuls are heading off for a three day boondoggle to demonstrate to the judges which of them will make the best Rose Queen. How in the fuckety hell could a Rose Queen contest possibly take this long to wrap up?? Donna can't go, since she's been subpoenaed to testify at Joe's trial...and she wishes her friend (and fellow Rose Queen hopeful) Lisa good luck, and the two hug goodbye.
The gang arrives at City Hall to observe the trial of the century, and Brandon is annoyingly narrating the proceedings as he taps on his chunky '90s laptop. He informs his readership that the case is about a football player who's trying to prove his innocence, and that a conviction could ruin his sports career. Egads! The gang enters the courtroom...and Kelly sits next to Brandon, which prompts a snide glare from Valerie. After that, the lawyers on both sides enter City Hall and are immediately peppered with questions from reporters, which makes me think it must be a really slow news day in L.A. The prosecutor says she's busy with real work and offers the defense attorney a deal: if Joe pleads guilty, he'll only get community service and a suspended sentence. When the lawyer presents the deal to his client, Joe's mom, who traveled from Pennsylvania to attend the trial, thinks he should take it; however, Joe refuses because a guilty plea means he'll be banned from playing college football. Donna looks miserable and moans, "This is all my fault" (well, d'yuh) and says she should have lied during the deposition instead of telling the prosecutor that Joe threw the first two punches. Joe's mom assures her she was right to tell the truth.
Inside the courtroom, Brandon is still typing his news story, trying hard to look Bob Woodward-esque by furrowing his brows. Kelly leans over and tells him she hopes the story will have a happy ending, and Brandon agrees. Valerie scrutinizes their exchange and murmurs to David, "See what I mean?" David tells her to cut it out, so she petulantly retorts, "I know what I saw!"...and by saw she means she witnessed Brandon and Kelly hugging and kissing the morning after Thanksgiving and is making the giant leap that the two slept together. Val tells David that Colin is her friend and that she doesn't want him to get hurt, so David shoots back that Kelly is his step-sister and she should keep her big fat nose out of it. Once again, excellent advice.
Ray arrives at City Hall with his white trash mother, LuAnn, and notices Donna, Joe, and Joe's mom...and they all give each other the stink-eye for several long seconds. Donna finally looks away, and Joe's mom clucks sympathetically about how hard this must be for her. Felice arrives to attend the trial, gets a quick introduction to Joe's mom, and the four rush over to the courtroom.
Colin and Erin are hanging out in the park, painting. He gives the cute tot some messy painting tips and calls her "a natural", which she seems to like. Kelly calls him on his cell phone to check in, and he tells her not to worry and reminds her that he practically raised his younger brothers. After he hangs up, Erin starts whining that she doesn't want to paint anymore and wants to go home.
Courtroom. Donna's on the witness stand, describing in painful detail the [much deserved] ass-kicking Joe gave to Ray during the Halloween episode. She testifies about how Ray showed up uninvited, snarked at her about turning her back on him, then grabbed her arm and wouldn't let go. Joe then swept in like a romance novel hero, punched Ray twice...the force of which knocked him on his keister. During cross examination by the defense attorney, Donna is able to explain that Ray has a troubling pattern of abusive behavior: he threw her against a wall, and also shoved her down a flight of stairs. Her plumped lips quiver as she tells the court that on Halloween night she was totes terrified that the simmering Pumpkin Head was going to blow and do something worse.
During the lunch recess, Brandon tells Steve that Joe was on the practice field that morning...doing his training regimen even though the coach won't let him play while he's being tortured with this dumb trial. Brandon marvels at Joe's gutsy fortitude and wishes that he too could be that awesome.
Park. Colin has painted a portrait of Erin, but she doesn't think it looks anything like her (and she's right).
The Condor newsroom. Susan is rushing around, looking as busy and harassed as she can muster. Brandon calls from City Hall to tell her that his article is 500 words long, so then Susan tells him the exciting news that the Associated Press called - LOL, as if - and they want Brandon to write about the case for them 'cause they're having problems getting an interview with Joe. Brandon says he can definitely deliver, and the two gush about him landing his first national story.
Joe returns to City Hall after lunch, and he and his lawyer push their way past a throng of reporters and photographers. Brandon appears out of nowhere and asks Joe if he can get an interview, and the lawyer overhears the request and snaps, "No!!" Haha..
Joe takes the witness stand and is questioned by the prosecutor. He testifies that he was protecting Donna from Ray 'cause it was clear he was hurting her. The prosecutor points out that Donna wasn't actually hurt (she didn't require medical attention), and that the only person who got hurt that night was the Pumpkin Head. After that, the defense calls Valerie to the stand...and Kelly's all "Wuh?" and remarks to Brandon how stunned she is that Valerie could actually be of help to anyone. On the stand, Valerie testifies about what she witnessed during the Palm Springs episode: an argument between Donna and Ray that escalated into a violent act when he thew her stunt double down the stairs.
The Walsh house. Clare is cooking supper for the gang, and everyone seems to be in a celebratory mood 'cause of Valerie's testimony. Brandon stops by Valerie's room and tells her it's dinner time, and she says she'll be down soon...then remarks that he and Susan seem to be getting along great. She says, "I know it's none of my business [which probably means you should stop talking], but I know that you and Kelly spent the night together on the night of Thanksgiving." Brandon glares at her and reminds her of their friendship, then sternly adds that he'd like to keep it that way.
Men's locker room. Joe is icing his foot after a workout when Brandon enters the locker room. He tells Joe he's writing about the trial for the Associated Press (!), and Joe makes a self-deprecating joke about how surprised he is that he "rates". He tells Brandon that the whole thing is kind of surreal, but also thinks everything happens for a reason. Brandon asks him what he'll do if he's found guilty of battering Pumpkin Head, and Joe just shrugs and says that things have to work out 'cause heloooves football.
Donna arrives at City Hall with her parents at the same time that Ray and his chain smoking ma get there. Brandon appears out of nowhere again and asks Ray if he can talk to him privately for a minute, and Ray agrees and tells his ma to bugger off somewhere. Once they're alone, Brandon gives him a disapproving look and tells him he's doing the wrong thing...that he hurt Donna on the night in question, and Joe was just trying to protect her. Ray stares at him blankly and says that that's for the judge to decide. Brandon insists that he's not the victim, and that by continuing with this ridiculous trial, he's continuing to abuse Donna. He declares that Joe is innocent, and Ray mutters, "It's not for me to say." Brandon argues that it is for him to say, and that only he can say it...then stalks off. Ray stares after him looking contemplative.
When the prosecutor recalls Donna to the witness stand, she stares over at her mother like a deer in headlights. She nervously takes the stand, and the prosecutor shows her a copy of her admitting record from the hospital in Palm Springs. She points out the disclaimer that says it's against the law to give false information, which technically Donna did when she claimed that the injury happened as a result of an accident. Donna looks flustered, tears up, and says she was only trying to protect Ray. The prosecutor barks, "You're saying you lied to protect your old boyfriend...but how do we know you're not lying now to protect your new one?" I'm a recapper not a lawyer, but this seems like kind of a losing strategy for a domestic abuse type case.
As Donna and Joe leave City Hall together, a reporter yells out, "Miss Martin, is this going to affect your chances of becoming Rose Queen?" Bwahahaha!! I would venture to say that the obnoxious, sanctimonious smarm she's demonstrated to the judges thus far is a much greater risk to her Rose Queen chances. The two go into a private room, and Donna apologizes to Joe for the whole sordid mess...but once again he insists it's not her fault, blah blah.
The Peach Pit. Valerie runs into Colin and asks him how babysitting Erin is going. He tells her it's OK...but she's a toddler and therefore a handful, so he'll be glad to get rid of the little runt. Valerie commends him for doing such a good deed...considering. Colin scrunches his face in confusion and is all, "Wha-a?" and the scene fades to black.
Beach house. Kelly's in the bathroom with Erin, running a bath for the little tot. She hears Colin arrive with their dinner and rushes out to greet him. He glares at her and demands to know if she had it planned out or if she was overcome by the heat of the moment. Kelly's all, "Wuh?" so Colin comes right out and accuses her of sleeping with Brandon on Thanksgiving night. Kelly insists that nothing happened and explains that she slept over 'cause she was too tired to drive home, and that it was all very innocent. Colin bitterly retorts, "Valerie didn't think it was so innocent" and informs her that Valerie saw her at Casa Walsh the morning after, wearing Brandon's shirt. Kelly is furious that he immediately jumped to the conclusion that she and Brandon doinked, and stomps back to the bathroom. A few seconds later she screams, "Oh my God! Colin!" Uh oh...looks like little Erin fell in the tub and drowned while they were fighting. Kelly runs to the living room to call 911 while Colin administers CPR. For a few frantic seconds Erin lays on the floor, lifeless...and finally she coughs (without any water sputtering out of her mouth, interestingly). A sobbing Kelly grabs her little sister and holds her tight.
The Condor newsroom. Susan prints out Brandon's article and gushes over his first syndicated story. As he reads it over, she strokes his ego further and tells him he has the integrity and honesty to be a great newspaper man. Brandon looks troubled and tells her, in fact, he's not very honest...and, oh yeah, Kelly spent Thanksgiving night at Casa Walsh. He hastens to add that they didn't sleep together. Susan gets angry and says he obviously contemplated doinking his ex, then asks, "What stopped you?" Brandon tells her: his feelings for her, and Kelly's feelings for Colin. Susan asks him why he's telling her this now, and he says, "You have a right to know." Well...that, plus he had to beat Valerie to the punch in case she started blabbing about it to everyone. Brandon sheepishly admits it was thoughtless to let Kelly sleep over, and Susan bitchily agrees and rhetorically asks him how she's ever supposed to trust him again. He insists again that nothing happened...but she says she doesn't believe him and kicks him out of her office.
Beach house. Colin and Kelly have made up and carefully watch over Erin, who's sleeping on the couch. Kelly assures Colin that there was no sexual contact between her and Brandon, and tells him she loves him...and that she's happy he was around to save Erin's life.
City Hall. The next day, Kelly runs into Valerie, gives her the stink-eye then snarls, "You make me sick." Valerie retorts that Colin has a right to know if she and Brandon hooked up. She says, "I saw what I saw", but then apologizes for misinterpreting the situation. Kelly tells her that one day her insidious personality disorder is going to get her in real trouble...and she hopes she's around to enjoy it.
Ray is on the witness stand, being questioned by Joe's lawyer. He's asked about past incidents of abuse, and Ray says he's never hurt Donna...then adds, "Not intentionally." LOL. He clarifies, "If I hurt her, it was only because I loved her." Yes, he really did say that in a courtroom. He then gives a blow-by-blow of what happened on Halloween night: he admits to grabbing Donna and not letting go, and that Joe showed up and defended Donna by slapping him around. Everyone in the courtroom gasps at his admission...and almost immediately the charges against Joe are dropped, and the case is dismissed. Joe gives Donna a kiss...and as the two head out, the prosecutor informs Donna that if she's willing to testify against Ray, she can help put him behind bars for what he did. Donna declines the offer, but takes her business card. She sees Ray in the lobby and makes a deal with him: make his next relationship a good one. Um, OK..? Ray agrees to try, and she insists that he has to try really really hard.
The Walsh house. Brandon is fine-tuning his AP article when Valerie enters the room and informs him that she told Colin about him and Kelly hitting the sheets on Thanksgiving. Brandon's all, "The fuck?!" and asks her if she's lost her damn mind. Valerie sheepishly begs for forgiveness and says she truly doesn't mean to be a gossip...but somehow it always seems to work out that way. LOL. Brandon gives her an angry stare and brusquely orders her not to do it again. After that, Ray drops by unexpectedly to thank Brandon for his lecture earlier, and admits that things got out of control...and by things, he means he let his temper get out of control. Brandon tells him it was a good thing he told the truth, and Ray concurs and says he's leaving Beverly Hills, 90210 to pursue a career performing his raspy sounding music. He shakes Brandon's hand and asks him to tell Donna how sorry he is and that he won't bother her again. Godspeed once again, Pumpkin Head. Godspeed..
Pasadena. It's Rose Queen announcement time! The gang is in the audience, rooting for Donna, and Brandon is writing about it on his chunky laptop. Susan arrives and tells Brandon says she overreacted to his confession and then apologizes...and the two make up and play kissy face. Nope, still no chemistry there. The contestants file out of the Rose Court mansion, all dressed in red and with tiaras perched atop their heads. The judges announce the final decision, and the new Rose Queen is...Lisa! Donna looks fake happy for her friend and gives her a hug, and Lisa steps forward to accept her bouquet of roses and take a bow. After the announcement, Joe wonders aloud if Donna would have won if she hadn't had to spend so much of her time at his trial, but Donna assures him she wouldn't change a thing. Brandon, meanwhile, is wrapping up his article and the episode ends with his cheesy, needless narration.