Recap: Steve is at the Peach Pit, hanging up posters for his upcoming Roger Corman Film Festival. He asks Nat who keeps taking his posters down, and Nat bitchily tells himhe's been taking them down 'cause he thinks four posters in one diner is more than enough advertising. Across the diner, Kelly shows her mom a letter she just got from her deadbeat dad, Bill Taylor. He's flying in tomorrow and has told Kelly he's planning to move back to L.A. permanently. Jackie doesn't buy it and reminds Kelly that he has a history of disappointing her...pretty much since she was born. Kelly points out that he did come to her high school graduation in Season 3, and Jackie lets out a derisive snort and mocks her ridiculously low expectations. Kelly insists he's taken good care of her, then needlessly snarks at Jackie for not exactly being a model wife and mother. Jackie reminds Kelly that Bill's idea of taking good care of her is throwing lots of cash her way...and she warns her daughter not to come crying to her when he breaks her heart yet again.
Kelly arrives at the regional airport where her dad's charter plane is scheduled to land. When she spots him deplaning, she shrieks, "Daddy!" and rushes over to hug him. The two gush over how much they've missed each other and exchange I love yous. Bill announces that he's definitely staying in L.A. for good this time, and Kelly beams happily and chirps, "Welcome back!" She's really overdoing it on the happy meter with regard to her dad. My guess is that the writers are laying it on thick now so that when she descends into the perilous world of cocaine snorting at the end of the episode - a move, by the way, that is totally out of character for her - it'll seem at least somewhat plausible.
California University. Joe meets up with Donna in the Student Union, and he's limping because of a swollen ankle. Elsewhere, Steve informs Clare, Brandon, and Susan that he has a film he wants to screen for his Roger Corman Film Festival, and they all agree to watch it together. Ho hum. Clare runs into Kelly in the bathroom, and for some reason Kelly shows her Colin's vial of cocaine that she's been carrying around in her purse for the last few days. Apparently, she hasn't gotten around to confronting him about his drugging yet. Clare wisely advises her to not walk around with cocaine in her purse...and then Kelly gabbles about how her dad's in town, and that she's looking forward to getting back the parent she's been missing all these years. That's nice. Now take Clare's advice and get rid of the coke.
Over at the art studio, Colin's teaching a drawing class in which Valerie is enrolled. After class, Valerie compliments him on the large number of students he was able to attract, then asks him how he's doing. He tells her he's A-OK, and that he's working out regularly and doing a lot of painting in his spare time. Valerie says she's thrilled to hear he's cleaning up his act, and he assures her everything's under control...and by under control he means he's still doing a lot of coke.
Beach house. Joe and Donna are studying together while Joe ices his bum ankle. When he gets up to pee and puts weight on his foot, he winces in pain and tells Donna he should probably go see his doctor.
The Walsh house. Steve, Clare, Brandon, and Susan are watching Unholy Rollers, a potential addition to Steve's film festival. As the credits roll, they notice the name "Nat Benson"...and Brandon quickly deduces that that's Nat's stage name. Oh crap...this dumb subplot. They spot him in one of the scenes, and Steve wonders aloud why Nat never said anything about being in the film - especially with all those Roger Corman posters hanging in his diner.
Kelly's driving her dad somewhere, and Bill tells her about how he and Jackie were into drinking and drugging while they were together, then cheerily describes that period of his life by gaily blurting out, "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll!" What a moron. He claims he stopped doing all that stuff after he dumped Jackie...and Kelly reminds him that Jackie continued on with a fifteen year bender. She recalls that she always hoped he'd come back and rescue her from her substance abusing mother, but sadly he never did. Bill justifies the abandonment of his child by claiming he didn't want to take her away from Jackie...which basically means he knowingly left his infant daughter at the mercy of a drug-addled monster. Fucking assbag. Bill says he wants them to have dinner with Jackie some night soon, and Kelly likes that idea and happily offers to make the arrangements.
Dorm. Valerie's hanging out in David's room, drawing while David ridicules Colin and his art class. He asks her how the druggie is doing, and Valerie says Colin claims he's gotten his cocaine abusing under control. David says he hopes the guy is being truthful, then remarks on Kelly's dubious choices in the boyfriend department. As for Bill Taylor being in town, he never really met the guy and therefore doesn't have an opinion of him. [You can share mine: he's a self-serving, immature, phony douchebag.] Valerie says that Kelly always seems to be attracted to the unreliable type, and that it makes sense 'cause it's what she's used to. She then proudly shows David her drawing in progress, and he makes a face and tells her it's good she has many other life skills. Haha..
Beach house. Kelly brings her dad home with her so he can check out her apartment. Donna comes out to say hi and pass along Colin's many phone messages to Kelly. Bill's all, "Wuh?" and says he's never heard about any Colin...and Kelly wryly says she'd like to keep it that way. For some contrived reason, Bill presses the issue and wants to hear all about Colin, so Kelly tells him he's broken too many promises to her too many times. Hey - just like your shithead father! She says she still loves Colin, but it's clear that he loves his coke more than he loves her. Bill mulls that over and concurs that cocaine is, indeed, a "seductive mistress" then says that people deserve a second chance. That's a pretty weird response from a father who has just learned that his daughter's boyfriend might have a serious cocaine addiction, but OK.
The Condor newsroom. Brandon answers the phone, and it's Jonathan calling for Susan (who's not there at the moment). He tells Brandon he's going to be in L.A. in a couple of weeks, and Brandon sarcastically promises to pass that message along. After he hangs up, he runs into Susan who just arrived, but doesn't give her the message.
The Peach Pit. Steve asks Nat to appear at his Roger Corman Film Festival as part of a where are they now? chat forum, but Nat isn't interested. Clare suggests it might help him jump start his acting career (as if), but Nat refuses to budge. He says he left acting behind a long time ago and has no desire to revisit that world. After he ambles off, Steve vows to Clare that he'll try his best to wear the guy down.
California University. David runs into Kelly and asks her how her dad's doing. She happily tells him that Bill is moving to L.A., but David warns her to be careful about putting too much faith in his promises. Kelly's like, "Yeah, whatever" and announces that she and dad are going house hunting! The two run into Valerie in the cafeteria part of the Student Union, which prompts Kelly to beat a hasty retreat, which in turn prompts Valerie to snark to David about how rude Kelly is whenever she's in her orbit.
Campus Health Services. After examining Joe's ankle, the doctor just advises him to take it easy. After that, he checks Joe's heart rate, then furrows his brows with concern. He asks him if he has a cold, and Joe's like, "Uh, no" so he advises him to see a cardiologist. Joe says that his girlfriend's father is one, then asks if he should be worried. (It's your heart, so yeah...you should be quite worried.) The doctor tells him to just humor him and get his possibly malfunctioning heart checked out asap.
Bill and Kelly are checking out a gorgeous house for Bill to rent. The realtor asks him if he's ready to commit, and he brightens and says, "Sign me up!" Kelly beams happily and gives her daddy a hug.
The Walsh house. Brandon asks Valerie for permission to tap into her devious side, then explains the Jonathan/phone message situation. Without skipping a beat, Valerie tells him to write the message down on a piece of notepaper, then plant it somewhere on Susan's desk as though it's been there the whole time. Brandon mulls that over and thinks it sounds like a viable plan.
Kelly's driving her dad around again, and he seems strangely eager for her to give Colin a second chance at their relationship. Kelly thinks about it, then decides they could stop by Colin's loft on their way to wherever. Over at the drug den, Colin's working on another of his wretched paintings. He takes a break to snort some blow, and a few seconds later Kelly and her dad burst into the loft. Considering they're sort of broken up at the moment, it's weird that she wouldn't knock first. Kelly immediately realizes he's high and gets pissed off, while an oblivious Bill strolls across the room to get a closer look at Colin's grisly artwork. Colin thanks Kelly for coming and bringing her dad along, but she just snarls at him for getting coked out. Kelly tells her dad that they have to go now, 'cause Colin needs to get back to work...and Bill nods obliviously and tells Colin he likes his style. Haha! Seriously? After they leave, Colin angrily whips his paint brush at his ugly work-in-progress and snorts more coke...then contemplates the coke still left in the vial, and snorts that too. Pace yourself, freak.
The Condor newsroom. Brandon enters Susan's office while she's on the phone with Jonathan. She interrupts the call to reprimand Brandon for not giving her the message that Jonathan had called earlier - and on the other end of the line, Jonathan tells her he wants them to get together while he's in town, and...oh yeah, he loves her. After she hangs up, she orders Brandon to explain himself about his failed message taking, but Brandon insists that he did leave a note on her desk. He pulls a pink post-it note from under some papers, and she looks sheepish and apologizes for being so accusatory. Boring, faux mis-communication resolved.
Elsewhere on campus, Joe tells Donna he needs to make an appointment with her cardiologist father for a friend of his, and she shrugs and goes, "Um, OK."
The Peach Pit. Steve tries to convince Nat to reconsider appearing at his film festival, but Nat adamantly refuses. He's really being weirdly stubborn about this. Nat says his reasons are personal, so Steve asks him if it involves a woman, and Nat admits it does...but he doesn't want to talk about it. That's good 'cause I couldn't give even the tiniest rat's ass about Nat's romantic history.
After Dark. Valerie welcomes everyone to the Roger Corman Film Festival, then hands the mic over to Steve, who introduces Roger Corman, then hands the mic over to him. The filmmaker introduces one of his faves: Unholy Rollers. As the film starts rolling, an older woman approaches Steve and asks him if Nat is going to make an appearance, then says it's been twenty-five years since she's seen him. She explains that the two of them were once engaged, so Steve immediately rushes her next door and into the back room, where Nat's doing some diner paperwork. Nat perks up when he sees the woman (whose name is Joan) and the two former lovebirds quickly get caught up on their lives. She's divorced with three kids and multiple grandkids...and Nat is forced to admit that he's lived a boring, sexless life slinging hash in this dump for all these years. For some reason, Joan seems really impressed that he took over the running of the diner after his father died, then marvels that they actually ran into each other again after all this time.
Restaurant. Kelly, Jackie, and Bill are all having dinner together. Bill tells Jackie about the house he's planning to rent...and then the two talk about their marriage before it disintegrated, and how they used to get high all the time. Jackie tells him about Erin, who's now four, and that she's blissfully living in sin with her ex-husband Mel. She tells Bill she was skeptical about all the promises he's been making to Kelly, but thinks maybe this time he may not be totally full of shit. Kelly happily toasts them, and they happily toast her in return.
Colin shows up at the film festival and tells Valerie he wants his coke back 'cause he needs it while he paints. Valerie tells him she doesn't have it anymore; she gave it to Kelly. He's all, "Wha-a?!" and starts railing about how Kelly never said a word to him about it. Valerie gives him the stink-eye and snarks that he's just mad 'cause he doesn't have any drugs left to do. Well, d'yuh.
Beach house. The next morning, Kelly tells Donna how great her parents got along during dinner and thinks that Bill has finally grown up. Joe phones to tell Donna he can't make their study date and will meet her later. We then see that he's in Dr. Martin's office, about to have his defective heart examined.
Colin's loft. Colin is passed out, face down in his bed when Valerie calls him to remind him that he's supposed to be teaching an art class, like right now. He mumbles that he's taking a personal day and tells Val he was up all night painting...and that cocaine was his primary energy source. Sounds like a fantastic, sustainable strategy.
Kelly and the realtor are waiting for Bill to show up and sign the lease for the house. After awhile, the realtor says she can't wait any longer 'cause she has another appointment. Kelly starts to look concerned.
California University. Joe tells Donna he fibbed to her on the phone earlier and admits that he was actually at her dad's office getting his heart checked out. He tells her he may have a congenital heart defect, but didn't want to tell her 'cause he knew she'd worry. Donna, of course, starts to look really worried. He tells her he'll be seeking a second opinion and hopes the next doctor tells him her dad was wrong about his diagnosis. His appointment is scheduled for later that day, and Donna offers to go along for moral support.
Kelly tries to reach her dad from her car phone and discovers he checked out of his hotel. She looks very distressed and makes a sudden u-turn.
The Peach Pit. Nat serves Steve and Clare heaping plates of diner junk food. He gushes about how sweet it was to see Joan after all this time, then leans across the counter and kisses Steve. Brandon and Susan enter the diner, and Brandon tries to casually suggest they go away for the weekend, but Susan instantly realizes he's merely trying to prevent her from hanging with Jonathan when he comes to town. Break up already, dullards. Even your worst arguments are boring.
Doctor's office. Joe's second opinion doctor tells him he's perfectly fine, and that he disagrees with Dr. Martin, who basically told him he shouldn't play football anymore. Joe looks happy and thanks him, then goes out to the waiting room and shares his good news with Donna. Donna looks surprised and insists that her dad is an awesome doctor, and looks doubtful that the second opinion doctor was being truthful. Joe chides her for not being happy for him, and the two hug...but Donna continues to look very concerned.
Kelly arrives at the regional airport to try to track down her dad. The ticket agent tells her his plane took off ten minutes ago, so she rushes outside and sees that the runway is, indeed, empty. She scrunches her face and starts crying. She returns home looking deflated and finds a bouquet of pretty flowers and an "oops sorry" note from her dad, along with a big check. Apparently he had to head to Milan for...something or other, but he wrote her a giant check to make up for his nonexistent presence in her life. Kelly stares at the check tearfully, then opens her drawer and just happens to come across Colin's vial of cocaine. She stares at it contemplatively, then empties it on her dresser and contemplates it some more. She then rolls up the check to use it as a snorting mechanism, then sarcastically thanks her dad and takes a hit of the blow.