Recap: Donna spots David sitting at a table in the Student Union and goes over to say hey. He tells her he blew off the midterm he was supposed to take today and also missed his doctor's appointment, and Donna just sighs in frustration and asks him why he's such a fuck-up. He gets mad and snarks about how he can't live up to her "lily white take on life" and tells her to back off. She then gets mad and snaps, "Fine!" and starts to storm off, so David yells, "Fine! To hell with you. I don't need you, and I don't need my father either!" He smashes a drinking glass, and suddenly everyone within hearing range stares over at him in shock. He stares back at them and shrieks, "What?! What are you looking at?" A kindly young woman asks him if he's all right, and he bellows at her to get lost. Donna stares at him in bewilderment and goes, "What's wrong with you?" and he suddenly looks discombobulated, then looks down at his hand and realizes he cut himself on the glass and is bleeding profusely. Cue the opening credits: Da na na na...da na na na...cha cha...
The Peach Pit. Valerie asks Brandon why he feels obligated to host Thanksgiving dinner every year, and he says it's less an obligation than it is a tradition - one which [he assumes] people look forward to. He lists off the invitees for this year's festivities: Steve, Clare, David, Donna, Kelly - but Valerie stops him and gleefully reminds him that if he invites Kelly, he also has to invite Mark, since they're a package deal now. Brandon wryly suggests to Valerie that she sit between them at dinner and stir up some trouble. Heh. Nat comes over to stick his nose in their bidness and asks them if they'd like to spend Thanksgiving helping Willie the Cook build his Habitat for Humanity dream home. Brandon and Valerie both chirp, "Sure!" and agree to cajole the rest of the 90210 gang into helping out as well. (Don't Nat or Willie have any handy friends who are closer to their own age?)
Hospital. Donna tells Mel about how volatile David acted during their argument at the Student Union and thinks something is seriously wrong with him. A dismayed Mel says he went through this with his ex-wife, and worries that David may also be bipolar. The doctor who was treating David comes out and says he stitched his hand wound and assures them it's nothing serious...however, because he's acting really dickish and unruly with the staff, he's currently being evaluated by the hospital's resident psychiatrist, Dr. Tate.
In the exam room, David is snarking at Dr. Tate, grumbling that he's fine, and that the argument he had with Donna was no big deal, blah blah.
Steve is standing before a disciplinary panel, and they inform him that the midterm paper he submitted for his independent study class is virtually identical to a paper Brandon Walsh wrote a few years ago. Professor Randall, who apparently was just reinstated to grade the papers for the class, recognized Brandon's work and immediately brought charges of plagiarism against him. Steve's all, "Wuh? Professor Randall?" and the committee chair says they're recommending that he be expelled. Steve stares at him in incredulity and wails, "You're going to expel me over this?!" Yes, bonehead. Shameless, brazen plagiarists such as yourself do get expelled from universities.
Kelly runs into Brandon in the Student Union. He reminds her that she still has to RSVP for Thanksgiving dinner at Casa Walsh, so she breaks the news to him that she and Mark have plans to spend the holiday together in Montecito. The two suddenly spot Professor Randall across the room, and Kelly cheekily remarks, "I wonder what Lucinda is doing these days." Randall spots Brandon and ambles over to inform him that he's back on campus, teaching. He snidely tells Brandon that he was one of his best and brightest students, then shoots him a smug glare and says, "I will catch up with you again later, I promise" then saunters off. Kelly scrunches her face and goes, "That was weird" and Brandon says it's obvious that Randall still blames him for the demise of his marriage.
Hospital. Dr. Tate asks Mel and Donna if David has a history of mental illness in his family, so Mel tells him that David's mother has been diagnosed as manic depressive. Dr. Tate says he'll need to keep David under observation for the next 24 hours so he can be properly evaluated. Mel agrees that it's probably a good idea, then tells Donna he needs to get in touch with Sheila to let her know whassup. He checks his watch and says he has to get back to the office, and Donna tells him she's going to hang around the hospital waiting room for no compelling reason.
Beach house. Clare's on the phone with Brandon, volunteering herself and Steve to help Willie build his Habitat for Humanity dream home. (Have any of these people even been to a construction site in their pampered lives?) As she wraps up the call, Steve arrives and wails, "I'm a plagiarist! They want to expel me!" and Clare scrunches her weird doll face in confusion and tells him him to slow down and explain what happened. Steve describes how he took one of Brandon's term papers off the computer, replaced Brandon's name with his, and submitted it to his professor. Clare just stares at him like he's nuts, so he explains that the paper was for an independent study class, which he dismissively calls bogus. Clare shakes her head and goes, "You're unbelievable" and reminds him that she gave up Prince Carl (huge mistake turning him down) and Dick Harrison (meh, that guy was a total dick, no pun intended) in order to be with him. She asks him why he did such a stupid thing, and he's just like, "I dunno." He says he usually tries to do the right thing, but somehow "the easy way always rears its head". He emphasizes that Brandon didn't have anything to do with this and wants to fix things so that he doesn't have to get involved. He asks Clare if she could ask her dad to help him out of this goatfuck of his own making, but she refuses and advises him to come clean with Brandon, like pronto.
Construction site. Willie thanks the 90210 gang for taking time out of their lives to help him build his dream home. Clare and Steve arrive at the site, and Clare immediately nudges Steve over to Brandon. As the two pretend to frame something, Brandon mentions that he ran into Professor Randall, so then Steve then comes right out and tells him that he took - er...stole - the term paper he showed him on the computer during the previous episode. As it turns out, Professor Randall is grading the papers for his independent study class...and, long story short, he's now facing expulsion. Brandon furrows his brows and asks him what this means for him, then starts wailing about how Randall still blames him for ruining his marriage and getting him kicked off campus for favoring student athletes. (Wuh? He did? Somehow I missed that.) Brandon grimly declares, "It's payback time" and tells Steve he just gave Randall ammunition to use against him. He then storms off, and Steve continues to look sheepishly miserable.
Hospital. Dr. Tate brings David a change of clothes, but David just snarks about how he's being committed to the loony bin. Dr. Tate clarifies that he's being evaluated and that his staff is there to help him. David sullenly says he wants to be released, and Dr. Tate's like, "Whatever" and reminds him he has a therapy session at 10:00am the next morning.
Dr. Tate ambles into the waiting room and looks surprised to see that Donna's still hanging around. He tells her that David is scared, hostile, upset...and acting really dickish. Donna says he's probably more scared than anything, then tells him about the episode when she and David went to Portland and searched the city for his missing mother and eventually found her living as a homeless woman in a filthy alley. She scrunches her big face as she theorizes that maybe David is running from himself, and Dr. Tate praises her remarkable insight and says that David is lucky to have such a loyal, caring, exquisite cherub such as herself in his life. Donna smiles sanctimoniously and lowers her head in fake modesty, and he urges her to go home and get some rest.
Kelly and Mark are on the road, headed to Montecito. Kelly's on her large '90s cell phone, trying to confirm their reservation for the luxury bungalow they booked, but somehow the reservation has gotten lost. She hands the phone to Mark 'cause apparently the person she was scrapping with hates women - but Mark doesn't have any success either. He suggests they look for another hotel, but Kelly moans that it's not going to be so easy, since it's Thanksgiving weekend. Mark remains optimistic, then says it doesn't matter to him where they stay as long as there's a bed...but when Kelly's all, "Wha-a?!", he quickly adds, "I mean, as long as we're together." Nice try, Mark.
Student Union. Brandon glumly tells Clare that the disciplinary committee is charging him with collusion. Clare says she has nothing to say in defense of her bonehead boyfriend, then starts babbling about how her hapless dad was her mom's "perennial project" - not that he ever did anything as immoral as cheating. She tells Brandon that Steve's plan is to go to the chancellor and beg him for mercy, and Brandon says he's worried that it could only make things worse.
Chancellor's office. Arnold tells Steve that the charges against him are serious, and that he doesn't normally involve himself in disciplinary matters. Steve wails, "But you're the chancellor!" and Arnold stares at him in incredulity and asks him if he actually expects special treatment because he's dating his daughter...and Steve's like, "Well duh." Arnold tells him he caused this mess and therefore has to face the consequences, and Steve croaks, "But expulsion?" and complains that he only has a semester and a half to go before graduation. Arnold says he should have thought about that before he cheated, which...well, d'yuh.
Hospital. Dr. Tate continues to try to sort out David's mental issues. He suggests that his grandfather's death and subsequent inheritance contributed to his manic behavior - but David just laughs caustically. Dr. Tate remarks that he blew through half of the 250K his grandfather left him, but David informs him that he invested the money in a club, and it'll be the hottest party spot in L.A. Dr. Tate tells him he may be genetically pre-disposed to manic depression since his mother suffers from the disorder, but David dismisses that and says he just has a bad day once in awhile. Finally, Dr. Tate points out that he's been self medicating with his drinking and shopping sprees, then reminds him that he has a lot of love from his father...as well as the sweetly virginal goddess named Donna, who's so selflessly devoted to him that she refuses to leave the hospital waiting room. OMFG. Dr. Tate finally throws in the towel and exits the room, leaving David to contemplatively stare into space.
Kelly's on her large cell phone again, trying to book a hotel room - but has no luck. She whines to Mark that she's hot and tired, and he just grins and says he made dinner reservations at a ritzy, five-star restaurant, which he scored by pretending to be Ronald Reagan Jr. Kelly snaps, "That's fraud!" but is too hungry to not want a five-star dinner.
California University. Brandon tracks down Professor Randall and tells him he's innocent of the plagiarism charges. Randall snarks back that the evidence is overwhelming, so Brandon argues that he's clearly making this about his personal vendetta against him. He brings up the disastrous end to his marriage to Lucinda, but Randall cuts him off and holds up both hands and barks, "Whoa! No! No!" LOL. He tells Brandon he's guilty until proven innocent (say what?) and bitchily storms off.
Construction site. Valerie shows Clare how to use a level to ensure that the window frames are straight. Clare looks impressed at her expertise and says, "You sure know a lot about this stuff" so Valerie explains that her dad was a contractor before he blew his brains out. Clare puts her sad face on and says she knows what it's like to lose a parent, but Valerie just shrugs and says she doesn't have many nice memories of her father.
Mark and Kelly are at the five-star restaurant, dining on lobster and caviar. He tells her he found a room for them at the Best Nest Motel, and she makes a blech face.
David's having a nightmare that he's out on a cold rainy night, wandering around an alley where a bunch of homeless people and rats are gathered. He spots a person who he thinks is his mother, but when he gets closer, he sees his own face staring back at him. He wakes up in a cold sweat and anxiously calls out for the doctor. Meanwhile, Sheila arrives at the hospital and wakes Donna, who fell asleep on the waiting room couch. She tells Donna she came as soon as she got Mel's message, then says how worried she is that she may have passed on her mental disorder to her son. Donna points out that she's the best person to help David through this, and the two hug.
The Walsh house. Brandon packs up his computer and bitchily tells Steve he's bringing it back to his room and "out of harm's way". He says he's been charged with collusion, then snappishly accuses Steve of stealing from him and asks what kind of friend that makes him. As he storms upstairs with his computer, Steve wrings his hands and scrunches his face in anguish.
Best Nest Motel. Kelly emerges from the bathroom wearing a pair of silky pajamas, and Mark massages her shoulders and tells her to imagine that they're in a luxurious bungalow on a Montecito ranch. She suddenly looks faint and says her stomach hurts, then rushes to the bathroom. A few seconds later, she announces she has food poisoning...and a few seconds after that, Mark also gets stomach pains and flees to the bathroom. The next morning, the two are listlessly laying in bed with wash cloths over their foreheads. They contemplate driving back to L.A. to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the gang, but decide they're too sick and tired.
Hospital. Dr. Tate tells David he has a visitor...and David looks like he doesn't give a rat's ass until he sees that the visitor is his mom. He hugs her and assures her he's mostly OK - just "a little messed up". She tells him she was so scared and worried 'cause she understands first hand what it means to have this illness. The two agree that the highs are awesome...but that the lows are really really bad. She advises him to make better choices, like be open for therapy and abstain from alcohol...then sternly reminds him he has choices. She says she was able to finally get better, but she went about it the hard way and doesn't want him to go through everything she did.
Construction site. The gang takes a break from "helping build" Willie's dream house, and they all gather together for Thanksgiving dinner in the future dining room of the house-in-progress. After Willie toasts their awesomeness, Valerie and Clare urge Brandon and Steve to stop glaring at each other - and they agree to temporarily kiss and make up. David suddenly shows up, and everyone oohs and aahs and warmly greets him. Donna urges him to sit next to her, and he gazes at her affectionately and says he's so puzzled that she'd want to have anything to do with him. She reminds him that he was her first kiss, her first real love...and those things are priceless. He tells her he's not crazy...then grins and says he is crazy about her. The two exchange I love yous and then kiss, and I'll assume this means that they're a couple...again. Damn you, writers.