Recap: Steve and Brandon are in Chancellor Arnold's office, and Arnold is gabbling to them about how plagiarism destroys the integrity and honor of CU's reputation, blah blah. Steve wearily says he's told everyone over and over again that Brandon had no idea he stole his paper, and the chancellor's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah", but says they still have to go through the punishment process, which means holding a tribunal. Ack! That sounds serious. Arnold tells Steve on the down-low that he doesn't think he deserves expulsion, then advises the bonehead to plead guilty 'cause then it will be up to him to decide on the punishment, which he outright says will be nothing harsher than academic probation. (Considering that Steve is currently doinking Arnold's daughter, this seems like a giant conflict of interest.) Steve likes the sound of academic probation and agrees to plead guilty. Arnold then turns to Brandon and says he's culpable for giving Steve the paper, but Brandon insists he's done nothing wrong. Arnold says that Professor Randall believes otherwise, and Brandon says he doesn't give a rat's ass what Randall believes. Arnold warns him that truth and justice aren't always the same thing, but Brandon makes it clear that he's flat out refusing to plead guilty to something he didn't do. Arnold sighs deeply and says that the hearing will take place first thing tomorrow morning.
Outside, Steve tells Brandon he should have taken the deal, but Brandon bitchily retorts that he has no interest in taking his advice...and when Steve offers to testify for him, Brandon says he has no interest in that either. Steve wails, "But we're best friends!" and Brandon furrows his brows, shoots him the stink-eye, and says, "Not anymore" and stalks off. Ouch. Bromance status: over.
David and Donna are bicycling together, and holy crap is she ever scarily thin. We get to watch their cycling footage for what seems like a really loooong time....and when they take a break, David thanks her for her awesomeness. He looks over at her lovingly and says, "You've been like a guardian angel to me" and Donna lowers her head in fake modesty and tries her best not to look like the annoyingly sanctimonious turd she is. He invites her to go with him to a Goo Goo Dolls show tonight, but she tells him she has dinner plans with her parents. She suggests they both have dinner with her parents, then attend the show afterwards. She also reminds him that they have to go buy Mark a birthday present for the surprise party Kelly's throwing him.
California University. Kelly asks Mark if he wants to do something special for his birthday, and he just shrugs and says he'd prefer to do nothing. She frowns and says, "That's no fun" so he invites her to hang out at his place and watch Kung Fu movies. Brandon happens to walk by, and he tells them his hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, then says he's in a hurry and can't talk. Kelly springs out of her chair and rushes after him to remind him about Mark's surprise party and asks him if Steve is coming, and Brandon barks, "Ask Steve." She gives him a goodbye kiss, and a sour-faced Mark asks her what that was all about. She breezily says she was just wishing him luck with the hearing.
Steve tells Clare he's pleading guilty to plagiarism - but Brandon refuses to do likewise and must therefore appear before a tribunal tomorrow morning. He then grumbles that Professor Randall is calling him as a witness for the prosecution and says he suddenly feels sick.
After Dark. Valerie and Nat are going over their dismal finances. Nat asks if David is still interested in investing his inheritance in their hopeless money pit, and Valerie says he might. Nat urges her to find out for sure, then ambles back to the diner. Valerie calls David's house, and Donna answers and says he's in the shower. She asks Valerie what she wants, and Valerie nicely tells her it's none of her business and to just pass along the message that she called. When David emerges from the shower, Donna gives him her two cents about how bad an idea it is to invest in the After Dark. He goes, "That's pretty blunt" and she insists again that it's a very, very bad idea. He tells her to back off and stop interfering, and she looks chastened and apologizes for overstepping. He says he hasn't fully decided if he's going to throw his money out the window by "investing" in Valerie's shitty club, then abruptly changes the subject and offers to cook her breakfast.
Brandon meets Tracy on campus to discuss CUTV stuff, but she's only interested in getting the dish on his upcoming hearing. She doesn't get why Professor Randall is continuing to target him now that Steve is pleading guilty...and Brandon's just like, "I dunno" and stays mute about his sordid history with Randall's ex-wife.
Student Union. Brandon is sitting at a table with books and papers spread out in front of him as he prepares his defense. Professor Randall saunters over and snarkishly asks him why he's working so hard, since he's just going to be expelled soon. He bitchily declares that he's going to teach him a painful lesson, and Brandon once again insists he never doinked Lucinda. Randall glares at him and tells him to stress that point during the hearing, then stalks off. Randall and his pointy little face are really starting to get on my last nerve.
Restaurant. Donna and David arrive to have dinner with Felice and Papa Martin. Felice asks David how he's doing, he says fine, and she says she heard that Dr. Tate (his psychiatrist from the previous episode) is the best in his field. She asks David if Dr. Tate also knows his manic-depressive mother, and David's face falls and he mumbles, "Yes he does" then excuses himself from the table. Donna glares at her snide mother and informs her that she and David are dating again (blech), and Felice looks alarmed and is all, "Wha-a?!" Donna calls her out on her snootitude and accuses her of not approving of David 'cause he's "damaged goods". She abruptly decides that dinner is off...then kisses her useless henpecked father goodbye and asks him to let David know that she's waiting for him in the car.
Tribunal. Brandon is sitting at the defendant's table looking stern and pissed off, while Steve sits behind him with an anguished expression etched on his face. Professor Randall calls Steve to the stand, asks him if he plagiarized Brandon's paper, and Steve freely admits he did. He describes how Brandon handed Muntz the paper, which was, in turn, delivered to the professor. Randall's like, "A-ha!" and cites that as proof that Brandon was an accessory to the crime, but Steve insists that the paper was in a sealed envelop. Randall proceeds to give an overview of Steve's history of fuck-ups, as well as Brandon's track record of pulling his fat out of the fire. He suggests that Brandon helped him out here as well by allowing him to plagiarize his paper. He snidely asks, "Brandon's your best friend, right?" and Steve says he was, then looks mournful and adds, "Now he won't even talk to me." He looks at the panel beseechingly and says that that alone should be proof that Brandon didn't do anything wrong.
Papa Martin's office. Donna drops by to visit her dad and apologize for ruining dinner last night. Papa Martin remarks, "Mom obviously touched a nerve there" then asks her if she and David are really back together. She asks him if he thinks that would be a mistake (um, probably), and Papa Martin mulls that over for a few seconds and says David appears to be doing just fine, and that his mental illness isn't a medical impediment to a relationship. He adds that she's probably largely responsible for his current state of good health - being the sweet, caring, selflessly virginal cherub she is. She furrows her brows concernedly and asks him if their children could possibly inherit his disorder (yes, sterilize yourselves!), and he admits that chemical imbalances can be inherited - but that it's not a reason to not love someone. She asks what Felice will say if they were to get married one day, and he tells her to grow up, grow a pair, and not worry so much about what his cunty wife thinks....and if that works, he'll look into taking his own advice and maybe one day free his shrunken balls from Felice's purse.
David's house. Valerie drops by to ask David if he's planning to invest in the After Dark. He tells her he's still "trying to sort things out" and she cattily retorts that it looks like Donna is trying to sort him out. David insists he doesn't need Donna's permission to do what he wants - but then admits when he made the offer to invest, he was in a loopy state of mind. Valerie says she's happy he's getting healthy - but if he's going to renege on his promise to invest in the club, she needs to know. David stares into space and looks contemplative.
Kelly meets up with Mark after class. She gives him a little pre-birthday present, then suggests they spend his birthday going to dinner and a show, then back to his place. He [assumes this means he's finally going to get laid and] says he definitely likes the sound of that.
Tribunal. Professor Randall calls Brandon to the stand, and he testifies that he knew nothing of the plagiarism. Randall asks him if this is the first time he and Steve cheated together, and Brandon chuckles and says that's just like asking, "How long have you been beating your wife?" At the mention of the word wife, Brandon pretends like he accidentally struck a nerve. Randall brings up the weekly quizzes he tortured his sociology students with during Season 4, and reminds Brandon that he joined the course a few weeks into the semester. Randall claims that Steve failed these quizzes until Brandon came along...and after that, he miraculously began to get all As. Brandon denies letting Steve cheat off of him and asks Randall why he didn't explore the issue then, so Randall says he didn't realize they were such good friends. Brandon accuses him of doctoring the course ledger, and Randall's all, "Whoa, boy! That's slander! I'm not the one on trial here!" and Brandon snaps, "Maybe you should be." Chancellor Arnold says he's out of order, and Brandon glares over at him and says, "Justice is supposed to be blind. Not deaf and dumb." Hee!
The gang secretly congregates at David's/Mark's house before the Surprise! part of the surprise party. Donna asks David if he talked to Valerie yet, and he says he did, and that she was pretty understanding...but doesn't clarify what that means. Mark and Kelly pull up in front of the house 'cause Kelly is pretending she accidentally left behind her purse and movie tickets. When they enter the house and turn the lights on, everyone yells, "Surprise!" and Mark's all, "Ack!" and does his best not to look peeved.
The Peach Pit. Brandon is moping at the counter, drinking coffee. He whines to Nat about how badly the tribunal is going and that he's most likely going to be expelled. Nat's like, "Yeah, whatever" and urges him to go to Mark's birthday party and be with his friends...and to not feel sorry for himself until he has something to feel sorry for himself about. Brandon takes the hint and leaves.
Party. Donna grumbles to Kelly about how Valerie is trying to influence David to invest in the After Dark. She ambles over to where Valerie and David are sitting, and Valerie quips, "Uh oh, the fun police!" (haha!) and quickly excuses herself to get a drink. Donna asks David if he and Val are officially partners, but he says he hasn't decided yet. Across the room, Kelly urges Mark to open his presents, and he continues to look peeved, but reluctantly agrees. At that moment, Brandon arrives, and everyone - most notably Kelly - rushes over and gathers around him to find out how the hearing went. Valerie makes a beeline over to Mark, motions toward Kelly and says, "Like a moth to a flame" and Mark just glares unhappily. Brandon regales everyone with an update of the hearing and says that Steve's testimony buried him. By scripted coincidence, Steve and Clare arrive at that exact moment, and when Steve hears Brandon angrily trash-talking him, he miserably tells Clare he's outta here and exits.
Mark is sulking in his bedroom and watching Kung Fu. Kelly comes in and asks him whassup, and he sullenly says now that Brandon has arrived, no one needs him at the party anymore...then fully acknowledges that he's being petty and jealous. He says he hates surprise parties, especially this one...and thinks that Brandon is the reason they haven't hit the sheets yet. Kelly says she's trying very hard to get over her various hang-ups, and Mark seems relatively satisfied with that. He then explains that when he was a kid, his parents made a big ass deal about birthday parties, and it made him feel like the baby he's currently behaving like. Kelly apologizes, then says, "Happy birthday" in a flat voice and leaves his room. Brandon, meanwhile, tells Tracy he wants to leave, and she offers to keep him company, so the two of them head toward the door. Clare intercepts Brandon and urges him to make up with Steve, but Brandon just snarks, "Steve killed me today" and heads outside. After that, Donna fills Clare in about how Steve has supposedly been cheating off of Brandon for years, particularly on Randall's weekly sociology quizzes.
Beach house. Clare arrives home, heads straight to her bedroom where Steve is sleeping, and yells at him to get up. She snarks that she's sick of his crap and his lies, and he pitifully whimpers that he's sick. She says it's come to light that he's been cheating off of Brandon for years, and mentions Randall's weekly sociology quizzes. Steve mulls that over and says he failed those quizzes - all of them! Yeesh. And he can prove it!
Brandon 'fesses up to Tracy about his sordid whatever-it-was with Lucinda. He says he knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. Tracy's like, "Meh. That's no big deal" and Brandon's like, "But I have goals!" and Tracy tells him that even geniuses can get expelled from college. He asks her if she'll still like him after he's disgraced, and she says, "Of course" and the two kiss. He then he asks her if she'll still like him after he leads her on, then drops her like a hot potato so he can date Kelly again. Heh...not really. But Tracy really should run fast and far while there's still time.
Beach house. Felice drops by to pretend to apologize to Donna about her abominable behavior the other night. She says she didn't mean to offend anyone, and Donna says, "You definitely did." Felice says she's worried about her, and that she's only getting re-involved with David 'cause she likes tending to a broken bird. Donna scrunches her big face and is all, "Wuh?" and says she feels a whole lot more than just pity for David. Felice sighs and says she's used to her disagreeing with everything she says, and Donna points out she's simply making her own decisions. Felice advises her to consider pursuing a relationship that has a future, and Donna's like, "Well, d'yuh. That's what I'm doing."
Tribunal. Brandon says he has no defense, then adds that Professor Randall hasn't proven any of the charges against him either. His defense is I didn't do it and his proof is because I say so. He insists that he had no idea Steve had taken his paper...and that the university can choose to believe him or not, and he's ready to accept the judgment of the panel. Professor Randall gleefully says he has no closing arguments, and the panel members are about to deliberate when Steve and Clare suddenly burst in. The chancellor barks at them to get out, but Clare points out that, according to the rules, a witness is allowed to petition to clarify his testimony. Steve tells the panel that he failed Randall's sociology quizzes - as in, all of them. Professor Randall tries to object, but Chancellor Arnold perks up, overrules, and says, "I'd like to hear more." Steve holds up his quizzes, all of which were all graded with a big red F...and on one of them, he got 17%. Yikes - how the hell is Steve still in university? Randall looks flustered and says he might have gotten the dates wrong during his testimony, but Steve smugly declares, "I failed them all, Randy." The chancellor carefully studies the course ledger and accusingly tells Randall that the grades on the quizzes don't match what's in the ledger. Randall tries to deflect blame by questioning how these quizzes magically appeared, and Steve explains that students save them for later study sessions. Chancellor Arnold says he's appalled, then promptly drops all the charges against Brandon and sternly announces that there will be a hearing to address the fraudulent douchebaggery of Professor Randall. Haha!
The Peach Pit. Steve proudly tells the gang that he and Clare spent half the night crawling around the KEG attic to locate the sociology quizzes, but that it was well worth it. Brandon and Tracy arrive, and Brandon thanks everyone for standing by him during this ordeal...then apologizes to Mark for ruining the mood of his birthday party. Brandon thanks Steve for his helpful testimony, and the two finally kiss, make up, and hug it out. Brandon wonders aloud how Randall forgot about "the fraternity files", and Steve explains that normally when a person stinks it up as badly as he did on these quizzes, they'd be too ashamed and embarrassed to keep them. Well, d'yuh. However, Randall wasn't counting on the fact that no one could humiliate Steve more than he's willing to humiliate himself. He and Brandon simultaneously exclaim, "Steve Sanders has no shame!" LOL.
David is moping around the After Dark when Donna comes over to see whassup. She's like, "You really want this place, huh?" and he says it's hard to say no - but that the price is too high...and by price he means a relationship with her. He asks her why she's so bothered by him investing in the club, and she says she's worried he's going to hook up with slutty, man-stealing Valerie if they start working together again. David insists that that could never happen 'cause he loves her with all his heart. Donna looks touched and tells him he should definitely buy the club...and the two hug and kiss.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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