Recap: The gang is hanging at the Peach Pit, grumbling about the hassle of Christmas shopping. Donna suggests they draw names so they'll only have to buy a gift for one person in their clique...and caps the limit at $50. (That's kind of a lot for university students to be spending on friends - but then, it is Beverly Hills.) Nat and his wife Joan are included in the draw because, for some reason, the writers feel as though they need to maintain Nat's relevance as a regular cast member on the show. Steve draws Nat's name, David gets Joan, and Tracy and Brandon get each other. By the time Valerie arrives, Kelly's the only one left to exchange gifts with, and Valerie wryly mutters that maybe she'll get Kelly a new personality for Christmas. Me-ow.
Valerie and Tracy hit the mall together...and Valerie grumbles about having to buy Kelly a Christmas present, and contemplates buying her kitty litter. Er, OK..? Tracy's dilemma is that she has no idea what to get for Brandon, since she doesn't want to give him the wrong idea...and by the wrong idea she means she's totally crazy about him but doesn't want to advertise it. I'm guessing. Which she shouldn't, 'cause in a few months he'll dump her like yesterday's news so he can resume dating Kelly.
After Dark. Mel is giving David relationship advice regarding his unholy re-coupling with Donna. David complains that things with her parents (well...mother) are stressing him out. He says, "I don't know if I'm ever going to figure out how to handle Felice" and Mel makes a blech face and says, "Join the club." Bwahaha! David says it would mean a lot to Donna if he could somehow get along with the uppity turd, so Mel suggests that he and Donna come to dinner at his and Jackie's condo and invite Donna's parents to join them. David perks up and says he likes the sound of that.
Mall. Tracy spots a stack of nice sweaters and suggests to Valerie that one might be a lovely gift for Kelly - but Valerie says Kelly would probably look too good in it, so can't have that. She decides a broomstick would be a more appropriate gift, so the two head in the direction of the nearest hardware store. On the way, they pass a woman who's collecting money and donations for the needy. She overhears Valerie grumping about Kelly and urges her to let bygones be bygones. Valerie mulls over this advice and decides that she'll buy Kelly that nice sweater after all.
Beach house. Donna is delighted that David is willing to have dinner with her parents. After they smooch, he goes, "What's the deal with your mom?" (I'm sure a lot of people would like to know the answer to that question.) He wishes Felice would like him more, and Donna tells him not to take it personally and that her mom is just looking out for her. She then says it doesn't matter how little her mom likes him 'cause it's how she feels that counts...and then the two kiss intensely.
Brandon drags Steve to the mall to help him find a Christmas present for Tracy. Steve suggests lingerie so he can finally make a move on her. Brandon says he'lldecide when it's time to make a move, and Steve is like, "Whatever" and suggests something kinky with feathers.
Beach house. Kelly arrives home, exhausted from her shopping trip...even though she still wasn't able to find a suitable gift for Valerie. Donna tells her that her dad called and left a message that he'd be arriving in Los Angeles for the holidays. Kelly's like, "Good!" and says it's about time she had the opportunity to give him the what-for for being the catalyst of her cocaine snorting habit last season.
Steve arrives at the chancellor's house to pick up Clare for lunch. Clare asks him if he bought Nat's gift, so he tells her he bought him a Wolfgang Puck cookbook. She gives him a funny look and asks him if it he thinks that's appropriate, and he just shrugs cluelessly and tells her he believes it is. Chancellor Arnold invites him to his annual Christmas shindig tomorrow night, but Steve declines 'cause he has plans to spend the day with his mom. Arnold tells her to bring her along...and when Steve is out of earshot, he confides to Clare about how nervous he is that a beautiful actress will be attending his holiday party. Clare just scrunches her weird doll face and is all, "Huh?"
Kelly arrives at a fancy restaurant to have dinner with her father...or so she thinks. When the host ushers her to her table, there's just a pretty, young, brown haired girl sitting there...and she looks happy to see Kelly and introduces herself as Joy. Kelly looks confused, so Joy explains that Bill is in New York because of some faux last minute business. Joy says she's been dying to meet her, but Kelly just keeps shooting her the stink-eye and snarks, "My father blows me off and sends his girlfriend to break the news?!" Joy informs her that she's not Bill's girlfriend - she's his daughter. Kelly just stares at her in shock and mumbles, "My sister..? Wha-a?!"
Beach house. Kelly tells Donna that her father didn't show up for dinner last night (shocker)...and in his place he sent her half-sister, Joy. Donna's all, "Wha-a?!" so Kelly explains that her deadbeat dad apparently had a whole other family she knew nothing about. Donna asks her what Joy is like, and Kelly's like, "I dunno" and says she didn't stick around long enough to find out. Apparently, she sat down and said, "Pleased to meet you" then got up and left. Well that was dickish and rude. Donna asks her if she isn't at least a tiny bit curious about her half-sister, but Kelly says she's way too upset and self-absorbed to acknowledge anyone's feelings other than her own. Donna points out that this situation isn't Joy's fault and that getting to know her might be a nice opportunity for her to bond with a new family member, but Kelly's just like, "Whatevs" and says she has to go break the news about Bill's second family to Jackie.
The Peach Pit. Clare arrives at the diner to pick up pies for her dad's party and runs into Valerie and Brandon. Valerie tells her she got a really nice gift for Kelly, and Clare contorts her weird doll face and basically says that Kelly's not returning the favor, nor does she have any intention of getting into the Christmas spirit. Valerie heads off to the mall to exchange the nice sweater for a broomstick.
Sadly, Valerie isn't able to return the sweater because it was a clearance item. She donates it to the lady who's fundraising for the needy and tells her to give it to someone deserving.
Chancellor's house. Chancellor Arnold tells Clare again how nervous he is about Samantha Sanders attending his party. A few seconds later, Samantha arrives with Steve...and when the chancellor is introduced to the has-been, he mumbles that he'll go get them a drink, then scurries off like a frightened mouse. The man definitely has issues.
Jackie's condo. Kelly stops by to let Jackie know that her father is going to be in town for Christmas...then asks her to sit down for some earth shattering news. She tells her mom she has a sibling she didn't know anything about, and Jackie winces and is like, "Um. Yeah...I kind of know 'bout that already." She's also royally pissed off at her ex-husband for enlisting Joy to reveal the news to Kelly without informing her first. Kelly's all, "Wha-a?!" then gets really irked at her mom for never telling her about Joy. Jackie says she was protecting her from being hurt, so Kelly wails, "What am I supposed to do now?" Jackie says she doesn't have to have anything to do with Joy, and Kelly's like, "But she's my sister!" and angrily flounces out of the condo.
Party. Samantha tells Steve she really likes Clare...so then Steve asks her what she thinks of the chancellor, and she says she has no idea, 'cause he hasn't said a word to her since that awkward greeting in the doorway. Steve makes a beeline over to Clare and tells her that her dad is giving his mom the cold shoulder. Clare says it's not what it seems, then asks Samantha if she has a decent repertoire of Christmas carols. Samantha's like, "Well, d'yuh" so Clare calls over her father and tells him it's time to gather people around the piano to sing songs. Arnold takes the opportunity to invite Samantha to sing along with them, and when she says she's game, he steers her over to his piano.
Kelly meets Joy at a restaurant, so I guess this means she's rethinking not giving a hoot about her half-sister. She tells her her problem isn't with her, it's with their douchewad of a deadbeat father...and Joy is surprised to hear that they're not close, since apparently Bill gabbles about her all the time - which surprises Kelly. Joy tells her she's from Mexico City but that she speaks perfect English 'cause she went to school in the States. The two then compare notes and realize he's been a total deadbeat in both of their lives. He's due to arrive in Los Angeles tomorrow - but they highly doubt he'll actually show up, so they make a toast to his inevitable no show. Heh. Kelly grins and declares, "You're OK, sis" and Joy beams and replies, "You are too." Even though, not so much.
Party. Arnold and Samantha are sitting at the piano together, belting out Christmas carols...and both are oblivious to the party guests who are calling it a night and leaving. Steve looks icked out at the spectacle of the two flirting and tells Clare it's disgusting. A few seconds later, Arnold announces to Steve and Clare that he and Samantha are going out for a bite to eat and asks Clare to see the remaining guests out. As he and Samantha head out on what looks dangerously close to being a first date, both Clare and Steve are like, "Ew."
Mel's/Jackie's condo. David, Donna, Felice and Papa Martin arrive for dinner. Mel greets the foursome, leads them into the living room, and politely asks if anyone would like a drink. Felice asks for a glass of chardonnay, then snarkishy adds, "Unless you're passing out champagne again." Papa Martin looks mortified and exclaims, "Felice!" and Felice explains to her bewildered hosts that her ball-less husband was afraid she might blurt out something inappropriate about the prom episode from Season 3, then needlessly specifies, "When Mel got the kids drunk." She says she assured him she wouldn't bring it up, and a weirded out Jackie says, "What a relief." Haha! Felice glances around the condo and compliments Jackie on her "quaint touches" and says it's homey for a condo...and Jackie looks amused by the backhanded compliment and says, "Thanks. I think." Felice ambles over to the Christmas tree and says she was going to bring them an ornament, then says, "But with Mel, I wasn't sure if you'd have a tree...him being Jewish and all." David takes that opportunity to make a break for the kitchen, and Donna wisely follows him. Felice, who seems completely oblivious to her Tourette syndrome-esque behavior, tells Jackie it's nice to see her and Mel together again and snootily declares, "Marriage is the bedrock of our society." Jackie informs her that she and Mel never officially remarried, and Felice looks aghast and points out, "But you have a child!" Mel just kind of shrugs and says, "If it ain't broke.." and Felice makes a face and says that their lack of a marital status is just too confusing for her uppity brain to process...and no one stops her from delivering her final coup de grace of insulting zingers: "Two religions, married, not married. Phew! No wonder's David's been a little mixed up lately." Bwahahaha!! Pure awesome.
Kelly and Joy are Christmas shopping at the mall...and Kelly grumbles that she still has to buy Valerie a gift. The two then compare the various gifts they've gotten from Bill over the years, and it turns out he's bought the exact same stuff for both of them. They're also shocked to realize that he hasn't actually spent the holidays with either of them lately, and idly wonder if maybe he has more secret children in different parts of the world. I'd be in favor of that storyline, since it'd be one way to liven up this dying show.
The Walsh house. Valerie arrives home, exhausted after her trip to the mall. Brandon informs her that Kelly called while she was out, and that she gabbled to him about sisterhood and the Christmas spirit. Valerie looks alarmed and asks him if he thinks this means she bought her something nice, and Brandon sort of nods. Valerie grumbles that now she's going to look like the bad one, and rushes back out to the mall. Over in the living room, Tracy and Clare are trimming the tree...and Clare is doing a horrible job with the clumped tinsel. Tracy and Brandon teasingly bicker with each other, and Clare coos, "Ahh, must be love." (Nope...not so much.)
Mall. Valerie tries to buy another sweater for Kelly, but the store is fresh out. She runs into the lady who's fundraising for the needy and asks her if she can have back the sweater she donated, then promptly changes her mind and decides she'd like her to have it, since she does so much for others. In exchange, the lady hands her a wrapped gift and assures her it would make an awesome gift for her frenemy.
Dorm. Brandon walks Tracy back to her room. She invites him in, but he concocts a lame story about how he has to leave out a deli platter for Santa Claus. Boy, he really is not into her. She scrunches her face and asks him if he had a hard time buying her a gift, and he admits he did, and she chirps, "Me too!" The two agree to wait until tomorrow to find out what they got each other...'cause, well, what else are they gonna do? He gives her a chaste kiss and wishes her a Merry Christmas.
Beach house. Felice comes over to ask Donna why she hasn't returned any of her calls. Um, seriously? Donna coldly retorts, "I'm busy" and returns to her gift wrapping, ignoring her mother. Felice apologizes for her cunty rudeness at Mel and Jackie's last night and says she knows she behaved badly. She claims she didn't mean to be rude and was just nervous. Donna accuses her of doing all she can to break her and David apart, and reminds her of how she offered to pay Ray "Pumpkin Head" Pruit 10K to dump her. Felice says, "I'm just overprotective of my baby" and Donna irritably points out that she hasn't been a baby for quite some time. Felice says she wishes she could see that a guy who has mental issues and a drinking problem isn't the best choice for her, and Donna gives her a cold stink eye and snarks, "Did you forget to add Jewish to that list?" Felice [whose reply suggests that yes she did, in fact, forget to add Jewish to her proposed list of dating no-nos], says, "Closing your eyes to these things is not going to make them go away." Donna says she doesn't want them to go away, then glares at her and says, "I want you to go away." Hee! She then turns her back on Felice, and Felice sadly announces she's leaving...but before she exits, she guilts Donna by warning her that if she fails to show up for Christmas, she'll break her father's heart.
The Walsh house. Yippee - it's Christmas Day! Donna is opening her birthday gift with the gang gathered all around. It's a charm bracelet, and apparently David bought the bracelet while everyone picked out a charm for her. How adorbs. After that, everyone exchanges Christmas gifts. Nat looks miffed at his Wolfgang Puck cookbook, and Steve looks mystified at the gift Nat got him: a thesaurus. Haha! Brandon bought Tracy earrings, and she got him a fountain pen (boring), while Donna got a book on fashion, and Clare got tickets to a museum exhibit. Joan got handkerchiefs, and I forget [and don't care] what David got. When it's time for Valerie and Kelly to exchange their gifts, everyone watches in fascination. It turns out they both got each other a blank journal. Kelly says the one she bought for Valerie was the last one the store had, and Valerie offers no explanation of where she got hers. The two hug, and everyone's like, "Whoa!" and Brandon announces that this must be a special Christmas truce.
After Dark. The gang is in attendance at a special performance of a band David booked called Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Papa Martin tells David he loooves them, and that he should do this every year. Felice concurs and says it's very nice, then apologizes for her rudeness at dinner the other night. David tells her that an apology isn't necessary...and she says that Mel and Jackie told her the same thing, which only makes her feel worse (as well she should). She tells David that she and Donna had a falling out over her cunty behavior, and asks him if he wouldn't mind smoothing things over for her - since, why should she bother making the effort herself? David promises to do what he can and heads over to where Donna is sitting. He tells her she should prolly go sit with her parents, and she makes a face and says she should be able to do whatever she wants on her birthday...and what she doesn't want is to sit next to her mother. He asks her to please do it for him, so she quickly caves and heads over to her parents' table...and she and Felice immediately make up and hug it out. Joy arrives and sits beside Kelly...and a few seconds later, Mel and Jackie arrive. Jackie looks nervous, but goes over to where Kelly and Joy are sitting and says hey. Joy, to her credit, is very sweet to her, and she and Kelly joke about how they accurately predicted that Bill wouldn't show up to spend Christmas with them. Jackie says it feels really good seeing the two of them together, then apologizes for not bringing them together sooner and having her own agenda, blah blah. Joy urges Kelly to forgive her mom, and Kelly jokes that it's more fun to watch her squirm...but then forgives her, and then mother and daughter hug it out. After that, everyone happily sings along with the band.