Recap: A mysterious, handsome stranger enters the After Dark as David is puttering around and changing light bulbs. David informs him that the club is closed, so the guy explains that he's here to surprise Valerie. David demands to know who he is when Valerie suddenly emerges from her office, goes, "Tom..?!" and rushes down the stairs and throws herself into his arms. She asks him what he's doing in L.A., and he tells her he recently ran into her mother and she told him all about her running the After Dark. Valerie introduces Tom to David and says he's a friend from Buffalo. She invites her old friend upstairs to check out her office, and he sarcastically barks, "Thanks!" inches from David's face as he passes him on his way up the stairs. That seemed unnecessarily dickish.
Tracy and Brandon are at the Student Union, covering the job fair for CUTV. After they finish filming their segment, they run into Kelly, who says she's just browsing 'cause she plans on entering graduate school next year. Brandon tells her he's been working on achieving a secret goal, then reveals that he applied for the super prestigious Dryer Fellowship. Kelly gives him a strange look and goes, "Really?" and Tracy gleefully informs her that he's been preparing for his interview for weeks. Kelly asks Brandon if he's told Mark, and he says he hasn't. She wishes him good luck...and after she leaves, Brandon asks Tracy what was up with that weird reaction. Tracy wonders if maybe Kelly was irked that she (Tracy) knew something about him that she (Kelly) didn't, but Brandon thinks it has to be something more than just that.
Kelly meets up with Mark and tells him that Brandon has applied for the Dryer Fellowship. Mark says he already knew that 'cause of all the inside information he has access to via his rich family's connections. Kelly frowns upon this unfair advantage and urges him to level the playing field by telling Brandon that he too is applying for the scholarship. Mark mulls that over and says he'll consider it.
The Peach Pit. Papa Martin meets up with Donna, and she urges him to join her for lunch since they haven't really seen each other since the Christmas episode. David stops by the table and asks Donna if she's going to campus today, but she makes a blech face and says she's staying far away from the job fair 'cause just thinking about getting a job after graduation makes her nauseous. Papa Martin suddenly gets beeped by his service and rushes off to use Nat's phone behind the counter. David asks Donna if she met Val's friend, Tom, and she says she hasn't...and David derisively calls him "a Buffalo reject". Papa Martin returns to the table and informs Donna that his receptionist just called in sick - then has a sudden brain fart and asks her if she would like to fill in for the day.
Steve's doing chin-ups at the beach when Clare comes by to remind him that he has an interview at the job fair this afternoon. He assures her he hasn't forgotten about the interview she set up for him, and emphasizes that he's "the new and improved Steve Sanders". Incidentally, Clare's hair is looking unspeakable in this episode: a grisly shade of red with her black roots growing in underneath. Yeech.
California University. Valerie runs into Tracy and Brandon and asks them how the job fair is going...and Tracy grimaces and says there are too many graduates for too few jobs. Valerie asks Brandon if it's OK if her friend Tom stays at Casa Walsh - she specifies that he'll be sleeping on the couch - and Brandon's like, "No problem." A dorky middle aged man in a suit appears and tells Brandon he represents Tri-Group Media Minneapolis and that he just heard he applied for the Dryer Fellowship...and the two amble off somewhere to discuss Brandon's awesomeness. Valerie tells Tracy that Tom used to work with her dad in construction and that he was her first.
The Walsh house. Tom is in Valerie's room, unpacking his suitcase. Valerie phones him and offers to pick him up in an hour and take him to the beach. He's like, "Sure, OK" and then suddenly we hear ominous music in the background as Tom stares down at a videotape he brought along from Buffalo.
Donna's working the phones at her dad's office, getting into in-depth conversations with chatty patients and offering unsolicited medical advice for their ailments. LOL. Papa Martin listens to her nattering from the doorway, and when she gets off the phone he reminds her to just take messages, not engage in chit-chat with the patients...and she sheepishly apologizes.
When Brandon arrives at the news station, Mark invites him and Tracy to a mixer his dad is throwing tonight, then brings up the topic of the Dryer Fellowship. Brandon says it's always been a dream of his to be a Dryer fellow, and Mark says he's applying 'cause his father is making him. He tells Brandon there are twelve applicants for two scholarships, and Brandon looks troubled and says it's doubtful they'd pick two people from the same school. Mark retorts, "I doubt they'd pick two people from the same state." He then shakes Brandon's hand and says, "Sorry it has to be like this...may the best man win" and Brandon furrows his brows and looks contemplative.
Beach house. Mark arrives to pick up Kelly for his dad's mixer. He tells her he told Brandon he applied for the Dryer Fellowship, and she seems super happy about that, which prompts him to snark, "Who are you rooting for here?" He tells her he's the underdog in this competition, but when she asks him if he really believes that, he admits he's more of a shoo-in than an underdog. He then urges her to stay out of the whole Dryer situation, and Kelly's like, "Can do."
Valerie and Tom are strolling along the beach. He tells her how much he hates his construction job, blah blah...and a few seconds later, they run into Kelly and Mark. After some quick introductions, Kelly says they're on their way to a party, and the two hastily continue on their way. Tom remarks that while Mark seems like a total dickwad, Kelly is very nice...but Valerie warns him that appearances can be deceiving.
Job Fair. Steve arrives, freshly pressed in his suit and tie - and Clare is gabbling at him about how first impressions are super important. He promises not to let her down. He heads over to the Tasco Sportswear booth and meets the company rep whose name is Conway...and Conway informs him that his interview will be conducted by the head of personnel, Dana Sawyer. Dana subtly checks out Steve's bod and asks him if he wouldn't mind conducting their interview over coffee and a cigarette, and he's like, "Sure!"
Medical office. Donna offers to fax a bunch of prescriptions to the pharmacy, then asks her dad if he's mad at Mrs. Coatsley (one of his chatty patients), and he just rolls his eyes and tells her to get back to work. David calls to see how her day's going, and Donna moans that it's a nightmare and that she can't seem to do anything right. Well, d'yuh.
Job interview. Steve tells Dana he believes he has what it takes to be a good salesman, and she seems impressed with whatever he's claimed to have accomplished thus far in his life. She tells him that this is her last interview of the day and asks him if he'd like to have another coffee "or anything else" then asks him if he's the type of guy that will pursue new opportunities "with gusto". Steve's like, "Definitely!" so Dana comes right out and says, "I'm a single woman in town for the night. That can make for a very dull evening - if you know what I mean." Steve clearly does know what she means and starts to awkwardly chuckle. She asks him if he finds her attractive, and he says he does...and she makes it clear that if he's not willing to doink her, she won't recommend him for the job.
Tracy and Brandon arrive at the mixer. She tells him he has no reason to be in a funk over his chances for the Dryer and reminds him that his grades are better than Mark's and that he served as student body president. Brandon retorts that Mark was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has lots of "old boy" connections he's never had access to. Brandon heads off to get them drinks, and by scripted coincidence, Kelly's at the bar ordering a white wine. She tells Brandon she always figured he'd go for the Dryer...then laments that she wasn't able to spill the beans to him earlier about Mark applying, and Brandon tells her to not get in the middle of this boring competition/tedious storyline. Mark calls Brandon over and introduces him to an old family friend who happens to be a member of the Dryer Fellowship selection committee...and he gives Brandon a quick hello before he rushes off. Brandon thanks Mark for the introduction, and Mark looks fake humble and says he's merely trying to keep a level playing field.
Medical office. Donna apologizes to her dad for screwing up all day and says she knows she did a crappy job...then doubts she's capable of doing a good job anywhere. He looks contrite and says he's the one who should be apologizing, 'cause it wasn't really fair to ask her to fill in for his receptionist...and he also didn't want the patients to talk her ear off. Donna then mentions something about Mrs. Coatsley taking up smoking again, and Papa Martin pales and is all, "Wuh?!" and says that the combination of cigarette smoking and the medicine he just prescribed to her could kill her. Yikes - that sounds like a bad lawsuit in the making. Donna tells him that Mrs. Coatsley had babbled to her about her smoking again and worried that he (Papa Martin) was mad at her. Papa Martin orders her to get Mrs. Coatsley on the phone, stat!...and he rushes over to the other extension and calls the pharmacy. When the pharmacist tells him that the medicine was picked up two hours ago, he's all, "OMG! OMG!" After a few tension-filled minutes, Donna is finally able to get a hold of Mrs. Coatsley, and luckily the old bird hasn't ingested any of the medicine. Donna puts her dad on the phone so he can explain to her why the meds he prescribed could kill her...and after he's finished with the call, he thanks his daughter for pulling his fat out of the fire, and she smiles back at him with an annoyingly sanctimonious smile.
After the mixer, Brandon and Tracy go for an awkward stroll with Mark and Kelly. Brandon assures Mark he's not looking for tips or anymore introductions...then says if he doesn't get the Dryer Fellowship, his life won't be over. Mark says his life pretty much would be over, and half-heartedly hopes they can both win. Tracy, meanwhile, admits to Kelly that she isn't always comfortable around her, her being Brandon's ex and all - and Kelly breezily tells her that staying friends with exes is a normal thing in their incestuous 90210 clique.
David's house. David is giving Donna a massage, and he tells her it's a good thing she's so talkative on the phone - otherwise who knows what might have become of cigarette smoking Mrs. Coatsley. Donna laments how stressed out her dad is and says she wishes he'd cut back on his hours.
The Peach Pit. Clare asks Steve how his job interview went, so he says the interview part went great...however, Dana made it clear she only wants him for his body. Clare contorts her weird doll face and accuses him of being ashamed to admit that he blew the interview. He insists that Dana did, in fact, proposition him in exchange for the job, but Clare just bitchily retorts, "You're the problem. You screwed up again, as usual." Steve gets irked and says he should have gone ahead and screwed Dana, then storms out of the diner. Someone please explain to me why these two are still a couple.
Beach house. Mark walks Kelly home and tells her he's pretty confident that everything will turn out in his favor. He also feels pretty good about throwing Brandon a bone by suggesting that he too might possibly be chosen for the Dryer. He smiles smugly and says he's pretty much a sure winner...and Kelly tells him his arrogance is disgusting, so he explains that he's been groomed for this his whole life. Also, he has pressures that Brandon could never understand - meaning, if he doesn't win this scholarship, there will be be hell to pay from his douchebag father.
The Walsh house. Valerie and Tom play the videotape he brought along from Buffalo. It's of the two of them going to prom together...shortly before she dumped him. The footage includes a few seconds of her father, waving at them from the doorway...and Valerie wigs out at the sight of him and recalls the day she found his lifeless body in the bathroom after he had just blown his brains out. She tells Tom he's the only one who knows the truth about him, and he promises not to tell anyone.
Brandon arrives for his Dryer interview. The first panelist asks him to elaborate on why he chose to write his college essay about the 1987 Minnesota Twins, so he describes how inspiring it was that they worked as a team, showed real heart, and proved that adversity could be overcome, blah blah. Another panelist asks him to compare and contrast John Calvin and the prophet Ezekiel - eesh - and Brandon stares into space blankly, and the scene cuts away.
Steve tracks down Dana at the Tasco booth and invites her to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. She's reluctant at first, but when Steve hints that he's reconsidering doinking her, she agrees to join him.
Beach house. Kelly wakes Donna up and tells her she's worried 'cause she hasn't heard from Mark. She's worried that he and/or Brandon will get their feelings hurt if one of both of them don't win the Dryer. Papa Martin phones to inform Donna that he's spending the day lounging by the pool at the country club. He giddily tells her he's decided to cut his hours, and Donna says she's pleased to hear that...and he urges her not to worry so much about what she'll do after college 'cause she'll be an asset to whoever hires her. Either that or a really big burden.
California University. Dana asks Steve if he's seen the error of his ways, and he goes, "Oh yes. I have" and insists that he's willing to go that extra mile now. She tells him that that's what it will take to be part of the Tasco Sportswear team, and Steve chirps, "Great!" LOL. She tells him she'd like to do a "final evaluation" in her hotel room, then warns, "It might be an oral." (!) Steve suggests they go the kinky route and invite another couple to join them, then points at the couple sitting at a nearby table...and - surprise! - it's Conway and Clare. Dana is aghast that her colleague has clearly overheard what she's been up to, and Conway grimly remarks on the disturbing earful he just got regarding her recruitment approach. He apologizes to Steve for the blatant sexual harassment and assures him that this is not the way Tasco does business, and hopes he'll keep an open mind about their company. After that, Steve tells Clare he's upset with her for not believing him, and she admits she was foolish not to remember how irresistible he is. I notice she didn't apologize for her bitchy treatment of him.
Brandon and Mark are among the Dryer candidates who are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winners. When the selection committee emerges after an intensive deliberation, they announce the two winners: some random woman from Oregon, and...Brandon Walsh! Mark scrunches his face and is all, "Whaaaat?!" The committee chair tells Brandon he had a terrific interview and won everyone over with his charm. (The Oregon woman doesn't receive a similar compliment, so I guess she wasn't nearly as charming.) Mark just stares at Brandon in disbelief, then storms off.
The Peach Pit. The gang has gathered together to celebrate Brandon's success. Nat brings out a cake to celebrate, but it appears to be an unclaimed birthday cake that reads Happy Birthday, Bobby! Haha! Donna asks Kelly where Mark is, and she's like, "I dunno" then says she's going to swing by his house to see if he's there. Meanwhile, Valerie asks David if Tom can co-manage the After Dark with her and says she'll cover his salary with her share of the profits. David makes a face and says he's not sure that's such a great idea.
Kelly runs into Mark in the parking lot. He sourly says, "I thought I'd find you here at Brandon's victory party." She says she's been worried about him and asks where he's been, so he tells her that since blowing his interview he's been driving up and down the coast. She says she left him a bunch of messages and asks him why he didn't call her back, and he bitchily snaps, "I lost, Kelly. Thanks a lot." She gives him a look of incredulity and asks him if he's really blaming her for not being awarded the Dryer, and he grumbles that she got him so concerned about how Brandon was going to do, he didn't watch out for himself. He snarks, "Are you happy now? You know...you really screwed me over" then laughs bitterly at the irony of them never having actually screwed. Kelly tells him not to start up with that again...and he asks her if she's ready to give it up to him, but she shoves him away and snaps, "What are you? Drunk?" He guffaws and says he knew she wouldn't be willing to doink him. Kelly says there's a lot to be said for taking a relationship slow, 'cause sometimes it takes time for a person to show his true colors. Mark ignores that and accuses her of betraying him, but she argues that he lost the scholarship 'cause he didn't think he could lose, and that he didn't bother preparing for the interview 'cause he believed he was entitled to win. Mark bitchily retorts, "You're going to lose me unless you shape up" and Kelly raises her brows and says, "Excuse me? What did you say?", so he elaborates: "You're the kind of girl I could marry, but you're blowing it baby." Bwahaha! He then glares at her and says, "I'm a Reese. Do you have any idea what kind of inheritance I'm in line for?" and Kelly just starts laughing (and I laughed too, especially at the part where he said I'm a Reese). Mark dickishly warns, "Don't call me to tell me you're sorry unless you're ready to seal the deal" and Kelly shoots him a stony look and says that every time the phone rings, he should bet someone it's not her, 'cause he'll be right every time. Mark scrunches his face in confusion and goes, "What's that supposed to mean?" so she says, "You're a smart boy, Mark. Figure it out." She then shoves her way past him and storms out of his life forever. Hee! You go, girl!