Recap: The 90210 gang (plus Michelle Phillips and Bill Taylor) are gathered at David's place for a surprise birthday party for Valerie. Donna arrives with Noah and a Donna Martin original she cobbled together for Valerie to wear on her special day and tells a concerned looking Kelly that she's been staying up nights designing clothes for her new fashion venture. When David and Valerie arrive home and enter the apartment, everyone yells, "Surprise!" and Valerie's all, "Wha-a-a?!" and doesn't look particularly thrilled at having a house full of guests. Her mom rushes over and wishes her a happy birthday, then flashes her new engagement ring and announces that she and Bill Taylor are getting married...despite having met just one episode ago. The room falls silent as Valerie stares back at her in stunned silence, and eventually Noah steps forward and congratulates the delusional couple. Steve gleefully points out that the marriage will make Kelly and Valerie step-sisters, and the two frenemies stare at each other in horror and bewilderment. LOL.
The next day, Donna is skulking around MayaLee's to spy on shoppers who are milling around her dress collection. She's delighted when she sees a woman buy one of her dresses...then dismayed when she sees the woman return to the sales desk a few minutes later to return it. Donna ambles over and asks the woman why she's returning the dress, so she explains that she was almost out of the store when she realized that the dress wasn't a Donna Karan - it was a Donna Martin. She then contorts her face and adds, "Whoever that is." Haha!
Valerie rails at David about the insanity of her mother marrying Bill Taylor and tells him that she and Kelly have formed an alliance for the purpose of preventing this ridiculous wedding from taking place. She then bitches about how much she hates her birthday, specifically the bracelet charms her mother insists on buying for her every year. David tells her to stop talking, then hands her the gift he bought her - which, awkwardly enough, is a new charm for her bracelet. Oops.
The Beverly Beat. Janet has come to work wheezing and sneezing because she doesn't get sick pay from her cheapskate employer. Steve, meanwhile, is in a grumpy mood now that he was able to track down Ted. He calls the investment banker "a dream guy" and has a sinking feeling that he and Jill will declare themselves soulmates. Brandon's like, "Yeah, whatever" and informs Steve that he has a job interview with The Los Angeles Chronicle tomorrow. So much for his firm commitment to keep the Beat going after he won that BS journalism award during the previous episode.
The Peach Pit. Kelly and Valerie get together to discuss their parents' upcoming nuptials. Valerie suggests they each talk to the other's parent about what a horrific idea a marriage between them would be, and Kelly agrees, since she has zero desire to be Valerie's step-sister.
Steve drops by the Bel Age Hotel to let Jill know that he found Ted, and that he's prepared to set up a meet. He then proposes she go out with him in advance of that meet...and if she's somehow able to resist his charm, she can move on with her life and start dating Ted. Jill laughingly calls that blackmail, but agrees to indulge Steve with a dinner date.
Brandon arrives at The Los Angeles Chronicle and, to his [and my] great surprise, is hired on the spot. The interviewer hands him an ID badge and tells him he can start tomorrow, and Brandon's like, "Kewl! That was so much easier and quicker than I was expecting." He is introduced to Brian, another young fellow the paper has just hired...and the two are exiting the building together when they encounter an older man with a grim expression on his face who's carrying a box like he just got laid off. He informs the young lads that the real reporters are going on strike tomorrow morning, and that they're nothing more than scabs (aka, replacement workers who fill in for unionized employees during contract disputes and are generally considered dicks for doing so).
Boat. Noah wakes Donna to tell her that the buyer from MayaLee's is on the phone. Donna assumes it's bad news, but is pleasantly surprised when the buyer tells her that all twenty dresses have been sold! [Spoiler: to Noah!] Yippee! The buyer asks her for twenty more, and Donna excitedly agrees and says she'll need two weeks for production. She hangs up and tells Noah the happy news, then starts gabbling about maybe opening her own store. Noah's like, "Whoa" and urges her to take her implausible fashion career one tiny step at a time.
The Beverly Beat. Janet irritably tells Steve she got a parking ticket while picking up his dry cleaning so he can be freshly pressed for his date with Jill. I wonder why a smart girl like Janet doesn't throw in the towel with these idiots and pursue employment with a more established organization. Brandon tells Steve and Janet that he's been hired as a scab at The Chronicle...and when Janet points out that scabs are also derogatorily known as strikebreakers, backlegs, and knobsticks, Brandon says he didn't know about the looming strike when he accepted the job...then whines that he's been waiting for most of Season 8 to land this type of dream job. Steve doesn't think it's that big of a deal to work as a scab, then tells Brandon he's going to have to replace him at the Beat.
The Peach Pit. Valerie is doing her best to talk Bill Taylor out of marrying her hot mess of a mother. Bill natters about how he really wants to have someone to come home to - but Valerie scoffs at his pathetic loneliness and snarks that he should find another sucker who's dumb enough to buy his pre-matrimonial lies.
Beach house. Kelly, meanwhile, is telling Michelle Phillips about Bill's shitty track record as a husband and father. Michelle Phillips nods knowingly and condescendingly tells her her father loves her very much...then agrees that you can never really know someone completely. Like her incest loving, revolting pedophile of a late husband, for example. She tells Kelly she really really believes that she and Bill have a future together, and Kelly implores her to look much more closely at his past actions. Michelle Phillips is like, "Whatever!" and excitedly tells her they're getting married this Saturday...and Kelly just shakes her head in dismay.
Brandon arrives at The Chronicle the same time as Brian, and the two stare over at the picket line. Brian says he doesn't have the luxury of being ethical 'cause he's got kids to feed, then toddles off toward the building. Brandon, however, can't bring himself to cross the picket line and returns to his car.
Steve and Jill agree that the restaurant they just ate dinner in was horrible, and Jill credits him for handling the situation like a pro. She tells him he's not the giant bonehead she assumed he was - but when he leans in for a kiss, she rebuffs him and says she's still in love with someone else. Steve concedes defeat and agrees to set up a meet between her and Ted.
Boat. When Noah returns home, Donna hands him a glass of champagne to thank him for believing in her dress designing abilities. She then notices a letter from MayaLee's on the table and goes, "That's weird. I already got paid from them" and opens it and finds a check for the sale of her dresses. A sheepish Noah admits that he cut a deal with MayaLee's behind her back 'cause he was afraid her dresses were too fugly to sell, and Donna angrily points out that they were only in the store for one day. She admonishes him for not believing in her after all, then climbs out of the boat, which required some tricky maneuvering considering the ultra skimpy short black dress she had poured herself into.
The Beverly Beat. Steve tells Brandon he's setting up a meeting between Jill and Ted, Janet grumbles to no one in particular about being underpaid and overworked, and Brandon informs both of them that he's decided not to take the scab job at The Chronicle 'cause he's too much of a mensch to cross a picket line. A few seconds later, a dork man named Donald Tucker arrives to interview for Brandon's job. Steve's like, "Oops, the job is no longer available" and Donald dorkishly laughs and quickly explains that he laughs uncontrollably whenever he gets nervous. Steve perks up at this and hatches a devious plot: have Donald pose as Ted for the meet with Jill. Yes! That's just crazy enough to work! Brandon gets a call from Brian, who's working on a story about state funded something or other [sorry...I just kind of zoned out during this part of the scene] and tells Brandon he could use some help from a good writer.
The Walsh house. Valerie grumbles to David about how she has zero desire to attend her mother's/Bill's wedding rehearsal...then recalls the abuse she suffered at her father's hands. She tells him about her thirteenth birthday, and how her father was stuck in Chicago because of a blizzard. She recalls that it was the first time in a long time she felt safe...and her mother baked her a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Apparently, no cake ever tasted so good.
After Dark. Donna drops by to bitch at Noah again for making a secret deal with MayaLee's. She accepts his profuse apology and says that lately her faith in men has been tested...then smiles at him to let him know she's not too mad at him.
Steve drives Brandon to The Chronicle and bitches about the lazy union workers having the nerve to go on strike...and Brandon concurs with his myopic world view and says he'd be more than happy with the wages they're earning. As Brandon approaches the building, he's given a disapproving stink eye by the old guy he met just after he was hired...and then a bunch of reporters start yelling, "Scab!"
When Valerie and David arrive at the church, Kelly informs them that Bill hasn't arrived yet. Uh oh. Valerie tells her mother she definitely should not marry this flake of a man - but then Bill arrives and explains that he got held up in traffic. As the two rush inside the church together, Kelly remarks to Valerie that despite everything they do make a handsome couple.
Restaurant. Steve and Jill are seated at a table, waiting for the "Ted meet" to happen. Steve spots Donald Tucker enter the restaurant and quickly excuses himself to put his devious plan into motion. Donald tells him he's all set to pretend to be Ted, so Steve points at Jill and says he's totally nuts about her...then reveals that he also arranged for the real Ted to be present as well, and points to a younger dork who has blonde hair with funny looking bangs. Yeesh. I wonder if he revealed in his letters to Jill that he's a bangs sportin' dude. Donald lectures Steve about how the true test of love is making his lady happy - even if it results in his own misery. Steve lets that sink in for a few seconds, then walks over to Jill and points out the real Ted. Jill makes a beeline over to Blonde Bangs and introduces herself as his former pen pal, and he lights up and looks immediately smitten.
After Dark. Donna drops by the club to show Noah her latest design sketches. When she enters his office she sees her twenty dresses strewn across his sofa and recognizes them as the dresses that were on display at MayaLee's. She's all, "Wha-a-a?!" so Noah sheepishly explains that he took action when it was clear that no one wanted to buy the fugly things. Donna gets angry that he lied to her again and storms out.
The Beverly Beat. The old reporter guy drops by the newsroom to compliment Brandon on the story he just wrote with Brian, then takes a seat and natters about his start in journalism back in the '50s, and how shitty the working conditions were until they were able to form a union. He urges Brandon to decline the scab job offer...and when Brandon says, "These opportunities don't come easy", the old guy says, "Neither does what we're fighting for."
Beach house. Bill drops by to sheepishly inform Kelly that the wedding is a no-go...and Kelly's like, "No no no no no.." and begs him not to slip into his familiar, dickish patterns. Bill stupidly explains that he only proposed to Michelle Phillips 'cause of the adoring way she looked at him, and Kelly says it's 'cause she believes in him. Bill's like, "Whatever" and asks Kelly to break the news to his future ex-bride...and Kelly buries her face in her hands and says it's hard to understand why he's always such a piece of shit to the ones he's supposed to love.
The wedding guests are seated in the pews, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Noah explains to Donna how badly he freaked out when he found her after she overdosed, and she promises to never turn to drugs again - then asks him to promise never to reach for his wallet to shield her from the truth about her grisly clothing creations. Noah's like, "Deal!" then tells her she got a call from Burnett's Department Store, and assures her he didn't arrange any side deals with the buyer there...and Donna is thrilled and excited. Janet arrives and sits in a pew with Brandon and Steve and hands Steve the wedding gift she picked out on his behalf. Steve remarks to Brandon that he desperately needs a girlfriend to do this kind of stuff for him, and Brandon's like, "Whatever" and tells him he's decided to not take the job at The Chronicle - but says he wants the Beat staff to start accruing sick time. Janet perks up and says she definitely likes the sound of that.
Kelly finds Michelle Phillips and Valerie in a private room inside the church and breaks the news that Deadbeat Bill is pulling a no-show. Michelle Phillips looks hopeful and says maybe he's just running late, but Kelly confirms that, nope, he's definitely a runaway groom. She offers to inform the wedding guests that there won't be a wedding today, and Michelle Phillips bursts into tears and flees the room...and Valerie runs out after her. Michelle Phillips breezily says the marriage was nothing more than a crazy lark - well d'yuh - but Valerie tells her to stop pretending as though she didn't just have her heart ripped out, and allow herself to feel the pain. Michelle Phillips dissolves into tears and collapses in her daughter's arms.
The Walsh house. Brandon tells Kelly she did a good job today delicately explaining to the wedding guests that the wedding was cancelled, then says he's not taking the job at The Chronicle. Kelly nods approvingly and says she'd like to hang onto his Chronicle ID tag to remind herself that at least one man in her life has a strong moral compass (not counting his cheating earlier this season). Jill drops by to tell Steve about her date with Ted. She says they talked about marriage (say what?!) and that she spent the entire evening telling Ted about all the things he (Steve) did for her during his quest to set up a meet between them. She says that Ted was everything she thought he'd be, but somehow feels that Steve is more. [Nooooooooooo!!] Steve grins happily while I beat my head against the nearest brick wall 'cause of how painfully close we came to this dull-as-fuck subplot being fully resolved and never spoken of again.
Valerie tells David that her mom is on her way back to Buffalo. David tells her he has a surprise for her, then shows her the birthday cake he bought/baked for her: chocolate with vanilla frosting. Awww.. Valerie looks touched by the gesture, and the two start smooching.