Recap: The 90210 gang (minus Matt) is gathered at Casa Walsh and playing strip poker - a visual I really didn't need right out of the gate, not to mention that it seems like a totally weird thing to be doing with a group of your platonic co-ed pals. Kelly excuses herself to call Matt, who fibbed to everyone that he had to go to New York on business.
New York. Matt is dining out with Lauren, who informs viewers that she just spent the last three years of her life in an institution because of her schizophrenia. Apparently, she woke up one day after taking some magic pills her doctor prescribed and feels totally normal again. She tells Matt how excited she is to move to L.A., resume their marriage, and put her illness behind her. Matt flatly replies, "That's great" and when she looks put out by his unmistakable lack of enthusiasm, he assures her he really does want to be with her. Sort of. But not really so much.
The Walsh house. Strip poker has deteriorated to the point where Steve is forced to strip naked...and he stands proudly in front of his friends, his naughties bared.
Dylan is carrying out his community service sentence as part of a chain gang construction crew, and naturally the foreman is an abusive asshole who calls them dirtbags and threatens them with jail time if they misbehave. As the demoralized men obediently shovel rocks, a Hispanic man (Ramon) who's working alongside Dylan warns the douchebag foreman that any more digging of the rocks could cause a dangerous slide if they don't shore up the hill first - but the douchebag foreman barks at him to shut up and keep shovelling, and that if he refuses to follow orders he'll boot his ass over the Mexican border. Dylan advises Ramon to get back to work and not cause anymore trouble for himself.
The Walsh house. Steve is miffed at losing the strip poker game so badly to Noah, so out of curiosity he puts on the glasses that Noah was wearing all evening and discovers that they're some kind of trick glasses he used in conjunction with a deck of marked cards. He informs Donna of her boyfriend's duplicity, and she agrees that they're going to need to formulate a revenge plot, like pronto.
The Peach Pit. David spots a pretty blonde woman sitting at a table, reading a book and crying. He goes over and asks her whassup with her sadness, so she explains that her job is to read unpublished novels to see if they'd make good movies, and she's tearing up over the book she's currently reading 'cause it's a bittersweet romance. David looks intrigued by this sensitive stranger - but then gets interrupted by Steve and Donna, who pull him away to forcibly involve him in the Revenge Against Noah subplot.
Matt drops by the boutique to see Kelly, who chides him for not calling her back during his "business trip". He fibs and tells her he unplugged his phone so he could work uninterrupted all night, then got up at dawn to catch his plane back to L.A. She tells him she made plans for the two of them to spend the weekend canoodling in Santa Barbara...and when he tries to turn the invitation down, she chirps, "My treat!" He tells her he might not be able to get away 'cause of work, so she's like, "Ooh" and tells him to let her know if he can't make it so she can cancel their reservation.
After Dark. David, Donna, and Steve are tampering with Noah's CO2 canisters, cranking up the pressure so he'll get sprayed whenever he pours drinks to customers. Donna remarks on how petty and juvenile the prank is. And only slightly less mind numbing than last episode's Georgia/Nipsy dog mating caper.
Matt shows Lauren his office, and she marvels at the fabulousness of his California life, and the two engage in some boring chit-chat that my brain involuntarily tuned out. Eventually she turns glum and asks him if he has a girlfriend, and he admits he does and cares about her a lot. She asks him if he loves this woman, and he dodges that minefield by saying, "It doesn't matter. Your being here is what matters" and Lauren doesn't bother challenging the vagueness of that lame non-answer.
After Dark. Gina teases Dylan about being part of a chain gang, then asks him to tell her all about his day when they're suddenly interrupted by Dylan's Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, a shapely woman named Linda. Gina looks put out by her hotness, but agrees to leave the table so the two can talk in private.
Noah runs out of CO2 and has to change tanks...and while he's doing that, David, Donna, and Steve sit at the bar and anxiously await the hilarity that's about to ensue. As soon as Noah pours his next drink, he gets sprayed on...and the three idiots laugh and declare this their revenge on him for cheating during the strip poker game.
Kelly calls Matt's office, but gets his voicemail. She scrunches her face in perplexed irritation.
Bel Age Hotel. As Matt escorts Lauren to her hotel room, she laments the various stimulus problems she had while driving to the hotel, such as processing the difference between a red and green light - a clear indication that she probably shouldn't be behind the wheel. She brushes off her concerns and kisses Matt, then looks put out when he involuntarily cringes. She says she merely wanted him to hold her...then asks if it would have been so terrible if she'd wanted some penetration. She asks him if he's been so standoffish because of his girlfriend, then makes it clear how dismayed she is at having to stay in a hotel room instead of with him at his home. Matt explains what a zoo Casa Walsh is, and that he enjoys spending time with her at the Bel Age 'cause it gives them a chance to have their privacy... and Lauren seems reasonably placated by that.
Kelly phones Matt again, but keeps getting his voicemail. She lets out a big sigh, then calls up the hotel in Santa Barbara and cancels the weekend reservation.
Steve gets out of the shower and notices that his hair has turned a neon shade of green. Bwahaha! As Steve gasps at his reflection in the mirror, an amused looking Noah cackles with pride at his latest prank.
Matt drops by the boutique to apologize to Kelly for not calling her back. She tells him that something feels different between them, and he's like, "Uh huh", but continues to keep mum about Lauren, 'cause why clear up the situation when Kelly can find out about Lauren in a far more confusing, painful fashion? She tells him she went ahead and cancelled their hotel reservation in Santa Barbara, and he says that was probably a good idea 'cause something has come up.
The Peach Pit. David runs into the pretty blonde woman again...and when the two introduce themselves, he learns that her name is Carol. The two start chatting about their favorite films...blah blah...and he musters the courage to ask her out to a movie. She agrees to meet him at the theater and gives him her number. Steve, meanwhile, enters the diner with a carrying case and snarls at David, "Noah's a dead man."
By scripted coincidence, it's the day of the After Dark's annual health inspection. As Noah greets the health inspector, Steve sneaks into the club with the carrying case, then sets it on the floor and releases a little mouse. The inspector finds the mouse trap that Steve planted and asks Noah whassup with that...and suddenly Steve and Donna appear, giggling at the genius of their counter-prank. Noah snaps at the two idiots for messing with his business...and as he's doing that, the inspector collapses. Noah rushes over to him, checks his pulse...and when he can't find one, he orders Donna to call 911. As she scampers off to do that, Steve starts freaking out and tells Noah that the unconscious guy isn't actually the health inspector - just an actor named Hal he hired to pretend to be the health inspector. A few seconds later, the real health inspector arrives, and Noah and Steve shove Hal into an old refrigerator to hide the evidence of their moronic shenanigans.
Chain gang. During lunch, Ramon tells Dylan he works two jobs and goes to night school so he can get his contractor's license. The douchebag foreman snatches the study book Ramon is holding and laughs at his future aspirations, and Dylan gets all in his face and growls at him to stop ridiculing his new friend.
After Dark. The health inspector gives Noah a glowing review...but by the time Noah, Steve, and Donna race to the back room to check on dead Hal, they're aghast when the refrigerator they shoved him into is gone. Nat saunters in and informs them that the salvage guys left with it a little while ago. After that, two paramedics arrive and say they got a call about a reported dead person, and the three idiots deny that any of them would dare waste the valuable time of first responders, and tell them it was probably a crank call.
Out in a park somewhere, Gina is strolling with David and complaining to him about all the time Dylan is spending with his hot NA sponsor instead of opening up to her. David shrugs disinterestedly and tells her to "follow Dylan's lead" - otherwise their fragile hookup could rapidly fall apart. Gina is about to let out a haughty retort - but puts a pin in that when she suddenly spots Matt openly smooching Lauren. She's all, "OMG!" and doesn't bother hiding her delight at seeing first hand evidence that Matt is stepping out on Kelly.
Donna, Noah, and Steve arrive at the salvage yard and ask if the refrigerator that was brought over from the Peach Pit is still intact. The salvage yard guy answers by pointing at a compressed heap of metal and proudly tells them it's ready for recycling.
Lauren tells Matt how delighted she is to be out and about, shopping and canoodling with her man. She then turns glum and asks about his girlfriend, and sadly adds that she doesn't want her contrived story arc to ruin his happiness. Matt just mutely stares into space.
Gina heads straight over to Now Wear This and reports to Kelly that she thinks Matt might be seeing someone else, and gives her the deets of what she witnessed in the park. Kelly's all, "Wha-a?" and stares into space with a stricken expression on her face.
Chain gang. Dylan tells Ramon that he's doing community service 'cause he stormed the Marchette mansion while armed and hopped up on heroin. A few seconds later, large boulders from the top of the hill come crashing down, nearly killing them...and the douchebag foreman yells at them for not shoring up the hill like he ordered them to. Dylan bellows back that Ramon was the one who had suggested the shoring up of the hill - but Ramon admonishes him for dragging him into a pointless altercation and messing with his life's goal of becoming a contractor.
After Dark. Steve wails to Donna and Noah about how wrecked he is that Hal dropped dead, got shoved into a fridge, which was then compressed like a tin can.
David arrives at the movie theater, but there's no sign of Carol. He tries calling her on his cell, but it looks like she gave him a fake number. Haha!
Casa David. Gina lights a bunch of candles to create a romantic ambiance for an evening with her slouchy beau. He grumbles about how exhausted he is - but then perks up when she smoochingly offers to run him a bath. Post-coitus, Dylan gets a call from Linda and asks Gina to vacate the room so he can speak privately to his hot sponsor. Ouch. Gina stares at him in incredulity, then growls, "Go to hell!" as she storms out. An oblivious Dylan starts gabbling to Linda about his day with his new chain gang friends.
Beach house. Kelly is leaning against the patio railing, looking as surly as possible when Matt drops by. She snarks about not being able to trust him, and expresses utter disbelief that he didn't even try to hide whatever he has going on the side with his other girlfriend. He weakly tries to explain the situation, but Kelly refuses to hear him out and storms inside.
Chain gang. The douchebag foreman warns Dylan that if he continues to sass him in front of the crew, he'll end up serving jail time. Dylan says he doesn't care what happens to him, but urges him to lay off Ramon 'cause he's a far better man than either of them. The douchebag foreman lets that uncomfortable truth sink in for a few seconds, then gruffly orders Dylan to get back to work.
Beach house. Kelly tells Donna that she and Matt are dunzo, and Donna's all, "Wha-a? I thought you two were doing great!" but then is forced to excuse herself from being Kelly's sounding board when Steve arrives and solemnly announces, "It's time." Kelly stares in bewilderment at Steve's green follicles and asks, "What's on your head?" Haha!
Beach. Dylan finds a conch and wants to throw it into the ocean - but Ramon stops him, says it's too beautiful to throw away, and urges him to hold onto it. He thanks Dylan for putting in a good word for him with the douchebag foreman after his outburst and is grateful that he wasn't given any additional community service.
Steve and Donna arrive at Hal's house to inform his wife that her husband is no more. When she answers the door and gets the first part of the news - that he had a heart attack - she lets out a sharp cry, then collapses onto the floor. Steve and Donna are like, "Ack!" and flee the scene.
Beach house. Dylan drops by to see Gina, and she greets him with a slap on the cheek...and instead of ending the toxic horror show this relationship has rapidly become, he hands her the conch and gabbles about what a powerful thing revenge can be, and that he got lost in his desire to lash out at Marchette. And by lash out, he means shoot to death. He says he's happy to be doing his community service while free of drugs, and Gina assures him he'll get through it OK, then gives him a thank you hug for the pretty shell.
After Dark. Carol drops by the DJ booth to explain to David that her mom got into a car accident right before she was supposed to meet him at the movies. David snappishly asks her to explain why the phone number she gave him was a fake, so she checks the number he had dialled and determines that he wrote her number down wrong. She then says she's leaving L.A. to fly to Chicago to take care of her injured mother, and that this scene officially marks the end of this utterly pointless sub-subplot.
After Dark. Steve moans to Donna that he hopes Hal's wife didn't just die...and a few seconds later they see her enter the club. Donna slinks over to her and sheepishly extends her condolences for her husband's untimely demise, and the wife breezily says it's all good 'cause Hal wasn't a very nice guy...and a few seconds later, Hal and Noah enter the club, looking amused and smug. Steve and Donna are all, "Wha-a?" then quickly deduce that Noah has somehow tricked them. When Donna tells Noah that they hired Hal to prank him, Noah laughingly explains that he happened to answer the phone when Hal called her back, quickly figured out what she was up to, and paid him double to trick the two of them. He then goes behind the bar, pours a drink, and gets sprayed with water from the tampered CO2 tank that I guess he forgot to fix...and everyone chuckles merrily.
Kelly drops by Matt's office to tell him she doesn't want to break up with him. She says they get along great and are good together, and Matt agrees that even though they're the show's most boring-as-fuck couple since the snoredom that was Brandon and Susan Keats, what they had was terrific. Kelly's like, "Wuh? Then why end it?" and Matt says, "Because of Lauren" ... and suddenly Lauren appears behind him in the doorway. Matt introduces her to Kelly as his wife, and Kelly stares back at the two of them with a tearful look of shocked bewilderment.