Recap: Sandy lures Jake up to her apartment with the promise of beer and pizza...and he's surprised and delighted to be yelled surprise! at by the rest of the Melrose Place residents, who secretly gathered together to celebrate his birthday. Billy wishes Jake a happy birthday, then says he's outa here 'cause he has to work the cabbie graveyard shift. On his way downstairs, he runs into an aging, cleavage-bearing redhead who asks him if Jake's around, and he directs her to Sandy's apartment. The redhead enters Apartment 6, introduces herself to the gang as Stella, then spots Jake across the room and waxes on about what gorgeous piece of eye candy he is. Mmm hmm...no argument there. As the partygoers begin tittering amongst each other about what looks like some kind of May-December hookup, Jake puts the blechy speculations to rest when he introduces Stella to everyone as his [estranged] mother.
Billy drops off an elderly woman near a burger joint in a scary L.A. 'hood, then looks visibly freaked out when he sees a vintage pink car filled with scowling black youths shooting him the stink-eye. They trail after Billy in his cab...and when Billy accidentally gets stuck at the end of a dead end road, they block him in, climb out of their car with baseball bats, and smash up his windshield while he quivers in the driver's seat.
Jake opens his birthday gifts and grumbles to Sandy about how much he hates surprises, specifically the way his mother just made an unannounced guest appearance. When Sandy says that Stella seems nice and urges him to give her a chance, he snaps at her to shut it 'cause she doesn't know the first thing about their dysfunctional mother-son dynamic. A few seconds later, Alison gets a call from Billy, who's at the police station, post windshield attack. She quickly heads out to pick him up.
Billy gives his eyewitness account of the attack to a police detective who doesn't seem overly interested in catching the perps. When Alison arrives, Billy gives her a quick recap of the frightening ordeal, then grumbles about how the cops have been making him feel guilty for venturing into the 'hood. Alison points out that the most important thing is that he wasn't physically harmed.
Jake chides Stella for showing up without calling first, then comes right out and asks her why she's here. She tells him she got so sick of Hank's drinking (and unemployed status) that she abruptly left him and bought a one-way ticket for L.A. She tells Jake she has nowhere else to go, insists that she's a changed woman from the slutty lush she used to be, and implores him to show her some compassion. She also promises to not extend her stay past the end end credits of this self-contained episode.
As Billy and Alison return home and amble through the courtyard, Billy grumbles about how powerless he felt during the attack, vows to never step foot in the 'hood again, then steps in it when he bitterly adds, "Those people can have that part of town if they want it." Rhonda prickles up and demands to know what he means by those people...and that when he snidely said those people, was he including her? As the rest of the Melrose Place cast mates glance around uneasily and contemplate the most discreet way to beat a hasty retreat, Billy reiterates that he was the one who was just terrorized and robbed by a group of gangbangers, then adamantly denies being a racist. Rhonda snorts derisively, nonsensically says she's going to assume the only black people he's ever befriended are janitors or basketball players, snaps, "Go to hell!", and storms up to her apartment.
The next morning, Billy is tapping away at his computer, attempting to write about his ordeal. After flashing back to the windshield smashing, he tells Alison he's so discombobulated that he can't seem to string two words together. Alison assures him it's healthy for him to be working through the traumatic experience - but he just grumbles about how unlike him it is to have lingering feelings of anger and frustration.
Jane tells Michael she had a nightmare about their apartment getting robbed, and he coos at her and gives her a comforting hug. She says she's nervous about bringing a child into this dangerous world, but Michael assures her that he'll do his best to protect her and their child. She then reminds him they have a parenting class tonight, and he rolls his eyes and looks less than thrilled at being relegated yet again to the episode's dullest-as-fuck subplot.
Jake ambles into his kitchen, where Stella is cooking breakfast. When he warns her not to get too comfortable in his digs, she tells him to lighten up and assures him she has no hidden agenda. Other than wanting to squat in his living room indefinitely. Jake snarks about what a shitty mother she was to him during his formative years, and Stella breezily urges him to forget about all that unpleasantness and do his best to enjoy her visit.
Alison runs into Rhonda, who's still miffed about Billy referring to the gangbangers as 'those people'. She pronounces that Billy's true colors came out last night and predicts that every other Melrose Place resident would probably have reacted to the windshield smashing incident in exactly the same way. As Alison wrings her hands helplessly, Rhonda stares despondently into space and says, "I have no idea where we're supposed to go from here."
Billy drops by D&D to ask Alison if he can borrow her car so he can drive down to the insurance company and file a claim for his damaged cab. She's like, "Yeah, fine", and he leaves her some money for cab fare in case he doesn't make it back to D&D by 5pm to give her a lift home.
Stella joins Sandy as she suns herself by the Melrose pool. Sandy asks her how long she's planning to mooch off of Jake, and Stella's like, "As long as possible" and adds that she's looking to settle down in L.A. and get herself a waitressing job asap. Sandy squeals, "I'm a waitress too!" - but clarifies that she's more an out-of-work actress who makes the rent by serving drinks at Shooters.
Michael looks visibly bored during the parenting class he and Jane are attending...and thank goodness Dr. Kimberly Shaw arrives on the scene in the next episode to give these dullards' storyline a much needed shot in the arm.
Billy and Jake are staking out the burger joint in the 'hood, near where Billy's cab was attacked by the gangbangers. Billy says he thinks Rhonda's way out of line with her racism accusations, and Jake's like, "Yeah whatever...how long do we have to stake out this burger joint?"
Over at Shooters, Matt buys Rhonda a drink...and she's still yammering about Billy's snide 'hood remarks from the other night. Matt empathizes and says he gets similarly bummed whenever he hears people ridicule gays. Rhonda's like, "Yeah whatever...I wasn't done talking about me yet" and says that while she can't disassociate herself from her 'hood folk, she also doesn't want to become blind to their problems. She then decides that what she really wants is to become part of the solution. Fantastic.
After a long stakeout, Billy finally spots the pink car that was used in the attack on his cab. He jots down the license plate number and chirps, "Busted!"
The next morning, a smug Billy waxes on to Alison about how the bastards that smashed up his cab's windshield will be "getting nailed" by the police any minute now. Alison somehow refrains from laughing at the hilarity of Billy trying to come across as a tough guy while he was saying getting nailed, and chides him for lying to her about why he wanted to borrow her car. She urges him to get a better handle on his anger.
Jane and Michael bicker about his boredom at the parenting class...fuuuuuuuck...and when Jane chides him for being too rough with the newborn doll, he accuses her of being overbearingly protective.
Over at Shooters, Jake tells Sandy that his mother was a slutty drunkard who always treated him like he was a pest...and that he really doesn't appreciate the way she barged into his life. Sandy admonishes him for his negative 'tude - just as a visibly drunk Stella sashays into the bar, strikes up a flirty conversation with a pool player, then seductively presses herself against him. Jake smugly tells Sandy, "I rest my case."
Rhonda calls Billy's cab company and specifically requests him as her driver so she can drive with him to South Central and make him join forces with her to do something positive for the underprivileged community. After surveying all the burned out buildings, they stop at a food clearinghouse, where Rhonda donates a big bag of groceries. After that, the two happen to catch an impromptu street sermon from a pastor who urges everyone within earshot to reject snide-itude and instead embrace hope and love in their lives.
That evening, Alison tells Billy that the police called to let him know that they picked up the ringleader of the gang who smashed his windshield and said he needs to go to the precinct to make a positive ID. Billy scrunches his face concernedly as he mutters about how conflicted he now feels about ratting out an underprivileged youth from the 'hood.
A drunk Stella stumbles into Jake's apartment and explains to Jake that she spent much of the day getting blitzed with the guy she met at Shooters...and that the alcohol fueled hours just flew by. She quickly passes out on the couch, and Jake covers her with a blanket and sourly mutters, "You haven't changed" before stalking out of the apartment.
Michael admits to Jane that he knows he did a shit job at the parenting class, and that he's determined to avoid screwing up his kid's life the way Stella did to Jake. Jane smilingly concurs and promises to do her best to let go of being overbearingly protective. %$#@.
Stella apologizes to Jake for getting hammered last night, and he brings her a glass of orange juice and says he's decided that the best way to relate to her is adult-to-adult...which translates to 'I want you out of my apartment, like yesterday'. Stella stares despondently into space and wonders aloud who she could possibly burden with a surprise! long term visit on such short notice, and Jake just shrugs and says, "That's up to you." Stella shoots him a sad look and admits that she got herself knocked up when she was far too young and couldn't cope with being a mother. Jake's like, "Yeah whatever, just don't be here when I get home tonight."
Billy's at home, writing his drivel on the computer, when Rhonda drops by to see whassup. He tells her the police arrested the guy who smashed up his windshield, but that he's having second thoughts about IDing him 'cause he doesn't want to create more troubles for someone who is so clearly troubled. Rhonda rolls her eyes and says, "The law's the law" and offers to drive him to the police station so they can quickly wrap up this cringe-tastic storyline.
In the next scene, Billy is staring at the lineup and IDs the attacker. A few minutes later, he and Rhonda see the attacker's mother storm into the police station and smack her son for his idiocy. Haha!
Sandy tells Jake that Stella packed up her shit and headed to the bus station...and that if he hurries over there, he'll have a window of about twenty minutes to bid her a poignant farewell.
Stella tells Jake she's decided to go back to wherever she came from, and that she's finally willing to "go it alone" in life. She tells him she loves him and admits to having a funny way of showing it...and Jake refrains from returning her I love you and woodenly replies, "Take care."
Alison arrives home and finds Rhonda and Billy hanging by the pool together. As she wanders over and grins happily at the sight of their renewed friendship, Rhonda pronounces to the two how important it is for racially diverse apartment dwellers to keep the lines of communication open...and Billy concurs and adds that it's also important to be willing to listen. Alison nods approvingly and says, "Looks like everything here's going to be aw-right", then heads off to unpack her groceries. Billy thanks Rhonda for the enlightenment she provided him with this episode, and she wishes him a good night and heads up to her apartment, leaving him sitting contemplatively by the pool.