Recap: Jake is working on his motorcycle when Michael snarks that he's getting oil stains all over the courtyard tiles...then reminds him to pay his rent already 'cause Mr. Kay (the landlord) is getting on his case about chronic non-payments from deadbeat tenants. Jake counter-snarks that Mr. Kay could always talk to him directly, then whines about how hard he's been busting his ass looking for work in a construction industry that's dead in L.A...as if his income problems are, in any way, Mr. Kay's problem. Jake stares moodily into space for a few seconds, then promises Michael he'll put find gainful employment on this episode's to-do list.
Over at D&D, Alison flirts with Rick (a dorky mailroom flunky) when he brings her a morning donut.
Jake lumbers into a coffee shop and tells the manager he's responding to the help wanted sign out front. The manager tells him he likes the cut of his jib, but hopes to hell he's not an aspiring actor, so Jake assures him he has no ambition towards breaking into showbiz (or pursuing any other type of meaningful work) and that he's pretty sure he can handle the cappuccino machine. The manager tosses him an apron and tells him to get started...and I assume will deal with filling out all the necessary HR paperwork off-camera.
Alison and Rick are eating lunch outside when Lucy Cabot, one of D&D's high powered executives, walks by. Alison says she admires the woman's confidence and wonders if in ten years she'll be as successful and self-assured. Rick confesses that he knows Lucy and that he's the son of Joe Danworth of the Danworth Sunscreen Company, one of D&D's biggest accounts. Alison stares back at him and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?", so Rick says he has to work very hard to prove to everyone that he's more than just a dumb rich kid...even though he quickly proves himself to be just a dumb rich kid - with a side of dickish to boot. He invites Alison out for dinner tonight, and she blushingly accepts.
The coffee shop manager admonishes Jake for his shitty cappuccino making skills...but Jake's like, "I don't really give a shit what you think, when's break time?" and the manager tells him to forget about any break taking 'cause they're too busy. Jake's next customer is a perky, short-haired brunette who looks at him in surprise and exclaims, "Jake..?!" and he chirps, "Perry!" and steps out from behind the counter to give her a hello hug. The manager snarks at Jake for falling behind on his orders, and Jake says he's taking a coffee break whether he likes it or not, then steers Perry outside so they can get caught up.
Jake and Perry mill around his motorcycle that's parked just outside the coffee shop, and Perry saucily reminds him about the time they doinked atop his motorcycle seat in the desert. She tells him she's now working as an art dealer despite knowing fuck-all about art...and has a foolproof scam going that could make them both a lot of cash. Jake says he's no longer into shady moneymaking schemes - but she insists it's totes legit, then writes her phone number on his arm and coos, "Call me."
Rhonda returns home, collects her mail, and whines to Matt about all the bills that keep showing up in her mailbox. Matt growls, "Spare me" and tells her that the halfway house where he works just got more funding cuts, and he had no choice but to let the cook go. Rhonda offers to cook dinner for the halfway housers tomorrow night, and Matt perks up and happily accepts. Sandy appears carrying a short black dress and tells the two she's lending Alison her best "come and get me" dress for her evening out with Rick.
Alison, Sandy, and Rhonda are cackling over Alison's impending date with Rick...and a newly showered Billy decides he wants in on that action and enters Alison's bedroom with just a towel around his waist. When Rick arrives at the apartment a few seconds later, Billy makes a beeline over to the front door so he can engage in the most awkward interaction possible. He tells Rick he's Alison's close but platonic roommate, then starts peppering him with questions about where they'll be spending their date. Before Rick can answer, Alison rushes to the door and hustles him away from the apartment.
Over dinner, Rick tells Alison he loves the advertising business, and Alison says she enjoys anything creative and has lots of ideas for the upcoming sunscreen campaign. One of her concepts is 'it's hotter than a burn' and Rick looks impressed and says it's definitely something his father should hear during the next pitch meeting. After dinner, the two return to Melrose Place, hand in hand...and when they start smooching in the courtyard, Billy creepily peeps at them through the window.
Rhonda is doing aerobics by the pool when Matt exits his apartment to head off to work. He reminds Rhonda that dinner at the halfway house is at 5pm, and that he'll see her there later.
Perry knocks on Jake's apartment door and is told by Sandy that he's out and probably won't be home for awhaaale. Perry leaves her with a message to tell Jake she stopped by, and Sandy mutters bitch under her breath 'cause she's catty and immature.
At D&D, Alison introduces herself to Lucy and gushes about how excited she is about the sunscreen account...and Lucy's like, "Who are you, and why are you talking to me?" and tells her to hold her calls until her morning conference call is over. LOL.
Rhonda stops by the halfway house to break it to Matt that she's going to have to bail on helping out with dinner 'cause she forgot she has to fill in for a cardio-funk class at her exercise studio. Matt makes it clear he's very pissed off, not least 'cause he just bought all the ingredients for her special curry chicken recipe. Rhonda tries to sheepishly apologize, but he turns his back and poutishly stalks off.
Alison overhears Rick passing off her 'it's hotter than a burn' idea to Lucy Cabot as if it's his own, and Lucy squeals about how much she loooooves that concept. Once Lucy's out of earshot, Alison calls Rick "a leech" and admonishes him for peddling her ideas without giving her any of the credit. Rick pretends he may have gotten the idea from watching MTV, but Alison doesn't accept that weak lie and snarls, "You used me." She marches straight to Lucy's office and tattles on Rick's idea thieving, and Lucy stares at her with a look of incredulous disdain and says she's really going to need to grow a pair if she wants to remain employed in the advertising industry.
Alison clears out her desk, looks around the D&D lobby as if it's the last time she's ever going to see it, then storms out.
Jake's new boss bitches at him for putting decaf in the cappuccino, so Jake decides he's had enough and snaps, "I quit!" He heads over to the nearest pay phone, calls Perry, and says he's ready to get tangled up into whatever money scheme she's been cooking up.
Jake drops by the gallery where Perry works...and she shows him around and tells him she's made a ton of money for the gallery selling expensive paintings. After that, she explains her side hustle: misleading dumb rich people - specifically some guy named Phil - about the value of art from "hot new artists" who either don't exist, or are random people who aren't hot, new, or artists. She points out that while it's highly unethical, it's not technically illegal...then smears green paint on Jake's white shirt before the two start going at it.
Rhonda apologizes to Matt for letting him down, but he continues to pout and chides her for being such a self-absorbed assbag. Rhonda acknowledges that she's no "expert on following through", then snaps, "We can't all be saints." Ugh. Who in the hell thought these two dullards would make interesting Melrose Place characters??
A depressed Alison is laying in bed, eating ice cream and grumbling about what a jerk Rick is. Billy tells her to not let the dork steal her career...and when Alison moans about how much she hates playing "the game", Billy wryly says it's pretty much like that in every workplace. He urges her to get out of bed and show D&D the kind of person she is: a thin-skinned tattletale with a flair for the dramatic.
Alison brings her boxful of things back to her reception desk at D&D, and Lucy ambles over as she's unpacking her stuff and says they weren't sure she'd be coming back. Alison says she's determined to prove herself as an advertising exec wannabe...plus, the writers are being careful to avoid anything too derivative of Jake's current 'I'm unemployed and can't afford the rent' subplot. Lucy says she feels bad about her disgruntlement and invites her to attend tomorrow's sunscreen meeting and deliver her pitch directly to Joe Danworth. LOL...as if.
Perry hosts a party to unveil the painting of the "hot new artist" she just plucked out of obscurity. She introduces Jake to Phil, a Native American dude who seems to enjoy baring his hairless chest on evenings out, before unveiling the splattered mess she's passing off as a Jake Hanson original.
Rick drops by the conference room where Alison is watching sunscreen commercial footage. She shoots him a haughty glare and tells him she's not the same naive dimwit as she was at the beginning of the episode, who didn't know how to "play the game" and get ahead any way she could. She declares herself "a real player" now - LOL...the fuck? - and says she's grown up a lot in the last 24 hours. She snidely asks him what bright ideas he has for tomorrow's pitch meeting...and he slyly goes, "You first", but when Alison refuses, a dismayed Rick says he figured they'd work on "their" ideas together. Alison refuses to share her catchphrases and heads home.
Jake finds Perry snorting coke and disdainfully mutters, "Same old Perry." Perry somehow finds this amusing and offers him a snort, but he barks back that he doesn't do that shit anymore and smacks the plate of coke out of her hand, sending the white powder flying. When Perry gets irked at the wasted coke, Jake declares he's no long willing to "sink this low", then storms out and tells Phil that both he and the ugly splatter painting are fakes. He then loudly declares to the partygoers that he's getting as far away from his life as possible, and they're all, "Er, OK..?"
Matt complains to Alison that the latest funding cuts to the halfway house means he now has to do the work of five people. Alison's like, "You think you've got problems?" and laments about how hard it is for her to have to adopt a "take no prisoners" attitude to get ahead in the advertising biz.
Alison pitches her sunscreen advertising concept to Joe Danforth - 'I feel protected around you' - and he looks very impressed by the catchphrase and asks Rick if he has anything as good to pitch. Rick says he opted for a before/after approach...and the before graphic features a cartoon woman with skin cancer eating away her face. As Joe stares at Rick and is all, "WTF, son?", Alison slips Rick a piece of paper with her notes scrawled on it and "reminds" him about the idea he had come up with earlier: 'color yourself healthy and tan'. Rick sheepishly thanks her for the unconvincing rescue.
Rhonda is teaching cardio-funk with a lot of energetic woo hoos! and break it downs! Matt lumbers into the exercise studio wearing a t-shirt and workout shorts, admits to being self-absorbed about his fuuuuucking depressing halfway house job, and says he'd rather not continue pouting and be at odds with best friend. The two hug it out, and Rhonda resumes cardio-funking...and - no surprise - we learn that Matt has really bad rhythm.
Lucy compliments Alison's great ideas, then says she realizes that the 'color yourself healthy and tan' was her idea, not Rick's. Well, duh. She compliments Alison's integrity and predicts that she's really going to go places at D&D.
Jake lumbers into Shooters and runs into Sandy, who clucks, "Another sleepless naaht, darlin'?" and Jake snaps at her to shut it with her obnoxious southern belle bullcack and play a game of pool with him. He tells her that his past just tried to tempt him into doing something shady - but he's firmly decided to throw away all of his bad memories and start fresh. And by start fresh, he means he's selling his motorcycle 'cause he's still out of work and has to come up with rent money so he won't get thrown out on the street.
Jake brings his motorcycle to a shop and tells the owner it's for sale...and the shop owner looks so impressed by how well the motorcycle has been cobbled together that he declares the person responsible an artist, and that he'd hire this person on the spot as a mechanic. Jake perks up and eagerly asks, "When do I start?"
Rhonda, Alison, and Sandy make a surprise visit to the halfway house while cheesily singing 'I'll be there' ... then announce that they're there to help prepare dinner for the halfway housers. Alison and Matt agree that a "take no prisoners" attitude is no way to live...and then the four try really really hard to look as if they're having a blast cooking up and serving Rhonda's curry chicken.