Recap: An Eastland alumni named Beth McNeil is interviewing Eastland students and other alumni for a book she's writing about the boarding school. She kicks off this plot-free season finale with her first of five humdrum one-on-one interviews:
Tootie gabbles about her dream of becoming an actress, and how determined she is to beat the odds and make it in showbiz. She tells Beth that Natalie is her BFF, and that she's also very close to Jo and Blair [in the same way that hamsters become friends when they're put in the same cage] ... and that Mrs. Garrett has been a mother, friend, and guardian to all of them. She predicts that in ten years they'll all still be friends and/or still living together (as they wrap up Season 16, aka the year Beverly Ann's second cousin arrived in Peekskill to take over the Facts gals' house mothering responsibilities).
Natalie tells Beth she's considering a career in journalism, fiction writing, or politics - then gets interrupted by Tootie, who briefly halts the interview to pull a cluster of leaves out of her friend's hair. Natalie irritably shoos her away, then tells Beth that Eastland has given her a strong sense of herself, and that she's fairly confident she's going to be A-OK out in the world...and by world, she means the roof she's going to be living under along with the other three Facts gals - a dynamic the writers experimented with in Season 2 and have zero interest in shaking up [beyond adding superfluous characters like Kelly, Andy, or George Clooney to the mix].
Blair fluffs her hair and strikes a flirty pose for the camera....then quickly deflates when Beth tells her that this video footage is strictly for her reference while she writes her book. Blair talks about the difference in relationships in high school versus college, namely that there's pressure in college to take relationships further. She recaps her brief engagement to Cliff, who she dumped soon after he went to med school. She describes herself as wonderful, waxes on about how much she loooooves the traditions of Eastland...and how turned on she is by Jo's street smarts and prickly confidence.
Jo is rushing around campus, as Beth and her cameraman race to keep up with her. Jo explains that she's super busy 'cause she's involved in so many clubs, and has to work extra hard to keep up her grade point average in order to keep her scholarship. She adds that she's the first person in her underprivileged Bronx family to go to college and is interested in becoming a teacher, despite the shit pay. She says that over the years she's grown close to people she has nothing in common with...and by people she mostly means her most special BFF, Blair.
Beth decides to interview Mrs. Garrett 'cause of how gushingly each of the Facts gals spoke of her. Mrs. Garrett stares dreamily into space and says she loved Eastland the moment she stepped on campus, and that eventually she became an honorary graduate. She tells Beth that in a previous life she entered the Peace Corps and drove a taxi [but interestingly neglects to mention her former job as the Drummond's housekeeper on Diff-rent Strokes]. When she became Eastland's house mother, she made it a point to learn every girl's name and create as cozy an atmosphere as possible...then decided to shake things up by starting her own business and going back to college. She considers the Facts gals her family and feels like the luckiest house mother in the world.
After the interviews, Mrs. Garrett invites the Facts gals out to dinner despite it being a week night and shrieks, "My treat!" They're all, "Yippee!" and grab their coats and head for the door...and Mrs. Garrett helps Blair as she struggles with her coat, then gives her a tender smile.