Does anyone remember Graham from Saved by the Bell? The character had a one-episode stint in "Cut Day," the one where Slater and Jessie break up and no one cares because they aren't Zack and Kelly?
Yeah, this guy. Well, here, he plays a sweaty, tweaked-out armed robber. Which is unfortunate, mostly because he did so well as a recycling-obsessed MEGA DORK whose shirt served as a perfect 3-D interpretation of the SBTB opening credits. Anyway.
We start here.
Inside, Brenda tries to study, while Dylan plays with her hair and is generally adorable...other than the fact that THE GREEN SHIRT. NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo. I thought we had left it behind in an on-fire dumpster earlier in the season.
Brenda speaks of electrons and cathode rays and upcoming midterms and all Dylan really wants to do is fuck. Maybe right on the couch like Brandon may or may not have done with Emily? Why not!
Hot Slut Smooches.
But! Brenda's had enough of this shit, gathers her work, stands up and tells him, "Obviously we're not gonna get anything accomplished here, so I think we should go to a public place. Someplace preferably very well lit."
Dylan's all, "Not the library?"
No, not the library, Dylan. The fucking Peach Pit. Where else? Because a crowded diner filled with a bunch of loud jerks and a proprietor who just won't leave you the fuck alone is the perfect place to get some studying done.
Inside, Brandon walks around behind the counter reciting the following: "Tertiary, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Devonian." AHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea's there to correct him with, "No. Tertiary, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Triassic. It kinda rhymes," in a totally nice, non-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea type of way, which was...unsettling.
Steve sits at the end of the counter and as Brandon passes by him with a plate of food, asks, "Why don't they teach us something useful? I mean, when am I going to ever need to know when the Moors were driven from Spain?" It's pronounced "Moops," Steve. Moops.
Steve then declares that he hates midterms, which is Worthless Nat's cue to enter from the back room and extol his undying love for them: "Midterms, finals, term papers. When the library closes all the kids from Beverly and West Beverly come straight here," because Beverly Hills kids aren't especially bright.
Nat winds up at the register, where he meets Kelly, who asks for change for the jukebox and explains that she can't go home just yet, seeing as her mom and Mel are hosting some deviant sex party. But what she actually says is that the betrothed twosome are meeting with their wedding coordinator to plan what we know will turn out to be THEE Wedding of the Century. And the classiest, I might add.
Nat attempts to open the cash register but it sticks and OOOOOOOO FORESHADOWING and Brandon finally comes up and slaps the thing open, saying, "It's all in the wrist, pal," a mantra I'm certain Nat's very familiar with, given all his dateless Saturday nights at home. Nat says, "I owe ya one," and Brandon's all, "Does that mean I don't have to stay for recycling?" and Nat's all, "No, they're gonna be here first thing in the morning. But, nice try," and Kelly's all, "Less talkie, more give me my fucking change."
Dudes. He's actually working instead of bullshitting with his friends. I'm in disbelief.
He arrives at David and Donna's table with their food, but Donna presses pause on him to finish up a math problem. David can't believe Donna's grasping the material and Donna tells him, "I guess it gets easier the second time around, because remember that learning disability I have that everyone forgot about after that one episode in Season 1? Well, yeah. I still have it."
Brenda and Dylan arrive and he comments on the fact that it was really stupid of them to come to a crowded, grease-stenched restaurant to study.
Brenda heads over to ask AHHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea a question ("why do you always ruin everything, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea?"), but not before she tells him to "take a seat, order me a Coke and I'll be right there."
Dylan knows that his girlfriend is sassy amazingness personified, so he smiles like this and says, "Yes, ma'am."
She adds, "And, I love you,"...
...and there's more of this Hotness.
Pan over the antithesis of hotness, Brandon, continuing to work by refilling a napkin dispenser, and repeating the whole, "Tertiary, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic" again.
Dylan can't believe he's actually friends with this loser, gives him the up and down, chuckles through the tears and shakes his head.
Back inside, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea writes something down (9:45, Peach Pit: Brandon grazed my shoulder with his arm while reaching for my glass to pour me a refill - I'm pretty sure I'm not a virgin anymore!!! 9:51, Peach Pit: Brandon snatched a fry from my plate in a flirtatious way, then winked at me, then kissed me on the mouth and gave me a great big bear hug; I attempted to talk with him about what it all meant, but he told me to back off and that he didn't think we should get involved in a relationship and that he's actually just started dating the new girl in school) and here we get a better shot of the shorty-cardigan she's wearing tied under her boobs. If it were longer, it might not be so bad, but as is, it's ridiculous. Pretty sure the whole thing is just a one-piece, however, seeing as she seems to favor the 3-(or-15)-garments-in-one look.
She announces that she's outtie, a deafening cheer rises up from the rest of the group, and Brandon walks by, griping, "You guys are actually gonna leave so I can close up?"
Brenda says that she has to finish one more chapter and Steve walks by and PLEASE DIE STEVE adds, "Must be hormonal." What THUH FUCK does that even meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean. He then calls AHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea, "Professor Zookerman," yes, he said it like that, and they leave, Brandon sending them off with his patented ear-searing, "Good nighty."
Dylan asks Brenda when they might be leaving and she requests another 15 minutes, which Brandon says is enough time for Dylan to help him with his recycling, so basically, Dylan's going to do Brandon's job for him. Dylan asks her, "You gonna be here when I get back?" and she flirts, "Mmm, unless I run off with some tall, handsome stranger."
There's some more moist macking that I had to remove my earbuds for, because it sounded like one of my cats eating their wet food. Also: HER BROTHER IS RIGHT FUCKING THERE, but why do I even bother, given this, this, this, this, this, this and this. I mean, really.
Brandon fronts like he's totally not getting off on this and yells, "Any time now!" Probably because the boner in his pants is pressing up against his zipper and it hurts.
The guys exit; Brenda continues to study and write things down and look around.
The bell on the door rings and AHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea reenters wearing AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAA that absurdly juvenile getup, and startles Brenda. She apologizes and tells Brenda that Steve left his CliffsNotes and that he doesn't actually read them: "He likes to put them under his pillow and hopes he'll learn it by osmosis." Why were AHHHHHNdrea and Steve never a couple? They're even more likable when simply talking about the other one.
After AHHHHHHHNdrea leaves we get this shot of the door sort of billowing? in some kind of breeze? I don't know. I guess it's supposed to be ominous.
Out back, the trash truck...
...and then these dolts messing around and Dylan's juggling a bunch of smashed soda cans and Brandon is being useless as usual.
Here. Brenda continues to study as a neon YOU IN DANGER, GIRL sign blinks above her head and the ghost of Oda Mae Brown sits across from her making this face.
Shot of the door opening at the bell.
Shot of feet walking in, not, unfortunately, belonging to a kindly but bat-shit crazy homeless Santa Claus.
Brenda thinks it's AHHHHHHHNdrea again, back for something else, and she doesn't turn around, just asks, "What'd you forget this time?" but of course, we see that it's Graham, come to provide Brenda with at least an episode's worth of PTSD.
She finally turns around and her face falls as she takes it all in. "It," of course, being the barrel of a gun pointed at her.
Graham says, "You do what I tell you and you won't get hurt. Do you understand?" All she can say is, "Oh, my god," probably because she's already crapped her pants.
He walks toward her and pointedly repeats, "Do. You. Understand?" She tells him to put the gun down, which apparently really sticks in his craw, because he freaks out...more than a methamphetamine-addled criminal who likes guns is already freaked out in general, I mean.
He demands to know if anyone else is there, and she hesitantly tells him about Brandon and Dylan in the alley. Graham, ever-the-gentlemen, points the gun at her and threatens, "You scream, you die."
And then he does this and demands that she get up and open the register and OH NO DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO STICK LIKE IT DID FOR NAT A FEW MINUTES AGO BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW.
She gets up to run behind the counter as he shrieks at her to, "Hurry up!" which isn't going to get the register open any faster, Rude. Which is basically what she tells him when she says, "Just be cool, all right?" and I don't want to victim-blame here or anything but this might be #3 on the list of Things Not To Say To The Guy Holding You At Gunpoint, right behind "Come at me, bro!" and "I bet that thing's not even real."
As she hurries around the counter, he smashes a bunch of the crusty, disgusting dishes that layabout Brandon didn't bus because he's a terrible employee who should be fired immediately all over the ground.
As predicted, like Nat before her, Brenda can't get the register open, and because of this Graham reasonably points his gun at the thing and screams, "I guess I'll just have to open it, huh?" I mean, that's the only logical solution. Brenda disagrees, however, howling, "NOOOOooooo!" and pounding on the register one last time. It opens.
He instructs her to put the money in one of the white paper takeout bags on the counter, which she does, but apparently not fast enough because he screams, "FASTER!" at one point, and dude really needs to learn some manners, in addition to, you know, not being scum of the earth who commits violent crimes.
When she's done stuffing the cash in the bag, he grabs it from her, she sort of holds herself and breaks down even more. We hear the sound of a big-rig honking just outside the door, because I didn't realize the Peach Pit was located next to a truck stop near the interstate at the edge of town.
Things go from god-awful to Silkwood Scrub Down real quick, when Graham, who is a sweaty monster, tells her, "Ya know, you're kinda cute." And because this show was never one to shy away from a rape-theme, you might initially think we were heading down that cesspool-mined path.
Brenda's only response is to continue to cry because FUCKING OBVIOUSLY, and Graham takes this moment to lecture others about their manners by pointing the barrel of the gun at her chest and asking, "You don't say thank you when someone pays you a compliment?" She quietly tells him thank you, but doesn't say it loud enough, so he demands that she say it again.
It's at this point that he orders her to the ground, and Brenda, probably thinking sexual assault is imminent, begs, "Please don't hurt me." His response is to screech, "I said get down on the ground!" again.
Brenda kneels and he tells her to loudly start counting and then "forget you ever saw me," which pretty much seems like an impossibility at this point. Anyway, she starts counting, most likely anticipating a bullet to the back, but nothing is ever good enough for this guy so he shouts, "I can't hear you!" at her, and she obliges with a higher volume.
Back outside, these doofs are being doofs. Case and point: Brandon throws a glass bottle at Dylan. Because that's a good idea.
Dylan fails to catch said bottle, so it ends up shattered at his feet.
As they stoop to clean up the shards, Dylan pauses and asks, "Man, you hear somethin'?" Brandon didn't so they go back to half-assedly cleaning up the mess.
Back inside, they walk into the kitchen talking about Baja, which got so much free advertising from this show it's freaking unbelievable.
They stop when they see that the place is a disaster and Dylan anxiously calls out, "Brenda!"
And they find her, still kneeling on the floor, sobbing and rocking back and forth, as one does following such an ordeal.
Another shot of the Peach Pit exterior, police lights a'swirlin'.
Inside, some Detective Man approaches Brenda, Dylan and Brandon on their stools, asking, "What we have is a white male, late teens, early 20s, perhaps late 20s, wearing a hat, right?" Brenda apologizes, telling him, "I'm sorry...I was looking right at him, but all I could see was the gun." Detective Man tells her she did okay, then turns to the guys and queries, "You two were out back with the garbage?" No, Detective - I think what you meant to say here was, ""Brandon, you are garbage." See? Makes much more sense.
Dylan seethes, "Yeah, lotta help we were, huh?" Brenda says that had Dylan and Brandon been inside, "he might've just started shooting." Brandon: "If we were here, he wouldn't have come in in the first place." Because he would've seen you through the window and been too put off by your overt, pulsating masculinity? Calm down, Butch.
And here's Nat, who probably setup the robbery himself in order to collect on the insurance money or whatever. He tries to throw everyone off his trail by saying, "I knew I shoulda put in that video camera." Yes, perhaps that instead of karaoke equipment. That mustachioed Rando Officer in the back chimes in by schooling these fools on How To Run A Goddamn Restaurant - Closing Up At The End Of The Day: "What might've helped is if the door had been locked." There's a pause as everyone turns to Brandon because all of this is seriously his fault, which he begrudgingly cops to with, "I know, I know." Brenda says, "It wasn't his fault," as the rest of the world says, "Yes, it was."
Nat, who told the robber not to hurt anyone, adds, "No one was hurt. And that's the important thing. It's only money." Brenda apologizes and Nat walks toward her, adopting that ooky baby-voice he likes to employ and asks, "Why, were you in on it?" - way to divert the attention from yourself, Nat - "Did he steal my recipes?" No! Nobody wants those. Gross.
Also gross? Brenda laughs and Nat OF COURSE plants one on her cheek. The girl's been through enough, man! Christ.
Dylan asks what the chances of catching the guy are, and Detective, beacon of hope that he is, tells them, "Well, we don't have any decent prints and not much of a description. We'll run it against the M.O.'s in the computer. Somethin' may turn up." And then in so many words he tells Brenda that she's the baddest bitch in town, which of course we already knew.
Jim and Cindy!
The second Brenda them, she breaks down again, which is pretty realistic, I think. They envelope their daughter, Cindy saying, "Come on, honey. It's all over now." But wait!
Dylan has gathered all of Brenda's books, looks around the table they were sitting at earlier and says, "Maybe not. Bren, where's your purse?" PIANO OF DREAD.
Into the kitchen: Brenda, Jim and Cindy sit at the table eating ice cream, because why not? Jim says, "Honey, I told you, we'll change all the locks first thing in the morning." Cindy insists that they put in a new alarm system, too, because we all know how well that turned out the first time around. Dylan insists, "You guys, don't worry about it. He is not comin' here." Fucking IDIOT Brandon disagrees: "But if he wanted to, he could. He's got Brenda's keys, he's got her license with the address on it." I mean, I would be thinking the exact same thing. But I wouldn't be saying it aloud or anything.
Brenda looks ill at her brother's ever-so-comforting words.
Dylan counters with, "No, man, he took the cash, dumped the purse, never even looked at the I.D." Jim, on the fast track to a Father Of The Year nomination, adds, "Dylan's right. If he'd wanted to harm you, he would've done it when he had the chance." Can the Walsh Men (I use that term loosely) please SHUT THE FUCK UP. My god. #Walshsplaining
Brandon offers up, "Brenda, I can promise you one thing: we'll never leave ya alone again." Because that's...realistic. Brenda chalks up what happened as "just a fluke thing. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Jim says, "You know, baby, you're handling this whole thing like a trouper. We're very proud of you." Cindy reminds, "We're not surprised. Do you remember Mr. Pony?" Brenda asks where this "Mr. Pony" is and Cindy tells her that Brenda never unpacked the box he was in.
Dylan, having sat down at the table, asks, "Whoa, wait, wait, wait - Mr. Pony?"
Jim then goes into the story about how Young Brenda used to go horseback riding every weekend and that she loved it, until her horse got stung by a bee and ran off. Brenda adds, "I fell off, hard, in the grass," and Jim says, "Thank god nothing was broken. Except for her spirit." Blah blah Jim went and got her a stuffed Mr. Pony, gave her, as Brandon calls it, "one of his famous Walsh pep-talks" and she got back on the horse the next weekend blah. Jim says, "It was a very telling thing. It showed what kind of character she had." Brenda claims that it wasn't a big deal but Jim disagrees: "This is a very similar situation." Erm....no.
A little comic relief to close out this scene: Brenda asks, "Since my license was stolen, does that mean I have to take my driving test all over again?" Oh, Brenda!
Later, in Brenda's room, she prepares for bed and then Sister Wife Cindy walks in, bearing the stuffed pony: "I thought you might wanna see your old buddy right about now." She reassures her daughter that, "If you need us, we're here."
Brenda insists that she'll be better
by the end of the episode after a good night's sleep, and then they hug.
Cindy leaves and Brenda snuggles down into the bed, cuddling with Mr. Pony.
Later: she wakes with a start! breathing fast. She sits up, looks toward the bathroom...
...then gets up and enters it, looking into the mirror above her sink, then rubbing her face and kind of futzing with her hair.
We hear the sound of a gun cocking; she whips around and looks toward the door to see...
...Graham! standing with his gun pointed at her. He says, "Ya know, you're kinda cute."
There's a sound of a big rig honking, like before, and we cut to Non-Nightmare Brenda bolting up from her sleep, sweaty and panting. She looks around the room, then lays back down and pulls Mr. Pony closer to her.
Next morning. Inside the K.O.W., Cindy asks where Brandon is (and THE WORLD answers: "WHO CARES?") and Jim's all, "He and his textbooks are spending some quality cram time together." Sounds erotic. Cindy asks after Brenda, because she apparently didn't check on her traumatized daughter herself upon waking, and Jim says that he didn't see her either, seeing as she was showering. Cindy asks, "Didn't she take one last night?" and then corrects herself with, "Never mind. I would, too, I suppose."
Jim picks up a pamphlet from the counter and asks, "What's this? Women's Crisis Hotline?" Cindy explains that the police provided it to Brenda after the robbery and then Jim does wonders for the field of mental health by insisting, "Until she says otherwise, let's not push it...you start using words like 'crisis' and 'trauma' to a suggestible kid like Brenda, she'll imagine herself crazy." Cindy is powerless in the face of Jim's virile suspenders so she agrees with him, which prompts him to say, "She's got a lot of people around her who love and support her," as he's just non-demonstrated. Cindy says, "Maybe I should call the Women's Crisis Hotline," and I wholeheartedly agree, just so that she has someone to talk to about what a raging über-wank her husband often is.
Brenda enters the kitchen, looking SO FUCKING GOOD. THIS OUTFIT. The Kelly green with her dark hair? Stunning. Really, one of her all-time best.
There's a back and forth about how she's "fine," and "why wouldn't I be fine?" and Jim and Cindy act like droids and avoid talking to their daughter about the fact that SHE WAS HELD AT GUNPOINT THE NIGHT BEFORE and then Jim makes a smile at Cindy behind Brenda's back and these two have immersed themselves really well into the whole cabal of Derelict Beverly Hills Parents. Bravo, you two!
Inside, Brenda and Donna descend a staircase, Donna blabbering, "If I had stayed later last night, it might have been both of us who were held up. I would've had a heart attack, then I'd be dead right now and you'd be walking down this hall alone today." So: I hate when people attach themselves to dramas/traumas. I once worked with someone who, upon hearing that an inmate had escaped the county jail and ended up crawling through a drainage pipe and walking through a Walmart parking lot, emotionally proclaimed, "Oh, my god! I was just [at the Walmart] 3 days ago." Yeah, so were thousands of other people. YOU'RE NOT SPECIAL. ANYway, all of that to say that, if it were anyone else saying these words, I might've seethed, but the way Donna says it? Is actually adorable. And she's somehow making this repellent ensemble she's been saddled with not so bad.
They wind up in front of a locker bank where Brenda's like, "Shut your trap, Don," and then unfortunately this fool shows up, asking Brenda how she is and that, "I stopped by the Peach Pit for breakfast and Nat told me about the stick up. I'm blown away." Good one.
Brenda doesn't want to talk to Steve about anything, just as no one wants to talk to Steve about anything, so she flippantly says, "Yeah, well, I'm glad I wasn't," and then takes her leave. Because of Steve. And also because of that whole pesky not-dealing-with-her-emotions-properly thing. But mostly: Steve.
We cut to Dylan at his locker, Brenda approaching from behind and then poking him with finger guns and saying, "Boom!" while giggling and raising a bunch of red flags about her current mental state.
Dylan's all, "You scared me," and she continues to concern everyone with, " Really? It wasn't even loaded," and adding that, "you have to keep your sense of humor." He goes on to tell her that he almost called her at 2 in the morning because he felt the need to assert his masculinity and "go after the guy" and that he's really sorry and that he wishes it hadn't happened to her. She lapses into her alarming emotional avoidance rhetoric once more by assuring him, "It's over. You have to let it go. It wasn't your fault, it was nobody's fault, it just happened." Jim would be so proud!
So then they're kissing...
...which causes Brenda to flash back to the night before at the Peach Pit, Dylan asking, "You gonna be here when I get back?" and she gives him her, "Unless I run off with some tall handsome stranger," a sentence which, I'm certain, she really regrets at this point.
Then the Peach Pit door opening...
...and Graham pulling out his rifle and saying, "You do what I tell you and you won't get hurt, understand?" followed by the obligatory big rig horn in the background, which takes us back to...
...Dylan and Brenda untangling their mouths as the bell rings, which prompts him to say a cheesedick line about bells tolling that I refuse to acknowledge. Brenda's freaked out and distracted following her flashback and she monotonically talks about needing to catch up on reading during her study hall. HOW Dylan doesn't notice that his girlfriend has suddenly gone from inappropriate jokester to a glassy-eyed 'bot in mere seconds is beyond me, but then again, everyone on this show is afraid to deal with her trauma head-on/self-involved/fucking terrible, so whatever.
Here's a clock.
Here's PERFECT Brenda looking at said clock.
As she starts to write something, cue Big Rig Honking and Brenda looking anxiously around the room. We hear Bell Chime, and then Graham lispering (I mean...dude does have a lisp...), ""Ya know, you're kinda cute. Don't you say thank you when someone pays you a compliment?"
AHHHHHHHHHHNdrea enters, sits down next to Brenda and says, "I thought I'd never make it back to school in time. There was so much traffic." Brenda asks where she was and AHHHHHHHNdrea reminds her that she was at the police station, filing a report about what she may or may not have seen the night before, outside of the Pit. She informs Brenda that the police don't seem very optimistic about catching Graham, but because Brenda's deep in emotional quashing mode, she bypasses what AHHHHHHHNdrea's saying and instead asks a question about what chapters she needs to read for the physics midterm.
AHHHHHHHNdrea answers her but continues to step right in it, thusly: "I told the inspector I only got a glimpse of the guy as I was getting into Steve's car and that it was kind of dark outside the Peach Pit. But if your guy was wearing a gray shirt and a baseball cap, it could've been the same one. Did your guy have brown hair?"
Oh, it is ON: "You know what, I don't remember and he isn't my guy." AHHHHHHNdrea insists that's not what she meant, and Brenda tells her that she's trying to forget the really horrible thing that happened to her 12 hours ago by completely ignoring it and not dealing with her emotions properly and that she just wants to get on with her life and, "It's not like I'm going crazy." Sure, Jan.
AHHHHHHHHHNdrea's all, "I know that," but we all know that meddlesome Editrix-In-Chief The Zuck isn't done sticking her nose into the mix, right? Right. But at least SOMEONE recognizes that Brenda is in distress. It's just too bad it wasn't her parents. Or her brother. Or her boyfriend. Nope, just a sort-of friend she only hangs out with occasionally. Lowlifes from The Val are truly perceptive.
Brandon. Steve. Soda Machine. Inane conversation about how the soda machine is broken.
Kelly and Donna arrive. Kelly's wearing a super-sweet heart-print dress that I would *maybe* run my (gloved) hands through Steve's ringlets for.
Kelly and Donna end up sitting ON THE FUCKING STAIRS WHERE MANY, MANY PEOPLE ARE ATTEMPTING TO WALK BY SOMEBODY GET ME A PAPER BAG TO BREATHE INTO like a couple of real assholes. Kelly laments her stressed-outedness about midterms: "I just need a good soak in the tub."
Brenda and AHHHHHHHHHNdrea appear, Brenda agreeing with Kelly with a, "Mmm, me, too"...
...and then FUCKING STEVE YOU GUYS adds, "Mmm, me, three. What do ya say we make it a threesome?" and then Brenda and Kelly run to their school counselor's office (vomiting along the way, natch) to report the sexual harassment they're being subjected to by some 41-year-old who has a fondness for silk/rayon blend blouses and Supercuts' spiral perms.
Brandon doesn't seem to mind that his best friend just made a lewd comment to his already-scarred sister and asks her, "Bren, would you mind gettin' a ride home from someone else? Nat needs me for a couple of hours after school," and then I'm all, "When do you EVER work more than a couple of hours after school? Or a couple of hours, PERIOD, where you're not just standing around and polishing your spatula and calling your boss a 'jungle stud' and making everyone really, really uncomfortable?"
Donna's having NONE OF IT: "That's terrible! How can you go back to that place...after last night?"
Brenda says that Nat shouldn't be punished for possibly setting up the robbery himself (see my theory near the beginning of this thing) or for hiring imbeciles like Brandon who can't even manage to fucking lock-up properly at the end of the night.
Steve declares, "If Brenda can go back to the scene of the crime, then you can," and sans-spine Donna agrees to go, "if everyone else will."
Everyone's in except TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY spooked Brenda, who TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY lies, "I have some things I'm supposed to do around the house today." Uh huh.
We cut to Brandon, squint-strutting (squrtting? Ew.) down the hall as AHHHHHHHNdrea hurries up behind him. He offers her a ride to the Peach Pit, but she reminds us of her after-school volunteer job at which she's just The Worst: "Thursdays I go to Rap Line."
She asks him if he thinks Brenda's okay, and that "on the surface everything seems okay. But, why doesn't she wanna talk about it?" Brandon says, "No offense, but maybe she just doesn't wanna talk about it with you." AHHHHHHHNdrea MIRACULOUSLY doesn't huff-and-puff away at this, and very nicely adds, "Just as long as she talks to somebody." Which is goddamn more than anyone else in Brenda's life is suggesting.
And here. Brandon enters Brenda's room as she exits her closet and hands him a shirt that she borrowed from him long ago and never returned. Because that's what those of us who have brothers did in the '90s: borrowed their giant shirts that looked like this or this that they most likely bought at Structure in the mall and paired them with these or these.
Brandon says that he expected to find her studying maniacally for midterms, but instead she now has OCD and is cleaning and organizing her closet like a madwoman in order to not deal with her very noticeable psychological issues, which Brandon doesn't just fucking ask her about; rather, he brings up AHHHHHHHHHHNdrea's concerns and then completely believes his sister when she (not-very-convincingly) says stuff like, "I don't wanna be a burden to anyone," and "I certainly don't need anyone's pity," and that's good enough for him! Then they talk about Mr. Pony again and how Brandon's version was called Mr. Lion and that he cried and cried after losing him because he's never been encouraged to stifle his feelings, even though if anyone should fucking suppress their constant small-scale rage, it should be Brandon.
Later, Brenda tosses and turns in her bed...
...and we're back in her dream, she and Dylan lubing each other's mouths up.
Echo Brandon calls, "Any time now!" and Dylan asks his, "You gonna be here when I get back?" This time, however, Brenda begs, "Dylan, don't go. Please," and Dylan responds to her with her "Don't run off with any handsome strangers" line.
She calls out to him after he gets up...
...we get this...
...and this again...
...Brenda saying, "Oh, my god!"...
...Graham pointing the gun at her with his patented, "You scream, you die,"...
...and she SHRIEEEEEEEEEKS as the Big Rig Honking comes in...
...and then of course we're back in Actual Brenda's room, where she bolts up from the bed, sweaty, panting and disheveled.
In the morning, Cindy and Brandon walk down the upstairs hallway, telling Jim that they have NO EARTHLY IDEA why Brenda's acting like a weirdo and not getting ready for school and Brandon's going to be late and OH MY FUCK. Jim's all, "You two are really stupid. Then again, so am I. Watch."
They enter Brenda's room which is a complete mess, clothes strewn about, while she stands in her closet doorway, sweeping. Okay.
It's like, THE MOST GODDAMN OBVIOUS THING IN THE HISTORY OF MAN that Brenda's having some kind of mental collapse, and Jim talks to her as such, but he doesn't address the actual problem and suggest that his daughter get some help after, I repeat, being held at gunpoint, which is a scary, scary thing and a mother-fucking violent crime; he basically just acts like, "This bitch cray," and scoots her off to get dressed for the day...
...and here's Chandler Bing to demonstrate how Jim turns around and looks at Brandon and Cindy after dealing with Brenda, i.e. like he just figured out that she's cracking up but doesn't really know why because he's a good-for-nothing trash dad.
Inside this classroom, students (including Brenda, AHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea and Dylan) pass out midterm tests.
The teacher explains the test, wishes them good luck and hits his bell? that he has on his desk? because he's the evening front desk clerk at the Super 8?...
...which OF COURSE sounds like Bell Chime and OF COURSE causes Brenda to LOSE IT.
The Bell Chime plays over and over, we see the feet entering the Peach Pit, and then Graham appears with his gun all, "You do what I tell you and you won't get hurt. Understand?"
This time, Brenda responds, "No, I don't. I never did anything to you. I was just trying to take my test." He demands that she opens the register and it sticks and he screams, "Quit stalling!"...
...Dylan and Brandon enter from the back, Dylan cave man-ing, "Come on, woman, time's up!"...
...Brenda whips around and yells, "NO, GO BACK!
EXCEPT YOU, BRANDON. YOU CAN STAY."
Graham starts firing in the direction of the guys. Brenda SCREECHES...
...and then we're back in the classroom where Actual Brenda is screeching as well.
Understandably, everyone in class turns around to gawk at her.
Dylan comes knee-sliding over from his desk, asking her what's wrong. She sobs, "I'm sorry I couldn't open it, Dylan!" and he's all, "Zuh?"
Brenda notices that the rest of the class is rubbernecking because she's acting like a real fucking psycho, so she becomes way-self conscious and bolts.
DRAAAAAAAAAAMZZZZZZZZ ensues as Dylan chases her down in the hall, eventually whipping her around and asking her for the straight poop. She cries, "I'm sorry, it's my fault! He killed you and Brandon 'cause I couldn't open the register!"
Dylan assures her that he (and unfortunately) Brandon are still alive and kicking and that everything's going to be okay. She claims that's she doesn't know what's happening anymore and that, "It's not gonna be okay."
Long shot of him hugging her and a bunch of kids from her class standing in the hall and staring at them. I would call them all ghouls but I'm pretty sure I would've done the exact same thing.
Later that evening at H.O.W., Jim and Cindy enter Brenda's room, where she lies in her bed, wearing pajamas and snuggling Mr. Pony.
They stand at the foot of her bed, weirdly grinning at their suffering daughter. Seriously: they seem to be really amused by all of this.
Jim maneuvers toward and sits down on the edge of the bed next to Brenda, asking if she wants supper and TALK ABOUT THE ACTUAL PROBLEM, JIM, Jesus fucking Christ.
He tells her that Cindy filled him in on her freak out at school and Brenda says, "I guess you're real disappointed in me, huh?" He's all, "No! Not at all!...but we have to deal with this" OH RRRRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLYYYYYY?????
He says that he doesn't want them to pretend like everything's okay when it's not, which is pretty much how he's been behaving since it happened but whatever. Brenda's completely warped because she talks about being ashamed that it's getting to her and that she's trying to put it out of her head and that she thought the memory would fade. The memory from 2 days ago. Sure. I mean, everyone deals with trauma differently, but cripes. Something tells me that the ol' Sweeping It Under The Rug method has been a Walsh Family Tradition for a very long time.
Jim goes on to say, "Sometimes even
negligent family and shitty friends aren't enough" to talk to (or not talk to, as the case may be) and that he thinks she should see a therapist and Cindy's made an appointment for the following day and Brenda reacts as if she's just been told that she'll be heading to the psych ward to receive electroshock treatment and bamboo shoots under her nails with a very dramatic and teary, "Oh my god."
Kitchen. Dylan on the phone with Brandon, telling him about the crisis.
Brandon of course wants to shirk his work responsibilities by feigning concern for his sister's condition and come home, and then makes the situation All About Brandon with, "I figured if I didn't come back to work right away, I may never be able to." Ummmmm...what exactly happened to Brandon? Besides doing a really crap job of sorting the recycling while his sister was inside being violated? I'd like to know.
We fade to Obligatory Exterior Hospital Shot.
Inside to the doctor's office. Brenda sits at this really weird angle in relation to the therapist, like both of their chairs are facing forward and they have to twist their upper bodies and heads to the side in order to look at each other. Which tells me all I need to know about this shrink: she's a hack and needs to go back to school and retake her Interior Design for Therapists 101 course.
Brenda tells Therapist all about her nightmares and how she can't move on from the bad thing that happened to her just a few days ago and that she's been overcompensating and organizing her closet and washing her hair a bunch in order to, as she puts it, "mak[e] sure I looked great on the outside even though I was falling apart on the inside." I mean, she succeeded, I guess. She's looked fantastic this episode! And that's all that really matters, no?
So Therapist (who, judging by this shot, is either really confused or really disinterested in all of this) diagnoses Brenda with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Oblivious Parenting and says that Brenda's doing the exact right thing by coming there and talking out her fears and anxieties for a cool $200 per 50-minutes.
Brenda asks what she can do about her nightmares, and Therapist tells her to give her a memory of "the most happy, secure time you can imagine." Which, according to Brenda, is all the time she spent riding a horse named Sylvester when she was a kid and which we first heard about roughly 20 minutes ago.
We fade to Young Brenda riding Sylvester...
...and Ye Olde Timey Jim, who's clearly about to bust into song about the joys of being a chimney sweep or the perils of the Great Depression or something yore-ish like that, waving to her as she passes.
Brenda talks to Therapist about Sylvester as we see Young Brenda continue to ride him: "He was the gentlest horse in the world. I used to love to bury my face in his soft mane and hold on tight while he'd take me around the ring. I've never felt happier, safer than when I was riding Sylvester."
Back to the office. Therapist tells Brenda to think of riding Sylvester whenever she starts to feel anxious about maybe probably almost being murdered.
Back to Newsies Jim talking to Young Brenda about the newsboys' strike of 1899 and how he and Kid Blink and all the others refused to sells papes for such a measly wage.
And then we get this SOOOOOOPER DISTURBING shot of Young Brenda and Graham standing behind her and with his hand over her mouth as he raises his gun to her face and we hear the sound of a gun cocking. What a delightful day of filming that must've been for this little girl!
Back to the office as Brenda bolts up with a gasp: "He's on my horse, he's in my safe place! I can't get him outta my head!"
Therapist assures her, "We will. We will work very hard, and we will do just that." Which seems to be enough for Brenda, because the Piano of Resolution starts up as she nods and rests back in the chair.
Back at the H.O.W. David, Donna, Kelly, Steve, Brandon and AHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea hang out in the living room, awaiting Brenda's return from the shrink. But they don't want her to think that they're awaiting her return from the shrink because they're concerned about her. Why? I don't fucking have the slightest. People in Beverly Hills are obviously devoid of the ability to properly handle anyone's issues, so they pretend everything is fine and ignore the problem entirely. The only one who thinks they should act like fucking human beings and express their support to their friend is AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNdrea, but she lives in some slum town chantey village in the Valley so it doesn't count.
Anyhow, Cindy honks the car horn as they pull into the driveway and everyone inside loses their shit, hurriedly laying out Scrabble on the table as a decoy for why they're there.
Brenda, Dylan and Cindy enter the foyer, Brenda asking what everyone's doing, because of course she doesn't expect much from these emotionally stunted assholes.
They lie in a really obvious way about playing Scrabble, and when Brenda points out that the words laid out on the board aren't actually words, Steve's all, "Well, yeah, we're playing under special rules. See, every word you make, you lose a point. It's, uh...Reverse Scrabble," and the way he said this made me literally guffaw out loud, and not in my usual, laughing-at-Steven sort of way, either DON'T MAKE ME LIKE YOU STEVE.
FUCKING FINALLY, Kelly comes clean about why they're all there: "Brandon told us where you were at, and we were worried and we wanted to come see how you were."
Brenda sits down and tells them about her session and then all the broken, fucked up reject kids from L.A. talk about their own experiences with therapy. My favorite recounting is from Kelly: "It was during what my mom called my 'troubled years.' It was before I knew you." I love how Jackie refers to her daughter's "troubled years," because she had absolutely NOTHING to do with that. And by "nothing," I of course mean "EVERY GODDAMN THING. ALL OF IT."
As Brenda continues to bore her friends with her struggles (I mean, they can only take so much), the phone rings and Cindy answers it. It turns out it's the police!: "They've picked up a suspect and they want you to come down and look at a lineup today."
Dylan jumps from his seat all, "That's great, I mean, that's your chance to nail this guy."
Brenda, however, thinks differently: "Um...I can't go."
And now yet another man trying to tell her what to do: "You gotta do this."
But she remains steadfast with, "No, I don't have to and I'm sorry, I can't." SUCK ON THAT, BRANDON. She turns to run up the stairs as DOOM SYNTH plays.
Everyone else looks really awkward and also like they're regretting coming here in the first place.
Later in the K.O.W., Dylan and Jim try to strong-arm Brenda into going to the police station for the lineup. Because that's what the people on this show who bear penises do: browbeat the women in their life until they feel less-than and do what they're told.
Unless, that is, you're a Boss Bitch like Brenda Mother-fuckin' Walsh, yo. Because after reminding these fools, "You didn't have a gun pointing at you! You weren't lying on the ground wondering if your head was gonna get blown off," and Dylan deploys the ever-so-tiresome trope of (most) men everywhere - "Calm down" - she fucking TELLS IT: "I don't wanna calm down. Can't I even get angry? You and Brandon...first you guys tell me you'll never leave me alone again, then you put me on a pedestal or something, telling me how strong I am, how great I am, how brave I am! Well I am not! I am scared to death! And I'm sorry I'm yelling but it's just how I feel, okay?"
Everyone takes a step back, obviously, but then, like the true QUEEN that she is, Brenda visibly steels herself and says a determined, "Okay, let's go," and leaves these dipshits in her wake as she storms past them to take care of ALL the business.
At the station, Detective Man from earlier approaches. He explains the lineup procedure and assures Brenda that she won't be seen behind the one-way mirror deal. Also: Detective Man is 75',5" tall, given that Brenda barely clears his belly button.
Detective, Brenda and some Other Detective Type enter the viewing room as Other Detective Type explains a bunch of stuff to her about the lineup.
A bunch of Graham-Alikes (including Graham ZOMG) enter.
Also, this one who looks a lot like Adam Goldberg.
The camera pans over the whole greasy lot of them, and Other Detective Type speaks into a microphone and gives each scumbag instructions: "Move to the red square at center stage. Put your hat on. Look left. Face right. Face Forward."
Brenda, sitting on a folding chair, looks pensive.
Cut to Graham in the lineup.
Then to Peach Pit Graham. Let me just say that they cut back and forth like this 117 times, and I'd really rather not deal with it.
As all of this intercutting is going on, we also see Brenda stand up and slowly move toward the glass to get a closer look at Graham. Finally she proclaims, "That's him. That's the one!" Detective Man asks if she's sure and she's like, "Duh! That's the guy who held a gun to my head," and then, "I want you to put him away."
And then Detective Man has this look on his face which says, "Thanks for telling me how to do my job, bitch."
Back here. Detective Man tells the others that Brenda is very brave and that they'll call if they need anything further.
But Brenda has another question: "The guy who held me up? What's his name?" Detective's basically like, "Fuck that guy," which actually sounds more like, "You don't need to know his name. He's just a strung-out 25-year-old-posing-as-a-17 year old."
Brenda has a revelation!: "He's only 25-posing-as-17? That's my age." The end.
Only not really, because we're back here.
Dylan and Brenda approach the door, but she hesitates: "I don't know if I can do this." He doesn't really reassure her with, "You can't stay away forever."
As they enter we get one more stinking shot of this.
Pan over to Worthless Nat behind the counter, who chooses this exact moment to open the register. Goddamn it, Nat!
Brenda seems taken aback by the sound at first, but recovers quickly.
Nat beckons her over and inappropriately kisses her. Which would be enough for most people to run in the opposite direction right out the door but I guess after being held at gunpoint, Brenda considers Nat's spooky advances tolerable.
Dylan and Brenda end up sitting with The Gang for this scene which was quite clearly filler content: they talk about Brenda being glad to be back at the Pit; what a simp Donna is; and Steve not knowing if being at the receiving end of an armed robbery or failing his English midterm is worse. I would say living life while walking around with Steve's hair would trump either of those things. But hey - that's just me.
Back at the H.O.W., Brandon enters Brenda's room through the Jack-and-Jill, probably jonesing to put the moves on her now that her 33-minute trauma is over.
But wait! After telling her how courageous she is and that it was great having her back at the diner tonight, he stands, touches her arm, DOESN'T KISS HER WHAT and starts to leave the room...
...but wait again! He brings her Mr. Pony from the desk and then plants one on her head. I mean, in the annals of all the unseemly Walsh-on-Walsh behavior, this one rates pretty low. It's almost not distressing at all.
The episode ends with Brenda snuggling down in bed with Mr. Pony, where she can drift off into slumber and return to her normal nightmares: the ones where she's constantly fucking fending off her brother's inbred lust for her OHNOWAIT - THAT'S HER ACTUAL LIFE.
Meet me back here next time in your finest undergarments for all of the PANTY-DROPPING MADNESS that's going to take over the blog. By which I mean all of the panties Felice Martin has probably dropped in Room 622 at the Bel Age Hotel WAKA WAKA. Oh, and Color Me Badd shows up. But since they were basically the, what, O-Town? 98°? of their era, does anyone really care? I know I didn't. But if you did, LET'S WRASTLE (with words). See you in hopefully less than 5 months!