August 6, 2011
BH90210 1.18, It’s Only a Test: The One Where Everyone Gropes Shannen Doherty
Summary: Steve wants Brandon to visit a tutor who will help him study for the SAT, which Brandon denies can be studied for. “You can’t make up for 16 years of ignorance in one week,” he notes. Brandon uses an SAT word with Andrea, who blasts him for having a tutor and getting an unfair advantage over people who can’t afford them. Brandon defends himself, saying you can’t study for a test that evaluates what you know. She’s just really, really stressed.
Brenda, Kelly, and Donna study their vocabulary, but Kelly gets distracted by information about self-testing for breast cancer. Brenda mentions that her favorite aunt, Cindy’s younger sister, died of breast cancer two years ago. The girls decide to give themselves self-examinations, Kelly suggesting that Brenda get some help from Dylan. Brenda thinks she feels something in one of her breasts but doesn’t mention it to her friends.
Brandon complains to his parents about how long he’ll have to wait for his SAT scores after the test. Brenda’s sick of talking about the test, especially since there are more important things in life to worry about. Later that evening, Brenda tells Cindy about the self-exam. Cindy feels something as well. Brenda asks her not to say anything to Jim. Cindy tells her they’ll see a doctor, trying to assure Brenda that there’s probably nothing wrong.
In the morning, Cindy starts freaking out about not having a family doctor. She’s also upset that her sister, Sheila, never had a good doctor; her illness wasn’t caught in enough time to save her. Brenda realizes that Cindy mentioned the situation to Jim, and is concerned that Jim will start worrying over nothing. She also scoffs at his idea that she just has an ingrown hair.
Cindy pulls Brenda out of class to see a doctor she managed to get an appointment with. Dr. Donner tells Brenda that since she’s so young, there probably isn’t anything to worry about. Brenda mentions that she got bruised playing volleyball a few months ago, so she can’t be sure when the lump first formed. Dr. Donner has Cindy leave the room so Brenda will feel more comfortable opening up to her. The doctor does an exam and recommends a needle biopsy.
Andrea asks Steve for pointers he’s picked up from his SAT tutor, then asks to come over and study that night. He reluctantly agrees. Cindy holds Brenda’s hand as she undergoes the needle biopsy, which doesn’t give the doctor enough information to rule out a tumor. Brenda will have to undergo a surgical biopsy.
Cindy wants to talk to Dr. Donner alone, but she’s not allowed to talk about Brenda without her permission. The doctor repeats that the chances of Brenda having cancer are slight, but because of her family history, she doesn’t want to be too careful. She schedules Brenda for the biopsy on Saturday, which means she’ll have to postpone taking the SAT.
Cindy tells Jim her concerns that Brenda’s possible illness is starting out the same way Sheila’s did. Brenda asks them to stop talking about her behind her back. She’s trying to stay positive and not make more out of the situation than they should. When Brandon comes home, Brenda tells him what’s going on. The Walshes all try to assure him that she probably isn’t sick.
Steve gives Andrea some SAT pointers, telling her not to outsmart herself. He gets a little flirty and they start making out. Then she freaks out and leaves. Brenda and Brandon look through old pictures of Cindy and Sheila, talking about their late aunt. Brandon says he’ll protect Brenda, who notes that he can’t. She remembers how lonely Sheila was while she was sick, then how lonely Cindy was after her sister died. Brenda thinks Cindy moved to L.A. partly to get away from bad memories.
At school on Friday, Andrea finds Brandon sitting alone at lunch and starts to tell him about Steve. Brandon also has something important to discuss, telling her about Brenda’s situation. He admits that he doesn’t feel like he can get emotional at home because Brenda will see, but he can’t stop himself from freaking out. Andrea tries to comfort him, noting that after tomorrow, they’ll have answers. She assures Brandon that she’s always there if he wants to talk.
Brenda fills Kelly and Donna in on her biopsy, and Kelly says she blames herself since she brought up the self-exams. Brenda’s happy that she found out. Next she tells Dylan what’s going on and he promises to go to the hospital with her. He promises that knowing she might be sick hasn’t changed his feelings for her, but she isn’t so sure. Dylan says he loves her, but she storms off.
Brenda admits to Cindy that she’s mostly scared about losing a breast. People keep telling her that she’ll be okay, but she’s terrified that she won’t be. Brenda leaves Dylan a message telling him she loves him, too. That night she dreams that her friends are taking the SAT at her funeral. Dylan has to answer a question about why he told Brenda he loves her, Brandon says he’ll forget about her by lunchtime, and Kelly asks Brenda to leave her Dylan in her will.
In the morning, Brandon heads off to take the SAT while Cindy and Jim take Brenda for her biopsy. Andrea and Steve both arrive for the SAT at the last minute and try to convince themselves that their kiss was “just one of those things.” Brenda is sedated for the biopsy but allowed to stay awake. Instead of just taking a biopsy, Dr. Donner winds up removing the whole lump. Jim tells Cindy she needs to stop thinking the worst about Brenda.
Unable to concentrate on the SAT, Brandon leaves to wait for Brenda in the hospital. Dylan arrives as well just as Brenda’s being sent home. Later that day, Dylan and the Walshes sit around anxiously, waiting for Dr. Donner to call with the biopsy results. Kelly and Donna come over with a plant and a gift basket. The results are in, and the lump is benign, so now everyone’s happy. That night, Brandon wakes Brenda up to tell her how scared he was for her. He assures her that if she died, everyone would really miss her.
Thoughts: I just love hour-long PSAs.
Steve and Andrea? AS IF!
A giant magenta pantsuit over an orange camisole is the perfect attire for sitting around a hospital waiting room, don’t you think?