April 3, 2012
BH90210 3.15, The Kindness of Strangers: The Walsh Home for Strays and Other Poor, Unfortunate Souls
Summary: It’s raining some fake-looking rain in Beverly Hills, and the Walshes’ roof is leaking. Cindy worries that they’ll have to wear raincoats for Thanksgiving dinner. Andrea, now on crutches, tells Brandon her grandmother’s going out of town for the holiday and her parents are going to a dinner she really doesn’t want to attend. Since the Walshes always take in “strays” (Brandon’s word, not mine), of course Andrea’s invited over.
Mel and Jackie are going away with the baby, and David’s going skiing, but Kelly’s looking forward to spending Thanksgiving alone. Brenda invites her to the Walshes’. Both girls claim not to care what Dylan will be doing. What Dylan’s doing is letting his father stay with him on a holiday furlough. Now that he’s been expelled, Steve apparently has nothing better to do than hang out at the Peach Pit. He hasn’t told his mother yet, and he’s trying to figure out how to.
That night, Samantha returns from a trip out of town and rushes Steve to get ready for a trip to Santa Barbara for a televised vacation. So much for Steve telling her about his expulsion. Dylan takes Jack to his house, where he has alcohol but apparently doesn’t drink it. Jack immediately wants to call over a woman. Dylan reminds him that he’s supposed to be out to bond with his family. If he wants to see his girlfriend, it’ll have to be at a hotel.
On his way home from work, Brandon spots a man looking through a Dumpster and gives him some money. He also recognizes the man as Jack Canner. Brandon’s concerned about Canner having to stay out in the rain, so he takes him into the restaurant for a meal. Nat asks if Brandon knows what he’s doing.
Brandon tells Canner about a nearby shelter, but Jack thinks going there would mean he’s hopeless. He admits that being homeless in the winter is a lot harder than in the summer. Brandon says that having a roof over his head during a rainstorm isn’t giving up. Canner agrees to go to the shelter, but when he arrives, he can’t bring himself to check in. Brandon takes him to the Walshes’ instead.
In Santa Barbara, Steve immediately perks up upon meeting a pretty production assistant. Samantha is disappointed by the lack of help. Jim complains to Cindy about his children interpreting the Golden Rule so literally. Cindy feels bad for Canner and is willing to put him up in the garage. However, when Brandon brings up the same arrangements, Jim offers Canner the couch. Cindy ups the ante by inviting him to stay for Thanksgiving dinner.
In the morning, Dylan is cold to Jack and they fight with each other. Donna and David show up at the Walshes’, having been unable to go skiing because of a snowstorm. In the middle of a football game, the cable goes out and Brandon reveals that he had money on the game. Canner starts looking through an atlas, telling Andrea he likes to look at the places he’s been. He shows everyone the Middle East regions he served during the Gulf War.
Jim gets annoyed and complains to Cindy that Canner’s “playing the war hero.” Cindy notes that he sacrificed a lot and could have lost his family. Jim’s mad that Canner didn’t show up when Brandon tried to get him a job. Cindy tells him to relax and let everyone have a nice holiday. Jack’s girlfriend, Christine, brings dinner to him and Dylan; Dylan’s shocked that she got the food from the Peach Pit and is a friend of Nat’s. Aww, now he can’t hate her!
Steve chats with Melissa, the pretty PA, and confides that he was expelled. He’s worried about how Samantha will respond when she finds out. Melissa asks if Samantha is like other celebrities who are one way off-screen and completely different on-camera. Steve confirms that she is, then realizes that he can use that to his advantage.
Donna strikes up a conversation with Canner with, “So, you’re homeless, huh?” Jim gets more and more annoyed as Canner PSAs about homelessness. He confronts Canner about putting his problems on teenagers. Canner says Jim doesn’t know what it’s like not to be able to feed his children. Jim shoots back that at least he knows where his children are. Canner throws Jim’s failure to serve his country back in his face. Jim responds by throwing him out.
Brandon explains to Canner that Jim’s father was a Marine and wanted his son to fight in Vietnam. Jim was anti-war and refused, and their relationship was never the same after. Canner thanks him for his generosity. The kitchen ceiling caves in and Canner takes charge, going up to the roof to repair as much as he can.
In Santa Barbara, Steve and Samantha have a completely staged Thanksgiving in front of cameras and crew. The director tells Steve to give his mother a “heartfelt Thanksgiving blessing,” but instead Steve tells Samantha that he was expelled. Jack asks Christine to talk some sense into Dylan, since he’s apparently dropped out of school because of the SAT scandal. Dylan and Jack have another fight, and Christine tells Dylan to stop sulking and blaming his father for everything. He has the power now and needs to stop taking advantage of the situation.
Off-camera, Steve tells Samantha everything, plus the fact that she has to come to the school with him on Monday to sign papers to make the expulsion official. She tells him she won’t be signing anything and he won’t be kicked out. This will be the last time she saves his butt. Melissa congratulates Steve for his revelation, then invites him to her room for a private “celebration.” Steve is more confused than excited.
With the roof temporarily fixed, Jim finally stops being a jerk to Canner and apologizes. Canner admits that he was right and he shouldn’t have left his son, but he couldn’t do better at the time. Jim confides that he never thought he was a good son. He can’t talk to his father now, but Canner can talk to his son.
Donna finds it hard to eat dinner since there are people on the streets with nothing. Canner returns from his phone call to his son hopeful and offers to say grace (though it’s more of a monologue about the kindness of strangers). Dylan and Jack repair their relationship by playing Monopoly, and Dylan even offers Jack and Christine his bedroom, which is really, really gross when you think about it. He even calls Jack “Dad” for the first time all episode.
On Monday, Samantha accompanies Steve to school and has a private conversation with Ms. Teasley. Steve doesn’t get any details, but the end result is that he’s allowed to stay at West Beverly. He’s on probation and has to serve double detentions, but he’s still on track to graduate. As Brenda and Kelly talk about shopping, Dylan slides into the hallway and follows them mocking their chatter. Then he kisses both girls (Kelly on the lips, Brenda on the head), asks how their Thanksgivings were, and leaves them behind, stunned.
Thoughts: It rains through the entire episode. It’s like watching The Killing.
Thanks for putting two characters named Jack in the same episode, show.
Letting Jack out on furlough seems like a really, really bad idea. He strikes me as the dictionary definition of “flight risk.”
Jim says of Canner, “So he’s a Marine – so what?” So he risked his life for our country while you were sitting on your butt in Minnesota, watching football and playing your keyboard, that’s so what. You can sleep in the garage tonight.
I really want to know what Samantha said to Ms. Teasley. That woman scares me.
The last scene made me love Dylan again. But, like Steve, he’s on probation.