March 13, 2012
BH90210 3.11, A Presumption of Innocence: A Girl Named Sue
Summary: It’s Dylan’s birthday, and his friends celebrate with him at the Peach Pit. Blowing out the candles sends him into a coughing fit. Nikki tries to get Brandon to dance, but fortunately for us, he declines. (We aren’t so lucky with regards to David.) Gil comes in and Andrea hassles him about giving her a B+. Sue shows up next with some skeezy guy and chats with Gil, asking if she has to take her clothes off to get a decent grade from him. He tells her to come to class once in a while.
At home, Sue tries to erase all traces of her inappropriate clothing, but her mother (who we met in “The Next 50 Years”) busts her for being late. She tells Sue that her uncle Henry is coming to visit the next day and will be the first person allowed to stay in Scott’s former bedroom, let alone touch any of his things. Sue isn’t happy about it.
In the school office the next day, Donna runs into Sue and confronts her about her behavior with David at the dance. Sue says she’ll stay away from him, but Donna doesn’t want her to feel like she has to. She just wants Sue to remember that there’s a difference between romantic love and affection from a friend who’s as close as a family member. Sue angrily says she knows all about that.
Nikki informs Steve, David, and Brenda that she’s taking Brandon to a dance club. They find that hilarious. Brandon tries to get Brenda and Dylan to tag along, but Dylan isn’t feeling well. Sue rants to Gil about her mother getting on her about her grades, then says that sometimes she feels like she’s the Scanlon who should have died. Instead of immediately taking her to a counselor, Gil tries to cheer her up, telling her she’s special and hugging her. Minutes later, Andrea sees Sue run out of the classroom crying.
The next day, Gil gets a note from the office that shakes him up. He leaves in the middle of class and skips a Blaze staff meeting. Brandon asks David for dance lessons (NOOOOOOO! BRANDON, DON’T DO IT!) as Brenda orders Dylan to see a doctor. His pediatrician tells him the water he’s been surfing in isn’t as clean as he thinks it is.
Gil is still MIA from school, so Brandon considers going to his house to see him. Brenda informs him and Dylan that Gil “has been relieved of his duties pending an investigation.” The charge is sexual misconduct with a female student. Brandon and Dylan drive to Gil’s place, and while Dylan hangs out near the water, Brandon urges Gil to fight the charges. Gil doesn’t want to, since keeping quiet will make his accuser’s mother drop the charges.
Andrea tells Sue she saw her leaving Gil’s classroom, then suggests that she see a peer counselor. Sue tells her no one can understand how she feels. Andrea says she once had a teacher she thought she was falling for. (I completely forgot about that guy until just this minute.) After promising to keep everything confidential, Andrea gets Sue to open up.
Later, Andrea goes to the Walshes’ to see Brandon, but he’s still gone. Brenda knows Sue’s involved in the accusations; it’s all over school. She fills Andrea in on the Scanlons’ issues. She also doesn’t think Sue is completely innocent in the situation. Brandon shows up and tells the girls that he thinks Sue’s charges are bogus; otherwise Mrs. Scanlon wouldn’t just let things go. Andrea argues that there have been no unfounded claims of sexual abuse at West Beverly. She slams Brandon for blaming the victim and thinking Gil’s innocent just because he’s a guy.
After Andrea leaves, Brenda tells Brandon that whether Sue is always truthful or not, she doesn’t seem capable of lying to screw up someone’s life. David arrives for David’s dance lessons, but Brandon doesn’t have time. He tries to use the Gil/Sue situation as an excuse not to go to the club the next night. Brenda promises to keep quiet about David coming over for dance lessons if Brandon agrees to go to the club. She wants him to loosen up and enjoy being with Nikki.
Gil goes to West Beverly to collect his things and runs into Andrea. She rips into him for taking advantage of Sue when she had a crush on him. Gil swears that he didn’t do anything wrong. Andrea doesn’t think kids make up things like sexual abuse. She also thinks he’s doing the wrong thing by running away. He’s protecting Sue even though his teaching career is on the line. Gil says he likes working with young people, and Andrea shoots back that he might like it a little too much. Gil replies that he wouldn’t be able to live with two suicides on his conscience.
Gil elaborates that at his first teaching job, one of his students fell in love with him, but he pushed her away and stayed professional. She killed herself and blamed him in her suicide note. Gil doesn’t want to call Sue a liar; he’s happy enough knowing the truth. Andrea wants Gil to help Sue, but he thinks he’s the last person who can.
Dylan and Gil run into each other on the beach and give us an environmental PSA. Dylan says that he would run away if he were accused of something he didn’t do, so he admires Gil for sticking around. Gil tells him that some things aren’t all black and white. He wonders if he’s to blame for giving Sue the wrong message.
The other kids go to a club (no eggs are exchanged this time), where Brandon lets Nikki dance with other guys because it means he doesn’t have to do anything. She has fun for a while but clearly would rather spend the time with Brandon. She asks Donna and Steve if he’s ever going to get over his dancing issues. Steve tells her to offer him an incentive, in the form of dancing with him to make Brandon jealous. It works.
At school, Sue invites Andrea to dinner at her house that night. Andrea’s confused but accepts. Steve tries to make up with Brandon, who knows Nikki’s really the one he’s mad at. Nikki tells Brandon that there are some differences she can deal with in a relationship, but there are some she can’t. She offers Brandon a private dance lesson (is that what the kids are calling it?), promising to shut up about it if he really doesn’t have any rhythm. Meanwhile, Dylan PSAs some more.
Andrea shows up at the Scanlons’ for dinner, but Sue won’t let her in and tries to disinvite her. Mrs. Scanlon invites her in, happy that her daughter has a visitor. Andrea chats with Mrs. Scanlon and Uncle Henry as Sue stands by uncomfortably. Over at the Walshes’, Brandon turns his dance lesson into a slow dance, and Jim and Cindy should really make him keep his bedroom door open when he has a girl over.
Dinner at the Scanlons’ gets really uncomfortable when Sue tells her mother she doesn’t want to watch home movies featuring Scott. Mrs. Scanlon tells Andrea that Sue hasn’t been the same since what happened with Gil. Henry wants to know exactly what happened and what Sue accused Gil of. He thinks she did something to make Gil think he could make a move. Andrea defends Sue, but Sue admits that she was the one who tried to seduce Gil.
Sometime later, Gil is reinstated at West Beverly and everyone’s happy. Andrea admits to Brandon that for once, she’s glad she was wrong. Kelly makes sure Dylan’s okay, because that sexual tension hasn’t been resolved yet. Andrea apologizes to Gil for jumping to conclusions, though he appreciates that she gave him some things to think about. He asks Andrea to help Sue in any way she can.
Andrea drops by the Scanlons’ but Mrs. Scanlon won’t let her in. Andrea turns to Brenda, who was Sue’s senior buddy, asking her to help get someone in the house. They ask Donna, who in turn asks David to come with her and get her invited in. Mrs. Scanlon invites Donna and David to stay for dinner, telling them that the family’s moving to be near her family in Oklahoma. Donna doesn’t get why everyone’s acting like things are awesome.
Donna pulls Sue aside and offers to listen if she wants to talk. Sue tells her everything’s fine since her family is so great. While they eat, David tells Donna that Henry was once Scott’s favorite uncle, but the last time Scott went to Oklahoma to visit him, something happened and Scott started hating him. Sue also seems to have a problem with Henry.
Donna finds Sue crying in Scott’s room and again offers to listen. She keeps thinking about what Andrea said about kids not making up stories about sexual abuse; the stories have to come from somewhere. Sue tells her she doesn’t know who started it, but there was kissing and touching, and she tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t let her go. Donna asks why she took back her story if Gil wasn’t innocent. Sue tells her it wasn’t Gil – it was Henry.
Donna takes Sue outside to tell her mother the truth. Later, she, David, Brenda, and Andrea discuss the situation at the Peach Pit. Sue decided to come clean because she was afraid Henry would move on to her little sister. Dylan shows up for some more PSA-ing, and Brandon and Nikki briefly stop by before going to a club. David’s surprised, so Brandon tells him that now that he knows how dancing makes Nikki feel, he’s all for it.
Thoughts: I haven’t seen Nicholle Tom in much outside this show, so I don’t really have a frame of reference for her acting, but she’s really good in this episode.
DAVID, STOP DANCING.
Ug, of course Andrea’s one of those a-B+-is-not-good-enough girls. There were a bunch of them in my high school and they drove me crazy. Some of them would complain about getting an A- and ask if they could do something to get extra credit. People are weird.
They make a big deal about Dylan being 18 now, so why is he still seeing a pediatrician? Though I got to see Dylan hold a stuffed animal in a doctor’s office decorated for children, so maybe I should just shut up.
No way can a high school teacher afford a place on the beach. Does this show just think everyone’s rich (except Andrea)?
There’s never been an unfounded sexual-abuse claim at West Beverly? Um…how many claims have there been?
Dancing as a dealbreaker? I don’t get it.
Hey, let’s end an episode about incest with a stupid Brandon moment! I thought they’d handled the topic pretty well until then. Once again, Brandon ruins everything.