February 7, 2017
Summary: Maria Slater has suddenly become interested in directing (in case her career as an actress never gets back off the ground), so she’s excited when her dad gets a new video camera and lets her have his old one. She’s going to film a performance the Boosters are doing at the mall the next day to generate press for the opening of a new food court. This is a Big Deal, because things in Sweet Valley aren’t exciting enough with random visits from celebrities and people almost dying all the time. I mean, it can’t be too important if the main entertainment is some 12-year-old cheerleaders.
Everything’s going fine at the press event until everyone hears glass being smashed and realizes there’s been a robbery at a jewelry store. Jessica, who was about to jump on top of the Boosters’ pyramid (whatever), gets distracted and crashes. Lila’s angry that Jess wasn’t more professional. She thinks she should have Jessica’s role in the Boosters, and she wants to prove that she’s the better cheerleader.
Elizabeth has more important things to worry about – there’s a mystery afoot. Her parents don’t want her to look into the robbery, since she put herself in danger when she was investigating the charm school. But no way will Elizabeth turn her back on an opportunity to be like Christine Davenport, the heroine of her beloved Amanda Howard mysteries. Why leave the police work to the police when this 12-year-old has everything it takes to catch a robber?
The Boosters gather to watch Maria’s video of their performance (after Lila wins a high-jump competition with Jessica in her bid to prove that she’s a better Booster). The video is a disaster as apparently Maria is incompetent and can’t even figure out where the camera lens is. Jessica and Lila try to brush it off with a fence-walking contest. What is this, Anne of Green Gables? Guys, don’t go on the roof, okay? Anyway, Lila wins again.
While the kids are at school, another store at the mall is robbed. A security guard, MacDuff, gives a TV interview, and since he was present during the first robbery, Amy wonders if he’s pulling an inside job. Meanwhile, Jessica and Lila compete to see who can hold the most grapes in her mouth. Jess wins, but really, aren’t they both losers for this sort of stuff?
Since Elizabeth is writing about the new mall restaurants for the Sixers, she and her friends have a good excuse to keep hanging out at the mall. She and Todd go to a record store and chat with an employee who has a scar on his hand. Liz realizes that he was working elsewhere in the mall the last time she was there. Back in Jess/Lila Land, Lila wins a swimming competition. Their friends are at least entertained by their rivalry.
There’s another robbery, and Todd encourages Liz to go to the mall and investigate. She talks to a cop, offering to give a witness statement since she was at the mall during a previous robbery. She’d love to read the police reports and give her input. Amazingly, the cop doesn’t laugh in her face, but he also doesn’t indulge her fantasy that she’ll write about the robberies for the Sixers and, I don’t know, win a Pulitzer. Elizabeth talks to the employee from the record store instead; he’s now working at a Chinese restaurant.
Lila and Jess’ next competition is hanging upside-down from monkey bars. Jess wins, so she’s only one point behind Lila. They’ll have one more contest, after which Lila thinks she’ll be declared the winner and will get to take Jessica’s place at the top of the pyramid. If Jess wins, there will be a tie-breaker, but Lila clearly doesn’t think that will happen. The girls decide that whoever is the overall winner gets to pick her costume for the food court’s official opening, where the Boosters will be serving hors d’oeuvres. The loser gets last pick.
In a break from all the stealing going on at the mall, Maria’s house is robbed. She’s confused because all the family’s valuables are left alone, but her videotapes are stolen. Liz thinks that someone got a hold of Maria’s address after she gave it to the cop she offered to help. Jessica is on board with Amy’s theory that MacDuff is the robber – since he works at the mall, he would have easy access to all the stores.
Elizabeth realizes that Maria’s tape from the Boosters’ performance might contain evidence. Yeah, everyone reading figured that out, like, 50 pages ago, Liz. Since Maria didn’t keep it with her other tapes, it wasn’t stolen. Liz, Maria, and Amy watch it, and though the quality is horrible, they’re able to make out what looks like a hand taking a necklace. Well, at least it’s more than the police have found. They stake out the mall for a little while and see MacDuff at the Chinese restaurant, off-duty. Not long after, the Chinese restaurant is the next place to be robbed.
Lila and Jessica’s last contest is a bike race through an obstacle course. Jess wins, so the girls need a tiebreaker. They agree to a hot dog-eating contest at the mall. Lila wins, which I find really hard to believe. I can’t see her eating even one hot dog, let alone more than Jessica. But whatever, this means Jess could get stuck with a horrible costume at the opening.
Elizabeth stalks MacDuff, overhearing him on the phone, sounding sketchy. He catches her and she gets in major trouble with her parents. She’s even grounded! Undeterred, she continues her investigation, watching Maria’s tape again. This time Liz is able to see that the hand stealing the necklace has a scar on it. She knows she’s seen that scar before, but because she’s actually a much, much worse detective than she thinks, she doesn’t remember where. She thinks it’s MacDuff’s.
There’s a big party for the food court opening, and Elizabeth convinces Amy and Maria to sneak in with her. They don’t have invitations, but they pretend they were invited to cover the story for the Sixers. The record store/Chinese restaurant/various other stores guy is now working as a coat check. Just seconds after arriving, Elizabeth sees the scar on his hand and realizes she’s been investigating the wrong suspect.
Ironically (I guess), Liz turns to the person she just stopped suspecting to help her capture her new suspect. MacDuff is displeased that she’s still investigating, but he listens when she tells him the guy with the scar is probably the robber. The robber sees them together and figures out he’s busted, so he takes off. Elizabeth chases him, and MacDuff chases her. Jessica sees her sister being pursued by the guy she still thinks is a robber and decides to stop him by jumping out in front of him. Oh, and by the way, she’s dressed as a giant hot dog. The visual from this scene is one of my favorite things from this whole series.
So of course the robber is caught, and Elizabeth is hailed a hero (though Jessica should get half the credit for risking her physical safety). The Wakefields are so proud of their little detective that they give her back some of the privileges they took away when they grounded her. Steven calls bull, as do I, but we shouldn’t expect anything less from Ned and Alice. Maria is still horrible with her video camera, but she’s happy that her video helped catch a criminal. Maybe someone will let her know that the director doesn’t have to handle the camera, so her cinematography skills probably won’t have an effect on her career goals.
Thoughts: “The Valley Mall: An International Dining Extravaganza.” You have seven restaurants, four are American, and the Mexican one is called the Taco Shack. Calm down, Valley Mall.
Elizabeth describes a coconut-orange smoothie as a “platonic experience.” What are you on, Liz?
Janet picks a costume that consists of “a pair of short denim overalls, a red-checked blouse, and a blond wig with two braids.” I call bull again.
Elizabeth has black velvet leggings. WHAT?
This week in Adventures in Out-of-Context Passages: “‘Stop!’ the hot dog shouted with Jessica’s voice.”
October 11, 2016
Summary: Veronica Brooks is settling in at SVMS, and she wants to become a Unicorn. Elizabeth is the only person who thinks Veronica is bad news. This is even after Veronica threatened to get even with Jessica at the end of the last book. The Unicorns haven’t yet invited Veronica to join them, possibly because right now they’re more interested in their newest accessories. Lila just got a Watchman (a watch/TV combo) and Ellen’s been allowed to wear her mother’s expensive hoop earrings to school.
At lunch, Ellen takes off her earrings (they’re heavy) and leaves them at the table while a bunch of the Unicorns go get cookies. Jessica and Veronica hang behind a little. When everyone gets back to the table, the earrings are missing. Then, at Boosters practice (which Veronica hangs around, since Bruce is also in the gym), Janet’s hairbrush and Lila’s newest Teenager magazine disappear. Veronica wonders if the same person took the magazine, hairbrush, and earrings. Jessica thinks the girls are all just bad at keeping track of their stuff.
Some of the girls chat about the disappearances in the bathroom, nicknaming the thief the Sweet Valley Swiper. Jessica admires Mandy’s new hat, which she got from a thrift store. By the way, everyone used to see Mandy’s style as low-class, but now she’s considered quirky and unique. She accidentally leaves the hat in the bathroom, and when she goes back to get it…well, of course it’s gone. The Sweet Valley Swiper strikes again!
Elizabeth fancies herself a detective, so she takes an interest in the case. She figures that since the hat was taken from the girls’ bathroom, the thief is probably a girl. Well, yeah – a guy probably isn’t going to steal earrings and a brush. Next, Mandy’s jacket vanishes. Ellen thinks her deodorant was also stolen, which leads to a lot of jokes about how she smells. There’s a pattern emerging beyond girls having their things taken – they’re all things Jessica has admired. Also, only the Unicorns have been victims of the thefts.
The pattern breaks when Veronica reports her notebook missing. The girls finally tell the principal, Mr. Clark, who promises to get the teachers to keep their eyes out. Elizabeth and Amy apparently solved mysteries together as kids, calling themselves the Snoopers, and they consider getting back together for one last case. How is this situation different from the other times they’ve teamed up to solve mysteries?
Lila gets her Watchman taken away in class, and when she goes to get it back from the teacher, it’s gone. I’m impressed that the thief was able to grab it without the teacher seeing. Later, Lila gets a note telling her she can find the Watchman in Jessica’s locker. Indeed, that’s where it is, though Jess has no idea how it got there. Half the Unicorns turn on her, thinking she’s the swiper. They want to oust her from the Unicorns and replace her with Veronica.
Even Elizabeth isn’t sure about her sister’s innocence. After all, Jessica borrowed her sweatshirt and lost it…or did she steal it? But Elizabeth thinks that Occam’s Razor is bull: The simplest explanation is that Jess is the thief, but that’s too easy. She’s probably being framed. Liz decides to focus on the note Lila got about the Watchman’s location, but she’s already thrown it out. Elizabeth recruits Amy to help her dig through the trash at school, which means Amy is a much better friend to Liz than I could ever be. Too bad they don’t find the note. Right now the only thing going in Jess’ favor is the fact that Aaron doesn’t think she’s the swiper.
Elizabeth sees the Unicorns hanging out with Veronica and thinks she’s cracked the case. She comes up with a multi-step plan to catch the swiper. First, Jessica pretends to be sick so she can stay home from school. Elizabeth goes to school as her twin, saying Liz is the one who’s sick. She chats with Veronica, telling her that Mandy still believes in Jessica’s innocence. The only thing that could make her turn on Jess is if her favorite rhinestone pin disappeared.
Guess what disappears not long after? Like Lila, Mandy gets a note telling her Jess took the pin. But Elizabeth announces that she’s not Jess, and that Jess isn’t even at school today, so there’s no way she could have taken the pin. Mandy calls Alice to confirm that Liz is who she says she is, getting confirmation when Jessica can’t spell “thief.” But even with Jess out of school, the pin is in her locker.
Elizabeth tells Mandy and Lila that she’s figured it out: Veronica is the thief. She framed Jessica to get her kicked out of the Unicorns. While Amy goes to get Mr. Clark, Elizabeth and Mandy stage a fight so Veronica will overhear. Veronica thinks Mandy’s mad at “Jessica” for stealing her pin, but the girls point out that they never mentioned a pin being missing. Mandy even says it’s not gone.
Elizabeth notes that only the thief would know it was missing. Veronica tries to blame Jessica, but Liz tells her that Jess isn’t at school. Mr. Clark checks Veronica’s locker, where all the missing things have been stashed. Jessica’s name is cleared, and Veronica’s suspended. Jess figures out that Veronica got her locker combination from a book she borrowed from Jess. The Unicorns, amazingly, feel horrible about the way they treated Jess, and they bring her ice cream as a peace offering. Also, Jess finds Elizabeth’s missing sweatshirt, proving once and for all that she may be a thoughtless sister, but she’s not a thief.
The B-plot is kind of entertaining. Steven and Joe take tests to see if they qualify for MEGA (the Mentally Gifted Association), the Sweet Valley-verse’s version (say that five times fast) of MENSA. Steven’s mailed results say he’s in the 99th percentile, the “genius intelligence quoshent [sic].” Steven thinks this is awesome, not just because it means he’s super-smart but also because Jess told him she would never tease him again if he got a genius score on the test.
Suddenly Steven has a new hobby: being an intellectual. He gets interested in tort law, chess, opera, and a Jeopardy-style TV show called Q&A. Even the twins are impressed with his ability to answer all the questions correctly. He gets Joe to watch a documentary about the mating habits of porcupines. Everyone finds him insufferable now, since he just wants to talk about high-brow things, and doesn’t even want to play basketball anymore.
On her day home “sick,” Jessica helps clean Steven’s room and does some detective work of her own. She finds a list of answers (or questions, I guess) from the episode of Q&A they watched, and realizes that he cheated – they watched a taped episode that Steven had already seen. Along with some other evidence proving that Steven isn’t, in fact, a genius, Jess is able to bust her brother.
Steven admits that he was playing a joke on Joe; he knew Joe made up the test results. Messing with the twins was just a bonus for Steven. Now he wants the girls to help him get payback. A bunch of the Wakefield kids’ friends come over, and Janet tells Jessica that Joe made up the test results to mess with Steven. Jessica pretends that Steven has no idea. Then Steven announces that his genius IQ makes him too smart for high school, so he’s going to drop out and try to get into Harvard. Joe tries to pretend that the test results were a mistake (there’s a guy out there named Steven Wokefield who doesn’t know he’s a genius), but Steven comes clean. Everyone’s amused by the whole thing.
Thoughts: A watch that you can watch TV on is so ahead of its time.
“When a crime seems too easy to solve, there’s probably a good reason.” And maybe the reason is that the criminal was too dumb to avoid getting caught.
Rick Hunter thought Jessica was too much of a klutz to be a thief. I don’t get that logic. She would have dropped the things she tried to steal? She would have tripped while taking them? Please explain yourself, Rick.
July 26, 2016
Summary: The twins’ social studies class has been given a new project: Pair with another classmate to interview and write about each other’s families. Jessica is paired with Lila, which makes her happy since Lila only has one family member to interview. Elizabeth is paired with a girl named Melissa McCormick, who’s shy but nice. Elizabeth is happy to have a chance to get to know Melissa better. Melissa, however, is worried about having to reveal that her father abandoned the family years ago and has no contact with her or her brother Andy, a senior at SVH.
But Melissa has bigger things to worry about: A long-time heart problem has landed her mother in the hospital. Melissa and Andy are pulled out of school to see her, and minutes later, she’s dead. What a fun book! Andy decides that no one can find out that their father is out of the picture, because he and Melissa could be sent to separate foster homes. They lie to a social worker and their neighbors, saying their father is traveling but will be home soon. The social worker allows the kids to stay with the neighbors until Mr. McCormick gets back.
This works for a week. Andy even gets a guy named Sam to pretend to be Mr. McCormick and talk to the neighbors on the phone. This is, at best, a short-term solution, because I think the neighbors will notice when a few weeks pass and they don’t see any fathers at the house. Plus, the neighbors are heading off on a long European vacation soon, so Andy and Melissa can only stay with them for a few days. But the adults all fall for the ploy, so the McCormicks are in the clear for now.
Lest any impressionable preteens reading this book think the kids are living the dream, we learn that reality makes the situation pretty bleak. Though the house is paid for (which makes no sense to me; Melissa says they’ve moved around a lot because her mother was always looking for better work, so why buy a house when you might not stay in that town?), the kids still have to deal with things like utility bills. Andy decides to get an after-school job, but he refuses to let Melissa get one. He wants her to focus on school instead.
This seems like a fine solution until Andy realizes that two people can’t live on money from a part-time job. He quits the basketball team so he can work longer hours. Melissa’s finding it harder and harder to keep up the lies she and Andy have told people about their dad, and she finally tells Elizabeth the truth – they don’t know where he is or how to reach him, and she and Andy are living on their own. Elizabeth agrees not to tell anyone, though she knows this is a Bad Situation for grownups to take care of.
Liz helps Melissa clean up around the house, and they find a bunch of letters Mr. McCormick sent Mrs. McCormick over the years. Even though he left the family and doesn’t keep in touch with his kids, he clearly loves them and has sent money to help take care of them. Hey, if they move around so much, how does he know where they are? Wait, this book doesn’t care about being realistic. Never mind. Andy worries that Elizabeth will spill the secret and he and Melissa will be separated.
Andy skips school to work, so the principal announces she’s going to call his father. Andy enlists Sam again to pretend to be Mr. McCormick, and the principal is completely fooled. At first Sam says he’s doing this as a favor to Andy, but then he says he’ll find a way for Andy to repay him. Andy admits to Melissa that Sam wants him to do something illegal. Melissa tries not to worry too much, since Andy’s generally a good guy.
Not long after, Melissa’s home alone when she sees a couple of people breaking into the neighbor’s house. She calls the police, who easily nab the robbers. Unfortunately, one of them is Andy. Sam blackmailed him into breaking in, threatening to tell social services the truth if Andy didn’t do it. The McCormicks’ worst fears are realized, and they’re sent to separate foster homes. Elizabeth tells Ned what’s been going on, and he’s nice enough to pay Andy’s bail and work on his case.
Now that she’s broken her promise to keep Andy and Melissa’s secret, Liz figures she might as well keep meddling. She finds the last return address Mr. McCormick wrote from and sends a letter to it. It’s a motel in Texas, and he was there a year ago, but somehow, her letter gets to Mr. McCormick. (The details are never mentioned. I assume the ghostwriter didn’t plan to think them up.) Mr. McCormick comes to Sweet Valley and reunites with his kids, who are suddenly forgiving of him for not talking to them in years. Andy doesn’t go to jail, so that’s good. I hope Mr. McCormick has enough money for his legal fees.
In the dumb B-plot, Jessica’s mad at Steven for some reason she doesn’t even remember, and she WILL NOT SHUT UP about how annoying he is. She’s especially mad that he keeps hogging the phone, so she makes a phone schedule, giving him slots in the middle of the night. Ned and Alice can’t be bothered to parent their kids, as usual, and leave them to work things out themselves, which really means they just ignore all the fighting. Jessica also creates a jerk-o-meter to keep track of how annoying Steven is, but I’m not sure what happens when he gets more than a certain number of points.
Just as Jessica’s only a few seconds away from splitting the house down the middle with masking tape, Melissa’s home situation makes her realize how dumb she’s being. She’s grateful that her family is so normal (relatively speaking) and drops her vendetta against Steven. She also admits that she can’t remember how their battle started. Thanks for wasting my time, B-plot!
Thoughts: Dear whoever named this book: They’re not orphans.
Lila is really nice to Melissa, since they’re both motherless, so someone should probably check on her and make sure she’s feeling okay.
Sam’s watch has diamonds on it. I’m afraid to ask how he got it or why hangs out with teenagers.
“They had another big electricity bill and he was hoping his overtime pay would be enough to cover it.” Either the McCormicks’ electricity bills aren’t really that big or supermarket jobs pay a lot in overtime.
“Maybe if I’d been a better friend, none of this would have happened.” IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, LIZ.
February 2, 2016
Summary: This book isn’t as bad as the summary on the back makes it sound. Well, in some ways. The blurb makes it out like Jessica falls in love with a guy holding her hostage. And though she has some sympathy for him and maybe a little crush, it’s not quite that ridiculous.
Jessica, Lila, Denise, and Alex decide to have dinner at the Red Lion Diner. It’s a week before their sophomore year, and not everyone is back on campus yet. They’re staying at the sorority house until their dorms or apartments are ready. (The twins will be living with Neil, so he’s decided to transfer to SVU after all.) On their way inside, Jessica spots Trevor Paley, a guy she had a class with the year before. He’s fighting with another guy, so he’s distracted when Jess says hi to him. She thinks he’s just not interested in her. The nerve!
The girls banter with the waitress, Stella. Picture every diner waitress you’ve ever seen in movies or TV. That’s Stella. While they’re waiting for their food, two masked men burst in with guns and demand money. Everyone gets on the floor and tries to stay calm. Instead of just keeping her mouth shut and getting the money, which is the smart option, Stella has to be sassy about the whole thing. Hey, Stella? Did you see the guns? Yeah. They have ouchy bullets inside. Shut up and give them what they want so you don’t get shot.
Willie, the owner/cook, comes out of the kitchen and tries to intimidate the robbers into leaving. They won’t, so Willie gives Stella the go-ahead to empty the cash register. While the bigger robber is off his guard, thinking things are going his way, Willie swings a baseball bat at him. Unfortunately, gun beats bat, and Willie gets shot in the arm. Stella yells at the robber, like, do you want to get shot, too? Just give him the money!
The second robber yells at the first, upset that their brilliant scheme isn’t going the way they’d planned. I guess he thought that everyone would cooperate and they would get the money without having to hurt anyone. Jessica recognizes the second robber’s voice and realizes it’s Trevor. Through bits of conversation, she figures out that the first robber is his brother, Jason.
Despite the bullet in his shoulder and the fact that he’s about to lose a bunch of money, it’s kind of Willie’s lucky day. One of the diner patrons is a med student named Clark, and Jason allows him to help tend to Willie’s wound. Things go south, though, when Jason realizes that their take for this robbery is just over $175. Well, what did he expect? It’s a diner and no college students have been there all summer. Willie laughs because he’s dealing with idiots. Yeah, but they’re the ones with the guns.
Trevor and Jason start arguing, and three other patrons take advantage of their distraction to try to sneak out the door. Way to secure all the exits, guys! One patron escapes, and Jason shoots another. Trevor wants to minimize the loss of innocent life, so he tries to stop Jason by…shooting him in the arm. This is not a healthy family relationship. Jason threatens to shoot Trevor so they’re even, but he decides he can’t hurt his own brother like that.
While Clark tends to his new patients, Jessica quietly lets Denise know that she knows one of the robbers. Denise smartly tells Jessica to keep it to herself. Jason tells Denise to close all the blinds, and she uses the opportunity to try to negotiate: She’ll do it if he lets the injured hostages go. Nice try, Denise, but I don’t think Jason’s getting enough out of this deal to see it as a good trade.
Denise closes the blinds anyway, then tries again to talk Jason into letting the injured people go. While I admire her for trying, her methods just make Jason mad. The police arrive, having been called by the escapee, so at least now we have a negotiator here who knows what he’s doing. But Alex and Trevor are also on Denise’s side, and eventually wear Jason down. Not only does he let the injured hostages go, but he sends Denise and Alex out with them so he doesn’t have to deal with them anymore. Note to self: If you’re ever taken hostage, just annoy the guy in charge until he releases you. A fool-proof plan!
Thanks to the magic of shifting narrative points of view, we get to find out why the Paley brothers are in this mess. Trevor tells us that Jason has always been a little monster. Recently he racked up some gambling debts and decided to rob the diner so he could pay off a loan shark. Trevor agreed to help because he’s such a good brother. Yeah, listen, I love my brothers, but if they ever tried to get me to commit a crime with them, I would draw the line of sisterly devotion there.
Jessica decides to tell Trevor that she knows who he is, though I’m not sure what she thought this would accomplish. She can’t believe the quiet guy from her class is now holding people hostage. Trevor gets sick of the whole situation and tells Jason he’s done. Jason thinks about killing his brother but doesn’t. Aww, they’re making progress. Their brief standoff allows a couple other hostages to try to escape, but Trevor stops them. So I guess he’s not really done after all.
Since Jason is losing a lot of blood, Trevor decides he needs to get him out of the diner. He takes Jessica with him to check out the back of the building, telling the others that if they try anything, he’ll shoot Jess. Jess starts to warm up to Trevor a little, despite the fact that he just threatened her, but he turns mean again and she realizes he’s still a bad guy. They find a storm drain, and Trevor realizes that he could escape and just leave Jason to deal with the fallout of the hostage situation.
On the outside, Denise and Alex find Elizabeth and tell her what’s going on. The three head back to the diner, where Denise decides they could call Lila’s cell phone to find out what’s going on inside. Alex deems this an okay idea since Lila keeps her phone on vibrate, so Jason and Trevor won’t hear it ringing. But won’t they hear her talking? This is dumb. Also, apparently the police have told everyone outside not to try to communicate with anyone inside, so this is a horrible idea.
The girls call anyway, and are able to speak to Lila for a minute. Elizabeth comes up with an escape plan for her, telling her to climb out through the bathroom window. Jason catches Lila on the phone and takes it away before Lila can even hear the plan. Another hostage, Steve, tries to get Jason to leave Lila alone by basically telling him to pick on someone his own size. The two men fight, and Steve manages to grab Jason’s gun.
Trevor and Jessica return just then, and Trevor threatens to kill Jessica if Steve doesn’t drop the gun. So Jessica’s definitely not in love with him now. Steve tries to shoot Trevor, but Jason jumps in front of his brother, taking another bullet. Steve’s now out of bullets, but Trevor’s more concerned with losing his brother than he is about teaching Steve a lesson. He comes up with a new plan: Let the hostages go, get medical attention for Jason, and run away.
Trevor takes Jessica back to the storm drain and they escape the diner. He asks her to help him hide out, so she takes him to the sorority house. Meanwhile, the other hostages are freed, and everyone learns that Trevor took Jessica with him. The police start looking for him, and it doesn’t take long for them to show up at the sorority house. When she’s recognized as one of the hostages, Jessica lies that she’s Elizabeth. This news reaches the diner, and Elizabeth tells the police that Jess lied.
Everyone heads to Theta house, where Jessica has managed to leave a note on the back of the door in lipstick: “Train.” Trevor’s ingenious new plan is to take a train out of town and, I guess, hope the police don’t bother looking for him anywhere outside of Sweet Valley. The police show up before Trevor can flee, so Trevor threatens to shoot Jessica. She basically talks him out of it, saying she knows he won’t hurt her. Like, he stands there with a gun pointed at her and she just walks away. Weird.
Trevor lowers his gun, but the police shoot him anyway. He and Jason both survive the ordeal, and I guess will get to bond while they’re in prison together. The police are kind of mad that the girls called Lila when they weren’t supposed to, but I guess they can’t do much about it, since it didn’t lead to anyone getting hurt. Anyway, this book had the potential to be good, but ended up being dumb, though not as dumb as it could have been.
Thoughts: Trevor: “Nice to meet you, Steve.” Steve: “Don’t talk to me, scumbag. If I didn’t have a gun pointed at my back, you’d be choking on your teeth.” I like you, Steve. Let’s be friends.
“I have a really brilliant and potentially stupid idea.” I like you, too, Denise.
“If you’re ever in a situation like that again, leave it to the professionals.” They never have before; why would they start now?
January 23, 2016
Summary: Donna’s on another date with Mitch, who almost has her website ready to go. She’s nervous since time is running out, but he knows what he’s doing. He gives her an electronic planner with two more dates already scheduled. At the beach apartment, Kelly tells Matt that her father’s coming to town and wants to have dinner with them. Matt’s a little nervous about undergoing scrutiny from his future father-in-law, so Kelly reminds him that Bill is an ex-con and a horrible father, so the bar’s pretty low. Of course, she doesn’t know that Matt isn’t that great of a guy either.
Steve checks out the Internet, wishing that he and Janet were making money from Internet stocks. He contemplates investing in Donna’s website, but Janet says they can’t afford it. They can’t risk a bad investment now that they have a child. The photo shoot for Donna’s website is delayed because the model’s late, so she’s nervous again. Dylan completes the process of becoming an LLC, then cautions his accountant (or whoever the guy is) not to pursue Camille.
With the model nowhere in sight and time running out, Dylan suggests that Camille do the job. Donna agrees, but David reminds his girlfriend that she’s a businesswoman, not “eye candy.” Camille says that since she’s a businesswoman, she’s making a business decision and modeling the clothes. Meanwhile, there’s a launch party scheduled for the next night at the After Dark, and Noah’s excited about it. He wishes he had a big investment with money coming to him. Steve does, too. Ellen calls Noah to ask for help – she’s in jail.
At home, Donna complains to Kelly about how annoying David was during the photo shoot. She laughs over how Mitch likes to schedule everything. Kelly notes that Donna always gets critical of the person she’s dating, then starts thinking about David. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Bill calls to cancel dinner with Kelly and Matt. Dylan runs into Janet and Maddy at the Peach Pit and mentions that Steve just wired $10,000 into his account to invest in Donna’s website. Janet pretends she was aware of this.
Matt meets with a guy named Tom who got his business card at the desert party. As Kelly arrives, Tom tells Matt he’ll say hi to Amy for him. Kelly laments the fact that she once again got her hopes up about her father and has again been disappointed. She thanks Matt for never disappointing her. Oh, Kelly. Then she asks who Amy is. Matt says Dylan hooked up with her in the desert. Oh, Matt.
Noah takes Ellen to his place and asks why she was found passed out in her car. She admits that she was behind on her rent, so she moved into her car. She was too embarrassed to ask Noah for help. When her car wouldn’t start, she fell off the wagon. Noah encourages her to go back to AA, but Ellen thinks finding a job is a bigger priority. At the Peach Pit, Mitch tries to sync his schedule with Donna’s, but she misses having a relationship with spontaneity. She thinks they should stick to business. He can’t really object, but he tells her he doesn’t give up that easily.
Kelly tries to ask Dylan about Amy, but Matt interrupts and drags his fiancée away before Dylan can say anything incriminating. Steve gets home from some kind of alien-encounter convention and gets an earful from Janet about investing in the website behind her back. He argues that he was within his rights because he invested his own money, left to him by his grandfather. Janet’s even madder now that she knows her husband had a bunch of money she didn’t know about.
Noah takes Ellen to an AA meeting, but she doesn’t think it will help her, so she leaves. Donna and Camille look over Camille’s photos, which turned out great. David’s less than enthusiastic, hurting Camille’s feelings. She doesn’t get why he seems to get more upset the better things get for them. Noah goes to the meeting on his own, expressing his gratitude that he has so much support from the other members. Ellen comes back at the end, so…yay? I really couldn’t care less about her.
The launch party kicks off at the After Dark, and Donna’s nervous again, this time about seeing the site for the first time. Matt asks Dylan what he and Kelly were discussing earlier, warning him not to tell Kelly anything about the trip. Camille worries that David’s bad mood is her fault, but Donna assures her that things will be okay. With just a few seconds to go before the website launches, Dylan and Donna take the stage. Steve accesses the site (using a search engine, the dork), but it declares that access is denied “until Donna Martin goes on another date with Mitch Field.”
The next day, Donna goes to confront Mitch, who says his stunt was just a “romantic plea.” He asks for another chance because they’re totally meant for each other. Donna tells him that his action was cruel, not romantic – and also illegal. Mitch maintains that she’s the one for him, like, dude, you couldn’t be any creepier right now. She tells him it’s not too late to do the right thing.
Steve now regrets making his investment. Janet’s just glad he didn’t use any of her money. He tells her that his grandfather wanted him to do something special with the money, and this is the first thing Steve has considered worthy. Janet worries that Steve isn’t committed to their family or doesn’t trust her if he’s going to keep secrets about money. Steve doesn’t think money’s that important, which Janet says is part of the problem.
David checks on Donna at the boutique, comforting her when she says she feels responsible for everyone losing out. He tells her he hasn’t smoothed things over with Camille yet. The website’s now up and running, though, so Mitch came to his senses. Camille wants to have lunch with David, but he says he’s busy. This relationship doesn’t seem to be going anywhere good. In other romantic news, Noah and Ellen have another fight when she objects to him talking about AA all the time.
The gang goes to the After Dark again, and Kelly bugs Dylan about Amy some more. Matt lies that they met her at a gas station, and Dylan flirted and gave her a ride on his bike. Dylan changes the subject to the website, leading Kelly to leave and call Donna to congratulate her. Matt tells Dylan that he’s going to keep lying to Kelly about Amy; Kelly’s too important to lose. If Dylan’s waiting around for Matt to ruin everything, he shouldn’t get too comfortable. Dylan remarks that he underestimated Matt. “It’s the sweater vests,” Matt replies.
Ellen comes crawling back to Noah after their latest fight and asks him to come somewhere with her. Janet and Steve fight some more, and he tells her that he takes his responsibility to care for the family seriously. The secret money was a safety net in case he screwed up and needed to save them. Janet reminds him that they promised to stick by each other for better or for worse. They don’t need to keep secrets from each other.
Donna gushes to a distracted David that someone in New Mexico bought one of her skirts. She knows things between him and Camille are bad, and she encourages him to fix things before he loses a great relationship. David implies that he’s ready to lose it. Ellen takes Noah to a playground and points out a six-year-old girl, her daughter. Ellen’s mother is raising the girl until Ellen gets her life together, which is taking longer than expected. The girl is the result of a drunken one-night stand. Her father’s out of the picture, and the girl thinks Ellen is gone all the time because she’s a flight attendant.
Camille goes to David’s, where they kind of make up, but not completely. He thinks she deserves better, so they’re over. At the beach apartment, Kelly tries on Jackie’s wedding dress, since Jackie wants her to wear it for her own wedding. (Donna’s working on designs for a new one, though.) Dylan shows up and notes that this is the second time he’s seen Kelly in a dress for a wedding to someone else. He tells her she looks beautiful, then finds a reason to leave.
Thoughts: The internet! Electronic schedulers! This show is full of cutting-edge technology!
Donna, your top at the party is not a shirt – it’s a handkerchief. As someone who’s supposed to know about fashion, you should be able to tell the difference.
Seriously, if you lifted Noah and Ellen’s scenes out of the show, the plot wouldn’t be affected at all.
I like the wedding dress above, but I can’t imagine Jackie wearing it.
‘Bye, Camille! You weren’t so bad. You just weren’t Donna.
December 5, 2015
Summary: Dylan and Steve are hanging out at the Beverly Royale, planning to watch a basketball game together. Josie shows up to tell Dylan that she thinks Shane may have kidnapped Noah to try to force Dylan to bail him out with his drug dealer. He knows a lot about Dylan, including the fact that he has a goddaughter. Steve and Dylan head off to look for Noah, checking to make sure Maddy’s okay.
Over at the beach apartment, Matt tries to talk Kelly into appearing on a show called Lover’s Lane with him. It sounds like a Newlywed Game-type show, where couples answer questions about each other. Dylan and Steve call around, looking for Noah, but Kelly and David haven’t seen him. Steve and Dylan don’t mention that he might be in danger. They head to the After Dark and find Noah’s car with the keys still in it and the windshield busted.
Shane and his future codefendant have taken Noah to a warehouse/apartment to make a ransom video. If Shane doesn’t get his money from Dylan, Noah dies. Donna asks David to run the boutique the next day – Valentine’s Day – with Camille. He agrees, then asks for Donna’s advice on whether or not to get Camille a cashmere sweater. Donna thinks he should stick to a handmade card, like one he once gave her. Donna’s not looking forward to spending the holiday as Matt and Kelly’s fifth wheel.
Dylan meets up with Josie and warns that she’ll go to jail with her brother if she doesn’t provide some information. Dylan uses Josie’s phone to leave Shane a message to get in touch with him. Gina tells Donna that their father called her for the first time since Christmas and invited her to dinner. Donna thinks he waited until Felice was out of town to reach out. Gina’s annoyed that she’s being fit into his life. Donna reminds her that Dr. Martin is a great guy.
Kelly, Matt, and Janet watch Lover’s Lane, discussing the show’s trainwreck guests. Janet and Donna are excited to get Matt and Kelly ready for their appearance. Kelly gets on board when she learns how much money they could win. Gina has dinner with Dr. Martin, addressing her mother’s claim that it was his idea to keep her paternity quiet. Dr. Martin says it was Bobbi’s idea. Gina notes that he went along with it. She wishes she’d had a father to cheer her on at skating competitions. They discuss what she should call him, and he suggests John.
Shane finally calls Dylan and demands a million dollars for Noah’s return. He emails the ransom video (it’s in Quicktime, hee), in which Shane plays Russian roulette with his hostage. Later, Steve watches the video and urges Dylan to work with the cops. Dylan says he’s going to hand over the money without getting the authorities involved. Steve’s concerned that Dylan’s “superhero complex” will put someone in danger.
Kelly, Matt, Donna, and Janet head to Lover’s Lane, where the couple will be competing with an annoying couple who dressed alike. Kelly doesn’t feel well, and it seems like something other than nerves. Donna decides to take Kelly’s place, so there’s your Donna wackiness for the week. Shane leaves Noah alone with his coconspirator, who’s not as smart as Shane. The coconspirator agrees to turn up the TV, which allows Noah to try to free himself from the pipe he’s chained to.
Gina brings Dr. Martin some groceries, but she quickly realizes that she went shopping for someone whose tastes she’s not familiar with. Dr. Martin wants to work on their relationship, not realizing that his failure to reach out to her more has made her so upset. On Lover’s Lane, “Kelly” correctly answers a question about Matt and the real Kelly’s favorite place to have sex, other than the bedroom. Janet finds it very interesting that Donna knows the answer to a question like that, as well as details of a game Matt and Kelly play called Attorney-Client Privilege.
David and Camille hold down the fort at the boutique, where she gets a visit from a guy named Rick. While Camille chats with Rick, David rings up a customer who’s spending a lot of money on his girlfriend. The guy points out that he can’t just get her a card. David sees Rick give Camille a watch, then take her off somewhere. Matt’s final question is who Kelly’s best friend is. He names himself, which is definitely the wrong answer (it’s Donna, of course). They lose.
Dylan gets a million dollars together, then meets up with Josie, declining Steve’s offer to come along. Steve reminds him not to do anything stupid. As Josie takes Dylan to her car, she pulls a gun on him. Shane appears with his own gun, and the siblings force Dylan into a van. The ride home from Lover’s Lane is tense, and Kelly and Matt’s new breadmaker is no consolation. Matt would like to know if there’s anything Kelly hasn’t told people about their love life.
Shane and Josie ignore Dylan as he warns that Steve will call the police when he doesn’t get in touch, and they’ll get busted. Gina goes to the boutique looking for Donna but instead finds David trying to figure out the Camille/Rick situation. (They’ve now been gone for almost three hours.) Gina’s like, “Yeah, they’re probably hooking up somewhere.” She tells David to give Donna the message that she tried but failed, as she always does.
At the beach apartment, Kelly rants to Donna about how annoying Valentine’s Day is. Donna admits that Matt should be Kelly’s best friend, so he’s justified in being mad. Kelly calls Donna her “safety net.” Donna says she can confide in Kelly, but Kelly has a pretty great guy she can talk to now. Dr. Martin goes to see Gina and ask for a second chance. She tells him she hates calling him John, so he invites her to call him “Dad.” She tries it out and decides she likes it.
Josie and Shane take Dylan to the warehouse and chain him up with Noah. Shane has decided that he might as well go ahead and kill the guys, since he’s facing a lengthy prison sentence anyway. Camille returns to the boutique and explains that Rick is her ex, and he always tries to win her back with nice things on Valentine’s Day. She’d prefer simple, personal things, like the handmade card David decides to give her after all. He pretends he bought Camille’s present for Erin.
Donna calls Dr. Martin and learns that Gina’s been putting him through a workout. He suggests that both daughters have dinner with him for Valentine’s Day. Dylan and Noah manage to free themselves and overpower Shane’s coconspirator. Josie tries to talk Shane out of killing the guys, but he says they don’t have a choice.
As Shane’s gassing up the van, Josie notices Dylan rushing him and tries to warn him. Fighting ensues as the gas tank overflows. Josie gets everyone to stop by firing her gun into the air. But the gas is approaching her discarded cigarette, leading to a fire. Dylan subdues the kidnappers while Noah grabs the ransom money from the van just before it explodes.
Kelly apologizes to Matt for oversharing with Donna and not confiding in him more. She gives him one of her journals so he can know more about her. Matt returns it, wanting her to be able to keep some things to herself. Besides he’s not going to let her read his. Now it’s time for a game of Attorney-Client Privilege. As Dylan and Noah let Steve know they’re okay, Donna arrives at her parents’ house. Gina finds Dr. Martin unconscious on the floor, and the sisters rush to get their father medical attention.
Thoughts: Brian Austin Green directed this episode. Some of his shots aren’t that great.
Lover’s Lane is hosted by one Mr. Ryan “I Paid Good Money for These Frosted Tips” Seacrest.
No, show, don’t kill off the only really good character!
See, kids? Smoking really is dangerous.
November 28, 2015
Summary: Donna’s designs are all over the beach apartment, where she’s working on her fall line. Kelly decides this is a good time to tell her that she’s leaving the boutique after all. Donna admits to being scared, but Kelly thinks everything will go fine. They hope there will always be something that binds them together.
At the After Dark, Dylan tells Gina about a possible job opportunity at a sports channel, since her last job opportunity fell through. (She blames Dylan.) Noah’s druggie friends are still hanging around, and now they have a problem. Josie flushed her drugs, and her dealer’s not happy. He’s threatened to kill her if she doesn’t pay him back. Dylan tells Noah to stop hanging out with people who could get him in trouble.
Matt’s brother’s coming to town, and Matt’s not looking forward to the visit, which will come with criticism. He’s especially not looking forward to his brother looking down on the size of Kelly’s engagement ring. The brother, Patrick, proves to be annoying, but his wife, Juliane, is friendly. Matt tells them that he and Kelly are “on vacation” while they’re in town, rather than admitting that they’re both out of work.
The boutique is doing well without Kelly – so well that Donna’s having some trouble keeping up. David steps in to help. Kelly comes by, wanting to talk about the Durning brothers, but Donna doesn’t have time. So already the friendship between the two of them is worse than before. Gina meets with Russell, the man at the sports channel, who has one condition before he hires her: She needs to get his slacker preteen son Michael ready for a school dance.
Donna goes to an industry party and runs into Camille Desmond, who once wrote about her boutique for a magazine. She gushes over Donna’s clothes and the way she’s marketed herself. Camille wants to do a profile on Donna, and Donna decides to take advantage of the article to look for a new beau. Camille introduces her to an awkward buyer named Dan. Sample conversation: “I hear wool is back this year.”
Steve and Janet come home from a night out, happy that Darby is doing such a good job looking after Maddy. She’s not so good with discretion, though – Noah’s still at the house, and he and the nanny aren’t completely dressed. But hey, at least he’s not hanging out with the drug dealer! (I don’t think Janet would be as happy to hear that as she could be.)
Matt, Patrick, and Juliane go out to dinner, where Patrick blurts out that he and Juliane haven’t been able to have a baby. Specifically, Patrick can’t. Juliane can, and instead of adopting, the couple has decided to find a sperm donor. Well, not so much find as ask Matt to do it. Noah runs into Steve at the Peach Pit and tries to apologize for what happened with Darby, but Steve doesn’t care. He’s more concerned with whether she’s mentioned her college fling with Steve. Noah says she hasn’t. He suggests that Steve mention the fling to Janet before Darby does.
Matt tells Kelly about Patrick and Juliane’s proposal, which Kelly objects to. She doesn’t think Matt should donate sperm to create a child who’s also his niece or nephew. After all, that didn’t work out so well for Gina. Matt says he told his brother he’d think about it, but he does want Kelly’s input. Kelly’s like, “I believe I’ve already given that.”
Gina takes Michael on a walk, determined to get him to the dance so he can talk to his crush, Nicole. Michael complains about how hard his dad has been on him since his mother died. Gina doesn’t really care – she just wants the job. She encourages Michael to tell his father what he wants (example: an earring).
Steve checks out Darby, then starts to ask her about the party where they hooked up in college. Janet interrupts, so Steve drops it. Janet tells Steve that she really likes Darby, but she doesn’t like Darby hooking up around Maddy. Steve admits to Janet that he and Darby hooked up at a party. She’s about as happy as you would expect.
Kelly runs into Patrick, who tells her that Matt turned down the Uncle Father proposal – and blamed it on Kelly. Kelly tells Patrick that the problem is his and Juliane’s, not hers and Matt’s. Donna gets ready for a date with Dan, asking David for his opinion on her outfit. Just after they leave, Camille arrives looking for Donna. David likes having a pretty woman at his door.
Kelly confronts Matt for throwing her under the bus with Patrick. Now it looks like she’s the reason Patrick and Juliane won’t be able to have a baby. Matt’s upset that he turned Patrick away after waiting his whole life for Patrick to reach out to him. This is about his family, not Kelly. She always talks about responsibility, but in this situation, she won’t take any.
Gina goes to get Michael for another workout session, but Russell’s mad about her interference with his family. Michael got his ear pierced without his father’s permission. When Michael urges Gina to back up his actions, Gina stays out of it. Russell pays her for her work so far, telling her he’s already filled the job at the sports channel.
Janet confirms with Steve that he didn’t remember sleeping with Darby when they interviewed her. Steve says he only remembered after he talked to Noah about her. Janet would like details as to how, exactly, the conversation jogged Steve’s memory: “And if this has anything to do with cup size, there will be a trial separation.” Steve says Darby tends to give men hickeys in the shape of Idaho.
Janet fires Darby, saying the nanny misled them. Steve tells Darby that Janet knows all about their college hookup. Darby has no idea what they’re talking about. She also doesn’t know what the word “Idaho” refers to. She thinks the couple has been having some weird fantasies. After Darby leaves, Steve realizes that she doesn’t remember their hookup.
Donna admits to David that she kissed Dan good night, and she feels bad about it – she really only went out with him in hopes that he’ll sell her sweaters. David doesn’t think that Dan would have agreed to a date if he didn’t think he could make money from her clothes. Donna’s “honor is intact,” somehow, and a buyer likes her clothes. In other good news, David has a date with Camille, and talked Donna up to her for the article.
Kelly goes over to the Walshes’, where Patrick and Juliane are looking after Maddy. Juliane assures Kelly that there are no hard feelings over her objection to the Uncle Father situation. If Juliane were in Kelly’s place, she would have made the same decisions. Kelly promises that Matt really wanted to help. Juliane thinks this is a good lesson for Patrick in dealing with situations out of their control. She’s happy with her relationship and knows her husband will be a good father someday.
Noah meets with Josie and Shane to tell them that Dylan isn’t going to help them out of their problems with the dealer. Shane makes it clear that if something happens to Josie, he’ll come after Noah. Noah replies that he’s not going to help them get Dylan’s help anymore. Dan asks Donna out again, but she lets him know that they’re not going to have a relationship. He’s free to cancel the order if he wants, but he still likes her designs.
David promises Donna that she’ll wind up with the perfect guy and have a great life. Donna just wishes it would happen quickly, because she’s in dating hell. She suggests that the two of them spend the day at the beach, but David already has plans with Camille. Also, Donna probably shouldn’t be willing to close the boutique for the day if business is so great.
Janet’s still annoyed that Steve didn’t tell her about his hookup with Darby right away, but she’s not that mad about it. (Not to mention that she can tease him about Darby forgetting that they slept together.) She takes him to the carousel where he took her for their seventh date. He’s surprised that she remembers, and Janet says that his performance isn’t what’s memorable about him. Kelly tells Matt that he was right when he said the Uncle Father issue isn’t about her. She does need to take responsibility, and right now she’s going to do it by approving the deal.
Gina goes to Russell’s house to accompany Michael to the dance. She lectures Russell about the way he disciplines his son without ever letting him have fun. Gina knows what it’s like to grow up with a critical parent, and how her mother’s attitude shaped her. Michael deserves better. Russell tells Gina that Michael’s mother was great, and he’s not sure how to parent without her. He’s just been trying to keep things under control. Gina urges him to listen to his son.
Kelly and Donna finally have the chance to reconnect at the beach apartment, but Donna doesn’t want to hear how things have changed. She admits that she feels alone all the time. Kelly reads from Camille’s profile on Donna, which mentions how kind and genuine Donna is. Kelly thinks guys will be lining up to date her now. The two friends decide to recommit to their friendship with each other.
Michael’s surprised that Gina wants to go to the dance with him even with no shot at the job anymore. Gina says she’s there because no one ever showed up for her. She sends Michael to dance with Nicole, who says she likes his earring. Dylan randomly shows up to dance with Gina, because I guess any adult who wants can go to a school dance. At the After Dark, Shane and a friend kidnap Noah and drive off with him in a van.
Thoughts: Nicole is played by a frizzy-haired, brunette Ashley Tisdale.
Camille Desmond is the greatest soap name ever.
I don’t like Kelly’s attitude about the whole Uncle Father thing, but on the other hand, I don’t think Matt thought it through.
The whole situation made me think of the episode of Modern Family when Claire agrees to help Cam and Mitchell have a baby, and then they realize that she would be the baby’s mom and aunt (Aunt Mommy), which is weird.
November 21, 2015
Summary: Matt’s been using his suspension from practicing law to work out a lot. David and Donna, both single now, have been spending time together but would like Matt to introduce them to new love interests. Kelly asks Matt to give legal advice to a janitor named Everardo who lost his job after being injured. Dylan and Gina go to a club opening that’s apparently a big event (Jennifer Lopez is there). Dylan and Josie make eyes at each other, but he assures Gina that he doesn’t care about her. They get their picture taken together for the paper, and Gina gets mad when Dylan says their status is “unknown.”
The next day, Gina complains to Donna and Kelly about Dylan’s behavior. Donna mentions that the boutique’s lease is almost up, so she and Kelly need to discuss resigning. Then she tells Gina to feel free to set her up with someone. A guy named Jerry comes in to use the phone, and Donna seems interested, so all Gina has to do to help is hand over Donna’s phone number. Janet interviews nannies while Steve, David, and Matt work on an alien-autopsy story for the Beverly Beat. After the candidate, Darby, leaves, Janet says she’s not getting the job because she’s too cute. Steve quickly guesses that Janet worries that he’ll fool around with Darby.
Kelly makes Dylan talk to her at the Peach Pit, telling him that Donna and David want to go up to the Hollywood sign. Dylan would rather be anywhere else right now. Kelly’s chased off when Gina arrives and shows Dylan that their picture in the paper might lead to a job as a spokesperson. She wants to hang out at the After Dark, even though they might not be alone. Matt meets with Everardo, warning that he only has two days before the statue of limitations runs out on his case. Since Matt’s still on suspension, he can’t take the case. Everardo’s upset that no lawyers are helping him.
Jerry stands Donna up, so she returns home to talk to Kelly about the boutique’s lease. She can tell Kelly isn’t that enthusiastic about staying on at the store. She remembers how the two of them and Brenda tried so hard to get matching schedules their junior year of high school. Now it looks like Kelly and Donna will be going separate ways again. But they’re still looking forward to the future, since there are still good things to come. And they’ve been friends for so long that they know they’ll stay in each other’s lives.
Janet and Steve interview another nanny, this one old enough to be a grandmother. Janet loves her, but soon changes her attitude when the woman talks about smudging the nursery to keep out demons. Steve doesn’t think they have time to look at more résumés, so Janet reluctantly agrees to hire Darby. David lands a date with a lawyer named Chrissy (Donna’s awestruck), which just makes Donna’s non-date with Jerry hurt even more. Jerry turns up with an excuse for why he stood Donna up, but she doesn’t want to hear it. David encourages her to give Jerry a second chance.
Kelly tells Matt that she’s leaving the boutique, and though she appreciates Donna’s support, she doesn’t know what to do with her life. Matt admits that he’s taking Everardo’s case despite his suspension. Kelly thinks she should go back to the boutique so they have some security. Matt’s like, “No, everything’s fine! Nothing will go wrong!” Gina and Dylan go out with Noah, Josie, and Shane, but things quickly get tense when Dylan bans Josie from doing drugs in their limo. Josie sprays everyone with champagne instead.
At the After Dark, Noah avoids David, who’s there with Chrissy. Gina whines that she doesn’t want to go in while she’s all wet, so Dylan gives the driver $1,000 to let them borrow the limo for a joyride. Donna and Jerry are off to a good start, but he pauses the date to take a call. Gina tells Dylan that his and Noah’s friends are just using him because he has money. Dylan doesn’t care – he’s sick of everyone else criticizing him all the time. His new friends don’t expect anything from him. The limo gets pulled over, and when the cops check it out, they find Josie’s cocaine and arrest Dylan and Gina.
The next day, Chrissy visits Matt to tell him that David told her he took Everardo’s case. Matt tries to downplay his involvement, but Chrissy knows better. She’s on the Bar Association’s ethics committee, and she doesn’t want to have to report him. Dylan and Gina have been at the police station all night, and since Matt’s on suspension, they don’t currently have a lawyer. A cop offers to go easy on them if they give him the name of their coke-using friend, who’s been trafficking. Dylan asks for an hour.
Steve and Janet meet with Darby at the Peach Pit, trying to get her to loosen up and stop calling them Mr. and Mrs. Sanders. It turns out she went to CU. She meets Noah, and the two of them are immediately attracted to each other. Steve pulls Noah aside to try to get him to keep his distance from Darby. Noah calms him down, though Steve has some rules for appropriate dating behavior. Darby tells Janet that she’s a little nervous about the date, so Janet reminds her that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to.
Dylan goes to the After Dark to yell at Noah for hanging out with drug dealers. Noah gives up Josie’s name, revealing that Dylan slept with her. Kelly’s heard about the arrest and expresses concern, but Dylan doesn’t want to hear it. Later, Matt meets Kelly at the boutique, having successfully gotten Everardo a settlement. He hears a message from Donna mentioning that Kelly has put her name on the boutique’s lease after all. Now she’s locked in for three more years. She admits that she got cold feet about leaving. Matt urges her to stop seeing change as a bad thing.
Donna goes on another date with Jerry, but a romantic dance is interrupted by a woman slapping him and accusing him of cheating. It turns out Jerry’s married. Donna gives him a couple of slaps herself. The Bar Association has been notified that Matt represented Everardo, so he’s going to be reported. His suspension is upped, but Matt doesn’t seem to care. Kelly tells him her discomfort with how everyone in her group of friends is growing up and changing. She knows that clinging to the boutique is her way of trying to keep something the same, and she needs to let go.
David and Donna are back to being single; he doesn’t want to date the woman who ratted out Matt. But it looks like they’re having enough fun just hanging out with each other. Steve and Janet are pleased with Darby, and already feel like she’s part of the family. Darby’s on her date with Noah, and having a great time. He offers to take her home in the limo, and I don’t think he’s going to stick to Steve’s instructions to keep his hands to himself. Dylan lets Gina know that the charges against them have been dropped, but that doesn’t make her happy. Thanks to a news article about their arrests, Gina’s job offer has been rescinded.
Dylan heads to his own suite, where Shane’s waiting for him. He knows Dylan gave the police Josie’s name. Steve’s still up when Noah and Darby’s limo finally makes it to the Walshes’ house two hours past when Darby was supposed to be home. And yeah, they hooked up. After Darby goes upstairs, Noah tells Steve that she likes to use chocolate and whipped cream during sex. She was also on CU’s gymnastics team. That reminds Steve of a girl he hooked up with in college. Hey, guess what? That was Darby. Ruh-roh!
Thoughts: Ian Ziering directed this episode. Good for him.
The reminiscing in this episode makes me think that at this point they knew the show wouldn’t be coming back for another season.
Do Steve and Janet really need a live-in nanny?
Donna: “I noticed you forgot to date it next to your signature, so I fudged it myself. Is that illegal?” This episode has all kinds of rule-breakers.
October 10, 2015
Summary: Steve dozes at the Walshes’ while Kelly, Donna, and Janet work on wedding details. Donna mentions that Noah’s going to start moving into the beach apartment. Janet complains that her and Steve’s parents don’t care about the wedding (which they haven’t even set a date for yet). Right now, all Steve cares about is the strippers he’s dreaming about. Janet invades his dream to ask a question about the wedding reception.
Dylan meets with Andrew to go over activities for the kids at the community center. He needs more funds, so Dylan writes a big check. He’d rather give money than actually volunteer. Gina suggests that she and Dylan volunteer together, which is hilarious. Kelly runs into David at the Peach Pit and tells him that Mel is a pig – she’s heard about Mel’s visit to the strip club. Now that Jackie knows, she’s kicking him out. “My daddy looked at a naked girl, so Kelly’s mommy kicked him out,” David tells Gina, who plays dumb about how Jackie might have found out. Kelly’s on to her, though, and hates both her and Noah.
Janet works on the nursery, hoping to get it done quickly so she and Steve can move on to wedding plans. She gets emotional and tells Steve she doesn’t want to be pregnant when they get married. Steve tells her she doesn’t need to be insecure about anything. Janet suggests that they set a date for the wedding.
Dylan and Andrew have dinner together, and Andrew mentions that he’s gay. Dylan clearly doesn’t have any problem with it, but Andrew isn’t out. He’s stayed in the closet because he’s worried about how people will react to him working with kids. Dylan’s like, “What decade is this?” Just then, a group of guys jumps out and attacks Dylan and Andrew, thinking they’re a couple. Dylan gets the better of one, but Andrew is a little banged up.
Janet panics about baby and wedding stress again, but Steve has an idea. It involves their friends. Dylan takes Andrew to his hotel and calls the police, who need the guys to make a statement. Andrew won’t make one – the press will find out he’s gay, and he doesn’t want to deal with the backlash. He’s scared he’ll be branded a pervert. Dylan points out that if they don’t put the bashers in jail, they’ll go after someone else. Andrew tells him to make the statement for both of them.
Gina comes home and tells Dylan that her mom wants them to visit. She’s pleased that Bobbi actually wants to spend time with her. Dylan points out that Gina never wants to spend time with her; why is she so excited about a visit? Gina asks if Dylan knows anything about her. They spend all their time together, but Dylan never seems to care what she’s talking about. And yet she keeps coming back…
Steve and Janet gather the gang at the After Dark to send them on a scavenger hunt. Nat announces that there will be a party at the end. It’s to serve as a combination baby shower/bachelor party/bachelorette party. Everyone will work in teams, and if they get stuck, they can call an emergency number for help. There’s no cheating, and Steve and Janet won’t be paying any speeding tickets. (Heh.)
The teams are Donna and Matt; David, Kelly, and Noah (bad idea); and Dylan and Gina (worse idea). Each team gets a box containing the first clue and any “tools” they may need. Donna and Matt rush off before even looking at the clue. Kelly, David, and Noah turn out to get a good team, quickly figuring out that they need to go to a copy center. Gina and Dylan will probably kill each other before they figure out the first clue.
Once David, Kelly, and Noah are in the car, things get awkward, since Kelly wants to talk about how many times Mel may have cheated on Jackie. David points out that Jackie’s the one breaking up the marriage. Kelly replies that she’s not the one who cheated. Noah tries to argue that not every stripper at the club was a stripper. Kelly’s like, “Semantics don’t matter when my mom and sister are angry at Mel.”
Donna and Matt are first to the copy center, where they have to use photos of various body parts to make a calendar: “P.S. Extra points for photocopying your butt.” Donna volunteers Matt’s butt. Good call, Donna. They quickly get to work, finishing as David, Noah, and Kelly arrive. Noah asks Donna to switch teams since Kelly’s being a jerk. She agrees but reminds him that he and Kelly are about to be roommates. Donna’s smart enough to take her and Matt’s photos, so he’ll have to redo the task with Noah.
The next clue sends teams to a house owned by a family who puts up Christmas decorations in November. The racers will be stealing some of the decorations (which will be returned at the end of the race). Dylan and Gina are still on their way to the copy center, though Gina’s more interested in helping a stray dog. Dylan tells her they’re not getting a dog, which makes Gina complain about their strained relationship.
Noah and Matt head to the Christmas house to do some stealing. “Smells like a felony to me!” Matt says. Noah finds and starts blowing up an inflatable doll. A cop sees them, and the guys try to pretend nothing strange is going on but get pulled over anyway. At the Christmas house, David stays back to be the getaway driver while Donna and Kelly take decorations and the next clue. They get caught by the homeowner, who’s excited to participate – she met her husband on a scavenger hunt.
Dylan and Gina arrive next, fighting about the dog. David agrees to go with Gina to get the stray, so we have another team switch. Kelly, Donna, and Dylan next go to a mattress store to take a photo with an employee on a bed (wearing footie pajamas). Andrew calls Dylan to tell him that he needs to view a lineup the next day. Andrew still refuses to participate. Kelly and Donna bug him about Gina, pointing out that they shouldn’t be dating if they can’t handle spending an hour in a car together.
Gina and Dylan take the dog to a vet, and she complains more about Dylan. She wishes he were more like David. At the mattress store, Dylan and an increasingly competitive Donna convince a store employee to take a picture with a pajama-wearing Dylan. The next clue tells the team to find the classified ad Janet answered for the job Steve and Brandon gave her at the Beverly Beat. Somehow, the task involves math.
Donna and Dylan work on it while Kelly answers Donna’s phone. Noah’s calling from the Christmas house, wanting to talk to Donna. Kelly refuses to hand over the phone, telling Noah to call the emergency number and quit. The mattress-store employee did well on his math SAT, so he helps Dylan with the clue. He comes up with the number 15,488. The racers combine that with a picture of a sunset and decide it means the party is at 15488 Sunset Boulevard.
Gina’s upset to learn that the stray dog isn’t actually a stray, and will be allowed to go back to her owners. She objects to them getting back the dog they let wander in traffic. That’s not how you treat someone you love. Do you guys get it? David’s more concerned with the fact that they named the dog Joan. Heh. Gina takes the dog and tells the vet to let the family know they can call her to get Joan back.
Everyone else ends up at 15488 Sunset Boulevard, though Noah and Matt had to call the emergency number. Donna, Kelly, and Dylan have won the race, which is good, because Donna would probably be insufferable if she’d lost. The final clue gives some information about the location, saying that today it will unite two-and-a-half people. Nat appears and plugs in some lights as “Here Comes the Bride” plays. Steve and Janet are getting married there, right now.
The bride and groom exchange some very nice vows and are declared husband and wife. They have their reception at the Beverly Royale, laughing over Dylan’s picture from the mattress store. The wedding location was something old. The mattress Dylan posed on is now Janet and Steve’s, their something new. The Christmas lights are something borrowed, and the calendars are something(s) blue. Steve wonders what happened to the blow-up doll. The prize for the scavenger hunt is a gift certificate to the Peach Pit. Thanks for showing up, Nat.
Dylan toasts the newlyweds, who share their first dance. Janet wishes their parents had been there, but Steve points out that that would have been a disaster. Janet’s hopeful that their families will come around someday. Steve’s happy even though things didn’t come together the way they’d imagined. Kelly still won’t talk to Noah, who reminds her that the strippers and dancers weren’t any kind of victims. For example, one of them, Trina, was there to make money to take care of her kids. Some people make mistakes and do what they have to do to get by.
Later, Kelly sees how happy Steve and Janet are and tells Matt that’s what she wants someday. Matt decides to conspire to make sure Kelly catches Janet’s bouquet. Dylan tells Kelly, “She doesn’t hold a candle to you on your wedding day.” Then he tells Gina he’ll go visit Bobbi with her. Gina says she just wanted to spend more time with him; how else will they end up like Steve and Janet? Dylan tells her they might not get a happily ever after.
Gina storms off, asking David to take her somewhere. He tells her he can’t hang out with her if they’re only going to be friends. Back at the reception, Dylan arranges for Steve and Janet to spend the night in the penthouse, but they already have a place to stay. Donna, Kelly, and Noah return the Christmas decorations before Kelly goes to spend the night with Matt so Donna and Noah can have the apartment to themselves. Donna tells Noah she wants to do something to help Trina, but he admits that she doesn’t exist. Kelly doesn’t have to know.
While David and Gina end up in bed together, Kelly goes to see Dylan. She remembered that no one took pictures of her at her and Brandon’s aborted wedding, so how does he know how she looked? Turns out he was there but left before he had to watch her marry someone else. They agree that he shouldn’t have brought it up.
Thoughts: This episode was really fun! Steve and Janet’s idea was adorable. The wedding was really sweet. And there were a lot of funny moments. I think the actors had fun doing this.
According to the writers, Gina calls Dylan “honey bunny” and picks up stray dogs. Whatever, guys.
Kelly telling Gina, “Please go to Hell” made me giggle.
Kelly, after Noah tells her that some of the women at the club were dancers, not prostitutes: “What, exactly, was the dancer-to-prostitute ratio?” Hee. She may be annoying in this episode, but she’s funny, too.
When the mattress-store employee starts to leave after the picture, Dylan tells him to stay on the bed and “relax.” I wonder if Luke Perry adlibbed that – it seemed random.
Also, I hope Donna shares her gift certificate with that employee, since he’s the one who came up with the right address.
September 29, 2015
Summary: Clay’s trial for killing Officer Riviera is approaching, and Jessica is reluctantly staying away from Nick, who’s hiding out in case Clay wants to have him offed. Jessica’s been ordered to stay away from the trial, and I think it’s really cute that Nick believes she’ll listen to him. She shows up at the courthouse in disguise, pretending to be an old woman. Nick, however, is a trained detective, not to mention her boyfriend, so the disguise doesn’t fool him.
Jessica’s barely able to keep her mouth shut during the trial, since Nick’s testimony doesn’t go well. This is doubly depressing for Nick, since he goes through with his plan to commit perjury, lying that he (not Jessica) heard Clay admitting to killing Riviera. With things looking bleak for the police, Nick convinces the prosecutor to offer Clay a deal if he turns on the head of the mob organization he works for. This almost succeeds, until Clay hears Nick sneeze behind a two-way mirror and refuses to cooperate in anything he’s involved in. I don’t know how Clay knew it was Nick, but whatever. Also, he threatens to kill Nick.
Jessica tries to find out where Nick’s hiding out, so she can visit him. The police chief tells her a story about how he and his then-girlfriend were separated because they witnessed a crime, and it was super-difficult and blah blah blah, I thought it would end with the girlfriend being murdered, and a lesson for Jess that you don’t mess around when it comes to dangerous situations. But the chief and his girlfriend are now married and have been happy for decades, so I guess the lesson is that Jessica should get what she wants because what’s better than two people in love, even if they’d be risking their lives to see each other?
The police chief has Jessica followed so someone can slip her the address of the safehouse where Nick’s been hiding out. Jessica thinks she’s being followed by a hitman sent by Clay. It’s really dumb. Nick and Jessica are allowed to spend some time together, and she decides she can’t live without him, so they should get married, and then she can go with him into witness protection. Nick’s like, “But your codependence with your twin!” Jess is willing to leave Liz forever if it means she gets to stay with Nick. He doesn’t really respond, just telling her not to come to court when the verdict’s read.
Of course, Jessica doesn’t listen. This time she disguises herself as an old man. I kind of wish she’d resurrected Perdita del Mar for this. The chief tells Nick, in so many words, that he needs to break up with Jessica so she won’t want to come with him to witness protection. Jessica gets kicked out of the courtroom, but Nick manages to sneak away for one last makeout session. Then he’s dragged back to the courtroom, just like in a nightmare Jessica had, and she freaks out about never seeing him again.
She’s right to freak out: The verdict is read and Clay is sent to prison, but a masked gunman appears and shoots Clay. Jessica is back on campus at this point, so she and Elizabeth rush to the courthouse. Unfortunately, it’s too late: Nick’s dead. Now I’m sad. I liked him, and Jessica’s going to be devastated. Plus, this is, like, her fifth boyfriend who’s died. You suck, ghostwriter.
Hey, remember Todd? He still exists. Elizabeth runs into him and they chat about nothing for a little while before he heads to a session with a school therapist. Finally, someone in this town is getting well-needed counseling! Todd is still struggling with Gin-Yung’s death. He’s not as interested in basketball anymore, so his counselor advises him to find a new activity. How about music? When Todd heads to the music building to see what’s available for him to try out, he sees Dana. He thinks she’s hot. We don’t care, Todd.
The writers have suddenly decided that Dana needs our sympathy, so they let us know that all her friends hate her (because she ditched them when she was dating Tom). Also, she’s struggling with cello lessons, and everyone thinks she’s a jerk because she kept Tom and Elizabeth apart. Apparently everyone at SVU ships Tom and Elizabeth. Ugh.
At least one person has sympathy for Dana: Elizabeth. She tries to chat with her, but things go south when she brings up Tom. Liz gushes about how Tom is such a great guy for not just wanting to have sex with girls – he wants real relationships with them. Dana’s confused, so Elizabeth tells her that Tom said they never slept together. Dana gets offended, because why would a guy she was completely in love with deny having sex with her? She makes it clear that they humped like bunnies.
Elizabeth is humiliated that Tom lied to her. Now she can never trust another guy! Wow, Liz. She feels like he betrayed her. Not to go all Ross Geller on anyone, but they were on a break. But Elizabeth never let a little thing like facts get in the way of indignation, so she dumps Tom. Buddy, she probably did you a favor. But don’t think this means Elizabeth’s going to run back to Todd – after she bombs a recital and risks her scholarship, Dana runs into Todd, who asks her to get coffee. Todd, no! This is a bad idea!
Danny spends the whole book feeling horrible for the way he treated Isabella, and worrying that he’ll never get to talk to her again. Her parents consider moving her to Switzerland, but Mrs. Ricci decides that she should stay in Sweet Valley so Danny can visit her. Danny makes it his mission to bring Isabella out of her coma, so he plays her favorite Elvis songs and sprays her favorite perfume in her room. It’s actually kind of sweet. And somehow, it works! Except Isabella has total amnesia and can’t remember who Danny or anyone else is! GASP!
Denise is still furious with Winston for kissing visiting prep-schooler Brenda, though Winston maintains that she kissed him and he didn’t reciprocate. He’s desperate to make things up to Denise, so he goes to Bruce for advice. Yeah, read that sentence again. I wonder why this plan doesn’t work? Bruce tells Winston that Lila always responds to expensive jewelry, so Winston should win Denise back with something shiny. Winston gives this a try, not realizing that the ivory figuring he bought her was made possible by the death of an elephant. Wow, romantic.
Winston gets some advice from some random girl in his dorm, who tells him to think about Denise specifically, not women in general. He needs to do something to remind her why she fell in love with him in the first place. Winston’s brain interprets this as “buy her a cheeseburger and use that as a metaphor.” Denise finds this ridiculous, but when she sees how sad her reaction makes him, she feels bad. She decides to drag out her anger a little longer, but eventually forgives him after he serenades her with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It’s a kind of funny moment where all the girls in the dorm hear him singing outside Denise’s window and chant for her to take him back. So at least one couple in Sweet Valley is happy.
Thoughts: Brenda is described as a “brunette ringer for Jessica.” Does that mean there’s yet another Wakefield lookalike in Sweet Valley?
Nina (who has one unremarkable scene in the book) eats cottage cheese on toast. Is that a thing?
Isabella studied aikido. Sure, she did.
Why have Winston get relationship advice from someone we’ve never met before? Why not, say, Nina?
Elizabeth goes to the movies in a “short gold summer dress.” Wrong twin, ghostwriter.
“I mean, what does my sex life have to do with you, Elizabeth?” This might be the first thing Dana’s ever said that I agree with.