Amber L. Carter
Writer. Professional Intuitive. Pop Culture Obsessive.
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Beverly Hills 90210: S2E13 - Halloween

Welcome to the Halloween episode from season 2 of Beverly Hills, 90210, aptly titled….”Halloween”!

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Originally airing on 10/31/1991, this episode has it all - pumpkin carving, soulful guitar solos, dated costumes, nostalgia for the childhood acts of vandalism, sick dance beats, attempted date rape, and the nuanced social and economic implications of poor kids trick-or-treating in rich neighborhoods!

West Beverly, Where Everyone Carves Pumpkins & Nothing Hurts

Our themed episode begins with what feels like a five minute art film school sequence of Jack O’ Lanterns lit up in the dark night, while a soulful guitar solo wails and screams are heard in the background.

WTF.

Then, we open up with Brandon teasing Andrea as she paints some gourds for the poor kids who hang out at the local youth center. If you feel like this is going to be a big part of the episode, guess what?! It’s not! It’s literally just a way for the writers to be all, “Hey, let’s take the day off from trying to convince everyone that 30 year old Gabrielle Carteris (she was LITERALLY THIRTY. YEARS. OOOOLLLLDDD) is a 16 year old sophomore at West Beverly.”

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Scott shows up at David’s DJ booth, and we learn that David is being paid to make a bunch of tapes for the big Halloween party going on at “the old Brownstone Mansion.” It’s a joint party between West Beverly and Beverly High! Scott eagerly tells David that he’s going to “The Corner”, where he and his nerd herd are going to keep their annual tradition of an “egg-fight”…even though, as David points out, the place is going to be crawling with cops! But Scott LOVES danger! He loves danger, egg-fights, hiding in bushes, acting like a middle schooler, and (soon) guns! And NONE of that is going end terribly wrong for him!

“You should come,” Scott says, trying to persuade David. “It’s going to be OUTRAGEOUS!” Really? Is it, Scott? But David declines, citing that half the girls in town are going to be there…”all dancing…to MY tapes!” JFC. But just in case he changes his mind, Scott tells David that he knows where they’ll be…hanging out with all the other losers desperately trying to hold onto their boyhood!

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Emily catches Brandon in the hall, and accuses him of getting into the Halloween spirit. “Bah humbug!” Brandon says, and all the writers high-five over their hilarious joke. Emily asks if he’s going to the big Halloween shindig, and we find out once again that Brandon, the moral compass of the show, doesn’t drink, and he dances “like a white guy” so much like unfairness or any and all rule-breaking, parties aren’t really his thing! He asks Emily if she’s going to the party, and she replies that she wasn’t invited. Of course she wasn’t! Emily is cool and edgy and intelligent and interested in more than the newest Clairol lip kits, so OBVIOUSLY she would be excluded from social activities by girls like Brenda and Kelli! Brandon drops the slightest hint that if she wanted to go the party, he’d go with her, and she’s rightly like, “After that build-up, fun-killer?” They go their separate ways with no plans made…I wonder what’s going to happen next?!?

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Speaking of Brenda, we find her doing what she does best - bitching about stuff! - while she and Donna scrap out the pumpkin guts from their pumpkins…what is going on at this school?! Is there some mandatory pumpkin-decoration graduation criteria happening at West Beverly that we don’t know about? Brenda brags about how, growing up, they always made their costumes, so the thought of renting one from Hollywood Costumes “that Joan Collins or someone else might have been sweating in” (YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY BRENDA THAT WOMAN IS GD QUEEN) just sounds sooooo gross. Donna’s like, “Whatever, I’m renting” and Kelly arrives with her own pumpkin and announces that she and Donna just got blown off because the guys they were going with decided to go to some bash in Malibu instead. And, TOTAL DISASTER, they were going to go as Lucy and Ethel because the guys were going be Ricky and Fred. Brenda is like, “Oh sure, but I can’t even get Dylan to agree to dress up” because literally everything has to be about her.

Dylan shows up, makes some bad pumpkin joke in French - “I’m going to puke,” Kelly, retorts, in classic Kelly fashion - and then Steve pops in, reminding the gang that they can’t all just sit around, carving pumpkins at West Beverly all night (seriously, WHY is everyone carving pumpkins at West Beverly?! Is there a pumpkin patch in the back quad?! I NEED ANSWERS) if they’re going to hit up Hollywood Costumes before it closes! “Dylan, are you sure you don’t want to come with?” Brenda asks, smiling sweetly.

“Why do I feel like you’re trying to get me to wear a costume? Come on, BRENDA!” Dylan replies. Then they put their pumpkins away (where? Where in West Beverly will all these pumpkins go?!) and head over to Hollywood Costumes!

It’s Called Hollywood Costumes Because They Rent Costumes From Hollywood Which Is a Thing You Would Probably Know About If You Grew Up a Rich Kid From Beverly Hills, Too, But You Didn’t So That’s Why This Is Supposed To Be Cool

The gang is all at Hollywood Costumes, picking out their outfits for the big party! Brenda continues to try to convince Dylan to pick out a costume, and Dylan is all like, “Come on, BRENDA! I told you I don’t need to dress up to have fun!” Steve’s like, “Yo, dork, don’t be a squeef!” and sets off to find his own costume.

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Cue a bunch of bad jokes about “hilarious” costumes - along with sound effects! - while the gang searches for ideas. Steve decides to go for Zorro, while Donna decides to pick out something funny vs. sexy. Kelly, on the other hand, decides to go for sexy - because if she has to go stag to this party, she at least wants to make a SPLASH! - which of course earns some disapproving looks and jealous comments from Bitchy Brenda. Dylan finds a “righteous” costume that convinces him that he and Brenda should go as Bonnie and Clyde, and cue the full moon, dark clouds, and wolf howls!

Raisins Are Garbage, The End

Back at Casa Walsh, Jim is decorating the house for Halloween - little late getting those up, don’cha think, Jimbo? - whilst Cindy is admiring the basket full of boxed raisins that she’s giving out to all the kids. Brandon rightfully criticizes her for this choice, asking her if she doesn’t think that the kids are going to be a little disappointed with getting raisins. “I just want to give them something…a little wholesome!” She explains. “Yeah, they can get candy bars at everyone else’s house,” Jim adds. Oh REALLY, Jim?! Yeah, just let EVERYONE else spend their hard-earned money getting the kind of candy they know the kids will like? Sure, and why don’t we just place the burden of Medicare on the younger generation and let them clean up the national deficit, too, while we’re at it? Then Jim says the worst thing he’s ever said in his life…”After all, they’re nature’s candy!” No they are NOT, JIM WALSH! GRAPES are nature’s candy…raisins are grapes left to rot and die in the sun. You’re literally eating GRAPE CARCASSES. Like if a grape could be a mummy, or be left in a bog for thousands of years while its skin becomes like a tanned hide that’s preserved by the elements, THAT would be what a raisin is.

The doorbell rings, and Brandon answers it, expecting it to be kids, but whaddya know! It’s Dylan, dressed as Clyde, who tells him this is a stick-up and to give him all his candy. HAHAHAHAHAHA oh MAN, these kids! What JOKERS!

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Brandon shows Dylan the basket of raisins, Dyan is like “Ew” and Cindy and Jim add another bullet to the “Why We Hate Dylan” List!

Brenda comes down the stairs and Cindy stares at her in awe as if she were Princess Diana instead of just wearing a Depression era costume. Dylan and Brenda make some more Bonnie and Clyde puns while Cindy grabs her camera.

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“My daughter, the career criminal,” Jim says, proudly. Oh Jim. If you only knew what was coming in those college years…

The Part of the Show Where We Realize That Sexy Halloween Costumes Have Truly Come a Long, Long Way Since 1991

The party at the old Brownstone Mansion is jumping - we’re treated to tons of close-ups and cutaways of timely Halloween costumes…like Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, the Industrialist mask from that one musical scene in Beaches (seriously, they show a close-up of this mask FIFTEEN TIMES in this episode, including earlier at Hollywood Costumes) - and TONS of girls dancing, ALL to David’s tapes!!!

Dylan and Brenda arrive and are greeted by Zorro Steve. They’re about to go grab a drink when they’re called out by Donna, who somehow miraculously showed up at the party in a mermaid costume that’s so tight she can barely walk. Great news, though - it makes for some suuuuper hilarious close-ups on her feet/fins, a hundred of which we get to look forward to for the rest of this episode!

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Dylan and Brenda try to assist Donna by helping her walk, and as they do, they suddenly hear cat-calls and whistles. Jaws drop, masks are removed, fingers are pointed. Who is it? Who’s at the door?

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Oh, it’s just Kelly, wearing a “sexy” costume!

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Seriously, this costume is so tame, even by 1991 standards. Blanche from The Golden Girls probably wouldn’t even wear this to bed because it has so much material. But also, these kids are only supposed to be 16, so I guess for now we can pretend like this is a big deal.

Brenda, ever the fun-ruiner, grabs Kelly by the arm and pulls her back out to the entrance. “Did your MOM see you like this?” She asks Kelly, snottily.

“Brenda, lighten up,” Kelly tells her. “It’s just a costume.”

“Do you want guys staring at you like that all night long?”

“What’s wrong with that? I wanna make an impression. You probably don’t remember what’s it like to meet guys, right?”

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“That’s how you want to meet them?” Brenda, SHUT. UUUUUP. Like, why is Brenda always the WORST friend EVER?! “I’m warning you, you’re looking for trouble.”

Great, Brenda, thanks, way to be a kind and supportive friend instead of a toxic frenemy who’s always looking to cut her friends down with her sarcastic eye-rolling and passive-aggressive comments!

Kelly basically tells her to fuck off, that she can dress up however she wants, and that she knows how to take care of herself by now. “Trick or treat,” she smiles, as she walks back into the party.

Back at the Walsh homestead, Cindy and Brandon are greeting all the lucky trick-or-treaters who have the bad fortune of picking their house to show up at. There’s a hilarious moment where Brandon has to explain to his mom what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are (“That’s Donatello.” “The Painter?!” “No, Mom, the Ninja Turtle.” HAHAHAHA PARENTS, amirite?!

Back at the party, Kelly’s having a great time, flirting up a storm and threatening to cast spells on various groups of guys, when she runs into Steve. “I thought witches wore those big things, like a cloak.”

“I’m sorry if you have a problem with it.” YEAH STEVE, SORRY IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A WOMAN WHO HAS FULL AUTONOMY OVER HER BODY.

“I don’t have a problem with it, It just leaves nothing up to the imagination.”

“Steve, with you and me, it’s all imagination.” YEAH, TAKE THAT, STEVE!

Kelly bumps into David, who is literally the only decent one in the entire group when it comes to costume. He sweetly and respectfully tells her that she looks great, and then asks her if she wants to dance. She kindly declines, of course, and wandering around the party, he tries to hit on an air headed Cleopatra by bragging to her about how he picked out all the music. She also does not want to dance - poor David! All these girls, dancing to his tapes, but none of them want to dance to his tapes with him

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Donna continues to try to pick what is apparently a major wedgy in her constricting Mermaid costume - OMG, so funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - while David wanders outside to the porch, where he finds Steve. Steve tells him that he might be getting too old for these parties, and David’s like, “yeah, I know what you mean, remember the old egg-fights? Man those were so awesome, right? Yeah I loved them, they were the best!” o“Oh yeah, man those were awesome! Such great memories. That was junior high…” Steve stares off wistfully into the distance, remembering when life was just about riding bikes and being on Little League and playing video games with his pals, all before he started having sex with Kelly and getting in trouble with the school administration for cheating and feeling a total and complete disappointment every time he was around with his adopted parents…

Steve decides to go back in, but David decides he no longer wants to watch half the girls in the city dancing to his tapes, and so he takes off.

Emily’s Got Tricks For Brandon’s Treats

Scott, surrounded by “three dozen, Grade A, extra large” eggs and strangely whittling a stick from behind some bushes, spots David as he’s walking home. “Hey David, what are you doing here?! I thought you were going to really going to rule at that party.”

“Yeah, well, I got ruled out.” Good one, David!!

Scott starts to tell him that their fellow egg-hunt buds aren't here yet, but David interrupts and tells him that those guys were at the party. Poor Scott…everyone is growing up without him! Is this how Peter Pan felt?! A car drives by and they duck into the bushes, and they start reminiscing about the time that Scott got stuck in his doggy-door. That. was. CLASSIC!

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Back at the Walsh Mansion, Brandon is passing out candy in his vampire costume to the neighborhood kids (including a VERY demanding pumpkin), when he sees two little ghosts coming up the walk. Like any guy who hates parties would, he gets super psyched to really put on the full court press of his Dracula costume, so he pops in his teeth, opens the door, and really goes for it! But then who should walk up, but Emily Valentine! HAHAHAHA BOY does Brandan feel FOOLISH! Luckily for him, Emily - who’s babysitting her niece and nephew and just happened to stop at his house - thinks he’s charming!

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Brandon jokes around with the kids - they’re twins! OMG, just like how Brandon and Brenda are twins! OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG - until Jim shows up to ruin the fun - wonder where Brandon got it from??? - and reminds him to actually pass out those rank boxes of raisins they got for all the kids. Cindy’s like, “Oh hi, Emily, let me just squire these kids away to the bathroom for you, did you know that I’m a MOM?!” while Brandon and Emily awkwardly flirt. Fun!

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Meanwhile, back at the party! Kelly turns down an ALF, Steve asks her if she wants a drink, and then Robin Hood shows up, giving Kelly this long-winded story about her mom knows his mom…which somehow sequeways into wanting to know if she wants to take a ride with him in his dad’s Infiniti. After all, he has a bottle of whiskey! Brenda watches disapprovingly from a distance while Kelly suggests that he takes his bottle out to his car, put it in gear, and then drive all the way down the Santa Monica Pier and keep on going. “See if that baby floats.”

Like, are these scenes written in separate rooms by separate writers, and then someone just comes along and copies and pastes it all together into one script? Because how in the hell do you come up with great lines like that one, but then also hammer in 100 jokes about Donna trying to pick her wedgy in her too tight Mermaid costume?

Brenda, impressed that someone could be as bitchy as she is, comes up to Kelly and congratulates her for her masterful performance. “I guess you do know what you’re doing.” WOW WHAT A GREAT FRIEND THANKS FOR THE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE BRENDA. They gab about Kelly’s options, and Kelly mentions that “skin diver” has lots of possibilities - nice butt, anyway - but there must be a reason why he hasn’t taken his mask off yet. “Why take a chance, you know what I mean?” And I’m like YES, WHY TAKE A CHANCE INDEED KELLY because this one time I went to a Halloween night at the local danceteria and ended up dancing all night with this guy who was dressed up as Disco Stu from The Simpsons and we were having a blast until he asked if he could kiss me and I was like, “let’s wait until we go on an actual date” and it was the best decision I ever made because we met for coffee that next weekend and WOWZA THERE IS A LOT YOU CAN HIDE WITH A HUGE WIG AND SOME AVIATOR SUNGLASSES, MY FRIENDS.

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Then, Kelly spots a cute cowboy across the way, and promises Brenda that she’ll find out who he is by the end of the night. FORESHAAADOOOOWIIIING.

Emily and the kids get ready to head out again. Brandon acts like he doesn’t want her to go, but when Emily asks if he’s with them, he tries to make an excuse about how he needs to stay and man the door. Cindy’s having none of it, though, and basically tells Brandon to get lost. He throws off his vampire cape, slips on his bomber jacket, and heads out for a romantic night of walking around whilst Emily’s niece and nephew beg for candy around the neighborhood!

Back at the party, Kellly meets the cowboy at the punch bowl, and they have some agonizing bad banter per their Halloween characters. It’s honestly so fucking painful - filled with witch and cowboy puns, but the worst is the guy’s truly awful cowpoke accent that he absolutely refuses to drop. She finds out he goes to USC - who doesn’t like a college boy! - and he finds out that she doesn’t “ride” on the first date. Oh geez.

Emily and Brandon are walking with the kids, talking about Halloween in the neighborhood - it’s a big deal in Beverly Hills! People put on a big show, and the kids get the best candy, and it’s a SAFE. NEIGHBORHOOD! (this will be important later). Emily’s not used to such a big production, though (geddit, guys? Cause she’s cool, THAT’S why!), and then she and Brandon bond over how much they miss the leaves in their respective homes of Minnesota and Cambridge. They have a moment where they almost kiss - or, where you can tell Emily wants Brandon to kiss her and he sort of smiles at her like, “I know you want me to kiss you right now but I’m not going to” - and then Emily turns to tell the kids to hold her hand as they cross the street, and whaddya know! The kids aren’t behind them anymore!!! Kids lost in Beverly Hills?!?! WHAT WILL BECOME OF THEM!!

Lost & Found

Back at the party, Donna’s doing the only thing that the writers can apparently think of for her to do during this entire episode, while Kelli slow-dances with the cowboy. Steve gives Donna a hard time about always wearing ridiculous things to events like the Spring Dance and the Halloween Party, and encourages her to just be herself. “Yeah, but who would want to see that?” Donna asks. “I would,” Steve says, kissing her on the forehead. “And so would most of the other guys here. I promise you.” Oh, Steve…sometimes he can be such a squeef, but then other times he can be really sweet! It’s almost like he’s a third-dimensional character with complex personality traits!

Kelli and the cowboy continue to slow-dance and flirt. He can’t BELIEVE that she likes David Letterman! It’s almost as if that makes her a REAL girl with thoughts and opinions and a valid sense of humor!

Panicked, Emily and Brandon go back to his house to see if the cops have found the kids, and whaddya know - the kids are already there! Emily had told them that if they got separated, they should go back to the last place they remember. “You got lost!” The kids yell, as Jim tickles them. “We were worried sick about you!” Emily looks at Brandon and says, “I’ll never do it again.” SEE?!? It’s like there are different writers writing great lines and scenes like this one while some buffoon is writing all the other ones! Cindy mentions that she let them start on their candy, and Brandon points out that she has a little bit of chocolate on her face. Cindy’s like, “Alright, alright! You were all correct in your observation that raisins are total trash! I was wrong, and I’ll never bring those grape carcasses into this house again! Next year we’ll have candy bars!” See? Even when you’re an Old, you’re never too old to learn!

Scott and David are still hanging out behind the bushes with their eggs. Scott observes that it’s 11:00, and this egg-fight just ain’t gonna happen! David agrees, and waxes poetically about how the good ol’ days are over…”Kids just don’t have fun like we used to…things have changed…and not for the better!”

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“Wanna egg a car?” Scott asks. That’s the spirit! They get in position are just about to egg a car when they realize it’s Brandon and Emily in his convertible. Emily’s like, “What are you two doing, hanging around like slugs?” Scott’s like, “nothing?” and Emily’s all, “What a waste! At least I’m from, they know how to have a good egg-fight on Halloween.”

Brandon, ever the fun-ruiner, is like, “Uh, let’s not encourage them.”

“Beverly Hills kids,” Emily sighs. “Rich wimps.” CLASSIC. Brandon and Emily take off, and David and Scott throw eggs in their wake, just like a couple of rich wimps would!

Red Flags

Back at the party, Kelly and the cowboy decide to finally stop slow-dancing and get something eat. Looking at the spread, Kelly announces that she’ll have a chicken wing.

“No,” the cowboy asserts. “Have these quesadillas. They’re much better.”

“No, but I’d much rather have a chicken win-”

He puts a finger on her mouth (sidenote: if ANY guy EVER did that to me, I would legit punch him clean in the mouth. One time my pal David did it to me as a joke and I’m happy to say he’s still alive today, but it was a close and almost fatal mistake). “The quesadillas are better, trust me.”

“Oh, okay, I guess I better listen then.” DON’T DO IT, KELLY! THE QUESIDILLAS ARE POISIONED…WITH MALE TOXICITY!

Kelly gets jostled and says out loud that she wishes they could go someplace less crowded. Whaddya know…the cowboy knows JUST the place for the two of them to go!

They enter a bedroom together…Kelly notes how cool it is and starts to talk about how the place used to be featured in movies, but Cowboy interrupts her and tells her that he’s not one for architecture. Charming! And this is where I have to give the writers some credit - they’re doing a great job of subtly showing a bunch of red flags to try an illustrate that a man who’s not interested in your opinions and desires when it comes to the little things will likely also not respect them when it comes to the big things. “Tell me something about your history.”

Kelly begins to tell him about herself, and he interrupts her again to ask if she has a boyfriend. She says no, and goes back to what she was talking about before, but he interrupts her again and asks if she’s looking for one (and, we should note, has still not dropped the atrocious cowpoke accent). You can tell she’s getting annoyed, and she tries to play him off by telling him she’d really rather not think about that right now. “After all, it’s Halloween, a night of dress-up and make-believe.”

She mentions that the costume contest is probably going on downstairs, and suggests they head back down. He appears to agree, but stops at the door, turns, and asks, “You like to play make-believe?”

EW EW EW EW EW EW.

Kelly, doing the classic nice girl thing (like honestly, fuck every adult and social construct ever who told us that we still had to be nice even when someone was making us feel uncomfortable), smiles tightly and replies, “Everyone does.”

“Great,” he replies, slamming the door and locking it. “Let’s play make-believe.”

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Kelly, starting to get panicked, tell him that she doesn’t want to be up there anymore, that she wants to go back to the party. Cowboy retorts that he doesn’t think she does. “How do you know what I want?” Kelly demands.

“Your actions. I mean, if you didn’t want to be up here, why’d you come?”

“I wanted to be up here, and now I don’t, okay?” YES, VERY OKAY…IT IS VERY VERY OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND AT ANY POINT DURING ANY INTERACTION WITH ANY MAN.

Cowboy tells her her that he thought she wanted to play make-believe, and she retorts that this isn’t the kind of make-believe she had in mind.

“Well, I’m looking at what you’re wearing,” Cowboy replies, “and I’m thinking this is exactly the kind of make-believe you had in mind.” WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO DRESS HOWEVER THEY WANT - WHAT THEY WEAR, HOW THEY LOOK, OR HOW THEY ACT IS NOT AN OPEN INVITATION TO ANY TYPE OF MALE GAZE OR PHYSICAL INTERACTION.

“The answer is no, okay!” Kelly says. Cowboy takes a step back and is like, “wait a minute, I’m being too eager here,” and Kelly, breathing a sigh of relief, is like, “yes, you are.” He tells her he didn’t mean to lose his manners, and that he must have scared her…”I think I scared myself.” Instead of falling into the trap of emotionally comforting him, Kelly’s like, “good, you deserve it” and I am honestly so proud of her for continuing to be angry and assertive. He asks if she can forgive him, and she’s like, “Let’s just forget about it.” He continues on the track, though, and tells her that it would mean a lot to him. “I respect you,” he tells her, which literally every woman everywhere knows is code for him not respecting her (or any other woman, for that matter). Tired, Kelly tells him okay, fine, you’re forgiven, let’s just go back to the party.

“Kiss and make up?”

PUNCH HIM, KELLY! PUNCH HIM CLEAN ON THE MOUTH!

Instead, Kelly’s like, “I don’t think so-” and that’s when he grabs her, says, “I do”, and then throws her on the bed. She cries out for him to stop, but he keeps assaulting her, telling her, “You drama prom queen, I’m sure this isn’t anything you haven’t done before.” EVEN IF A WOMAN HAS HAD A BILLION SEX PARTNERS, WORKS IN THE SEX TRADE, OR APPEARS IN PORN, SHE STILL HAS FULL AUTONOMY OVER HER BODY AND DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE IF SHE DOESN’T WANT TO.

Donna and Brenda walk in through another door in the room (which is kind of ironic, given how shocking it was that the Cowboy locked the other door when there were two doors to the room this whole time) and, thinking that they were walking in on Kelly and Cowboy making out, they immediately apologize and start to leave. Kelly manages to throw Cowboy off the bed, dash to their side. She starts crying and tells them that he attacked her. He tells them that he was kidding, that they were just playing make-believe, and Kelly yells back that that’s not true, that he threw her on the bed and wouldn’t let her up.

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“Kelly, stop kidding…they’re going to believe you!” DAMN RIGHT THEY’RE GOING TO BELIEVE HER BECAUSE BELIEVING WOMEN IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO

Kelly tells Brenda he locked the (other) door…Brenda walks over, finds that it’s locked, calls the Cowboy a bastard, and yells for Dylan to come up there, that she needs him. Dylan and Steve come crashing into the room, and Brenda tells them that Cowboy - we literally still don’t even know his first name, you guys - tried to attack Kelly. Cowboy defends himself by telling them that they were both into it, and then suddenly she wasn’t. “You guys know what I mean, right?” YEAH THAT MEANS THAT YOU STOP BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW “ INTO IT” SHE WAS AT FIRST, IF AT ANY TIME A WOMAN DECIDES TO TAKE BACK HER CONSENT THAT MEANS THAT WHAT YOU’RE NOW DOING IS ASSAULT, BROTHA.

Steve dashes over to him, grabs him, and is like, “How dare you lay hands on her, I love that girl!” Dylan joins in, and they throw him out of the house. The Cowboy tries to tell them that they have it all wrong…”I mean, when a girl dresses like a slut…” Steve knocks him out. “You really don’t have a clue, do you, pal?” he says, and it’s honestly one of the most satisfying moments of this entire series.

Meanwhile, back up at the bedroom, Kelly tells the girls that she’s such an idiot…that she tried being all sexy dressing like that, and “look where it got me.”

“Kelly, I tried to tell you that the dress was a little too much.” OMG SHUT UP BRENDA WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS THE WOOOORRRRSSSTTTT

“It wasn’t the dress, though,” Kelly continues, “It was me, what I did…”

“Kelly, you said no.” Brenda says, redeeming herself. “He should have listened, period.”

Kelly tries to tell her that she warned her about what she was walking into, and Brenda tells her again that she said no. Dylan comes back up to the room and stands in the doorway, listening.

“I said no too late,” Kelly argues. “I might as well have been saying yes, you know. Just tried to act all cool and everything. Talking sexy. I was leading him on.” MEN ARE ENTIRELY CAPABLE - AND WHOLLY RESPONSIBLE - OF DECIMATING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VERBAL YES AND A VERBAL NO. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SEXY YOU’RE DRESSED OR HOW FLIRTY YOU ACT, UNLESS YOU TELL HIM YES AND CONTINUE TO TELL HIM YES, “LEADING HIM ON” IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT DESIGNED TO PUT THE ONUS OF RESPONSIBILITY ON WOMEN FOR MEN’S OWN ACTIONS.

Donna, coming in for the win, points out that then he should go take a cold shower, “or whatever they do.” GO DONNA!

Dylan says, “Can I say something? I know the last thing you need right now is another guy telling you what to do or what to think…” THANK YOU DYLAN FOR RECOGNIZING THAT - but Kelly tells him go ahead, please.

“You’re blaming yourself for leading that guy on. But I want you to know, as a guy, that it doesn’t matter how much of a magnet a girl turns on…a guy always has a choice of not making her do something she doesn’t want to do.” THANK YOU DYLAN FOR BEING AN ALLY WE APPRECIATE YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT

“I didn’t make that choice very easy now, did I,” Kelly says, still trying to take responsibility for something that she is not responsible for. WHICH, AS IT HAPPENS, IS A VERY COMMON VICTIM COPING MECHANISM - MANY VICTIMS SEEK OUT WAYS IN WHICH THEY CAN HOLD RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ASSAULT, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE IN ANY WAY TO BLAME FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM, BUT BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM FEEL LESS HELPLESS AND MORE IN CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. THIS IS ALSO WHY YOU WILL SEE MANY SURVIVORS ENGAGING IN FUTURE VICTIM-BLAMING.

“Yeah you did. You said no,” Dylan reminds her. "

“And after that, what happened isn’t your fault,” Brenda adds. THANK YOU BRENDA YOUR PREVIOUS “LOOK AT WHAT YOU WERE WEARING” WAS TROUBLING AND PROBLEMATIC AND WE ARE NOT FORGETTING THAT BUT PEOPLE ARE COMPLEX CREATURES IN POSSESSION OF BOTH ABHORRENT AND ADMIRABLE QUALITIES SO GOOD JOB ON THIS ONE THING THIS ONE TIME.

Kelly finally concedes that they’re right, but mentions that the weird part is, before they came up here, he seemed like such a nice guy. Did he? The dude wouldn’t let you have the chicken wing you wanted!! Any guy who keeps you from fried chicken is honestly anything BUT a nice guy. Brenda tells her that it doesn’t matter if he was cute, or smart, or charming-

“He’s a rapist!” Donna interjects. Kelly tries to argue with her at first, and Donna shows us that Donna Martin fire again by saying, “What the hell else can you call it? Kelly, what would have happened if we hadn’t come in here?” DONNA MARTIN FOR THE WIN - HE’S NOT A GOOD BOY WITH A BRIGHT FUTURE, OR A NICE KID WHO MADE A MISTAKE, OR A FORMER STANFORD SWIMMER, OR A PREP SCHOOL BOY FROM GEORGETOWN - HE’S A RAPIST. IF HE ATTEMPTS TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ASSAULT OR RAPE, WE NEED TO START CALLING HIM WHAT HE IS.

Good job, writers. This scene could have really gone off the rails - and I’m still admittedly annoyed about the whole “I warned you about your outfit” thing - but for an attempted rape scene written way back in 1991…I’m really proud of you.

All’s Well That Ends Well…at The Peach Pit!

Emily and Brandon are hanging out at the Peach Pit, enjoying some Mega Burgers after an adventurous Halloween night. Emily thanks Brandon for his help, even though Brandon reminds her that it was probably his fault they lost the kids in the first place, thanks to him distracting her. Yeah, probably! They flirt some more, and Brandon mentions how great it was that he just happened to run into her that night. Emily smiles and is like, “Brandon, you didn’t just happen to run into me tonight…at least not by accident.” Whaaaaat?! You mean this wasn’t just all a huge coi-ink-ki-dink?! “I knew where you live. I knew you’d be home tonight. I came by on purpose.” DON’T WORRY, BRANDON, THIS IS NOT FORESHADOWING OF FUTURE STALKING BEHAVIOR AT ALL!!!!!!! Brandon affirms that she’s weird, but he likes that. She affirms that she’s a peculiar person, and Brandon is like, “I’m a pretty peculiar person myself”, to which Emily retorts, “No, you are frighteningly normal…but I like that.” She asks if he wants to go to the Halloween Party, and Brandon (weirdly softly and seductively) is like, “We don’t have any costumes.”

“We’ll just say we’re another couple going as Brandon and Emily.” SMOOTH EMILY, NICE ONE!!!!!!! “Just think of how impressed they’ll be with our masks.”

Brandon drifts a finger through her dyed-platinum hair and replies, “I’m pretty impressed with your mask, already.” They kiss - and I mean, like, DEEP FRENCH kissing - right there in the booth. (Also, did you know that Jason Priestly and Christine Elise would end up dating + living together in real life for the next FIVE years?! You can read all about it here)

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Back at the party, Kelly thanks Steve for what he did for her that night. “I meant what I said tonight,” Steve replies, looking deeply into her eyes. “I know you did,” Kelly says, kissing him on the cheek. Aw, Steve…

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The rest of the gang walks out of the Brownstone Mansion just as Brandon and Emily walk up. The gang is like, “We’re going to the Peach Pit to try to forget about Kelly’s attempted rape over Mega Burgers, wanna join us?” and Emily and Brandon are like, “Yeah it’s been at least minutes since we’ve been at the Peach Pit…” and everyone laughs and laughs and laughs…but not before Dylan makes one more bad joke about bank robbing! Those crazy, rich, white privileged kids!

Tune in all October for more Halloween-themed episode recaps from some of your favorite ‘90s/’00s TV teen/college dramas! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out Pop Rocks Vintage for super fun collectibles from the same shows!