The end of this era
Originally aired May 9, 1991. Jim gets a promotion -- but it means moving the family back to Minnesota. ...
Summary: Steve is in a fight at school with a kid who "said something stupid about my mom." Brandon breaks it up, and Steve tells him "I'm glad you moved to town." But there's trouble at Jim's office -- heads are rolling, and Jim's may be next. He has lunch with his boss, then comes home -- and asks visiting Steve and Kelly to leave so he can talk to the family. He has gotten a promotion, but it includes moving to Minneapolis. He lets the family vote, and it's 3-1 to stay in Beverly Hills; even Cindy wants to stay, thinking it isn't fair to the kids to move again. Jim calls his boss with the news but -- when the boss doubles his salary -- Jim overrules the vote.
Brandon and Brenda are bothered, even more so when Cindy says they have to be out of their house (leased by Jim's company) by June 1. They worry about losing their friends. But Kelly invites Brenda to stay with her during the summer. Steve invites Brandon, but Brandon thinks he should go with his family -- upsetting Steve. At the Peach Pit, Andrea asks Brandon if they can have a goodbye dinner; Brenda recognizes it's a date, but Brandon doesn't think so. Jim leaves for Minneapolis; before going, he objects to the Brenda-at-Kelly's plan, and buys Brandon's support with a car.
Steve is mad at Brandon. Kelly says Brenda can't stay with her because her mom is dealing with the "sober life" and a house guest might put too much pressure on her. Cindy and Brenda talks; Brenda worries about leaving Dylan since all the girls want him. Plus Kelly and Donna are making plans without her.
Andrea and Brandon go to the pier for their dinner. On the merry-go-round, she offers herself to Brandon as a going-away present. "I want goodbye to be a moment we both remember," she says. Brandon and Brenda talk. He had ruled out sex with Andrea -- even though he thinks she's pretty -- because of their friendship. Brenda admits she has slept with Dylan. Brandon is shocked that she didn't tell him, but she says "it's only been going on for 3 weeks." He warns her to be careful.
In Minnesota, it's snowy and there's more work than Jim imagined.
Dylan and Brenda talk. She brings up the trouble Brandon had with Sheryl, his Minnesota girlfriend. Dylan notes that she had problems beyond the relationship. He wonders if he and Brenda should run away together.
Brandon sees Andrea. She says her offer was "impulsive." He backs off, then says, "I want you to be impulsive." They agree to an assignation. Big kiss.
Cindy is on the phone with Jim. He's swamped at work. Cindy says the kids are preoccupied. At the Peach Pit, Andrea has to reschedule her date with Brandon. There are also location issues. They decide to meet at the Peach Pit, which turns on Andrea because it makes her think of "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Steve is still bitter. Brenda and Dylan go to bed, but she wants it to be the last time because she has to break up with him. Her feelings about things changing are supported when Kelly talks to her on the phone but doesn't show any interest in getting together.
Brandon tries to talk to Steve. He admits that Brandon is his only friend -- while Brandon could make friends anywhere. But Brandon takes Steve surfing, which Brandon hasn't tried since September, to prove they are friends. On the beach, Brandon has a dream about Andrea and the Peach Pit; wakes up to realize he is late. Jim gets home; Cindy gets a call from Nat, saying he needs help at a private party at the Pit, and Cindy asks Brenda to fill in since no one can find Brandon. Brenda reluctantly agrees.
Andrea is waiting for Brandon at the Pit. Big kiss, then they go inside, where a surprise party is waiting. Everyone starts taping video farewells to the Walsh family -- Nat, Donna, Kelly, Steve, Andrea. Dylan says "I don't do cameras" but gives a heartfelt speech about what the Walshes have meant to him and "you Walsh people are the only family I got."
Jim has an epiphany: "Home is where the heart is, not where the highest paycheck is." The Walshes are staying in Beverly Hills. Brandon and Andrea agree to be friends, although he notes that she's a great kisser. Brenda tells Dylan she's late. Cliffhanger! Mayday! Here endeth the season -- although the second one will start two months later, in July 1991, and "Beverly Hills, 90210" will become a phenomenon.
Comments: As I said about "Spring Dance," the "Beverly Hills, 90210" has set its formula. The premise of "Home Again" is of course ridiculous, since moving to Minnesota ends the show, but it provides a way to move along the core characters' relationships: Steve gets to stay on his vulnerable streak, Dylan and Kelly's relationship hits a crisis, and Andrea finally acknowledges some of her feelings about Brandon, even though the show appears to be trying (yet again) to establish that they are better as friends.
As much as any episode to date, this one uses it serialized approach to put events into the context of previous Walsh history, such as Dylan's old girlfriend Sheryl and an explanation of Brandon's brief involvement with surfing (in "The Green Room") and yet another hark-back to "Slumber Party" (since Brenda knows that Andrea's dinner with Brandon is a date even if he's still stupid about Andrea's feelings). And Andrea has over the last two episodes gotten more softening from her tough-smartypants origins; we've seen that she's sexual, and that she's a movie buff (with references to both "Annie Hall" and "Postman" following last week's horror-movie watching).
I may have mentioned this before, but is Jim a quiet Dead head? He quotes "Uncle John's Band" to Cindy -- "the first days are the hardest days." And considering his job plight, he could have gone on to "when life looks like Easy Street there is danger at your door."
OK, so we've done the first season. I expect to do the second-season premiere, "Beach Blanket Brandon," because it plays out the "Home Again" cliffhanger and has some major transitions -- Scott is no longer a regular, the opening credits are much more teen-glam. But I'll keep going after that if anyone is interested. Posts may be more sporadic, since new current TV is starting.