Now that we are semi-caught up, this week's episode was the "midseason finale" as 90210 will be on hiatus for a month, so of course the insanity was going to be coming at us full blast this week and of course we were going to get tons of cliffhangers. Here's what happened:
Naomi and Holly (Megalyn Echikunwoke) have finally just buried the hatchet when Naomi is hired as an intern by Holly's mom. Holly really wanted the internship but Holly's mom is a first class bitch and she overlooked her own daughter's talent. Holly didn't know that her mom hired Naomi and Naomi didn't realize that she was working for Holly's mom at first. When she finds out, Naomi can't bring herself to tell Holly--which says a lot for Naomi's character and personal growth, they've only been friends five minutes, but Naomi decides to take the high road--unfortunately Holly discovers the truth anyway and she is not happy. This is the first time I ever felt bad for Holly watching her learn that her mom chose Naomi over her. Meanwhile Naomi is spending so much time trying to impress Holly's mom and protect Holly that she's totally neglecting Austin (Justin Deeley). Do you see where this is heading? Yep, Naomi walks in on Holly and Austin together partially naked at the end of the episode. Shocker!
Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) doesn't want Dixon using her song with his rap. Is she crazy? The little piece of the song they played was so awesome that I wanted them to have a little pop up that said "Shazam now to download." But they didn't, which sucks. Dang it Adrianna you are blocking me from some good music! Dixon is told that is the song the big guys want him to play, but he plays a new song he wrote for Adrianna instead, helping him score points with her and lose points with the music industry at large. Adrianna confesses to Dixon that the song she wrote before was for the daughter she gave up for adoption; it's very personal to her and she doesn't plan on selling on. She tells Dixon if he wants to collaborate with her musically she would love it as long as it is about the music and not about fortune or fame. Adrianna has finally learned her lesson. Thanks God and I'm happy for you, girl.
Navid (Michael Steger) continues not to be honest with Silver (Jessica Stroup) about his 'relationship' with Kat (Tiffany Hines). Namely that she is a detective helping him nab his unsavory uncle. Again, Navid wears a wire to try to catch said uncle. The guys they meet with are totally leery of Navid from jump and they call off the deal and bounce. Kat, who was waiting nearby, also leaves the botched scene. Navid's uncle goes, leaving Navid to watch the merchandise, stolen cars. I'm not sure how long he was supposed to stay in the parking garage watching them, but that doesn't matter. The thugs returned and beat poor Navid to a bloody pulp after finding the wire. I'm assuming they are going to tell his uncle now? Which may put Silver in a worse place than she was before since he has previously threatened to hurt her.
Silver has just found out that the professor guy she has been seeing is married and in the process of divorcing his wife as well as raising a young daughter. She's not sure what she's going to do when she gets a call from Navid's heinous sister (who was thankfully not shown) telling her about Navid. Silver of course runs right to the hospital where she overhears Kat tell Navid she has feelings for him. "I care about you Kat," she hears him admit and goes before he can finish, "but I care about Silver more." Silver runs to her new man and tells her she wants to pursue an actual relationship with him. Dunt, dunt, dun!
Patrick (Chris McKenna) wants Annie to join him in Hawaii... in her official capacity as his escort of course. Really at the end of her rope, Annie almost agrees when he tells her 'full disclosure' that he has a girl down there who he sees and he plans on seeing her too and he would like to see them together. Woah you dirty dog you, Patrick! I didn't know he was going to try to take it this far! Luckily, Annie isn't that desperate and she turns him down. Liam (Matt Lanter) comes over and he and Annie hook up! But then he goes saying that she is clearly in the middle of something and if she can't confide in him, then he isn't helping her. They've been playing Annie and Liam on their way to reconnecting a tiny bit lately, but this was still a bit random and a bit hasty.
Liam finds his way to a party being thrown by his old buddy JERSEY SHORE's Vinny. Vinny has a gaggle of 'ladies of the night' there, one being Bree (Cameron Goodman). Liam is concerned to discover that Bree is an escort. She tells him it's no big deal, and he says "how is being a hooker not a big deal?" I guess she's afraid he's going to rat her out, because she warns him that doing so could have pretty bad consequences for Annie. And not to leave any blanks in Liam's mind, she tells him that Patrick met Annie when he hired her as an escort: "she's his pretty woman."
Liam shows up at Patrick's place looking for Annie. Patrick explains his situation with her saying, "Annie came to me, she asked me for money and she kept coming back for more." Patrick, deservedly, gets a fist across his face. Go Liam! He leaves pretty upset. He's driving his motorcycle while Annie is leaving him a voicemail. She tells him she sorted out her problems and that she never stopped loving him. Of course, as predictable as an episode of GENERAL HOSPITAL (if you give the characters an inch of joy you have to give them a mile of despair to go with it), Liam gets run over on his bike. He's badly scarred and unconscious when the episode ends.
And with that we're left hanging until January. We have the Naomi/Holly/Austin triangle, the Navid/Kat/Silver/Silver's new guy (who I think is named Greg, which you might think I would perhaps remember) quadrangle, the budding romance of Dixon and Adrianna, and Annie and Liam who have found their way back together possibly when it's too late. Not a terrible midseason cliffhanger. Not as griping as last week's midseason cliffhanger on RINGER, but then again, 90210 isn't a show like RINGER or REVENGE where we get new twists every episode. 90210, as it's currently written, is like an hour long angst-filled sitcom where its characters are thrust into wacky situations every week (often times in separate stories). It's not the worst formula in the world, it has kept me watching for four seasons. But is it enough for four more?
None of the cliffhangers were super organic. Two weeks ago, Naomi and Austin were really making progress in their relationship, last week he wasn't on and this week he ends up naked with Holly, a person he's said he's over many times this season. Why is he with Holly? For the sake of a cliffhanger. Dixon has been doing everything to make a serious go at a music career, why did he sabotage himself this week when the industry people told him which song they wanted to hear and he sang another song? For the sake of a cliffhanger. Does Navid have feelings for Kat? Why hasn't he trusted Silver with the truth about going undercover? For the sake of a cliffhanger. Why is Liam getting hit by a car in an act of deus ex machina? For the sake of a cliffhanger.
There's nothing wrong with any of this per se, but on RINGER and REVENGE when they flip the script to make their audience shocked and surprised it is coming from a logical place within their stories, though we never saw it coming. With 90210, extraneous characters come and go so quickly you would think you might be in the merry old land of Oz. This show has enough history to play! Why on god's green earth couldn't we have seen Teddy struggle with his family's homophobia instead of just hearing him whine about it? Those could have been Emmy scenes for Trevor Donovan and guest star Ryan O'Neal if only 90210 would have simply written them. Part of the reason newbie character Holly has started to resonate with me is that we are getting to see her terrible mother and we sympathize with her, but all the main cast has had their families wiped clean from the series. Why are we forced to endure this garbage story of Navid and his devious uncle? Why not have Navid's child pornographer father be hiding out in Beverly Hills and have Navid have to deal with that? He felt bad for ruining his father's life, even though he knows his father was absolutely wrong for what he did. That could tear him up and cause him to keep secrets from Silver.
Enough of my visit to Suggestionland, the writers and producers of 90210 are very smart. They have pulled rabbits out of their hats time and time again. For a few weeks this season, the Naomi/Austin/Max stuff was really carefully written and made for great drama, say nothing about well acted. 90210 has a really top notch cast, which has always been a strength for the show. They just need to pull out all the stops and really do their homework to make this show compelling enough television to warrant the "Based on the series Beverly Hills, 90210 created by Darren Star" credit that appears at the beginning of each episode. I'll be watching when 90210 returns in January and I'll be hoping for a home run. And if they hit it, which I know they can, then the series will be must-see for me once again and I won't be leaving it on my DVR for a week before I watch it.
Greg Turner contributes primetime reviews for We Love Soaps. Along with Brian Hewson, Greg is the creator, writer, and producer of the web soap, EMPIRE, which can be found at www.empiretheseries.com. Greg loves soaps.