We enter Season 1, Episode 19 with Ol' Twatty (Andrea) assigning Brandon a new task for the Blaze. Brandon is tasked with interviewing Roger Azarian (played by Matthew Perry, yeah Chandler from Friends), the best (tennis) ball handler West Bev ever had. Ol' Twatty wants to know what makes a guy like that tick because he's the son of a really rich man.
At Casa de Walsh, Cindy is complaining about tax season and how even though she's married to an Accountant, she's always stuck doing their own taxes. Then she quotes T.S. Eliot and says, "April is the cruelest month." Hey, that's the real title of this episode.
Brenda eagerly opens up her SAT results - 1190, 630 Math, 560 Verbal. Cindy suggests Minnesota for a school. Brenda rolls her eyes. She can't wait to see what Brandon got and to rub it in his smarmy, cool-haired face that she's smarter than him.
Brandon goes over to Roger's house where Roger shows off his dad's gun collection.
Roger goes on to say how his dad taught him how to shoot a gun at 6 years old and then says, "Survival of the fittest, Walsh" and then something about "Kill or be killed." Brandon jokes, "Are you talking about the jungle or Beverly Hills?" Roger replies, "Same difference." Deep.
Back home, Jim wants to place a bet on which kid did better on their SATs, Cindy isn't having it. A sure bet is that Jim favors Brandon. All in on that bet.
Brandon goes back over to Roger's house and meets his rich bitch of a dad, George Azarian.
George is pushing Roger to go to Standford telling him he can pull some strings and set up a meeting as long as he doesn't blow it. Roger doesn't care about Stanford. He wants to be recognized on his own merit and shares the screenplay he wrote with Brandon. Who knew this jock could also write?
After his visit with Roger, Brandon comes home to find his SAT results. Brenda can't wait to see what he got.
Who is smarter? Brenda or Brandon? Who's gonna be the winner on the smarts?
No way! Brandon also got 1190.
Although, they technically both got the same score, I'm going to give this win to Brenda as she took her SATs right after thinking she might have had breast cancer. This shows she can roll better with the hard knocks of life and still be OK at standardized testing.
Brandon tells Brenda about Roger's screenplay and that he's worried because he feels that art may be imitating life.
You see, this screenplay is dark. It's about a high schooler who hates his rich, know-it-all dad. As the twins read the screenplay, there are images of Roger playing the main character. Here, he towels off a young lass and says that you might not be able to pick your relatives, but you could kill them.
Shit. Is Roger Azarian planning to murder his father? Dark, man. Real dark.
Brenda gets Kelly on the horn and tells her about Roger's screenplay.
Kelly first tells Brenda she got 1050 on her SATs. Not bad, Kel. Then she tells her that she "knows" Roger, but that he dumped her because his father said she wasn't good enough. Harumph.
No way again!
As Brandon reads more of the screenplay, he's seriously concerned that Roger is going to go off the deep end and open fire on his dad's ass. He brings up his concerns to Ol' Twatty.
Ol' Twatty brushes it off saying, "We've all had the urge to kill our parents at some point."
During all of the SAT result hoopla, Donna continues to say that she hasn't received her score yet. Donna has been quiet and secretive during all of this. The girls don't understand why she's being weird about all of this.
Then in class while taking a test, Donna cries.
She gets up in the middle of the test and storms out.
Steve with his short male perm is all like, "WTF, Donna?"
The dude behind him with the long male perm is all like, "Yeah, Donna. WTF?"
Brandon is still really concerned about Roger killing his dad and asks Dylan how he handles his feud with his dad.
Dylan says that Brandon and Brenda keep him from going over the edge. Aw, friendship.
Donna is still distant from the gang and has taken a turn for the worse.
She still wears crop tops, but now she's wearing a crop top and smoking with guys from the bad crowd. The gang doesn't understand.
Brandon reads more of Roger's screenplay and reads a part where the main character (is it Roger, is it not Roger?) shoots his father.
Cindy comforts Brandon in a long, silk robe and tells him his imagination is getting the best of him.
At West Bev, Mrs. Teasley asks Brenda if she has seen Donna as she missed her meeting.
Brenda is worried that Donna is in trouble.
After school, Roger asks Dylan if he wants to see what these cars are made of and challenges him to a race.
Dylan passes and says that Roger has a "Demon's death wish" or something.
Dylan is so cool AND understanding AND dreamy AF.
Brenda runs into Donna at Fred Segal and corners her about why she's been so distant.
Donna spills the beans that she only got a 620 on her SATs. She's sad because she thinks she dumb and that her mom is right when she says she needs to find a rich guy to marry her because she's too stupid to take care of herself. Will Donna Martin graduate? Wait, that's later.
Brandon has been spending more and more time with Roger and his screenplay. He finds himself in the midst of another fight between Roger and his dad. While holding up an envelope, George says, "Stanford appears a little thin." What a dick.
Brandon steps outside during the heat of the moment and finds a gun in Roger's car.
Brandon doesn't think any of it's art, but all one fucked up reality. Roger is definitely going to kill his dad. Brandon confronts Roger asking if he is the main character. Roger poo poos it away saying, "Get real, Walsh."
Out of concern for a friend and the murder rate, Brandon just can't let this sit. He calls up Ol' Twatty and asks how she would handle this on the teen hotline.
Ol' Twatty apologizes and says this is out of her comfort level. Set those boundaries, Ol' Twatty and maximize that hair.
Brandon voices his concern to his dad and Jim encourages him to talk to Roger and simply be his friend. Brandon goes over to Roger's hoping to find him there. He remembers key details from the screenplay like the house key being hidden under the flower pot. He enters the house and approaches those French doors that are shown so much throughout the episode.
Brandon slowly opens the doors thinking he's going to walk into a pool of blood.
Nothing. George Azarian isn't dead... yet.
Brandon looks around but can't find Roger. Then he remembers that he's probably at that happy spot he mentioned once where there are "no phones, no fathers, no interruptions."
Back to Donna's story, she agrees to meet with Mrs. Teasley again.
Mrs. Teasley asks if Donna has difficulty taking tests. Donna explains that it's too much pressure for her and that she can't concentrate. "Whelp, bitch, you have a learning disability," Mrs. Teasley explains over mass shoulder pads.
Donna cries some more and says that "learning disability" is just another word for stupid. Actually, it's two words for stupid. No, no. I feel for you, Donna. Being someone who totally failed the math placement exams for college (oh hey, Math 095) because I couldn't concentrate on the test because my stomach wouldn't stop growling because I was too nervous to eat, I completely feel your pain. But, now that you're aware of the problem you can do something about it.
Mrs. Teasley said that Donna can retake her SATs in a more controlled environment, orally, to help alleviate the stress of it all.
Brandon is still on the hunt for Roger and goes to library on the hill with "no phones, no fathers, no interruptions."
He finds Roger all drunk and sweaty. Roger says that he can never top his dad and that he's going to kill himself. SEE! Roger wasn't going to hurt his dad, just himself.
He stares down the barrel of the gun.
Brandon tells him to put the gun down and that these feelings will pass and it's not worth his life.
Roger puts down the gun and Brandon saves the day.
At some point Roger gave Brandon tickets to a baseball game. Brandon gives the tickets to Steve and Dylan and decides to visit Roger in the hospital.
At the hospital, Brandon tells Roger that he won't write the article for The Blaze. Roger wants him to. He feels that his story might help someone. The episode ends with Brandon and Roger listening to the game together.
Aw, that was a good episode touching upon how serious mental illness can be and how friends really can help you out because as it turns out Brandon and the Rembrandts were there for him. Harumph again.