IT'S THE END OF AN ERA: BRANDON LEAVES THE GANG — After nine years in Beverly Hills, Brandon is torn between staying with his friends and taking his dream job in Washington D.C. Once again, the gang bonds together to do what is right and to see their friend Brandon make the best choice for his future. Meanwhile, Kelly prepares for her own future and celebrates the grand opening of her and Donna's new store, which makes Brandon reflect on his friendships and question his decision to leave Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, Valerie's confession to her mother holds serious consequences and forces Val to seek legal advice from Matt. Donna and Noah grapple with the problems in their relationship. David sees a future with Sophie, while she continues to struggle to achieve her goal of fame and fortune and even considers a job offer from a director of adult films.
As the main figure in the lives of everyone in the world's famous zip code plans to move away forever, several other people have to come to terms with various unsatisfying aspects of their LA-based lives. David and Steve end their feud over David's dating of con artist Sophie, but Sophie isn't doing well for herself with her master plan to use her fraudulently-obtained college loans to fund a successful acting career. She does get an invitation to a party that boasts of strong ties to Hollywood heavyweights but David is disgusted to find it's a front for various levels of adult-film work. Sophie accepts a photography offer from one bottom feeder and is left feeling horrible. She ends up using most of her illicit funding to purchase a billboard that has her picture, her phone number and the words "Where's Sophie?" Noah and Valerie aren't doing well either. Noah's problems remain his drinking and disconnect from Donna in the wake of his father's suicide, while Valerie is left on edge as her furious mother hasn't decided whether to turn her daughter in for killing her own molesting dad. Abby Malone eventually tells Valerie she's not going to the cops, but Valerie's relief is short-lived when Abby tells her A) she doesn't forgive her, B) wishes she was strong enough to turn her in, C) implies that Valerie was having an affair with her dad instead of being raped by him and D) deciding she simply wants to forget it ever happened (along with leaving open the door to someday turn Valerie in if she's up to it).
Valerie tells her mom that she wants to stop feeling dirty and ashamed and needs the kind of closure Abby has no interest or ability to provide. Brandon dominates the proceedings, though. He and Kelly still aren't quite communicating with each other, as she can't really appreciate it when he writes a strong article about how her abused friend Leah is being hurt by both her abusive ex-husband Lenny and the legal system, and he is stuck between wanting to stay and wanting to take a new job as the Washington bureau chief for a New York-based newspaper. Brandon reminisces about his arrival in Beverly Hills and how Donna saved him from becoming a Day One pariah at West Beverly High School, and initially plans to turn down his dream job. After going skinny-dipping with Kelly and talking to his parents, Brandon does take the job and tells Steve the Walshes are fine with him staying in the house for the foreseeable future. As David does his now-permanent radio broadcast and talks about how the group holds together even as it changes, Brandon drives out of town to his new life. Good luck, Mr. Priestley.
- Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh
- Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor
- Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders
- Brian Austin Green as David Silver
- Tori Spelling as Donna Martin
- Tiffani Thiessen as Valerie Malone
- Joe E. Tata as Nat Bussichio
- Vincent Young as Noah Hunter
- Lindsay Price as Janet Sosna
- Daniel Cosgrove as Matt Durning
Special Guest Star
- Laura Leighton as Sophie Burns
- Jeffrey Broadhurst as Himself
- Michelle Phillips as Abby Malone
- J. Robin Miller as Leah
- Christopher Daniel Barnes as Lenny
- Alex Mendoza as Eric
- „Goodbye Brandon. Nine years, it's a long time for a group to hang out. High school, college, the real world. Death, drugs, depression, raging hormones, puberty... You name it, we've suffered through it all. We still are. Some people have moved away and others have joined. It hasn't really mattered though, the reason being we know we can depend on each other. We know we always will”
- Last appearance of Brandon Walsh on the series, save for a small cameo in the series finale.
- Now that Brandon is leaving, the original plot of the series (a Midwestern family moving to Beverly Hills) is gone. So in essence, the show is now about the people who lived there before the Walshes arrived.
- Brandon's story about his first day of school didn't actually happen that way. First example of that is he said he first met Donna but in the pilot the first of the main group he meets is in fact Steve.
- nightswimming | R.E.M.