Brandon and Andrea are in their office at the Washington Post. Oh, excuse me -- the Beverly Blaze. Brandon uses his journalistic instincts to deduce that something fishy went on last night between that isolated, unfamiliar black guy and those two low-rent neighborhood patrolmen. "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What are you saying, that this is some kind of cover-up?" Andrea blathers. Brandon wants to find out, but he has to find Devo first.
Robbie is outside taking a picture of a black janitor mopping the wall of the school. Suddenly he's jaded. At first he was charmed by all these pale compatriots in their emerald palace, playing hacky-sack and sitting entirely too close to one another on the lawn. It's time, though, to get back to his roots, which are best symbolized by these pictures of a black custodian we've never seen before and will likely never notice again. ["Much like the Ashes. Spoiler?" -- Sars] Brandon shows up. He wants to know how to get in touch with Devo. Robbie finally turns angry. Here comes the knife! He wants Brandon to drop it. Brandon does not. In fact, he presses even harder. "Now come on. I need to interview this guy." Suddenly it's The Insider starring Russell Crowe. Brandon even goes so far as blackmail Robbie by threatening to rescind the offer of staff photographer if he refuses to cooperate. Robbie rightfully goes apeshit, accusing Brandon of using him for his sister. He says Brandon doesn't see him as the new kid on the block, but rather "the new black kid on the block."
Awful jazz music and an awful, awful hat worn by Sherice as she pulls into her driveway. She looks like Tom Petty in that thing. Brandon emerges (he's quite the sidler), prompting Sherice to ask him if their conversation was going to be "on or off the record?" She found out about the interview he wanted to conduct with her the night he asked her out to The Peach Pit. The Walsh burglar alarm goes off in the distance, and she warns him he better run home and contact security patrol in case another Negro is on the loose. Brandon steels himself with indignation. "What happened on this street last night was wrong!" The earth shakes. But in his very next breath he adds, "Now I want to write a story about this but I need you to tell me how to get in touch with him." He's still on this! He just wants to write something stirring for the newspaper so that he can sharpen up that application to Berkeley. He probably scored a 16 on his ACT so this has to make up for it. Sherice tells him to go home.
Mrs. Walsh is on the phone with the nosy neighbor about the alarm she still can't figure out how to shut off. Brandon scolds her to get rid of the thing. Brenda points out the obvious -- that if it weren't for their crappy alarm system, Sherice's friend would have never been bothered. Brandon then asks the alarm specialist, there to try and fix the problem, if security officers are required to fill out a report when they detain a person. "Yes" is the answer. A time lapse, and Brandon is hightailing it to Watts to find Devo at his place of work. Brenda is concerned for Brandon's safety and his glee at playing "Woodward and Bernstein" but he will not be deterred.
MC Junky Rap & DJ Laser Effect On A Keyboard play as Brandon cruises the hood. He parks his ride at the Tamale Hut and is immediately faced with three members of the Bloods and Crips youth outreach program. He stares entirely too long at them all, and they stare back. Look, if freaking Omar Little can get it, Brandon, then so can you. Lucky for Brandon, Devo shows up to save the day. He speaks to the others ebonically to get them to leave. This is the network Negro at his finest. He says things like "bounce" and "posse," managing to sound more like a black character in Fame than one from the 1990s. Brandon follows him back into the Tamale Hut. "You're Devo, right? Devo Damars? I'm Brandon Walsh. I'm a reporter for my school newspaper at West Beverly High." Devo angrily tells him to beat it, and the two go back and forth; Brandon is consumed with fairness, wanting to do what's right and turn a spotlight on this tragic event. Brandon's the archetype of the liberal crusader who believes he can somehow redeem the condition of this tragic black youth. Devo deliciously points out to Brandon that he is no more welcome in his neighborhood than Devo was in Beverly Hills. "That doesn't make it right!" screams Brandon. "It makes it the kind of world that we live in today," is Devo's retort. Devo finally brings up Rodney King, which I've been waiting for, but with a weird aside. "You know, that guy who got beat up by the LAPD," he adds. This is still a year away from the Rodney King verdict and the riots, but did America actually need that aside as a reminder, or is this just television dumbing it down for us? I suspect it's the latter, but if people weren't aware of Rodney King by this point, then no wonder there was a riot. It also occurs to me that this Devo character and his Mr. T earring supposedly occupy the same streets that currently blast Dr. Dre's first chronic album (a classic) and that turned Ice Cube into an existentialist.
Devo is more sad than angry about what happened the other night. He has a sizeable list of reasons to be sad, too. Let's see...his mother had to beg for cash to pay for a cab ride to Beverly Hills that night; two of his brothers are in jail; and his other brother is hitting the pipe. But he wants to make his mother proud and having her see him in a hospital, in a strange neighborhood, with a gashed lip wasn't part of the plan. Brandon sees the humanity of this Devo fella. The freeze-frame photo effect captures them in deep discussion. Look out, he's got a knife! ...No, he doesn't. It's Robbie, with his sister and Brenda. They drove down to find Brandon because they were worried. Sherice sprints past Brandon and into Devo's arms. He says something to her about hot tamales. Brandon talks to Brenda and Robbie. He isn't so sure about running the story anymore, but Robbie encourages him to write it and use some of his pictures. "I'd like that," smiles Brandon. So will the board of admissions at Stanford. "You know what I'd like, guys?" asks Brenda, a loaded question.