Episode 18: The Portrait of the Artist As a Young Call Girl
By: Carlos Uribe
90210 is a show about wealthy kids who do business and go to college in the zip. Or something.
The final five episodes begin with a pretty solid entry.
An episode of television can only be as good as it's conflict and how the writers handle it per character. The stakes don't have to be life-and-death but they have to matter to the people involved. The players in the conflict don't have to know that they're even in one as long as everyone is acting based on who they are. They shouldn't taking sides for the sake of it but they should be reacting to it only like how they would. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Call Girl (from now on to be called The Portrait) is a very entertaining episode because the conflict is clear and the writing behind the involved players is sharp. The countdown to the finale is just beginning but it's worth noting that we're probably building up to a cliff-hanger. I would be very surprised if we got a satisfactory finale or any sort of closure at the end. We can only hope that the producers saw the writing on the wall and wrote the final episode with that in mind. It shouldn’t' come as a surprise that the episode that basically begins the final run of 90210 episode doesn't really begin to wrap anything up. The Potrait is a good episode on it's own but taking in the grand scheme of things, it's a disappointing sign that the fans of 90210 will find themselves without a real ending. I'm hoping that I'm wrong, of course, but I believe the producers believed the rumors the show would be getting a final season. This might not seem important but I think it's always important to take into consideration an episode's overall place in a serialized drama like 90210. Let's move on to the actual episode review.
I think that one of the strongest conflicts was between Annie and Naomi. Annie has written a book and a lot of people seem to really like it. I still refuse to buy the idea that it's well-written and I'm bound to agree with Naomi's frank assessment that the book is just erotica. The writers also feel like they have to keep reminding the viewers about how relevant this plot is because it felt like they kept bringing up 50 Shades of Gray. These two complaints aside, the conflict was established because the person responsible for Annie's book publicity hired Naomi to plan the book launch. Naomi likes the client and wants to leave the possibility of dating him open. Only she isn't sure she's ready to start going out so soon after her divorce. She doesn't feel she's ready and she's scared that if she loses a second perfect guy then something is wrong with her. This makes sense. She decides that instead of telling him her feelings, she's going to impress him big. This impression is to have the author reveal herself at the party to the public. Naomi will come out like a hero and he'll be indebted to her. When she's ready, she plans to make a move on him. This idea puts her in direct contention with Annie even if she doesn't realize it at first. Annie tries her best to keep an identity a secret. She even tries to offer Naomi a fake identity to try and discourage her from going ahead with her plan. Naomi is determined but then she messes up when she suspects the wrong person for being the author. She basically accuses her client's younger sister of writing the book. This normally wouldn't be a big deal but Naomi called her a prostitute. This action has two side effects. The first is that Annie hears Naomi's appraisal of the book and realizes that she has to admit she wrote the book. The second is that Naomi and the client make their feelings known for each other but he's afraid of moving forward because of who his family is. That's the cliff-hanger to close out that plot. It's a pretty intriguing one. What was really solid was Naomi and Annie trying their best to accomplish their goals. Annie to keep her identity a secret and Naomi to reveal her to the public. It led to some good drama.
The conflict between Silver and Adrianna was pretty good. Silver has slept with Mark and she told Adrianna. Adrianna pretended to be okay with it but she's actually seething. Her best friend has just betrayed their friendship over a guy. Silver tries to save their friendship by breaking up with Mark. He likes her so he tries to resolve the problem by confronting Adrianna. There's a good scene where he actually offers her the chance to have the perfect revenge: sleep with him. She refuses to do that because Silver is her friend. Adrianna realizes that she's no longer the revenge-seeking person she used to be so she breaks off her friendship with Silver. Why? Adrianna might have grown up but Silver has not. So Adrianna doesn't want to be friends with her anymore. Silver is sad but at least she can date Mark feely now. It's a pretty good conflict but my one issue is that it was a little bit anti-climatic. For a huge portion of the episode, the writers promise that there's going to be some kind of war or fight between Adrianna and Silver but that doesn't happen. Adrianna basically has a break-up scene with Silver that's over pretty quickly. Now I don't think this friendship rift is going to be permanent, because this is 90210 after all, but I wonder if it will be repaired before the season is over. I did like putting them at odds once more and using the conflict to show the character growth for both characters. Adrianna refuses to act like her old self while Silver tries to put her friendship over her love life. Silver tried to make it right.
The final conflict is a little more boring but it's because Navid is involved. Liam, Navid, and Liam's current girlfriend decide to expose the Cronus leader by forcing him into a situation where he has to cheat. This basically involves having Cronus' step-mother call the college and demand a retest so that the grades can be released. This plan actually succeeds and the Cronus group are revealed as a group of cheaters. Only the Dean points out that while they might be just as guilty, that doesn't make Navid any more innocent. The evidence against him still stands because Navid did participate in the cheating. He might have taken down the Cronus society but he hasn't saved himself. He's going to get expelled for his involvement. The reason this conflict doesn't drag down the whole episode, because of Navid, is because the Dean basically forces him to confront reality. That scene where the Dean lays down the law is pretty epic. As for Liam and his girlfriend? It turns out the girlfriend only used Liam to get at her step-son because she's been after his inheritance. After the whole cheating situation, it looks like she got what she wanted but in doing so she lost Liam. This has a small side effect of Liam being angry with Annie because of what she wrote about him in the book. He only read the segment when he got hit by the motorcycle so he thinks she just used him. He doesn't bother to finish the book to find out she loves him. So I guess that disappoints the shippers.
The Potrait has a pretty good episode. The Annie and Naomi plot were really strong as the two tried their best to stop the other from succeeding. Naomi might not have known it but she was acting directly against her friend, Annie. The conflict between Silver and Adrianna was pretty good because it exposed character development but it was a bit anti-climatic. The final conflict between Navid and Liam was a little dull because of Navid but the Dean's scene where he sets him straight was all but worth the whole cheating arc.
Dixon is in love with Michaela but she doesn't return her feelings because she's in love with Navid. I had...completely forgotten the two had slept together. I don't see what she sees in dull and stupid Navid.