Episode 19: The Empire Strikes Back
By: Carlos Uribe
90210 is a show about wealthy kids who do business and go to college in the zip. Or something.
This week in 90210, a group of the characters head to New York City because of Naomi. There's a reference to Sex and the City when they get there as they compare themselves to the female characters. I think this just goes to show you the staying power that Sex and the City has had in our pop culture. Characters continue to make references to the show and the network recently premiered a prequel, The Carrie Diaries. The prequel might not make it to a second season but it's evident that the franchise has had legs. It makes sense, especially with the prequel, that the network would be happy with a Sex and the City reference but it's a bit odd they also didn't really go for a Gossip Girl one. Well that's not entirely true as there's an off-hand comment about a Ms. Waldorf in there but I don't count that. It's a small easter egg if the writers were actually trying to reference the old CW flagship series or it could have simply been accidental. This really isn't a big deal but I just found it interesting that while Sex and the City continues to be brought up in pop culture references, Gossip Girl has mostly disappeared into irrelevancy. Well at least within the United States as China is currently about to air it's own version of the show. I wonder if this version of 90210 will be able to have any staying power. The original was clearly popular enough that it was able to help launch a spin-off years after it had ended. A spin-off that lasted for five seasons. That's a pretty remarkable feat. This new 90210 might hit syndication markets but I doubt that people will remember this show existed in a year. It's never really caught on and it's largely forgotten by the mainstream audience. I think that's a little sad. 90210 has never been a particularly good show but it did spend five years on television. I like to think that would actually have meant something.
So why did Naomi go to New York City? She finds out that the guy she's currently interested is the son of the Secretary of State or something. This mother is tough as nails who has yet to approve anyone whose gone out with her son. Since this mom is hosting a fundraiser in New York City, Naomi decides to fly across the country to impress her. This is difficult to care because this is the last stretch of the season. There's only three episodes left after this one so why should I invest in their relationship? I guess it's possible that the two end up being endgame. It depends on whether the writers break them up by the end of the series finale or not. When they wrote this, they were expecting a final season to wrap things up. I doubt that the writers intended for them to actually live happily ever after but the cancellation might have made it that way. It doesn't matter whether they end up together or not. I'm not really invested in their relationship because I don't believe the two are fated for each other. Naomi brings up that part of the reason that her marriage didn't work with Max was because his parents never really approved for her. The big obstacle in her relationship with her current love interest is what his mom thinks about Naomi. He might not care what his mom thinks but it's going to matter in the end. There's no way 90210 made his mom a big obstacle this early in their relationship if it wasn't going to be important later on. I don't know if Naomi is going to end up with this guy or not but I simply don't care.
Naomi did drag a few friends to the Big Apple with her. She took Silver, Mark, and Annie with her. This allowed Silver to forget about her baby drama and concentrate on having fun with Mark. Only she can't help but bring up that she's sick of her baby drama. It's hard to believe she's actually being carefree when she keeps bringing up that she has responsibilities. It's no surprise at the end of the episode when she tells Mark that she can't go camping with him because she's an adult. She has to think about the future and not just live in the present. She might also break up with him because apparently this means not being able to have a boyfriend. I'm not sure since their relationship status was left up in the air by the end of the episode. I wonder if there were plans to promote Mark to series regular for a hypothetical final season considering his large role in the show's universe since his introduction. He's basically already in the group of friends. I could therefore buy that he might be endgame for Silver but I'm not convinced yet. Whatever the case, I'm more able to invest in his relationship with Silver because it's been developing for just the right amount of time. That's because he doesn't feel like a random love interest that's introduced because it was time that character got a love interest. It helps that their relationship drama was a nice way to contrast the two different personalities (Mark doesn't think about the future while all Silver does is worry about it) and why they might end up being good for each other. The writers have integrated him into the show quite successfully.
As if to prove my point, the episode ends with a cliff-hanger where he gets arrested for having drugs in his luggage. I have to admit that cliff-hanger surprised me. I knew that something was going to happen but I thought it was going be Annie's bag. This is because of the reason for the drugs being there. This cliff-hanger shows that he's not just in this show as a random love interest but as an actual character on his own right. So why are there drugs in his luggage? It's all because of Annie's tell-all book. Patrick shows up to her place and threatens her family if the truth about his identity comes out. He doesn't want his wife to know because she'll divorce him. It says a lot that he's less concerned about losing his family and more about how much this divorce is going to cost him. There is no way people will know who he is unless Annie comes out as the author but that's exactly what she's planning to do thanks to Naomi. She has an interview in New York City and all. Annie freaks out and she even thinks about lying about how accurate the book is. She does finally tell everything to Dixon. He's angry but not really at Annie. He's more angry at Patrick for not only paying Annie to sleep with him but also for threatening her. He actually shows up at Patrick's house in order to deliver a message: mess with his family and he'll fight back. Patrick doesn't really listen as he plants drugs in Marks' bags. I'm not sure if he intended to get Mark arrested or whether he was actually trying to frame Annie. This whole book plot was promising because I always like the idea of characters going to war with each other. That can be some fun drama to watch. I'm sure that Mark's drug charges and Dixon's actions will create for some interesting conflicts in the next episode. The pieces have been set-now the writers just have to start moving them.
Love triangles can be fun so there is one between Michaela, Adrianna, and Navid. I'm not sure why the most dull character in this show has two women wanting to sleep with him but okay. This episode was more about setting up the love triangle then actually pursuing it. This is done through the venue of music. Michaelea wants to enter some music competition which involves having to write a song and perform it all in two days. Dixon and Silver basically approve because they don't think the song will be any good. Michaela realizes she's in over-her-head so she gets help from Adrianna. She's trying to make her song be about her feelings towards Navid. Little does she know that Adrianna is also in love with him. So much so that they slept together. They pretend that it's the last time but we all know they still want each other. Adrianna might be staying quiet for now because Navid doesn't realize it yet. I might not be confident about the endgame for Naomi or Silver but I'm pretty sure that Navid and Adrianna are meant to be together. This leaves Michaelea as the loser in this love triangle situation but at least she's going to get a promising singing career out of it. She can even decide to give Dixon a shot! Oh, and it's funny how Adrianna claims to be done with the business. It makes sense that she would help Michaela write the song but then she decides to send it when Silver rejects it because this is very important to her career. So, yeah.
The Empire Strikes Back is an average episode of 90210. It's not bad or anything but it's nothing memorable. Naomi's current love interest seems like he's just a temporary one that the writers are temporarily using because it was time for her to have one. This makes it hard to invest in their relationship especially so soon to the end. Mark and Michaela have integrated themselves into the show better so it makes sense that their dramas work a lot better. There's some inconsistency on why Adrianna cares so much about the song she helped write but the love triangle being set up should create some interesting drama in the near future. Even if Navid is in the middle of it. What I'm more interested in is what's going to happen to Mark. Will he end up with Silver? Will he get out of his charges? What will Dixon do? Even so, I'm not that interested. None of these plots are particularly compelling. Three episodes remain in the series but it doesn't feel that way.
There's also a plot where Navid and Liam try to get a model for their business but it's really just an thinly-veiled excuse to get Olly Murs to perform on the show.