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Previously, in Sweet Valley High, both Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were kinda depressed (Jessica because boyfriend Sam is super dead; Elizabeth because she’s going to trial for the manslaughter of said boyfriend), and intrepid lawyer-father Ned Wakefield was declaring himself counsel at Elizabeth’s impending trial. Other stuff happened to other people, too, but their faces aren’t on the cover above the logo, so they can suck it. Today we find out what The Verdict is, and also a crazy person read a newspaper article about Elizabeth and is coming to Sweet Valley to kill her and assume her life. I’m suspecting that Margo didn’t read the part of the article suggesting that Elizabeth was facing a potential juvenile detention sentence. Spoilers to follow…

In the Wakefield homestead, Ned, with prelaw son Steven interfering (sorry, “helping”), is prepping Elizabeth for her impending trial. I’d count how many times Elizabeth answers a question with “I don’t remember,” but no one has time for that. Alice Wakefield has essentially lost her last marble, and her solution to all of this drama is to June Cleaver all over the place, usually at weird hours of the morning. This family could really benefit from some therapy.

Todd Wilkins, basketball star, BMW driver, sack lunch bringer, remains as useless as ever. He is still dating Jessica, because he doesn’t know how to tell her he is not interested in this. He is still not talking to Elizabeth, because he doesn’t know how to tell her he’s sorry for not talking to her. Todd is an idiot. I don’t want to waste any more word space on how totally useless Todd is, but it’s worth noting this little gem:

He recalled the moment when he’d looked down from the stage in the gym where he’d just been crowned King of the Jungle Prom. There on the dance floor were Elizabeth and Sam with their arms around each other, hugging and kissing.

DAMMIT, TODD. I was there. No one was kissing anyone. I hate you. You deserve everything you get. Todd goes to Steven asking for advice and even Steven is like ‘you’re the worst, go away.’

Steven Wakefield, in between his normal meddling in his father’s work (you’re not a lawyer, Steven! You’re an undergrad!) and his sisters’ personal lives, has been getting really close to his Lady Roommate Who Is Totally A Lady, Billie. Close enough that he trusts her and tells her all his worries about his mother’s sanity. By the end of the week, he hears from some dudebro on SVU campus that Alice is losing it. Steven confronts Billie, tells her all about his betrayed trust, and crestfallen, she volunteers to move out. Billie is much nicer and understanding about this than I would have been. But it turns out it was Jessica who was blabbing! Steven goes to apologize and they’re all in love and junk. Shut up, Steven.

Jessica, meanwhile, is still reeling from all of her past sociopathy, is sometimes feeling guilty about spiking the punch, is sometimes feeling a little bad for roping Todd into her revenge scheme, but might actually sometimes desire Todd’s company. Maybe not Todd specifically, because he is toast personified (Jessica and I have a similar attitude towards Todd). But Jess hates being alone, has alienated her sister, feels betrayed by her parents because they clearly love Elizabeth more, and is trying her best to seem cavalier in front of her friends. She needs someone to cry around, and Todd Wilkins does make the girls cry. Meanwhile, though, Todd does send Elizabeth a letter being all ‘I dunno, I’m a jerk, but give me a sign or something?’ because he is too afraid to talk to her. TALK TO HER, TODD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. Because by sending her this letter, of course Jessica intercepts it, reads it, and says hell to the no, Elizabeth doesn’t get her boyfriend back. Then she collapses on the floor crying over Sam, so you can’t hate her too much.

Does anyone even care about Bruce and Pamela? Be honest. As previously discussed, Pamela’s slutty reputation is totally made up, but Bruce refuses to listen to reason. Pamela transfers to Sweet Valley and is ostracized there, as well, which is pretty impressive when you consider that one of SVH’s other classmates is on trial for manslaughter. Keep your legs shut, ladies – being ‘easy’ is still worse than murder. In any case, Pamela tries to turn her life around by joining Project Youth, which is where she runs into civic-minded Amy Sutton and Lila, who realize they were way too harsh with Pamela without knowing her, and make her their new shopping friend. Lila even invites her to brunch with her own fractured family. Amy not at all subtly talks to Bruce about giving Pamela a second chance, and he does so – though not before punching a guy in the face for offering to take Pamela home. They get together. People in this series cease being interesting once they’re in relationships, unless one of them is cheating, dying, being kidnapped, or being stalked. Which happens a lot, actually.

Lila, meanwhile, is becoming super well-rounded. She’s doing so much better psychologically now that her mother’s around, and has even bypassed her normal disdain to feel magnanimous to Pamela Robertson, extending her hand in friendship. (This is a huge step for Lila Fowler, people, you should be in awe.) Grace finally reveals the truth as to why she left when Lila was two. Apparently she and George had a whirlwind romance, getting married after only knowing each other two months, but actually poor George was working on his startup and spending all his time away from the family. Grace packed up Lila and abandoned ship, and George gave an ultimatum that either Grace came home or George would fight for full custody. Then he used his fancy new money to actually have her declared an unfit mother, so she ran away to Paris and started a company of her own, and now everyone is successful and beautiful, and they are not-so-secretly still very much in love. Lila vows to get them back together, no matter what.

Margo finally makes her way to Sweet Valley,and uses her time and money (earned from pawning the Smiths’ Victorian jewelry collection) to lurk around the mall and buy wigs. Before she makes it that far, though, she is confronted by Josh Smith in a diner and has to reroute to San Diego to throw him off the trail. Josh Smith, you may or may not recall, is the older brother of poor murdered wee Georgie. Josh got exactly zero minutes of screen time beyond Margo looking at a photo of him and deeming him attractive enough to ‘have fun’ with. Now he is a master detective. Only not really, because he nearly gets himself arrested for being loud and weird in the diner. Anyway, now Margo is following Lila around the mall and stealing belts. No one’s been murdered in awhile, so there’s that.

Elizabeth is hounded by reporters outside of the trial, because it’s a slow enough news day in Sweet Valley that a manslaughter trial for a car accident is big news. Maybe I’m cynical. It’s also a three-day trial, because even though Elizabeth is the only witness (or at least, she’s the only person put on the stand that we can see), and even though she has provided nothing useful whatsoever beyond “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know,” we have to drag this out for maximum effect. Like I said, slow news day. Did any cops even investigate this? Is there anything resembling evidence in anything? Everyone is clearly winging this, because on the last day of the trial, some guy named Gilbert shows up, admits to being intoxicated and not paying attention, and accidentally running the Jeep off the road. How convenient! The Verdict is: Turns out Elizabeth’s not a killer after all. Still has a suspended license, however. For the drunk driving and the whatnot. And, as Jessica rightly points out, Sam is still dead, so a celebration seems a little heartless.

But the Wakefields should celebrate whatever victory they can, because Margo is on the way and she’s getting crazier by the minute. Get your fancy pants on for The Wedding.

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