- Beverly Hills 90210 tackled serious issues like sexual assault and drug use, showing how teenagers dealt with real-world situations.
- The saddest moments in the series included Kelly talking about her rape, Scott dying, Brenda learning about Dylan’s affair, and Dylan losing his wife Toni.
- The characters faced grief, trauma, and survivor’s guilt, leaving a lasting impact on viewers, many of whom were teenagers themselves.
Warning: This article contains discussions of sexual assault and drug use.Beverly Hills 90210 was a teen drama series that dealt with a lot of serious issues, and whether it was Kelly and Brandon or Dylan and Toni, 90210 had some very sad storylines in its series run. It seemed like no matter what the friend group was dealing with, they could smile and crack jokes. However, Beverly Hills 90210 also has its fair share of sadness, and the main characters experience grief and tragedy at every turn. This is a show that was about a lot more than teen drama and angst. Instead, it was a show about how teenagers dealt with real-world situations, although many more than would happen to a normal teen.
Beverly Hills 90210 sadly dealt with the likable teens dying, using drugs, getting sexually abused, and more. The kicker was that it was then time for teenagers who should be dealing with boyfriends and bad grades to deal with depression, trauma, and survivor’s guilt. What made it even harder was that viewers at home, often teenagers themselves, had to process these feelings, and it left a mark on many of them, witnessing situations that they could never imagine could happen in their own lives. Over 20 years after Beverly Hills 90210 left the air, many of these sad moments still resonate today, with at least one in every season.
Season 1: Kelly Talks About Her Rape For The First Time
Jennie Garth’s Beverly Hills 90210 character, Kelly Taylor, hasn’t completely aged well, but she has a very moving scene that goes down in history as one of her most emotional moments. The saddest moment in season 1 of Beverly Hills 90210 happens in “Slumber Party” when Kelly talks about her rape for the first time. She tells her girlfriends that Ross Webber date-raped her, and they’re horrified and devastated for her. This is the first sign that Kelly has had a tough life, and it marked the first time that the series truly tackled something like this. It is also something that would come back to haunt Kelly years later.
Season 2: Scott Dies At His Birthday Party
One of the Beverly Hills 90210 milestone moments is when Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson) dies while celebrating his 16th birthday party. It’s a sad moment for everyone in the group. They are all young teenagers, as evidenced by the fact this is a 16-year-old’s birthday party. They are all so young, and they have to face the fact that sometimes people die accidentally. In this episode, Scott has a gun that he’s playing around with, and he ends up accidentally shooting himself. His best friend David Silver (Brian Austin Green) watches it happen, which shakes up the viewers even more. This is also where David’s depression issues increased.
Season 3: Brenda Is Told Dylan Cheated With Kelly
Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) seemed like the best boyfriend a girl could have until viewers saw Dylan cheat on Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) with her best friend Kelly. Suddenly, the bad boy didn’t seem like such a good guy. In season 3, Brenda learns about this affair, and it’s a horrifying moment for her. It’s also the most tragic moment of the entire season as this had such big repercussions. Brenda had to face facts about her romance with Dylan and also wonder about her friendship with Kelly. After this reveal, Brenda found it hard to date anyone else, and it seemed that Dylan ruined things for her, and she eventually left for Minnesota.
Season 4: Nat Needs Heart Surgery
Having a regular place to hang out is a teen drama trope, but it’s much more positive than some of the other things fans see in this genre. In the season 4 episode “The Labors of Love,” the gang’s beloved Nat (Joe E. Tata), owner of the Peach Pit, has to get heart surgery, and it’s definitely the saddest moment of the Beverly Hills 90210 season. They have looked up to him like a father figure for so long, and Brandon (Jason Priestley) especially loves him, as he worked there in high school. It’s hard for the gang to face losing him. Luckily, Nat survived, Brandon helped save the Peach Pit while he recovered, and he made it to the end of the series.
Season 5: Dylan Goes To Rehab And Then Flees
In the season 5 episode “Intervention,” everyone gets together to tell Dylan that he has to go to rehab. It’s so sad to see him suffer from addiction issues. The saddest moment of season 5 of Beverly Hills 90210 is when Dylan agrees to go to rehab, but then runs away. It’s so tough to watch him make that choice, as he doesn’t want to get help. And if someone doesn’t want to get assistance with a problem that they’re having, there is really nothing for their friends and family to do as they have to be ready. This is further proof of how stubborn Dylan was, one of his flaws. Luckily, he finally realized he needed help and went back to seek treatment.
Season 6: Dylan Loses His New Wife Toni
In season 6 of Beverly Hills 90210, Dylan married Toni (Rebecca Gayheart). The problem was that she was the daughter of Anthony Marchette, who tried to kill Dylan’s father in the past. In the season 6 episode “One Wedding and a Funeral,” Anthony sent a hitman to murder Dylan. It backfired and he killed Toni instead. This was a tragic moment for Dylan, who finally saw a future for himself after years of struggles with relationships and addiction issues. It was enough to make Dylan realize that Beverly Hills brought him nothing but pain, so he left to discover himself.
Season 7: David Struggles To Maintain Control
Now called bipolar disorder, David receives a diagnosis of “manic depression” in the season 7 episode “If I Had a Hammer.” This happened after he hurt his hand and fought with the employees at the hospital. It’s tough for Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) to see him like this, and it’s also sad for the show’s fans, who watched David and the rest of the gang grow up. Seeing David suffer as much as he was made it tough for everyone who watched him grow up. David became verbally abusive to Donna and treated his friends poorly, and it wasn’t until David faced his struggles and understood what was wrong that he could finally start to heal his relationships.
Season 8: Kelly Is Shot And Brandon Struggles With It
Kelly and Brandon are so good together and that’s one reason why it’s so hard for Brandon to watch Kelly recover from a gunshot wound in season 8 of Beverly Hills 90210. It’s tragic watching Kelly get shot, and it’s even worse watching Brandon struggle with her recovery process. Brandon gets really upset whenever the smallest thing happens, and he starts spiraling and thinking about all the bad things that could happen next. Hands down, the saddest moment in this season is in the episode “Pride and Prejudice” when the couple goes to the movies and Brandon hits a man for bumping into Kelly on accident.
Season 9: Kelly Is Raped In An Alley By A Stranger
All the Beverly Hills 90210 characters have been through awful times, but it’s fair to say that Kelly is the one character who got most of the terrible storylines. The saddest season 9 moment was in “Dog’s Best Friend” when Kelly was sexually assaulted in an alley by a stranger. This was the second time that she had been assaulted in her young life, and it was such a scary moment. Things got worse when the rapist found Kelly again, and she shot and killed him in self-defense, only to end up arrested for murder. She got off the charges, but it was another instance of a sad and traumatic moment happening in Kelly’s life.
Season 10: Donna’s Dad Passes Away
The saddest moment in the tenth and final season of Beverly Hills 90210 is in the episode “Doc Martin” when Donna’s dad (Michael Durrell) passes away following a massive stroke. It was hard for Donna to say goodbye to her dad, especially as she learned that Gina (Vanessa Marcil) is actually her half-sister from one of her father’s indiscretions and not her cousin. Much of Donna’s screen time focused on her romance with David, so this was not only a tragic time for her but a more dramatic storyline than she usually gets. Luckily, in Beverly Hills 90210, Donna was able to pull things together and ended up marrying David in the end.