Allison's injuries are much more severe, but she maintains a positive attitude. While Kelly recovers at the beachfront apartment tended by her mother Jackie, Brandon is racked with guilt because of his feelings for Emily and that he was not there for Kelly. Kelly does not react well when she learns that Emily is still in town.
But after visiting Dylan at the halfway house and meeting Emily herself, Kelly learns that Brandon still loves her. Meanwhile, Steve feels guilty for the house fire and calls upon his father, Rush, to help out after Griffin abandons him. Due to Steve's legal troubles, Valerie distances herself from him which leads to Steve to finally realize that Valerie really is a bad person who was only interested in him for his money.
Griffin's father hires a professional attorney for Steve and Griffin where Rush, after looking over the case, advises both of them to plead no contest to one count of criminal trespassing in order to avoid jail time. At their arraignment, Steve and Griffin follow Rush's advice and they both receive two years of probation and community service Steve is furious to learn of this provision that Rush arranged with the judge, but Steve is more shocked and angry when he discovers the truth behind all of this: Griffin had stolen the keys from his father's real estate office to the house, lying to Steve about obtaining permission to use it for the rave.
Afterwards at the KEG house, Steve privately confronts Griffin over the house key theft and inadvertently starting the fire that put Kelly and the other girl in the hospital.
When the smarmy Griffin shows no guilt or remorse over any of his actions, the enraged Steve physically assaults Griffin and orders him to move out of the KEG house and leave the fraternity immediately, as well as never talk to him again; Griffin reluctantly complies. Elsewhere, Ray's perpetual bad mood confuses Donna. He explains that his alcoholic mother always begins drinking around the holidays, because his equally drunkard father left her on Christmas day over 20 years ago after pushing her down a flight of stairs and causing her to have a miscarriage.
Elsewhere, Andrea and Jesse throw a party for Hannah's first Hanukkah. Jesse obtains work as an attorney for those who cannot afford representation and takes his very first case involving child abuse. Later, Jesse's confidence turns into anger and frustration after the end result of his case not shown on camera , which is the court's harsh and unfair treatment of a widowed Mexican immigrant father whose two children are taken away by Social Services after a babysitter neglects them.
Jesse's angry story about the case and lesson about injustice to Steve leads Steve to do a good deed. At the end, Dylan comes home from rehab and is greeted by a letter from a stranger in Michigan who found Erica's note in the LAX ladies room from Season 4 pleading for his help; the note reads: Kevin and my mother are taking me to Brazil. James Eckhouse is absent from this episode. Ray's alcoholic, chain-smoking mother, LuAnn, goes Christmas shopping with Donna. Differing family traditions cause tension between the Catholic Jesse and the Jewish Andrea.
Clare introduces David to her father during a faculty Christmas party who finds common ground with him over their love of music and playing the piano. Meanwhile, Dylan manages to track down and get in contact with his father's former fiancee and FBI handler, Christine Pettit, to help him find his stolen money, but Christine tells Dylan that the agency cannot help.
Dejected, Dylan spends Christmas Eve alone and sober at his house watching Christmas themed movies on his TV set and thinks back to the time when Suzanne and Erica first came into his life one year earlier.
The next morning on Christmas, Dylan gets an oddball visitor when an older man shows up at his house, introducing himself as Jay J. Jones is an alcoholic ex-FBI agent and Christine's former partner in the agency who currently works as a freelance bounty hunter, mercenary, private investigator, and assassin-for-hire who was contacted by Christine about the situation and offers to help Dylan track down the people who stole his money in exchange for getting half of it.
Dylan reluctantly agrees to the deal. Elsewhere, Brandon is left alone to care for the recovering Kelly when Jim and Cindy leave town to visit Brenda in England and Valerie leaves to visit her mother in Buffalo. Kelly worries about Brandon finding her unattractive due to her fire burn scars.
Also, Nat hosts a special feed-the-homeless dinner at the Peach Pit.