Saved By The Bell – Episode 3 Review: “The Gift”

Posted on Posted in Reviews, TV Shows

Last updated on October 4th, 2017

After a good start to the series, we get a jumbled episode with way too much happening.

The episode starts at Bayside, where Zack discusses how their midterm will be given by “Terrible Testaverde”. Even just the mention of his name causes everyone in the hall to scream. Lisa is so stressed that she can’t stop eating…she even has an entire box of donuts just for herself. Jessie is afraid that her streak of straight A’s will end, so she’s carrying a stack of about ten books to her locker.

The test is the background theme of the episode, but the main plot focuses on the rivalry between Zack and Slater. They make various bets with each other throughout the episode, and Slater wins the first couple mainly by cheating (being “smart” according to him). He gets Zack’s sunglasses, as well as his ham radio.

At night, Zack says goodbye to his ham radio by talking into it with an Elvis voice for some reason. He has Screech disconnect the wiring on his roof, but the weather turns bad, and Screech gets struck by lightning. When Screech comes back down, he looks totally normal, except for his wild hair. Zack actually seems really concerned until he realizes that Screech now has the power to see the future. He tells Screech to not let anyone else know about this power, because he doesn’t want them taking advantage of it. So, he basically doesn’t want anyone else to do what he’s about to do.

Saved By The Bell - Episode 3

The next scene is in Mr. Testaverde’s class, and we get to see why the students are terrified of him. He’s going over the essay questions for the upcoming midterm, and talks faster than any human ever. The weirdest part is that he talks normally until he starts teaching the material. Why does he suddenly pick up speed? Also, I think that Mr. Belding needs to step up his hiring credentials for teachers. How is anyone supposed to learn?

In the locker room, Lisa continues to splurge on food, and the extra high-strung Jessie continues to obsess over getting an A. Kelly tries to get them to relax, but Lisa tells her about her cousin who never worried about anything until she had Mr. Testaverde. She failed history, ended up dropping out, and for some reason teaches English to foreign parrots. Kelly finally starts panicking, leaving her wide open for a Zack Morris scheme.

Zack, now armed with Screech’s knowledge of the future, challenges Slater to another bet. They try to guess the next person coming down the stairs, and Zack bets his TV and stereo for his old ham radio and Slater’s bomber jacket. Zack obviously knows that he could win, but that still seems like a really uneven bet. Zack wins, of course, and Slater punches a locker.

Zack and Slater Betting

Next, we’re at The Max, where Zack’s classic cell phone makes its first appearance, as he’s using it to bet on horse races. Is there not an age limit on placing bets? What kind of shady place is this? Anyway, Zack begins to set up another scheme here by getting Screech to tell him what the essay questions on Mr. Testaverde’s midterm will be. Screech is clearly starting to have trouble with his visions, but he’s able to give Zack the questions. He makes the ultimate bet with Slater that he will ace the test, and the loser of the bet will have to be the other person’s slave. In addition to this, he tells Kelly that he knows the questions to the test to try to get closer to her, and get her alone with him.

Kelly agrees to study with Zack, and while in his room, Zack awkwardly just gazes at Kelly from his beanbag chair while she’s highlighting some text. He unsuccessfully tries to kiss her, and then randomly makes her dance with him despite her obvious uncomfortableness. Sadly for Zack, his night alone with Kelly is ruined when Jessie and Lisa show up. Kelly told them that Zack knew what the questions were, so they’re there to study as well. Since his plans are spoiled anyway, he reveals the questions to all of them.

Zack Gazing At Kelly

After everyone leaves, Screech comes in to tell Zack that he’s getting different visions now, and eventually realizes that his power to see the future is gone. The quick-thinking Zack comes up with a solution to try to salvage their grades, his bet, and his friendship with Kelly. The next day at school, he calls Mr. Testaverde pretending that he’s Mr. Belding to tell him that the school is flooded. He then calls Mr. Belding pretending that he’s Mr. Testaverde to tell him that he’s sick, and gives him the questions to the midterm.

Mr. Belding comes to the class to give the test, because as we learned from Dancing to the Max, this school doesn’t have substitute teachers. As he’s reading the questions, Mr. Testaverde comes running into class to try to help with the plumbing disaster. After some confusion, they realize that they’ve fallen for another Zack scheme. Mr. Testaverde ends up giving the test with his impossible to understand questions, and the entire plan blows up in Zack’s face.

Plumbing Is Mr. Testaverde's Hobby

Kelly gets a C-, and she doesn’t seem nearly as angry with Zack as she should be. Lisa gets a D+, and also takes the news surprisingly well. Jessie gets a B, and passes out. Screech gets an A, because he decided to study everything, and Zack somehow manages to get an F-.

Things We Learn

  • Getting struck by lightning apparently gives you the power to see into the future.
  • Plumbing is Mr. Testaverde’s hobby.

Zack Schemes

  • Exploiting Screech’s power to help him win bets with Slater, become closer to Kelly, and ace his test.

Fashion Award

  • Screech with his brown button down shirt with random blue splotches, turquoise suspenders, and salmon colored pants that are practically pulled up to his chest.

Real Life Questions

  • Wouldn’t Screech be dead, or at least seriously injured from getting struck by lightning?

Odd Moment of the Episode

  • Screech meets with Mr. Belding, who is concerned that he got struck by lightning. When he realizes that Screech has the power to see the future, he asks him how long his mother in law will be staying with them. It’s a funny scene, but totally unnecessary.

Memorable Quotes

Lisa – “I have so much food inside my mouth that you could put a quarter in, and a bag of Doritos would come popping out.”

Kelly – “Lisa, you’ve got to stop doing this to yourself.”
Lisa – That’s easy for you to say…nothing bothers you.”
Kelly – Oh yeah? Lot’s of things bother me. I just don’t let them drive me bananas.”
Lisa – “You have one?”

Overall Thoughts

This was easily the weakest episode of the first three. Instead of one main storyline going on with some smaller sub-storylines, there’s just all kinds of stuff happening at once. It makes the episode feel really jumbled. As I mentioned in the first two reviews, I also tend to not care for the episodes that feature rivalries between the friend group as much. This is the first of many times that we see Zack scheming to help himself at the expense of his friends.

This was also the least funny episode so far, with not too many memorable quotes and memorable moments. Even still, this episode once again features things that the target audience could relate to. I mean, everyone had that crazy teacher who didn’t seem to make any sense when they were teaching. Everyone had tests that seemed like they would be impossible to pass. Everyone stressed out over grades to the point where they would do seemingly anything to ace a test.

So, probably not one of the better episodes in the series, but it has its moments.


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