Never Can Say Goodbye is the first episode of the second season (21st overall) which was broadcast on February 11, 2002.
Darren gets his headgear removed and becomes instantly popular over night. Ginger thinks she may have feelings for him, but she isn't the only one. Darren and Miranda start dating. Ginger learns from a talk show that the best thing to do is to give him the cold shoulder, which she does. Meanwhile, Brandon's pet monkey, Mr. Licorice, goes missing and he calls on Carl and Hoodsey to search for him.
The episode begins with a seemingly ominous scene of a dentist office. Darren's before and after image of his teeth are shown and the dentist reveals that this will be Darren's start of his new life.
Next Darren is shown to be walking home. Several girls call out to him saying he looks good. He then climbs into Ginger's bedroom shocking her with his new gearless appearance. Darren quickly heads home where his mom is very enthusiastic about his loss of metal head gear.
In the next scene Ginger discusses Darren's change with Dodie and Macie in the kitchen over pizza. Ginger remarks how hot Darren now looks and Dodie quickly reminds her of the last time she considered growing feelings for Darren (Dare I, Darren). Ginger denies having any romantic feelings for Darren and says she is just very happy for him.
The next day, during school lunch, Darren is surrounded by people as he recites how the dentist removed his metal gear. Ginger is upset that he told people that story before telling her. Dodie tries to defuse Ginger's rising ire by saying that Darren will come to them any minute. However, Darren leaves the cafeteria with several people trailing behind him without acknowledging their presence.
At Lucky Elementary Brandon is grieving because Mr. Licorice has gone missing, stolen according him. Hoodsey convinces Carl to help find out what happened to Brandon's monkey in exchange for about $46.
Back at Lucky Jr. Ginger is writing in her diary in the bathrooms. She is wallowing the fact that Darren didn't show up at lunch at all and worries that their friendship is at risk. Miranda and Courtney enter the bathroom and Ginger overhears Miranda's plans to make a move on Darren now that he has become a hot item. Courtney gets excited because if Miranda dates Darren and she hooks up with Will, they will be related. According to her, Miranda makes a fair chance after their shared experience at military camp last summer. Only she hopes Ginger doesn't take the news too hard after which Miranda remarks that Ginger will be the first thing to go. This only adds to Ginger's insecurities.
Meanwhile Carl and Hoodsey visit Brandon's home. Carl immediately notices the security cameras and asks to be taken to the last place Mr. Licorice was seen.
After school she angrily retells the conversation to Dodie and Macie in her room. Ginger is convinced that Miranda will only go after Darren to get to her, but Dodie questions that when she sees Darren and Miranda have a good time in the Patterson's back garden. The three friends aren't sure if Darren will have time for them again if Darren starts dating Miranda. Later that night Ginger is clearly upset and feels like she has been 'cold dissed'. A TV talk show host gives her the advice to give Darren the silent treatment from now on.
Back at Brandon's House, Carl, Hoodsey and Higsby consult the security tapes. It is soon revealed that Mr. Licorice wasn't stolen, like Brandon initially thought, but rather ran away.
The next day or several days later, Miranda and Darren are seriously dating. Miranda doesn't have time to talk to Courtney as she has promised to meet Darren at his locker. The rest of her day is also booked with boyfriend-related activities, leaving Courtney alone. In the bathroom, Courtney runs into Ginger who is pumping herself up to give Darren the advised cold shoulder. They both seem to keenly feel their best friends absence. Ginger leaves an upset Courtney and soon runs (seeks out) Darren, who is sporting a new hair style that Miranda prefers. Darren notices Ginger and talks to her, but Ginger completely ignores him by walking on, completely confusing Darren. Miranda shows up and is annoyed when Darren mentions he is concerned with how Ginger just treated him. Miranda gets annoyed and tells him he should only have eyes for her.
At the Lucky Elementary boys bathrooms, Higsby is crying in a toilet cubicle. Blake heckles Carl for his inability to find Mr. Licorice. Brandon then offers Carl everything he has to find Mr. Licorice.
The scene changes to Miranda practicing her clarinet while Darren listens uncomfortably. Darren asks why he has to be there to which Miranda responds that it's how dating is supposed to work. Darren then reveals his frustration that he hasn't spent a lot of time with Ginger lately. Miranda then responds that she has had to make sacrifices as well since she had to blow off Courtney earlier that day. Darren proposes a day off, which makes Miranda angry. They both raise their voices and start arguing. It almost seems like they will break up, but when Miranda realizes this is their first fight, the tension drops immediately. Darren is made to leave with the promise to call her again later that night to make up, because 'that is what boyfriends and girlfriends do'.
He goes to Ginger's house, hoping to talk to her, but she gives him the silent treatment again, even though she doesn't like it all. Darren appears crestfallen by her rejection and questions why she is doing this to him. He tells her he had hoped to invite her to the Cheese Cake Factory the next day after school 'like old times', but he judges from her behaviour she doesn't want to, and leaves.
The next day Carl and Hoodsey are at the mall buying slurries. Hoodsey isn't really into it since the monkey is still missing but while Carl is trying to cheer him up they find Mr. Licorice locked away in the pet store in front of them. Carl tells the store owner the monkey belongs to someone he knows, but the owner doesn't buy it. They need to buy it much to Carl's reluctance. When the owner remarks that the money they put on the table isn't nearly enough, Mr. Licorice begins to create a racket after Hoodsey tells the monkey off. The commotion brings negative attention to the store, causing the owner to get rid of the monkey after all.
Meanwhile Ginger regrets her actions and she along with Dodie and Macie question why they thought the silent treatment was a good idea to begin with. At the same time, Miranda and Courtney are catching up at the Cheese Plate Factory. Miranda is aggravated that she misses out on so much gossip and remarks that she can never have those type of conversations much to her annoyance. Meanwhile Ginger steps into the Factory and seeks out Darren, who is surprised and relieved she is talking to him again. Ginger apologizes for her recent behaviour and reveals that she was hurt and scared after he dissed her. Right when she says she will be supportive of his relationship with Miranda, Miranda herself shows up and asks a moment of Darren's time. She and Darren step in a cell booth Miranda reveals that she wants to break up with him because she is missing everything. They part on good terms. Miranda leaves with Courtney and Darren sits with Ginger again, asking her all kinds of questions about her and her friends.
Back at Higsby's house, Carl and Hoodsey break the news to Brandon that Mr. Licorice didn't want to come back to him. Brandon isn't bothered and says that he needs the monkey so he won't be just an annoying boy (his words), but rather an annoying boy with a monkey, which makes him special. Brandon then lectures Mr. Licorice that things can't be changed in the house, but Carl remarks that what has to change, is Brandon himself. Brandon is shocked, because he feel he knows what is best for his monkey, but he is willing to work on it. Carl and Hoodsey give him some pointers and they leave the house.
- Ginger Foutley
- Darren Patterson
- Carl Foutley
- Courtney Gripling
- Macie Lightfoot
- Dodie Bishop
- Hoodsey Bishop
- Cute Girl #2
- Miranda Killgallen
- Lois Foutley
- Brandon Higsby
- Lexi Lanoue
- Blake Gripling
- Cute Girl #1
- Mr. Licorice
- Store Manager
- Dr. Weinstein
- Mrs. Patterson
- Mipsy Mipson
- Lonnie (cameo)
- Chantal (cameo)
- Noelle Sussman (cameo)
- Stuart Higsby (cameo)
- Mye Zuckerberg (cameo)
- Hope Rogers (cameo)
- Dr. Fondfeelings
Carl: Whales don't actually blubber, Brandon. They only have blubber. Hoodsey: It's an easy mistake, Carl.
Hoodsey: (negotiating with Brandon) And the sour ball is nonrefundable. Carl: (offscreen) Were firm on that.
Brandon: (reacting to Mr. Licorice on camera offscreen) No! It can't be! I always thought it was Stuart who stole my money.
Carl: (talking to Blake) Did not! And mind your own business! Did you flush?
Carl: Well, it's like I always say, you can lead a horse to water... Hoodsey: But you can't change his spots. Boy, don't I know it, brother. Carl: Not exactly where I was going, but close enough.
- Dodie mentions that the last time Ginger considered developing feelings for Darren, the whole thing was over before it started. A callback to the episode "Dare I, Darren?"
- Carl mentions that he and Hoodsey were the ones who caught that dognapper last summer. A callback to the previous episode "Season of Caprice".
- Courtney mentions that Miranda and Darren had that whole summer camp experience together. Another callback to the previous episode "Season of Caprice".
- During the ending credits, the song "wrong" is sang by Kenny Blank, Darren's voice actor.
- The Cheese Plate Factory is a play on the real life Cheesecake Factory.