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Is it just me, or has the fall television season sort of just jumped up out of nowhere? Maybe I am getting old and I just started noticing the daily grind a little more, but the new programming kind of came at me from behind and did a reach-around. Am I supposed to be shocked? Should I just enjoy it? Will it leave me confused forever? Whatever the case, I guess I am going to have to deal with it and move on. To be honest, I was quite excited to hear that The OC was coming back very quickly. First, I really do need a break from all of the reality programming every now and then and, well, how can I say no to weekly Rachel Bilson? Perhaps I am not looking forward to this season for the same reasons others are, but I am sure it will be a fun time nonetheless.Last season I was criticized because people said I did not like the show enough. Whenever I commented on it, it was to point out some inconsistency, a piece of bad acting, or blatant laziness by the writers. I have to say that people must understand that I am a fan of this show, and when I completely tear it apart, it really is in the interest of the show. There just has to be more to a season than Seth/Summer or Ryan/Marissa breaking up and getting back together for me to be going crazy. I am not going to spend 5000 words stroking Josh Schwartz like some katoey boy in the bathroom of a bar in Phuket. (Disclosure: Never really liked Bill Simmons, but respected what he did. After that piece of Katie Couric hard-hitting journalism, well, I don’t know.) Anyway, forgive me for some cynicism, because I do enjoy the show. Let’s get on with the recap.
The big cliffhanger from last year was, of course, what happened to Trey. Marissa had shot him while he was about to kill Ryan. She shot him once, which seems pretty accurate considering the way she was holding it, the kick would have knocked her out. Trey didn’t die, however, and he was rushed to the hospital where the doctors were trying to save his life. Ryan followed, and Marissa was there as well, with Seth and Summer close behind. Even though he had been beaten to a bloody pulp, he was still trying to be Ryan Atwood, ie telling everybody what to do and acting like he was middle-aged. He was telling Marissa not to talk, attempting to start an IV on his brother, and trying to explain to the cops how he managed to get a haircut from then end of the second season in the five minutes that have transpired since that time in the third season. Hey Josh, just saying it Ã¢â‚¬” itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the unfortunate reality of Newport Beach. They don’t have barbers in the ambulances, even for the rich kids.
We could tell that it was the aftermath of a crime because the whole thing had that CBS grey filter like it had been shot with the CSI lenses. Sandy is just getting to the hospital when Ryan faints and hits the floor. We knew it was coming because the camera kept on skewing inward and outward like his head was throbbing or something. Next thing we know, Ryan is awake and in his bed at the Cohen’s. At this moment, I was really scared that they were going to pull a Dallas on us and just say that it was all a dream. That really would be the style of these OC writers; they can’t stay with the same thing for more than fifteen minutes anymore these days. Seth knocks on the door and comes in. By the way, did you notice how he didn’t even wait for a response before he came in? He better be careful or one of these days he’s going to find himself face to face with Ryan’s blurry ass as he’s pouring it into Marissa. Ryan said he had the worst nightmare, and before I can groan about how smart I was earlier, Seth says that it’s because it was all true.
OK, so we know how Ryan is dealing with things. His brother isn’t dead, just in a coma, so nobody is really throwing around “murder” at the time, but it’s not like it wasn’t in the back of his head. What are Marissa and Summer thinking? Well, like every season, we have a shot of them out by the pool. Summer is rambling on and on about her usual things like the Valley and the stepmonster, and seems generally surprised when she hears that Marissa is having trouble sleeping. Marissa may not have an appetite, but she does have conscience, and her conscience is telling her that she shot somebody, and how is she ever going to live with herself? Uhh, he raped you and was trying to kill your boyfriend, also known as the only joy in your sorry existence as a person.
By this time, I was thinking to myself “OK, now why isn’t there a trial?” Cue the DA making an appearance in the Cohen house. It is deposition time for Ryan, and it looks like the DA is going to come after Ryan. Yeah, yeah, I know, how are they supposed to go after Ryan when he was the one getting his ass beat? You see, Ryan was so worried about gun safety that the first thing he thought about after the shooting was to make sure the safety was on the gun, so nobody would be hurt. It was only at the hospital when he was telling Marissa not to make a statement that he was fully prepared to protect everybody from prosecution.
You see, the DA was not so sure if the description of events given by Ryan, Marissa, Seth, and Summer jived with him. Ryan was not a model citizen, he had a motive (brother raped girlfriend), and he even had a gun (which they say was a .45, but looked like a Glock 9mm to me). To me, it really didn’t look like they had a case. They had wanted to wait until Trey was awake, but decided to move because people were complaining that there was a potential killer among them. Ryan and Seth are sticking to their stories, so he is going to have to try and find a different angle.
The investigator’s dream came true when he met with Julie Cooper. Even though Marissa has a pretty good self-defense case going, Julie is talking with Jimmy about how they are going to frame the story. Jimmy is against all of this of course, but he really is helpless to stop Julie. She basically wants Marissa to fabricate her story, because no good college is going to accept a girl who has these kinds of charges filed against her. First, it is hard to believe that Julie is simply worried about higher education, and I didn’t know that California had a law where you could disclose the legal records of minors. Just how is that supposed to work out? Whatever her reasons, she is not able to get Marissa to change her statement. Marissa is determined to tell the truth, even if it means that her dream of going to College of the Canyons is exactly that – a dream.
Shit, I almost forgot! What about Kirsten, our favorite alcoholic? It looks like she is a model citizen at the rehab center. Dr. Suriak, or just Suriak whenever he refers to himself in the third person, basically says that she is ready to go home, but before we do that, it’s important to tell everybody exactly what made you an alcoholic. Maybe I am overly cynical (a stretch, I know), but it sounded like Kirsten’s answers were the type that people who haven’t learned that much, but are just trying to say the right things to get out of rehab. Then again, this was OC rehab, and not some AA meeting next door to a meth clinic, so it’s not like the conditions are *that* horrible.
One of the last things Kirsten had to do before she graduated from rehab was to tell everybody about her problem. Now, I have never been to AA or anything, and I know there is a lot of confidentiality involved, but isn’t admitting your problem like the first step? And I know she has been sitting in these meetings for a long time, but don’t you kind of let the new people go and the veterans sort of sit on the sidelines? Are we supposed to think it took her two months to say “My name is Kirsten and I’m an alcoholic”? Also, what was the deal with her blaming her dad for being an asshole? She even seemed to blame her mom for dying and making her dad a bigger bastard. I thought the whole thing was that alcohol has taken control of you, and you’ll always have a problem with it, so it doesn’t matter how you started drinking.
But let’s move on, shall we? During Kirsten’s little confession into the reasons why she drank, everybody was listening very intently, and some perhaps too intently, including Charlotte Morton, played by Jeri Ryan. We know how FOX loves to recycle characters from their other shows, so if Jeri Ryan can make it out of Boston Public, maybe we can all look forward to Chi McBride in the future. Don’t pretend like you’re not excited at the possibility. Charlotte eventually caught up with Kirsten a little bit later and told her how much her story touched her and how it seems like their lives were so similar, how the need for alcohol was so great at times it was every bottle of vanilla extract or cherry NyQuil for themselves. After two months in the drunk tank, it looks like Kirsten has finally made a friend. They share experiences and Kirsten confesses that she is scared that if she leaves too early, she might not be well, and she might hurt her loved ones again. It was a small scene, but I thought it was the best of the evening, although it wasn’t much of a contest.
Sandy made a surprise visit, and look, after two and a half seasons on the air, the producers finally realized that maybe he is the convertible type. Frankly, I think they made a poor choice when they paired him with a Lexus SC, especially considering the family has a bunch European cars in the stable. I am thinking he’s more of a Porsche Boxter S; the Lexus just doesn’t have enough personality for him. Anyway, Sandy sees Kirsten, and they have a big hug. Like any husband, he wonders when his wife is supposed to come back, but I’m thinking that if there is something you don’t want to rush your wife back home from, it’s her rehab. Seriously, do you want her to get in another accident and get killed, all because you were sick of spanking it? Girls of the Pac-10 this month Sandy? They may even have a girl from Berkeley in it! And she may have even shaved her armpits! And why is he trying to say he is lost in the kitchen without her? So some peanut butter exploded in the microwave while you tried to make cookies, what is Kirsten going to do? Point you to the magnet on the refrigerator that has the number to the Thai delivery?
While this reunion is going on, you couldn’t help but wonder why Charlotte was staring at these two for so long. Does Charlotte have a crush on Kirsten? God, Schwartz, you already screwed up lesbian relationships for a whole generation of curious 13-year-old boys, must you throw even more cold water onto that fantasy by dragging us through it again? I hope not. But before we get to contemplate just why Charlotte is so fascinated with Kirsten, Sandy gets a call from Seth. Instead of putting his mom on the phone to talk to him, Sandy leaves. Kirsten assures him she is almost ready and as soon as Suriak gives the OK, she will be back.
Sandy wasn’t just trying to be a bastard keeping Seth away from his mom in hopes she would come back earlier. No, there was a bigger emergency. Trey was awake! Yes, it only took Kirsten one episode to get rid of her alcohol problem, and it only took half of an episode to get Trey out of his coma. Ryan and Trey have always had this odd relationship, but I am really starting to wonder about the pathology of Ryan’s mind, because he decides to visit Trey in the hospital. Remember last year when Trey was actually a good person and Ryan was an asshole? How did Ryan forget about all of that? I know that he is your brother, but he raped your girlfriend, lied about it, nearly got your girlfriend shot in a nearly-botched robbery, then was busy pounding your skull, and was about to rip out your medulla oblongata, and you are worried about HIS feelings?
Well, Trey must have been inspired by his brother’s visits, and as soon as Ryan left, he started waking up. And immediately after that, the hospital starts making phone calls. Now, this guy might be a witness for an attempted murder case, so you would think that the hospital would call the DA and they would keep Trey secure. As always, those little details are a little too much for Schwartz and company. Instead the hospital calls Ryan (not a surprise, I’ll admit) and…Julie Cooper? Is she blowing the orderlies as well?
The first thing Ryan does when he hears that Trey is awake is to go and find Marissa. She is sitting on the beach, and the first thing I think of is whether they are trying to make fun of Laguna Beach, because they seemed to have fond LC’s pensive sanctuary log and placed Marissa on it. Ryan finds her, says that he has been visiting Trey and he just woke up. Marissa’s first reaction is not the customary “Oh what an asshole,” but “Oh, you were visiting Trey, why didn’t you tell me? I would have gone with you.” Uh, why would you go with him, Marissa? To finish the job? And then it begins to set in. What if Trey doesn’t tell the truth and tries to blame Ryan? Oh my God, it’s just too much to think about. Better drive off and find Seth and Summer and figure out what to do, which is exactly what happened. It did seem kind of odd that Marissa’s car was nowhere to be found. How did she get to the beach? Perhaps that huge flower that was holding her shirt in place is actually where she straps a hang glider on when she doesn’t want to bother with her sometimes-convertible Mustang.
When they get together with Seth and Summer, the four of them are sort of moping in the diner. I guess they had enough of The Bait Shop with all of the angry lesbians and Asian gangsters filling up the place. They are all worried about what is going to happen, but Summer says that they shouldn’t worry about what they can’t control, which I actually think is a really good philosophy. I try to live my life like that, and roll with whatever comes your way. I am going to use that philosophy for this show. I can’t control how out of touch the writers are, so instead of complaining, I’ll just drink some of my new favorite fruity drink, which I call the Rock Hudson – it’s an Arnold Palmer with peach schnapps.
What’s the perfect way to get away for awhile? Why not go sailing? The Summer Breeze is not around any longer, but perhaps Luke is making good use of it Portland by introducing it to some young hottie’s back. Instead, they are going to go for a Slow Dance, with the usual brand of OC emo for accompaniment. But this isn’t just any regular sailing trip, they are going to stop off at a little deserted patch of beach on Catalina and frolic a little while. Take that Kristin! Your trips to Lucky Strike just can’t hang.
Normally, this little frolic should have been one of the better moments of the show, but as always I found myself distracted, this time by the obvious blue screen that they used when the kids were supposed to be talking on rocks. Listen, this is California, we have plenty of beach. Could you not find some rocks on some beach somewhere to get your shot? As they were walking on the rocks, all I could think of was that they hired the crew of “Clash of the Titans” to do the special effects. And once I noticed the blue screen, I started noticing the lighting, and it got really annoying, and it didn’t have to be that way. There were obvious shots from that took place on an actual beach. Whoever was directing and let that scene get past the cutting room should really be fired.
And then there was the whole beach scene itself. Like I said, I need a little bit more than Seth and Summer and Ryan and Marissa spending time together on screen for me to be happy, so what’s with this Annette Funnicello surf movie impression that they had going on? Or maybe McG wanted to show the people at American Eagle how well he could do one of their commercials if they were looking for somebody? The whole thing did look like an excuse to get Ben McKenzie to take his shirt off, which will ensure Josh Schwartz will be the envy of all of the 13-year-old girls in the chat rooms instead of being the one burned in effigy there. They were throwing the football, roasting marshmallows, which we all know does not happen among these rich kids, who stay at home and have their maids make quesadillas (por favor).
If there is one thing about this season that I look forward to, it has to be Julie Cooper. She is obviously going to be the main villain. We started feeling for her last year when her marriage to Caleb was falling apart and all that bad porn of her came out, but that is changing in a hurry. She will go to any lengths to frame Ryan, and that includes getting Trey to lie about what actually happened that night in his apartment. She makes her way to the coma ward and gets by the head nurse with the very convenient “my husband bought this wing of the hospital” excuse to get in. She starts threatening Trey, who is admittedly in a quite vulnerable position, but instead says she has an offer. If he says that Ryan shot him, he gets $20,000. It’s not a bad deal, and Trey says OK, like he had some choice in the matter.
Trey makes his confession, and even though the DA has two witnesses that haven’t spent time in state prison for drugs and was an accomplice in armed robbery, they go with his story. Sandy learns that there will be a warrant out for Ryan’s arrest, and lets him know so he can be ready. It comes as a real shock to Ryan, and he pulls himself away from Teen Wolf on TNT to decide his options. Everybody quickly learns what is happening, including Summer and Marissa, and they decide they have to do something.
When they get to the pool house, Ryan is planning his escape. Oh wow. Somebody on the OC is planning on running away. I never would have imagined. He says he is leaving, because nobody believes him, but his friends do, so they do the sensible thing and…help him leave. They even got an easy way to leave the country. Head to Catalina by boat, and then off to Mexico.
A few hours roll around, and the police come to take Ryan away, but he is not there. They phoned the girlfriend, but Julie says Marissa is not there either. Where could the kids be? Cut to Jimmy Cooper with that all-knowing look on his face. The kids borrowed my boat earlier, maybe they would use it to make a getaway!
Sure enough, Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Marissa planned to use the boat to get to Mexico. And I’m sorry, but I have to ask. Who had the bright idea to use the boat to get to Mexico? And a sailboat at that? It’s not like the Coast Guard is going to have trouble running you down before you get to international waters, whatever that means. These people live in Orange County, did anybody not think of perhaps DRIVING to Mexico? By the time the cops had searched for you, made the calls to find out that you weren’t anywhere, and discovered that you weren’t hiding on a boat, you would have been across the border. And instead of trying to blend in with the what, three sailboats floating around Newport at that hour, you would be in a black BMW or Range Rover, blending in with the other ten million that occupy the roads in California. In my mind, they deserve to get caught.
After Ryan is arrested, Sandy sees him in jail and gives him the big lecture about looking guilty and whatnot. Sorry Josh Schwartz, no matter how well Bill Simmons tickles your prostate, I can’t believe you honestly think we should buy any of this. Not to get all CSI on you, and I know that you guys can’t stand procedural things, but anybody who has watched an episode of Law and Order or CSI in the last five years (approximately everybody in the country) knows at least the basics of ballistics. Are you just saying that the Newport sheriffs are that inept? Are there no ballistics that would show it was kind of hard for Ryan to be struggling with his brother AND shoot him in the back? His prints are on the gun, but is there any powder residue? Do you think they would have, during the course of their investigation, noticed that the slugs they pulled out of the wall at Trey’s apartment were the same as the ones they pulled out of The Bait Shop? You only need one juror with reasonable doubt to keep Ryan out of jail, and there is plenty of reasonable doubt to go around. Nobody was that worried.
Well, I guess I have to take it back. Lots of people were that worried, including Marissa, Rachel, and Seth. They decided that they were going to convince Trey, one way or the other. But how to get into the coma wing? Marissa can’t use the “my step-father bought this wing” excuse, can she? No, luckily Summer has an in at the hospital, since she used to be a candystriper. That reminds me, never stay at the Newport Hospital, they don’t respect your privacy, don’t have great security, and let anybody with red and white dress into the rooms of coma patients without so much as a care. Snaps to the writers for fitting in a black nurse though.
Once inside the hospital, Marissa can work her magic. Trey sees her, and wonders what the hell he did to get Julie and Marissa Cooper on his case. Umm, rape and first degree assault if you were wondering, jackass. On the other hand, he must feel lucky because all of that time in the coma, and the nurses were kind enough to keep his hair styled fairly trendy, and were sure to shave him every three days to keep that sexy stubble that all of the 17-year-old drug kingpins find hot. Marissa tells him he should do the right thing, and after a few moments, he lets her know it was her mom that asked him to do it. Hearing this, Trey gives an amended confession, Marissa takes a copy to her mom, lets her know that she knows what Julie was trying to do, and then says to stay out of her life.
While all of that was going on, Sandy was giving the once over to Jimmy. Sandy knew that Ryan was telling the truth, but was wondering why Trey was covering for Marissa. He knows that somebody must have put him up to it, and that person was probably Julie Cooper. Sandy wonders why Jimmy never stopped her, but I have to say it was kind of unfair. If Jimmy had said something, would Julie have stopped trying? Sandy is really upset, insults Jimmy for being in Newport a little too conveniently after Caleb’s death, and storms off. Considering I was never worried that Ryan was going to stay in jail, I have to constantly wonder why everybody was so freaked out.
Sandy then picks up Ryan in jail, and the first thing Ryan wants to do is thank Trey for doing the right thing, but when they get to the hospital, he is not there. Now, there are a million places Trey could be, but Ryan guessed right when he thought that trey would head for the bus station, and his timing could not have been more poignant. Ryan arrives just as the bus is pulling away, and shares a look with Trey that was something like “sorry I tried to kill you and raped your girlfriend” and “maybe I should have picked up the gun and shot you a couple more times just for good measure.” However sad Ryan was to see his only family heading for Vegas (by the way, since Trey lied to police, do you think they would have wanted to prosecute him for rape or assault? Why wasn’t he in the prison ward of the hospital? Am I supposed to believe the DA cut him a deal?), he soon gets over it and spends the next few hours sucking face with Marissa.
Overall, I was quite dissappointed by this premiere. One of the things I liked about the last several episodes of last season’s OC was that it looked like everybody was having fun living in California. I really hope the show starts to get less depressing than last night. I wasn’t really expecting much, but I would have to say they didn’t deliver. I am happy to see that Kirsten’s rehab is going to take at least one more episode, and it looks like there will at least be some ramifications in the real world for this murder trial (like expulsion for Ryan and Marissa), so that is a plus. Julie is trying to get her hands on Caleb’s money as quick as possible, but the executor of the estate has other ideas. And then we have creepy Charlotte staring at Kirsten from the shadows of the doorway like she is wondering whether to kill her or sit on her face. I guess I should look on the bright side, there is no place to go but up, yet again.
What did you think of the opener?
Hey! Count: Episode – 5, Season – 5