Fox says: “We’re giving you two episodes of The O.C. this week,” and I say: “Yes, please!” But here’s the question at hand: if a once great show, stumbles for 2 years and then makes an incredible creative resurgence, does anyone care? If the ratings are any indication, it would appear not. Last week’s season premiere was watched by, I think, me, the 14 people who commented on the recap, my best friend Carla, her boyfriend John, a cackling-at-the-moon Mischa Barton, and that’s all. So Fox thought they’d try something out and plug the show in on Wednesday at 9 PM to get it out of the way of two little shows called, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI (maybe you’ve heard of them). Where this was a good idea in theory, in practice it put the show up against the Lost “fall finale” and the ludicrously popular Criminal Minds starring Inigo Montoya, who I suspect is looking for the man who killed other people’s fathers. Prepare to… be investigated! The O.C. took a hit on Wednesday as well, watched by fewer people than One Tree Hill. That’s right, more people want to watch Chad Michael Murray trick another one of his costars into marrying him, than care about the Newport Gang. And it’s a shame, because these two episodes really kicked ass. I mean, if that nifty piece of photoshop, didn’t get people tuning in, I fear nothing will! Here’s the recap for Wednesday’s episode, with Thursday’s Thanksgiving themed recap coming up shortly. Seth is on the phone trying desperately to find out why Summer skedaddled in the middle of then night after her last visit. When he picks up the phone to give his girlfriend a call he accidentally overhears Julie and Ryan having a little chat about the whereabouts a one Mr. Kevin “I’m Bad to tha Bone” Volchok. You remember Volchok, right? Tall, blonde and bad boy-riffic. He’s the punk who Marissa was doing bumps of coke with during her “slut spiral” and ended up running Ryan and Coop off the road at the end of last season, effectively killing Marissa Cooper, and freeing us all from Mischa Barton. For that we thank Volchok.
This not so secret phone call strikes me as odd. Julie is a manipulative genius and Ryan is no slouch in the sneaky department, so why would they be speaking to one another about such sensitive material on the Cohen family phone? Not like the phones are tapped or anything, but in the past three years has anything in these families been kept a secret? When ever I plan an act of clandestine vengeance, I always use my cell phone. That’s just how I roll.
Anywho, Seth overhears that Ryan is on his way to Mexico to find Volchok and do unspeakable things to him. Like, perhaps, force him to bathe. Seth intercepts Ryan, who is in full-on Death Wish-Charles Bronson mode, and asks to tag along. After all Ryan claims that he’s not going to kill Volchok, pashaw!, he just wants to inform the police to his whereabouts. In fact, he’s even thinking about taking Volchok on a man-date complete with eyebrow waxes and Football jersey shopping. Seth sees this as the lie that it is, but Ryan is stuck between a rock and skinny Jewish kid place, so he stops fighting Seth and lets him come along.
At Brown, Summer is running head first into another Save the Planet tactic with Che, her hippie leader of freedom. This time the protest is against the Board of Trustee’s who want to cut down a tree. I say good. I hate trees. You can never tell what they’re thinking. Summer is all for it – anything to keep her occupied – so she heads up to her room to prepare.
There Summer finds a surprise in the form of a negligee clad Taylor sleeping in her bed. Seriously, Autumn Reeser is a comedic genius. She’s the only good thing (besides Mischa’s Big Fat Tragic Death) to come out of last season. Now this is the second time in as many days that Summer has found Taylor in places which are not even remotely close to Paris, where she is supposedly attending the Sorbonne. Summer wonders if Taylor has a twin, which would explain a lot, and be totally awesome for us. Summer may be a dreaded hippie, but she can still smell nonsense a mile away (which is shocking considering the lack of showering and bong stench in the air). Taylor tells Summer that something huge happened while she was in Paris, and now she’s on the run, most notably from her scary, scary mother. Before she has an opportunity to unload the big shock on Summer, Che comes in to inform Summer that the chainsaws are at there ready and the protest must begin post haste!
From Brown U. to Harbor High, a distracted Julie (she’s waiting for word from Ryan in Mexico on Operation: Mucho Revengeo) is being berated by new Dean of Discipline Tia Carrere! That’s right, she weaseled her way from the depths of Straight-To-Video hell and back into our hearts. If she was the Dean, she’d be The Dean of Babeness.
Anyway Dean Torres is concerned over Kaitlin’s craptacular showing at school. She’s constantly late, doesn’t hand in any assignments, and there is a strong chance that she’s flirting with one of her teachers to get better grades. Dean notes the probable “trouble at home” (you know, dead sister’s memory lingering about, and all that), so she orders Julie to participate with Kaitlin in the Harbor High clothing drive that is coming up. Ugh. Community service is the pits!
If you need anymore reason to fall back in love with the Cohen (yes, even Sandy and his eyebrows) just look to this next scene. Sandy’s eyebrows found a note left in a hurry from Seth, and they order Sandy to bring the note to Kirsten. Unfortunately, the note says” Angry Nudfo Chocolate Love,” and even Sandy’s eyebrows can’t figure it out. Luckily for them Seth places a phone call just then, explaining that the note was an anagram. Leave it to Kirsten to immediately see the message: Ryan Found Volchok. Seth informs them that he is in Mexico to divert Ryan from making a murderous mistake. This of course causes nothing but worry in the Cohen parents, which is evident because the veins of Kirsten’s face come out in full force.
Sadly for Seth and his cell phone, Ryan discovers his betrayal and tosses the phone away. Ryan says Seth can either trust him or he can go back home. The second is actually not an option since I believe that hotfooting it back to Newport would be difficult at this point, but I digress. Seth trusts Ryan, so off they go continuing there journey to the center of Ryan Atwood’s soul!
Back at the Manse, in the most hysterical scene in O.C. history, Kaitlin is sitting in her bedroom as Albino Minion is shaving Brian Krakow Minion’s chest. If my devotion to Luke’s twin brothers, Kaitlin’s minions, was even remotely in doubt, the chest shaving scene solidifies it. Kaitlin calls them gay, just like their dad, in a refreshingly un-PC way, but they shoot back with the slutty mom card (after all Julie slept with their brother). Kaitlin claims that Gay Dad totally trumps Slutty Mom, but I’m not 100% sure. But I am sure that this will be one of the first major decisions made by the new Democrat-led Senate. Julie walks in, does a wonderful double-take at the minions, and informs Kaitlin that her delinquent behavior has landed them both spots as Harbor High Clothing Drive workers.
Upon Ryan and Seth’s arrival to lovely Ensenada, Mexico, they check into an adorable little motel. What no TJ? I guess there are too many happy memories of Marissa OD’ing. Seth has to excuse himself to go number 2, which allows Ryan just enough time to slip away and search for his buddy Volchok. Ryan heads to a bar where he heard Volchok was working, but is informed The Vol got the axe a few weeks ago. So now everyone gets to go home, right?
Over in Summer’s dorm room, Taylor is looking for pictures of the old gang, but like K-Fed in a divorce settlement, she comes up empty. When Summer’s slutty roommate enters (was I the only one who assumed Summer was in a single?), Taylor asks her if Summer’s mentioned her boyfriend to her. The roommate, Amber, assumes that Taylor is referring to perpetually Summer-bound Che, but Taylor is not. It seems that Amber hasn’t even heard of this “Seth” she speaks of. The wheels in Taylor’s head start spinning, presumably bilingually.
Seth finishes his doodie duty (tee hee!) and finds Ryan gone. This leads Seth to start checking out the bars for his buddy, but entangles him with a group of booze guzzling Marines led by one of the world’s most repugnant people, Jackass’ Steve-o. Seriously, what was the point of this cameo? Is there some God awful promotional synergy coming up that we don’t know about? I shudder at the thought. This of course leads to Seth getting wiggity wiggity wasted with his new Marine pals (in his defense, if I had to hang out with Steve-o, I’d probably get wasted myself).
Later Seth stumbles to another bar and asks for Volchok. It’s the same bar that Ryan was at earlier. Seth is told that Volchok was adios’d, but his inquiry is overheard by a barmaid who has the stench of Volchok all over her. She says she knows where Volchok is and gives Seth an address.
Oh yeah, in his drunken stupor we find out that Seth got a tattoo, which we later find out is of Seniorita Vixen. Classic.
At the Clothing drive, Kaitlin and Julie seem to finally finding some common ground as they are making fun of the fancy clothes that are being dropped off for charity. Like the poor people being slaughtered in Darfur are in desperate need of Sandy Cohen’s old leather jacket? Speaking of Sandy, in walks Kirsten, who is so bored now that she’s sober she is getting uber-philanthropic, as Julie notes her kids don’t even go to Harbor anymore. Kristen says she needed something to take her mind off trouble at home. You know the usual: roof is leaking, laundries piling up, Seth and Ryan ran away to Mexico. Julie is shocked to hear the news that Ryan is joined by the lanky and somewhat useless in a fight (unless it’s a quip-off) Seth.
On the east coast, Taylor has seen enough to know she’s seen too much, as she marches over to the literal tree hugging screeching “Move it, hippies!” She demands Summer’s attention, and pulls her over to ask her what the deal is with Seth. Taylor takes out her cell phone and orders Summer to call Seth immediately, which she does, unfortunately getting a random Mexican guy (Ryan threw out Seth’s cell after he figured out Seth called his parents). Since the attempt was a failure Summer heads back to the tree. Oh and we learn that Taylor is also fluent in Spanish.
The next morning Taylor has packed up her things (save for the Espresso Machine she bought – I love her), and is heading back to Newport, but not before she gives Summer a piece of her mind. Summer’s not in the mood because she just spent the night outside for the first time: “Have you ever slept outside? There is so much grass and you can’t turn off the stars.” She tells Summer that she is going to ruin things with Seth, especially if anything happens with Che. You can see the old Summer struggling to come out as Summer almost forms those three magical letters “Eww” at even the prospect of cheating on Seth with Che. It’s a testament to how far this show has already come this season (yeah, yeah, it’s only episode 2), that I’m not even remotely annoyed by the self-knowing comment Summer makes about the false-appearance of a Seth/Summer/Che love triangle. “This isn’t a love triangle! I don’t DO love triangles, anymore.” And I hope she’s right. I like Che’s character and what he’s bringing out in Summer, but I hope it remains plutonic. I’m really buying the tension between Seth and Summer – I mean, long distance relationships are hard enough, add on the tragic death of a best friend? These kids barely stand a chance. They don’t need Summer falling for someone else, which I really don’t think she is.
Summer really gets on the defensive about both Che and Taylor’s accusation that she is ignoring Seth. It’s kind of heartbreaking when Taylor implores Summer to just talk to her. She doesn’t want to talk to you Taylor! She wants Coop! Things get heated and Summer turns the whole thing around on Taylor saying that she supposedly had this huge problem, but all she’s been doing is dissecting Summer’s life. Taylor begins to storm off, but not until she’s casually drops her bombshell: While in Paris she got married! Summer will have to hear the details another time, because Taylor is out of there!
South of the border, Ryan returns to the motel room, sans Volchok’s head on a platter. Bummer. Ryan can’t leave until he finds Volchok, so Seth gives up the information on his whereabouts. Seth tries to get Ryan to swear off violence, but that’s like trying to get Mischa Barton to eat something. It’s just not going to happen.
In Newport, Julie is sitting in front of the television watching Cops (you’ve got to get your violence fix somewhere, I suppose), which is exactly where she’s been for the past 18 hours. Kaitlin is going to the clothing drive without her, but she gets one good parting shot in: “Some of us are still alive.” Low blow Kaitlin, but JuJu needed to hear it.
Elsewhere, Sandy and Kristen can’t sleep, as they are too damn worried about their damn kids. They both decide a trip to Mexico is in order. That morning, they are sipping coffee and formulating a plan. Kristen asks when they will have to stop bailing out their sons from allt heir stupid mistakes. If the rating keep slipping KiKi, it’ll be sooner than you think…
Further proving that Prison Break’s influence knows no bounds, we see Ryan getting ready to kill Volchok. With the lead pipe. In the dingy basement. Simultaneously, we see Volchok in his casa as he hears a banging on his door. Volchok grabs his hunting knife and answers the door, just as Ryan knocks a door in. Finally, Ryan and Volchok face-to-face! PSYYYYYCH! It was a little bit of misdirection (thus the Prison Break comment – that was soooo Michael Scofield), as Ryan ends up in an empty room, and it is none other than Seth at Volchok’s door.
Seth is there to tell Volchok that Ryan is in town. Volchok foolishly thinks that Seth is looking out for him, but really he’s just looking out for Ryan. If Ryan finds Volchok he’ll kill him, and that will ruin Ryan’s life. On the plus side it will finally make the “young Russell Crow” thing Seth mentioned last week complete as Ryan will stand over Volchok’s body and scream; “Are you not entertained? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?! Is this not why you are here!?!?!”
I BELIEVE THE EXPRESSION YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IS: BAD. BAD TO THE BONE.
Seth tells Volchok to turn himself in and stop running. He even offers Sandy’s help in the surrender. Volchok gives him a big thanks but no thanks. Ehh, Volchok never really bothered me, even when he killed Marissa, although my Bad Boy tolerance is pretty low (yeah, I’m talking to you Austin on Desperate Housewives). I just wish that this kid was a better actor. You can tell that Volchok does feel remorse over what he did to Marissa, but it’s not conveyed all that well.
Seth’s sneaky, sneaky leads to a Ryan/Cohen parents reunion. Sandy and Kirsten beg Ryan to come home with them, but Ryan refuses while Volchok is still out and about, lovin’ the ladies and ruinin’ lives. Luckily, timing is on Sandy and Kirsten’s side as Seth walks in to inform them that problem is solved: Volchok is gone!
At the airport, Taylor is ready to head back to Newport when Summer shows up to apologize. She acknowledges that Taylor was right when she said Summer was pulling away from Seth. Taylor completely understands, and knows Seth will too. She makes Summer promise that she will at least write to Seth to tell him as much. Before Taylor leaves she gives a brief rundown of her whirlwind romance in Paris with an older man, which ended with her married in his family’s chapel, with Ethan Hawke looking on.
Julie decides that Kaitlin’s tough love was effective and she shows up at the clothing drive, although it’s obvious that Kaitlin is up to no good. This is confirmed when Dean Torres shows up to let Julie know that some of the expensive clothes from the drive have been sold to second hand thrift stores. And Kaitlin’s the one doing the selling!
Later, back home, Kaitlin admits to her wrong doing, but not before hilariously justifying it with some made up facts about mountains of clothes for the Darfur relief already collected in New Jersey. Julie calls her out on the story, and simply tells her that she can’t keep this family together with Kaitlin running around like “A Clockwork Orange.” This seems to get through to Kaitlin, as she offers to make her mom some ice cream. This tentative trust is immediately shattered as Julie gets, yet another, mysteriously phone call and disappears from her obviously screaming for attention daughter.
Back at Brown, poor Summer is struggling to write Seth a letter telling him how she feels. Again the strides that Rachel Bilson has taken as an actress in the last four years are incredible. My heart breaks a little when she speaks, but doesn’t write, the words: “Dear Seth, I still love you. I really still love you. I just… I just can’t…”
As things start to get too real in her own head, Summer heads out to meet Che, obviously her distraction from anything even remotely resembling her own life. Che says they were victorious, and they don’t need to sleep with the tree anymore. Summer convinces him that the trees still need him, and he happily obliges. Watch yourself, Che! My memories of Bright Abbott are not SO fond that I will stand for you putting the moves on poor, grieving Summer.
I also happen to have the being perculation of a theory that Che isn’t as much of a hippie/save the planet guy as he seems… Just a thought…
At the same time, the Cohens are driving back home to Newport with a surly Ryan in tow. Seth and Sandy are driving in one car, with Sandy piecing together the fact that it must’ve been Julie (and a P.I.) who informed Ryan of Volchok’s whereabouts.
In the other car, Kirsten is trying desperately to get something out of Ryan other than a series of grunts. As I’ve said before, Ryan/Kirsten scenes are my fav, but this one is a bit of a letdown. Kirsten starts off strong by saying that this was her nightmare when Ryan first lived with them, that he would do something and get Seth hurt. Ryan starts to apologize for letting Seth come along, but Kirsten interrupts him with an all-too-obvious “Now I have two sons” comment.
It seems the mysterious Ya-Ya Sisterhood interrupting phone call Julie received was from Sandy. They meet at the yacht club, and Sandy lays into Julie. “After everything our families have been through, you would put another one of our kids in danger?” But Julie has the card that beats all guilt cards: “At least you still have both your kids.”
The next morning, Seth goes out to the pool house to make amends with Ryan, but Ryan sees him and just closes the blinds in his face.
Alright! On to recap numero dos!!!