So I was a little dissapponinted with last week’s episode of The OC. I think it was a little bit of a bump in an otherwise great season so far. When you know how an episode is going to end before it begins, it really takes a lot out of it for me. The only thing that really change from the episode before was Ryan was now at Harbor, and Dean Hess was somewhere in the Eastern time zone. And since I liked how the season was going before those changes were made, that means that we still have plenty to work with.Now that Ryan isn’t being deprived of the privileged existence he’s entitled to, we are now able to focus on some of the problems of the other characters, and other people are having issues. Take Marissa for instance. She nearly shot and killed somebody and was thrown out of her private school. Along the way, the only adult that she has been able to trust, her father, lied about getting back together with her mom, and ran away from the family rather than face the challenges of bringing them back together. Ryan took some notes on proper Newport escape procedure but Marissa had to be pretty devastated, even though she acted like it didn’t bother her. She left to live with her mother, and is now effectively homeless. Oh, and her sister has been away at private school so long, I think she’s actually in an internment camp.
Marissa’s got issues, and there’s really now way for her to express what she’s feeling. Since she’s been staying at Summer’s house, she doesn’t want to throw around the lawn furniture belonging to her gracious hosts. I made fun of the writers for trying to make us believe that Summer and Marissa shared a room, and when I aw them sleeping together in the same bed, the first thing I thought of after “Didn’t I see this on Cinemax when I was 12″ was “Oh come on! Summer at least has an extra sleeping bag? Why does she have to sleep with Marissa?” Well, Marissa is having nightmares about Trey, the sexual assault, and the shooting, all nicely packaged in a very McG-esque little bundle at the beginning of the show.
With no parents around to comfort her, Marissa decides to call one person who she believes she can count on for emotional support. It’s late, but she wakes him up and tells him that she is scared. She’s still trying to deal with Trey and she’s not sleeping. This is sort of the point in time when you are hoping your boyfriend will be understanding, listen to what you have to say, and tell you that no matter what he will be there for you. Instead, Ryan says that Trey’s gone, she doesn’t have to be scared, and she should go back to sleep.
We haven’t been privy to how often this little scenario has come up between these two, but it seems as if Ryan was pretty quick to brush Marissa off. By the time Marissa hung up with Ryan, Summer was awake and asked her how things were going. I am sure all of you were as thoroughly impressed with Summer’s panda/skull and crossbones PJ combination as I was. Living with Marissa, Summer can sense that things aren’t right, mainly because she is sweating in her sleep, and since the two of them don’t spend their nights dry-humping each other for exercise, something had to be wrong. After he got off the phone, you could tell that Ryan wanted to say something. He looked at his cell, thought about calling Marissa, but decided not to. What’s going through his mind? All Marissa wanted to hear is that he will be there for her.
So why wouldn’t Ryan want to stay up and talk to Marissa? Well, he doesn’t want to be sluggish for his first day back at school for one. Kirsten has stopped serving breakfast Bellagio style and instead sends her boys off with a fresh bottle of Fiji water, because I am sure that in the school where they serve gourmet coffee, there is a danger that gourmet water may not be in abundance. What if Ryan or Seth had to drink from a fountain? I’d just rather not think about it. Besides, shouldn’t Kirsten be worrying about equipping Ryan with what’s really needed to succeed in high school, namely the Five Star Trapper Keeper and five subject notebook?
As Sandy and Kirsten see the boys go off, they are happy that they finally get a chance to be alone in the house. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the reason why Sandy wanted to make sure Ryan gets in a good school is because he is horny. If their kids are far away, he and Kirsten would be forced to have all of their sex in wine country. If Ryan is going to community college, he’ll still be cramping his style in Newport for a long time. What I’m really wondering is why hasn’t Sandy gone off to work? The Newport group is gone, Kirsten didn’t inherit anything, so somebody among the Cohens has to make some money, right?
It turns out that the Newport Group sale has not been finalized, and Sandy is still in negotiations. Sandy asks Kirsten if it is really OK that he sells the Newport Group. She is ready to let go, and so Sandy continues with what he was about to do, which is, as the kids say, ready to break her off. With his business done, Sandy can get down to bidness, and he meets with a couple of investors about the Newport Group. Despite the financial state of the company, he found a few people who would be interested in buying, including a man named Kurt Williams. Sandy has a meeting with him, and his only stipulation is that he promises not to tear down a certain low-income housing development (for the people who can’t afford doormen or private security patrols for the buildings or houses) and put up an office park or something. For a lawyer, Sandy is so very naive. If he really thought that he could legally stipulate that a company couldn’t with property that it owned, he would have put it in the contract. So I would expect that Kurt Williams would buy Newport Group and then laugh at Sandy when he tears down the low income housing to build an office park.
Summer continues to be very concerned for Ryan and Marissa, and she is even more worried when she hears from Seth that he talked to Ryan and thinks that she needs more space to sort things out. Of course that is the last thing Marissa needs, and Summer desperately wants to make sure things go smoothly. After all, “it’s been several weeks since Ryan and Marissa broke up” and she doesn’t want to let things go to the point where Marissa is looking for other forms of male attention. Complicating Summer’s plan is, of course, Taylor Townsend. To be fair, Taylor isn’t really singling out summer by trying to make her miserable. Instead, Taylor casts a wide net and tries to make everybody feel equally as miserable. He next big idea is a senior class lock-in that weekend. It was mandatory, meaning that whatever plans Summer and Seth had for getting Ryan and Marissa talking once again were going to have to wait.
At the public high school, there was also a big event about to go down. The swells were coming, and Chili, Johnny, and Casey tried to get Marissa caught up to speed as to what that means. What Marissa does understand is that there is a party called dawn patrol before hand where people stay up and party and wait for the waves. Chili and Casey have to get to class, but Johnny and Marissa have a free period, so they took the opportunity to spend a little time together.
Johnny and Marissa got another chance to spend some time together a little later that day. She went to hang out while some of her new friends were surfing. Chili was surfing and Johnny was on the sidelines. Marissa decided to leave the golden girls loungewear home, and put on a top that seemed a little bit more suited to her age, even if it seemed it wasn’t suited for her breast size. She confessed to Johnny earlier that she was having trouble sleeping and was having dreams, and Johnny just told her that he loves surfing because it helped him when he was having trouble sleeping and was having bad dreams. Johnny goes to his truck (vintage Bronco, natch) grabs a sweater for Marissa, and they begin to talk.
We know that Johnny moved to Newport from a location that was inland, much like Ryan. Now, there are more reasons than hiding from your past demons for a person to want to move to Newport from some place farther inland, but to make things interesting, the presence of demons surely helps. Johnny really relates to the nightmares Marissa is having because a lot of the same things happened to him. He came to Newport Union for a new start for much the same reason that Marissa did. His dad was an alcoholic and used to beat up Johnny and his mom. One day, coming home from baseball practice, he saw his dad choking his mom and just snapped. When he woke up, he saw that his dad was unconscious and bloody.
At this point, I am kind of wondering what is going on here. The hoodie that Marissa was wearing was from Johnny’s baseball days. Is it possible that Marissa was wearing the hoodie that Johnny bloodied while beating up his dad? What kind of psycho keeps a thing like that around? Well, maybe a psycho that was keeping a secret like that for a long time, and Johnny admitted that Marissa was the first person that he told. You would expect that Marissa would try and comfort Johnny and tell him that she understands, so she puts her arm on his shoulder just to let him know she knows what he is feeling. And right on cue, Casey comes on to the scene, just as all of that is happening. She was hoping that everybody would get more friendly, but she was thinking about Johnny and Ryan and not Johnny and Marissa.
Now although Ryan thought that Marissa needed some more space, he didn’t want that space to be occupied with Johnny. So when Summer comes over to the Cohen’s and tells everybody that Marissa won’t be making it for Kirsten’s beef stew because she was at the beach with Johnny. Technically, that was true, but Summer didn’t know that was going to be true, because Marissa never said that she would be there alone with him while Chili is surfing and Casey is looking at them jealously from the distance. If there is any good news from all of this, it’s that there is more of Kirsten’s beef stew to go around! I was kind of surprised that everybody seemed to look down at the beef stew like it was below them. Maybe Kirsten wanted to try some comfort food because clearly her pad thai didn’t really do anything to promote great conversation. Besides, she could have added some truffles or kobe beef to make it expensive enough for everybody there to feel socially superior.
Marissa ended up spending a lot of time with Johnny. Summer waited up for a long time, and when she woke up in the morning, she sees that Marissa is in bed, but she is wearing Johnny’s clothes. Trading secrets is one thing, but lending apparel is an entirely different matter. That’s some serious stuff. You don’t just give away clothes and not expect to get them back. Guys love their clothes and have been known to delay breaking up with a girl just to get a favorite article of clothing back without trouble, or so I’ve heard. Marissa tries to explain that she and Johnny share something in common and that Johnny knows what she is experiencing. This very Oliver moment is not lost upon anybody and Summer wonders why Johnny would get her and Ryan doesn’t and tells her that she has to go find her boy and apologize.
Although all of this Johnny and Marissa stuff is going on, we don’t have an indication that either she or Johnny want anything from the other besides a little comfort on their shared experience. Marissa tries to explain all of this to Ryan, who is helping Seth at the gym in preparation for the lock in. She mentions that Johnny is helping her as she deals with all of this stuff with Trey and that it’s nothing more. Ryan doesn’t really believe her but Taylor Townsend is insisting that he stop talking and start working. Since Ryan desperately needs to graduate from Harbor or risk the end of his life, he does as he is told. Marissa leaves, and there is no kiss goodbye. Not a good sign if you ask me.
At the beach, Marissa meets up with Johnny, Casey, and Chili, as well as a number of surf punks. If they were making Point Break in 2005, you might find some of these guys trying to keep Keanu Reeves from the waves instead of Anthony Keidis. I say that mainly because we need a sequel to Point Break. Bodhi didn’t die! He could have survived that wave? Let Neo, uh, I mean Johnny Utah chase after him! Please, Kathryn Bigelow is better than K:19 the Widowmaker! Really! As everybody heads to the party, which is at Chili’s house, one of the surfer punks, Volchok, starts to plant more seeds of doubt into Casey as they see that Johnny isn’t so into Casey when Marissa is around.
Life is getting complicated for Marissa, but that is exactly the way that we like it. The Coopers are destined to have drama, so let’s embrace it. Sometimes I think Marissa’s drama is a little stupid, but I am always interested in what Julie Cooper has going on. Julie is clearly happy that Charlotte has been so generous to her, but when Charlotte suggests that Julie should throw a black tie fundraiser to get herself back into the Newport social scene, even Julie has to admit that things are getting a little creepy. It’s a great idea, but you need more than a good cause to get people in Newport to show up and open up their checkbooks. What you need is Kirsten Cohen. She might be recovering from alcoholism, but she can still throw some influence around with the best of them.
When Charlotte and Julie approach Kirsten with the plan, she is receptive to the cause, but the thought of hanging out with all of those Newpsies makes her want to drink. Personally, I love Taryn and company, and would like to see more of them. Charlotte won’t take no for an answer, and she pleads her case to Kirsten. Not only is it a chance to help out Julie, but it is a chance to help out underprivileged alcoholic women who would otherwise be forced to start an escort service or have sex with Jack Nicholson to be able to cure their addiction. Kirsten agrees, and Julie and Charlotte plan to have dinner later to finalize the plans.
Sandy has been pretty busy himself. He was all set to sell the Newport Group, but Matt Ramsey, Kurt Williams protégé was too honest and told Sandy that if he sold the Newport Group, Kurt would tear down that low income housing for something more lucrative. Yes something like a California Pizza Kitchen or Cheesecake Factory would be perfect, there aren’t nearly enough of those around. Sandy appreciates Matt’s honesty, and when the suggestion comes up that Sandy should keep the Newport Group and let Matt run the operation, the idea is intriguing. Matt graduated from Berkeley, and that is too much for Sandy to resist, so he agrees to the plan. He warns Matt that he must take the job seriously, but the whole thing still depends on Kirsten. After all, it is technically her company, and Sandy wants to make sure that she is OK with everything. When Kirsten hears of the plan, she is more than happy. She seems to have beaten her addiction and she sees that Sandy thinks that he can make a difference, which is one of the things that attracted her to him in the first place. Besides, with Sandy out of the house, she can complete the final step of her recovery and tear down his office to make room for that Mongolian grill.
Meanwhile, Summer was desperately trying to keep Marissa from doing something horrible. Johnny shows Marissa Chili’s room, making her the first girl who has ever seen it. Marissa sees an embarrassing picture of Johnny and Chili and when she tries to take a look, Johnny tries to keep it away from her, leading to some innocent horseplay, but that’s not what it looks like to Summer. She tries to get a hold of Seth and get some help, but Taylor confiscates his phone, saying that there is no contact with the outside world allowed during the lock in. Further, she says that Summer better come back by 9PM, or there will be consequences.
Seth isn’t able to help Summer, but he does get a cryptic message to Ryan about some sort of emergency. Summer is in trouble, mainly because she is afraid the host will hump her leg or something. She tries to say that she is already dating a dork, but that simply gives him a little bit of hope. Ryan gets there but long after anything with Johnny and Marissa is going on. That doesn’t stop him from being on the defensive, and they fight about how much time they are spending together. If Ryan was a little more attentive, I think that that I could back him up a little, but if he’s not willing to listen to his girlfriend’s problems, he deserves what he is getting. Yes, he had his own problems, but isn’t that what a relationship is about? You know, putting somebody else’s problems and feelings ahead of your own?
Marissa finds Johnny alone on the couch. He had tried to talk to Casey earlier, but she wasn’t having any of it. He was probably sitting there, worrying that the only swell he would be experience would come from the pacific, and the only mounds he would be playing with would be the sand dunes, but he is willing to listen when Marissa says she needs someplace quiet to go. Johnny takes her to Chili’s room, and when they walk in, there’s the surfer punk Volchok, ready to hang ten (OK, that’s what he tells everybody, but it’s probably more like hang five and a quarter) with Casey. That’s right, she didn’t wait for Johnny to fall in love and break up with her, and instead decided to be like all of the girls of Laguna Beach and see what it’s like to be with a teenager sporting an uncomfortably abundant amount of facial hair.
With all of this craziness going on, it was easy for Ryan and Summer to lose track of time. They were supposed to be at the lock in, but it was past nine and Taylor had shut things down. Seth tries to plead with her to give Summer and Ryan some time, but Taylor will have nothing to do with it. See, she wants to create an “atmosphere of trust” and if she played favorites, she would muddle the message. With that said, she gathers everybody on the bleachers and prepares to begin with the evening’s entertainment. I use the term entertainment loosely, because Taylor’s idea of a roaring good time is to get everybody together for some trust falls. Like I’ve always said, there’s nothing better to do on a Saturday night than prepare yourself for a future career in human resources.
The rest of the students don’t share in Taylor’s enthusiasm for trust falls, telling her that she sucks, and even start throwing things at her. Seth sees her struggling and decides to help. Normally, he would have sat back, enjoyed the show, and taken some pictures to enjoy the memory later, but earlier he saw that Taylor has a human side. She went to get some supplies from her mom earlier in the day, and Seth had followed to ask a question, and was witness to another part of Taylor’s life. Taylor might have been into school spirit, but her mom didn’t seem to care that her daughter was so involved in school activities, instead speculating that she forced everybody in the school to go to the event so she wouldn’t have to spend another night alone at home. If that wasn’t enough, her mom told her to keep her shirt untucked, saying that Taylor’s ass wasn’t made for low riders.
Taylor’s mom matches her pants with her Mercedes for maximum popularity
Personally, I think that Taylor’s ass is worthy of low riders, tucked or untucked, but the whole thing gave us a little bit of sympathy for Ms. Townsend. Seth had a little sympathy as well, and he proceeded to help Taylor out, moving the evening’s activities away from trust falls and towards the direction of capture the flag. People hate Seth too, but he was used to dealing with it for a long time, and things went much more smoothly after that. Afterwards, Taylor hangs out with Seth and thanks him. She appreciates the help even though she knows she is the reason for him being alone in the gym without his only two friends in the school. In return, she says that she’ll work something out with the sign out sheet.
Julie Cooper and Taylor Townsend have a little bit in common, as it looks like they both have made friend that night. Charlotte has been so nice to her, and now it looks like she might be able to get that social recognition she craves so much. Charlotte goes off to the ladies room, but when she is gone, the waiter comes with the bill. Julie is kind of hard up and Charlotte promised to treat, so when the waiter won’t go away, she digs through Charlotte’s purse (making her the second woman ever to go the bathroom without her purse, joining Star Jackson, who travels with a bucket of KFC) and sees several credit cards with several different driver’s licenses.
Ms. Cooper senses something is wrong, and pays with some cash instead, but she is kind of worried. As she is leaving with Charlotte, she asks what exactly is going on. She accuses Charlotte of planning to throw a fundraiser, take all the money, and then leave, letting Julie pick up the pieces. Charlotte doesn’t try to deny any of that was going on, and instead tries a different tactic, suggesting to Julie that she help Charlotte pull off the scam, and they split the money. They were planning on charging $5000 per person for the event, so with a medium-sized party, they could easily score a million each, which is almost enough for Charlotte to break even on this whole screw Kirsten Cohen scheme. Julie says that she isn’t a criminal, but when Charlotte reminds her that she has no way to support her family, the whole thing becomes much more interesting.
So the whole guy having sex with another guy’s girlfriend thing seemed to kill off the party, or maybe Chili just ran out of beer, but whatever it was, the only people left were Johnny, Chili, Summer, Marissa, and Ryan. They all tried to tell him that it was OK, but you can see that he was devastated. Maybe he was wondering what might have been different. Perhaps if he spent less time with Marissa or been more honest with Casey about his past, she may not have left him. Should he have taken a hint from her when she gave him the Norelco beard and mustache trimmer for Valentine’s day? It’s not his fault his beard comes in kind of patchy. Johnny probably needs some time alone, so he goes off and everybody just kind of stares there until the door rings.
Casey is at the door, and when Marissa answers, she tries to apologize. Casey tells Marissa that she could see what was happening. Johnny was falling in love with Marissa, and she wasn’t going to sit around and watch that happen. That make sense, but isn’t there a number of ways she could have broken it off without trying to sleep with a guy who happens to be his surfing rival? Didn’t she know that Volchok doesn’t love her and only wants to get back at Johnny for taking his surfing sponsorship? A slap to the face or a knife in the back would have been a lot less painful.
While they were talking, Chili, who we must remember is Johnny’s best friend and so when his best friend is hurt he should make himself available in case Johnny needs to heal his wounds, or wants to invite him to the opening of Brokeback Mountain. You know, just in case. Chili sees that Johnny is gone, and he must have gone to beat up Volchok. Now, we know that Chili’s house is on the beach, but everybody decides to pile into the Range Rover and … drive to the beach. I guess they thought it would be much more convenient to prepare for the upcoming fight with Volchok and friends by enjoying the comforts of the fine Corinthian leather.
They find a place to park, and run to find that Johnny and Volchok are about to throw down. Johnny just wants to reason with him, but Volchok is not about to. He throws Johnny down and looks like he is about to tear into him just as Ryan and posse get there. We normally would think that Ryan would fight his way out of this, but he simply tells Johnny to get out of there. The comfort and convenience of the dual zone climate controls must have helped keep Ryan’s head cool, but there is only so much Mr. Atwood takes. When Volchok won’t shut up, Ryan punches him in the face and leaves. Ryan doesn’t need to do more, and he has the smooth ride of the adjustable air suspension to make sure there are no bumps in the evening to ruin the experience.
Now that everything seems settled, Summer decides that she is going to try and get back into the lock in. But when she knocks on the door, nothing happens. Taylor is on the other side, can hear that it is Summer, but won’t let her in. She knows that if Summer is around, Seth won’t pay any more attention to her. Taylor pretends she can’t hear and Summer is left pounding on the door to no avail. Well played Taylor, well played. With nothing left to do there, Summer and Marissa head to the pier. Nothing better than milkshake to make things all better. When they get to the diner, they see that Ryan and Johnny are talking. They are discussing, among other things, why they fight so much in Newport. As strange as it sounds, Johnny and Ryan becoming friends is not going to help things get any easier with Marissa. As Summer said, Johnny still likes her, and she’s going to have to find some way to deal with it.
I thought this was a really good episode. The storylines aren’t super original, but at least they didn’t end in such a predictable way. We saw Oliver season one, and thought that Johnny was going to be a new Oliver, even though the only hints we have that he wants to be with Marissa romantically are the words of his ex-girlfriend. It can still turn out to be an Oliver in the long run, but I thought they handled it well, throwing in the twist with Casey and not ending everything by having Ryan punch him after he catches Johnny kissing Marissa. I also like the way they have been able to continue Taylor’s role. We get a little bit of sympathy, but like any good villain, it doesn’t last and she shows that she is still willing to cause trouble. Is she really interested in Seth or does she just want to piss off Summer? We don’t know and that’s the greatness. I know a lot of people want the Charlotte thing to hurry up, but I like the way we were left with that story as well. The last time Julie was worried about supporting her family, she almost killed Caleb with sleeping pills. Given another choice to become a criminal, will Julie follow through? Add to that a new friend for Sandy, and things are looking good once again.
What did you think of this episode? Will Julie go along with Charlotte’s plan? Will Taylor be able to cause problems for Summer and Seth? Can Johnny possibly stay friends with Ryan?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 27, Season – 115.