The OC Season 3 Episode 5: Right back where we started from
Previously: Season 3 Episode 4: How Marissa got her groove back
Previously on The OC... Boy did we ever need that. I remember complaining last year that the season didn't start until November and, well, the 6-month wait from the Season One finale was ridiculous. But going off the air for a month didn't turn out to be that much better, especially considering the utterly anti-climactic baseball postseason that forced the momentum-killing break.
So as we almost always do, we open in the Cohen kitchen, which is getting some heavy usage now that... um... the mom, what's her name again? Kirsten? Yes, Kirsten. Kirsten is cooking as part of her vodka avoidance, and instead of the boys schmearing their bagels and munching their cereal, it's Kiki making... eggs benedict? She just got like 500% hotter right there, even if she won't serve Bloody Mary. Have I ever told you guys how much I love eggs benedict? And how much I love a woman who can poach an egg? Seriously, I will have sex with the next girl who comes over and makes eggs benedict for me. You do have to make hollandaise from scratch, but think about what you're getting here. I will also perform cunnilingus for eggs florentine.
Aaaanyhoo, also per usual, Sandy and his eyebrows join the rest of the household. He is on the phone with Principal Kim (the last minority character to appear on The OC, btw) trying to get Ryan reinstated at Harbor and off the Dean of Discipline's shitlist. As long as Ryan has the Dean Hess-certified red flag on his permanent records, no college would touch him, says Sandy. "But there's always Florida State - they take felons!", I want to tell him. But before I can txt mssg Sandy, opening credits roll. We've been on the run, driving in the sun...
So Summer and Seth are in Harriet the Spy mode, trying to take down Taylor Townsend, who seems to be wearing a lot more makeup than the last time we saw her. But we still know she's evil because she's always wearing a pastel polo shirt with a sweater around her neck. Summer realizes though, that rather than usurp Taylor for her own personal satisfaction, she can use the affair to blackmail the Dean into taking the getting Ryan back into Harbor, because he fit in so fucking well there. So she come up with the most convolutediest scheme ever to expose the secret kissy-kiss. Seth is ambivalent but plays the skeptical-but-supportive boyfriends because the writers haven't figured out a storyline for him, and wouldn't you do the same to if you had a chance at nailing Rachel Bilson?
I'm not quite sure what happened next but they manage to lure Taylor to the all-purpose motel (they rent out rooms to minors? Quelle horreur!) and get her to admit that she's been on kissing terms with Dean Hess. Not that we would take her word for it here and she could very well be leading Summer down on another path of shame. But my cynicism turns out to be for naught as they get the help of Sandy, who waves a Sidekick around and convinces the Dean that they have photographic evidence. To escape a potential career-ending scandal, Dean is headed back to the mythical "East Coast" where all evil people come from. Sandy recommends that the Dean get himself a Sidekick, which he can use to job search on Craigslist (though methinks he is overselling it a bit - have you ever tried reading CL on your phone? Me neither.). But the important thing is that the Dean of Discipline's iron grip over Harbor is no more and Ryan is free to come back to Harbor... but he doesn't know that yet.
At the beginning of the show, Ryan gets all self-pitying because the Dean is a big meanie at the college fair hosted by Harbor, and he should have a better idea of where he wants to go to college since it's already his senior year. I mean, early admission applications are due already, aren't they? Then again, I didn't start writing my college essays until like December 30.
Ryan is so upset that he cancels his off-camera tutor and takes a job with a fishing boat captained by Johnny's uncle. We think Johnny, the bizarro Ryan at Marissa's public school is trying to be helpful, ghetto white kid to ghetto white kid, but as the preview for next week's ep plainly obvious, he's angling to get with Marissa.
Ryan needs a guardian's consent to go on the boat, but Sandy gets all reverse psychology and signs the form, and throws the most awkward farewell party ever. So awkward that they actually inserted the cricket chirping sound effect. See, that's what happens when your girlfriend finds out through your legal guardians that you're leaving to go on a fishing expedition. And she's not a big fan of boats since Jimmy took off in one - twice!
Marissa sees him off at the harbor where she calls him out for being a coward, just like her dad. Ooh, no one wants to be compared to Jimmy! Either that or she longs for a father figure who keeps running away from her. Ryan stays off camera long enough to make us think he's really leaving (well, not really), but by 8:57 ET, he rejoins the gang at the diner, ready to hear the news that, yay, he's welcome back at Harbor.
Oh, and is it just me or did Marissa get hot? I find her attractive now much much much more attractive than I did the first 2 seasons, even if she is still just bones and Prada. Of course, it could be because they keep telling her she's the hottest hottie in the hottest county in California, and when you hear the same things enough times, you start to believe it. Reminds me of the girl I briefly dated my freshman year in college. So this girl was being all flirtatious and I thought she was attractive, not hot, but all my friends did and managed to convince me that she was. I was pretty into her, doing shit like making a big ol' care package when she got sick and shit, and doing a big Valentine's Day thing. It didn't last long and I was kinda upset about it after the school year ended, until I saw her a year later and I was like, "Wait, I was getting all worked up over you?" No, she was pretty - it was just that I had been talked into thinking she was much prettier than she actually was. I never saw her again, such being life at a large public university.
Oh, and there's a completely unrelated storyline involving Julie. Jeri Ryan is back as the incompetent con woman, and in an apparent attempt to angle into Kirsten's wallet (which we already know is pretty bare), she puts a down payment on a condo that Julie can't afford. Not sure how that works. My guess is that it doesn't work, seeing how her previous scheme turned out. Julie is suspicious but the desire to escape the motel living overwhelms her and moves into the condo. The plot is still developing, but it did give us a great overhead shot of Julie sitting by the motel pool - wished they'd lingered on it a half second longer.
Also, the word "fluffer" is mentioned on prime time network TV.
Eh. It was entertaining enough but uneven and anticlimactic, especially the premature end to Dean Hess's reign of terror. But like with everything else in life, the first time after a long layoff should be a freebie and we shouldn't base our judgment on it.
Next week, Johnny/Bizarro Ryan makes the move on Marissa, presumably resulting in a catastrophic misunderstanding, causing the Real Ryan and Bizarro Marissa to hate Marissa.