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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Rescue"

Marquette basketball has a freshman coming in this fall named Sandy Cohen. There's only one logical thing to do: recap episodes of The O.C.

The near-unanimous reaction to hearing that Marquette had received a verbal commitment from Seymour (WI) guard Sandy Cohen was "What, the dad from The O.C.?" As such, it seemed the obvious thing to do would be use The O.C. references when he makes an outstanding play for the Golden Eagles. We'll spend some time this summer recapping episodes of the classic Fox drama, making notes of major Sandy Cohen moments along the way and giving everyone a guidepost as to what the hell we're talking about come November.

Makes sense, right? Ok, hit it, Phantom Planet!

Season 1, Episode 8 - "The Rescue"

Directed by Michael Lange
Teleplay by Melissa Rosenberg
Story by Allan Heinberg

Previously on The O.C.: I've taken to doing offering one sentence blasts of what's covered in the Previously On segments on the show, but I'm not doing that here.  Why, you ask?  Well, Episode 8 was actually the fall premiere for The O.C.  The first episode aired on August 6, 2003 as a jumpstart for the regular season with episode 7 airing on September 16, and Episode 8 coming about six weeks later on October 29.  As such, they crammed every major plot point from the first seven episodes into a 71 second blast.  If you need a refresher, well, I don't know what to tell you, other than click "Flights Of Fancy" up at the top of the page and you'll find all of the recaps.

Anyway, it's morning at the Cohens', and while it's Sandy's first day at his new job and Ryan has an interview with "The Dean" which is not explained further at this point, no one is hungry for breakfast because they're all worried about hearing something from the hospital about Marissa.  And then the phone rings.

Turns out it's Jimmy calling to let them know that Marissa is awake, but by the time the Cohens get dressed and get to the hospital, she's asleep again.  Jimmy thanks Ryan for his part as Marissa wouldn't have survived without an airlift, which I presume means out of Tijuana and to Los Angeles.  Jimmy seems to be doing a pretty solid job of parenting here, at least right up until Julie comes in, spitting fire at everyone in sight, but mostly at Ryan.  Julie says all Marissa needs is her family and no visitors as she glares directly at Ryan to get the message across.

The Cohens take the hint and take off, but Julie calls Ryan back to make it expressly clear what her glare meant.  She forbids Ryan from ever seeing Marissa ever again or else she'll make it her life mission to put him back in juvie where he belongs.  Look, I disagree with just standing there with her lifeless form for minutes on end, Mrs. Cooper, but let's not get out of control here.  Julie's blaming all of Marissa's recent problems on Ryan, but hey, let's keep track:

  • Luke's a shameless skirt chaser,
  • Marissa already said in a previous episode that she and Luke break up constantly,
  • Marissa's drinking was a problem way back in the pilot and Ryan had nothing to do with that,
  • Julie & Jimmy's divorce played a major factor in Marissa's adventures in painkillers and tequila.

So yeah, not really blaming the kid from Chino here.

Kirsten takes the boys to The Harbor School, one of the most prestigous private schools in the country and Ryan suffers a nasty case of culture shock.  His school in Chino didn't have tennis courts, apparently.  Honestly, I'm surprised that he's taken aback by this, seeing as Luke's been referred to as "the captain of the water polo team" on more than one occasion.  We quickly cut to Sandy's first day on the job at Fancy Time Law Firm, which is really just an excuse for Sandy to make the same "we had a basketball hoop" joke about the public defender's office that Ryan made about Chino High.

Kirsten sits with Ryan and waits for Dr. Kim, the dean of The Harbor School.  Ryan's more used to the "show up" kind of high school, not really the "write essays and have interviews" kind.  Seth wanders up and informs us that he's signed up for AP history, English, physics, and French 4.  AP classes? French 4?  How old are these kids, anyway?  Although, I suppose a brainiac at a private school would be pretty advanced, right?  As if on cue, out comes Dr. Kim, and OH NO, IT'S KEIKO O'BRIEN!  She's finally finished torturing Chief O'Brien's miserable existence and has time traveled to take over a 21st Century school after getting a taste for teaching on Deep Space Nine!  Or it's just Rosalind Chao playing a different role.  Whichever you prefer.

Dr. Kim isn't super thrilled about Ryan's history of poor attendance and poor grades with a dash of criminality in the mix.  Kirsten tries the old "Are you sure you're not just bending to pressure from other parents?" trick, which Dr. Kim admits she's letting influence her.  She also lets slip the phrase "Ryan's background," which triggers an impassioned speech from Mr. Atwood about giving him a chance.  He's got borderline grades to go with his excellent test scores and essay, so Dr. Kim decided to let him take a crack at a placement test to see if he can hack it at THS.

While all this is going on, Seth and Summer bump into each other in the campus commons, and Seth uses talking about doing things with Marissa to cheer her up to transition to only doing things with Summer.  His timing sucks, though, and the cheer team walks by and says hello to Summer before she can respond.  They also give Seth the stink eye, which causes Summer to balk on the date idea and run off.

In a brief scene, Sandy makes fun of his new cartful of cases to Rachel.  "Even rich people need lawyers," muses the senior Cohen, including those filing suits over chemical peels gone bad.

Back at the hospital, Julie blames Jimmy for letting Marissa go to Tijuana.  Right.  Because she hadn't had it planned for weeks.  Because Julie wouldn't have insisted she go to be with Luke.  Nope, because Julie had Kaitlin at Grandma's house, it's aallllll Jimmy's fault.  Was Julie like this all the time before it turned out Jimmy was broke?  Or did the money keep her from complaining too much?  Julie tells Jimmy that she's going to sue him for full custody of the girls, and oh, by the way, Marissa's been awake this whole time.  Her parents leave, and she grabs her cell phone.

Over in the pool house, Ryan's trying to study for his placement test in two hours.  Wait.  Seth and Ryan are wearing the same clothes, so this is the same day.  If the test is in just a few hours, why bother leaving THS at all?  Just stay there and study, right?  Traveling back and forth seems like a waste.  Seth's busy freaking out about Summer when the phone rings.  It's Marissa, so of course Ryan bags studying for seeing Marissa.

Ryan brings Marissa flowers, and Marissa insists that she wasn't trying to kill herself.  She was only trying to escape, guys.  That's totally not code words for "trying to harm yourself through the means of drugs and alcohol."  Julie comes back, so Ryan hides in the bathroom.  Julie notices the flowers and storms off to complain about security to the nurses, and Ryan takes off for the test.

It's lunchtime, so Kirsten heads to the pool house to find out what Ryan wants.  See, this is what I'm talking about with the timing of leaving THS just to go back for the test.  Seth frantically tries to cover for Ryan and succeeds long enough for the doorbell to ring.  It's Jimmy, looking for Sandy and some legal help about custody of his kids.  Jimmy first refuses to come inside due to awkwardness over kissing Kirsten, but she tells him to get over it. "It's not okay, but it's okay," she says.  I suppose that's one way to deal with it.

Julie wants to Marissa to go to a mental health facility in San Diego.  I actually think she's got a point here, as will be evidenced by Marissa's evaluation with the psychiatrist in charge of the facility.  Marissa apparently has a possible history with anorexia and shoplifting to go along with her drinking problem and her desire to mix pills and booze, so she probably does need a serious course of treatment.  Unfortunately, Julie has all of the bedside manner of your average volcano, so it doesn't go over well with Marissa.  Marissa claims she has to use the ladies' room, but it's really a secret trip to hide and call Summer on the phone.

How do we know this?  Well, because Summer, who, by the way, doesn't have a car of her own as evidenced by not having a ride to Tijuana, somehow makes it all the way over to the Cohens' to explain that to Seth and round up Ryan to help Marissa escape from her mother.  Seth offers his services, but remembers that this involves tangling with Julie Cooper and agrees with needing Ryan for the job.

Rachel heads in to chat with Sandy about how he's handling his caseload.  Turns out he's - wait for it - scheduling COURT DATES for the cases!  Sandy thought they wanted a trial lawyer, but nope, they just want cases cleared, because they're working in a volume business here, don't you know.  Rachel gets Sandy to go along with the program of settling most of the cases because Rachel really put her ass on the line to get Sandy this job, so can't he help her out?  Wait, they partners didn't really want to hire Sandy?  That's really not the vibe I got from the last episode.

Ryan's neck deep in test when Summer and Seth barge in, quickly followed by Dr. Kim.  The kids shout things about Marissa at Ryan while Dr. Kim shoos them out of the room.  Ryan decides "rescuing Marissa from Julie/mental hospital" is more important than "going to high school with Seth," and bails on the test, even over Dr. Kim's point that if he walks away from the test, he walks away from The Harbor School.

Summer provides them with a cover story as she grabs her candy striper outfit and sets about pushing a book cart around the hospital.  The doctor from Marissa's mental evaluation talks things over with Jimmy and Julie, and unsurprisingly, the doctor's pretty flexible about how Marissa gets treatment as long as she gets it.  Jimmy makes the smart choice to not force her into the facility if she doesn't have to go, but Julie's not listening to him, because THIS IS ALL HIS FAULT.  She threatens legal action and storms off.... to go tell the doc that she and Jimmy have agreed that Marissa should go to the facility.  Julie follows that up with lying to Marissa about how Jimmy feels on the topic, and Marissa is okay with this.  Wait, that doesn't make sense.  Double wait!  Ryan pops out of the bathroom as soon as Julie leaves to fill out paperwork, and it was all just a ruse by Marissa!  Summer runs interference with the doc and Julie while Marissa pops into a candy striper outfit of her own and just as Ryan and Marissa are set to head out.... it's Luke at the door!  Somehow this DOESN'T turn into a fistfight, and Luke tells them to take the stairs.  Holy crap, Luke acted like a normal human being for at least 30 whole seconds.

Sandy's office said he was at some Mexican place, so Jimmy and Kirsten wander over to track him down to get Jimmy some help with Julie's new legal threats, only to find Sandy and Rachel halfway down a pitcher of margaritas.  This shouldn't be awkward, but yet it is.  I'm not entirely sure why we get a "Kirsten is threatened by the younger blonde co-worker" vibe when Sandy's done nothing to cause that, but we get it anyway.

Jimmy bails on getting legal help because... shoot, just because it's awkward between him, Kirsten, and Sandy, I guess, and heads home, where he finds Marissa waiting with Seth, Ryan, and Summer.  The non-Cooper kids head outside while Marissa brings Jimmy up to speed on what Julie tried to do.  Marissa tells Jimmy that she wants to stay with him, but the phone rings and Jimmy IMMEDIATELY sells Marissa out to Julie.  Marissa bails and the kids go get pizza and ponder how to get Julie to listen.

Back at the Cohens', Sandy and Kirsten have a conversation about Kirsten's weird behavior towards Rachel.  Sandy makes the very solid point that he didn't say a word about Kirsten & Jimmy's Fixer Upper Party, because he knew there was nothing going on.  Kirsten struggles to make eye contact with her husband because she still hasn't said anything about Jimmy kissing her.  This conversation is thankfully interrupted by Ryan calling for advice.

This leads to Sandy dragging Julie over to the Cohens' kitchen, where Ryan lays down the law about what Marissa wants and how Julie's been ignoring that in an attempt to escape her own collapsing reality.  Julie has pretty much never had anyone talk to her that way, much less a teenaged boy, so she's about to storm out when Marissa jumps in and backs up everything that Ryan just said.  She says she wants to get help, but she wants to do it in Newport and she wants to live with Jimmy.  Julie's reaction is to say, "This isn't over," and then storm out of the house.  Quality parenting there, Julie.  Bang up job.

Sandy admires the lawyering that Ryan did to convince Julie, and then brings up bailing out on the test.  Ryan just kind of shrugs, while Sandy encourages him to go explain things to Dr. Kim.  Ryan is reluctant, and Sandy points out that he just stood up to Julie Cooper, "the dragon lady," and can't believe that Ryan's afraid of Dr. Kim.

The next day, Ryan convinces Dr. Kim to let him finish the placement test, which he flies through with no problems, but Dr. Kim advises him that outbursts like that won't be tolerated again.  The show closes with Sandy showing Ryan and Seth his work ID and Seth making jokes about Sandy's eyebrows.  If I'm not mistaken, this is actually the first positive ending that we've gotten for the show so far.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: In the final scene, when Seth is ragging on his father for his eyebrows, Sandy's initial retort goes as such: "It's a sign of power, you know."  Also a sign of power: Throwing down alley-oop dunks from Duane Wilson.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: We got a lot of Sandy in this episode, but I think I have to go with Sandy and Seth waiting for Ryan to emerge from Dr. Kim's office.  Sandy bugs Seth about how chummy he was with Summer, which turns into Seth being embarrassed to talk about girls with his dad, which turns into the two of them verbally poking at each other, which then turns into the two of them literally poking at each other.  It's a very nice moment between a father and his awkward teenage son.