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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Rager"


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 spent last summer recapping episodes from the first season of the classic Fox drama in order to mine for gold for when the basketball playing Cohen did something superlative.  He had a relatively quiet freshman campaign, but that doesn't curtail our quest for entertainment, both during the season and during the quiet summer months.  So we're back again in 2015 with recaps for the 24 episode second season.

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

Season 2, Episode 19 - "The Rager"

Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by John Stephens

Previously on The O.C.: Caleb tricked Lance, and never paid him for ownership of the porno that Julie starred in.  As a result, Lance got it played during a meeting for advertisers for Julie's Newport Living magazine.  Carter, the magazine's managing editor (aka The Rocketeer), arranged a comic book pitch meeting for Zach and Seth.  The Rocketeer and Kirsten have been spending a whole bunch of time working together on the magazine with lots of late nights.  Trey, Ryan's ex-con older brother, is out of jail and living with the Cohens, but he stole the crystal egg from Risky Business from a charity auction, causing major conflict with Ryan.  Marissa promises to talk to Ryan about smoothing things over with Trey, but Ryan's had enough of his brother.

*     *     *     *     *

It's morning in the Cohen house, and Sandy watches some news and sips some coffee as Trey comes down from the guest bedroom.  It's the day to move into his new apartment, and while Sandy doesn't know for sure what happened at the auction, he knows something happened between Ryan and Trey.  The elder Atwood blows off the idea of saying goodbye to Ryan while Sandy offers him a ride to his new apartment, but hey, there's Ryan wandering in from the pool house.  Sandy leaves the two to even things out, but Ryan's done with his brother and refuses Trey's apology.

At school, Marissa and Seth talk to Ryan about Trey.  Marissa wonders if they should get Trey a housewarming gift, but Ryan shuts that down.  Trey is his brother, and he says just leave Trey be.

Over at The Newport Group, it's a day to celebrate.  They're officially a magazine publisher, and not just because the first issue is on the stands: They also have their first libel suit, as some scumbag local politician didn't appreciate The Rocketeer describing him as a scumbag.  That brings up the idea of talking to Sandy about defending the lawsuit, and also Julie's back at work.  Kirsten braces for the worst as she tells Julie that she pulled Julie's picture off the cover in the face of nasty letters and advertisers threatening to pull out, but Julie is surprisingly okay with all of this.  Kirsten made the right choice to keep the magazine afloat.

Seth and Zach meet up the lounge and talk about "Reed" driving up from LA to meet them to talk about their graphic novel.  They suddenly realize they don't know anything about Reed other than Reed used to be The Rocketeer's assistant.  Well, I'm sure this won't lead to any terrible behavior on Seth's part.... As they discuss this, Summer wanders up and they shut up.  It's obvious that they were talking about the comic, and Summer says that she doesn't want to know.  As far as she's concerned, the comic doesn't exist.

The Rocketeer turns up at Sandy's office to hire him to deal with the lawsuit just as Sandy finishes up work on his surfboard coffee table.  They do some preliminary talking about how The Rocketeer is protected by his audio tapes from the interviews, and the conversation turns to a potential surf date tomorrow.  Aw, how cute!

Marissa turns up at Trey's with a lava lamp as a housewarming gift, blatantly ignoring Ryan's wishes.  Along the way of this conversation, Marissa discovers that Saturday is Trey's 21st birthday, and that's it for this scene.

Seth and Zach turn up at their meeting and SURPRISE Reed is a woman.  Seth immediately drops into the not-so-delightful mysoginistic point of view of "girls and comics don't mix" and "she's gonna want to make the outfits cuter" and I literally hope a safe falls on him.  Zach drags him to the table to talk to her, and she loves the Atomic County idea, especially the idea of the Ironist character.  Upon being told that her favorite character is the one that Seth based on himself, he TOTALLY turns around on the attractive lady that he thinks is now complimenting him.  Kill me.  She loves the business plan for the book, too, which was all Zach's idea.  Believe it or not, Seth is jealous of Reed's attention to Zach's responsibility to the book.  I am not making this up.  Again, I ask, how did ANYONE possibly find this character to be interesting or likable on any level?

Over at the Cohen house, Marissa turns up to sell Ryan on the idea of throwing Trey a birthday party... except Ryan totally forgot that Saturday is his brother's birthday.  Ultimately, he's not that bothered by it, because the bigger issue is why is Marissa going over to Trey's apartment and generally ignoring what Ryan said.  Ryan seethes and tells Marissa to just stop and she has the audacity to be upset that Ryan's upset that she didn't listen to him.

In the pool house the next morning, Seth taunts Ryan awake with some coffee, because he's REALLY gotta talk about how worried he is that Zach is getting more attention from Reed than he is.  Seriously.  His exact line of dialogue is "I don't want her to like Zach more than me," and I can't believe that Ryan doesn't just start whipping his ass over this dumb crap.  This somehow turns into talking about Marissa, and Ryan doesn't want to do that after last night's talk.  Seth is enamored of the birthday party idea, of course, and I start thinking about flying safes again.

After talking to Marissa about why she's back in town (because of the magazine... and you, sweetie!), Julie gets a phone call, which sends her to retrieve a pretty silver pistol from a velvet lined box.  I'm guessing the phone call has something to do with Lance.

Sandy and The Rocketeer's surf date goes poorly... well, poorly for The Rocketeer, who kept smacking himself in the face with his surfboard.  That seems impressive, really.  Erin Lee, nice orthopedist and surfer chick, turns up to hit the waves, and Sandy makes some introductions.  She liked the politico piece that The Rocketeer wrote, and she says to hit her up if he ever needs a surf buddy because Sandy's busy.

Summer and Marissa talk about Ryan's anger at Marissa.  All she wants is for him not to regret turning his back on his brother.  Here's the thing about that: When we MET Ryan, he was getting dragged into felonies by Trey, and turning his back on Trey has been the best thing to ever happen to Ryan.  In fact, because Ryan went home from lockup with Sandy, that's how YOU met Ryan, Marissa.  So, maybe you should take that into consideration when you keep trying to push Ryan towards his past.  Anyway, Summer makes fun of her for being the most supportive non-girlfriend ever.

That conversation leads Summer to realize how she should be more supportive of her boyfriend, so she tracks down Seth.  She runs up right after Zach and Seth are busy having a conversation about how hot Reed is whether Zach should ask her out and isn't it a bummer how Seth can't because he's dating Summer and how Seth can't/won't tell Summer about her because Summer doesn't want to know about comics stuff.  Zach drops a "tell her about Reed" bomb and runs off.  Seth lies via omission about Reed's gender, and Summer declares that she wants to know everything about the comic because she's a good girlfriend.

Julie tracks down Lance at a seedy motel near a liquor store.  Her words, not mine.  He's surprised to see her after his advertiser party stunt, and if you think THAT'S surprising, well, he's totally taken aback by Julie pulling the gun on him.  He destroyed her life by broadcasting that tape, and so now, she's going to destroy his.  She pulls the trigger.

The gun goes click, and Lance is not dead.  There's no bullets, and that was intentional.  She wanted him to understand, just for a moment, what it felt like to watch his own life come to an end.

Ryan's studying some history in the pool house.  Wanna go pick up Thai, says Seth?  Nope.  Wanna go visit Trey, whose apartment is on the way to Thai?  He's not good at this selling thing.  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, said Santayana, and Ryan's learned.  Seth makes a case about saying "happy birthday" to his brother, and Ryan caves.  Bummer.

Kirsten's in the bedroom looking very very tired when Sandy comes home.  Surfing with The Rocketeer was SUPER FUN!  AND!  They met Dr. Erin!  There's sparks between Dr. Erin and The Rocketeer, so hey: Let's invite them both over for dinner and try to set them up.  Kirsten seems... unenthused by this idea.

Ryan and Seth pull up outside of Trey's apartment, but he's headed out.  He hops in a Camaro with a mystery person, and they take off.  Stupidly, Ryan and Seth follow them to a dark alley where they see Trey gives some guy some money.  Well, this is obviously ominous and suspicious, but it's very little real information.  This is why it's probably stupid for Ryan to pound on Trey's door the next morning and accuse him of buying drugs.  As it turns out, the guy in the Camaro is Trey's probation officer, and the guy in the alleyway is a guy Trey met in prison.  The guy disappeared after being released and Trey's PO tracked him down.  The money changing hands?  That was just Trey giving the guy $5 because he asked for a little something to help because he's homeless.  Oh, and I hope this got your birthday off to a wonderful start, Trey.

Next up on Ryan's list of things to do: going over to Marissa's house to apologize for being a jackass and also looking for her ideas on how to repair things with Trey.

Meanwhile, Seth and Reed meet up at the diner on the pier.  Seth gets all braggy about how Atomic County is all his ideas and his art and his stories and blah blah blah what a jerkhole.  He goes further down the well by answering Reed's question about where Zach is by 1) making it obvious that he never even told Zach about this meeting and 2) by way of saying he's getting a haircut, Seth openly asks if Reed thinks Zach is gay.  I am 100% not making any of this up.  What a jackass.  Did it occur to anyone that Reed is roughly in her mid to late 20s and probably not all that interested in dating a pair of 17 year old dweebs?  For the record, Marguerite Moreau, the actress playing Reed, was a week away from turning 28 when this episode aired.  Seth's phone rings, and it's Summer.  Seth blusters his way through this conversation even though Summer can hear Reed talk about Little Miss Vixen.  Seth says that's just the waitress and essentially hangs up on Summer after she says she needs him to come to Marissa's house.  Then Seth lies to Reed about who was on the phone because he can't let Reed know he has a girlfriend because he doesn't want to ruin his shot at banging her, apparently.

Marissa picks Trey up to take him out for his birthday.  Ooops, she forgot her wallet, so let's just stop at home real quick..... SURPRISE PARTY!  It's just Summer, Seth, and Ryan hanging out with some food and some lame decorations.  This is kind of said, really.  But Trey is happy to see his brother and they hug and everything is fine.  Julie's on her way out after getting a copy of the porno delivered with a note, and Marissa promises that she's got nothing to worry about if she leaves the kids alone in the house.

Over at the Cohen house, it's dinner time with The Rocketeer and Dr. Erin.  Sandy takes them out on the patio to watch the sunset and Kirsten chugs wine.... because.... she's got a crush on The Rocketeer, I guess?

Julie turns up at a dive bar to meet Lance.  He's turning all of his copies of the porno over to her, no questions asked, even though someone offered him $8500 the other day for them.  I would like to remind everyone that Lance and Sandy signed a purchase agreement.  Julie mocks Lance's altruism for not selling the tapes on top of the money that Caleb paid him.... and Lance explains that Caleb had his goons rough him up and never paid him.  Julie elects to stick around for a drink.

Back at Trey's party, the Charity League girls that Marissa said she invited have turned up and it's actually kind of festive.  Zach has brought Reed and Seth desperately starts dragging Summer around to avoid bumping into Reed.  Marissa and Ryan wander about figuring that Marissa can't get in trouble because this isn't a rager or anything.  Unfortunately for her, the name of the episode is "The Rager," so when she answers the doorbell, about 100 people come pouring into the house to party.  This is SO not cool.

The party's officially jumping off now, and you can tell because Daft Punk's "Technologic" is blasting.  Seth bothers the water polo team to find Zach (remember, he's on the team) and the lead jerkass starts choking Seth just for talking to him.  Trey sees this and DROPS the dude.  Trey gives him his own choke for his troubles, which elicits a "I got a game tomorrow, bro!"  Trey quietly tells him to go home and go to bed.  Are there really a lot of water polo games on Sundays?  Seth scampers off and a blonde named Jess is totally turned on by Trey's badassery.  He admires her tattoo of Buddha smoking a joint that's peeking out from the top of her jeans, and she offers to show him the rest of it somewhere more private.

Zach and Seth finally find each other and start having an argument about ethics in attempting to gain the favor of 27 year olds.  Seth is offended that Reed told Zach everything that Seth said about him at the diner.  Well, probably shouldn't have said it, doorknob.  They agree to not have this fight at the party and instead start looking for their dates.

Trey and Jess find Marissa's bedroom in order to do their nasty business.  "Well, this is actually my birthday party."  "Time to open your present."  And scene.

At the bar, Julie and Lance are having SO MUCH FUN and also they're drunk.  Here I Go Again by Whitesnake plays and oh, remember the time Julie threw her shirt at the band at a concert?  No, that was Ratt, she says.  Lance points out that she went through a lot of shirts.  Julie decides to stay for one more drink, for Whitesnake.

Back at the party, Summer struggles her way into the bathroom, but it's occupied, and I don't mean the couple in the shower together.  No, I'm talking about Reed freshening her makeup.  Summer asks her about Zach because she saw them together, and Reed asks about her striking visual similarity to Little Miss Vixen, and then introduces herself.  Smash cut to Seth taking a beating for not telling her about Reed being a lady.  "I figured you'd react poorly!"  NEVER THE RIGHT ANSWER, SETH.  Summer storms off, and catches a ride home with Zach and Reed, who are leaving anyway.

Back to the bar, where Lance and Julie slow dance to Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn.  She reveals that she left Europe early because she could just tell that Caleb was judging her for the porno every time he looked at her.  We established that Caleb already knew about the porno when he married her, but Julie doesn't know that.  Lance offers up the idea of something bad happening to Caleb, and thus Julie and her daughters would be taken care of forever.  Yay, a murder conspiracy storyline!

At the party, there's a table full of dudes doing coke.  Ryan kind of mocks them as he walks past, and he and Marissa retreat to her bedroom..... where they find....... some blond guy with two naked girls in her bed.  Well, that's surprising.  Marissa boots them out, and she and Ryan flop down on the bed.  That's kind of gross.  Ryan thanks Marissa for interceding between him and Trey.  She knows what it's like to have someone believe in you when no one else does, meaning Ryan a year ago, and they get verrrrrrrrry close to making out when there is an ear piercing shriek from outside.  Ryan and Marissa bolt out onto the balcony where they see a girl floating face down by herself in the pool.  We cut to a closeup and it's very obviously Jess, the girl last seen getting naked with Trey in Marissa's room.  Seth and some rando haul her out of the pool and it's not clear if she's still breathing.

Dinner's wrapping up at the Cohens.  The Rocketeer keeps getting sued, and Dr. Erin asks if he's ever thought about holding back.  What's the point of telling the truth if you're going to hold back?  Sandy's cell phone rings.  It's one of the boys, it's not clear which, and they're telling Sandy about what's happening at the party.  He's off to go help them out and The Rocketeer heads to the driveway to move his car.  Kirsten and Dr. Erin clear the table, and Dr. Erin seems enthused about future dates with The Rocketeer.  Kirsten lets her know that he's divorced, and while he's over his ex-wife, the wounds are still raw.  I'm not sure what the point of this is, unless it's to show us Kirsten sabotaging their potential relationship.  It seems like a dumb thing to do, unless, of course, they're still building to a stupid Kirsten and The Rocketeer thing IMMEDIATELY after that dumb Sandy & Rebecca thing.

Anyway, at the party, EMTs are already there hauling Jess away as Sandy arrives.  The police are there as well, and they found ecstasy inside.  They figure that was the cause of Jess' unconsciousness, so without a specific owner of the drugs, they're going to arrest the owner of the house, which, for the time being, is Marissa.  Trey takes ownership of the drugs, so he gets arrested instead.  We close on Ryan looking very disappointed, but there's a definitely reason to believe that Trey's just taking the fall for Marissa because he doesn't want her to get in trouble.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Nothing particularly great from the elder Cohen here, although his enthusiasm for setting up The Rocketeer and Dr. Erin was very cute.