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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Lonely Hearts Club"

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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 12 - "The Lonely Hearts Club"

Directed by Ian Toynton
Written by J.J. Philbin

Previously on The O.C.: Marissa is confident enough to take off her shirt in front of Alex, but isn't sure she wants to actually be her girlfriend.  Caleb loses his cool at Ryan during a dinner to get to know Lindsay and promptly has a heart attack.  Seth and Summer appear to have been on the verge of kissing in a very stupid situation, and now they have to road trip to San Diego to pitch their new comic book idea.  Max, Sandy's mentor from college, has had a few strokes and wants to find Rebecca, his fugitive from justice daughter, who happens to be Sandy's old girlfriend.  First we thought she was dead, and then she turned up in Newport Beach very much not dead.  Sandy's not telling Kirsten that she's alive because that would make Kirsten an accomplice, except Kirsten went to spruce up Sandy's office against his wishes and found Rebecca crashing in the spare room.

*     *     *     *     *

We open on a florist shop, which seems like an odd choice.  Even weirder, Ryan's standing around like he owns the place.  Wait a minute.  This is the Cohens' kitchen, and there's just a metric ton of roses everywhere.  Apparently, as Sandy comes in and explains to us, tomorrow is Valentine's Day (isn't that convenient) and Kirsten deserves a long holiday because Sandy's working such long hours on his one case and also because Caleb's in the hospital.  Sandy sends the boys out to the car to get MORE roses, and this gives them a chance to have a West Wing-esque walk & talk about Summer.  Seth says he doesn't WANT her back in his love life picture, but the universe is conspiring against him.  Dude.  Exercise some self (or Seth?) control.  Seth says he doesn't want to go to San Diego to pitch the comic with Summer or even be around her.  Ryan Atwood, Voice Of Reason, steps in and tells Seth to stop being an idiot, go pitch the comic because it could be a big deal for him, and just treat Summer like the friend she is and also like the girlfriend of his friend Zach, which she also is.  It's almost as if Ryan makes too much sense.

Sandy asks about V-Day plans with Lindsay, but it's break mode time for her and Ryan so she can build a relationship with Caleb, her new found dad.  Maybe Sandy can help?  After all, he's a V-Day pro, because it's Kirsten's favorite holiday.  As if on cue (because she actually was), Kirsten walks in, sees the flowers, grabs a bunch, rams them petals first into the garbage disposal, and walks out.

Well, someone's hosed.

Kirsten explains that they sat through that dinner with Kirsten knowing about Rebecca and Sandy not saying anything about it.  Well, you did tell Seth to keep the office sprucing a surprise and also, he hasn't had a chance to see said sprucing to realize you were there, so there's that.  Sandy explains the accomplice thing to her, and Kirsten points out that she's actually upset that Sandy's being ultra professional about this situation and isn't seeing the complications involved in representing his former fiancé.  He says he does get it, but Kirsten's still upset.

Over at Lindsay's house, Ryan appears with a single rose.  He probably could have swiped a full dozen from Sandy at this point, but going single when he's on a break with the lady is a nice move.  As for that break, he kind of didn't realize it was going to be Valentine's Day so quickly, so maybe a break from the break?  Lindsay insists that Ryan has to apologize to Caleb before they go on a V-Day date, even though the heart attack wasn't Ryan's fault.  She wants her dad and her boyfriend to get along and SURPRISE: Ryan's not an idiot, so he's gonna try.  Seth would have screwed this up somehow.

Summer is trying to figure out the right purse for her outfit when Seth arrives a wee bit early for the road trip.  He turns into a stammering and babbling disaster as he attempts to hammer out all of this nothing that he wants between them.  Summer is completely blithe about the entire thing because she's focused on the business at hand - selling a comic book to WildStorm - not to mention she actually has a boyfriend that's not an idiot.  Seth begins dying slowly at all of the pressure in the situation that he's completely invented for himself as Zach arrives with Mapquest directions in hand.  Hey, did you realize that Mapquest is still around?

As a fancy time businessman, you'd think that Caleb would appreciate the legal liability reasons as to why he has to be carted out of the hospital in a wheelchair, but he's just gonna complain instead.  Lindsay's got a care package for him, including some Mad Libs, and mentions that Ryan would like to stop by to say hello.  Caleb's obviously not excited about this, but after Kirsten sends Lindsay off to track down the car service to take Cal home, Kirsten implores Caleb to be nice to Ryan for Lindsay's sake.  The scene closes with Caleb asking if three people can play Mad Libs so Ryan can be included.  I mention this because this will be important later.

Julie arrives home and is annoyed that no one is waiting for her.  Well, that's probably mostly because this is a surprise return home as Caleb just mentioned in the last segment that she was still gallivanting around Europe.  After a moment out on the patio where Julie gets territorial about her husband's relationship with Lindsay, Julie wanders off to go say hi to Marissa, who is still asleep at 1 in the afternoon.  Marissa is, of course, not excited to see Julie or the Chanel clutch that she bought for her in Europe.  Julie launches into a speech about how she did some soul searching in Europe and want to be closer with her daughter, but Marissa misses most of this because she's pulled a pillow over her head.  Julie uses confiscating Marissa's cell phone as a means to blackmail her into a nice dinner together.

Sandy smartens up and sets Rebecca up at a hotel in order to try to help smooth things out with Kirsten.  Rebecca has a "thanks for being my lawyer" gift for him: Gandhi on DVD.  Apparently this is what Sandy opted to do on their first date and Rebecca fell asleep in the middle of it.  PRO TIP: 3+ hour long historical dramas are a bad first date option.  Anyway, Sandy has to apologize because he's bailing on being her lawyer.  First, he's not skilled at amnesty cases and second, his wife is super angry.

Back at home, Sandy checks in with Kirsten out on the patio to see how Caleb's doing.  Kirsten informs him that the credit card company called to check on the charges for Playa Del Rey, the hotel where Rebecca's staying.  DUDE, exactly how expensive is that hotel?  I'm guessing there's nice options that don't trigger "HOLY CRAP ARE YOU SPENDING MONEY LIKE CRAZY" alarms from the credit card company.  Anyway, Kirsten tells him he should be Rebecca's lawyer, but Sandy's not an idiot.  Kirsten has to admit that she's happy to hear that, and they decide to try to snag a reservation at The Arches for V-Day.  PRO TIP: If you forget your 20th wedding anniversary, try to come up with something for Valentine's Day more than 24 hours in advance.

Marissa's hanging up posters at The Bait Shop because literally anything is better than hanging out at home with Julie.  Alex tells Marissa the way she dealt with her crazy mom was to avoid confrontations with her and always give her ideas a response of "I'll have to give that some thought."  Marissa kind of tries to imply that Alex is invited to dinner, but Alex is against first dates on Valentine's Day.  Next week, though, they'll definitely go on a date.  Marissa seems.... troubled? by this idea of going on a date with Alex.  Maybe I'm just bad at reading Mischa Barton's emotions.

The comic book crew is in the WildStorm office waiting for their meeting.  Summer goes off to freshen up, and Zach talks about how "OCD" she is and how he hopes that won't ruin their backpacking trip through Italy.  Zach's sister is getting married in Tuscany, so they're going to that and then wandering about the countryside.  Seth struggles to deal with this, but that sounds like the universe giving on their anti-Seth conspiracy.  The receptionist tells them that Mr. Bernstein's flight back from Japan was delayed, so now the kids are going have to spend a night in a hotel on WildStorm's dime before pitching the book first thing tomorrow morning.  Lousy conspiring universe.

Ryan shows up over at Caleb's house for his apology while Caleb shoots some pool.  Ryan puts his best effort into it, but Caleb can't help but insult him repeatedly.  Hey, remember when Caleb told Lindsay to invite Ryan over for some Mad Libs?  Ryan aborts on his attempts to be nice, and well, there's always next year's Valentine's Day for a nice time with Lindsay.

The kids arrive at the hotel and Seth presumes that he and Zach will share the bed, but where will that leave Summer?  Apparently Seth wasn't paying attention when the receptionist set up the rooms or when they checked in, because they've got adjoining rooms, so go get in your solo room by yourself, bucko.  Seth then rambles on incoherently for about three straight minutes.  Huh.  I thought that this was what Seth wanted: keeping Summer away from him.

Sandy meets Max for a chat about... I'm not really sure, but it ends up being about their past together.  Sandy brought Max some coffee, but he's given that up in exchange for green tea.  It's a detoxifier, and maybe that will help his health issues.  Sandy runs back to the cafe to snag some tea and oh my God, Max is gonna die, isn't he? *skips forward*  Yep, Max has another stroke on the bench while waiting for Sandy.

The segment we skipped over there is Seth LITERALLY getting in between Zach and Summer, as he sits on their bed to watch some old terrible movie.  Zach declares that he's tired and it's time to turn in.  But!  Van Helsing's on PPV!  There's a gift shop downstairs!  Let's get some cards and play for a while!  Summer literally shoves him into the other room.  Seth comes back in and tries to start a conversation about a secret knock in case of emergencies, but Summer shoves him back into the room and closes the door.  Seth attempts his secret knock.  I remind you, this is how he's treating his friends that are a couple.  What an asshat.

After a brief shot of Sandy and Rebecca on the beach at dawn where they hug for a moment, we head to the WildStorm lobby where Seth chugs a giant latte and does a lot of hand drumming.  He hasn't slept, apparently, and now his freakout about Summer and Zach being happy has been fueled by no sleep and a giant pile of caffeine.  Hooray.  Mr. Bernstein aka Dr. Jack Hodgins on Bones, is ready for the meeting and, well, Seth blows it.  Big time.  Instead of sticking to the planned pitch, Seth takes over, inventing a love story for the comic between The Ironist and Little Miss Vixen, aka Seth & Summer's characters.  If they'd just put their differences aside and stop sniping at each other, they'd realize how perfect they are for each other, and I'm amazed that Zach doesn't take advantage of Seth giving him a perfect open sucker punch at one point in his dumb speech.  Summer and Zach spend this whole speech objecting to what Seth's talking about and Bernstein walks out of the meeting because it's very clear that these three high schoolers can't be trusted to do business.

At home, Sandy bring Kirsten up to speed on Max's death and apologizes for being gone for so long.  Kirsten fairly understands that he had to, because that's what happens when you report a dead body to the police, y'know?  Anyway.  They're still going out for Valentine's Day, dammit, right after Sandy power naps.

Over at the Nichols' house, Ryan's back, and he has a plan.  He tells Lindsay he's going to need a couple of hours... is he going to hustle Caleb at pool?  Yep!  Here's the deal: If Caleb wins, Ryan stays out of his way.  If Ryan wins, Caleb has to accept him as Lindsay's boyfriend.  I can't believe that Caleb actually accepts this, as it's pretty much win-win for Ryan, as he doesn't actually give anything up if he loses.  Best out of seven at Eight Ball, then...

Julie and Marissa have their dinner, and it quickly turns into Julie explaining her machinations to make sure that they get as much money as possible out of Caleb.  Yes, she's that cold hearted.  Julie points out that Marissa doesn't want her inheritance going to Lindsay, does she?  Marissa can't believe her mother's audacity, but controls her attitude and deploys Alex's deflection technique.  Probably didn't need the sarcastic expression and voice to go with it, though.

Seth's back at the hotel, pouting.  Actually, I'm surprised that they didn't check out before the meeting.  Summer comes in, sits down, and asks if there is anything Seth wants to say to her.  There's not, other than he's going to lay off the caffeine going forward.  Don't say she didn't ask, dude.  Well, time to go.  Seth decides he's actually going to take the bus home from San Diego, so Zach suggests that he and Summer just spend the night at the hotel for Valentine's Day.  Nicely played, sir.

Sandy gets dressed for dinner as his cell phone rings.  It's Rebecca, but she was expecting him to be gone to dinner already.  She didn't want to actually talk to Sandy, because she's leaving town immediately.  With her dad gone, there's no point in fighting the charges against her.  Sandy says there's really no chance for an in person goodbye, but Kirsten walks in, so he says he'll call Rebecca back.  Uh, why?  Just say goodbye forever and hang up and go to dinner with your wife.  Nope, instead, after explaining the deal to Kirsten, she says she won't stop him if he wants to go say goodbye to Rebecca, so off he goes, literally 30 seconds after saying he didn't see a way for that to happen.  Kirsten's just as shocked as I am that he actually goes.

Zach and Summer kick back after some room service for dinner and discuss the Valentine's Day date that fate delivered for them and that Seth almost destroyed.  As they start to talk about taking things one step further (WINK WINK SEX TIME WINK WINK), Summer's cell phone rings.  She glances at it and tells Zach it doesn't matter who's calling.  We cut to Seth on the bus sadly closing his flip phone after the call goes to voice mail.  She literally asked if you had something to say and you passed.  I hope this bus crashes.

Caleb's about to lose to Ryan, so he starts resorting to psychological tactics and insults.  Ryan gives as good as he gets, though, and buries the 8 ball corner pocket for the win.  Caleb continues to taunt Ryan, pointing out that maybe this kind of thing works in Chino, but the real world can't be operated by winning games of billiards.  But as Caleb digs into his pocket to pay for the Valentine's Day date that was Ryan's goal all along, Ryan bids Lindsay and Caleb good night, letting the father and daughter spend some time together.  OH HO, I see what you're doing, Mr. Atwood.  Even Caleb has to give him a respectful smirk on the way out the door, because even when he likes what someone's doing, Caleb's still kind of a jerk about it.

As Kirsten calls The Arches to cancel their dinner reservation, Sandy and Rebecca say goodbye at Playa Del Rey.  It's time for Sandy to leave, since he's already missed dinner.  Exactly how long has he been here, since he said he'd be right back when he left the house & Kirsten was already dressed to go?  Rebecca tells him to stay if he's missed dinner, and so she sucks.  Sandy says he's going to miss her all over again even though he went 22 years without seeing her, and Rebecca wishes that she never ran in the first place.

And then they kiss.

Yep.  Not a polite cheek goodbye kiss, either.  There might have been tongue.  Sandy leaves, but not before telling Rebecca she should stay.

Seth mopes at the pierside diner and Ryan arrives to, I dunno, console his dumb ass or something.  Seth may have been completely lying earlier in the episode when he said he wanted nothing to do with Summer, but he's forced to admit that the universe might be on Zach's side.  Please, please let this be the end of Summer & Seth story arcs.

Marissa arrives at The Bait Shop unexpectedly, but she realized that all that was getting her through dinner with her mom was thinking about going to see Alex afterwards.  Alex says they need to go out to the beach, because she has some kind of "turning of the tide" ritual whenever there's a big change in her life, and hey, spontaneous first dates are fun.

We close the episode on a montage.  First, Sandy comes home, but Kirsten closes the bedroom door on him.  Then, Seth & Ryan walk on the piers and discuss how they'll never have normal relationships, and finally, we close on Alex and Marissa sitting on the beach.  Alex says the tide has turned, and we fade to black with the new couple's first kiss.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment/Line: Well, this segment has completely derailed over the first 12 episodes of this season, hasn't it?  There wasn't anything great that Sandy did before he started making out with Rebecca, so I've got nothing for you here.