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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: “The Aftermath”

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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 the summer of 2014 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. Four years of eligibility conveniently matches up with four seasons of the TV show, so we’re back in 2016 with Season 3.

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

Season 3, Episode 1: "The Aftermath"

Directed by Ian Toynton

Story by Josh Schwartz and Robert De Laurentiis

Teleplay by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Caleb died. Kirsten’s drinking got out of control. There was an intervention and she went to rehab. Trey attempted to rape Marissa on the beach. She eventually got the courage to tell Summer, who told Seth, who told Ryan, who went to settle things with Trey. As a result of that confrontation, Marissa ended up shooting Trey in the back.

*     *     *      *      *

Season 3 opens up minutes after we closed on Season 2: Trey is wheeled into an emergency room. Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Marissa are right behind the gurney as it’s wheeled into a treatment room. Things are kind of hectic and blurry and unclear, but we do learn that Trey took a bullet to his clavicle and it hit an artery. Doctors are running around, the police are trying to talk to the four kids, Ryan shouts to not say anything to the police, Sandy shows up, the visuals and the audio keep getting weirder and weirder, Ryan passes out, but as soon as he hits the floor, he wakes up in the pool house. His face bears no signs of the fight with Trey, so we’ve obviously jumped forward a few months and what we just saw was a dream sequence. Thank goodness Seth wandered in at the same time, too, and we find out that there’s a lawyer on his way over.

We go poolside at Stately Cooper Manor, where Marissa and Summer are sunbathing. They give us some critical plot points: It’s now the week before school starts (wooooo, senior year), Marissa’s facing a manslaughter charge for the shooting, but she left out the word attempted because Trey’s in a coma.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Caldwell turns up at the Cohen house for a deposition of both Seth and Ryan. Before the boys make it down to the dining room for said deposition, Caldwell reveals his grand plan for prosecuting this: He’s going to pin the shooting on Ryan, because CLEARLY Marissa is just covering for him because Ryan has such a terrible record. This is insane. I mean, yeah, you and I know what happened because this is TV, but to just ignore the initial statements of both conscious witnesses is kind of bonkers. What's the plan here, letting Marissa and Ryan testify that she pulled the trigger and then HOPING you convince a jury that there’s enough reasonable doubt to believe that Ryan actually did it? Good luck with that, Chuckles! Just accept that Marissa’s safe from prosecution because of a defense of others, and MOVE ON. On top of all of that, Marissa also has that "well, he tried to rape me last week" thought in her head when she shot Trey. I thought district attorneys like closing cases, not losing in ridiculous fashion in open court. As we eventually see in the deposition, here’s the sum total of reasons why Caldwell thinks they can get a conviction on Ryan: his fingerprints are on the gun (he set the safety after we faded to black in the season finale), Ryan was obviously planning on doing something when he went to Trey’s apartment after learning about Marissa’s assault, and finally, Seth obviously called Marissa to get her to stop Ryan from doing something terrible.

Holy crap, that case sucks.

We take a trip out to Kirsten’s rehab facility where things appear to be going pretty great! She’s being open and honest about the thoughts and feelings (mostly Caleb’s a bad person and he should feel bad except he’s dead) that drove her to drink in the first place. Dr. Woodruff says in a group meeting that she’s ready to go home, albeit with an arrangement to attend meetings and check in with a sponsor. Oh, and we meet Charlotte Morgan, played by Jeri Ryan, who felt a deep personal connection to Kirsten’s story about struggling with an overbearing father.

After ADA Caldwell finishes up at the Cohens’, he heads over to Stately Cooper Manor, and hooboy, is Julie in a tizzy. We simply CAN’T have Marissa telling people that she actually shot someone, what will everyone think? Plus, y’know, that Ryan Atwood is nasty business, and oh good, Julie thinks Ryan is evil or whatever again. Things that aren’t helping the "Marissa shot Trey in defense of Ryan/because Trey's a rapist" story is Marissa’s apparent complete reluctance to tell her side of the story again. GAWD, she already told the police, why does she have to do this AGAIN? ADA Caldwell says, and I am not making this up, that Marissa’s statement lacks credibility. Thor help me.

After a brief trip to the hospital to visit the comatose Trey, the boys return home to play some video game baseball. Hey, wait a minute, time out. The DA’s office is trying to pin the shooting on Ryan, but he’s allowed to just wander in and out of Trey’s hospital room? "Hey, we think you tried to murder your brother, but I guess we can’t stop you from visiting him." Sheesh. Anyway, after discovering that Seth does not understand the rules of baseball in the slightest (goddammit, Seth), and assorted jokes about ADA Caldwell possibly being the Dark Lord Sauron, the phone rings.

Trey woke up.

Sandy arrives at the rehab facility. Oh, he must be here to pick up Kirsten since she’s okay to go home....... orrrrr not. Huh. Kirsten says she might be close but she’s going to have to talk to the doctors about whether she’s eligible to leave. Huh. Seth calls Sandy while they’re talking...... and Sandy doesn’t tell Kirsten about the new Trey news. Ohhhhhhh, this isn’t good. I mean, I get why Sandy’s not telling Kirsten about that whole "Ryan might get charged with attempted homicide" thing, but they're both hiding things from each other, and isn’t that kind of how we ended up here in the first place?

Over at The Newport Group office, people are tearing Caleb’s office apart. Well, maybe it’s just more of taking inventory. Still, lots of dudes in there, and more importantly, Julie’s there. She’s REALLY invested in getting Caleb’s estate settled, but it’s going to be about two more months before we get that taken care of, mostly because he’s got offshore accounts that they can’t seem to locate yet. That seems bad. Julie tries to finagle the exact amount that she’s going to get paid out of the main lawyer chap while Jimmy gets the call about Trey waking up. PREDICTION: Caleb left everything to Kirsten and/or Seth while Julie gets nothing.

The two teenage couples meet up at the pierside diner. They’re ultra mopey because of the depositions and Trey waking up and so forth, so Summer declares that they need to have fun before school starts or something even worse than that happens. Marissa’s idea: take Jimmy’s boat out for a cruise. I didn’t know Seth could actually captain a yacht, but hey, apparently he can. Honestly, I’m more surprised that Jimmy left the boat in California when he moved to Hawaii. We get a montage of boat and beach fun set to Ian Broudie’s Song For No One. Ryan and Marissa settle out whether they’re okay/still a couple, which leads to lots of making out, and Seth throws a football competently. Again: Seth doesn’t understand the rules of baseball, but can throw a football accurately to Ryan 20 yards away. Right.

Later that night at the hospital, there’s just one nurse working in the "recently comatose from gunshot wounds" wing, and apparently she’s susceptible to manipulation. You see, Julie has wandered on in, and she throws around some nonsense about Caleb and donating to the hospital and Cal always wanted to make sure the nurses were well compensated and that’s why she should be allowed to see Trey after visiting hours. Amazingly, this works, so apparently this is the least mentally tough nurse in recorded history. Julie gives Trey an option: tell the police Ryan shot him and get $20,000 OR Julie’s going to suffocate him to death with this pillow. Look, just because there’s only one nurse on duty doesn’t mean she’s not going to realize that "freshly out of a coma and hooked up to 47 machines" Trey is coding out. Trey’s not smart enough to realize this, though, so he agrees to blame Ryan to protect Marissa.

This is what happens when the ADA loses his damn mind.

The next morning at Stately Cooper Manor, it’s time to celebrate that Ryan is getting sent off to jail! Except for the part where there’s no chance in hell that he’d actually get convicted, but hey: at least Marissa’s going to be able to go to college! Breaking news, Julie: Marissa was still going to be able to go to college SINCE SHE WASN’T GOING TO GET CHARGED WITH ANYTHING. Marissa wakes up and gets the news about Ryan’s impending arrest and takes off to the Cohen residence She finds Summer and Seth staring out the window at the pool house, which is where Ryan has been since he got the news that a warrant is being issued for his arrest. She rolls her eyes at them and heads out to see Ryan, who is packing his things. No one believes him, so he’s outta here. No, Ryan, we’re ALL outta here. All four teens head to Jimmy’s boat to get the hell outta Dodge, but they only get as far as the door to the below deck area before the police show up. Oops. Turns out that Sandy, Julie, and Jimmy are pretty good at putting two and two together.

Ryan’s in lock up, and amazingly, the other three aren’t. Think about this from the ADA’s perspective: Marissa is attempting to cover for Ryan and is then caught attempting to aid him in fleeing, but they’re NOT going to charge her with anything? Anyway, they realize that they have to convince Trey to change his mind, which means we get Marissa and Summer at the hospital in candy striper outfits. Summer beats me to the joke about how she hasn’t worn the outfit in about two years. Anyway, they use the "we’re volunteering!" gimmick to gain access to Trey’s room. He admits he lied, but ONLY to protect Marissa! Y’know, after trying to rape her. Of course, there’s only one person who could have convinced him of this....

Trey makes a full confession/statement, so Ryan gets released. He tells Sandy there’s something he’s gotta do, and that’s go to the hospital, of course. Blue Light by Bloc Party plays as we get a montage of Ryan finding that Trey’s been released.... or, really, based on the disarray in the hospital room, Trey may have just walked out of the hospital. Generally speaking, you’d expect nurses to properly put IV lines away if they were discharging a patient. That sends Ryan and Sandy to the bus station just in time to see Trey board a bus and wave goodbye to his little brother. Ryan quietly drops his head onto Sandy’s shoulder.

After an ominous moment of Charlotte staring into Kirsten’s room while she looks at a Chrismukkah picture of her family, Ryan finds Marissa at a lifeguard station on the beach. That’s where she’s ended up after jamming Trey’s confession in Julie’s face and telling Julie to stay out of her life. Ryan tells Marissa a story about Trey running away when they were younger. It was a scary time for Ryan, because at least they had each other. Trey’s gone and Ryan’s wondering where he went again.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: It’s easily when he’s explaining to Kirsten how they exploded peanut butter all over the inside of the microwave in an attempt to make cookies for when she comes home. On one side, it seems so goofy and kind, on the other: DUDE, HOW DID YOU EXPLODE A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER?