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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: “The Shape Of Things To Come”

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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 2: The Shape Of Things To Come

Directed by Tony Wharmby

Written by J.J. Philbin

Previously on The O.C.: Marissa shot Ryan’s older brother Trey in order to save Ryan’s life. Marissa is concerned this has created a rift between her and Ryan, but Ryan says that’s not the case. It is awfully suspicious that Jimmy showed up back in Newport right after Caleb died, isn’t it? This is made more suspicious by Jimmy and Julie planning on using Caleb’s money to get back to their old fancy time life. Kirsten developed a drinking problem over the last year and she’s in rehab for it. She’s afraid of going home and relapsing, thus failing Sandy and the boys.

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The Cohen kitchen is a disaster with pizza boxes and bits of trash everywhere. I get that Mom’s not there to clean up, but c’mon, guys: an apple with three bites out of it sitting on the counter? You’re better than that. Anyway, we discover that today is registration day at school and Sandy’s trying to get Seth and Ryan fired up for that when the doorbell rings. It’s Julie, which means Sandy nearly slams the door in her face after the stunt she pulled with manipulating Trey to pin the shooting on Ryan to protect Marissa. Wait, hold on, she has important news. There’s a petition kicking around the other parents at The Harbor School, because they want Ryan and Marissa, those dangerous ruffians, expelled post haste.

After a pier diner scene with the teens set to Death Cab For Cutie’s Soul Meets Body where they swear to have the best final year of high school EVAR, we head to school where Sandy and Julie are going to meet up with OH SHIT, KEIKO O’BRIEN AS DR. KIM, HARBOR SCHOOL PRINCIPAL IS BAAAAAAAACK.

Turns out, Marissa is the first student in Harbor history to ever be involved in a shooting! That’s fun. There’s nearly a thousand signatures on the petition to have the kids removed from school, which raises some interesting questions: How many kids attend Harbor, anyway? Is it fair for both parents of a kid to sign a petition like this? I feel like 1,000 kids at an ultra schmancy private school like Harbor seems like a lot. Also: It seems important to realize that the reason that Marissa and Ryan ended up over at Trey’s apartment when the shooting happened is because Trey tried to rape Marissa. It seems a little steep to suddenly start shouting "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN" when the violence that you’re worried about is, on some level, either the result of and/or retribution for violence that was put upon one of the children. Anyway, Dr. Keiko says THE BOARD has hired a new Dean Of Discipline who is an expert in school safety to decide what to do with Ryan and Marissa. I end up disappointed that the new Dean of Discipline isn’t brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose, but instead, it’s some chump named Jack Hess. He appears to be a cross between Percy Weasley and college basketball referee Karl Hess. Look, buddy, he’s got a Masters degree in education and he taught in boarding schools on the east coast for 10 years, so he knows exactly how to deal with punks like Ryan and Marissa, even without bothering to talk to them to get their side of the story. He’ll make a final decision by this evening.

Jimmy meets with some chap at a bar, which is probably the "business acquaintance from Hawaii" that Julie said he had to meet with and thus miss the meeting with Dr. Keiko. It seems that Jimmy owes this gentleman a large sum of money after "pissing away" a deposit towards a boat purchase. This gentleman also informs Jimmy that he has friends that will take care of this debt if need be. Did Jimmy get mixed up with Hawaiian mob?? Jimmy attempts to calm this guy down by saying that he just needs Caleb’s estate to get cleared up and then he’ll get his money. That seems like a terrible plan, since we learned last week that it’s going to take two more months. Also: If I know anything about television, it’s that people expecting to get a massive inheritance from a very wealthy person usually end up hilariously disappointed.

Back at school, Marissa and Summer head to a social committee meeting while a Kickoff Carnival banner gets raised in the hallway. Hey, neat, we’re going to get to see Marissa’s lackeys, since she’s been social chair at school since she was a sophomore. There’s no way she was doing everything on her own, right? That means we get the debut of Autumn Reeser as Stepford nightmare Taylor Townsend. She seems to be surprised that Marissa actually showed up to run this social committee meeting, even though Marissa has a giant ass binder of stuff about the Carnival. Weird. Anyway, Summer operates as Marissa’s enforcer and boots that junior version of Julie Cooper from the podium at the front of the room.

Ryan cleans out the fridge while Seth assembles a care package for Kirsten with copies of Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself To Live, and Motley Crüe’s The Dirt. They end up chatting about Ryan’s relationship with Marissa, specifically relating to her shooting Trey. Seth points out that "every issue in a relationship snowballs," and while I would point out that Seth is a moron doomed to immediately ruin every good thing about every relationship that he’s ever had with a girl, I have to admit he’s right here.

Kirsten packs her things at the rehab facility, as she’s checking out tomorrow. Charlotte knocks on the door, and it turns out that she’s getting out tomorrow, too. She tells Kirsten that this isn’t her first swing at rehab and since she relapsed immediately upon returning home last time, she’s going to head up to a lake house that her father owns as a kind of a halfway house, and Kirsten is invited to join her if she wants.

Julie meets up with Jimmy at a bar, possibly the same one Jimmy was already at to meet Mr. Hawaiian Mafia. No news from school yet as Julie’s drink arrives. Jimmy can’t pay for it, though, because he left his wallet in the car. Just put it on Caleb’s tab, that’s what they’ve been doing for drinks all summer, anyway. Remember what I said about "hilariously disappointed?" That’s when Dean Hess calls Julie. Cut to Sandy talking to the dean, and here’s the deal: Ryan gets to stay enrolled at Harbor, but Marissa’s out, with no chance for appeal.

The next day, Sandy visits Kirsten, where he gets the news that she’s going to go hang out with Charlotte at her lake house. Sandy’s kind of not thrilled by this because all he hears is "I don’t want to come home," but Kirsten just wants to make sure all of this is behind her.

Jimmy does a Google search for quality schools in the area while Julie regales him with her brilliant solution to the problem: remind THE BOARD that they’re kicking out Caleb Nichol’s step-daughter by throwing money at them. This is actually not a terrible idea. Except.... Julie doesn’t have any money to throw around because they haven’t resolved Cal’s "79 Swiss accounts." That means it’s up to Jimmy to write the check, and oh, that’s not good. Julie say some kid got caught with pot recently-ish and it cost his parents a new pool and fieldhouse for Harbor, so this shooting mishap is going to cost at least $100,000. Are we saying that the marijuana is worse than the shooting or are we saying that Julie has no idea how much things cost? I get that Harbor’s probably not building a fieldhouse the size of the one that Marquette is planning and this is 10 years ago, but MU’s fieldhouse is going to cost $120 million. Serious question, though: Why does Julie assume that Jimmy has $100K to just throw around, even temporarily? Didn’t he leave Newport because he was 1) essentially broke and 2) was looking for a new business start in Hawaii just nine months ago? He was taking a contract with a yacht chartering company, and it’s not like that’s a multi-million dollar a year industry, at least not for the chump who just owns the boat.

With Marissa FINALLY out of the picture, Taylor gets her shot to run the social committee, and she starts the next meeting WITH A SPEECH and A MOMENT OF SILENCE for Marissa. I am not making this up. Summer attempts to short circuit Taylor’s ascension to social chair, but Taylor’s kind of right when she points out that Summer is nowhere near qualified to take the spot herself. She kind of snaps while laying this out for Summer before realizing that she’s not being smiley and cheery while doing this, and then snaps back into place. All of this makes me realize that Taylor is a hyper-wealthy version of Tracy Flick in Election.

Charlotte and Kirsten arrive up at the lake house, and it’s a pretty neat looking place. Charlotte gets a sense from Kirsten that she’s torn about being there and not being with her family, so she tells Kirsten to invite Sandy up for dinner. It’s not supposed to be completely isolationist, y’know?

Dr. Keiko gets Ryan and Marissa a meeting with Dean Hess, and he’s pretty much an asshat from the get-go. "Harbor School’s most notorious couple," Ryan’s still enrolled "despite my best efforts," Marissa "almost killed another kid..." Hey, wait a minute. Trey’s much older than 18, right? Seems like Dean Hess has no idea what he’s talking about, which isn’t surprising. Also: if he was making the call, shouldn’t his "best efforts" have been enough to get Ryan booted? Anyway, after recapping Marissa’s history of misbehavior (alcohol abuse, overdosing in Tijuana, shoplifting), he mentions Marissa’s lack of remorse about the shooting, and SURPRISE, she doesn’t have any remorse about shooting her attempted rapist who was about to bludgeon her boyfriend to death. People seem to be focusing an awful lot on SHOOTING A GUY instead of the other part. She storms out, Hess says that’s the last time she’ll ever set foot in the school, and again, I point out that, on some level, he’s punishing a sexual assault victim for being a sexual assault victim.

Seth plays a Call of Duty style video game as Summer brainstorms ways to beat down Taylor Townsend. She’s aiming at catching Taylor breaking a fire code rule or something like that, but Seth astutely points out that kind of thing is Taylor’s wheelhouse, and Summer’s going to have to beat Taylor using what Summer is best at doing. He doesn’t actually say what this is, and I have no idea what it is, either. Ryan broods his way through the room, and Seth hops up to chat with him. Ryan admits putting a beatdown on Dean Hess seems like the best way to handle this, but that’s obviously a poor choice. That, kids, is called foreshadowing.

Jimmy wanders into the bedroom while Julie puts on makeup with the check for $100K. Not important now, Jimbo, because Marissa tanked that meeting with Dean Hess. Jimmy exhales in relief because he got the money from Mr. Hawaiian Mafia, but Julie snags it because she has maids and gardeners that haven’t been paid since Caleb died. Crap, sez Jimmy.

Taylor executes Carnival Plan 99-Alpha and orders her minions around. Seth and Summer wander up, and after Seth scratches his cheek with his middle finger at Taylor, Summer just bosses her way into all sorts of changes to the carnival (mini-foods! chocolate fountain! raffling off a hybrid instead of an SUV from Taylor’s dad’s dealership!) that the minions ADORE and those are the brand new plans for the Carnival and who cares about whatever contracts and payments that Taylor already made, we’re doing it Summer’s way now. That was.... an odd way to go, but it worked? Somehow?

Ryan arrives at Marissa’s room to take her to the Carnival. Anyway, she’s not up for going, and then this turns into exactly the snowballing fight that Seth predicted because they’ve never really talked about the fallout of Marissa shooting Ryan’s brother, and Ryan ends up storming out. Wow, Seth was insightful and useful. Blind squirrel, nut, etc.

Over to the carnival we go, set to the not-so-dulcet tones of Cobra Verde’s cover of Pink’s Get This Party Started. Nothing says "fun high school carnival" like downbeat covers of pop songs, I always say. The social committee minions run up to Summer to praise her for all of her ideas that are all massive hits. While defeating Taylor’s great and all, Summer’s bummed about how Marissa’s missing out. Back at home, Ryan’s bummed about fighting with Marissa. Sandy wanders back from dinner at the lake with Kirsten and Charlotte to tell him to go listen to his girlfriend because that always works wonders. I feel like "listen to your lady friend" is life advice that should have been imparted to him before now.

After a brief interlude where Jimmy blows up plans for Taco Bell and Dancing With The Stars with a fancy dinner and asking Julie to re-marry him, Ryan finds Marissa at her favorite lifeguard shack on the beach. He apologizes for being a nozzle, they come to terms with at least enjoying their final year in Newport together, and head off to the carnival.

Up at the lake house, Kirsten wanders down to the lake. She finds Charlotte sobbing her eyes out on a bench because she’s got a bottle of some kind of brown liquor, and oh, man, seeing how great Kirsten and Sandy were together makes her realize that Kirsten’s gonna leave and how’s she gonna stay sober without Kirsten. Charlotte hasn’t actually taken a drink yet, so Kirsten takes the bottle from her and says she’s strong and can do this. Charlotte says she’ll come back to bed in a moment, and after Kirsten goes back inside, she stops crying, pulls a flask from her sweater pocket, takes a nip, and smirks. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.

The kids ride the Ferris wheel, which is a call back to the last two years worth of Kickoff Carnivals, and Seth thinks he’s gonna puke. So delicate, that one. Ryan and Marissa have yet another nice moment, and as they disembark, Taylor drags a freshly sweater-vested Dean Hess over to point out that scary 90 pound Marissa Cooper is here OMG. Hess shouts at her to leave, Ryan points out this isn’t even school property and she’s his guest, and Hess GRABS MARISSA BY THE ELBOW to drag her out. PREDICTION: Hess’ time in Newport is going to be limited by the manhandling of students. Ryan grabs Dean Hess and sucker punches the living hell out of him. Well, that’s not good. Hess bleeds a little bit, smiles, points out that he thought he was going to have to work to kick Ryan out of school, and ejects the pair of them from the carnival. Ryan and Marissa leave and we pan out while a new down tempo version of the title sequence music plays.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Back when Julie’s at the front door with news about the petition, she says that she was going to do whatever it took to keep her family afloat. Sandy’s response: "Yeah, by using my kid as a raft." Quick witted, which is always great, plus the side note of Sandy not differentiating between his biological and foster sons.