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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: “The End Of Innocence”


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 3: The End Of Innocence

Directed by Michael Lange

Written by Stephanie Savage

Previously on The O.C.: Jimmy is in desperate need of money to pay back a guy he knows from Hawaii. Also: He re-proposed to Julie. Kirsten left rehab, but went with her new rehab friend Charlotte to her lake house instead of coming home. Charlotte had a meltdown where she nearly relapsed..... but she hits up a flask after Kirsten goes back inside. Taylor Townsend is a thing at Harbor School now, as is Jack Hess, the new Dean of Discipline. Oh, speaking of discipline, Ryan got kicked out of school for sucker punching Hess after he grabbed the already expelled Marissa by the elbow to throw her out of the Kickoff Carnival.

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Somehow, Sandy’s been drafted into keeping The Newport Group afloat with Caleb dead and Kirsten in rehab. I know he’s a lawyer, so that’s probably helpful, but they didn’t have a #3 person out there? Everyone else is just a flunky? Anyway, Sandy and Ryan have a talk about the Dean punching and so forth, and Sandy points out that maybe it’s time to stop seeing Marissa. Over at Stately Cooper Manor, Marissa gets roughly the same speech from Julie and Jimmy, but it also includes the late breaking news that they’ve managed to get her a spot at the same boarding school that Kaitlin attends. This leads Jimmy over to the Cohen house to apologize for his whole family’s involvement in everything recently..... and also when are they reading Caleb’s will?

At school, Seth and Summer get waylaid by Dean Hess, who orders them to be suggests that they become stage hands for Taylor Townsend’s production of South Pacific. See, Hess blames them for Marissa crashing the Kickoff Carnival.... even though she was obviously the guest of Ryan, who was a student at the time.....and she wasn’t bothering anyone nor did you even realize she was there until Taylor ratted her out.... so show some school spirit. Or Else. Couple of points: Didn’t we establish way back that Seth was the founding/lone member of about seven clubs at Harbor? How much more school spirit do you want, jackass? And now Hess is just blatantly threatening students? Between the hasty decision making and yanking teenage girls around by the arm, I have no idea how this nimrod still has a job.

At the Yacht Club, Jimmy brings up the idea of getting married immediately! Then going to Hawaii! With Marissa! And staying there with a fresh start for the Coopers and Caleb’s money! Look, if you don’t know where this episode is going at this point, I can’t help you.

Sandy drives aaaaaaalllll the way out to Lake Arrowhead to tell Kirsten that they’re going to read Caleb’s will on Friday. That’s it. She’s not ready to come home, but maybe she’ll be up for the will. Charlotte keeps telling her stories about stress and relapsing, so Kirsten’s not sure. They hug, and the door that Charlotte went through after letting Sandy in suddenly pulls closed. Huh.

Julie interrupts a Ryan/Marissa make-out session (Ryan hides behind the drapes) to bring Marissa up to speed on the big Saturday wedding plan, and also the "immediately move to Hawaii forever" plan. Let’s say that Marissa isn’t a fan.

The next morning, Ryan cooks some breakfast while he and Seth brainstorm ways to fix Marissa moving to Hawaii at the end of the week. Surprise: They have no good ideas. The best one they come up with is that Marissa moves in with them, and hoo boy does that idea suck. From there, we transition to Marissa telling Summer about the moving plans. After further review, Marissa sees how this would be good to keep her parents together. Speaking of her parents, they smooch a bit on Jimmy’s boat and then Julie’s off to see the caterer. Her departure is well timed, because Hawaiian Mafia Guy shows up to collect from Jimmy. He promises that he’ll have the money tomorrow night. I didn’t realize that wills worked like that, where the money would just be immediately dropped into Julie’s bank account.

Ryan wanders in to Sandy’s office at The Newport Group to sell him on the idiot "Marissa Moves In" plan. Sandy is obviously pissed at the suggestion, but Ryan’s plea of "we’re here because someone gave you and me a break; now Marissa needs one" actually...... works? Well, it at least works to the point where Sandy doesn’t say no. Ryan leaves as Kirsten calls to announce that she’s coming to the will reading. After hanging up, Charlotte grills her on whether Kirsten is doing that for the right reasons.

Taylor goes out of her way to be overly concerned about the precise location of props as Seth and Summer move things around for her. Taylor starts dropping pleasantly worded insults, Summer calls her out on her fake sincerity, and Dean Hess swoops in from some dark corner to protect the obviously weak and frail Taylor from attack. At some point, this Hess/Townsend relationship just gets kind of creepy and weird, doesn’t it?

Ryan and Seth have another breakfast meeting. Marissa broke off a smooching session the night before because Ryan brought up the crazy "moving in" idea because she’s on board with going to Hawaii. If she’s leaving tomorrow for Hawaii forever, then we’re going to have to do something big and gigantic so Marissa remembers Ryan. I didn’t realize that Marissa had object permanence issues.

After a transitional scene of Seth and Summer painting and plotting while Taylor almost catches them in the act, it’s time to read Caleb’s will. The will says that everything gets split evenly between Kirsten, Hayley, and Julie. Neat! HOWEVA, there’s nothing to split. Caleb died broke with bunches of mortgages and high interest loans, and The Newport Group is in financial ruin, too. There is a handwritten letter from Caleb for Kirsten, though, and it was mailed the day he died. Julie gets literally nothing, surprising no one. Kirsten angrily storms out, knowing that Caleb wrote that letter after she had blamed every single problem in their family (including her drinking) on him and told him he’s going to die alone, which he did. She hops in the town car that brought her there and leaves, all while Sandy protests that she not overreact to what just happened.

After we see Ryan drag Marissa away from packing to leave forever in the next few days, we cut back to Julie drinking at the Yacht Club. I guess we haven’t told the club that Caleb is/was broke and no one is ever going to be able to pay the tab or the dues. Well, at least Jimmy’s stable and set to go, and as long as they’ve got each other in Hawaii, everything will be fine, right? RIGHT? Jimmy excuses himself because it’s bad luck to spend the night with the bride or something, and oh my god we’re never going to see Jimmy again, are we?

Sandy hasn’t heard anything from Kirsten since she drove off, so he calls Charlotte. Charlotte tells him that she expected Kirsten back hours ago. She also completely misrepresents Kirsten’s attitude about going to the will reading, claiming that Kirsten knew it was a bad idea and she was afraid about what was going to happen. Huh.

The kids are hanging at the diner, but WELP, it’s 8:30pm, time for Seth and Summer to retire for the night. Ryan has something to show Marissa on the beach. It turns out to be the tiki hut that Seth and Summer were hauling around the South Pacific set along with a bunch of torches, too. Very romantic.

As they get settled in the hut, we cut to Jimmy attempting to hustle his way out of town. He’s even got the beaten up ball cap and windbreaker costume on. Anyway, Hawaiian Mafia Guy and his goons are essentially waiting on Jimmy’s boat for him to show up, so it’s time to get in the black SUV. Ok, now we’re never going to see Jimmy again.

Back to the hut we go as things are mid-smooch, but suddenly Marissa flips out and runs out the door. Ryan’s too shocked to react, but then Marissa pokes her head back in and playfully blasts him for not even trying to chase after her. Oh, you scamp. They then have a conversation without actually saying it about whether or not they should have sex for the first time at this juncture. They proceed, but it turns into the worst teenager sex scene in television history, but that’s because it turns into a montage set to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Salvation with Hawaiian Mafia Guy’s goons beating the living hell out of Jimmy in the surf underneath the pier. They’re whipping his ass so bad he can barely even keep his head above the surface of the admittedly shallow water, and that cuts back and forth with Ryan and Marissa mid-coitus. It’s a weird choice that gets weirder when they start mixing in shots of Kirsten buying a 750 mL bottle of generic vodka and getting a skeevy motel room for the night and then staring at the bottle from across the room. Punch, sex, stare at bottle, repeat. Disconcerting at best, really.

We fade out on all of that, and I presume that Jimmy’s literally dead in the water. We fade back up on Ryan and Marissa sleeping in the hut. Her cell phone wakes them up, and Marissa’s reaction to the call confirms my suspicion that it’s Julie calling to inform her that Jimmy got beaten to death in the water. But nope, it was actually Jimmy calling..... to tell her about his beating? I’ll tell you this: His face is not nearly caved in enough for the beating he took. Jimmy says he has to leave and can’t take her with him. She tells him if you have to leave, then never come back. Jimmy puts Marissa in charge of informing Julie of his departure, and now, finally, this will definitely be the last time we ever see Jimmy. I guess we have to give him credit for leaving in one piece, huh?

Charlotte answers a knock at the door, and it’s some lady we’ve never seen before. She informs Charlotte that the family that owns the house (which is apparently not Charlotte’s father) had a change of plans and they need to use the house in the next day or two. Charlotte says that she had an agreement on the usage of the house, but hey, her check bounced, so too bad. How about you just pop for the cash to cover the time you were here and then get the hell out? Charlotte focuses on the last part and bails out the bedroom window. I’m gonna go ahead and label this as ‘suspicious,’ and also I will guess that we will see her again next episode.

Over at the Cohen residence, Kirsten’s home! She’s realized all she was doing was hiding, and she hated hiding from her family. She didn’t drink any of that vodka she bought, by the way. She sits down with Sandy and reads the letter from Caleb, and surprisingly, it’s an apology. Kirsten laughs through her tears that of course her father would have to be dead before he said anything nice.

Over at the Yacht Club, Julie’s all dressed for the wedding, and the place is all decorated up nicely, well, this certainly will be a fun event... oh, wait, there’s Marissa to tell her mom that Jimmy has run away, never to be seen ever again. Finally, FINALLY, Julie Cooper breaks down into tears, because she (and Marissa and Kaitlin) are totally, totally screwed.

Seth and Summer haul the pilfered South Pacific/sex hut back into school, and while Seth sets it back into place, Summer runs back to the car for the tiki torches. Dean Hess proves that he is a completely incompetent boob when it comes to laying in wait for someone, as he catches Seth in the act of returning the "stolen" property, but somehow totally misses the fact that Summer was in the auditorium literally 15 seconds earlier. Hess hands him one month detention for the theft of school property, unless he wants to sell out his accomplice? Oh, and Hess is sure Seth has an accomplice because there’s no way his 95 pound weakling body could have carried all of this on his own. Again, how in the hell does this guy get to keep his job? He’s verbally and emotionally abusive to students, and he manhandled a minor who isn’t even a student. Summer comes back in just in time to see Seth protect her from punishment and get an extra month of detention for his trouble.

Ryan and Marissa go for a walk on the beach and wonder what’s next for them. This segment goes for about two minutes.

Finally, we wrap up at the Cohen house where Seth brings Ryan up to speed on his "bravery" by protecting Summer from Hess. That’s when Sandy and Kirsten come home from the grocery store, and yay happy family reunion!

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: It’s the very last line of the episode: "That’s what’s so great about this place. Nothing ever happens." Well played, sir. Well played.