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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: “The Perfect Storm”

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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 5: "The Perfect Storm"

Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by Mike Kelley

Previously on The O.C.: Julie and Marissa got kicked out of Stately Cooper Manor because it was seized to pay off Caleb’s debts, leaving Marissa staying with Summer and Julie at some skeevy motel. Charlotte is trying to scam Kirsten, although plan #1 failed. Marissa is attending Newport Union High School now, aka The Public School, and she’s made friends with Casey, her boyfriend Johnny, and his friend Dennis. Taylor Townsend continues to be a thorn in Summer’s side, buuttttttt Summer saw her kissing Jack Hess, the Harbor School Dean of Discipline, in the hallway during a recent school dance. Also: Hess threatened Marissa and Ryan with the police if they ever stepped foot on school property ever again.

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Kirsten combines facing her fears with her unemployed free time to make an ultra-fancy breakfast for the boys: Eggs Benedict along with something with a French name that all I could make out was "pâté." Seth mopes about having his routine messed with while Sandy updates them on a phone call with Dr. Keiko. Turns out Harbor is merely hosting tonight’s college fair so Ryan can attend because it’s open to the public. The boys leave without touching their food and Sandy tells Kirsten the real reason for the phone call: Dean Hess has flagged Ryan’s transcript with a note about his "pathological" violence which apparently he can do without Ryan being evaluated by a licensed psychiatrist. Who knew? I’d like to remind everyone that Ryan’s tendency towards violence generally tends to be in defense of himself and others, and oh, that’s right, Hess was manhandling a non-student female minor the last time Ryan lashed out.

At school, Taylor is very focused on texting someone with her Sidekick II. Oh, man, remember the Sidekick? Her message to Dartman 4 U? "Lol U R SO NAWTY" Ah, teenagers. Anyway, Summer watches this intently, Seth doesn’t believe Summer’s story about the hallway kiss, and after Taylor makes a "OMG" face complete with hand over her mouth, Summer begins to plot. Over at Union High, Ryan turns up for lunch and apologies for being a dingus to Johnny the other day. Turns out Johnny’s a transfer from down near Chino and Casey pulls Marissa away from the table so the boys can bond over being middle school football rivals. Oh, you nerds.

Summer engages in a game of cat and mouse with Taylor, but the stalker becomes the stalkee when Taylor makes a quick about-face and confronts Summer. Summer spins her behavior into being addlebrained because of Dean Hess’ inability to be discrete. Taylor drops into panic mode because she thinks Summer knows something, but it turns into a story about Hess making out with Ms. Applebaum, the volleyball coach. I see what Summer’s doing here.

Julie’s over at the Cohen residence to find out about a lead on a condo. Because Kirsten’s got the inside dope on the development that was built with young divorced professionals in mind, Julie can get in for 10% down and financing on the rest. Julie is broke as hell, though, so she begins eying her engagement ring from Caleb.  Or maybe that's from Jimmy.  It's never clear and I wasn't paying that close of attention when they got re-engaged after Caleb died.  As Julie debates what to do about the condo, Charlotte turns up at the door, which in turn sends Julie flying out of there.... for some reason. Whatever. Charlotte apologizes for not calling in advance, but Kirsten provides her with some background on Julie’s deal (married to Caleb, left with nothing) and that gets Charlotte's con artist gears turning.

Time for the college fair, which Marissa is skipping out on because she’s banned from Harbor. Seth makes jokes and looks at schools in the Northeast US while Sandy pushes Ryan towards starting out at the Cal-Berkeley table. Summer and Seth see Dean Hess and Taylor arguing about something, which Summer takes as evidence that Taylor took the bait on her fake story. Later, Sandy sees Hess zeroing in on Ryan and cuts him off. Public event, Hess is a jackass who’s trying to destroy Ryan’s future for no reason, blah blah blah. Ryan catches the end of this, though, so now he knows about the flag on his transcript.

The next morning, Seth wanders into the pool house... which is very, very clean. And Ryan’s not there. AW CRAP HE RAN AWAY.... no, wait, he was in the shower. He did, however, call his homeschool tutor and told her she’s not needed any more, because he’s done with school forever now because he has no future. What a well reasoned and thought out plan, Ryan. I will say that I'm thoroughly disappointed that we never met the tutor, because that sure sounds like at least three weeks worth of stories, particularly if she's on the younger side.  Ryan calls Marissa to fill her in on his "No more school" plan, and she laments about his stupidity to Johnny.

Julie’s at the condo where she meets up with the realtor in charge. She’s in a four bedroom unit with cash (presumably from hocking her ring), but as they discussed earlier, isn’t a two bedroom really more her speed? I can’t disagree with this idea. Anyway, while Julie’s being flustered by this perceived insult, Charlotte turns up and as it turns out, Charlotte has already made a big play to swipe this unit away from Julie. What an odd con artist.

In the student lounge, Summer writes, and then crumples the paper and starts over, rinse, repeat. Seth wonders if she’s mid-plan to fix Ryan’s school issue, but nope! Well, kind of nope. Summer is writing a fake apology letter to get Hess and Taylor back together, then they can leverage their illicit relationship to get Ryan back into Harbor. Well, okay.

Ryan’s at the pier diner being a Mopey Mike about quitting school with no real plan past that when Johnny shows up. Ryan figures that Marissa sent him to talk him out of this dumb idea man-to-man, but Johnny’s not a moron. Instead, he sees where Ryan’s coming from and offers up the possibility of getting him a job on his uncle’s deep sea fishing rig.

The Cohens are sitting down for dinner and Seth has jokes about where Ryan might be. Needless to say, the jokes aren’t landing. Ryan wanders in with a bundle of energy from his productive day and hands Sandy the guardian consent form he needs to join up on the fishing boat full time. Sandy and Kirsten attempt to give Ryan the "don’t just quit" speech, but Ryan’s got a solid counter: He doesn’t actually have to keep trying to fight for a better future. He tried, it didn’t work. While he appreciates everything the Cohens have done for him, it’s time for them to let him go. Over Seth and Kirsten’s protests, Sandy signs the release form. The boat leaves at sunset two days from now.

A morning surfing session gives Sandy peace with his plan to give Ryan what he wants and hope he realizes he’s a moron before it’s too late. Bold strategy, Cotton. While Kirsten and Sandy discuss this, Marissa wanders in through the patio door because Ryan’s not in the pool house. Oops, he didn’t tell her what’s up.

Summer continues to hack away on her fake letter, opting to openly steal dialogue from the season finale of the The Valley. I guess her letter is supposed to be from Taylor to Hess? I honestly thought it was the other way to begin with. Does it really matter? No, it does not, because Seth has a new plan: Send Taylor a message with this newly purchased Sidekick II and set up a fake meeting at everyone’s favorite skeevy motel. I have a question: Why is a message coming from an account/phone/whatever that’s NOT "Dartman 4 u" going to get her to agree to meet him?

Marissa waits in the pool house for Ryan to return. He comes back and starts to explain 1) what he’s doing and 2) why he didn’t tell her, but she leaves before he can get even 10% of the way into it. Why’d you just waste your morning waiting for him? Was storming out that satisfying?

Julie’s down to her last beer in the motel fridge, but Charlotte’s at the door after Flower Guy from last episode dropped her off. I really wish they’d give that guy a name. Charlotte bought the condo in Julie’s name because, like, she’s nice or something. Julie assumes that there’s a catch, but nope. Well, okay, she has to let Charlotte use a spare bedroom when she’s in Newport, which should only be a weekend or three a year. Ok. Hey, remember when Charlotte’s check for the lake house rental bounced and when Flower Guy was going nuts because they spent 30K on rehab for no return? Where’d Charlotte get the money for the condo?

Well, Ryan’s boat leaves tomorrow, so it’s time for the going away dinner that Sandy’s planned. It’s just the Cohens with Marissa and Summer there, but they’re out on the patio. The whole thing self-destructs when Marissa just keeps adding darkly sarcastic comments to literally everything anyone says, and oh, NOW Marissa just found out about Johnny’s involvement in getting Ryan the job. Well, y’know, if you had waited around for the end of Ryan’s explanation, maybe you would have found out earlier. Marissa storms out while the new Sidekick buzzes in Summer’s purse. Taylor took the bait. Oh, a fishing reference. Nicely played, Summer.

The next morning, Ryan finishes packing while Sandy admits defeat but makes one final appeal. Off he goes, though. Marissa tracks down Johnny and Dennis post-surfing to give Johnny the business over getting Ryan a job. Good news, though: He knows where his uncle’s boat is.

We get a short little transition of Charlotte and Julie celebrating Julie moving into the condo, including Charlotte bringing a bottle of champagne. "Didn’t you just get out of rehab?" Should have been a sign that something was up, Jules. Anyway, Charlotte steps outside and makes a phone call. "She’s in." And that’s the end of this story for this episode. Over to the dock where Marissa finds Ryan about to get on the boat. She calls him a coward running away on a boat just like her father and then leaves in a huff.

Seth and Summer are posted up in the skeevy motel room, and yep, there’s Taylor. They don’t have, y’know, any evidence of anything, really, but somehow, Summer threatening to use her big mouth convinces Taylor to spill the truth to Sandy. That sends us to an impromptu Sunday evening meeting between Sandy and Dean Hess in the dean’s office. Sandy says he’s got pictures of Hess and Taylor on the Sidekick in his hand, and Hess tries to pin everything on Taylor being an aggressive young lady. Gross, dude. Sandy says he’s already talked to Taylor, though, and that’s not her story. Hess realizes he’s screwed here, even though he 1) hasn’t seen the pictures Sandy claims to have and 2) you and I know they don’t exist. He essentially tells Sandy to name his price and it’s this: Ryan’s re-admitted to Harbor, the flag is off Ryan’s transcript, and Hess quits. Sandy Cohen is entitled to one (1) Sam Cassell Cojones Dance.

Summer and Seth track Marissa down at the diner as the sun starts to go down. Ryan’s gone for three weeks of fishing, so their successfully executed con job on Taylor and Hess is for naught. MY GAWD, THAT’S RYAN ATWOOD’S MUSIC! He doesn’t know where his future lies, but he knows it’s with Marissa. Awww. We wrap up this week’s episode with the four teens going for a sunset walk on the beach.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: It’s obviously when he’s bluffing Dean Hess with his "knowledge" and "evidence" of what’s happened between Hess and Taylor. Really some high quality lawyering by Sandy, and the only thing it was missing was a classic Sandy Cohen zinger or three.