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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The O.C. Confidential"


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 20 - "The O.C. Confidential"

Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by Mike Kelley (not that one)

Previously on The O.C.: Carter aka The Rocketeer and Dr. Erin seems to hit it off after surfing.  Hey, Sandy and Kirsten should play matchmaker over dinner!  Seth opts to not tell Summer that Reed The Graphic Novel Developer is a woman, but SURPRISE, she found out anyway.  Julie owns a handgun and Lance The Pornographer offers to "take care of" Caleb.  Marissa helped Trey pay his apartment deposit and he promised to pay her back.  A girl named Jess ended up high and passed out in Marissa's pool.  When the Newport police showed up, they found ecstasy in the house and were about to arrest Marissa for possession right up until Trey voluntarily claimed possession of it.

*     *     *     *     *

In the Cohen kitchen, it's breakfast time and we start things off right away with Ryan already realizing that Trey took the hit to keep Marissa out of lock up.  Cool, now we don't have to waste time with Ryan being angsty about his brother's potential misdeeds.... AGAIN.  Sandy returns after getting Trey out of lock up and the Atwood boys embrace as Trey confirms his slightly stupid act of protection.  Downside: he's gotten hooked up with some felony dealing charges, so he's in Sandy's custody.  With Trey facing serious prison time (remember, he's on parole), it's up to Seth and Ryan (I guess) to figure out where the drugs actually came from, which means that Seth calls being Richard Grieco to Ryan's Johnny Depp in this 21 Jump Street homage.

At the office, Kirsten gets the update on Trey from Sandy.  Since Trey's trapped in the house, I guess this means that Sandy has to cancel out of the wine tasting trip to Santa Barbara that she and Carter were going on for a magazine article.  He, of course, had forgotten about this, but that's fine.  Kirsten will bail out of it too, because Carter invited Dr. Erin along.

Summer rants to Zach in the school lounge about Seth and how he was hiding Reed from her.  Seth arrives with a flower, which is apparently one of a giant pile at home that he keeps bringing to school as a peace offering to his girlfriend.  Also, he has tickets to see Death Cab For Cutie tonight.  Bad news though: Zach says that Reed emailed to set up a meeting to go over some notes that she has about Atomic County, and that has to be tonight.  Ah, so close, Seth.

Ryan and Marissa launch into their "Find The Dealer" operation.  The obvious suspect is Kyle Thompson, a senior on the Water Polo team (this is important for later), who just happens to be the chap that Jess The Passed Out Chick is smooching up in the hallway right now.  She seems remarkably healthy for someone who was face down in a pool for an unspecified amount of time recently.  Marissa approaches Jess and apologizes for what happened at the party.  "Just another war story," says Jess.  So.... you have multiple hospital trips as a result of your drug use?  I'm not trying to moralize about the drug use here, but if you're at the point where you're referring to being face down in a pool and getting an ambulance ride as a "war story," you might be doing too many drugs.  Anyway, Marissa alludes to getting back into her hard party ways and Jess says to track her down at Death Cab tonight.

Trey's picking which Thai restaurant for everyone to get take out from tonight as Seth departs for the notes meeting and Ryan explains the plan to go to the concert tonight.  Hey, hang with Trey later?  Hey, he's the one under house arrest and doesn't need a babysitter.  Sandy knows Trey's prosecutor, a chap named Tom McGinty, who's a hardcore letter of the law guy.  With the boys out of the house, that means we've got lots of time to work on Trey's defense tonight.

Zach and Seth arrive for the notes session.  Say, Reed emailed to set up the session.  Why not just email the notes?  Oh, I see.  It's because of Damon, a marketing genius that this publisher just hired away from Fantagraphics.  Here's the thing: I don't believe for a second that this jackwagon worked at Fantagraphics based on what I know about their product line and what he starts saying about Atomic County.  He's spitting nonsense about changing Atomic County's locale so "kids in the heartland" can identify with it, and suggesting that Cosmo Girl ditch her flask in favor of a sports drink, and golly, The Ironist is awfully cerebral.  It's basically a perfect example of a horrible "the studio has notes" story that you've probably heard from someone like Kevin Smith in the past.  Seth recognizes that the suggestions coming from this nozzle in a olive green fatigues jacket with German flag patches on the shoulders are complete and utter trash.  Damon leaves to take a phone call, and not a moment too soon.  I start hollering for Zach and Seth to run away, but Reed starts talking about a party that they've organized for tomorrow.  It'll help the guys network for off-shoot projects for Atomic County, and I start wondering if they could make this whole deal any more cliched garbage.  Zach likes the party idea and says that Seth should bring Summer, while Seth hates every single thing about this, including the idea of involving Summer.

Trey's reluctant to tell Sandy the truth about Jess, but Sandy says an eyewitness has them going into a room and closing a door.  Trey thought they were going to go back to his place to hook up.  He didn't see any drugs, but "she was clearly on them."  Hey, that's good news for Trey's defense!  If he testifies that she was already high when he met her, that's a step towards innocence for him!  Trey heard about a guy at the party who was holding, but all the kids in the O.C. look similar to Trey: eminently punchable.  He doesn't have any good answers for anything other that he wanted to help Marissa.

As Death Cab plays Title & Registration, Summer makes jokes about how The Bait Shop always has tickets available (didn't Seth get a job here because there WEREN'T tickets available?) and the band is always quiet enough so you can have a conversation.  I like the meta jokes that the writers toss in, but you don't have to break my suspension of disbelief along the way.  ANYWAY, hey, there's Jess.  She doesn't have any drugs, but her hookup will have some stuff tomorrow at the Water Polo team party.  PARTY?  TOMORROW???  OH NO!

Actually, there's never any conflict with Seth and Summer regarding which party to attend.  You got me with that red herring, O.C. writing staff.

Julie's posted up on her bed in... well, I don't think that's really lingerie, but it's a teensy dress for sure, and she's got rose petals everywhere.  Caleb arrives home, and Julie calls him up to the room.  I'm surprised that he can hear her from where ever he was based on the size of this mansion.  Anyway, he makes a crack that this looks like one of Julie's movies, so things get real cold real quick.  Caleb's been trying to get past "the incident," but he just can't.  I swear he told Lance that there's nothing Julie has done that he's not aware of already.  Anyway.  They have to have a serious talk tomorrow, but Cal has to meet with his lawyers first.

Sandy comes to bed and doesn't know what to do about Trey.  He knows the prosecutor won't cut a deal, and Kirsten points out that he only knows Trey as a name on a piece of paper.  That gives Sandy an idea.  Turning our attention to what Kirsten's doing, she's assembling notes for The Rocketeer to keep him on track at the winetasting since he'll be alone because Dr. Erin won't return The Rocketeer's phone calls.  Aw, that's too bad!  I wonder what could have happened to dissuade her, KIRSTEN.  AHEM.  Anyway, Sandy tells Kirsten that she should go to the tasting with The Rocketeer, as long as she brings home wine for dinner.

The Sound Of Settling wraps up the Death Cab show as Ryan finds Kyle and bullshits about "seeing" him at the party.  Man, wild times, right?  Kyle gets a nod from a buddy and takes off.  Ryan follows a little bit behind him, but find Seth right as the song ends.  HE'S SO BUMMED ABOUT MISSING THE SHOW, but Ryan is distracted by watching Kyle & Friend chat.  They leave The Bait Shop, but Ryan gets tangled up with Seth getting too excited about what's happening, and thus Ryan loses visual containment on Kyle.

The next morning, Sandy and Trey track down Prosecutor McGinty.  Sandy's big "only knows Trey on paper" solution.... is to just argue with McGinty about charging Trey at all?  Well, this was dumb.  McGinty says that without any other obvious potential suspect, nothing's going to happen as far as striking a deal goes.

Seth tricked Summer into going out to dinner and then just dragged her out to the comic book party.  Inside of 30 seconds after arriving, Seth finds out that Joe Sacco is in the kitchen and can't wait to meet Seth because he loves Atomic County.  For the record: The heavily critically acclaimed Joe Sacco, who writes and draws graphic novels on very serious subject matters, loves Atomic County THE WAY IT IS, and Damon "the marketing genius" wants to screw with it.  Just repeating things that the show has told me here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ryan, Marissa, and Trey tell Sandy that they have a plan to catch Kyle in the act.  This is easily the smartest part of their plan, because, y'know, if they just buy drugs from Kyle with out some sort of blessing from law enforcement, they're facing charges of their own.

Julie finds Lance's motel room, and it's important to notice that it was dark out in the last scene and it's dark out now.  Didn't Caleb say he was going to meet with his lawyers in the morning?  That was at least 8 hours ago at this point!  Anyway, I don't really know why Julie went to Lance for a drink, but here she is.  He offers to arrange for a guy to get them some pills that will kill Cal, but Julie cuts him a check to get out of town because neither of them are murderers.  Julie leaves, but as she steps outside, she gives Lance a goodbye kiss.  CUE THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR PHOTOGRAPH EFFECTS!  FYI: I bought my first digital camera approximately 10 months before this episode aired and we never talk about these pictures for the rest of the episode.  Just sayin'.

At the winetasting, The Rocketeer and Kirsten are BLITZED, even though you're not supposed to drink any of the wine and they even give you a bucket to spit into and The Rocketeer even mentions the bucket's existence.  They discuss how wasted they are and how neither of them can drive, and of course Kirsten's a crazy arm waving drunk and makes The Rocketeer spill wine all over his sport coat.  They ask the nice hostess lady if there's a car service available for them, and there is, but not back to Orange County.  Because this is a resort/vineyard, she offers them a guest suite.  Well, that'll have to do.

Ryan and Marissa arrive at the water polo party.  These dinguses have a guy working the door with a list and a velvet rope and everything!  Dorks.  Then again, if you're going to be running a massive drug operation at your party, it's probably smart to vet all of your guests.  WITH THAT SAID, there are HUNDREDS of people at the party.  Marissa's on Jess' list, but Ryan's not on anyone's list, so no party for him.  At least not until Marissa lets him in an unattended side door about five minutes later.  Running a real tight ship here, boys.  After some brief hiding from Kyle for... some reason..... Marissa spots Jess, who is higher than four kites on a mix of ecstasy and mushrooms.  She calls it "candy flipping," which is apparently a real thing, or at least it is now 10 years later.  Anyway, Jess drags Marissa off to hook her up.

Back at Stately Cooper-Nichol Manor, Caleb is sitting in the dark when Julie arrives home.  Even though she hasn't heard a peep from him all day, he's pissed that she hasn't been sitting at home patiently for him.  He launches into full on "doesn't like Ryan" dick mode, but Julie's tears over the impending dissolution of their marriage makes him realize that he does actually have feelings for her.  One more chance, then.  Let's go to dinner instead of signing divorce papers!  And now I have whiplash.

Back in the vineyard suite, Kirsten tried to clean up The Rocketeer's jacket to no avail.  It's ruined.  *shrug*  He offers a drink from the minibar to memorialize its demise (they're expensing this, don't you know), but Kirsten suddenly realizes she should call Sandy to let him know what's going on.  The Rocketeer elects to take a shower because he reeks of wine, stripping off his shirt as he walks.  Kirsten is... desperately afraid of where this is going?  I don't know.

At the water polo party, Sandy and Trey wait outside.  Trey says he was thinking about just taking off tonight.  You're on probation and released into Sandy's custody.  That'd be really dumb, dude.  Kirsten calls, letting Sandy know that they're hammered.  He insists that she and The Rocketeer spend the night in Santa Barbara instead of risking their necks driving home.  Sandy says "I love you," and then hangs up before Kirsten can say anything.  Not because something's happening at the party.  He just hangs up on his wife.  Trey's surprised that Sandy would let his woman spend the night with another man, and Sandy points out that Trey doesn't know a lot of people that have been married for 20 years.

At the suite, the hostess knocks, interrupting a massive staring session by Kirsten.  They found a car service to give them a ride home.  Kirsten asks if she can call the hostess back.  The Rocketeer exits the shower, pointing out there's a Hers robe if Kirsten wants to shower.  She informs him of the car service and says "I have to go home."  The Rocketeer says he'll get dressed.  Well, this is ending pointlessly.

The insanity at the comic book party is out of control.  Damon is going on and on AND ON about the cross marketing potential of Atomic County, up to and including NASCAR.  EXACTLY HOW MUCH MONEY ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND ON THIS TINY GRAPHIC NOVEL WRITTEN BY A 17 YEAR OLD?  Summer wanders in to inform Seth that she hates the party while Zach smirks in the background.  Reed interrupts with a toast for Seth and Summer's had it, getting Zach to give her a ride home.  Seth tries to talk to Summer, but Reed literally drags him back inside for board games in - wait for it - the board room.  These people suck.

Jess runs up to Marissa with a handful of drugs.  Marissa presumes this will cost her $80, but Jess says Kyle thinks she's hot, so it's $60 and an introduction.

WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.  We established in the beginning of this episode that Kyle is a senior.  That means he was a junior last year, when the captain of the water polo team was - WAIT FOR IT - Luke Ward, WHO WAS DATING MARISSA AT THE START OF THE YEAR.  Luke and Marissa were already heavily ensconced in the party scene at Harbor, so there is ABSOLUTELY no chance that Kyle doesn't know who she is.  What the hell, O.C.?

Anyway, Ryan sees the exchange and Marissa heading outside to the bonfire where Kyle is, and he calls Sandy for reinforcements.  Marissa meets up with Kyle, who gives Jess a mouth mashing kiss and then she takes off.  Marissa gives him a story about kind of having a boyfriend, and his exact response is "I kind of don't care."  So..... Kyle gives girls a $20 discount in order to get a moment alone to rape them?  Really doubling down on your felonies there, dude.  Ryan zips up, though, and breaks up the whole deal.  Kyle punches him first, so Ryan defends himself by beating Kyle into the sand as the Newport police roll up the beach.  Kyle escapes from Ryan just holding him down, but he stupidly runs right along side one of the beachcombers, and Trey pops the door open and smacks Kyle right in the face.  Cops find more drugs on Kyle, Kyle claims they were planted on him, Prosecutor McGinty's there for the whole thing, and tra-la, tra-la, Trey's off the hook after some paperwork in the morning.

Marissa and Ryan give Trey a ride back to his apartment.  They have a moment in the car and finally kiss again for the first time in this new start to their relationship.  They decide to hold off on any further doings until they get back to the pool house.  From there, we transition inside to where Trey's popped a beer open.... and Jess wanders out from the bedroom.  Huh?  Trey makes a comment about her breaking and entering, so he's not expecting her.  She wonders why Trey didn't turn her in, too.  She's had a "rough week" already, and besides, Trey likes talking to her.  She likes talking to him, and she asks if he wants to talk some more as we very clearly hear the noise of a belt being unbuckled.  Trey's into this pants unbuttoning, and that's the end of this episode.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Uh, nothing, really.  Sandy's present through most of the episode, and he gets a bunch of screen time, but he's a far cry from entertaining or memorable here.  I miss Season 1 Sandy.