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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Blaze Of Glory"

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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 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 16 - "The Blaze Of Glory"

Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
Written by Mike Kelley (no, not that one)

Previously on The O.C.: Julie's old flame Lance is blackmailing her with a porn movie she made in the 1980s.  The Rocketeer was assigned to Julie's Newport Living magazine by their publisher, and he thinks Kirsten is unhappy in her marriage because she didn't wear her wedding ring that one time.  No, really, that's his entire logic.  Marissa's moved in with Alex, but she's already started lying to her about minor things, plus, she admitted to Summer that she's only really ever loved Ryan.

*     *     *     *     *

We open at The Harbor School as Ryan and Seth have a meta conversation about whether or not last year/Season 1 of the show was better than this year/Season 2 of the show.  Cute.  This week's episode is going to be centered around a Spring Pep Rally Bonfire for the Water Polo team, because 1) there's a banner for it and 2) Seth starts poking at Ryan to go with Marissa to the bonfire.  Wonderful idea other than that girlfriend that Marissa has.  Y'know, Seth, just because you kept inserting yourself into Summer & Zach's relationship until it finally worked out in your favor doesn't mean you should do it to everyone else's life.  Also, stop being a perv about Marissa & Alex, thanks.  It's weird on its own, and it's even weirder that you keep perving about the girl you're trying to get back with your foster brother.  ANYWAY, Marissa doesn't have a designer for the bonfire.  Does a fire really need a designer?  Make a really big pile of wood.  I'm more fascinated with Marissa suddenly being interested in school stuff and her role as social chair after skipping school for about a week just to hang out with Alex all the time.  The scene closes with Seth volunteering Ryan to walk Marissa to her locker and Summer telling him to knock off the matchmaking.

Sandy teaches Kirsten how to play golf, although he's really overdoing it with the instruction on how to swing a club and make contact.  This is all really just an excuse to get Kirsten to the point where she has to leave for a magazine meeting, which it turns leads to a discussion about The Rocketeer.  Carter's name rings a bell for Sandy, but it's not until Kirsten mentions Revolution, his independent magazine from way back in the day, that Sandy catches it.  Sandy LOVED Revolution back in his Berkeley days, and this just comes off as a "HEY LOOK AT HOW SIMILAR SANDY AND THE ROCKETEER ARE, SO OF COURSE KIRSTEN'S INTERESTED" type deal.  Also, Sandy notices that Kirsten "found" her wedding ring.  Wasn't watching her grip on her club, eh?

In the hallway at school, Seth pushes the idea of getting Ryan to design the bonfire on Marissa.  Ryan had that construction job!  And he burned down Caleb's model house!  Well, that's not really a plus.  But she's thinking about it, along with a warning to not tell Summer that this was Seth's idea as her phone rings.  It's Julie, so Marissa essentially immediately hangs up on her.  That gives us a chance to transition to The Newport Group office, though, and that means it's time for Lance to check in on where Julie is on his $500K over the next three days.  Kirsten comes in for her meeting with The Rocketeer and Julie, but The Rocketeer left a slurring voice mail at 3:30am, so he's not coming in to work.  Julie's going running out the door, too, so no meeting, I guess.

At lunch, Summer and Marissa chit chat, including a note about Seth calling Marissa "Coop," which is the exclusive copyright of Summer Industries, as Ryan arrives.  Hey, Ryan, wanna design the bonfire?  Sure, why not?  Seth arrives and is "amazed" to find out that Marissa asked Ryan to help.  Summer and Ryan immediately see through his nonsense as Seth excuses himself to have lunch in the library.  He's going to have to hurry to find a hiding spot, because Summer's right behind him to kill him.

Sandy's on the phone with tech support for his new computer when Julie walks in with some business for him.  She tosses the copy of her porno onto his desk, and shoutout to Sandy for not laughing for the next five minutes straight.  She can't go to the police and she can't ask Caleb for the money.  So Sandy's on the job for some creative solutions.

Seth attempts to hide behind a copy of The Turn Of The Screw, but Summer slaps it out of his hands and reminds him, AGAIN, to knock it off with Ryan and Marissa.  He whines that they're supposed to be together, makes no promises about his future behavior, and runs away from his girlfriend.

Alex rings up Marissa's cell phone, looking to spend some time together.  She's busy with rally stuff with Ryan, not to mention distracted merely by Ryan walking by, so that's not gonna happen.

Kirsten tracks down The Rocketeer's apartment.  He's listening to Debaser by The Pixies and getting daywasted.  Well, maybe staying wasted, given the 3:30am voice mail.  He likes being drunk, but does not really like working on Julie's magazine.  He also notices that she found her ring.

Seth watches The Valley with Captain Oats and moans about how much better last year was.  Ryan flops down on the couch next to him, with no good design ideas.  Sandy leaves the boys some pizza money because both he and Kirsten are working late.  Ryan has an idea, and asks to borrow Captain Oats.  We then get Seth giving Captain Oats a long speech about being careful to not let Ryan sexually molest him.  I am not making this up, and I'm amazed that Ryan waits as long as he does to punch Seth as hard as possible in the arm and then just taking the toy horse away from him.  The scene literally ends with Seth starting to cry.  Thumbs up.

After a brief interlude with Julie turning up at Alex & Marissa's apartment begging Marissa to come home (Marissa shuts the door in Julie's face), Alex turns up in Seth's bedroom.  Who exactly let her in the house?  Plus, they live in a gated community, so wouldn't the gatehouse have to call so she could be allowed in?  Why is this a surprise to Seth?  Anyway, she needs advice about Marissa, NO NOT THAT KIND OF ADVICE, YOU PERV, and the pillow beatings commence.  No, Alex is looking for info about whether Ryan and Marissa are/will/could be a thing, and suddenly, Seth is confronted with the idea of Alex as a real person, not just Marissa's lesbian love interest.  This, of course, is hilarious, because SETH HAS HAD SEX WITH ALEX.  Anyway, Seth rambles, accidentally mentions the tent at the mall in the last episode and claims that Marissa and Ryan were sleeping together in the tent, even though no one ever slept a wink at the mall.  Alex didn't know about the tent.... because they were in the tent for maaaaaybe 10 minutes.... and now Seth's really gone and done it.

Sandy turns up at... I'm not sure if it's Lance's apartment.  We don't get a look at the exterior, and it kind of looks like a seedy motel room, but we don't get a good view of it, either.  Anyway, after Lance sends one of his "actresses" off to buy some smokes, he confirms that Sandy doesn't have the money and that the porno's going to be streaming online in 72 hours.

Ryan wraps up working on a popsicle stick model of a horse based on Captain Oats at Marissa's apartment, and heads home for the night.  On his way out, Marissa mentions that it was Seth's idea to get Ryan involved, and Ryan has to hold back his annoyed sigh.  They hug, which a beer chugging Alex sees from her car.  Once Marissa's back inside, the half full beer can gets tossed at the general direction of Ryan's head, and thus the threatening and shoving starts.  After all, this is the kind of language that Ryan understands, right?  Ryan tells her to walk away, and Alex does, but not before yelling at Ryan to stay away from Marissa.  I can't believe that Marissa can't hear any of this shouting.

The next morning,  Sandy's hoping to spend some quality time with his wife, but Kirsten's super busy because The Rocketeer is permanently pickled and Julie's... I don't know, but she's not being helpful on her own damn magazine.  Sandy's surprised to see The Rocketeer's spirit crushed so easily, and Kirsten asks if Sandy has any of his old copies of Revolution in boxes in the garage or something.

In the kitchen, Ryan finds Seth and shares all of the beer can throwing and shoving news.  Seth gets another "stay out of it" warning, but Seth counters with "But you were happier last year!"  Was he?  Seemed pretty happy with Lindsay over the past few months.

Marissa's phone rings, but... it's just a voice mail?  Ok.  Anyway, Ryan tells her that he can't make it to the bonfiring tonight.  Sorry, and so forth.  Alex comes out of the bedroom as Marissa hangs up, and gets fed a lie about how it was a message from Julie.  Alex sees through this without the use of hallucinogenic drugs and fires up about Ryan and the tent like a crazy person.  Like, super passive aggressive upshifting into straight up aggressive crazy.  Gots to go scenario type of stuff.

Rapid fire time!  Sandy figures out that Lance is a solid businessman, Kirsten tucks a copy of Revolution into The Rocketeer's mailbox (it's much fancier looking than the 'zine type deal I was expecting to be popular with the counter-culture at Berkeley in the early 80s), Summer and Marissa have a chat that leads to Summer realizing that she needs to go kill Seth, Julie turns up at the pool house begging for Ryan's help with getting Marissa to come home, and as a result, Ryan turns up at Alex's apartment looking for Marissa but only gets lots of threats and so forth from Alex.

Marissa wasn't at the apartment because she was getting the bonfire set up.  This was really poor logistical understanding by Ryan, and speaking of poor logistical understanding, the setup of the bonfire is going poorly.  No one knows where the legs go, the head only looks like it can attach itself to the hindquarters, I wonder when Ryan organized all of this wood and marked it all because Marissa has no flipping clue about any of this, and so on.  Luckily Ryan shows up.  "Hey, everyone, this is Ryan, he's going to answer all your bonfire questions."  YO, Marissa!  Everyone here goes to school with y'all, and you were romantically involved with him for a large chunk of last school year.  I'm pretty sure everyone knows who Ryan is after 18 months of attending Harbor.  It goes without saying that Ryan takes control of the situation and directs traffic with authority (including telling a group of girls to start hoeing, which made me giggle), and while he's being commanding, we cut to Marissa, who appears to be turned on by Ryan's leadership skillz.

Kirsten's in the office late when The Rocketeer comes in with the copy of Revolution and accuses Kirsten of playing dirty pool by tinkering with his emotions.  As the Rocketeer decides he's inspired to start working on the Newport magazine, he asks Kirsten where she came up with a copy of Revolution.  She explains that it belongs to her husband, there's a moment of silence bordering on uncomfortable, and then The Rocketeer says he'll have to meet Sandy some time.

Back at the Cohen homestead, Seth answers the door and is immediately put in a hammerlock by Summer.  Seth needs to go apologize to Ryan for interfering, but he's not in the pool house.  Oh, right, the bonfire.  Well, we've got a four alarm fire, says Summer, so "break out the hose."  Seth titters because he thinks it's a penis joke, but Summer's merely being metaphorical and she's actually really pissed off at him.  I really don't get this dude.

Sandy stops by Lance's seedy motel with a contract in hand.  You see, Sandy's started his own film company and he wants to hitch his wagon to the star that is Julie Cooper-Nichol.  $100 is a down payment on owning The Porn Identity in totality and in perpetuity.  Lance will get the money in two weeks, so he signs.  Lance is an idiot, because now Sandy owns the movie and if it leaks online, he's coming after Lance for $5 million in copyright infringement damages.  Pretty sneaky, Sandy.  Only downside now is that Julie's going to have to tell Caleb about this in order to get the $500K.  Well, the $499,900.

The bonfire appears to be a raging success, and they haven't even lit the horse on fire yet.  Wait, minor setback as Alex shows up with some hoodlums who start shoving Ryan around.  Marissa screams for them to stop, and the whole bonfire screams to a halt as a result.  Marissa tells everyone else to keep doing what they're doing (Go Harbor!) and she and Alex step away from the ruckus to talk it out.  Alex literally complains that all Marissa ever cares about is this dumb bonfire, so I guess that Alex forgot that she was getting involved with a 17 year old that still goes to high school and happens to be the social chair at a fancy time private school, that, y'know, has a social chair.  Alex doesn't see how she fits into Marissa's life, which I thought would really be Marissa's decision to make and thus, that relationship is over.  Alex leaves, presumably forever and this show gets distinctly less attractive.

Seth and Summer arrive just in time to see Ryan and Marissa light the bonfire together.  Wait.  Was Seth right all along?  Was Seth right all along regarding both him & Summer AND Marissa & Ryan?  I don't approve of his tactics, but I have to admit that he's definitely prevailing here.  The episode closes on Ryan asking Marissa if she's ready to go home now, and then we pull back to a wide shot of the bonfire.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Oh, well, here we have a tie.  Option #1: During their first meeting about the porno tape, Sandy tells Julie to expect all the Boogie Nights references that he can cram into this case (sadly, referring to Lance as "The Colonel" is the only one we get in this episode).  Option #2: After Sandy tells Julie that she has to tell Caleb in order to get the $500K, she mutters "I am so screwed."  Sandy makes the only response that you possibly can in this circumstance: "Oh, I know.  I saw the footage."  I'm going with Option #2, because Sandy didn't actually live up to the hype of Option #1.  I could have really gone for Sandy only referring to Julie as Rollergirl for the foreseeable future.