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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Showdown"

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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. 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 were back again in 2015 and yet again in 2016 with recaps for the 24 episode second season.

Makes sense, right? Ok, hit it, Phantom Planet!

Season 2, Episode 22 - "The Showdown"

Directed by Michael Fresco

Written by John Stephens

Previously on The O.C.: Summer caught the important (the whipped cream and bikini girl) part of Seth's escapades in Miami on TV, then immediately kissed Zach. Julie kissed her pornographer ex-boyfriend while a P.I. took pictures. Carter, aka The Rocketeer, and Kirsten kissed before he left for New York and a new job, which sent her heavy into the vodka. Trey mistakes "being nice to my boyfriend's ex-con brother" as "totally into him" and tries to rape Marissa on the beach. She escapes with a well placed driftwood strike to Trey's temple.

* * * * *

We kick things off in the Cohen kitchen in the morning, where Kirsten has mixed a thimblefull of tomato juice with two fingers of vodka. I don't know who she's trying to fool here with her mixing skillz. Sandy wanders around looking for the morning paper so Kirsten quickly stashes the vodka back in the freezer. He asks about spending the weekend in Palm Springs, but the boys wander in yammering about what Seth is going to do about Miami and Summer. Sandy tells Seth that while telling her about what happened is scary, keeping secrets is when the really scary stuff starts, and yes, the camera zooms on Kirsten while he says this. The boys go off to school and Kirsten says they need the Palm Springs trip and should go out on Sunday and she'll take Monday off from work. Sandy sniffs at her still mostly full glass.

After the title sequence, we head to Stately Cooper/Nichol Manor where Marissa tries to figure out how to hide an upper chest bruise from the assault by Trey. The obvious solution is pick a different top, literally anything that isn't low cut, but she doesn't go that direction. Trey calls her, but she told him to never call her again and hangs up. That transitions us to Trey's apartment, where Jess The Passed Out In The Pool Chick mocks Trey for chasing after Marissa. She then enthusiastically points out that she's a nasty tramp because she spent the night at Trey's and is still up for round 2 after he called Marissa, so he kicks her out.

Seth finds Summer in the school lounge and launches into his story, but she cuts him off. She knows. She doesn't care. She kissed Zach. This relationship shouldn't be this difficult. Preach it, sister.

Kirsten's assistant brings in a small gold box with a red ribbon that a cleaning crew found in the Rocketeer's office. The box is from the gift shop at the winery where The Rocketeer and Kirsten got BLITZED and something very nearly happened between them. The name of the place was apparently Featherbrook, and inside the box is a small chain with a small feather charm.

Zach catches up to Summer in the hallway, looking to figure out what the kiss after seeing Seth being a nimrod was all about. Revenge, Summer says, and maybe something else. While they're talking, Seth The Nimrod wanders up on the other side of the glass door they're talking next to and then makes a BIG SHOW about interrupting and calls Zach a big traitor. Yes, Seth, HE'S the bad man here, not you, who actively campaigned to ruin their relationship and then, after succeeding in said campaign in defiance of any semblance of logic, went on national TV to lick a stranger in a bikini clean. Anyway, it's good that Seth's there, because Zach is quitting the graphic novel partnership because Summer means more to him than the comic. This means war between Seth and Zach for Summer's heart and I'm firmly on Team Meteor Strike.

Kirsten is surprised to find Sandy in the kitchen the next morning, but let's be honest: He's self-employed, so it's actually surprising that he's not home more. He apologizes for finishing the tomato juice and tells her that he made a reservation in Palm Springs, but she claims that she can't take Monday off. Sandy notices her new jewelry and comments about how it looks good on her.

Zach enters the diner out on the piers where Seth waits with Reed, the comic book company executive. Zach announces that he's out of the project, but Reed threatens him with breach of contract lawsuits while Seth fails to contain his glee over.... being forced to work with Zach? Oh, right, and that Summer hates this whole comic book thing.

Julie delivers an envelope to Caleb in his office and he's at his dickish best, both dismissing and insulting her at the same time. She wants marriage counseling, but he laughs that off as he reads his mail. Julie declares that she's finished with their relationship, but Caleb launches into "Hey, baby, Caleb didn't mean to make you upset" mode, which seems weird. He says he's just old and doesn't like the counseling idea, but insists on a fancy dinner tomorrow at The Arches. Julie leaves, pleased with this development, and Caleb tosses the contents of the envelope on to his desk: It's the pictures from the P.I.!

Kirsten comes home, and Sandy's not around. She plays with her necklace for a little bit, then calls The Rocketeer. She gets his voice mail, says thank you for the gift, freaks out, realizes she shouldn't have done this, tells him to not call her back, hangs up, and yanks the vodka out of the freezer.

A weird encounter happens in the school lounge. Ryan waves to Marissa, but on his way over, he gets cut off by Jess The Dirty Tramp. After having to remind Ryan who she is (which is weird, you'd think you'd remember the girls you rescue from drowning and then use as unwitting accomplices in a drug sting), she jacks the flirtatiousness up to about 47, which of course throws Ryan way off. Marissa watches all of this and runs off. Like I said, weird. Anyway, Marissa runs into Trey in the parking lot, where he gets all grabby and angry, but Ryan turns up and everyone just kind of explains their way out of the meeting. Believeable reasons all around, but Ryan's left with the feeling that something is off.

Sandy comes home with flowers and a dinner reservation for tonight to find Kirsten passed out on the couch with an empty glass sitting neatly on the floor next to her. He carries his wife to bed, and the next morning, brings her breakfast. Kirsten's excited about the food, but Sandy has questions about last night. She tries to claim exhaustion, but Sandy asks about the glass and drinking. He wonders if it's about Carter --- but he means it only as having to take on his job duties for the magazine since he left abruptly. Kirsten gets jumpy, says everything is fine, and then hustles out of the bedroom, claiming that she's not hungry.

Ryan and Seth play a Star Wars fighting game and chat. Marissa's being weird since they came back from Miami, and Ryan doesn't know why. Seth has an evil plan, so Ryan can't talk to Summer about Marissa, but hey, maybe Trey knows something? You are not wrong, Seth. Before that goes any further, Seth gets a phone call. It turns out he's using the comic book club to spy on Zach and Summer so he can engineer a "chance" encounter and let it slip that Zach's still in the comic biz. This obviously makes Summer furious and Seth's overjoyed to watch from the inside of the diner. Again, why does anyone like Seth? If he's your favorite character from this show, please write me an email - anon.eagle@gmail.com - and let me know why.

Ryan finds Trey working at The Bait Shop and after a brief answer of "no idea what's bothering Marissa, brah," Trey blows him off because he doesn't want to look like he's slacking off. New job, y'know. Ryan turns to leave.... and runs right into Jess The Dirty Tramp. She's there to see Trey, but hey, big boy, she could be talked out of that. She doesn't say "not to mention my pants," but the implication is there. She talks about a fantasy that she has about two brothers, and after Ryan rolls his eyes at her, Jess says she's not the only one who is into that.

Marissa flies into Summer's room, shopping bags in hand. BIG DATE WITH RYAN, and she has no idea what to wear, even after buying at least five new things. This interrupts Summer cleansing her room of everything Seth and Zach related because those two idiots suck. Summer realizes that this is actually all Reed's fault and heads out to teach her that no one messes with Summer's boys but Summer.

Julie turns up at the Cohen house to talk to Kirsten about Caleb, but 1) Kirsten's not exactly an expert on Cal's brain when it comes to romance, and 2) the conversation derails when Julie takes a sip of her orange juice tinted vodka. The level of alcohol immediately make Julie wonder if she had a fight with Sandy, and Kirsten says they've been fighting since September. Well, to be fair, it's more like Kirsten blamed Sandy for Seth running away to Oregon, then she was ridiculously suspicious of Rebecca, Sandy's old girlfriend, and then IMMEDIATELY after Rebecca left forever, Kirsten started getting a crush on The Rocketeer, which is a weird response to have to thinking your husband was cheating on you.

Marissa turns up at the pool house in the outfit that Summer picked out for her and there's smooching. Ryan asks if she's okay, and Marissa's response is to direct the smooching into bed mode. As could be expected of someone who was the victim of an attempted rape within the last week or so, Marissa starts having flashbacks to said incident in what might be the most responsible depiction of a post-traumatic stress disorder attack that I've seen on TV. She shoves Ryan off and bolts, claiming that they can't just rekindle their relationship like this.

As Marissa leaves the Cohen estate, Sandy comes home. "We need to talk." Sandy has assembled the clues about the timing of Kirsten's drinking together and asks her about The Rocketeer. Kirsten turns this around on Sandy, claiming that he left her, presumably meaning for Rebecca, which, again, did not happen even in the slightest. Sandy point blank asks if she had an affair with the Rocketeer, which gets a response of "you don't get it, do you" as Kirsten storms out of the house. I think he gets that you're a crazy person who struggles to answer basic questions, but other than that.....

At the graphic novel launch, Reed cuts Seth off after what she claims was an hour of a panel by panel description of the entire comic book. Zach actually blasts him for going 45 minutes longer than necessary, so he might have actually been going for an hour? That's a failure on a lot of levels. Anyway, Zach and Seth fight over a water bottle while Reed introduces..... YEP, Summer in her Little Miss Vixen costume. Get your picture taken with the hot (underage) babe, nerds! This is, of course, a surprise to both of the boys, as Reed turned Summer's rage at her into "you realize as the LMV model, you could get rich and famous" mode. This is going to totally shock you, but this ends up with Seth begging Summer to forgive him, Zach walking up while this happens, a literal wrestling match breaking out which trashes the comic shop, and Summer telling both guys to get bent after taking an elbow to the nose. Who could have seen that coming??

Julie shows up at The Arches for dinner and promptly gets served with divorce papers. Caleb had no intention of ever showing up for dinner, which is why Julie easily finds him in his office where, to be honest, he was probably waiting for her. She goes NUTSO, right up until he tosses the pictures on his desk for her to see. Cal knows about this, he knows about her affair with Jimmy Cooper, he knows about her tryst with Luke, and now, somehow, finally, he's had enough. He gives her (and Marissa) a week to move out of Stately Cooper/Nichol Manor, oh, and by the way, she's fired. I mean that, literally: Caleb tells her she's fired as she's walking out the door.

After a brief exchange between Sandy and Ryan where neither one knows where their significant other is at the moment, we go over to Stately Coo.... Actually, I guess it's just Stately Nichol Manor now. Marissa lays on her bed, crying, when Trey wanders in. The back door was unlocked, so he thought it was a good plan to sneak into the bedroom of the teenaged girl he tried to rape. Wonderful move, idiot. Marissa is rightfully freaked out by this, and wants nothing to do with his stupid apology. He keeps having to cut off his rising anger on the topic, and Marissa ends up telling him to scram or she'll call the police. HE DOUBTS THAT SHE'LL DO THIS, but eventually leaves. Ok, look: Maaaaaybe an attempted rape charge won't stick on Trey, but 1) with that bruise on Marissa's chest, a standard assault charge will and 2) TREY JUST GOT OUT OF PRISON. Idiot. Ryan turns up to find Marissa right as Trey is leaving. Ryan sees Trey and hides before his brother sees him.

Sandy drives around looking for Kirsten, who is pretty stationary with a martini at some bar that I don't recognize. She plays with her engagement ring, then takes off the necklace from The Rocketeer. She lays the necklace down next to her glass, doesn't finish her drink, pays, and leaves. She calls Sandy while driving, and the ensuing conversation makes her start crying because it seems that she's realized that she's completely at fault here. Sandy, realizing that she's 1) driving and 2) almost assuredly at least legally intoxicated, tells her to just pull over and let him come pick her up. Kirsten drops the phone, fumbles for it, misses a red light, and slams on her brakes JUST in time to avoid crashing into a passing Tahoe. Boy, that was certainly a close call, wasn't it, kids? That really could have gone worse OH NO HERE COMES A GARBAGE TRUCK OH IT'S TOTALLY GOING TO HIT HER EXCEPT THIS IS TAKING WAY TOO LONG AND YOU'D THINK IT WOULD HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME TO STOP AT THIS POINT. Crash, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip. End Credits.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Sandy exists in this episode basically to just show concern for his wife and, by connection, his marriage. He doesn't exactly stand out here at all, but it's all standard issue Sandy stuff.