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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Dearly Beloved"

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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 24: "The Dearly Beloved"

Directed by Ian Toynton

Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Trey lies to Ryan's face about his attempted rape of Marissa, claiming she threw herself at him. Ryan confronts Marissa about this, which goes poorly. (The segment doesn't show them being happy at prom, though.) Kirsten's drinking is out of control, which results in her screaming "AT LEAST I WON'T DIE ALONE" at her father, and then he dies alone after having a heart attack and pitching forward into his pool.

*     *     *     *     *

We open with Sandy on the phone while looking at a flyer for a rehab facility, and he heads off to meet with the doctor in charge before Caleb's funeral later today. He foolishly leaves the flyer behind in a desk drawer, which is where Seth finds it while searching for a phone charger. Seth runs this past Ryan because he's worried about his dad, and Ryan tells him to wake up because it's not for Sandy.

I want to make this perfectly clear: Seth is aware of the possibility that Kirsten has a drinking problem that requires professional attention hours before Caleb's funeral.

Sandy meets with Dr. Woodruff at the facility and talks about Kirsten's recent history. Sandy has obvious concerns about whether Kirsten actually needs rehab and her ability to accept this voluntarily. Dr. Woodruff points out that pretty much everyone who is looking to help a family member has the same questions as Sandy, and treatment is always the right option.

We head to Stately.... Cooper Manor? Caleb's dead, so it can't be Stately Nichol Manor even though Caleb told Julie she had a week to get out, right?  Anyway, Julie comes barging into Marissa's room while she's scoping out her Trey-caused chest bruise, looking for something non-witch-esque to wear for Caleb's funeral. This is interrupted by the doorbell..... and it's Jimmy Cooper! Back from Hawaii to help his daughter and his ex-wife through the death of their step-father/husband. Boy, that's a weird thing to say. In a nice mirror to Jimmy's sudden arrival, we head over to a doorbell at the Cohen residence, where Hailey has turned up outta nowhere. Kirsten and her younger sister talk about the death of their father, which ends up with Kirsten telling her about that "at least I won't die alone" comment. Hoooooo.

Seth reads Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Summer arrives with Princess Sparkle in tow, which leads to metaphors about PS and Captain Oats, which are really about Summer and Seth's relationship. Seth: Please take Summer's warning about the glue factory seriously. Summer's there for support for the funeral, but Seth needs to talk about the rehab flyer and Kirsten. Unfortunately, he's been so self-involved ever since he effed off to Portland last summer that he doesn't really have any idea whether or not Kirsten has actually developed a problem.

Trey returns home bright and early wearing a sport coat, so I have absolutely zero idea where he was. Jess The Dirty Tramp is standing by on his front step because she has need of lots of drugs to sell. More accurately, she needs Trey to stand around looking scary with a gun. The deal is going down tonight at The Bait Shop, because apparently you can't trust people buying massive amounts of drugs or whatever.

That takes us to Caleb's funeral, or really, more of a montage from Caleb's funeral, set to Imogene Heap's Hide and Seek. It's at the same woodsy chapel where he and Julie were married in last year's season finale. From there, we transition back to the Cohen residence for a reception. Kirsten's not even bothering to try to hide her drinking, including just yanking the vodka bottle out of the freezer. Sandy tries to get her to ease back, but he just gets snapped at for his troubles. Julie overhears it and offers her assistance in Kirsten monitoring. After all, as she points out, she's just to Kirsten glowering at her.

Marissa, Seth, and Ryan all commiserate over the current situation and retreat to the pool house because this is all so depressing. Where's Summer? Well, she's attempting to get Kirsten to eat something because if there's one thing her step-mom taught her, it's never drink on an empty stomach. Kirsten just blows her off, but Sandy noticed the effort and appreciates it. He also enlists Summer's help in getting Seth out of the house so he doesn't have to witness the meltdown that we all know is coming. I'll give you one guess as to where Summer suggests as a destination for all four teenagers on their out of house excursion.

Yep, that's right, they're at The Bait Shop as An Honest Mistake by The Bravery plays. Sure enough, there's Trey at the bar. He has to pretend that everything's fine as he says hello to them, but Jess arriving to be insipid really kind of takes the edge off of that experience. Ryan, remembering that they used Jess to set up a drug sting, keeps an eye on Jess and Trey as they head upstairs and are eventually followed by a pair of rough looking Asian dudes.

Back at the reception, Jimmy and Sandy talk about things have kind of just gone completely to hell for Sandy since Jimmy left, and as if on cue, Kirsten nearly trips and falls to the poolside pavement. She gives Sandy the relative equivalent of an "I'M FINE, DAMMIT," but she drops the vodka bottle in the process. Yes, there's lots of staring as Jimmy and Julie lead her away. Sandy and Hailey exchange a meaningful look.

Jess does some blow as Trey just gets increasingly nervous about the whole setup. The Asian chaps show up with a bag full o'money and Jess offers up a bag of speed and ecstasy. Except.... well, the Asian guys don't have the money for the coke, so they're declaring payment plan, as in they'll pay when they feel like it. THEORY: don't intentionally deal drugs to guys who have a rep for blatantly robbing the people that they buy from. Jess takes poorly to this Garden Grove-style negotiation and grabs the gun out of Trey's waistband. The most dastardly looking Asian fellow says she'll have to shoot him in order to get the drugs back..... so she fires two warning shots over his head. In the crowded club. Yeah, I don't get what her plan was here, either. Things go COMPLETELY to hell immediately, including the gangbangers opening fire at Jess as she runs off with... I don't know what, I presume it's the bag with the money in it, but the camera wasn't very clear on this. Marissa ends up taking some broken glass to the forehead, but that's the worst injury anyone suffers.  Well, at least anyone that we actually care about.

While Sandy and Hailey make plans the next morning to get Kirsten out of the house so the boys can be brought up to speed on what's happening with Kirsten, Ryan heads over to Trey's apartment. "Boy, that got outta hand last night, eh," is Trey's entire explanation for what happened. Ryan tells him that he has to leave Newport because this kind of thing can not happen here. Trey resists, but realizes as he has in the past that he can't let his dumb crap interfere with Ryan's life.

Seth remarks on the amount of food that populates the Cohen kitchen as Sandy broaches the topic of Kirsten's forthcoming rehab. Even though 1) Seth saw the brochure, 2) Ryan tipped him off that it was for his mother, and 3) he openly admits he has no idea whether or not she has a problem because he's been paying too much attention to himself, he gets pissy with Sandy for telling him now that Kirsten has a problem and something has to be done about it. Seth even goes so far as to blame Sandy for being the reason why Kirsten drinks too much. Hey, remember yesterday when YOU thought you were the reason your mom was drinking too much, doorknob? Sheesh. Ryan comes in, but it turns out it's just for the tail end because Seth walks out in disgust. "Your mom needs professional help with her substance abuse problem." "HEY, SCREW YOU, BUDDY." Again, if Seth is your favorite character, please email me at anon.eagle@gmail.com to explain why.

Marissa inspects the Band-Aid on her face as Summer arrives for pancakes and sunbathing (an odd combination, right?) to cheer Marissa up a bit...... but first, she HAS to tell Summer what happened with Trey. Summer's put enough clues together to know that SOMETHING happened. Marissa starts crying.

Sandy finds Seth in his room, and it appears that while Seth can't believe this is happening, he's coming to terms with it. That leads to Hailey and Kirsten returning from a spa day, which means it's time for Kirsten's intervention. Kirsten can't believe this is happening, and she's got daggers for Ryan when it's his turn to speak.... except what he has to say is the most poignant. Kirsten says he doesn't have a right to say anything to her when she took him in, but Ryan points out that she took Ryan in because Ryan's own mother wasn't able to take care of herself because of alcohol. Ryan doesn't want to see that happen to someone else that he loves. That almost completely breaks Kirsten down, but she turns to leave before that happens..... and there's Seth. He doesn't say much, but the look on his face crushes Kirsten and delivers a Roderick Strong-esque backbreaker to her insistence that she's fine and doesn't need help.

Off she goes, then, with Sandy driving her to the rehab facility, leaving the boys to try and cope with what happened. Video games? Not working. Lounging in the pool? Not working. The doorbell rings, and Seth gets off maybe the funniest line of the entire season: "The way things are going, that's probably Oliver." No, it's Summer, fresh off of Marissa's confession to her. That leads directly to Seth tracking down Ryan in the pool house, where he relays the truth of what happened between Marissa and Trey. Ryan's eyes glaze over and all traces of human emotion slowly drift out of his face. "I've tried to be a different person this year. I can't do that any more. I'm going to settle this with Trey once and for all."

Marissa wanders up to Jimmy and Julie setting up a nice family dinner at Stately Cooper Manor. They've been boating out to Catalina, and maybe, just maybe, if it's okay with Marissa, they'll give their relationship another try. Marissa seems to be on board with all of this, and her phone rings. It's Seth. Ryan's got a head start on them and her house is closer to Trey's apartment. "Ryan knows."

Trey's cleaning up his apartment in anticipation of leaving forever in the morning and discovers the gun from The Bait Shop under a pillow on his couch. Not 100% sure how it got there since Jess had it last, but she had stopped by earlier with a crackpot scheme to skip town with Trey and a handful of the money from the drug deal. Ryan bashes his fist against the door until Trey opens it. Ryan is full on pissed off, so Trey shoves him to create space and goes for the gun. He orders Ryan to just walk away, so Ryan raises his hands and turns to walk away. Ryan waits for Trey to lower the gun, then hits Trey with a perfect double leg takedown, dumping him against a wall like the cage in a UFC fight. Hell, if this was a UFC fight, it would be stopped because Ryan rains down fury in punches and knees that Trey appears to have no hope of stopping. Somehow, Trey gets enough balance and strength to shove Ryan backwards through the coffee table in front of the couch. That gives the elder Atwood the advantage, and he just goes straight into choking his younger brother and shows no signs of stopping as Marissa arrives. She tries to yank Trey off, but he's way too far gone now, shoving her away without even really noticing it's Marissa. Trey grabs the telephone off the end table as Marissa notices the gun on the ground. Trey swings his arm up for the most possible damage on Ryan's head with the phone.... And Marissa ends Trey with a bullet straight between his shoulder blades.

We return to Imogene Heap's Hide And Seek as Trey turns to look at Marissa, and then collapses, as the blood soaks through the front of his shirt. Ryan drags himself to his feet, Marissa slouches to the floor, Seth and Summer arrive, and we fade to black on Season 2.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Oh, it's Sandy's eulogy for Caleb. "A good father, a loving grandfather, and a truly terrible father-in-law." The man is dead, and Sandy's here with JOKES. I love it.

Sandy's also the lynchpin of the entire episode, as he deals with his wife's drinking becoming more and more public and also the process of sending her off to get help for that problem, too. He's really great the whole time, and you really get to see why he's remembered as one of the great fathers in television history.