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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The O.Sea"

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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 23: The O.Sea

Directed by Michael Lange

Written by J.J. Philbin

Previously on The O.C.: Trey sneaks into Marissa's bedroom to make her listen to his apology for trying to rape her (no really, that's what he did), and then demands that she not tell Ryan about what happened.   This plan goes poorly because Ryan sees Trey leaving Marissa's house.  Caleb informs Julie that he's divorcing her.   Zach is willing to end his friendship with Seth if it means he gets to be with Summer, which apparently includes getting in a wrestling match with Seth at the launch for the Atomic County graphic novel.   I feel like Zach is a terrible wrestler for a water polo player. Kirsten was drinking waaaaaay too much, and immediately after she realized this was the case, she blew through a red light because she dropped her cell phone and got absolutely destroyed by a garbage truck.

* * * * *

Well, Seth just royally screwed things up with Summer (time is a flat circle) towards the end of the previous episode, so of course that means it's time to wake Ryan up at 5:30 in the morning to talk about what he can do to win Summer back.  HEY, JACKASS, QUIT IT.  I swear, actually talking to Summer Roberts for the first time was the worst decision that Seth ever made.  ANYWAY, here's his big plan: Seth is going to pull out all the stops to get Summer to go to prom with him.   By the way: Prom is this coming weekend.  Am I crazy, or is this something that should have been settled before now?   Is it just my high school experience that makes me think that prom date planning should have been handled weeks ago? That's not even the biggest issue: what part of "I'm done with the both of you" did Seth not get?   That's literally the last thing we saw Summer say to him.   Given all the ups and downs they've had, why should we believe that she's going to fall for YET ANOTHER DRAMATIC GESTURE?   (spoiler alert, though: She does.)  Ryan elects to not murder Seth here, although no jury would convict him.   He also points out that he and Marissa are probably not going to prom because he's pretty sure that something's going on with Trey and Marissa.   This raises a different issue: Shouldn't Marissa, as the school's social chair, have been nearly overwhelmed with prom planning stuff for MONTHS now?   This isn't victim blaming here, it's plot hole searching: Shouldn't Marissa have been too busy with Prom Stuff to 1) help Trey find a job and 2) hang out with Trey for hours on end during Spring Break?

All of this gets quickly thrown out the door when the phone rings.   It's Sandy, and he's at the hospital because, y'know, Kirsten was nearly damn killed by a garbage truck.

After the title sequence, we head over to the hospital.   Kirsten's got a nasty contusion on her forehead, and she's sad because her wedding ring got cut off, presumably because they needed to do an MRI and her sprained fingers prevented her from removing the ring.   The boys arrive and Seth talks about letting her watch all of his DVDs while she recouperates at home, and Sandy slips out to talk to a sheriff's deputy who is clearly friendly with Sandy.  I say "clearly" because he volunteers to pretend that he misread the Breathalyzer when it said .08 as long as Sandy promises to get her some help.  I'm sure this lack of consequences won't come back to bite anyone in the ass.

Over to school, where a giant banner makes the title of the episode suddenly make sense: The prom theme is "Under The O.Sea," and I promise that I won't keep calling it The Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.   Marissa and Summer lament their relative dating situations, although Marissa's problems with Ryan are at least 1% her fault for not telling him what happened.

Julie stops by with a gift basket for Kirsten, but it's all really a smokescreen to ask Sandy for some legal advice regarding her impending divorce.   Sandy double checks the legal-ese on her pre-nuptial agreement: If she's married to Caleb for longer than a year, she gets $3 million if Caleb instigates divorce proceedings.  Less than a year, she gets nothing.   Today marks 11 months and 27 days.  As long as Caleb files by the end of business on Monday, Julie gets nothing.

Zach and Seth take turns apologizing for their wrestling match.  They find Summer in the school lounge and launch into apologies to her, but she cuts them off.   You see, going to prom has been a dream of hers since she was in 5th grade, and GODDAMMIT, she's going.   The dance is TOMORROW, though, so her only date options are one of these two morons.   She doesn't care which one, and says they have to figure it out amongst themselves.   Oh, and her dress is magenta, so make sure the corsage matches.   Man, can you imagine how much a rush job corsage costs in Orange County??   They start to have a debate about who should take Summer to prom, but they have a lunch meeting with Reed about the graphic novel, where we find out: GEORGE LUCAS is interested in optioning Atomic County for a movie.   One catch: he's only available for a meeting tomorrow night, and Reed INSISTS that only one of them can attend to avoid further stupidity.  Now they have to decide who takes Summer to prom and who gets to meet George Lucas.  Let's be fair here: if Lucas buys the option, they're BOTH going to get to meet him a lot, so prom should be the real prize here, right?   Anyway, since Summer is making them pick and they can't decide, they're going to meet up before prom/dinner and flip a coin.

Elsewhere, Ryan finds Marissa and asks her about Trey, although "asks" is the wrong verb.   He accuses her of hooking up with Trey, which, of course, makes her upset.  Nice one, nitwit.   "Look, you've been really weird and I tried to come over after you ran out and I saw Trey leaving your house.  Did something happen between you two?"   Logically thought out and argued, but nope, Ryan went with accusations.

Kirsten rests in bed at home, and Sandy raises the topic of rehab. Kirsten doesn't want to be a public embarassment (everyone knows "a trip" is rehab), so she hops out of bed and heads to the kitchen to pour all of the alcohol in the house out. Hey, I get the idea here, but based on previous episodes, I'm guessing the Cohens have a fairly extensive (and expensive) collection of wine on hand. This seems like a poor idea from a financial perspective.

Caleb stops by to check in on Kirsten. Sandy attempts to get him to chill out from his current attitude (this is a disgrace!), and Kirsten cuts him off because, y'know, it's Sandy fighting with Caleb and that's not going to go well. In fairness, it was probably going to go better than Kirsten's interaction with him. It devolves VERY quickly after Cal brings up K's mom's drinking problem that they never actually talked about, and this ends up with Kirsten shouting "I MIGHT LIKE MY CHARDONAY, BUT AT LEAST I'M NOT GOING TO DIE ALONE" at him.

Seth tracks down Ryan in the pool house and gets a recap of Ryan's blown attempt at talking to Marissa. Seth tells him to just trust her when she says nothing happened (I mean, something did, but not the thing Ryan thinks happened), learn from his idiot lessons, and take Marissa to prom. Man, can you imagine how things would be going if Seth ever learned any lessons form his own idiot self?

Cal turns up at Stately Nichol Manor to retrieve his sleeping pills. He's been a wreck because of this Kirsten mess, not the divorce. Julie snags his Ambien, and cajoles him into one final pre-divorce date. We cut back to the bathroom where Julie was rummaging for the pills as Cal leaves..... AND SHE KEPT ABOUT 20 OF THEM OMG.

RAPID FIRE! Ryan listens to Seth, apologizes to Marissa, and asks to take her to prom, but then Jess The Nasty Tramp surprises Ryan in the hallway, claiming to know something about Marissa and Trey and telling him that Trey took off for Chino a few days ago; Kirsten isn't sleeping either because of the fight with her dad, so Sandy suggests a nice night in with Seth's DVDs and take out food; Seth and Zach flip the coin, but we don't see who won.

Julie preps for poolside date night with Caleb by preparing margaritas in a bikini. Most of Julie's prep work is really busting open ALL the Ambien and tossing them in a glass. Caleb arrives early, so she quickly hides the empty capsules and pours the marg over the powder and ice. Cal thinks that the bikini is some sort of trap and appeal to his base natures, but hey: she has the divorce papers signed and ready to go. Ah. Well. Caleb takes the margarita.... but then decides he'd prefer some scotch, instead. Unfortunately, Julie's committed to the margarita thing now.

Ryan tracks down Trey at his favorite dive bar in Chino. He doesn't beat around the bush to pretend to be nice to Trey, and he gets Trey's story: Look, we got drunk, we went out to the beach, she threw herself at me, but nothing else happened. Ryan doesn't buy it, so Trey swears on their mother that he wouldn't lie, not about this. Pretty standard Trey, really. Ryan BELIEVES this story, goes outside, and quietly calls Marissa to call in sick to prom. Lame. Then, like a bolt from the blue in a crazy coincidence, there's Theresa, holding a grocery bag.

I know, right?

She's back from Atlanta to visit her mom, and she reads Ryan the nicest riot act ever over not believing and trusting Marissa over Trey. Let's be honest here: this show literally started with Trey getting Ryan arrested for stealing a car. Ryan is clearly swayed by this not-quite-cussing out from Theresa. They've walked back to Theresa's mom's house at this point, and Ryan offers to come inside and say hi. It's late, but Theresa will pass it along. Off Ryan goes, and Theresa goes inside where her mother is holding Ryan's child. Remember: Theresa told Ryan she lost the baby.

A white limo pulls up outside Summer's house...... and it's Zach. That means Seth is at dinner and HOLY SHIT, GEORGE LUCAS IS ACTUALLY ON THE SHOW. I figured this was going to be some kind of whacky Macguffin. Anyway, even though Reed told Seth that she'd kill him if she heard the word "Summer" come out of his mouth, Seth turns dinner with George Lucas into a discussion of the teenage experience, mostly whether or not it's important to go to prom. This isn't as insane as it sounds, because this is the guy who wrote and directed American Graffiti. Reed texts play by play of this insanity to Zach, who's at prom with Summer. He's been ignoring the texts, but Summer tells him to check the phone. He reads, he gets frustrated with Seth blowing this meeting (just like he blew the meeting with Wildstorm), but then says nope, I don't care, gonna stay here with the nice girl who likes me. Summer realizes that he really doesn't want to be there, so she sends him off to save the meeting with Lucas. He arrives just as Seth gets to the part of the Summer story that involves the coin flip, and Zach waves him over. They both realize that they'd rather be at the other place, so they switch, including Zach giving Seth his tuxedo coat. Nice one, bro.

Over at the Cohen's, the take out food has arrived while Kirsten's taking a hot bath. Sandy doesn't have his wallet on him, but hey: Kirsten's purse is right by the door, so he reaches in to grab some cash..... and finds a fifth of vodka.

Julie swims a bit while Caleb dangles his feet into the pool. They chat, with both expressing regret about how their relationship has fallen apart. Cheers, though, bottoms up on the margaritas..... and Julie grabs the glass out of Caleb's hand. She forgot to put lime in it! Silly, silly, Julie! She bolts into the kitchen and hucks the contents of Caleb's drink down the sink. This is where we probably have to ask the question: was Julie trying to kill Caleb with the Ambien overdose? I can argue it both ways.

At the prom, Marissa and Summer have had enough, so they're about to bail. It's kind of weird that the social chair can just bail before the event is over, but whatever. Just as they make the decision to leave, it's time to announce the king and queen! SURPRISE: SUMMER WINS. FURTHER SURPRISE: ZACH WINS, but of course, he's not there any more. There's Summer, up on stage, looking like an abandoned jerk, when Seth zips in to a chorus of boos. Seth wins her over, though, and they dance. I hope that the music that plays over this (Coldplay's Fix You) is not the actual prom theme, though, because if it is, it's almost as bad as the time Live's Lightning Crashes got voted as my prom theme. YES, THAT REALLY HAPPENED. Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos. Where were we? Oh, right, Marissa being outside and sad while Summer and Seth are happy (for now). That's where Ryan finds her, "just in time," as Marissa puts it as they embrace and dance. Well, things are really working out nicely here. Oooo, and much quicker than usual.

Hey, what's that sound?

No, it's not Apu crying about the Kwik-E-Mart, it's Caleb, having a heart attack and falling face first into the pool while Julie's inside making him a new drink. Julie comes out, sees him in the pool, shrieks, and dives in to save him, letting the margarita glass shatter all over the pool deck.

Over to the Cohen house, where Kirsten is done with her bath. Sandy: "I found your stash," as he pushes the purse across the kitchen counter to her. "It's just in case." Just in case of WHAT, lady? She tries to argue that she's going to beat this her way, and she doesn't need a babysitter. Breaking news: four out of five doctors say that consuming vodka in secret is a terrible way to kick a drinking problem. (The fifth doctor is Vampiro.) Sandy says maybe you do need a babysitter as the phone rings. It's Julie, of course. Sandy eventually hangs up the phone, turns to Kirsten and is left with the responsibility of telling his wife that her father has died. Kirsten grabs the fifth of vodka and quietly walks out of the room, leaving Sandy staring incredulously at her as she leaves.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Nothing really stands out here, but Sandy's his standard issue pretty great self as he tries to reach out to his wife who is resisting his efforts even though she was nearly killed at the end of the last episode.