The O.C. S2.E23 “The O.Sea”
Drinks Taken: 14
Welcome back to The O.C. Rewatch Project! Last week, Britt asked me how I feel about Trey assaulting Marissa, not just as a viewer but as a storytelling device. I have a lot of trouble with the threat of sexual assault being used as a default approach to generate audience concern for a female character, and in a lot of ways, it feels like this is just lazy, upsetting writing by The O.C. writers. But there’s some thoughtful aftermath to Trey’s assault: the trauma Marissa is going through is treated very sensitively and relatably, even if all the rest of this storyline is just problematic drama for drama’s sake. But augh, the end of Season Two is some tough viewing.
So let’s drink to getting through the worst part!
The O.C. Drinking Game
Drink once every time:
The ladies have a convo while primping in front of a mirror
Seth makes a nerdy reference
Ryan wears a white tank top
Anyone plays a video game
Summer says “ew”
Anyone eats a bagel
Anyone references The Valley
Drink twice every time:
Someone says “Newpsie”
Fisticuffs occur (three times for pool fights!)
Someone grabs a cup of coffee
Ryan and Seth read comic books
Someone reminds us that Kaitlin Cooper exists
2.22 “The Showdown”
Marissa is dealing with the very serious trauma of Trey’s attack, and she’s not telling anyone about it. Of course, many victims of sexual abuse never report their attacks, because of shame or fear or guilt, and Marissa has the added stress of worrying about what this knowledge will do to Ryan, and how it will affect their newly re-established romance. She spends most of the episode jumpy and quiet, and Trey is not making anything better, constantly hounding her to forgive him. He’s actively stalking her at school and her home, trying to get her to accept his apology, as if an apology will ever be enough for sexual assault – and his apology eventually turns into a threat when it’s clear that Marissa has no intention of forgiving him. Ryan can tell something’s up (and stupid Jess, aka Drown Girl, is trying to convince him that something romantic went down between Marissa and Trey, because Jess is straight up evil), but he’s not sure what, and Marissa wants everything to be normal between them. So she dresses up to the nines for a date with Ryan, and they start making out in the pool house before the date even officially begins – but Marissa keeps having flashes of Trey’s assault, and eventually pushes Ryan aside and tearfully tells him that she can’t do this – “It’s been too long. Too much has happened.” She runs off and Ryan looks stymied, and I’m just gutted for Marissa. I hate that the writers did this to her right when she was getting her life in order.
Both of the Cooper women have it rough this week, with poor Julie trying so hard with Caleb, making him a beautiful eggs benedict for breakfast, which he promptly rejects. She tells him she’s tired of trying all by herself, and so he invites her on a fancy date – and then has a freaking process server meet her at the restaurant with divorce papers. What a monster! She confronts him, and he tells her that he’s been having her followed since before they were married: he knows about her affair with Jimmy, her affair with Luke, all of it, but her recent dalliance with Lance was the last straw. He gives her a week to get herself and Marissa out of the mansion, and tells her he’s leaving her with nothing. “Oh and by the way…you’re fired.” Caleb’s being a real a-hole about this, no surprise, but what IS surprising is that he’s known all this about Julie the whole time and married her anyway. Funnily enough, he might be the only person who has truly loved Julie for Julie.
Ugh, okay. Let’s get through this quickly. Zach and Seth are still fighting over Summer AND the comic book, and it all goes disastrously at the launch for Atomic County, which Reed has talked Summer into attending as Little Miss Vixen. These idiots get into a giant fist fight in front of all of their would-be fans, and then they tell Summer she has to choose. She wisely chooses neither. I’m so tired of this storyline.
Finally: Kirsten’s drinking has gotten so bad that everyone is commenting on it. Sandy confronts her and she blows up at him about Rebecca and tells him the truth about Carter, and then storms off to drink and drive some. At the bar, she takes off a necklace Carter bought her at the winery, seemingly finally saying goodbye. FINALLY. GAH. She drives home and calls Sandy to apologize through tears, and of course the episode ends with her getting in a devastating car crash.
How many times did I have to drink?
Sandy thinks he looks like Tony Blair. I can maybe see it.
The truest thing anybody said this week
Seth tells Zach, “I thought you were a nice guy,” and Zach replies, “Wake up. I’m a water polo player. We’re never nice guys.”
Eat that delicious-looking breakfast, you monster!
2.23 “The O.Sea”
It’s prom time and everybody sort of doesn’t want to go but basically has to. Summer’s been nominated as Prom Queen and is a shoe-in, and she needs a date, so she tells Zach and Seth that they have to choose. “I’ve tried choosing…it just didn’t seem to stick.” So she leaves it to the boys to decide. Conveniently, Reed is also making the boys choose regarding the comic book: George Lucas wants to make Atomic County into his next movie (this is the least plausible thing that happens on this entire show), and the meeting is, of course, during prom, but they can’t both be there because every time they’re together they punch each other. So one boy will go to prom, and one will meet George Lucas. They’re being surprisingly civil about all of this, and finally flip a coin: Zach’s going to prom, and Seth’s going to meet George Lucas. Of course, they both realize they’d rather be where the other one is, so midway through they swap – and of course, Summer always wanted to go with Seth, anyway, though I’m not sure why after all of the dumb shit he’s pulled this season since they reconciled. Anyway, she’s voted prom queen and they have a big makeout session on the stage while Zach hangs out with George Lucas.
Ryan and Marissa are supposed to go together, but he can’t shake the suspicion that she hooked up with Trey, a suspicion that Cartoonishly Evil Jess is facilitating. He goes to Chino to track down Trey, and Stupid Awful Terrible Trey tells Ryan that he and Marissa got drunk together, “your girl can’t hold her liquor” and supposedly she came on to him. I WANT TO MURDER TREY. Ryan calls Marissa DURING PROM and tells her he’s too sick to go, and Summer has the right reaction here:
But then I love this part: in Chino, Ryan runs into Theresa, and he tells her his quandary. “I don’t know who to believe.” Theresa’s response is perfection: “I do. Ryan, Trey has been jerking you around your whole life.” She reminds him of how loyal and wonderful Marissa has been to him, the way she quietly stepped aside when Theresa needed him, and one of my favorite parts of this show will always be the alliance between Marissa and Theresa in spite of (or because of) their love for the same guy. He realizes how dumb he’s been, and flees to the prom, and Theresa seems happy and proud to have convinced him. (She’s also still keeping the baby a secret from him, btw, a bomb that may or may not drop one day.) Marissa and Ryan also have a sweet reconciliation at the prom.
Finally, Kirsten’s okay after her car accident, though quite beaten up, and she swears to Sandy that she’s done drinking. She isn’t, of course, and she’s about to be a lot more not done with drinking. Caleb comes over and calls Kirsten an alcoholic, and they get into a terrible fight, complete with this DAAAAAAAMN moment from Kirsten:
A DAAAAAAMN moment that turns out to be sadly prescient: Julie’s considering killing Caleb to get around his iron-clad pre-nup, as you do (if you’re Julie Cooper), but when she invites him over for one last hurrah/to poison him, he charms her and she can’t make herself do it. She’s inside making him a poison-free beverage when he has a run of the mill heart attack and dies, alone, at the bottom of his gigantic, fancy pool. Kirsten gets the call while Sandy is confronting her about the bottle of vodka he found in her purse, and she just takes the bottle and walks out of the room. GAH.
How many times did I have to drink?
Best pop culture reference
Seth to Ryan, “Maybe I’ve watched too many Saved by the Bell episodes, but if it’s taught me anything, it’s taught me that prom is a seminal moment.”
The truest thing anybody said this week
Haha, people in the audience keep saying, “Seth Cohen’s a tool!” when he’s onstage at the prom, and when he kisses Summer, one guy says again, “But…he’s a tool.” He is, random guy, but he’s OUR tool, and if Summer can forgive him, I guess I can, too.
That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you, since you’ll be wrapping up Season 2 next week: what’s your favorite episode of the second season? Mine is “The Mallpisode!”
Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers the Season 2 finale “The Dearly Beloved” and the Season 3 premiere “The Aftermath.”