The O.C. S3.E25 “The Graduates”
Drinks Taken: 15
Welcome back to The O.C. Rewatch Project! Before I answer Meredith’s question from last week, I want to note that I wish I had been at her prom so I could go all Atwood on her date for making out with someone else in front of her. What a ding-dong! Anyway, so Meredith asked me if I am sick of the back and forth between Seth and Summer – it’s not a will they or won’t they thing like Ross and Rachel which, yes, makes it so annoying. We know they will be together, we know the pattern, so knock it off, man. Luckily, the wonderful and underrated Season 4 is just around the corner.
Guys, I cannot express to you in words how excited I am for the end of Season 3, and in particular the Major Thing that happens. This makes me a total monster, but I have come to terms with it. Let’s drink to the delightful-awful thing that is about to happen!
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
3.24 “The Man of the Year”
The episode opens just as Ryan finishes wailing on Volchok, and he has a moment of clarity like he just had a rage blackout – oh hey, Summer knows all about those! I hate the editing in the opening of this episode. We’re not watching Memento, guys, stop.
So Ryan takes Volchok to the hospital, and Volchok seems to abide by some sort of “let’s settle this like men” code, so he doesn’t rat Ryan out – but he does make Ryan promise to help him steal something or else he’ll go to the cops about the beatdown. Ryan could go to the cops about Volchok too, if he wanted, so now they’re in a weird stalemate and Ryan is back to making poor decisions. This scares Theresa off because she needs to think of her kid, and she gives Ryan the most heartfelt, mature speech, explaining that Ryan may not be like his brother, but he’s definitely like Trey on his worst days, and she just can’t afford anything but good days right now. It’s so sad! But honest. And she’s right.
Ryan’s story comes full circle when Volchok steals a car from the Cohens’ neighborhood, but Ryan makes the right call this time, ditching Volchok and running to Marissa for help (this will not end well this will not end well).
Meanwhile, Summer is hungover af after her prom binge:
And she spends much of the episode trying to get Seth’s confession note back from Sandy’s office. She’s not very graceful or subtle about it, and Sandy reads it. When he goes to confront Seth, the latter turns the whole situation back on Sandy for being a neglectful father and husband and sending Kirsten back to the bottle. Sandy says, “Don’t talk to me that way. I’m your father,” to which Seth replies with the deepest burn of all: “That would require you to act like my father.” I mean, he’s not wrong, though.
Marissa gets called to Kaitlin’s school (HEY! It’s Kaitlin Cooper!) to help her out because some Lacrosse bro stole a school crest (I don’t even know) and blamed it on her. So Marissa gets to scheming in the most delightful way:
She seduces the moron and gets the crest back, and there’s a whole lot of teen talk involved like “obvi” and “totes” and throwing “bitch” around casually. I would like Kaitlin to make better friends.
And back in Newport, Sandy falls on his sword, abandoning the hospital plan because it’s the Right Thing to Do and giving up his Man of the Year honor. He’ll work with his DA buddy in the case against Maya’s dad, who is still not worthy of me knowing his name. Everything seems to be okay between the Cohens now, except OOPS, Seth accidentally burned down the Newport Group when he threw his joint in the trash. For once, Ryan isn’t the one being led away in cuffs.
How many times did I have to drink?
Get it, girl
Theresa tells Ryan that Taylor had a threesome with the hot Korean guys in the limo after prom. Big Korea indeed.
Truest thing anyone said this week
Seth, to Ryan: “Can’t this family go one week without having a major crisis?” PREACH.
Dr. Roberts is so cool
Most recognizable song
When Marissa enters the picture in her schoolgirl outfit, the Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” is playing. So appropriate!
3.25 “The Graduates”
It’s graduation time! As is appropriate for such a celebratory time, most of the episode is quite joyful and filled with happy endings. Dawn comes for graduation, still sober and just radiantly proud of Ryan – and she should be because he’s come such a long, long way from Chino. Kaitlin Cooper returns, too! Jimmy is a yacht captain now, and he invites Marissa to work on the boat for the summer, and since Julie will be lonely, Kaitlin decides to come home for good (also so she can “rule Harbor”). The three ladies share lots of Cooper family hugs and happy tears, and Julie gives Marissa some pearls as a graduation gift. It’s so sweet.
And then everyone graduates! Yay!
Sandy stops by his old office and realizes how much he misses being a public defender, and with the Newport Group in ashes, he’s free to return to being the Sandy Cohen that Kirsten always loves and never gets mad at. Yay!
Seth gets a letter from RISD, and although he missed the cutoff date to apply for the fall, he’ll start attending in the spring. Seth and Summer forever! Yay! Everyone gathers in the old model home that burned down (and has since been rebuilt) to spend one last evening together before they go their separate ways. It’s so nice. Yay!
There’s a lot of yay in this episode, but there’s also some bummer stuff. Volchok forces Ryan to help him skip town, threatening to take Ryan down with him if he gets busted. Marissa insists on helping (of course. OF COURSE), and pawns her new pearl necklace to give Volchok the money to scram. But that’s not enough, and for whatever reason, Volchok is obsessed with Marissa and won’t leave until he gets to see her. What is it with Marissa Cooper? Dudes spend like, two seconds with her and then they become violently obsessed. It’s no coincidence that Marissa gives a shout-out to Oliver in this episode – of all the redundant plot points that annoy me on this series, the one where every man becomes obsessed with Marissa is the worst.
But this time, things get real. Dawn gave Ryan a new-old Jeep, and as he’s driving Marissa to the airport, Volchok pursues them and starts aggressively running into their car, eventually pushing Ryan off the road. Ryan escapes with a few scratches, but when he goes to rescue Marissa before a fire consumes the vehicle, he finds that she’s bleeding from her head.
He carries her off and lays her down, and when he tries to go get help she says, “No. Stay,” just like when she asked him to stay in the model home way back in Season 1. I should be more touched about this, but I’m not.
And then Marissa Cooper DIES.
Look, maybe some of you are sad about this, but her story was just running in circles and she needed to go. At the same time, it seems completely cruel for the writers to kill her off when she was leaving to have a happy ending on a yacht with her dad. She was going away anyway, so it seems very senseless to kill her… unless there was a reason. A spiteful reason. And if I recall correctly, there were some rumors about Mischa Barton and how she was not very liked on the show by her fellow cast members. I don’t want to get gossipy, but why else would you murder the shit out of someone who was leaving the show anyway?!
Still, the writers did us a solid by sending Marissa out in appropriately dramatic fashion, forever ending the boring story of Marissa and Ryan. Yay!
How many times did I have to drink?
Taylor: “Let’s just say I had my own Korean BBQ.”
Sandy’s got skills
Most recognizable song
Imogen Heap’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” calling back to Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah,” which was used twice in the first season. HALLELUJAH we all love this song. Still waiting for Tyler Perry’s Madea cover, though.
She teases Dr. Roberts about a breast augmentation and puts up a collage of hunky dudes’ torsos in her room. I don’t think any of those guys have faces in her collage! Look at Kaitlin, objectifying men with the female gaze. So proud of this little bb.
That is IT for Season 3! Two questions for Meredith: First, how do you feel about the death of Marissa Cooper? Be honest. This is a safe space. And second, although I know the answer to this question – if you were forced at bagel-knifepoint to choose between Sandy Cohen and Neil Roberts, which dad-fox would you choose? I love Sandy and his eyebrows and his Hebrew heritage, but you know what? I’ve been kind of leaning toward Dr. Roberts lately.
Be sure to join Meredith back here next week as she kicks off Season 4 with “The Avengers” and “The Gringos”!
About the Contributor:
Britt Hayes is a writer and sensible sweater enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She loves movies, watches too much television, and her diet consists mostly of fruit snacks and revenge.