As a weekend straw poll indicated, most viewers see Seth and Zach’s comic book project as the potentially gangbusters plot development the last few “OC”‘s have been missing. Like Chrismukkah or the comic book club itself, drawing his own book gives Seth something to be excited about on a grand level. It’s pleasantly geeky, but because he’s the artist it’s also cool. And it helps that he spent the entire summer filling a sketchbook with idealized Summer super heroines, the kind of activity that makes TV women swoon instead of filling out restraining orders. (Keep this fantasy/reality distinction in mind the next time you consider standing outside your dream woman’s apartment in an ill-fitting trench coat, holding aloft a crappy boom box from Venture and blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.) My poll of “OC” observers saw the comic book plotline as a promising way to repurpose the Seth character while creating opportunities for both conflict and resolution between himself, Zach, and Summer. Granted, of course, that Cohen allows her final boob approval.
As for Chino, facts are facts: he has no chemistry with Lindsay. Yes, he trashed around in the surf screaming her name. But when he found her limp and waterlogged in the office, Lindsay’s drunk ass was chopped liver next to his chewing out of the Doe Eyed Fawn. Even their scenes together find the Firecracker alive with sparkling dialogue and increasingly vivacious casual wear, while Atwood is at his most impenetrably wooden. Like Seth has, it’s easy to start wondering what happened to the uncontrollable rage, the wrong side of the tracks fury that sent hamfists crashing into the faces of blue bloods. Luckily, this past episode offered Chino a new chance for fisticuffs with one of his oldest targets: the White Devil. During a confrontation in his office re: Lindsay’s wishes for an audience, Chino was at his square-shouldered best while Cal was chewing scenery like a soap opera patriarch should. “What, are you here to position yourself again between me and a member of my family?” The Devil agrees to meet his daughter for dinner, but finding Chino in the mix calls them no-account grifters looking for a handout. With a few seeds planted in next week’s previews, there could be Ryan/Cal territorial pissing incident in the works, the fallout of which will be taxing on the old bastard’s ticker. Chino may not be convincing in his love of Lindsay, but the storyline sure has a way of staying fresh.
Speaking of fresh, check out the ever-deepening backstory of Sanford T Cohen. Once a people-minded crime-fighter who traded his Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn for the surf and sun of California, it’s now revealed that Sandy’s past also included a stint with a shady hippie insurgency that bombed businesses while smoking reams of ganja. Memories of this October Contingent or Red Saber Brigade or the Knives Out Affiliates, Local 181 or whatever come rushing back in the form of Max, his law professor at Stanford, in town to enlist Sandy in the locating of his daughter Rebecca, who let all the animals out of the zoo (or something) while hopped up on idealism and Judy Collins LPs, and hasn’t been heard from since. Rebecca also stole Sandy’s heart, a fact not lost on Kirsten when he tells her about his plans to find her. Sandy’s first stop is the state pen, where a guy who looks weirdly like Robert Downey, Jr but isn’t tells him Rebecca’s dead. He doesn’t believe Fake-Ass Robert Downey, but when another old activist pal tells him the same thing, Sandy hangs his head. Still, that shaggy skull of his hangs even lower when Max shows up at Sanford’s new lovably ramshackle surf shop/law office with the very much alive Rebecca, and the memories of his foxy hippie Joan of Arc are ruined by a present-day Kim Delaney rocking the Fatkins diet. Yikes! Push away from the table, Gold Dust Woman!
With these interesting new plot twists revealed, Marissa’s developing fling with Alex wasn’t as spicy as predicted. It basically boils down to an unsupervised, flask-clutching Fawn latching onto her latest security blanket. Alex offers her mischief (“Let’s drive to LA! Let’s get shitty tattoos!”), an idea for a Julie Cooper/Caleb Nichol-less future (Wide eyes: “You’re eman-ci-pa-ted?”), and perhaps the opportunity for some lipstick love, though I now say that’s a tease. It’s more likely Alex’ll get sick of babysitting a psycho who can’t hold her liquor and kick Marissa to the curb, which would give Schwartz another opportunity to strap an Acme rocket to her back and light the massive fuse.