TV Review: The O.C. Episode 3.11

Thursday, January 12, 2006

From FOX: What would senior year be without getting the gang back together at Harbor? Summer, Seth and Ryan launch a mission-impossible campaign to get Marissa back into Harbor, and Johnny struggles between a friend's happiness and his own feelings. Meanwhile, Sandy must make an ethical decision that could change Marissa's fate, and Julie Cooper and Dr. Roberts are apprehensive about admitting to the lies they have told their daughters. The gang encourages the Harbor students to stand up on Marissa's behalf when Operation Free Marissa launches

My Rating: 3 out 4

The O.C. returns this week with an all new episode titled "The Safe Harbor" in an all new time-slot. In a move made to facilitate American Idol airing three nights a week next month, The O.C. moved to 9/8c. As the episode opens, it is the last night of winter break before our fab four returns to their various schools. It is their last semester before they graduate, and when Marissa leaves to go to the restroom, the other three begin to talk. Summer wants to have her friend return to Harbor. So the three decide to devise a plan to bring her back.

Ryan goes to Harbor's principal, and she gives them a direction and some assistance. If they have any hope of getting her back in, they have to work fast. The board of Trustees that expelled her in the first place meets at the end of that week. Ryan also goes to Sandy for his help because students can't speak in front of the board. They need a parent advocate. Sandy decides to also help them, but it turns out an old nemesis of his is the head of the board. This causes a problem for Sandy.

Another problem comes on Marissa's end. She isn't too excited about her friends plans to bring her back. By bringing her back, it means she will have to leave her new friends, mostly Johnny. She still feels responsible for his accident and everything else that happened after it. It looks like things start to look up though. Johnny gets another chance to be on the surf tour, but once he goes to their doctors they don't approve him to join due to his injury. This throws Johnny into an angry tailspin, and once Marissa sees this she decides to tell her friends she doesn't want to go through with their plans.

By then the meeting is already set for her, so her not going to the proceeding with get the case thrown out. However, it seems Johnny decides to swing things back into Harbor's favor when he learns that Marissa decided not to go because of him. He has Chilly tell her that he got back on the tour, even if it is a lie. Once she hears she will be on her own at Newport Union, the Harbor plan seems to be a go.

Yes, this episode bounced back and forth between she wants to and she doesn't want to. Even with all her indecision, her friends put together a strong effort to get their friend back into the private school. Summer and Seth even enlist the help of Taylor Townsend. The problem with her helping lies within in her mother. She is the one that started the campaign to get Marissa kicked out in the first place. She doesn't want Marissa back, and she is one of the board members. When Taylor's mother sees her helping, the two have words. Taylor put a lot into the plan. They have poster boards, t-shirts, buttons, and she is the driving force that gathers the signatures of the entire student body on a petition. however, with her mother's involvement, she had to back out a bit.

She returns to the plan the night of the board meeting in a show of defiance to her mother. Her mother is the one dissenting vote. More happened with this board meeting however. Remember Sandy's bad history with one of the board members? He had his new work associate do a little background check on the man, and it turns out his son has a jaded past, and he was also expelled. Instead of using this information and expose the man in front of everyone, he keeps it between him and the other judge, and he even helps the man find his son. I really love Sandy and Kirsten on this show too much.

Other action with the adults include Julie and Summer's dad hanging out and getting close. How much do you want to bet these two end up hooking up sometime this season or by the end of next? It certainly would make sense. Summer's dad is on his way to divorce. Julie and him have an obvious friendly chemistry. Marissa is already living in his house. Things will certainly heat up when Julie's youngest daughter hits The O.C. next week. By the end of the episode, Marissa is back at Harbor just in time for her to be a part of senior pictures, and all is well.

This episode really reminded me of 90210. They had a similar episode when Donna Martin, played by Tori Spelling, was kicked out for drinking at the prom. Her friends gathered together and went to the board with much of a similar plan to bring their friend back to school just in time to graduate. I had really missed this series over its winter break. It has had its slower moments the first half of the season, but things look to be picking up once again. Younger Cooper should certainly make things interesting with her arrival next week. You can find a download of next week's preview here.


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