''The O.C.'': On a Killer group date, Seth and Summer's past sabotages their potential new romances; meanwhile, Julie and Kirsten violate each other's office space

By Annie Barrett
Updated December 03, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Adam Brody: Art Streiber/FOX
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”The O.C.”: A Killer group date

After the cheerful Cohen family toast to a ”new era” for Sandy and Seth, tonight’s episode seems to foreshadow some positive energy. But O.C. fans know better: On this show, the promise of resolution is only a surefire clue that everyone’s out to make everyone else’s lives hell. Or at least heck.

In the adult realm, the torturing is all intentional. Caleb is keeping secrets from his lawyer, son-in-law, and breakfast buddy Sandy, and new CEO Julie is trampling all over Kirsten with ficus plants and the gratuitous hand-grazing of major Newport Group clients’ rear ends. She also adopts my favorite at-work pastime — Googling herself — and successfully crashes the company’s network, as if to say, ”Suck it, Kiki!”

With the high school crew, though, the sabotaging is a bit less blatant, because no one seems to know what he or she wants. Take Summer. Everyone except her is painfully aware that she’s still in love with Seth. Even her poor, suspecting boy toy Zach Attack suggests she go visit ”some sort of Cohen chat room.” Ironically, there are probably hundreds of Cohen chat rooms on the actual Internet. Not that I would know. Ahem.

While Summer’s being unfair to Zach, Lindsay (whose face is such a perfect cross between Lindsay Lohan and Desperate Housewives‘ Bree that she will now be referred to as Lindsbree) is just brutal to the others, even before they offend her for the first time that day. Despite her harshness, though, Lindsbree does score major points for saying to Ryan what we’ve all wanted to say: ”Keep talking.” Yes! Ryan’s personality has definitely picked up this season. He should be getting dramatic monologues involving advanced physics and the greater importance of wristbands any day now.

Seth and Ryan collectively sabotage themselves and the two new girls, Lindsbree and Alex, by forcing a ”group hang” at a Killers concert with really bad one-on-one combos. Poor Lindsbree, thinking she was going out with Ryan, winds up with Seth, who is the only one who can see any justification for the Ryan-Alex pairing: ”Her with the tattoo, you with the wristband, that?s like the ultimate wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story.” Funny, but can I just point out that the ”tough” Alex’s single tattoo is of a giant butterfly, and Ryan probably bought his wristband at a local Newport Beach surf shop? Personally, I guessed that Ryan and Alex actually would hit it off. I didn’t really buy their awkward silence, especially since her personality seems so boisterous around everyone else. They should have at least gotten along as buddies after realizing ”Hey, we’re both edgy. Sort of.”

But the night’s real sparks belonged to the unlikely but somehow ridiculously cute couple of Alex and Seth. I never would have guessed it from the last episode, but this could really work . . . if Seth gets over Summer . . . which, um, he won’t. Seth effortlessly impersonates an eight-and-three-quarters-year-old, and Alex finds this endearing enough to boldly kiss him (!) and then mysteriously promise him ”only two scoops” of ice cream. I thought that was kind of weird. Is she playing the overprotective mom who doesn’t want her kid to eat too much sugar, or is this a playful metaphor warning him that he can only get to second base? Why is this even alarming me? Why do I suddenly like Alex?

In the end, despite the minor smackdowns, everyone pairs off nicely. Summer and Zach Attack cuddle up to watch The Valley on DVD. (Oddly enough, we see this right after a commercial for The O.C.‘s season 1 DVDs. I know there has to be a connection here. I just can’t pinpoint it exactly. . . .) Marissa tries to look thoughtful while Yard Guy (he’s ba-aaack! And I swear he’s 40 years old) hugs her on a lifeguard stand and whispers sweet nothings like ”Would you like to meet my kids from my second marriage?” into her ear. Cut back to Alex and Seth continuing to be cute, even though it’s hard to tell if Seth’s heart is in it. And Ryan and Lindsbree cozy up for some snarky (at least on her end) conversation while waiting for her bus, even though she’s supposed to have a car. I smell a wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story!

What do you think? Will Seth’s and Ryan’s flirt fests turn into something more? Where does that leave Summer and Marissa?

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