It's an unhappy Valentine's Day on ''Laguna Beach'': Stephen gives LC chocolates but takes Kristin out for lobster, and Jess and Jason finally bury their dead relationship

By Timothy Gunatilaka
Updated August 28, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Laguna Beach
  • TV Show
  • MTV

”Laguna Beach”: Unhappy Valentine’s Day

It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for: LC’s back! Lo’s back! And Stephen’s back! Back with Kristin! What? This week’s Laguna Beach toyed with us. Throughout the episode my heart would well up, as I thought we were finally about to get all we’ve ever wanted, only to see hope dashed by harsh reality. Is this what it feels like to be Stephen? LC? Jess? How meta.

Valentine’s Day on LB was all about too-temporary victories. We started off seeing Lo (with a beau in tow) — only to watch her disappear again. Jess finally realized she had to break up with Jason — but he dumped her. Stephen gave LC Valentine’s chocolate — but then she realized he had probably been with Kristin the night before. Quit playing games with my heart.

For the evening’s appetizer, we started with Jess’ elaborate candlelit dinner for an undeserving Jason. Yet, he seemed appreciative, bringing flowers and, more important, a smile that suggested he might be happy to see her. Wrong! Mere seconds into the meal, the usual cat-and-dog show returned.

Jason: You’re a bad influence on me.

Jess: How?

Jason: [Awkward mumbling. Silence.] Wanna go to lunch tomorrow?

Jess: Don’t talk to me. I’m a bad influence.

Just when you think they’ve made progress, they revert to the same masochism (Jess) and stupidity (Jason). But a fight never fully materialized. Is this a more mature, restrained Jess? Later, when Jason dumped her over the phone, she took it very stoically. Good for her. But, this is Laguna, so I can’t help suspecting, as always with the show’s phone conversations, that this was staged; Jess knew her dumping was coming, or better yet, she had already been dumped and was merely reenacting her half of the conversation for the cameras. Who knows? Could she really have handled the breakup so complacently? Meanwhile, I knew Cedric irked me but I never knew why; that is, until he and Jason had their postmortem talk:

Cedric: How did she react? I thought she was gonna kill herself.

Jason: Not even. Because our relationship was sick already.

Cedric: Yeah, I think she expected it too.

That’s right, Master Jason. Whatever you say. Whatever you want. Whoever you want. What a jerk. But I digress. Later Jason randomly visited Jess, and she pondered aloud: ”I don’t understand why it changed so much.” Changed from what? Dear producers, you could have helped many frustrated viewers if you had provided the slightest glimpse of what the relationship was like before. Jess said, ”We were best friends for so long,” but given what we’ve seen, it’s impossible to understand how this maddening relationship could have ever been friendly or worth rooting for. And so, as Jess broke down crying, I couldn’t muster a tear. And then, Jess exclaimed, ”I don’t even know why I am crying right now….I feel so stupid because we were together for, what, two months?” Vindication! That’s all I’ve ever wanted: for Jess to step back and recognize the absurdity of obsessing over this fool with botched facial hair. Cry away, baby. Let the rain fall down!

But all the hubbub around Jess’s bittersweet breakup was merely a precursor to a larger loss. We all expected a Valentine’s Day surprise, but not Stephen’s taking Kristin out to dinner. What the hell? (Admittedly, Kristin’s longer hair is foxy.) As the two reminisced, a fire burned in those shared stares. But something was amiss. Stephen asked, ”Are you my Valentine?” To which, Kristin smirked but gave no answer. Silence.

Kristin also interrogated the boy about his nonexistent love life with that same suspicious smirk. (”Have you been dating? Are you lying? That’s good.”) She seemed to be playing jealous (playing being the operative word). She couldn’t care less about Stephen’s dating status. (In fact, she later told her gals, ”For me it was more friendly.”) Finally, following her forced interrogation, the entrée arrived, to Stephen’s (and my) surprise. She ordered lobster! Kristin got Stephen to buy her lobster! Nicely played. Ladies, always order the lobster.

And now, the Yellowcard portion of the column: I thought Stephen couldn’t be more pitiful, but then he went to buy chocolates as ”Only One” played. I cringed with every line:

Made my mistakes, let you down

And I can’t, I can’t hold on for too long

Ran my whole life in the ground

And I can’t, I can’t get up when you’re gone

And something’s breaking up

I feel like giving up

I won’t walk out until you know

As the chorus exploded — ”You are my only one!” — we discovered that the chocolate was not for Kristin but for LC. She’s Stephen’s Only One! Remember, I’m no LC fan, but this was damn triumphant. But fleeting. Stephen revealed he was leaving town within the hour, and we fell back to earth. Maybe somewhere lower. LC realized that if Stephen was in Laguna the night before, he must have been with someone else. She silently ate her chocolates; we silently watched. Then, her father interjected: ”Candy? You know what that means? ‘I love you.’ ” Shut up, Dad! Silence.

What do you think? After this week’s disappointments, do Jess and LC seem wiser? Do you prefer Kristin’s longer hair? And finally, where does Lo go when she vanishes? Everyone who’d prefer an exclusively Lo reality show, say aye!

Laguna Beach

  • TV Show
  • In Season
  • MTV