The O.C.

Season 3 Episode 11

The Safe Harbor

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jan 12, 2006 on FOX

Episode Recap

Winter break is over and the last semester before graduation is starting. Summer comes up with a new year's program: getting Marissa back to Harbor. Of course, Ryan is in on it but he doesn't want to inform Marissa until things are sure. Even though Seth claims he's "always up for a little danger and intrigue." he can't help pointing out "Anyone have any idea how to do that?". Well, good question

Next day "Free Marissa Operation" starts off. Ryan asks Dr. Kim to reinstate Marissa. Unfortunately it turns out that only the board of trustees can readmit an expelled student. Marissa's case clearly needs a parent advocate. In the meantime Summer is preparing information booth, petition, flyers and even a ra. Taylor agrees to "share the fox hole". At Union High, Johnny tells Marissa he got an alternate spot in the PacWest team and then he invites her to join the PacWest party. Meanwhile, Neil Roberts and Mrs. Cooper Nichol talk about secrets they're hiding from their daughters. Sandy promises Ryan to take care of Marissa's case. "Ornery judge, captive audience, righteousness on my side I feel right at home!" Well, the judge, who is the head of the Harbor board of trustees, represents the only problem: Judge Mercer and Sandy do get unfinished business: years before, he tried to get Sandy disbarred. Another day full of news in Newport Beach. Ryan fills in Marissa on what's happening. It turns out Johnny's party is in the same day of the important board meeting. Of course Marissa starts musing on this and looks like torn apart. Finally, under Summer's tight guidance she turned down Johnny's invite. At Harbor, Taylor's mom shows up. She doesn't seem very thrilled about the "Free Marissa Operation" since she was the one who succeeds in kicking Marissa out of Harbor in the first place. It's obvious Taylor can't help with the glorious campaign anymore. Unfortunately Johnny's doctor doesn't allow Johnny to join the PacWest team; he totally lost it. Chili calls Marissa while she's talking to Ryan and she immediately takes off. Chino Kid asks Summer what's going on with Marissa and she admits: "There might be a slight...issue. I mean, not like an issue issue, a friend issue...with Johnny issue." By the way, Summer succeeds in stopping Ryan from punching the feeble surfer. In the meantime, Chili and Marissa are at Johnny's (...well, what remains of his bedroom...) but there's no trace of Johnny. Later, Marissa catches up with Ryan, Seth and Summer at the diner and claims she can't go back to Harbor.

The next day, Ryan tells Marissa the bitter truth: "You can't give up your one chance to go back to Harbor just so Johnny has someone to hang with in the hall." She doesn't seem to get his point. Her nursing soul is calling. Matt's investigator finds out Judge Mercer's family secret. Sandy's ethics is uneasy. At Harbor, "Free Marissa Operation" isn't doing that well. Summer allows Seth to give Taylor whatever she wants in order to get her help with Marissa's petition. "I'm picturing, like, Indecent Proposal. You're Demi, naturally, and Taylor is a leather faced guy who talks to horses." Taylor has got to turn this down because she's too scared of her mother. Later, Ryan drops by Johnny's. It turns out that Johnny thinks that staying at Union High is Marissa's choice. Ryan's opinion is slightly different. The board meeting is near. Neil comes over Julie's trailer and he convinces her to attend the hearing. In the meantime, Ryan, Seth and Summer are at the Cohens backyard, waiting for Marissa. Ryan and Seth seem positive she won't show up, but Summer isn't ready to give up: "I bet Napoleon never talked like this!" Marissa is still at Union High, waiting for Johnny. It turns out Chili tells Johnny is back on the team and the PacWest wants him to leave in a month. Actually the truth is that Chili is lying as Johnny clearly told him to do. Anyway, Marissa believes Chili and decides to attend the hearing. MM. Magnanimous Marissa. At the board meeting, Taylor stands up to her mother and shows a petition with over three hundred signatures; Julie and Neil Roberts speak in favor of Marissa; last but non least, Ryan comes up with a precedent: ten years before, an expulsion was reversed. However, only Sandy's speech seems enlighten Judge Mercer. "It's so rare in life that anyone gets a second chance." Marissa is back at Harbor. Only one dissenting vote. I can guess who's that.

After the hearing, Julie confesses to Marissa she lives in a trailer, and Marissa assures her she'll come home anyway. In the meantime, other confessions are developing. Neil tells Summer her step-monster dumped him. Summer is positive they will make it anyway. Marissa, Summer, Seth and Ryan are heading off the diner but Ryan will meet them later because he has got something to do. He catches up with Johnny who is sitting by himself on the lifeguard tower. Ryan thanks him for letting Marissa go, and Johnny points out that she deserves to be happy.

Next morning, it's senior photo day! Summer, Seth, Marissa and Ryan are laughing, joking and smiling for the class-2006-picture.