The O.C.

Season 3 Episode 18

The Undertow

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 23, 2006 on FOX

Episode Recap

Summer bored watching Ryan and Seth play video games and tells Seth he should be preparing for the Brown interview because he has in 11 hours till then. Sadie comes in with various snack treats for the boys. And now she's ready to play some games. Seth doesn't think a lowly girl can handle his gaming mastery.

Summer pulls Ryan out to the kitchen and says it seems Ryan sure is moving on. Summer makes it clear that although Marissa is her best friend, she realizes Ryan and Marissa just don't add up. Which is why it's so good he's found Marissa's opposite in Sadie. By the time Ryan and Summer return to the living room, Sadie has already defeated Seth in a shocking upset.

And then Jess, Trey's old girlfriend, drops by the Cohens' with a belated birthday gift from Trey to Ryan. Ryan doesn't seem too interested in a Trey update, but Jess says if he ever wants to talk, he knows where to find her. Ryan stares at the small, wrapped present after she leaves.

The next day, Ryan finally opens the gift. It's a toy car. Possibly stolen, to complete the metaphor. Seth wonders about the cheap gift, but Ryan says there's a long story behind it. And he's not interested in telling the story, nor in reconnecting with Trey. At the trailer, Volchok drops by with a gift of his own for Marissa. The expensive watch she gave him months ago so he'd leave Ryan alone. Marissa is slightly icy towards Volchok. Iciness being the fertilizer that makes love grow.

Seth wraps up his Brown interview. Summer immediately wants to know how it went. Seth tells her they had an animated discussion about anime. She doesn't know what that means, but she's happy for him. Seth leaves to call his parents with the good news and Taylor rushes up to Summer to congratulate her. Taylor suggests a celebration later that night, but Summer says the couple wants some couple time. After all, Dr. Roberts is on a cruise, leaving a big, empty house full of couches and beds behind. Ahh, Taylor gets what she's saying. Which is odd, because Summer doesn't get what she's saying. Taylor explains that she figured Seth and Summer would be having sex. She didn't realize the fire had gone out already. Gosh, then Summer must be panicking about all those nubile coeds at Brown who will tempting Seth every hour of every day. But Summer wasn't. She assures Taylor that not only will they be fine at Brown, but that they hook up regularly.

Back home, Ryan is holding the toy car, lost in his thoughts. Sadie drops by for a chat. Ryan doesn't want to talk, but Sadie assures him that whatever he has to say, whenever she wants to say it, she'll be there for him. Or, you know, he can continue to bottle it up. Whatever he wants.

Dr. Henry Griffin drops in on Sandy at work. And the doctor wants to talk about Matt. Apparently, some board members have learned about wild parties at Matt's house. Drinking, gambling, playing music at loud volumes. They're not sure they want to do business with such a person. Sandy promises to talk to Matt, but the doctor wants more than a simple slap on the wrist. He wants Matt off the project. Sandy balks, and Dr. Griffin advises to take a few days to think about it. Don't throw away the entire hospital project because of some young hotshot. Of course, it's possible this is all about Maya, not parties.

That night, Seth finds Ryan making a lonely sandwich in the kitchen. He asks if Ryan has Sadie plans for that evening, but Ryan isn't sure. He maybe wants to catch up with Jess and make sure Trey is okay. Seth points out that won't help Ryan any and Sadie is just waiting for him to make a move, so make a move already. Out at the beach, Marissa sits on her favorite lifeguard stand, staring at her phone. But she doesn't dial. Instead, she runs. Runs all the way to Matt's place. She tells him that she's all alone, so Matt offers up some room in his place for the weekend. It's no problem since he's heading up to LA tomorrow.

Marissa is alone because Seth and Summer are spending time together. Which they're currently doing at Summer's house, watching the Blade trilogy. Summer tries to create a spark, but Seth brings up the salami sub he had for dinner, immediately ruining the mood. He tries to salvage it, but it's too late. They end up watching the third chapter.

Ryan calls Sadie and says he'll be at her place in twenty minutes. But first, he has to stop off at Jess' place to see what Trey is up to. She wants to be flirty, but he just wants to be businesslike. So she tells Ryan that Trey is currently dealing blackjack at on off-Strip casino. She heads upstairs, begging Ryan to stay just a little while longer. She has a lot more to say about Trey.

Morning comes and Ryan finally comes to Sadie. He promises that he's back on drywall after being distracted for a few days. She's fine with it, although she does demand one dinner as restitution. Elsewhere, Sandy swings by Matt's and is quite surprised to find Marissa there. She promises that it's innocent. She just didn't want to be alone in the trailer.

Summer is picking up some breakfast take out when Taylor finds her. Excited about their night of passion, Taylor demands details. Summer just says they had a very nice time? Taylor realizes that no sex went down. Summer runs out as Taylor offers to help. At the pool house, Ryan works the heavy bag as he thinks about all he and Trey have been through. Kirsten comes in to make sure Ryan is okay. While she's there, she says hey, isn't that Sadie nice? And no baggage for once!

Making dinner that night, Sandy tells Kirsten about Marissa being at Matt's. Kirsten tells him not to worry. Matt's still young and foolish. And then Jess calls Ryan in a panic. Ryan tells her to stay put and takes off.

Summer and Marissa head out to The Bait Shop to relax and have some girl talk. Marissa spots the ever-present Volchok at the bar. They exchange smoldering looks before Marissa suggests leaving. Ryan arrives at Jess' place. She says she called her boyfriend today to break up with him and has been spotting him creeping around the house all day. Ryan tells the guy to am-scray and then Jess says he can go. She'll be okay. On his way out, Ryan spots a picture of Trey in Jess' purse.

The next morning, Ryan wakes up at Jess' place. But nothing happened. Except some tough Atwood bodyguarding. Trey calls Jess and she says Ryan is there with him. Ryan doesn't want to talk to him. Ryan asks Jess what happened to changing her life, but Jess whimpers that she can't resist that famous Atwood charm. Ryan advises Jess to call her USC friends down for the day and forget about her guy problems.

At the Cohens', Sandy congratulates his boy on his Brown interview. But Seth has a concern. He wants to know if his old man ever got stale with his mom while they were in college. Tired of constantly being around each other. Sandy tells Seth that Kirsten was such a firecracker that no man could tire of her. Things were always nice and hot. And Seth is no longer hungry. Then Sadie comes in, looking for Ryan. Seth searches for a good lie, but Sadie already knows where he is and why. Sadie wonders if maybe Ryan's life is too intense for a simple girl like her. Seth implores her to just give Ryan a chance, because he knows Ryan is into her.

Taylor pops in on Summer and asks if she wants to attend a prom theme meeting. After some moderate arm twisting, Summer agrees. Over at the Newport Group, Sandy is confronting Matt about his indiscretions. Matt swears that it's all a witch hunt and begs Sandy for a second chance.

Summer arrives at school for the prom meeting…only to find Seth is there for an A.V. club meeting. Taylor gleefully reveals that she set the whole thing up so they could discuss their stagnant relationship. In front of her. Because even though she's not a licensed sex therapist, her father was, and she going to help her friends get through their intimacy issues. Okay, first, how about a touching exercise? Seth wants to leave, but Summer orders him to stay and complete to drill. They do, but they don't feel anyway, so Taylor suggests some breakup counseling.

Sadie and Ryan go out for that dinner he owes her. Then Ryan gets a call from Jess' friend Kim. The short version is, a big USC party broke up, Jess' ex is on a rampage and coming over and a drunken Jess is locked in the pool house and she'll only talk to Ryan. Sadie stares at Ryan. Decision time. He'll…be right over. Back at The Bait Shop, Volchok again runs into Marissa. She resists his pleasant entreaties.

At the party, a crying Jess lets Ryan into the pool house. He advises her to get back out to the party, but she says she wants to be alone with him. He knows how to take care of her. She starts kissing him, just in time for her ex to come in. Fightin' Ryan asks if he wants to step outside. He does. Jess watches them go, hoping they don't fall into the pool while fighting, or knock over an expensive vase while fighting, or tip over the bar while fighting or any of the other things Ryan usually does while fighting.

The ex punches Ryan and Ryan pins him to the ground. The ex says it's none of Ryan's business and Ryan realizes he's right. So he leaves in a complete anticlimax. Jess chases after him. Ryan tells her the solution is simple. Stop dating jerks. They should teach that at USC.

Taylor stops by Seth's room with a little gift for him. The Kama Sutra. And a willingness to talk him through each position. Sandy has dinner with Dr. Griffin. He asks the doctor to call the board and defend Matt, but he won't. Sandy realizes that this is indeed about Maya. Dr. Griffin admits that it is. His daughter cried for days. So which will it be? The hospital, or Matt? Later, at home, Sandy gets a call from Matt. Sandy looks at his phone, but doesn't take the call. Perhaps the decision has already been made.

Kirsten sees Ryan moping in the pool house and immediately knows what happened with Sadie. She tells him things are never over. He just has to talk to Sadie. And Seth stops by Summer's room, ready to Kama Sutrize Summer. When she finds out Seth received a one-on-one lesson from Taylor, she tries to slap him. But he grabs her hand first. The tension creates a spark. And the spark creates sex.

Ryan visits Sadie and tells him the significance of the toy car. He and Trey used to play with him as children when their parents would fight. Trey promised one day he'd buy a Camaro so he and Ryan could get out of town. But he couldn't afford one, so he tried to steal one instead. Next thing you know, Ryan is in Newport and Trey is in Vegas. The story creates emotion. And the emotion creates sex.

Marissa comes home to the trailer. Volchok is waiting for her on the porch. Marissa storms into the house, leaving the door open behind her. The open door creates an invitation. And yes, the invitation creates sex.