Chrispratt_theoc_240After Thursday (Jan. 18) night’s episode, there are only five more hours left of The O.C., a fact that FOX has decided to rub in with surprising regularity. This is a show the network couldn’t be bothered to promo when it might have been saved, but it suddenly warrants American Idol ad-space in death? Hmmm…

Truth be told, Thursday’s episode was awfully scatter-brained when it comes to both love and to whatever the show’s eventual endgame is likely to be. In one plotline, we had Ryan learning that love isn’t what you have in common, but what you feel. In another, we got Kaitlin realizing that love isn’t what you feel, but what you have in common. And the episode ended with Taylor realizing that she has to learn to be alone and be herself, which is exactly the lesson that Summer briefly learned last week before promptly forgetting it this week. It’s like the writers have figured out what the eventual romantic pairings will be, but letting everybody settle down already would be dull. Thus? Coyly written wheel spinning!

Thus we got a thematically unified episode in which all of our characters went to extremes to prove themselves to the people they love. Seth embarked on a camping trip and sweat lodge with Che. Ryan wrote a poem. Kaitlin tried hanging out with band geeks. Julie invented an STD breakout to spend time with Kirsten. And for all that, what we were left with was another week of the same duos in different versions of romantic limbo.

Some highlights:

  • Che’s note to Summer: "Dear Caterpillar, Last night, Seth came to me for help. I am taking him to the forest. He needs to puck up the sword and embrace his inner warrior. Only running with the wolves shall he learn to walk like a man. I will help your soulmate find himself, but where are you, Summer Bear? Where is the iron butterfly who once inspired me so? As we head into the trees, perhaps you need to find your own path. Peace and love, Che."
  • Julie to Kirsten, "We’ve had a good day. Three-out-of-five women now know that they’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. We should be proud."
  • I always like the platonic scenes with Ryan and the show’s women. This week, Ryan had good scenes with Summer (and underrated non-romantic pairing) and also with Kaitlin.
  • Seth+otter=Summer+bunny. Does that mean that Bunny+otter=Seth+Summer?

    Some problems:

  • The characters themselves have been really inconsistent in recent weeks, making it tough to vague the minute-to-minute status of any relationship.
  • I love Henri Lubatti, but Henri-Michel probably didn’t need to be a multi-episode role. I get it — he’s French, has poor hygiene, loves cheese and loves Taylor.
  • Tell me that wasn’t it for Chris Brown. I never liked the character or Brown’s acting, but surely he was there for something more than that.

    The jury’s still out on:

  • Well, I issued a warning that I wouldn’t tolerate a love triangle with Summer, Seth and Che. I was assuming, of course, that Che and Summer might be pushed together and I didn’t like that. But Che and Seth? It has comic potential…

    What were your thoughts on the episode and the direction of things?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg