As you may have heard by now, The O.C. needs your help. After watching the fourth-year soap get obliterated by CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and that thing where Howie Mandel pretends he isn’t terrified of the germs on suitcases, FOX has decided to give The O.C. a shot on Wednesday night in a 9 p.m. time slot that could become permanent if the numbers are acceptable.
So I’m here reminding you to watch, though not necessarily because the episode airing on Wednesday is particularly stellar. It’s the rockiest of the four episodes FOX has sent to critics, uneven in tone and pacing, but it still contains shining moments. The episode that airs on Thursday night is better and the one that will show at some point next week is better still, putting the multi-episode Marissa Malaise behind us and moving in directions that recapture the voice of the first season. But in order for those future episodes not to whither on the Thursday vine, I recommend you tune in tomorrow.
For the first time since season one’s crucial pre-hiatus episode "The Escape," The O.C. is ready for a trip South of the Border, this time forgoing the fetid touristy haven of Tijuana for the differently fetid, differently touristy haven of Ensenada in Baja. For a show that’s often been dominated by self-referentialism, "The Gringos" mostly keeps its tongue (if episodes have such things) out of cheek. If "The Escape" was fueled a tone of drunken abandon and out-of-control rebelliousness, "The Gringos" is fueled by Ryan’s bruised rage. He’s not going to Mexico for street tacos and tequila. He’s hoping to find Volchak and vengeance.
Even with Seth tagging along and befriending a squad of blitzed Marines, the Mexican material is dark and doesn’t mesh well with subplots that include Julie and Caitlin Cooper working together on a clothing drive for Darfur refugees and Summer getting a surprise visit at Brown from the very secretive Taylor.
[Spoilers, just in case you couldn’t guess.]
Is Wednesday night a better time for you to watch The O.C. (don’t forget that Lost is going away for a while after Wednesday)?
What’d you think of the second episode?