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'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: The calm before the brainstorm

Season 2 | Episode 10 | “The Accomplice” | Aired Jan 27, 2005

Change is afoot on The O.C. as new relationships flourish, some sputter, and some come back from the dead. With the state of each union an all-encompassing question mark, everyone enlists an accomplice to bring the confusion into clearer focus. Lindsay calls on Ryan, Alex calls on Marissa, Sandy calls on his past, and Seth calls on, well, everybody, as usual.

Before the kids of The O.C. have the chance to drum up their own drama, Sandy finds himself in an awkward rendezvous with a ghost from his Berkeley days. On the hunt for an office to open his own practice, Sandy checks out and loves a dumpy beach-side space, and receives a phone call from Max, his former law professor. Max washes up to ask Sandy to find his daughter, Rebecca, whom he fears he won’t get a chance to say goodbye to before he passes. Suddenly, Sandy’s practice has turned into Mars Investigations, specializing in locating former fiancées.

Yes, Rebecca is Sandy’s one who got away, and Kirsten isn’t taking his mission well. She sips her wine, which is given heightened emphasis with an extreme closeup, as she realizes how much finding Rebecca means to Sandy. He goes so far as to visit her accomplice in prison. See, Rebecca fled the country after blowing up a nuclear lab site—we’ve all been there—but her accomplice informs Sandy that she has died. Oh, well.

Except Sandy doesn’t believe she’s dead, and he’s right. Rebecca isn’t dead. Max shows up at Sandy’s office with his daughter in tow, begging the question of how he found her without Sandy’s help after all. That’s neither here not there, but that look on Sandy’s face when he sees the ex-love of his life? Kirsten had better have a bottle chardonnay on standby.

Sandy and Kirsten in The OC 210,

Tired of being the squeaky fifth wheel, Seth decides to confront Alex, to no avail. Whatever they had has fizzled, leaving him bummed and bored. Time and time again, we’ve seen Seth improperly channel his grief when it comes to breakups and girl problems. When faced with a crossroads, he typically chooses the road paved with the most potential pain. This time around, Zach suggests he take his doodling to the next level and create his own autobiographical comic book. Look out—The O.C. is about to get even more meta.

In a subplot that never really comes to life, Summer whines that she’s losing Zach to the dorky art of comics when he spends extra time with Seth and Ryan brainstorming. She kind of has a point, as Seth becomes more and more obsessed with creating alter egos for his friends, reeling Zach further into the process. An angry Summer erupts into Seth’s room to break up the comic-book meeting that’s hindering her plans with Zach. In typical Summer fashion, she gets distracted by Seth’s work, first complimenting “Kid Chino” and fierce Marissa, then complaining that her likeness hasn’t been turned into a character. Seth claims he’s still trying to get it right, but she finds his hidden sketchbook when she returns to his room to grab her purse. She swipes the notebook filled with her character, probably to fill the white space with annotations.

Later, she flips through the book, but it’s hard to glean what she’s thinking. Is she creeped out that her ex has drawing after drawing of her? Is she flattered? Are old feelings resurfacing? When she meets Seth to return the book, she tells him she loves the drawings and asks to keep them. They vow to keep the secret sketches to themselves. The mood is strange, and civil in a way we haven’t seen them in a few episodes. Are Seth and Summer on the road to recovering their relationship?


Being a supportive albeit misguided boyfriend, Ryan encourages Lindsay to reach out to Caleb. Even though he’s put forth zero effort to get to know his daughter, yes, let’s extend an olive branch to the noted criminal and all-around a-hole. Makes complete sense. Ryan schleps down to Caleb’s office on Lindsay’s behalf, but doesn’t enlighten Caleb the way he had hoped. Caleb makes some remarks about Ryan’s father, unable to recognize his own failings as a father. (Little does Caleb know that someday his wife will—spoiler alert—have a child with Ryan’s father. So take that.)

He tries to make up for his lackluster parenting by disciplining Marissa while Julie is away. To no one’s surprise, it doesn’t work. Marissa continues to march to the beat of her own drummer, stomping all over Caleb. She serves him a world-class guilt trip about Lindsay, inspiring him to call and invite his daughter to dinner.

We can give Caleb some credit for put himself out there, if only for a moment, but no credit can be given to a man who can put his pride aside for one evening. During dinner, he accuses Lindsay and Ryan of trying to extort him of money and Ivy League educations. Really, dude? The one thing this girl wanted to do was get to know her absent father, and you couldn’t even provide that. Caleb leaves before the bread basket can hit the table. Lindsay is torn up and Ryan wants to help, but there’s nothing anyone can do.

Olivia Wilde as Alex in The OC 210,

However, no one can claim as much stress as Alex, who juggles Jodi in her shower, Seth at her door, and Marissa on the phone. Interestingly enough, Marissa is the one relieving her stress. Alex ends things with Seth and shakes Jodi off her back, finding out Jodi stole her beloved heart necklace. Marissa, who has been skipping school and spiking her OJ since Julie was in Europe, wants to gas it to L.A. to get the necklace back.

So the story goes. Marissa and Alex have spent every day together since the failed girls’ night out. They show no signs of slowing down as they hop in the car and talk exes and emancipation. Watching them learn about and inspire each other is one of the more natural pairings we have seen on The O.C., platonic or otherwise. Marissa and Alex have undeniable chemistry and more in common than meets the eye.

Marissa becomes Alex’s rock as the nerves kick in at Jodi’s place. Alex collects her things, but nearly gives in to Jodi’s temptation when Marissa leaves the room. But Marissa swoops in and calls Alex her girlfriend, and they’re out the door with two heart necklaces. Alex, smitten with Marissa’s save and klepto savvy, gives her the second necklace.

An accomplice can be good, or an accomplice can be bad, but at the end of the day, an accomplice will stand by your side through thick and thin.

Episode Mixtape

  • “Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put a Spell on You)” by Aqualung
  • “Breathe” by Leaves
  • “A Fine Romance” by Stacey Kent
  • “Portions for Foxes” by Rilo Kiley

All four seasons of The O.C. are available to stream on CW Seed and Hulu Plus.