The OC: The Avengers (season premiere)
(S04E01) The OC is back with a vengeance... big time. After what I think most considered to be a lackluster third season, I think both die-hard and casual fans are going to be impressed with what this show still has to offer. We pick up five months after the death of Marissa Cooper and everyone, especially Julie and Ryan, has had to adjust their lives in the wake of her passing. Corny as it sounds, nothing is going to be the same.
Ryan no longer lives at home. He's taken up residence in the back room at the what may be the dirtiest bar in the world, but as Seth puts it "the utility closet is the new pool house." Ryan works at the bar as much as he can and avoids seeing the Cohens whenever possible. He spends his nights cage-fighting for prize money (which he never accepts) and he routinely gets his ass handed to him. It's sad to see him in this state. He clearly isn't doing well without Marissa and apparently getting punched repeatedly is getting him through it. I loved the opening sequence though. When Sandy came to visit and Ryan ducked out before Sandy came in? The whole scene was set to a cover of "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo and it really set the tone for the whole episode. It was a nice start to the season.
Elsewhere in Newport, Seth is passing time by working at a comic book shop called Centurion Comics. He's still going to RISD but I think he probably has to wait until the second semester since he applied so late in the game. He seems pretty much the same, but quieter -- like at the beginning of the series. He's much more reserved, though still a source for humorous one-liners.
It's clear Seth misses Summer and she seems to have pretty much put him out of her life. She's reinvented herself at Brown as this hippie-chick who supports any cause that comes her way. This new style for her... I'm not sure that I buy it. She's pretty much the anti-Summer now. Designer clothes have been replaced with thick sweaters that look like afghans and she no longer cares about what her hair looks like. I'll be interested to see how much longer she goes with this because she certainly isn't doing it to impress her tree-hugging cohort Che (Chris Pratt).
Not much to say about Kaitlin and Taylor, the new full cast-members. Kaitlin now attends Harbor and in her free-time she blackmails Dr. Roberts into buying her expensive clothes because Kaitlin busted the good doctor with, wait for it... The Stepmonster! She exists. Now if only we could see her face next time. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise though. Julie has never had good luck with marriage and now that she's drugged up all the time, it makes sense the Dr. R would be looking for companionship elsewhere.
There's even less to say about Taylor. She's back in Newport when everyone thought she was supposed to be in Paris. I don't dislike her character, but I get the impression that whatever her story is... it'll just be filler. That's not to say it won't be good. I just don't see how it could possibly relate to what's going on with everyone else.
The best scene of the episode was near the end though. Summer flew home to help Seth (I hate that it's awkward between them) deal with Ryan and what they came up with was really... well, sweet. Seth drew an entire comic book about Ryan and how he helped Seth, Sandy, and Kirsten better their lives. Ryan made the difference and they want him to come home. It worked (pool house is just as he left it) but before Seth could properly thank Summer, she took off for Rhode Island on a red-eye flight. Again, I hate that it's all weird between those two.
Despite everyone's good intentions, Ryan still falls prey to Julie's schemes. She hired a private investigator. He found Volchok and Julie gave all the info to Ryan. He's gonna go after him because in his own words, "I just realized... I have to do this." Volchok is responsible for Marissa's death. Avenging that is all that matters to Julie and Ryan. If Ryan finds him? Well we all saw what he did to that big guy in his final cage match. I like where this is going though. It's a serious conflict and The OC lacked that during last season. The hunt for Volchok is on.