Annie Barrett
February 09, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Two kisses rock ”The O.C.”

Wow. All week we’ve been waiting for tonight’s overhyped ”Last. Five. Minutes.” and I’m not so happy to report that all we got was Five. Lousy. Seconds. of Marissalex kissy face. I don’t get it. Even Sandy and Bloatbecca’s big (absolutely cringe-worthy) moment got more camerattention. (If Marissalex works, so does that.) Last week’s Seth-Summer (S-squared) nose graze got three times the play. Come on.

I’ll stop complaining, because the Beach Kiss was very exciting, and we even saw some tentative waist fingering there at the end. Kids, cover your eyes! Marissa was muttering a soft ”Come closer, my little pony,” but we couldn’t hear it because the camera pulled back. Personally, I thought Alex did the better job at making out. Marissa never moved her lips (trust me — I rewound three times: It’s the same style she used with the Yard Guy). I liked Alex’s yapping about how she liked to synchronize changes in her life with the changing tides. It was cheesy, but whatever. Orange County. Ocean. Deal with it. And the best line of the season — or at least of 2005 so far — was Alex’s tantalizing ”It’s almost time!” directed somewhat to Marissa but mostly to the entire viewing audience. Ha.

We all knew the kiss was going to happen tonight, but Sandy and Bloatbecca’s smooch, however brief, came as a total shock. I literally sat there with an open-mouth gape letting out a terrified low-toned ”agghhhhh” that increased in volume over the ten seconds it took for them to get it over with. First of all, what is he thinking? Not only does he have a happy marriage, but as far as I can tell, there’s nothing really special about Bloatbecca. (Props to reader Santa for the oh-shut-up-it’s-all-in-good-fun nickname.) She doesn’t seem that different from Kirsten. If she’s supposed to be free-spirited and witty, I’m just not seeing it.

I can’t believe the Sandman actually left his wife standing there in her glam, ’70s-cocaine-chic Valentine’s Day dress to run off to say goodbye to Rebecca. Couldn’t he have stopped by after dinner, with Kirsten in the car or something? And stood on the doorstep in plain sight? Anyone remember two weeks ago when I said I loved Sandy? I now officially hate him.

And another thing: If Sandy’s a so-called master of Valentine’s Day, why did he force his wife to call in their dinner reservation for that same night? I’m a feminist and everything, but if you’re gonna take credit for ”mad Valentine’s Day skills,” you could at least pick up the phone yourself. Hooray to Kirsten for the hilarious rose disposing and slow, meaningful door shutting. This whole story line actually has me the most intrigued, so even though it’s so wrong, there must be something a little right. But still. Ugh.

Let’s see. I’ve already covered both the Hot and the Infuriating plots. Moving on to Surprising: The usually mute and awkward Chino wunderkind Ryan Atwood took some major control over the Caleb-hating-him situation. Where did he get all that confidence and pool/negotiation skills? I think he’s adopted his comic-book persona and really does have powers. After a typically uninteresting Ryan-Lindsbree first half hour, Ryan came through by opening a can of his trademark Chino ® brand of whupass on Caleb and then graciously leaving the father-daughter combo alone for the night. Ryan. You rock. Sweet, sweet move. Caleb couldn’t believe it either: He gazed at Ryan admiringly. (Next week he’ll undoubtedly fire back with his The Color of Money ® whupass).

Julie’s back, and as conniving as ever. She revealed to Marissa her master plan to act like a happy family for a few more months before she can break off from Caleb and establish her own evil, but probably really funny, empire. Julie thought Marissa was game because Marissa was taking Alex’s advice to ”act interested.” Alex, don’t tell Marissa to ”act” anything. It never works for us viewers. But it just might work with the self-absorbed Julie. I loved her ”you and your stepfather are quite the welcome wagon!” comment and how she thrust an insanely expensive wrapped gift at her daughter while telling her exactly what it was.

Then there’s S-squared, plus Zach. As usual. The trio road-tripped to San Diego with a giant Summer figure attached to the car. Even though he forgot snacks, Seth started out great by supremely pissing Zach off in the car, rattling off the many memories he’ll always have with Summer. But then he started drinking coffee and getting all Cohen-y. He was (dare I say it?) annoying during the comic-book pitch, but he did bring up some valid points about S-squared’s relationship. Namely, ”if the Ironist and Little Miss Vixen could stop their bickering and bantering, even though readers might find it adorable, I really feel like they could realize how much more evil they could vanquish together!” You mean evil like Zach’s constant presence? This was cute, and the demon water polo players who rise menacingly from the Pacific was also a nice touch. I kind of want to read this comic book.

Zach and Summer shared another probably dull night in their Valentine Fantasy Suite. Did anyone else sort of do the ”huh?” face while they were talking about how fate handed them ”this dream date”? It really didn’t seem that dreamy. You’re not hot for each other, and you haven’t even ordered room service yet. If you’re gonna talk it up like that, at least have the entire dessert menu at your side while you do it.

Oh yeah, and Professor Bloom died. Sandy took his pulse, and in his professional legal opinion, the prof was dead. It doesn’t even really matter, since his daughter has managed to wreak havoc already and will probably stay in the O.C. for a while. Because that idiot Sandy asked her to. Whaaaaaa?

What do you think? Who will win the ultimate battle — Seth or the Universe? What was Zach about to tell Summer before her cell phone rang? And if Bloatbecca stays, what does that mean for Sandy’s marriage?

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