Ryan's turning eighteen this week, and everyone around him is determined to celebrate it despite his requests to the contrary. Seth does it by throwing a birthday bash at the Bait Shop, complete with a Foreigner cover band that sort of craps on Ryan's love of Journey. Sandy craps on Ryan one better by tracking down Dawn in the hopes of what is sure to be the most uncomfortable, awkward and just plain horrible reunion ever. He bails Dawn out of an Albuquerque jail in record time on a Saturday, only to have her ditch him before they can fly back to Newport, leaving only a note for Ryan. Speaking of Ryan, he's too distracted with his hard decision of the episode: whether to invite Marissa to his birthday party. She, in turn, is similarly (except much worse-acted, of course) tormented over whether she should give him a birthday present. She's also being stalked by Volchok until she catches up with him at work and finds him rebuilding the Model Home she and Ryan burnt down in the beginning of Season 1. Memories flood back to her and the viewing audience. We become sad and nostalgic for what this show used to be; Marissa just faints and falls down some stairs. She doesn't die, though. Once she's feeling better, she finds an invitation to Ryan's party that he left her and shows up, only to see Ryan introducing Sadie to his family. She runs back to Volchok and his alcohol. As for everyone else on the show: Julie and Dr. Neil's relationship heats up unintentionally when some cruise tickets Dr. Neil ordered months ago for his now-ex-wife are mistaken for a present for Julie, and Kirsten tries out a different hairstyle.
Nighttime at the Cohen house, and everyone is actually enjoying a meal together! Sandy and Kirsten bring up Ryan's upcoming eighteenth birthday, much to Seth's surprise, since he didn't know that anyone in the world existed besides himself. He decides to have a birthday bash for Ryan, saying that turning eighteen is "huge." This is true; it means that now when Ryan gets arrested, he'll no longer be considered a juvenile. Of course, Ryan doesn't want to do anything, saying that the last birthday party he had was when he was nine and his mom took him to the San Diego Zoo. Seth stupidly asks what happened to the rest of Ryan's birthdays after that, and Ryan dryly responds that they were replaced with Dawn's "all-day drinking-on-the-couch parties." Even the music has the grace to be ashamed, and stops abruptly, although we were not treated to a record-scratch sound effect. The Cohens looks around awkwardly, as well they should. And why haven't they thrown a birthday party for Ryan since he started living with them, hmmm? It's a little too late for this whole "Ryan lives with the Cohens and sees what a real family does for the first time" shtick. He's been there for three years! Ryan finally agrees to a party as long as it's a small one. How cute it is that he thinks that anyone will actually be true to his wishes.
Ryan then retires to the poolhouse to stare at his cordless phone. Somewhere in the dark, Marissa whips out her cell and stares at it. Each decides against calling the other. Wow, their relationship is exactly the same now as when they were together.
The next morning, Summer catches up to Marissa in the Harbor hallway and demands that she get back together with Ryan, since she hasn't been sleeping or eating since they broke up. Again, how is this any different from when they were together? Marissa insists that she ate pancakes for breakfast this morning, not mentioning the part where she immediately threw them up again, and Summer tries to shift the conversation onto herself and some of the things going on in her life. But Marissa is distracted when she spots Ryan across the hall. Ryan also sees her, and immediately tries to hide his face and look inconspicuous. Marissa leaves, and Summer walks over to Ryan, who's pretending to be very interested in a Gay Pride Run poster in order to avoid having eye contact with his ex. The Harbor parents are too uptight to have a student who shot someone attending their school, but totally cool with the Gay Pride Club? How selectively progressive of them. Summer nags Ryan to talk to Marissa. Butt out, Summer.