Marissa's been through attempted rape, a drug overdose, and some really poor choice of head attire, but nothing compares to the horror that is PUBLIC SCHOOL, which is filled with metal gates and non-themed dances and it's just awful. Fortunately, she immediately makes friends with the bizarro versions of Seth, Summer, and Ryan, which makes the real Ryan jealous and the real Seth concerned for him. Meanwhile, over at private school, Summer's reign as the chair of the Social Committee comes to an end, thanks to some clever manipulating by Taylor Townsend, who is, in fact, sleeping with Dean Evil. Kirsten spends the episode pretending she's going to learn to cook and trying to decide whether or not she should give up the sinking Newport Group, a decision made more difficult when 7 'n 7 comes to town asking for money to start up a halfway house. By the way, in case this wasn't incredibly obvious, 7 'n 7 is up to no good and she has a boyfriend. Sorry, 7 'n 7/Kirsten shippers! Also, Julie is poor and homeless.
The Range Rover pulls up in front of a dilapidated old building. I wonder why the gang has taken to hanging out in condemned areas, but then Seth reveals that they're actually at "Newport Union High School, Orange County's answer to public education." How telling that even the people on this show won't call Orange County "the O.C." Seth and Summer praise the school's parking lot for being "spacious" (because the students are too poor to have their own cars) and "well-lit" (sunlight's free), while Ryan comments that since the school is up on a hill (probably built on a landfill), there should be a "good breeze." I hope so, since it's pretty unlikely that a poor-ass public school like that has any air conditioning. My public school didn't, but then, it was in Connecticut, which tends to be a little cooler. Marissa exposits that even if she hadn't been kicked out of Harbor, Julie can no longer afford to send her to private school, so she was always doomed to end up here. Ryan offers to let Marissa "home school" with him, like, I'm sure Sandy would have no problem paying the tutor extra to take on Marissa. Shut up, Ryan. And way to save money building a new set, there, guys, by having Ryan study at home. Marissa says she's actually looking forward to public school, a place where everyone doesn't know everything about each other and people won't be staring at her all the time, because Marissa is so full of herself that she thinks people at Harbor were staring at her. Marissa scans the public-school crowd, the members of which are, of course, staring at the huge black Range Rover. They've never seen such a vehicle before, not even on their black and white TVs! Plus, it's followed by a mile of blocked traffic. It's a drop and loading zone, Ryan, not a "sit and chat" zone. Marissa leaves the car. Seth, Summer, and Ryan watch her go, all worried and sad like she's walking through the gates of hell or something.
Marissa makes her way through the multi-ethnic halls of public school, which are outside because this is Southern California and also because they can't afford roofs. A hilarious gang of girls, all wearing black t-shirts so you know they're hardcore, stop and call Marissa "Newport Barbie," because in public school, you can't afford the latest trend in girls' dolls: Bratz.
After the credits, we get to return to the rich, rich safety of Harbor, where the couches are leather and no one has to go to class. Seth brings Summer some coffee, but there's nowhere to put it on the table, covered as it is with papers for the latest Social Committee event. Summer whines that she always thought Social Chair was just a ceremonial position, which is an easy mistake to make considering that her example, Marissa, really didn't do anything. Dean Evil slithers up and says that when he was spending time in the boy's locker room last night (your guess is as good as mine as to what that was about), he couldn't help noticing that it was a filthy pit. Surely he's mistaken! Maybe he was in the public school boys' locker room and just thought it was Harbor. Anyway, Seth's latest punishment will be cleaning the locker room, since Harbor apparently spent their custodial-staff budget on hiring a smarmy new dean. Oh well! Dean Evil says that he'd be willing to make things a lot easier if Seth gives up his partner in Tiki hut crime. Summer is silent. Seth insists that he acted alone. Dean Evil tells Seth to meet him in the locker room at 3, and to be ready to clean toilets. He leaves, and Summer begs Seth to "let" her tell Dean Evil that she helped him. Funny, I don't recall Seth issuing any gag orders when he was caught and Summer watched him get two months' detention for refusing to say that he had a partner. Maybe he signed it to her off-camera.