Trey says he's innocent and that he only took the fall for Marissa as a favor; Sandy promises to defend him against the drug charges. Marissa and Ryan decide it's time to take the law into their own hands, so she cozies up to the X-popping Jessica and gets herself led straight to the real dealer. Somehow, Jessica herself gets off scot-free. Okay. Anyway, Ryan and Marissa rope Sandy into helping them trap the dealer. When Marissa has him cornered and Ryan shows up to throw a few punches, the cops, Sandy, and the D.A. show up -- driving down the beach, no less -- to arrest the guy, and all charges against Trey are dropped like trousers. Ryan and Marissa celebrate by making out and making plans to have sex (presumably) in the pool house, while Trey fetes the day of his freedom by entering his apartment and seeing sultry Jessica inside. She slobbers all over him again, and he's very willing to pop her pill, if you know what I mean; the ending shows a darker hue to Trey, and I couldn't tell if the show was hinting at him being slightly less innocent than he claimed.
At the same time, Seth and Zach go into a "notes session" for The Fastest-Developing Graphic Novel In The World, and are subsequently invited to a party pimping it to advertisers and some such. Zach suggests that Seth bring Summer to draw her into the project, so he does, albeit by tricking her into it (off-camera, of course) because he can't just flat-out tell her how important this is to him. She of course spends the whole night pouting, because she can't shut up and be supportive for an hour, nor can she rise above her boyfriend's idiocy; finally she insists that they leave, right when everyone is kissing Seth's ass. Seth naturally resists this, upset by her impatience. So she asks Zach for a lift, and somehow he was leaving anyway, despite the fact that the party is still going and he is allegedly half of this partnership. Summer goes with him as Zach shoots what could almost be construed as a triumphant glance at Seth. That dog. Maybe.
Elsewhere, Eighthead Erin is not returning Carter's calls, thwarting his plan to take her as the fourth on a wine-country "research" weekend with Kirsten and Sandy. The shenanigans with Trey lead Sandy to pull out as well, but he convinces Kirsten to go, and she can't resist. She and Carter get too drunk to drive home and hang out in a nice suite, where she almost takes a shower and he looks hot in a robe, and she -- with effort -- bites back any statements of lust in favor of securing them an immediate ride back home. There is some regret in the air between them. Finally, Caleb tells Julie he wants a divorce, so she goes to Lance with fleeting thoughts of offing her husband. But instead she pays him to leave town, then plants one on his lips as a farewell. Someone photographs it. When she arrives home, she sheds tears of mourning in front of Caleb that seem to be genuine, so he announces he still has feelings for her and takes her out to dinner instead of proceeding with the divorce discussion -- so, a stay of execution for Julie, but who knows for how long. Oh, and that whole Death Cab For Cutie thing? They barely play, and Seth misses it, making it an incredibly pointless cameo. Feh.
Last time on The O.C.: Sandy tried to get Carter laid by a girl named Erin; Seth lied about Reed's sex and Summer found out; Trey hooked up with a girl who took drugs and passed out in Marissa's pool; he then decided that chivalry was not only dead, but genetic, and took the fall for Marissa when the cops busted her party.
The episode begins in the Cohen kitchen. There, the excitement is tangible: Seth pours himself a bowl of cereal, and Ryan drinks coffee. But you know, I suspect neither of them really means it. They're both thinking about how they can quickly rehash what happened last week, but make it sound like a normal conversation. "Hey," Seth begins, sitting down next to Ryan and patting him. "You can't blame yourself. All you did was give Trey a chance, and you believed in him. Whatever he did at Marissa's party is on him." Ryan frets that the problem is, he doesn't actually think Trey did it: "He's a lot of things, but I don't think he's a drug dealer." Seth, ever mindful of his mandate in this scene, helpfully reminds us that Trey confessed to the crime. Ryan suspects that was a ploy to protect Marissa, and the reason he knows this is because he was about to do exactly the same thing. "The compulsive need to rescue Marissa Cooper," sighs Seth. "Must be in the Atwood DNA." Which means that if Marissa gets herself pregnant by an Atwood, she'll have herself an army of unusually self-sacrificing stooges. Seth says with very sweet faith that if Trey really is innocent, then Sandy will make it all go away.
Sandy overhears this last comment, having just arrived home with Trey, and intones that he isn't so sure he can fix this. Ryan and Trey make some meaningful eye contact, until Ryan runs up and gives his brother a supportive cuddle. Trey is relieved that Ryan isn't mad. "Why would I be mad?" Ryan says. "You didn't do it, right?" Way to attach a condition to your unwavering support, there, Ryan. Trey swears he didn't do it and reasserts that it was all for Marissa. Everything is for Marissa, selfless angel of mercy, hapless victim, and friend to all. The Canonization of Coop is proceeding on schedule. "If gallantry and/or stupidity were defenses to felony dealing charges, you'd be a free man," Sandy notes wearily. He dispatches Trey -- who is temporarily in Sandy's custody -- to the poolhouse to get settled, because apparently Atwoods aren't Main House people. Sandy levels them with the news that Trey is facing some major prison time, and goes to make some phone calls, leaving Ryan and Seth alone to scheme. "We have to do something," says Ryan, figuring if it's true that men with big noses also have big...hands...then he can certainly fit the law inside his grasp. "Okay, but the buddy-cop thing, that's just a metaphor," Seth sputters. "We're not actually supposed to solve crimes." Yet Ryan decides that finding the real culprit is the best way to help, and Seth realizes he's talking about a hot high-school sting operation: "That would be very 21 Jump Street of you." "Whatever it takes," Ryan avers. "Okay, I get to be Richard Grieco," Seth announces. We smash to the credits.