Before we begin, please note that there will be a sub next week. Please behave. You will be learning.
Previously: I still have not bought The Walkmen album. Nice try though, show.
We fade up at O.C.H.S., Seth and Ryan pulling up to campus in their bicycle/skateboard combo, because today school is close enough to access on non-motorized vehicles because the exposition doesn't require that they get a ride to school. They pat each other on the back -- not literally, though, because patting leads to touching and touching leads to an eternal life of hellfire and brimstone -- about how well last week's double date accidentally worked out, with Seth and Alex kissing and Ryan and Lindsay engaging in some hot, unadulterated park benching. Seth sets up the dramatic tension for the episode, asking Ryan what's next for "the two lovebirds," though if he mumbles and "lovebirds" comes out "my red-headed stepsister," I wouldn't fault him for cracking the mystery of the twist ending exactly six seconds ahead of the rest of the viewing audience. Ryan responds that he's just going to "take things slow," adding, "No pressure." But Seth has larger plot conceits in mind, though we can all rejoice silently that Ryan won't be asking Lindsay to any concerts at The Bait Shop, because, with any luck, they've held their final Going Out Of Relevance Sale and their sellout band lineup can go about getting famous the way bands have for years: by toiling in pointless obscurity and just shutting the living hell up about it.
Anyway, what Seth has in mind for Ryan and Lindsay is "The SnO.C. Winter Dance," which is indicated by a big-ass banner that rises up above them right now. The plucky plucky string music is briefly drowned out by the sound of thousands of O.C.H.S. high-school students turning to each other and asking permutations of the questions, "How come we've never heard of this dance before?" and "I'm sorry, but does that sign say 'The Snock'?" But Ryan is more hung up on the whole idea of the dance, which he expresses with his trademark bad-boy Chino toughness: by being afraid of it like a tiny little girly. He mutters a noncommittal, "Oh, no," and Seth counsels him to take Lindsay so that they may have the double date that they were supposed to have. Ryan frets that Lindsay will have had the weekend to think about it and will have decided that she only wants to be lab partners, because of all the potential breakup politics of being someone's lab partner. Well, actually, I guess it is a little more difficult than that when there's only one class at your school. Seth puts things in perspective, asking, "Ryan Atwood? Are you scared of a girl?" Ryan responds that he likes Lindsay, and meta-worries about the ramifications of going to a big party on this show, an activity that always ends up with the punching and the crying and the monkeys making mayhem and flouncing around in the punch bowls. Though the last one hasn't happened. Yet. But Seth says that Ryan should just ask Lindsay as a barometer of how she feels, and Ryan squints, "Maybe I'll just go alone." Seth wants his damn double date, and the good news for him is that it's going to work out exactly like that. Because The Snock is a place of magical wonder and dreamy snocky dreams.