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The O.C. Episode Guide

The Safe Harbor - 3.11
aired 1/12/05

Seth, Summer, Marissa and Ryan in class picture

By Kasey

Summer, Seth, Marissa, and Ryan celebrate their last day of winter break by getting mock-cocktails. Marissa and Seth leave to go to the bathroom, and Summer suggests to Ryan that they try to get Marissa back into Harbor. Seth comes back, and Summer tells him her plan too. Ryan agrees when Seth says that it is a good idea, and the three toast to it. 

Ryan goes to directly ask Dr. Kim if Marissa can get back into Harbor while Summer and Seth continue strategizing. 

Dr. Kim tells Ryan that only the Board of Trustees has the power to revoke an expulsion. She tells him that she could bring up Marissa’s case at the board meeting, but Ryan will need a parent advocate to bring up the case. She also drops hints for him to study past meetings at the library, to see if a precedent has been set in similar situations. 

Johnny and Marissa hug at school and catch up on each other’s lives. Johnny tells Marissa that he got a spot on a surfing team and could compete while doing his physical therapy. He asks Marissa to go to a party with him as his one guest he is allowed to bring. Marissa agrees. 

Kirsten and Julie work together when Neil Roberts walks into the restaurant. Julie goes to say hi and the two discuss how they need to tell their daughters the truth (Neil about being separated from his wife, and Julie about living in a trailer). 

Summer tells Seth that they need to find someone to champion their cause to get Marissa back into Harbor. Seth suggests Taylor, and Summer agrees. The two go and ask Taylor’s help while Taylor is hanging out with other girls, and Taylor agrees when the two call her their friend. After Seth and Summer leave, the other girls remind Taylor that Marissa is her enemy and it was Taylor’s mom who worked to get Marissa kicked out of school in the first place. Taylor tries to shrug it off. 

Ryan fills Sandy in on the plan to get Marissa in school. Sandy tells Ryan that he has a good case, and agrees to be the parent advocate. Ryan tells Sandy that the chair board is Jim Mercer, and Sandy tells him that he is a judge who he’s worked with before. 

Ryan tells Marissa about the plan, and she is speechless. Marissa tells Ryan that she would love to finish high school with them. Ryan tells Marissa that the meeting is this Thursday—the same night as Johnny’s party. 

Marissa talks to Summer, who tells her to cancel on Johnny, since he’ll be happy for her. Marissa begins to call him, but ends up hanging up. 

Sandy tells Kirsten that there is a good argument to be made for Marissa getting back into Harbor. Ryan and Seth ask if Sandy has gotten to talk to Judge Mercer, and Kirsten looks concerned. After the boys leave, Kirsten asks Sandy if this is the same Mercer who once put him in jail for a few hours for contempt. Sandy says that it is, but they should still get a fair hearing. 

Johnny and Chili talk about how he needs to see the doctor for his surf team, instead of just sending over his charts. Marissa comes up and asks to talk to Johnny. She tells him about the board meeting, and Johnny acts happy for her, but seems sad after she leaves. 

Taylor, Summer, and Seth plan getting Marissa back into school when Taylor’s mom comes up and sees Taylor working for Marissa’s cause. She pulls Taylor aside and scolds her for doing this without talking to her first. She reminds Taylor that Taylor has no friends, which is part of why she wanted Marissa gone. Taylor’s mom storms off, and Taylor tells Seth and Summer that she can’t work with them anymore. 

Matt talks business to Sandy while he ponders over Marissa’s case. Sandy tells Matt about his problem with Jim Mercer, and Matt offers to, “put in a call.” 

Ryan visits Marissa at school and shows her the t-shirts they had made for her. She tells him about Johnny, but her phone rings and cuts their conversation short. Marissa has to take a book to Chili, since he isn’t feeling well. She tells Ryan to head back to school and help Summer with the campaign. 

Summer puts up fliers when Ryan comes up and tells her about Marissa heading out at Chili’s request. Summer tells him that Marissa is worried that she might be abandoning Johnny, but that she still wants to come to Harbor. 

Julie visits the Roberts’ to see Marissa, but Neil tells her that the girls aren’t back from school yet. He invites Julie in, and they two discuss again how they need to tell their daughters the truth. They end up chickening out before Summer and Marissa get back and go for a drink instead. 

Marissa visits Chili at Johnny’s house where Johnny has wrecked everything. Chili tells her that Johnny’s medical records didn’t pass, and he won’t be able to go on the surfing tour after all. Chili tells Marissa that he has never seen Johnny like this, and he won’t be able to make it back from this. 

Ryan, Seth, and Summer talk about how little signatures they are getting to get Marissa back into school. Marissa comes in and tells Ryan, Seth, and Summer that she doesn’t think she can come back to Harbor.  

Marissa visits Ryan the next morning and explains to him why she can’t come back to Harbor. Ryan tells her to stop making Johnny’s problems her problems, and reminds her of what time they are meeting that night. 

Matt gives Sandy the information he found out on Mercer—he has a son who has a drug problem that the family has not heard from recently. Sandy thanks him for the information. 

Seth and Summer attempt to get more signatures at school the next day. Summer realizes that they need Taylor’s help, and gives Seth permission to do whatever he has to do to get Taylor’s help. 

Ryan visits Johnny and tells him that Marissa is basing her decisions off of what is best for Johnny and not for herself. Ryan tells him that Marissa had better feel like it is her choice, and leaves, slamming Johnny’s door behind him. 

Kirsten visits Sandy for lunch. Sandy asks Kirsten for ethical help—should he shame Mercer by using his family history to get Marissa back into school? Kirsten asks Sandy what he would do if Marissa were his client in a courtroom case. 

Seth visits Taylor and begs her for her help again. Taylor tells him that her mom threatened to take away her car and paying for college, and she cannot help. Seth gives her a petition, and asks her to not grow up to be like her mom. 

Neil visits Julie at the trailer and offers her a ride to the meeting. Julie says that she doesn’t think she should go, but Neil convinces her that Marissa needs her. He reminds her that he is in their corner, and Julie offers to be ready in a few minutes. 

Seth tells Summer that Taylor won’t help, and Ryan tells her that Marissa is nowhere to be found. The boys are ready to admit defeat, but Summer holds out hope for a miracle. 

Chili tells Marissa that Johnny is back on the team, and when Marissa decides to run off to the meeting at Harbor because of the good news, Johnny comes outside to Chili and it is clear that they had lied to see what she would choose to do when left to her own decisions. 

Ryan, Summer, and Seth wait by the pool when Marissa finally shows up. The four head to the car. 

Julie and Neil head into the meeting. Marissa, Ryan, Sandy, and Kirsten come in and Marissa thanks Sandy for his help. Sandy greats Mercer, who seems to still hold a grudge. Matt shows up and pulls Sandy aside. Taylor avoids telling her mom that she will back her up in the meeting by rushing off to the girl’s restroom. Meanwhile, Matt gives Sandy some new information that stuns Sandy.  

Seth and Summer call Taylor to see if she will be at the meeting, and Taylor says that she won’t be. Seth is understanding, which impresses Taylor. Taylor’s mom greets Neil and tries to embarrass Julie, but Neil turns her insult into a compliment. 

Mercer calls the meeting to order, and asks Mrs. Townsend (Taylor’s mom) to make an opening introduction. When Mrs. Townsend says that the parents and students do not want Marissa at Harbor, Taylor comes in and says that the students do want Marissa at school, and presents the board with the petition. Julie and Neil also speak on Marissa’s behalf, but when Mercer says that the school cannot break precedence by allowing in someone expelled for violence, Ryan jumps in and says that there was a previous instance several years ago, where a student was allowed back in even after using a knife on school grounds. Mercer concedes that it is a good point, but he still does not have to allow Marissa back in school. Sandy walks in and says that he might want to, since everybody needs a second chance when they need it most. Mercer, remembering his son, seems softened. 

Johnny comes to Harbor and listens in just in time to hear that Marissa has been voted back in to Harbor. All Marissa’s friends congratulate her, and when Mrs. Townsend storms out, Taylor asks Seth and Summer for a ride home. Summer offers to have her spend the night instead, and the two hug. 

Sandy thanks Mercer and passes on his information Matt gave him right before the meeting—they found Mercer’s son in Los Angeles, and he is willing to see his dad. Mercer thanks him and walks out. Sandy gets a kiss from Kirsten. 

Marissa and Julie hug, and Julie finally tells Marissa that she lives in a trailer. Marissa hugs her mom again, telling her that she will move back in with her soon. 

Summer thanks her dad for stepping up for Marissa, and Neil admits to Summer that her stepmother is not coming home. Summer tells him that they will be all right without her. Summer and Marissa head off to the diner, and Neil and Julie decide to go out for drinks. 

Marissa tells Ryan that she decided to go back to Harbor because of Johnny. Later, Ryan visits Johnny at the beach, and Johnny tells him that Marissa deserves to be happy. 

Marissa, Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Taylor all take their senior picture together at Harbor.

Photo from Screencap Paradise

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Updated 1/5/11 

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