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The Distance - Episode Information

Production Number: 201

Air Date: 2004-11-04

With the end of summer quickly approaching, tension fills the air in THE O.C. The Cohen family is desperate to convince Seth, who ran away at the beginning of the summer, to return home. Meanwhile in Chino, Ryan is working construction while a pregnant Theresa waits at home. Back in Newport Beach, while Summer is finding ways to deal with Seth's disappearance, Marissa is distancing herself from the world and masking her problems by reverting to old habits.

Cast Information

Benjamin McKenzie, Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Adam Brody, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Alan Dale, Melinda Clarke, and Tate Donovan

Guest Stars:
Chris Carmack (as Luke Ward) Navi Rawat (as Theresa) Nicholas Gonzalez (as D.J.) Brian McNamara (as Carson Ward) Bruno Amato (as Archie)

Episode Music

Coming Soon


Coming Soon


Review by Gaius Bolling

After several months of waiting the gang from the O.C. is all here and many of the cliffhangers that had us on the edge of our highly emotional seats are settled, with many more avenues to explore as the season progresses. Now that the Season 2 premiere has come and gone, was it worth the insanely long wait?

As “The Distance” opens we find that all of our characters have gone through seriously emotional summers. Kirsten and Sandy’s marriage has hit a roadblock of sorts due to Seth’s abrupt departure from Orange County at the end of the first season. Marissa has spent a very unhappy summer in her new home with Caleb and Julie while getting drunk and falling apart in the process. Seth has started a new life in Portland staying with Luke (a pleasant surprise having Chris Carmack in the premiere) but still dealing with Ryan’s return to Chino. Summer has spent most of the break feeling sad over Seth’s departure but as the episode opens she is determined to finally get over him. Ryan is staying with Theresa in Chino but this arrangement seems to be more out of an obligation or guilt rather than for his own happiness. Julie doesn’t know how to deal with Marissa’s rapid downfall and Caleb has to deal with the feds breathing down his neck. In all actuality, the only happy person in Newport seems to be Jimmy Cooper, which is quite amusing considering all the stuff he went through in Season 1.

What I found most interesting, and actually compelling, about this episode was that there was a high level of drama and everyone played it so nicely. Sure there was some typical O.C. humor (Caleb’s comment about Seth leaving because of Ryan only to end up in Portland with Luke’s gay Dad was a comedic highlight) but “The Distance” was all about drama and not tying up everything in a neat little package. There are no easy answers and sometimes you have to go on your own path in order to figure out what truly makes you happy. For me, “The Distance” was all about that. I loved the little blow out between Seth and Sandy at Luke’s house, mainly because it was not only honest, but also incredibly well played by the performers. I even enjoyed Marissa’s breakdown scene in front of Julie, which could’ve came off as cheesy but for some reason Mischa Barton was able to show some serious depth in the scene. It just amazed me that everyone was able to handle the heavy doses of drama in this episode and I was thankful that the writers explored these themes of growth, separation, and that the ties that hold family and friendships together.

I didn’t have many complaints about the episode. Some might’ve been upset by the lack of typical O.C. humor in this episode but I thought it needed to take a backseat to drama, at least in this episode. I would’ve liked to see more Summer, Jimmy, Julie, or Kirsten. It didn’t seem like much was done with their characters in this episode but I suppose the bulk of it needed it to be devoted to Ryan and Seth and ultimately getting them back home. By the way, getting them home seemed to be wrapped up a little quick though. I know the writers probably want to speed things along a bit so they can focus on the new stories they are developing but I think it hurt the overall impact their return home had. Theresa’s miscarriage lie was also a bit abrupt but I suppose that also needed to be done so things could, as I stated earlier, move along. A little more time to these plot threads however, might’ve boasted the tension a little bit more.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I was a little worried about the premiere, mainly because the show had come off a very strong first season but it seems that if this episode is any indication things will be just fine in the O.C. Let the fights, drama, comedy, adult/teen angst ensue.

Grade: B+

Best Moment: Seth’s argument with Sandy during dinner. Very good stuff going on in that scene. Peter Gallagher and Adam Brody completely sold that situation well. A very poignant and honest argument between father and son.

Best Performance: Thus bringing me to the best performance in this episode. Adam Brody completely amazed me. Yes, we all know he’s funny and he’s basically the comedic genius of this show but you never really get to see him bust out some serious dramatic chops. He really got that opportunity in this episode. From the previously mentioned argument with Sandy, to his very sincere interaction with Ryan during his visit to Portland, I thought Adam Brody completely stole this episode. Congrats to him.

Best Line: “What’s his face? Built like a beanpole, curly hair? Runs away like a little bitch on his sailboat, leaving nothing but a note for his girlfriend, who cried and cried over him until the Fourth of July, when she decided that she doesn’t cry over bitches on boats.” (Rachel Bilson brilliantly delivered this line in response to Seth going AWOL. This line had me cracking up.)

Worst Moment: Despite Mischa Barton showing show improved acting chops, I didn’t really buy the sullen attitude she had during the scene with Rachel Bilson by the pool. I don’t think she can really play the depressed alcoholic teen too well but who knows she’s already showing a little improvement from last season so we’ll keep hope alive.


Review By Ali

That wasn't too long a wait was it?

Well we're back and we can tell! Marissa's still troubled, Seth's still cute and Theresa still has that deer in headlights look in her eye.
My first impression is: ok episode, good setup. Sure, I wish they could have tried a little more with the season premiere- maybe had flashbacks..Seth fights sharks, Summer bawls over her letter, ect.
Instead we had choppy scenes, and dialouge that was basically written to sum up the 5 months we've missed.

Best moment? Either Seth's foot or Summer's encounter with Captian Oats. I actually expected her to break down and cry on his bed...but again that's probably asking too much.
Still, I'm not worried. I'm very excited about this season, because even if they wrapped up a summer's worth of drama in one episode, the effects are going to last all season.
Worst moment? eehh...Marissa's breakdown. Watching the promos, I was thinking 'this is going to be the best moment' but really it was the fakest thing. Made me laugh though. And Jimmy's beard anyone? Atleast he mentioned Hailey.

I must say I loved Ryan and Seth meeting at the door. It was almost too cute (I thought they might start kissing) but perfect all the same.

And Theresa! dun dun dun- We could all see Ryan was miserable, and Theresa noticed too. I wonder how long that secret will stay,but I'm still betting it's Eddie's.
Oh and where was Theresa's stomach? If its five months, she should really be showing!
All in all, this episode wasn't the best- but who cares? Ryan and Seth are back home, and we are about to start season 2- which I think will be fantastic.


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