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Episode 16 "The Rivals"

 
RYAN IS OUT TO EXPOSE OLIVER ON "THE O.C." WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21 ON FOX

Sandy and Jimmy begin their new business partnership when they buy the Lighthouse, a beloved Newport restaurant, while Kirsten and Julie face off at the office when Julie is hired as the Newport Group's new model-home designer.
 
Seth becomes jealous of Summer's new boyfriend and begins to doubt his relationship with Anna.
 
Meanwhile, Ryan risks everything to prove that Oliver is a fraud, leaving Seth and the Cohens concerned and afraid. Ryan is out to expose Oliver on "The Rivals" episode of The O.C.

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The Rivals
January 21, 2003
Embrace the friend

Ryan doesn't trust Oliver, but Seth suggests he may just be jealous. "Embrace the friend," Seth counsels. Ryan follows his advice, and tells Marissa that since Oliver is her friend, he's Ryan's friend too. He'll even hang out with Oliver if she wants. He gets to test that sooner than he thought - Oliver just transferred to Harbor School.

Too friendly
Seth is having his own issues - he and Anna seem to share a brain, and it's starting to freak him out. They're even dressing the same. They resolve to try to mix it up a little. He's even more distressed to find Summer, Anna and Luke laughing their butts off at Danny's tired jokes. The guy's not funny - and even worse, he's dating Summer.

Working relationships
Jimmy is amazed that Sandy is serious about buying The Lighthouse, the restaurant they got drunk in. He can see all the things that can go horribly wrong, but Sandy doesn't think there's a downside. Meanwhile, Julie asks Kirsten for a shot at doing interior design for the model homes. If it doesn't work out, Kirsten can fire her.

"An incident"
Oliver tells Ryan that he transferred into Harbor as a junior, even though he was a senior at Pacific. He won't say why he transferred - just says there was "an incident." Oliver begs Ryan to give him a chance, let him start over.

"I don't trust him"
Seth vents that he doesn't trust this Danny guy - he goes for big laughs, but he's not actually funny. Ryan isn't paying attention - he's fixated on Oliver's "incident." Seth snarkily suggests Ryan break into the file room to get the dirt on Oliver. Ryan seems to think that's a good idea. He gets caught. He'll be in detention until the school disciplinary committee decides whether to suspend or expel him.

The incident unveiled
Ryan did get a look at Oliver's confidential file - he left Pacific after a suicide attempt brought on by a girl filing a restraining order against him. Sandy and Kirsten are aghast, but they don't excuse Ryan's behavior. Ryan asks whether they'll kick him out. "You think you can mess up so bad we'll just give up on you?" Sandy asks. "You can't. You're a part of this family now and you're going to feel the full weight of that. You're going to wish we threw you out." Despite that pronouncement, Ryan looks relieved.

Friends?
Seth gets pissed at how hard Summer is laughing at Danny's jokes - he's just not funny! Anna accuses him of being jealous of Danny's relationship with Summer, and asks him if he can embrace the friend. Seth tries, but Danny reveals himself as singularly unfunny and inept. He also begs Seth not to be so funny around Summer - she's always saying how Seth is the funniest guy she's ever met. Seth takes the opportunity to do a little sabotage of his own, and tells Danny to dial it up a notch. Summer is disenchanted and dumps him.

Working relationships revisited
Jimmy is still undecided about the restaurant, but he gets sucked up in Sandy's enthusiasm. Kirsten is dealing with Julie's enthusiasm - she goes way over the top with her plans for the model home.

Suspicion
Ryan sees Oliver give Marissa a letter. He steals it from her locker. Seth horrified when he finds out, and tells Ryan to replace it without reading it. No such luck - Ryan reads it, and it's a love letter. Ryan is convinced that Oliver will start stalking Marissa. Everyone else thinks Ryan is the one who's a little nuts.

Working relationships resolved

After some cold feet, Jimmy agrees to go into the restaurant business with Sandy. Julie had a rockier time of it - none of her designs came to fruition, and she's left with a big empty house. Kirsten agrees to help her out, but she's convinced Caleb will fire Julie himself for screwing it up. Surprise - Caleb loves the stripped-down, minimalist look, and thinks Julie did it on purpose. Julie is hired.

Confrontation
Dr. Kim tells Marissa about Ryan's break-in - she's afraid Ryan's unstable. Marissa confronts Ryan. When Ryan shows her the letter he stole, Marissa freaks - Oliver wrote that for Natalie, she says. Ryan apologizes, but Marissa says she can't trust him anymore. She breaks up with him. Later, Ryan apologizes to Oliver for suspecting him, but Oliver reveals that Ryan was right all along. Ryan attacks Oliver, warning him to stay away from Marissa. Marissa looks on, shocked.