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The O.C.
Season One

1.03 "The Gamble"
starstar0.500 2 votes
  • Episode Number: 3
  • Production Code: 103
  • Original Air Date: August 19, 2003
  • Producer: Jane Espenson
  • Supervising Producer: Ian Toynton
  • Guest Cast:
    • Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper)
    • Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts)
    • Daphne Ashbrook (Dawn Atwood)
    • Kim Oja (Taryn)
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Detailed summary
Sandy visits Ryan in jail. Kirsten's company is dropping all charges, so Ryan is free to leave jail following a probation hearing. But that won't take place for 30 to 60 days. Sandy can get Ryan out sooner, but only if they can find Ryan's mom.
At Cohen central, Seth is still upset that mom and dad won't take in Ryan and are just leaving him to rot in juvy. Kirsten again argues that she's not Ryan's mother. Seth retreats back to his room to endure his grounding. Later, Kirsten catches Seth sneaking out to visit Ryan. Seth thinks she's not doing enough to help Ryan, to which Kirsten points out that she's dropped all criminal charges and has hired someone to find Ryan's mother. What else can she do? Well, Seth thinks she could come along to juvy with him. Being eager to ditch a meeting of high society ladies discussing their next fundraiser - Casino Night! - she agrees to go along.
Next door, Summer and Marissa are hanging out, being girly. Seth drops by to see if Marissa wants to visit Ryan with him. The first thing he sees is Summer in her bra, trying on clothes. He temporarily loses focus. Marissa says she can't go. It's too complicated with her and Luke.
In the visitor's center, Seth and Kirsten sit down with Ryan. At another table, an inmate starts talking to Kirsten in a less than polite manner. When he starts to approach her, Ryan jumps up and a fight is on. As a guard drags away the other inmate, he threatens to kill Ryan. Um, it might be time to get him out of there.
Sandy comes home and hears digitized war being fought. He heads down the hall to yell at Seth for playing video games while grounded. But when he turns the corner, he finds that Seth has a playing partner. Ryan. In another room, Sandy tells Kirsten they can't keep pulling the kid out of juvy only to tell him he can't live with them. Kirsten says she couldn't leave Ryan in there, but he can't stay here. Ryan overhears and says he won't unpack then.
Preparations are beginning for Casino Night. Kirsten brings Seth and Ryan along to the hall. Mrs. Cooper brings Marissa. And Luke drops by. The gang's all here! Luke continues ignoring Marissa. And Ryan and Marissa agree that they're still from two different worlds.
Elsewheres, Sandy is sitting in a coffee shop when Mrs. Cooper and another society type stop in. He overhears them loudly gossiping about how Sandy is bringing criminals into Newport, so he decides to join their conversation. He mentions that the community should welcome outsiders. Heck, Mrs. Cooper is from Riverside, which isn't so different from Chino. Then Magnum P.I. calls, telling Sandy he found the former Mrs. Atwood.
Sandy drops in on Dawn Atwood. They talk, and soon Dawn is in the Cohen home, waiting for Ryan to come back. Dinner surprisingly goes awry, and soon Ryan and mom are out back having an important talk. Mom promises to change. She's quit drinking. Ryan says he's heard that before.
The next day, after a nice walk and a few laughs, Ryan and Dawn are ready to take off. Kirsten, realizing they have nowhere to go, tells them to stick around for the party tonight. It's Vegas Night! Sounds like fun, so the Atwoods will be there.
The time comes and into the fake casino we go. Dawn starts betting big and winning big and Ryan worries that she might be having too much fun. Spotting Marissa, she tells him to spend some time with his friend. She'll be fine on her own.
Then the fun starts. Luke oversees Marissa and Ryan chatting and starts to pout. Then Mrs. Cooper thanks Sandy for letting the Coopers borrow $100,000. Not in chips. Which is news to Sandy. Then Ryan intercepts Luke to tell him Luke is the one that Marissa wants. And then Dawn orders a 7&7.
Then she has another drink. Kirsten confronts her about it, but that's interrupted by Sandy confronting Kirsten about the loan. He's disappointed that she never told him about it. But all of that takes a backseat when a blitzed Dawn falls over a waiter and hits the ground. On the way back up, she makes a noisy scene. Noisy enough to bring the entire casino to a halt.
The next morning comes, with regrets following closely behind. Dawn tries to sneak out early, but runs into Kirsten. Dawn confesses that she's not made out to take care of another person. Ryan wakes up and comes outside just in time to see his mother walk away from him once again.
The original broadcast of this episode scored a 6.2/10 rating. A repeat three days later notched 2.8/5, and six days later 3.7/6. The total viewers for the episode amounted to 15.1 million.

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