You know a show is desperate for ideas when it's building plot lines around Groundhog Day, and that's precisely what happened on last night's episode of "The OC." Che is still in Newport and struggling with the revelation that his soul mate is a sea otter and, therefore, probably Seth. His other major concern: liberating the groundhog that is Newport's version of Punxsutawney Phil. He enlists Seth's help in freeing the critter, and thank goodness, because otherwise, we'd miss out on a number of old-fashioned Seth one-liners, which keep the episode from being a total waste.
Meanwhile, Kirsten is fretting about her health as her 40th birthday nears, and Kaitlin has been emailing Bullitt for about a month, pretending she is Julie. (Her latest message ends, "I miss your butt. Love, Julie." Classy.) To find out what happens,
Ryan tells Sandy he's coping well with Taylor's absence, but he's still staring longingly at the scrapbook she made him. Taylor is going to therapy to address her tendency to obsess over people: "I married a man I knew for two weeks just because he told me he loved me." As part of her treatment, the doctor goes with Taylor to drop off a box full of mementos at Ryan's.
Meanwhile, Kaitlin suspects Julie is seeing someone else when a mystery man delivers flowers to the house. Next thing we know, Kaitlin is accompanying Bullitt to buy Julie a ginormous diamond ring. When Kaitlin asks if it's the most expensive ring in the store, her potential stepdad replies: “Well, Bullitt bought it. Of course it is.”
Dressed in ski masks, Che and Seth prepare to liberate the groundhog, but when they get stuck on a roof during their escape, the two are thrown in jail. Now, it's up to Summer to do the deed, so she poses as a reporter for a newspaper called — get this — Groundhog’s Day Weekly. In custody, Che finally tells Seth about his vision, wherein he realized that his animal self is a bullfrog and in love with an otter.
But wait! Maybe it wasn't an otter after all! In walks a young female revolutionary, dressed in a plush groundhog costume. She's also been arrested while trying to free Newport's mascot. Che realizes that the animal in his vision was actually a groundhog, not an otter, and hence, he has found his soulmate. When Sandy comes to bail Seth out of prison, Che insists on staying behind until both he and his lady friend are freed. "Works for me," Seth says as he hurries off.
Julie comes home to Bullitt on one knee offering a proposal of marriage. (What is it with the TV marriage proposals this week?) When Julie realizes what's happening, she scolds Kaitlin for emailing Bullitt. In a moment of Cooper-style tenderness, Kaitlin apologizes and says she just wishes things would work out with Bullitt, because not only is he a billionaire, but he would also make an amazing stepdad.
Later, the three meet over dinner, and Julie says her answer is "no," because she doesn't know Bullitt well enough yet. But, if she can grow to love him, she would be proud to be his wife someday. Hugging ensues.
Finally, we get to Kirsten's 40th birthday dinner at the Yacht Club, where Sandy arrives driving a mail truck, a reminder of their early days at Berkeley and — I must admit — pretty cute. With Seth and Ryan standing by, Sandy hands over her gift: around-the-world first-class air tickets. "I think I can top it," Kirsten says, then pulls Sandy aside to tell him she's pregnant. A rather desperate dramatic twist, I must say. Thankfully, with only four episodes left, we won't have to see the resolution.
In the final scene, we see Julie on the phone with her mystery man, saying she can't see him anymore because she's going to start dating Bullitt. And the mystery man is ... Kevin Sorbo of TV's "Hercules"! (You might remember him as Ryan's dad.) Funny, he's holding a diamond ring too, though it's considerably smaller than the one from Bullitt. Is Julie a heartbreaker or what?