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"The Gamble" is the third episode of the first season of The O.C. . It aired on August 19, 2003.


Sandy comes to Ryan's rescue once again. Kirsten decides to invite Dawn to an elite Casino Night, but she gets lost in the sauce, disappointing Ryan. Dawn believes Ryan is better off with the Cohens, leaving him with Sandy and Kirsten.


At juvie hall. Again. Sandy meets Ryan. Sandy says the Newport Group drops all the charges against him. Ryan can leave after probation hearing, which takes 30 to 60 days. On the other hand, Luke gets free. Sandy explains that Luke has no prior, his record is clear, and he has a guardian, but obviously Ryan's condition is completely different. Sandy promises Ryan to find his mother in order to get him out of jail. But Ryan does not want his mom.

Back at the Cohen’s. Kirsten prepares for a "Newpsie" convention. Seth, who is grounded, again expresses his disagreement of not adopting Ryan. Kirsten argues that Ryan is a bad influence and the Cohens are not his family.

Meanwhile in the juvenile prison, an inmate beats Ryan and stabs him in the neck with a fork, because the young man fell on him by accident.

The Newpsies are discussing the theme of the party. Kirsten takes a Newpsie break, and finds Seth about to sneak out to visit Ryan. Seth invites her to come and Kirsten consents. Seth then invites Marissa, who cadged Luke to talk to her by phone before. Marissa seems to want to get back with Luke after Ryan rejected her in the model home. Marissa turns down Seth's invitation.

Kirsten sees how unpopular Ryan is at the juvie hall, after Ryan is beaten up to protect Kirsten. Kirsten brings him home to ensure his safety. But Kirsten still does not want to adopt Ryan. The only way to solve the problem is to find Ryan's mom, Dawn.

Kirsten has to take Ryan to set up the casino night after Sandy has to leave. Marissa and Luke are there too. Marissa wants to talk to Luke but he is still mad at her. Ryan apologizes for what happened and wants to take back what he said at the model home but Marissa agrees with what he said that night.

Sandy overhears Julie blaming him for bringing Ryan, a criminal, near her home. Sandy feels offended and says that Ryan is from Chino, not far from where Julie grew up in Riverside. Julie expresses to Jimmy her anger at Sandy of being told where she is from and deprecates Kirsten's decision of bringing Ryan home. Jimmy asks Julie to leave Kirsten alone because she is paying the bills for the Coopers.

Private investigators find Dawn. Sandy meets her and takes her to the Cohen’s to meet Ryan. At the dinner, Ryan criticises Dawn for how she ruins his life. Ryan is sore when Dawn describes their old lives. Dawn then promises to give Ryan a better life. Ryan is touched, and is willing to take the first step.

Kirsten and Seth invite Dawn to the party after Ryan and Dawn have a nice walk. Vegas Night! Dawn is OK and does not drink when Ryan is there, but when he leaves to talk to Marissa she takes alcohol from a barman. Marissa blesses Ryan for his new life, and leaves to talk to Luke. Luke is still annoyed that Marissa left Holly's to go the model home. Ryan assures Luke that Marissa chose him. Luke seems to believe him, as he goes back to Marissa again.



The luckiest guy turns out to be Seth. Seth gives superstitious Summer good luck and finally earns a moment with her. Although, she still doesn't know his name.




Meanwhile, Julie tells Sandy about the loan and he is displeased. He blames his wife for not discussing it with him. Kirsten assures him it was only a loan. Jimmy goes to apologize but Sandy is angry at him for interrupting their 'private conversation'.


Dawn starts having bad luck and cannot refuse to have alcohol again. Kirsten warns her not to drink too much, but Dawn doesn't listen. Dawn unfortunally ruins the opportunity to have a new start with Ryan when she falls onto a waiter in her drunken state. She leaves Ryan with Kirsten because she knows that the woman is a good mother rather than a mess. Dawn waves to Ryan and leaves. Kirsten finally allows Ryan to stay. Although Dawn is gone, Ryan is happy, and tells the family that he will unpack his bag.







Memorable Quotes[]

Seth: Hi, Summer. Seth Cohen.

Summer: I'm superstitious. Blow on these.

Seth: What?


Ryan: I used to want to be an architect.

Kirsten: What do you want to be now?

Ryan: 17.

Kirsten: Me too.


Kirsten: (to Seth) Where do you think you're going?

Seth: What are you doing here?

Kirsten: Taking a Newpsie break. Where are you going?

Seth: I'm not going anywhere.

Kirsten: Seth...

Seth: ... I'm going to juvie to visit Ryan.

Kirsten: No. No, you are not. No way.

Seth: Okay, bye.


Seth: If anything happens to Ryan, then it's all on you, so I hope you can live with that.

Kirsten: What I can't live with is if something was to happen to you because of him.

Seth: Like I meet someone who doesn't suck?


Seth: I'm going to visit Ryan. I thought, you know, maybe you'd like to come. I'm sure he'd love to see you.

Marissa: Uh, what's that, Seth? Did you say you need a ride to a Star Wars convention?

Seth: Star Wars convention? I'm sorry, her top was off. You couldn't at least have said X-Men for me?


Marissa: Look, Luke and I got in a fight last night, okay?

Julie: So you got into a fight. You've had fights before. You guys have been together forever.

Marissa: Maybe that's the problem. I mean, what if there's someone else out there?

Julie: Like who, that boy from Chino? Marissa, do you want to end up like your Aunt Cindy, with four kids in a trailer park? She broke my mother's heart. I will not let you break mine.

Marissa: Oh, so now this is about you?


Ryan: What are you even doing here?

Dawn: I came...for you.

Ryan: Why? What do you want from me? You left a note. A note.

Dawn: Okay, let me explain..

Ryan: You abandoned me. You threw me out. You just took off.

Dawn: I know, honey. I was...and AJ, and...the drinking, and...It's going to be different now.

Ryan: That's what you said when we moved from Fresno after dad got arrested.


Kirsten: You can't do this. You're his mother.

Dawn: I'm a mess. Not a mother.

Kirsten: You have a responsibility.

Dawn: I'm being responsible. I'm not wired for this. I can't care for anybody else. I don't have what you got. The way your husband looks at you. And your kid looks at you. Even my kid... Like, no matter what, you're going to make everything okay. You hold your family together. I tear mine apart.


Jimmy: So, how's your mother?

Seth: Er, just... married.



Recurring Roles[]

Guest Stars[]