Season 3 has its good points and its not so good points. It's much darker than the previous 2 seasons: Seth doesn't get into Brown which causes a rift between him and Summer, Marissa and Ryan break up which propels Marissa into the arms of the heavily tattooed 'bad boy' Volchok, and Ryan gets kicked out of Harbour by the new Dean and struggles to deal with his his anger management. It's also full of change. Marrisa gets sent to public school, and the Core 4 are in danger of dissolving into the Core 3 minus one. But as much as I love The OC I cannot ignore the flaws which abound. Quite simply, the season lacks cohesion, but that is a flaw in the writing which is arguably visible in Seasons 1 and 2 as well. The emerging storyline with Kirsten and con artist Charlotte fizzles out without really leading anywhere. The evil Dean Hess and his sidekick Taylor hits the ground without making a lasting impact. And as for Johnny...don't even go there. The writers seem at a loss when it comes to wrapping up story arcs. Most of the guest stars either move away (think Anna, Lindsey and Alex) or get killed off. But it's not all bad news. Yes, Marissa is slightly (or even very) annoying, and sometimes you want to shake Seth for not being honest with Summer, but it's still a very enjoyable season. There are things that perhaps could have been done differently. Taylor is immensely irritating at the beginning of the season, and tries to break Summer and Seth up. But she certainly adds new energy to the show and the writers seem to like her. I just wish the writers had had the hindsight to know they were going to put her with Ryan in the fourth season, because Taylor and Ryan have no chemistry at all in the few scenes they share here. So: the writing is weak in places, but when you ignore that The OC is still good fun, and maintains the ability to shock.