Kirsten's company does not charge Ryan with arson for the model home burning, but he must remain in juvenile hall until he can be placed in the care of a guardian. Kirsten reluctantly brings Seth to the jail to visit Ryan. During the meeting, a violent inmate almost assaults Kirsten, but Ryan bravely defends her. Fearing for Ryan's life, Kirsten takes temporary custody of him. After hiring a private detective, Sandy locates Ryan's struggling mother, Dawn (recurring guest star DAPHNE ASHBROOK), and brings her to Orange County for an uncomfortable reunion with Ryan. Dawn has left her abusive boyfriend and wants to work on her drinking problem and be Ryan's true mother again. Meanwhile, Marissa's father, Jimmy, borrows $100,000 from Kirsten to save his faltering financial business. Since Kirsten and Jimmy dated long ago, Sandy and Jimmy's manipulative and judgmental wife, Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE), are concerned when they find out about their spouses' secretive behavior. At a casino night charity event, Ryan fears that his mother will spoil the evening, while Seth amazingly finds himself acting as a good luck charm for Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON), the girl he longs for. When Dawn remains poised, Ryan relaxes and enjoys the party, but nervousness soon overcomes her, and she becomes embarrassingly drunk. Later, she remorsefully leaves Ryan again, asking Kirsten to care for him in the way Dawn never could. Ryan is now part of the Cohen family.