When his mother disappears and faced with the prospect of life in a group home, Ryan decides to run away from Newport, but Seth and Marissa convince him to stay and hide in a vacant building project. Meanwhile, Jimmy discusses his recent financial woes with Kirsten, and she offers a solution. After the jealous Luke witnesses a close encounter between Marissa and Ryan, he confronts Ryan and a fight breaks loose in the house where their quarrel accidentally starts a fire. Ryan nearly dies in the flames, until surprisingly Luke returns and saves Ryan's life, which unfortunately reveals Ryan's continuing presence in Newport leading to both him and Luke getting arrested for arson.
This episode contains examples of:
- All Girls Like Ponies: "I love China! She's the prettiest pony!" says little Kaitlin Cooper.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Ryan has to come back and start a fight with Luke to protect Seth.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Luke threatens to kill Ryan, whom he suspects of fooling around with Marissa.
- Disappeared Dad: Ryan tells Marissa that his dad is in prison.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Seth keeps pining after Summer, even though she has no idea who he is.
- Enemy Mine: Luke suggests this to Ryan so no one will know they were involved in the fire (it doesn't pan out as the police already know).
- Exact Eavesdropping: The kids overhear an important conversation between Kristen and Jimmy.
- Foster Kid: Ryan faces becoming this.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Seth makes reference to the fact that he won't have any friends if Ryan leaves.
- Not So Different: A very low-key version of this in that Seth is upset to find out that Marissa not only likes the same music as them but they also have the same favorite book ("On The Road").
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Luke says to Seth "Shut up, queer!"
- The Runaway: Ryan becomes this to avoid becoming Foster Kid.
- You Are Number 6: Ryan jokes about becoming a number in the foster care system.