'The O.C.' began it's juicy run ten years ago today (August 5th, 2003). Over the course of four seasons we saw death, infidelity, house parties, drug use, car crashes and lots of punching (looking at you Ryan). Below is a list of ten episodes which I consider to be the best, I tried to not include many spoilers.
The Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
In the series premiere Ryan Atwood, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, stays with his public defender, Sandy Cohen, when his mother kicks him out of the house. Ryan is an instant fish out of water when he realizes that Sandy lives in the glamorous gated community of Newport Beach. However Ryan soon learns that living behind the gate comes with a price. He meets the rich, beautiful and tragic Marissa Cooper, the adorkable Seth Cohen and the vapid Summer Roberts. Not everyone is welcoming in The O.C. though.
'The Pilot' was an obvious choice as one of the best episodes because it set up the series and gave us the first glimpse of this privileged world, leaving us dying for more. Notable moments in 'The Pilot' include Ryan and Marissa meeting on the driveway, drunk Seth, one of the most famous lines - "Welcome to The O.C., bitch!" and Ryan carrying Marissa into the pool house.
The Escape (Season 1, Episode 7)
The gang goes on a trip to Tijuana but things go terribly wrong when Marissa finds out that her parents are getting a divorce and then sees her boyfriend, Luke, kissing another girl. As a result, Marissa overdoses and is found passed out in an alley.
'The Escape' was a great episode because it threw the core four together in a new and fun way. Additionally, Marissa's overdose played right into my overly dramatic heart. Notable moments in 'The Escape' include Summer telling Seth that she suffers from "rage blackouts" (this becomes a running gag), both Summer & Seth and Marissa & Ryan coming closer together, the car breaking down and the gang frantically searching for Marissa while she's in her drug haze.
The Best Chrismukkah Ever (Season 1, Episode 13)
Ryan is brought into the crazy festive holiday of 'Chrismukkah' (a cross between Christmas and Hanukkah) which Seth made up so he could enjoy both his Christian and Jewish heritage. Meanwhile Kirsten finds some important information about her father that will help Sandy's case.
'The Best Chrismukkah Ever' was the first of what became the annual Chrismukkah episodes. This episode really was the best Chrismukkah episode though, just like the title states. Notable moments in 'The Best Chrismukkah Ever' include Caleb selling The Heights to Sandy for five dollars, Summer dressing up as Wonder Woman to win Seth's affections, Ryan's holiday breakdown and Marissa's shoplifting debacle.
The Countdown (Season 1, Episode 14)
It's New Year's Eve in The O.C. and Kirsten's sister, Hailey, is back in town to ring in the New Year but she's more trouble than she seems. Also, Marissa's new friend, Oliver, holds a party that Ryan and Seth decide to distance themselves from.
'The Countdown' became one of the best episodes because of the iconic moment when Ryan kissed Marissa just as the clock struck midnight with 'Dice' by Finley Quaye and Beth Orton playing in the background. Notable moments in 'The Countdown' include Ryan & Marissa's kiss, Seth feeling claustrophobic in the pool house and Sandy walking in on a threesome (a callback to 'The Pilot').
The Ties That Bind (Season 1, Episode 27)
In the first season finale, Caleb and Julie get married while Ryan decides to move back to Chino with Theresa. Thus Seth has lost his only friend so he sails away from home and Marissa moves into a new home with Caleb and Julie.
'The Ties That Bind' had everything that you need from a season finale from weddings to pregnancies it was a roller coaster ride of emotion. Notable moments in 'The Ties That Bind' include the ending montage featuring a thirsty Marissa, a very sad Kirsten and a friendless Seth sailing away. This montage is amazing and is even better because it's set to 'Hallelujah' by Jeff Buckley.
The Rainy Day Women (Season 2, Episode 14)
It's raining in The O.C. but the dry spell between Seth and Summer is finally over. Elsewhere, Kirsten isn't enjoying all the time Sandy has been spending with Rebecca and Marissa tells Julie about her relationship with Alex.
'The Rainy Day Women' is supremely enjoyable for all Seth/Summer fans which is why I love it so much. Notable moments in 'The Rainy Day Women' include Seth & Ryan being separated by the rain, the Alex/Marissa make out session behind Julie's back and the Seth/Summer Spider-Man style kiss.
The Mallpisode (Season 2, Episode 15)
The Core Four intend to spend their day doing charity work at the mall but they get locked in and have to spend their night there. A postcard from Zach then gets in between Seth and Summer.
'The Mallpisode' is just a really fun episode because, like 'The Escape', the Core Four were together in a new, fun and exciting way. Notable moments in 'The Mallpisode' include the indoor hockey game, Seth discovering Zach's postcard and Ryan & Marissa's growing closeness.
The Dearly Beloved (Season 2, Episode 24)
The second season finale takes Kirsten to new lows because of Caleb's death. In addition, Ryan finds out about Trey attacking Marissa. While trying to stop Trey from killing Ryan, Marissa shoots him.
If you thought the first season finale was good then 'The Dearly Beloved' steps up the game with everything from funerals to shootings. Notable moments in 'The Dearly Beloved' include the line "Ryan knows...", Kirsten's intervention, Caleb's funeral procession with music by Imogen Heap and the shooting.
The Graduates (Season 3, Episode 25)
In the third season finale it's graduation day and everyone's futures are bright. But when things are looking good in The O.C., tragedy strikes with the death of a major character.
'The Graduates' is the most emotion episode you will ever watch. When it's all over you'll be lying on the floor crying for days. Notable moments in 'The Graduates' include the graduation ceremony featuring Imogen Heap's 'Speeding Cars', Ryan's mother giving him a car as a graduation present, the return of Kaitlin Cooper and the death scene with Imogen Heap's 'Hallelujah'.
The End's Not Near, It's Here (Season 4, Episode 16)
The series finale features the Cohens moving out of their family home which we grew to love. Our favorite characters live happily ever after with things coming full circle by Ryan helping a young boy from the wrong side of the tracks.
I have seen many series finales but 'The End's Not Near, It's Here' has to be one of the best, if not the best. Notable moments in 'The End's Not Near, It's Here' include the whole fricking episode!
Honorable Mention: 'The Night Moves'
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