The BEST Episodes of The O.C.

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Network: FOX

The O.C. is an idyllic paradise, a wealthy, harbour-front community where everything and everyone appears to be perfect. But beneath the surface is a world of shifting loyalties and identities, of kids living secret lives hidden from their parents, and of parents living secret lives hidden from their children. Cohen, Cooper, Nichol families, and Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen from the wrong side of the tracks, who is thrust into this world, and who will forever change the lives of the residents of The O.C.

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The End's Not Near, It's Here

#1 - The End's Not Near, It's Here

Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 22, 2007

Six months after Mother Nature grabbed everyone by the neck and shook, events return to normal. Very normal. But complacency is never the Cohen or Cooper way. Time to follow the head and heart to what's right.

star 8.82
344 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Dearly Beloved

#2 - The Dearly Beloved

Season 2 - Episode 24 - Aired May 19, 2005

Familiar faces show up for a final farewell to Caleb. Meanwhile, Sandy takes action to help Kirsten. And when Ryan learns about the Trey-Marissa incident, a showdown - if not a tragedy - is inevitable.

star 8.55
361 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The O.Sea

#3 - The O.Sea

Season 2 - Episode 23 - Aired May 12, 2005

Heads: Seth takes Summer to the prom. Tails: Zach does. Whoever's dateless takes a meeting with George Lucas to discuss Atomic County. That'll settle things, right? The Julie-Caleb union ends...not the way anyone expected.

star 8.27
253 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: J.J. Philbin
The Rainy Day Women

#4 - The Rainy Day Women

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 24, 2005

Rain - and it seems there are as many problems as raindrops. Kirsten, Sandy...and Rebecca. Julie, Marissa...and Alex. Lindsay, Ryan...and Chicago. Summer, Seth...and Italy. Can't rain forever, can it?

star 8.23
355 votes
Directors: Michael Fresco
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't

#5 - The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 16, 2004

Friends, festivities, 8 days of gifts, another day with a whole lot of gifts. Seth's formula for the perfect Chrismukkah may come undone when Caleb's confession rocks the Cohen world.

star 8.21
346 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Ties That Bind

#6 - The Ties That Bind

Season 1 - Episode 27 - Aired May 5, 2004

Summer is near and that means sun, surf and rejuvenation. Or to Ryan, Seth and Marissa, it may mean none of the above as each faces a critical crossroad. Just the same, Newport society rises to the occasion when Caleb and Julie do the "I do."

star 8.13
394 votes
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Power of Love

#7 - The Power of Love

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Jan 13, 2005

Sandy didn't forget his 20th anniversary. Honest. Just ask him. And just watch him squirm as he tries to make things right. Also, Seth and Ryan are grounded; DJ calls it quits with Marissa.

star 8.09
311 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: John Stephens
The Heights

#8 - The Heights

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 5, 2003

Calculus. AP Enlgish. History. The ways of the human heart. Not everything learned at Harbor High is on the schedule of classes. The Cohen casa is a house divided when Sandy takes an environmental case against Kirsten's father.

star 8.07
446 votes
Writers: Debra J. Fisher, Erica Messer
The Graduates

#9 - The Graduates

Season 3 - Episode 25 - Aired May 18, 2006

Graduation: A time for friends, family, celebration, remembrance, letting go, and moving on to tomorrow. Odd man out in all the events is Volchok. Then, it happens...

star 7.98
332 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Countdown

#10 - The Countdown

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Dec 17, 2003

As the New Year looms, Ryan doesn't know how to respond when Marissa says those three meaningful words. Sandy and Kirsten are wallflowers at a swingers' party. And at home, Seth thinks of what might have been.

star 7.97
456 votes
Directors: Michael Fresco
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Cold Turkey

#11 - The Cold Turkey

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Nov 9, 2006

Julie is no longer invited. But guess who is coming to dinner: Homeless men, recruited by Summer, show up for the Cohen Thanksgiving. Ryan will be there, too - if he doesn't first commit murder when he learns where Volchok is.

star 7.92
209 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: J.J. Philbin
The Earth Girls Are Easy

#12 - The Earth Girls Are Easy

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 21, 2006

Seth is clueless about what to do for New Year's Eve. Solution? Crash the Ryan-Taylor road trip to Vegas. Now add pregnancy tests, a space alien rave, thefts, misunderstandings, pursuits and a marriage proposal and it's time to welcome 2007!

star 7.92
214 votes
Directors: Norman Buckley
Writers: Mark Fish
The Showdown

#13 - The Showdown

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 5, 2005

Dynamite with a lit fuse: Kirsten goes on a bender now that Carter's gone, Ryan can't figure what's up with Marissa, Caleb hits Julie with divorce papers, and the Seth-Zach rivalry turns into War of the Weirds.

star 7.92
264 votes
Directors: Michael Fresco
Writers: John Stephens
The Night Moves

#14 - The Night Moves

Season 4 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 15, 2007

Everything's okay. As okay as anything can be after a major earthquake. Now come coping, staying calm, helping...and somehow getting Ryan to the hospital before he bleeds to death.

star 7.92
336 votes
Writers: Stephanie Savage
The Distance

#15 - The Distance

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Nov 4, 2004

Come home, Seth! If Sandy can't persuade his alienated son to return to the family perhaps Ryan can. Meanwhile, Theresa realizers her relationship with Ryan is on life support. Time to pull the plug?

star 7.91
370 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Lonely Hearts Club

#16 - The Lonely Hearts Club

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 10, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day! Seth's feelings for Summer destroy their comic-book pitch meeting, Ryan turns pool-table hustler in hopes of winning approval for his romance with Lindsay, and Kirsten distrusts Sandy.

star 7.91
261 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: J.J. Philbin
The Mallpisode

#17 - The Mallpisode

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired Mar 10, 2005

The Seth/Summer plan to help Ryan shake his Lindsay blues is...a mall visit? Hey, it can work. Because Marissa comes along. And everyone gets locked inside the place. An extortionist targets Julie.

star 7.89
304 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Stephanie Savage
The Family Ties

#18 - The Family Ties

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Jan 6, 2005

Time to move on: Jimmy decides to relocate to Maui. Time to make a move: Ryan and Lindsay wonder about a first kiss. Time to bust a move: Seth turns bad boy in an attempt to impress Alex.

star 7.88
331 votes
Writers: Drew Z. Greenberg, Josh Schwartz
The Perfect Storm

#19 - The Perfect Storm

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 3, 2005

Is Ryan shipping out? Sandy's mind-meld persuasion skills fail to convince him to stay. But where there's a will, there's another Cohen way. Charlotte now zeroes in on Julie; Summer outwits Taylor.

star 7.86
289 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Mike Kelley
The Debut

#20 - The Debut

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Aug 26, 2003

Ryan promised to stay out of trouble. But trouble finds him as he, Seth, Marissa and others take part in one of the biggest events on the Newport social calendar: the Debutantes Ball.

star 7.86
535 votes
Directors: Daniel Attias
Writers: Allan Heinberg, Josh Schwartz
The Case of the Franks

#21 - The Case of the Franks

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 1, 2007

Julie and Gordon? Or Julie and Frank? Summer and Seth? Or Summer and George? No, make that GEORGE. Mysteries of the heart (and the meddling of others) unfold as Valentine's Day nears.

star 7.86
230 votes
Directors: Norman Buckley
Writers: J.J. Philbin
The Escape

#22 - The Escape

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Sep 16, 2003

What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. But the secrecy surrounding a summer's-end teen trip to Tijuana can't stop Marissa from feeling the way she feels when she sees Luke with Holly.

star 7.84
501 votes
Writers: Josh Schwartz
The Party Favor

#23 - The Party Favor

Season 3 - Episode 23 - Aired Apr 27, 2006

Right dress. Wrong date. If you can't go to prom with the person you like, go with someone who makes the person you like jealous. There'll be many memories for the Core 4 after this prom. Not all of them will be happy.

star 7.83
217 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: John Stephens
The O.C. Confidential

#24 - The O.C. Confidential

Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 21, 2005

The evidence adds up. Trey is likely to do time for drug violations. But Sandy, Ryan and Marissa know he's innocent and develop a plan to catch the real culprit in the act. Seth meets a marketing...genius.

star 7.83
235 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Mike Kelley
The Second Chance

#25 - The Second Chance

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Feb 3, 2005

Try try again. A cardiac crisis gives Caleb a new outlook. Seth and Summer struggle to deny their attraction. And if, as Sandy says, Rebecca is dead, why does Kirsten find her in Sandy's office? Uh-oh.

star 7.82
301 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Drew Z. Greenberg, Josh Schwartz
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