The Best Episodes of The O.C.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2018

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. 'The O.C.' tells the story of the Cohen, Cooper, and 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.

The End's Not Near, It's Here

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

Season 4 - Episode 16

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 8.67
163 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Dearly Beloved

#2 - The Dearly Beloved

Season 2 - Episode 24

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 8.63
178 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Rainy Day Women

#3 - The Rainy Day Women

Season 2 - Episode 14

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 8.41
192 votes
Directors: Michael Fresco
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't

#4 - The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't

Season 2 - Episode 6

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 8.38
177 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Ties That Bind

#5 - The Ties That Bind

Season 1 - Episode 27

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 8.26
198 votes
Directors: Patrick Norris
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The O.Sea

#6 - The O.Sea

Season 2 - Episode 23

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 8.25
154 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: J.J. Philbin
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Pilot

#7 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1

Just a freeway's drive away. And yet worlds apart. Rejected by his parents after a brush with the law, Ryan Atwood moves temporarily into the pool house of his attorney's posh Newport Beach home...and finds both friends and foes among the privileged O.C. youth.

star 8.23
406 votes
Directors: Doug Liman
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Power of Love

#8 - The Power of Love

Season 2 - Episode 8

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 8.21
175 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: John Stephens
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The Graduates

#9 - The Graduates

Season 3 - Episode 25

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 8.19
148 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Countdown

#10 - The Countdown

Season 1 - Episode 14

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 8.16
220 votes
Directors: Michael Fresco
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Aftermath

#11 - The Aftermath

Season 3 - Episode 1

Trey's in a coma, Marissa pulled the trigger, who's going to take the fall? Ryan? But maybe there's a way out for Kid Chino.

star 8.16
151 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Night Moves

#12 - The Night Moves

Season 4 - Episode 15

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 8.15
134 votes
Directors: Patrick Norris
Writers: Stephanie Savage
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The Man of The Year

#13 - The Man of The Year

Season 3 - Episode 24

Sandy's picture will be on the cover of Riviera. Or, if the DA has his way, on a mug shot. More troubles: Volchok blackmails Ryan into a crime, Kirsten is drinking, and Seth burns down his dad's office. Didn't mean to. Honest.

star 8.13
124 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Stephanie Savage
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The Debut

#14 - The Debut

Season 1 - Episode 4

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 8.09
286 votes
Directors: Daniel Attias
Writers: Allan Heinberg, Josh Schwartz
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The Best Chrismukkah Ever

#15 - The Best Chrismukkah Ever

Season 1 - Episode 13

It's part Christmas, part Hanukkah and totally a Cohen-family way to celebrate the holidays. But a time out for the holidays doesn't mean time away from Marissa's personal problems or Caleb's business tactics.

star 8.07
237 votes
Writers: Stephanie Savage
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The Distance

#16 - The Distance

Season 2 - Episode 1

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 8.07
199 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Josh Schwartz
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The Way We Were

#17 - The Way We Were

Season 2 - Episode 2

The boys are back. Every status is quo. Except: Summer won't kiss and make up, Ryan catches Marissa in a clinch, the DA busts Caleb, Hailey bails and the remodellers are like a wrecking crew. Home sweet chaos.

star 8.07
184 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: Allan Heinberg
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The Case of the Franks

#18 - The Case of the Franks

Season 4 - Episode 13

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 8.06
113 votes
Directors: Norman Buckley
Writers: J.J. Philbin
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The Earth Girls Are Easy

#19 - The Earth Girls Are Easy

Season 4 - Episode 8

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 8.05
123 votes
Directors: Norman Buckley
Writers: Mark Fish
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The Shake Up

#20 - The Shake Up

Season 4 - Episode 14

Make a movie: Summer challenges Seth's passivity. Make a move: Taylor wants to hear Ryan's profession of love. Make a mess of it: Kaitlin floats rumours about Frank and clown porn. Make way for Mother Nature...everyone!

star 8.05
123 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: John Stephens
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The Perfect Storm

#21 - The Perfect Storm

Season 3 - Episode 5

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 8.05
137 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Mike Kelley
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The Chrismukk-huh?

#22 - The Chrismukk-huh?

Season 4 - Episode 7

Sandy is married to Julie. Kirsten is Mrs. Jimmy Cooper. Summer is engaged to Winchester. Seth is in full geek mode. It's a parallel Newport. And Ryan, stuck there after a conk to the head, must change it.

star 8.04
129 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: J.J. Philbin, John Stephens
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The Heights

#23 - The Heights

Season 1 - Episode 9

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 8.04
261 votes
Directors: Patrick Norris
Writers: Debra J. Fisher, Erica Messer
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The Rager

#24 - The Rager

Season 2 - Episode 19

Marissa throws a birthday party for Trey - an event that may or may not smooth things between the two Atwood brothers. Julie gets cozy with Lance, her long-ago lover and recent extortionist.

star 8.02
140 votes
Directors: Tony Wharmby
Writers: John Stephens
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The End of Innocence

#25 - The End of Innocence

Season 3 - Episode 3

Ryan. Marissa. A romantic beach hut. You do the math. Meanwhile, the math in Caleb's will is easy: Julie gets zilch, Kirsten gets nada. Caleb was broke - and that adds up to a new dynamic for the Cohens, Coopers and The Newport Group.

star 8.02
140 votes
Directors: Michael Lange
Writers: Stephanie Savage
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