The OC: The End's Not Near, It's Here (series finale)
(S04E16) Does this count as the end of an era? I'm not sure. When The OC first began, it sure felt like the beginning of an era. Now that it's over, I'm not exactly sure what it's the end of. Other than something that I'm really, really going to miss.
I have to be honest. The first twenty or so minutes of this episode fell pretty flat for me. I really wasn't enjoying the six-month jump, only to find out that everything we thought we knew was no more. Julie was engaged to Bullit, Taylor was back in France, and Seth and Summer had become "comfortable." Nothing was right, and despite the fact that we all knew how this was going to end, I was a little put off by the way it started. But it picked up steam and by the episode's end, I was completely satisfied with the way it all turned out.
The majority of the episode was centered around the Cohen's peaceful invasion of a quaint gay couple's home. This wasn't any house though. It was Sandy and Kirsten's former Berkeley residence and it led to the basis for most of the story. From the birth of Sophie Rose Cohen to the non-marriage between Julie and Bullit, everything came full circle at the house that apparently started it all.
There were actually far too many small, but important, things to list that happened in this episode. It was chock full (in a good way) of nods to all sorts of things that played major roles in the show over the four season span. The Marissa locket, the return of the word "schmear," Summer giving her sage opinion of the five-season renewal of The Valley -- it was all there, even if only for a second. I was a little disappointed that people like Jimmy Cooper or Hailey Nichol weren't fortunate enough to receive a thread in this final story-line, but I can forgive that because the ending made up for anything else the episode may have lacked.
I suppose the ending is really all that does matter here. The rest of the episode was just build-up to that moment. The Cohens move to Berkeley, Seth heads off to RISD, Summer joins GEORGE, Taylor goes back to Paris, Ryan heads to college as well, and Julie finally takes her own advice and stays single.
Then there were the obligatory, tear-jerking, montages as Ryan walked through the Cohen house once more, recalling his first day there. Ending it on that final glimpse of Marissa as Sandy and Ryan pulled out of the driveway in the pilot episode was a nice touch too. A quiet reminder more than anything else, if only because Marissa really was forgotten about this final season.
But that wasn't all. Fast-forward ahead another four, maybe five years and we got all the answers we really wanted. Sandy became a law professor, Ryan and Taylor appeared to be back together, Julie got a college degree, and yes -- Seth and Summer finally got married. And since the montage I mentioned happened about five minutes before any of this, I was choked up throughout all of it.
In the end, Ryan achieved his dream. A college graduate who became an architect. It's fitting that the series ended on the same note that it started. Someone lending a troubled kid a hand. The whole thing is cyclical, as Sandy said earlier in the episode. What goes around comes around. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see another show as well crafted and culturally meaningful as The OC come around again any time soon.