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The Best Episodes of The O.C.

Every episode of The O.C. ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of The O.C.!

Ryan Atwood, a teen from the wrong side of the tracks, moves in with a wealthy family willing to give him a chance. But Ryan's arrival disturbs the status quo of the affluent, privileged community of Newport Beach, California.


Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "The O.C." is "The End's Not Near, It's Here", rated 9.1/10 from 1382 user votes. It was directed by Ian Toynton and written by Josh Schwartz. "The End's Not Near, It's Here" aired on 2/22/2007 and is rated 0.2 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "Premiere".

  • The End's Not Near, It's Here
    9.1/10 1,382 votes

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

    Season 4 Episode 16 - Aired 2007-02-22

    The Cohen family says goodbye in the series finale as the episode jumps six months after the earthquake to show the Cohens, Ryan, Taylor, Summer and the Cooper women trying to piece their lives back together. The Cohens find out that fixing up their old mansion would cost more than rebuilding it but Ryan and Seth see this as an opportunity to give Sandy and an expecting Kirsten a surprise that'll change their lives.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • Premiere
    8.9/10 1,621 votes

    #2 - Premiere

    Season 1 Episode 1 - Aired 2003-08-05

    A new life for Ryan Atwood, the Cohens and the Cooper families, and basically everyone else in the wealthy, picturesque, secretive, turbulent community of Orange County. Be prepared to meet spoiled rich kids and watch Ryan struggle to fit in with his new crowd...

    Director: Doug Liman

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Dearly Beloved
    8.9/10 722 votes

    #3 - The Dearly Beloved

    Season 2 Episode 24 - Aired 2005-05-19

    Kirsten hits rock bottom after Caleb's funeral, prompting Sandy to finally take action; Jimmy Cooper resurfaces and almost immediately renews ties with a mourning Julie; Jess bullies Trey into participating in a drug deal that turns into a shootout; Ryan finally learns the truth about what happened between Trey and Marissa, leading to a bloody confrontation.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Rainy Day Women
    8.8/10 744 votes

    #4 - The Rainy Day Women

    Season 2 Episode 14 - Aired 2005-02-24

    It's a rainy day in Newport where Lindsay decides to take the DNA test and makes a difficult choice regarding her life with Caleb while Ryan helps her through it. Sandy still wants to help Rebecca with her case and tries to convince her not to run again. Kirsten is still upset and wishes her marriage would go back to normal and for Rebecca's case to be over with. Meanwhile, Seth thinks he's lost Summer forever untill Summer is unable to hide from her feelings once and for all. Marissa moves out of the Cooper-Nichol mansion and moves in with Alex after she tells her mother about Alex being her girlfriend.

    Director: Michael Fresno, Michael Fresco

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Ties That Bind
    8.7/10 841 votes

    #5 - The Ties That Bind

    Season 1 Episode 27 - Aired 2004-05-05

    Julie and Caleb walk down the aisle, as Ryan and Theresa face a difficult decision regarding their pregnancy. Marissa moves into Caleb and Julie's new castle on the cliff, and Seth struggles to find himself when things around him seem to fall apart. Life in The O.C. comes full circle from one year before.

    Director: Patrick R. Norris

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Graduates
    8.7/10 792 votes

    #6 - The Graduates

    Season 3 Episode 25 - Aired 2006-05-18

    It is graduation day for Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Marissa at Harbor High School. After graduation they all went out to eat and celebrate their graduation. Ryan's mother gave him a new car as a graduation present. Marissa is going to spend a year on a boat with her father as her graduation gift. Seth finally got into RISD for second semester. Summer is still going to Brown University in the fall. Volchok is still mad at Marissa and Ryan so he decided to crash Ryan's car.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Josh Schwartz, Bob DeLaurentis

  • The Homecoming
    8.6/10 752 votes

    #7 - The Homecoming

    Season 1 Episode 11 - Aired 2003-11-19

    It's Thanksgiving time in ‘the O.C.' It's time for family reunions, and Ryan gets called home by his family. Is it because of the holiday, or is it for a favor? Marissa decides to go along for the ride, but ends up going down Ryan's bad-memory lane instead. Seth plays the player role, but not very well.

    Director: Keith Samples

    Writer: Josh Schwartz, Bryan Oh

  • The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't
    8.6/10 586 votes

    #8 - The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't

    Season 2 Episode 6 - Aired 2004-12-16

    It's Chrismukkah once again in The O.C. and this year, Seth wants to take it global. As Caleb is faced with the looming prospect of going to prison, Sandy convinces him to come forward and reveal the truth about his involvement with Renee. Julie and Jimmy spend some quality time together. Caleb's confession shocks the Cohen and Nichol family to the core, and nothing will be the same again.

    Director: Tony Wharmby

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The O.Sea
    8.6/10 545 votes

    #9 - The O.Sea

    Season 2 Episode 23 - Aired 2005-05-12

    Seth and Zach squabble over who should take Summer to the prom and who will meet George Lucas for dinner; Sandy takes drastic actions with a recovering Kirsten; Ryan starts to piece together what happened between Trey and Marissa, courtesy of Theresa; Julie's attempts to poison Caleb take a surprise turn.

    Director: Michael Lange

    Writer: J. J. Philbin

  • The Chrismukk-huh?
    8.6/10 691 votes

    #10 - The Chrismukk-huh?

    Season 4 Episode 7 - Aired 2006-12-14

    Chrismukkah once again returns to the Cohens. Ryan and Taylor have an accident while putting up the holiday lights and they end up in a sort of parallel universe, where all is not like it is meant to be, since Ryan does not exist. While - in the real world - everybody is worrying about them, except Taylor's mom, they eventually manage to fix things, also thanks to a letter from the past.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: John Stephens, J. J. Philbin

  • The Best Chrismukkah Ever
    8.5/10 764 votes

    #11 - The Best Chrismukkah Ever

    Season 1 Episode 13 - Aired 2003-12-03

    Ryan, and the World, are officially introduced to the bi-religious holiday Chrismukkah, thanks to Seth. And Seth insists he has TWO Godly forces helping him as he plays TWO girls. Marissa has some 'discount shopping' to do, and finds herself in an embarrassing situation, or two, or three. Kirsten does something that could cost her more than just her job. Summer and Anna each have very special gifts for Seth, but which one will he like the most? And a new boy enters the Newport scene.

    Director: Sanford Bookstaver

    Writer: Stephanie Savage

  • The Model Home
    8.4/10 952 votes

    #12 - The Model Home

    Season 1 Episode 2 - Aired 2003-08-12

    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. Jimmy discusses his recent financial woes with Kirsten, and she offers a solution. After Luke witnesses a close encounter between Marissa and Ryan, he confronts Ryan and a fight breaks loose. Ryan's presence in Newport is exposed in a big way, and two arrests are made.

    Director: Doug Liman

    Writer: Josh Schwartz, Allan Heinberg

  • The Secret
    8.4/10 679 votes

    #13 - The Secret

    Season 1 Episode 12 - Aired 2003-11-26

    Seth and Kirsten want to avoid facing the world after their respective displays at Thanksgiving. Sandy has some advice for Jimmy, which doesn't sit well with Julie. Ryan and Luke find themselves getting along after an O.C. loved-one comes out of the closet to face negative reactions.

    Director: James Marshall

    Writer: Josh Schwartz, Allan Heinberg

  • The Escape
    8.3/10 784 votes

    #14 - The Escape

    Season 1 Episode 7 - Aired 2003-09-16

    The Newport kids plan an end-of-summer trip down to Tijuana, Mexico (aka "T.J."). Jimmy has plans of his own, which don't sit well with Marissa. Sandy gets a new job, which Kirsten can't understand. Summer, Seth, Ryan and Marissa find themselves in a strange place together. Jimmy takes it too far. Disaster strikes one of the O.C. kids.

    Director: Sanford Bookstaver

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Countdown
    8.3/10 734 votes

    #15 - The Countdown

    Season 1 Episode 14 - Aired 2003-12-17

    It's New Years and "love" is in the air. A sister returns home, and throws a party. Oliver casts his spell. Sandy and Kirsten find themselves in a rut, and out of their environment. Seth finally makes a decision between Summer and Anna. 2004 is born.

    Director: Michael Fresco

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Debut
    8.2/10 811 votes

    #16 - The Debut

    Season 1 Episode 4 - Aired 2003-08-26

    It's time for the annual Cotillion ball. Cherished by many, hated by most, it's the time when Newport's finest young ladies enter society. More information about Jimmy's business trouble comes to light, and Kirsten's loan to Jimmy is not happy news for Sandy.

    Director: Daniel Attias

    Writer: Josh Schwartz, Allan Heinberg

  • The Heartbreak
    8.2/10 638 votes

    #17 - The Heartbreak

    Season 1 Episode 19 - Aired 2004-02-18

    It's Valentine's Day in Newport, and everyone is preparing for the Valentine's singles benefit. Luke has a new crush, while Sandy gives Seth some sex advice. An old friend of Ryan's shows up in town, which forces Marissa to lay her feelings on the table. Seth and Summer take their relationship to another level.

    Director: Lev L. Spiro

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Goodbye Girl
    8.2/10 648 votes

    #18 - The Goodbye Girl

    Season 1 Episode 21 - Aired 2004-03-03

    Anna announces that she is leaving Newport to go back to Pittsburgh, which leaves Seth feeling saddened and guilt-ridden. Legal troubles brew for Caleb and Kirsten while Sandy works to solve them. Luke and Julie's secret romance is getting harder to contain, and Theresa brings a bit of trouble from Chino to the O.C.

    Director: Patrick R. Norris

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Strip
    8.2/10 612 votes

    #19 - The Strip

    Season 1 Episode 26 - Aired 2004-04-28

    It's Bachelor and Bachelorette party time for Caleb and Julie. Caleb and the boys head off to Las Vegas while Kirsten organizes an evening at the Cohen house for Julie, strippers included. Seth and Ryan get themselves into a tricky situation in Vegas while back home, Summer pines over lost love, and Marissa comforts Theresa. Jimmy and Sandy learn of Caleb's true motives. Julie and Hailey take a swim, while Theresa has some shocking news for Ryan and Marissa.

    Director: James Marshall

    Writer: Allan Heinberg

  • The Avengers
    8.2/10 642 votes

    #20 - The Avengers

    Season 4 Episode 1 - Aired 2006-11-02

    Seth works at a comic book store in Newport. Kirsten drops by the store to ask Seth if he has something to send Ryan in a "care package" she is preparing. Later, Seth tries to talk Ryan into coming to dinner at the Cohens' but the latter isn't easily persuaded, saying he works nights, etc. At her dorm, Summer and a friend named Che try to rally students for a protest. Summer gets a phone call from Taylor who seems to be in Paris.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Josh Schwartz

  • The Night Moves
    8.2/10 553 votes

    #21 - The Night Moves

    Season 4 Episode 15 - Aired 2007-02-15

    In the immediate aftermath of a violent earthquake that rocks Newport, everyone struggles to stay together and keep their spirits up. Sandy and Kristen are stranded at the local shopping center where Kristen has an accident. Across town, Julie and Kaitlin are stranded in a demolished ice cream parlor on the pier with a pitiful worker of the place. Meanwhile, Ryan is seriously wounded with a piece of glass in his side, but keeps the news from Taylor to avoid panicking her. Seth soon learns of Ryan's condition and attempts to drive him to safety while Summer and Taylor search the ruins of the Roberts' house for Summer's missing rabbit, leading to Taylor having a confrontation with her mother.

    Director: Patrick R. Norris

    Writer: Stephanie Savage

  • The Gamble
    8.1/10 820 votes

    #22 - The Gamble

    Season 1 Episode 3 - Aired 2003-08-19

    Sandy comes to Ryan's rescue once again, after he has a difficult stay in Juvenile Hall. Seth makes Kirsten aware of his anger over Ryan's situation, and Kirsten makes a compromise. Ryan's mother, Dawn, makes a surprise visit to Newport, and things don't go quite as she and Ryan may have planned. The monetary secret involving Julie, Jimmy, Kirsten and Sandy comes to a head.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Jane Espenson

  • The Heights
    8.1/10 705 votes

    #23 - The Heights

    Season 1 Episode 9 - Aired 2003-11-05

    Back to school for the O.C. kids. No one really wants to be there, except for the gossips. Ryan doesn't feel like he fits in at his new school, and Luke doesn't make the situation any better. Sandy accepts a case at his new job, a case that will test his relationship with Kirsten and her father. Anna and Seth hatch a plan. Marissa chooses her man.

    Director: Patrick R. Norris

    Writer: Debra J. Fisher, Erica Messer

  • The Truth
    8.1/10 622 votes

    #24 - The Truth

    Season 1 Episode 18 - Aired 2004-02-11

    Changes are happening within the couplehoods of the O.C.'ers. Lines seem to be blurred. Oliver reveals himself as he falls apart, but not before Ryan is completely left in the cold. Someone loses school, one loses work, two lose their partners, and one more loses it all.

    Director: Rodman Flender

    Writer: Allan Heinberg

  • The Distance
    8.1/10 585 votes

    #25 - The Distance

    Season 2 Episode 1 - Aired 2004-11-04

    The summer is coming to an end, and Seth hasn't returned home to Newport. In the midst of home renovations, Sandy and Kirsten are strained and missing their son. Ryan has begun his new life with Theresa in Chino, as Marissa is alone and in a dark place. Summer is slowly getting over Seth.

    Director: Ian Toynton

    Writer: Josh Schwartz