The biggest spoilers of the series below.
The Graduates: Season 3 Finale. Another case of The OC not disappointing in a season finale. The episode is obviously driving toward something. Marissa leaving to live on the boat with Jimmy? No. Obsessive, poorly acted Volchok runs Ryan and Marissa off the road, causing her severe injury and demise. With Imogen Heap’s “Hallelujah” playing, we see Ryan and Marissa’s relationship framed perfectly. He has always been trying to save/saving her. He carried her back to the poolhouse when she was passed out drunk and he carries her away from the burning wreckage. No matter what, he won’t let her go. Even after he has moved on from this unhealthy romantic entanglement, he hasn’t given up on loving her.
The End’s Not Near, It’s Here: The Series Finale. I can’t tell you much about what happens for the first 40 minutes or so, but I can tell you about what happens in the flash forwards at the end. But I won’t. What I will say, is that it’s beautiful how it comes full circle. I maintain that television is the perfect vehicle in which to make real character arcs. Ryan Atwood starts out as a kid from a broken home, nowhere to go, no future. By the end of the series, flashing forward, he has become the architect that he eventually chooses to be. And within this success, he is able to help a kid in the same situation that he once was in. Maybe it isn’t realistic. But wouldn’t it be nice if it was?