As pleased as I am that American Idol is going to give The O.C. finale what’s sure to be its biggest audience of the season, this is a show that FOX probably owed a two-hour finale. As it was, the creative team had to deliver a lot of information — past, present and future — in a very short period of time (did the episode really need to end three or four minutes early to promo a David E. Kelley drama that’ll last half a season?) and the result was rushed, albeit undeniably emotional.
How much got packed into the episode? From beginning to end, there were at least two weddings (only one that went through, I guess), at least two human births, potentially countless bunny births, college enrollments and graduations, separations and reconciliations, plus trailers for at least two movies that seemed specifically edited to sucker in disconsolate O.C. fans. There was hugging and tears and more hugging and more tears and the show came full circle — the pilot began with the Cohens giving Ryan a home and the finale featured Ryan helping the Cohens get a home — and then came full-circle again. It was exhausting, but satisfying.
As for the actual end, an ending that Josh Schwartz told me they’ve had in mind for some time, I was of two minds. Ryan’s departure from Casa Cohen, cut between pilot footage of his arrival, was perfect. If I didn’t have to find out whether Meredith Grey lives or dies, I would finish this recap and throw the pilot into my DVD player. But how wonderful would it have been if the last shot had been Ryan pulling out of the driveway and, in his memories, seeing Marissa in a short from the pilot that ends in a sun-flare.
That flare could have been the end. I didn’t need the piecemeal flash-forwards, because they just left me with questions and left me wanting more. Summer and Seth having a Jewish wedding? Mazel Tov! But where was Dr. Roberts walking Summer down the aisle? Where was the Nana? Should we assume that since Sandy and Kirsten named their daughter after her, she passed away without anybody mentioning? Too many questions. But then, it ended really the only way it could end. Future Ryan, now an architect — moving beyond his days as a construction worker — spies Past Ryan and says "Hey kid… Need any help?" The child becomes the man and all that. Sure. That’s how it ends.
I didn’t cry. I only do that in underdog sports movies or films where dogs die. But I got choked up.
A few highlights from the finale:
I could go on. I’ll let y’all.
Thoughts on the finale?