Friday, February 16, 2007

The O.C.: Blood brothers

Penultimate "The O.C." spoilers coming right up...

Well, how about that? The last few episodes had me worried that Josh and company were just limping to the finish line, and even the first third or so of last night's episode had me thinking, "They're spending their next-to-last episode ever on this?" But somewhere around the point where Julie and Kaitlin had their Bob Seger duet and Seth started Ryan on a trip down Punchy Memory Lane, I just went with it, and by the time everyone was hugging in the hospital, I was getting choked up.

One of my few major complaints about this season has been how subdued Seth has been throughout. Adam Brody arguably went too far in the opposite, mugging direction in the middle seasons, but if there was one part of last week's "Summer worries that Seth doesn't care about anything" subplot that rang true, it's that Seth seems to be on Lithium or something equally personality-muffling this year. So it was very welcome and funny and touching to have him go so meta throughout his rescue attempt, to have him bring up so much of the good (Ryan punching Luke a whole lot), the bad (Johnny and company) and the abruptly-forgotten (Lindsey and Sadie), and the whole body-switching line was the icing on the cake.

Some series devote a week to a clip show right before the end, and in a way, this one felt like a clip show, not just with all of Seth and Ryan's nostalgia, but Taylor referencing Jimmy Cooper, the nod to the instability of the Balboa Wetlands (subject of an early Caleb Nichol plot), Julie's Seger love and other bits of mintuiae for the die-hards.

And, at the same time, it played like something that would have been perfectly appropriate as a series finale. After four years of having his bacon saved by Ryan, Seth finally gets to return the favor. Julie and Kaitlin finally reach an equilibrium and genuinely enjoy each other's company. Taylor makes peace with her mother (after the most awesome roll-and-shoot in the history of roll-and-shoots). The Cohens will have a daughter to join their two fully-grown sons. And the McMansion -- Ryan's salvation from his dead-end childhood, the site of so many good and bad and funny moments for him and the Cohens -- collapses. (And, in the process, gave Peter Gallagher yet another moment to shine, as you could see so many things flashing across his face as he surveyed the wreckage, not the least of which was the realization of how lucky they were to have been out at the time of the quake.) When the preview for the finale boasted, "All your questions will be answered!," I turned to my wife and said, "I'm not sure I have any questions left, really."

Which doesn't mean I won't be glued to the couch next Thursday night at 9, blowing off "Grey's" and the NBC comedies and maybe even sitting through some commercials if I have to, to say goodbye to this wonderful roller coaster ride of a show.

What did everybody else think?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your review. I loved this episode.

Jess said...

Loved it. It had a lot of heart and lot of genuinely funny moments. The Seth/Ryan interaction was supremely satisfying, and Taylor's "night moves" with the gun were hilarious.

Cathy1426 said...

I loved, loved this episode, major Seth and Ryan time, I wish the whole episode had just been them. They were great together, finally in the end really brothers. Loved the hurt Ryan scenes, especially when Seth had to leave him by the side of the road, Ben did and excellent job portraying Ryan fading fast and unable to go on. I say, we need to get Ben McKenzie on another show fast, we need to keep him on the screen and in our dens. I'm just not really to say goodbye.

Anonymous said...

I loved all the meta because it reminded me of the greatness of season one, and I think this episode definitely ranks up there. It's too bad that Grey's Anatomy has been kicking it in the ratings, because the quality show for once is on Fox. At least in this time slot.

I can't wait till next week.

Anonymous said...

Through the whole episode, I kept thinking I had counted wrong, and this was the finale. Like you said, it had all the elements needed. It was good though, so I have hope that next week will be as well.

Donlee said...

The OC is most definitely going out on top creatively. It's just a shame that more people aren't watching. The show hasn't been this good since it first started.