"The End's Not Near, It's Here" is the 92nd episode, the sixteenth episode of the fourth season, and the series finale of the FOX television series, The O.C.. It originally aired on Thursday, February 22, 2007.
Six months have passed since the earthquake hit Newport and everything has changed. The Cohens have taken temporary residence at the Coopers' while waiting for a claims adjuster to inspect their home. Taylor and Ryan have broken up, with Taylor returning to France, while Seth and Summer have fallen into a rut. After the inspection, the Cohens learn that repairs would cost more than the house itself, and the house is lost. Sandy and Kirsten reluctantly begin house-hunting. After hearing their parents reminisce about Berkeley again, Seth and Ryan fly out to the old Cohen house to see if the current owner would be willing to sell. At the airport they bump into Summer and Taylor, and Ryan and Taylor realize they still love each other. Julie is revealed to be pregnant and engaged to Bullit, but Kaitlin learns Julie's unborn child is really Frank's. Julie explains how the news of her pregnancy scared Frank off, but Bullit's support convinced her to marry him. Kaitlin confronts Frank with this knowledge, leaving with, "I thought Atwoods were fighters."
The current owners of the Berkeley house are unwilling to sell, so Seth and Ryan bring in reinforcements and fly Kirsten and Sandy out to the house with the help of Bullit. The Berkeley house occupants open their doors a second time to find the entire Cohen family standing on their doorstep. After allowing Kirsten in to go to bathroom, they discover her water broke and the baby is coming. One of the current owners of the house delivers Kirsten's daughter, Sophie Rose Cohen. Meanwhile, in Newport, Julie begins having bridal jitters. Summer talks to her and gives her a locket with Marissa's picture inside. The two share tears and Bullit interrupts the moment with the news of Sophie's birth and by asking Julie if she is ready. Julie says she "can't get married without Kiki." With a private jet waiting, Bullit decides to fly everybody out to Berkeley to have the wedding. When everyone meets up in Berkeley, Seth tells Summer to follow her passion and join GEORGE, a touring environmental group. Reunited, Ryan and Taylor can't keep their hands off each other and rip off each others' clothes, land in bed, only to shock one of the current owners, who opens the door at an inopportune time. The wedding is finally underway, but back in Newport, Frank finds the church empty. In Berkeley, Kaitlin's cell phone rings and Frank spills all to the wedding guests on the speaker phone. Ultimately, Julie decides not to marry either Frank or Bullit, but rather to devote herself to bringing up her son. All of the recent events to occur at the Berkeley house convince the current owners to sell their home to the Cohens.
The Cohens soon begin to pack their things as they prepare to go their separate ways. Seth sends Summer off on a bus as she joins GEORGE, she tells him "This isn't goodbye. You're my destiny, Cohen." Ryan and Taylor are also forced to say goodbye, as she leaves to return to France. Sandy and Kirsten depart from their Newport home, leaving Seth and Ryan to themselves. After Seth rides off in a taxi, Ryan walks through the empty house, reminiscing of how the Cohens took him into their home. He has various flashbacks to season 1. As he backs out of the driveway, Ryan has a flashback to seeing Marissa standing on the corner.
The series concludes with a look into the future of all of the series' main characters. Four years later, Ryan is at the University of California, Berkeley, looking around the campus. Summer is at a protest and Seth clips her picture out of a newspaper. Sandy Cohen is now a professor at Berkeley, where he is teaching law. A reformed Kaitlin is excelling as a Williams College student, and Julie has enrolled and graduated from college, with the support of Bullit, Kaitlin, Frank Atwood, and her son. Seth and Summer ultimately marry, with Ryan as the Best Man, Taylor the Maid of Honor. Ryan and Taylor exchange shy glances.
The final scene of the series shows Ryan, as an architect, walking away from a building site. He takes notice of a kid who resembles his former self and appears to be down on his luck, sitting in the exact spot where Sandy found him by the telephone in the pilot. Reminded of how Sandy reached out to him in his youth, Ryan calls out, "Hey, kid. Need any help?"
Allusions to past episodes
- The cartoon of Sandy that Seth pins the picture of Summer next to previously appeared in The Avengers - It appeared in the Atomic County presentation Seth made to Ryan.
- The church that Julie and The Bullit were supposed to get married in was the same church that Julie got married to Caleb in The Ties that Bind, as well as for Caleb's funeral in The Dearly Beloved. Coincidentally, when Seth and Summer get married, the wedding takes place in the backyard of the Cohen's house in Berkeley, which is the same place Julie and Bullit's (ultimately aborted) wedding would end up taking place.
- Summer tells Ryan that Flapjacks' (one of Pancakes' babies) cage isn't to be used for cage fighting, referring to The Avengers.
- The musical score from the pilot was used throughout this episode.
- Seth and Summer land in a rut, which Kirsten thought was what her and Sandy's marriage was after Hailey talks to her in The Countdown.
- The actor who plays the blond-haired homeowner of the Cohen's former house in Berkeley also appeared in the pilot episode as a waiter at the fashion show. They are the same character.
- The title comes from a song by The New Year. Band of Horses cover the song in this episode and appears on Music from the OC: Mix 6 as well.
- Todd, the "crab and brie filo" waiter from the first episode, is one of the owners of the Berkeley house the Cohens try to buy back.
- During the scene where Summer meets Taylor at the airport, a man is seen standing behind Summer and Taylor, waiting for someone to get off the plane. The card he is holding reads "Schwartz", a shout-out to Josh Schwartz, creator of The O.C.
- The Valley was picked up for 5 more seasons. Summer commented "It just got picked up for five more seasons. You know, these teen dramas, they just run forever." This was a comedic jab from Josh Schwartz at the cancellation of The O.C.
- While reading a magazine, Summer says "Aww! The real life Jake and April broke up! That's so sad". This is a reference to the real life break up of Adam Brody (Seth) and Rachel Bilson (Summer), and the second reference to Adam & Rachel's off-screen relationship in the show. The previous reference was in the first season episode The L.A..
- Bullit's sons are each named after cities in Texas, with the exception of Spencer and Hanoi (Who is named after the capital city of Vietnam).
- Todd & Patrick - The two men who sell the Cohen's their old house back - can be seen at Seth & Summer's wedding.
- The scene where Frank runs to the church to stop Julie and Bullit's wedding is an homage to The Graduate.
- The scene where the Cohens are searching for a new home in Newport Beach (and reluctantly put an offer on) was shot in the same backyard as the house that was used for the establishing shots of the front of the Cohen's house throughout the series. This is the first time we get to see what the actual backyard looks like, as the backyard and house interior used in the pilot (and copied for the sets) was based on a single story home located in the same cul-de-sac. The house that the pilot shot in, and that the Cohen house sets were based on, is seen in the final shot before the ending montage as Ryan drives away from the neighborhood in his jeep.
- Briefcase or No Briefcase, Summer and Seth's new favorite TV show, is a reference to Deal or No Deal.
- The only cast members to appear in every episode are Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Ben McKenzie, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson. Rachel Bilson was not credited in the opening titles until The Countdown. The previously mentioned actors, as well as Melinda Clarke and Mischa Barton are the only actors to appear in both the first and last episodes (Mischa Barton's character, who was already written out of the show, appeared in archive footage, and she was not credited.)
- To avoid spoilers leaking on to the internet, scripts were altered during the casting of this episode.
| Artist / band
|| Scene |
|| The New Seeker
|| Ryan and Taylor make out in the Berkeley house. |
|| Shine On
|| Frank tries to win Julie back. |
| Jacob Golden
|| On A Saturday
|| Julie and Kaitlin talk about the future, while Kirsten and Sandy look at old photos. |
| Patrick Park
|| Life Is A Song
|| The end of the episode montage. The last song to be played on The O.C. |