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The Graduates is the last episode of the Season 3 of "The O.C.". It aired on May 18th, 2006.


It is graduation day for Ryan, Seth, Summer, and Marissa at Harbor High School. After graduation they all go out to eat and celebrate their graduation. Ryan's mother gives 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 gets 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 decides to crash Ryan's car.

Episode Guide[]

Sandy finds Kirsten in the bedroom as Seth Cohen finds Ryan Atwood in the pool house. Seth admits that he started the fire, because he had been smoking pot and left it lit on. Sandy thinks Seth is hiding something, but doesn't want to call him a liar because of their fight earlier.


Ryan remembers he left his car at the scene where Kevin Volchok had tried to get him to steal a car. Ryan heads out to get the car and Volchok rushes up to him. He explains that he was forced to ditch the car and run. He asks Ryan to help him get out of town, and that he needs money. Ryan says that he wants no part of him, and Volchok says that if he doesn't, he will turn Ryan in for assault, and walks away

The Core Four.

Meanwhile, Summer Roberts, Marissa Cooper, and Taylor Townsend are decorating the bleachers for the graduation ceremony. Julie Cooper comes to see Marissa and gives her a letter from her father, Jimmy Cooper.

Dawn arrives at the Cohen Residence for the graduation.

Kaitlin Cooper comes home for the ceremony, and greets Neil Roberts by making a joke about him giving her breast implants. Julie is suspicious of Kaitlin's intentions.

Seth goes to talk to Sandy, and after friendly banter about graduation, he confesses that he burned down the Newport Group after smoking pot there. Sandy understands. At The Harbor School, Marissa tells Summer that the letter said that Jimmy is working on boats sailing to the Greek Islands and has invited her to work on the boat with him for a year. She thinks that college isn't for her, and it will be a good break. She has to fly out tomorrow night to catch the boat in Hawaii. Summer makes her promise that she’ll sail to Rhode Island.


Volchok hides in his van, waiting for Heather to bring him some clothes. Heather asks why Volchok hasn’t just left yet, and he says he wants to see Marissa one last time.

Before the graduation ceremony, Marissa tells Ryan about her plan. He thinks it sounds great. He asks if he can drive her to the airport. She agrees. The ceremony finally arrives and the Class of ’06 is handed their diplomas.

That night, the Cohens, Roberts, Coopers and Atwoods come together for dinner at The Yacht Club. Marissa tells Julie about her plan. Julie tells her that she already knew, as Jimmy called her last week. Julie says that if this is something Marissa wants to do, she’s happy to let her go. Julie then gives Marissa a pearl necklace.


Dawn is gives Ryan a restored Toyota Land Cruiser she's bought with the money she's been saving up.

Marissa gets a call from Volchok. He tells her that if he can’t see her one last time, he’s going to make life rough for Ryan, and tell her to ask Ryan about the car they stole. She does and Ryan says he needs money to help Volchok get out of town, so Marissa gives him the necklace, since she was the one who brought Volchok around.

Ryan picks up Marissa to meet with Volchok. They stop at the pawn shop and sell the pearl necklace that Julie gave Marissa. Marissa asks if she can come along, and Ryan objects. He finally agrees to take her as long as she stays in the car.

Sandy drops by the PD’s office and meets Jason Spitz, before meeting with Greg Hoades.

At home, Kirsten Cohen gives Seth an envelope from the Rhode Island School of Design.


Ryan meets with Volchok and they exchange the money. Volchok sees Marissa in Ryan’s car and slams on the window, begging to speak with her. She drives off and he screams in rage.

Julie comes in as Marissa is packing to leave. Julie gets teary-eyed, and apologizes to her daughter for all of the bad things she's done and tells her that she's always tried to do what was best for her. Marissa forgives her and tells her that she loves her.


Sandy tells Kirsten that he spoke to the DA, and since The Newport Group won’t press charges against Seth, it's over.

Ryan, Seth, Marissa, and Summer pull up to the model home that Ryan and Luke Ward accidentally burned down three years ago. She says they can hang out there. The kids hop the fence and hang out. They then say goodbye to their friends. Marissa apologizes to Ryan, who says he would do it all over again (except for Oliver Trask).

Ryan and Marissa head for the airport. Volchok and Heather watch them go. Volchok drinks out of a flask and drives after them.

Seth takes Summer into his bedroom and shows her his mail. His application arrived too late for the fall semester, but RISD has accepted him for the spring semester, starting in January. He apologizes to Summer for screwing everything up with Brown.


Ryan drives, and Volchok rams his car from behind. He pulls alongside and tries to run Ryan off the road. Ryan barrels through a curve and over an embankment. The car rolls end over end down the hill, finally crashing on another road below. Ryan crawls out of the car. He notices gas pouring from the tank and a small fire. He grabs an unconscious Marissa and carries her from the wreckage, echoing when he found her in Tijuana, and the time he took her to the pool house when he had just arrived in town. The car explodes and Ryan lays Marissa down on the pavement. She wakes up and he tells her he’s going to get help. She begs him to stay and she dies in his arms.

Memorable Quotes[]

Julie: I just want you to know, everything I ever did—good, bad or otherwise—I did it for you. So that you could have a better life than I had. And I know I wasn't perfect. I mean, the thing with Luke, and, trying to frame Ryan for attempted homicide, I—
Marissa: Mom, I love you. Just know that.
Julie: Oh, sweetheart. That's all I wanted. I love you too.

: Ryan: You know, this is gonna sound weird, but can I drive you to the airport? You were the first person I met here, I'd kinda like to be the last person to say goodbye.

Marissa: You know, it's funny. I was gonna ask you the same thing.

: Ryan: Sure your mom won't be offended?

Marissa: Well I feel bad. But she did say I could use it to barter with pirates. This seems to fit the bill.

: Ryan: Okay, uh, this looks familiar.

Marissa: Yeah? Well it shouldn't. They rebuilt it completely after you burned it down.

: Marissa: I'm sorry for all the craziness.

Ryan: I wouldn't have done it any differently. Except maybe Oliver.

: Sandy: I know the last few years have been a roller coaster. There's been tragedy and comedy and first loves, broken hearts, family members we've lost and found. It hasn't all been perfect, but we're all a family here. So cheers.

: Jason Spitz: Look, if you came to haggle me on the Ramirez plea, forget about it. I'm up to my ass in unhappy ADAs.

Sandy: No, I'm just passing through.
Jason Spitz: What, you've come to admire the wainscoting?
Sandy: This is my old office.
Jason Spitz: You're Sandy Cohen?
Sandy: My reputation precedes me?
Jason Spitz: Well, self-righteous, arrogant and a little nutso?
Sandy: I see that it does.
Jason Spitz: Jason Spitz.
Sandy: Nice to meet you.
Jason Spitz: Nice to meet you. You're a legend. Not to mention I heard about your post-victory karaoke bar performances.
Sandy: Defend the poor, sing the classics. I had a reputation and a routine.

: Seth: "Dad, remember when I called you the worst father ever? Right after that I swung by your place of work, I smoked a joint, I forgot to put it out and now your office fits into an ashtray."

: Sandy: Well, we both screwed up.

Seth: We're both usually so awesome.

: Seth: This is it, dude. with this stupid school. We never have to set foot in this stupid school or this stupid student lounge again.

Ryan: Nostalgic already, huh?
Seth: Never gonna have to see any of these shoe-peeing, shallow water polo-playing...
Water Polo Player: Get outta my way, geek. What is that, a dress?
Seth: It's a graduation gown. You're wearing one too.

: Taylor: Sung Ho and I decided to spend the summer in his family's village. We're defusing land mines in the DMZ.

Seth: That's a way to spend your summer vacation.
Summer: But what about the after-grad party? I mean you already planned it.
Taylor: As a gift. To the class of 2006. SO my work here is done. It has been a pleasure being second circle core.
Seth: You can join the inner circle.
Taylor: I can? Oh my god! The Fab Five!

: Dawn: Hey, Seth good to see you again.

Seth: Good to see you, too. It means a lot that you made it down...I was being sincere.

: Seth: Ryan got a car? Really? I've been waiting for years for a car. I'm supposed to be the spoiled one.

: Summer: You guys ever wonder what life would be like if Atwood never came here?

Marissa: I definitely never would have talked to Seth.
Summer: Oh hell no. Me either.
Seth: Hahahah!
Ryan: See, you owe me one, buddy.
Seth: Me? She'd still be dating the dude who shaves his chest.

: Summer: Oh my god!

Seth: You said she invited me. I'm not faring well, this trip down memory lane.


When Sandy and Kirsten are talking in the kitchen, and Sandy brings Kirsten some flowers, his mouth stops moving after he says "I spoke to the DA, and came clean about the accident" ...yet there is an obviously recorded voice-over which says "and since we're not going to press charges, the whole thing'll blow over"



Guest starring[]


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