December 12, 2013 at 11:42 PM EST

As a television addict, my favorite time of the year tends to fall around May, because there’s no better television than in those finale weeks full of nothing but heart-stopping season finales. However, I’ve grown to appreciate the art of a good mid-season finale. They’re typically not as grand as season finales, but with only nine or so episodes under their belt, the mid-season finale has less actual story to work with. And it functions much the same way as the season finale in that it has to intrigue me enough to come back in four to six weeks. Plus, the best ones make me want to re-watch the entire first half of the season in anticipation of new episodes.

That being said, there are still some shows that do the whole mid-season thing better than others. But at this point in our spoiler-driven, speed-plot world of TV, most people have at least one mid-season finale that has stuck with them. For me, it was (not surprisingly) the “Is Marissa dead?” story from season 1 of The O.C. Now, The O.C. started in August, so this wasn’t its mid-season finale in terms of when it aired, but it was the episode just before the show’s big hiatus, so I think it fits the bill.

As a whole, this episode still remains one of my all-time favorite hours of the show. It had everything that defined The O.C. From Cohen-isms (“Do not insult Death Cab!“) and Summer’s “ew” to Ryan/Marissa tension (“Every day“) and sweaty dancing, I was glued to my television. And those final moments when Ryan told Marissa to “Wake up” in that alleyway? Cue yet another epic music moment.

Relive it below:

And that is why this show was so good at drama. A sweaty Ryan carrying an even sweatier (and potentially dead) Marissa? The girl he’s in love with? Please. I was in. I was coming back for more. It was a done deal.

So what mid-season finale really stuck with you? Sound off in the comments!

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