One Tree Hill: The Slippery Slope Continues 8

Posted by: haro1d

Last night’s recap is quick and easy: While Lucas, Nathan and Skills tried to helm a victory for the Ravens, the ladies — Peyton, Brooke, Haley, Mia and Lindsey — managed to get stuck in the school library. There, things turned part John Hughes movie, part ’70s sitcom, as Mia tried to get background on everyone in the room, and Peyton and Lindsey tore each other apart and put each other back together again. Oh, and Nathan was on the brink of telling his wife about the Nanny’s inappropriate conduct, but Carrie stepped in at that moment and tendered a verbal resignation, making eyes at Nathan even as she hugged Haley with the news. (I know, I know — that fiend! Right?)

Garry Marshall, recalling his stint as a producer of sitcoms in the ’70s, admitted on at least one occasion that when he and his colleagues were stuck for an idea or had a very limited budget for an episode, they would contrive what came to be known as a “stuck-in-a” show. Stuck in an elevator. Stuck in a jail cell. Stuck in a basement. It was a chance to get the characters together in close proximity, let them abrade each other’s emotions and see what it would reveal. And because there was always the accompanying crisis of their physical predicament, no matter what was said, the characters had to work together in the end, to secure their eventual release. It was an utterly predictable formula, but a dependable one nonetheless.

So why didn’t it work so well in last night’s OTH? Sure, Peyton and Lindsey bonded over dead parents — they had to about SOMETHING, of course — and in that manner, it sufficed, but the whole episode in the library felt rather uneven and not believable. And by that I mean even less believable than usual.

And I think it’s the newcomers.

I’m not sure who that Mia character was supposed to be last night, but she definitely wasn’t the mousy person we’ve seen so far. Puppy-dogging around Peyton, barraging her with questions, being uncomfortably assertive — if this is an evolution of Mia as a character, it’s pretty artificial, even by OTH standards.

On the other hand, Lindsey is consistent in her role, but something just doesn’t convince that she’s as affected by all of this high-school-style melodrama than her character is being made to seem. I’m just not buyin’ it. There’s a lot of drama going on in that triangle of her, Peyton and Lucas, but she seemed pretty secure in herself when they introduced her into the show, and since then, she’s gradually inflated her insecurities past the point of credibility.

This isn’t necessarily the fault of either actor — it’s just the material they’re being given. Insecurities ebb and flow on shows like this with all of the force of the incoming and outgoing tides, and they’re often like the McGuffins you see in suspense films. They’re not intrinsically so important, but they help to move along the plot. If it serves the story arc to have Mia suddenly getting guts, or Lindsey turning into an insecure mess, then let’s have at it: It just pushes us further down the slippery slope to the show’s end.