“One Tree Hill”: The Slippery Slope NEVER ENDS 17

by haro1d

Well, a LOT happened on last night’s “One Tree Hill” — definitely not a filler episode. The Sims 3 synergy was a bust, for the most part — other than Dan Scott’s entering the hospital at the beginning, Sim Tree Hill was limited to Jamie’s purported simulation on his laptop, mostly seen at the end of the show.

But take a deep breath, as otherwise, there’s a lot to cover:

Dan enters the hospital for his heart transplant at the same time that Lucas and Peyton show up. Lucas stops and eyes Dan cynically, and Dan says, “I’m getting a heart,” to which Lucas responds, “It’s about time.” Unfortunately, a drug-addled dog trips the emergency technician who’s carrying the fresh heart for transplant and the organ goes skidding across the floor — and the drug-addled dog takes it in his mouth and runs off with it, eating it. (Nicely disgusting, OTH writers.)

Mia is seen in the studio, recording her latest prospective hit … which the A&R folks aren’t going to OK as is — but more about that later.

Julian and Lucas are talking when a call comes in from Julian’s dad … who has been sacked from his job. Immediately, director Reese, who’s been busy planning how he’s going to get laid in a helicopter, gets out his cell phone to confirm that he’s “pay or play,” meaning he’s going to get paid even though the film isn’t happening. Oh, yeah — the film isn’t happening, and since principal photography hasn’t started, it looks like Julian and Lucas don’t get their bonus money.

Going into a store, Sam runs into Jack, who’s on his way out, having shoplifted some hot dogs. She takes the fall for him when the alarm sounds and she gets busted. As a result, Brooke is furious and calls her unfixable — but Brooke isn’t thinking. She should know that Sam wouldn’t have done the crime, but she’s too distracted by her anxiety over her situation with Julian, whom she’s currently avoiding … until the phone rings and Sam picks up, and forces Brooke to talk with him. Then she finds out about the movie’s cancellation, and that Julian is going away for good.

Skills is way into his current gig — coaching Jamie and his classmates. They lost the game, but Skills tells them it’s a victory, because one kid didn’t get mad and refrained from punching anyone in the groin, another little girl refrained from doing her homework on the bench, and a third didn’t pee in her pants, which totally rocks. Skills is really jazzed, but it doesn’t last because Deb breaks up with him.

Haley organizes the kitchen drawers because she’s anxious about having to apologize to her boss and to the school for publishing Sam’s paper. She talks about it with Nathan, who says he knows she’s “going to take the high road, because that’s who [she is], Haley James.” But when push comes to shove, and Haley’s boss appears in her classroom to threaten her (In front of her class?? Really??) if she doesn’t apologize and express regret for her actions, Haley just can’t do it. She basically ends up telling her kids to fight the power, tell the truth come hell or high water, and walks out.

Meanwhile, over at the cemetery, Lucas and Jamie visit Keith’s grave (while Peyton is visiting her mom’s). Jamie gets to asking about what happened to Grandpa Keith. Lucas tells him point-blank that Keith was shot, like Quentin. When Jamie subsequently asks why people do bad things, Lucas tells him to ask Grandpa Dan.

But we see Dan at the seaside, on the beach. In what has to be one of the worst scenes of the entire OTH series, Dan takes out his transplant pager and throws it into the ocean, and begins to wade out into the surf, taunting God (even calling Him a Son of a @#$% — really!) and basically telling him to snuff him out. The camera pans back to show the water that has enveloped him as we fade to commercial, but when we return, Dan is sitting on the beach, looking wet and sandy, and a jogger — with a dog — tells him it’s a great day to be alive. (Here’s where we probably should question whether this is the real Dan or some sort of apparition. We’ll see. From here on in, Dan starts to act pretty un-Dan-like.)

Dan goes to see Jamie as Deb is sitting for him, once again, and he asks if he can take Jamie for two hours — just to say goodbye. Deb reluctantly gives in, and as Dan walks out, he tells Deb not to feel guilty.

Mia and Peyton are in the studio, talking about her new song, and how the A&R people want her to redo it with guitar instead of piano. Mia’s upset and frustrated, and Peyton tries to reason with her, but oh, those artistic temperaments. To be fair, Mia’s a little more reasonable this time than when Peyton tried to get her to play a song written by someone else.

Out on the town, Jamie gingerly works his way up to asking Dan what he intuitively knows is going to be a sensitive question: Who killed Grandpa Keith? He asks, and Dan swallows hard and tells Jamie the truth — that Dan did it. Jamie’s face crinkles up with hurt (still the best actor on that show, don’t you think?) and he says he wants to go home, jumping up and running away.

Then we get a rather funny scene in Tric, with nearly everybody lined up at the bar, complaining about their current predicaments: Brooke about Julian, Haley about losing her job, Mia about having to redo her song, Skills about Deb, Lucas about losing his $300,000 production bonus. Then at the end of the bar is Reese, who’s euphorically celebrating getting paid for doing nothing, proclaiming, “Drinks on me! Who’s with me??”

As the episode winds down, Julian and Lucas have beers by the water, talking about what could have been — with the movie, for Lucas, and with Brooke, for Julian — when a giant stretch limo drives up, and Reese steps out, glasses and bottle of champers in hand. And he gives some good words of wisdom to the mopey pair sitting before him — that sometimes the beauty is in the attempt, and that sometimes despite that beauty, things just don’t work out. In the meantime, he’s enjoying what he can from the experience — like not telling the woman cast as Peyton that the movie has been scrapped until AFTER he can bed her in the helicopter he’s chartered at the movie’s expense. And as a parting shot and gesture of goodwill, he tells Julian and Lucas that there’s a present waiting for them in the limo — two reels of film he shot of a sunset the night before, ensuring that Julian and Lucas WILL get their production bonus money after all.

So Julian goes to Brooke to tell her goodbye, and they’re both torn up about it, but as Julian paraphrases Reese, “Sometimes the beauty is in the attempt, even if things don’t work out.”

Then it’s “montage time”:

Dan Scott shows up courtside to tell his boys that he’s proud of them that they’re good men, good brothers, and not anything like him, and enjoins them not to let the world change that.

Brooke apologizes to Sam and tells her that she’s NOT unfixable — and brings Jack into their house to let her know that she’s truly sorry. Sam hugs him goodnight and tells him that she’s glad he’s there. He says that he is, too.

With Haley out of a job, she conveniently saunters over to Peyton’s studio, where Peyton immediately hires her as a full-time producer for Mia’s record, in the process no doubt making loads of people who have lost their jobs recently wince at the ease of her situation.

Brooke and Julian are shown in bed — separately. And sleepless.

And Jamie ends up making Sim Tree Hill, showing it to Haley, with all of the usual suspects … but with Dan being visited in hospital (after a successful transplant) by Keith, which probably is supposed to be some sort of cryptic clue.

I don’t know. If Dan really is dead, then maybe OTH is over. Without Dan Scott stirrin’ the pot of trouble, everything just seems really domestic. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong and a flood will come to Tree Hill, or something equally catastrophic. But without Dan Scott, it would take an act of God for things to reach that sort of dramatic fever pitch again.

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Photo Fred Norris/ ©2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.