It’s all over.
Well, not really, but this year’s chapter is. The Season Finale for One Tree Hill aired last night, and truth be told, it easily could have been a series finale. Nearly every one of the OTH gang reached a point of resolution … except for Dan Scott, who still has a way to go. This time, things opened with a summary “montage” such as is usually found at the end of each OTH episode. It went something like this:
Lucas is at the hospital. After delivering Peyton to the emergency ward, he washes his bloody hands and sees the pinkish, bloody water swirl down the drain and probably wonders if that’s what’s happening to Peyton and their life together. Then he goes to watch Peyton in the operating theater.
Cut to Haley, who wakes in the middle of the night to see that Nathan isn’t at home … he’s out on the river court drinking from a whiskey bottle, drowning his sorrows in booze.
We see Julian walk into Clothes Over Bros looking for Brooke but finding Victoria. He tells her he loves Brooke, and tells Victoria to deliver the message to call her.
Dan Scott visits his tombstone and finally sees the damage done to it from when Lucas bashed it with a shovel some three dozen episodes ago. (Get it? It’s supposed to be fitting, as he’s finally taking stock of his life.)
Back to Peyton on the operating table, vaguely smiling, as they put the mask over her face …
… And with the sound of baby cries, we cut to Lucas at home with their daughter in his arms. (Yeah, it’s a girl. And if she’s anything like her mother, she’ll never stop crying.)
Back in hospital, Lucas keeps making root beer floats for Peyton as he sits in her room, and talks to her, trying to bring her to consciousness, as she’s apparently been in a coma for four days. Out on the sidewalk by the hospital, Brooke has been keeping vigil, waiting for Peyton to wake up. Julian tries to get her to go home and rest, but at the same time, he brings her every fashion magazine he can find, simply because he knows she’s not going to go home like he suggests.
Over at the studio, Chase and Mia open boxes of her new CD. As Chase tells her that she “done good,” Mia corrects him wistfully that she and Haley and Peyton “done good,” and that Peyton should be there to share in the joy of the moment. (And not surprisingly, Mia’s new CD looks an awful lot like the new disc by Kate Voegele, only with Mia’s name in a truly hideous green font.)
Back in Peyton’s room at the hospital, Lucas continues talking to Peyton as she sleeps, telling her that their daughter needs her mom … and a name. “I can’t do it without you. … she doesn’t even have a name,” he says to her. And coming out of the ether, she answers, “Sawyer. Her name is Sawyer, OK?” Peyton says through the fog. As she wakes, Brooke comes in. Peyton asks to see the baby, and after Brooke goes out, in comes Lucas’ mom carrying their daughter. Everyone bawls as Haley, Nathan, Jamie and Julian creep in behind.
At the Nathan/Haley/Jamie pad, Jamie remarks that Nino needs to shoot less, and then asks his dad when he’s going to get called up to the NBA. Nathan looks very grave, very serious, and says he doesn’t know … maybe never.
Sam hasn’t been seen since she went to live with her birth mother, but in the mail, Brooke gets a postcard from her — a picture of the house where she’s living — saying, “Wish you were here.” Brooke is very upset, and she thanks Julian for staying to support her. She hugs him, which leads to a kiss, which leads to … the two of them ending up in bed … which leads to him telling her that he loves her, and her telling him not to say it, but just to kiss her.
At Lucas and Peyton’s house, Peyton thanks Karen for raising Lucas to be who he is, and Karen gives Peyton her reassurance that Peyton will be a great mom.
Millie shows up at Mouth’s work. (She’s always doing that — I would think he’d be getting a bit of a reprimand by now, no?) She tells him that she doesn’t want to go back to New York. He doesn’t want her to go back to New York. So they decide to tell Brooke that she doesn’t want to go back. Simple as that. No worries about that big, fat New York lease staring her in the face, or any mention of subletting the apartment, etc. — because this is Tree Hill, where things like that just aren’t a concern.
Mirroring the scene with Peyton and Karen, Lucas and his mom sit on the porch stairs of the house that’s now Lucas’, and he thanks her for being such a great mom, and they have a big “Aww” moment together.
Clouds of disappointment gather as Brooke wakes up to find Julian gone. (But her hair looks immaculately styled, which suggests to me that nothing really happened in the first place … although that’s not what we’re supposed to think, of course …)
At the Chiefs’ gym, Nathan goes to the locker room and finds his locker empty. He looks nonplussed, and is waiting for the bad news. Just then, a teammate comes in and tells him that he’s being paged by Coach Irons. Next, we see Nathan and Haley’s kitchen — and seemingly in a daze, he tells her that they should take a trip to Charlotte, that she should wear her green dress, and they should go see a basketball game with Jamie … because he’s been called up by the Charlotte Bobcats. Haley starts bawling, since now her husband is the perfect metaphor of what can be achieved with a dream and a lot of persistence. Later, Nathan and Haley sit Jamie down to watch Mouth make the announcement on TV that Nathan has made it to the NBA. Jamie flips out and jumps on his dad in the excitement.
Brooke talks to Sam on the phone and ascertains that she’s OK, and says that she misses her.
Then we get to the real meat of the episode, as Dan Scott shows up at Coach Whitey’s ranch, and Whitey doesn’t look very pleased to see him. As Whitey turns his back on him, Dan says, “Please,” and they go inside.
Coach Whitey sets down a mug, cookies and a revolver. “I bought this gun in case I’d see your face again,” Whitey says in his best voice from the OK Corral. Dan begins reviewing his life out loud, saying that it all started to go wrong back on the basketball court in high school. He apologizes for his bad decisions and his bad life, but Whitey isn’t moved. Dan bemoans not being able to feel part of the great moments of his kids’ and grandkids’ lives, and Whitey just tells Dan that it was his own doing that his life has taken this course. Dan picks up the gun, fumbles with it for a minute before agitatedly cocking it and pointing it at his head, then dramatically forces the gun into Whitey’s hand, and tells him to pull the trigger and take the pain away. Whitey throws the gun away, takes Dan in his arms and says, “Maybe you’re still here for redemption.” (I can feel my prediction about the series being all about Dan’s redemption starting to come true …) As Dan leaves, Nathan shows up. And he tells Dan, “I just came to tell my coach I made it to the NBA.” Dan stops and looks back at Nathan with an expression of simultaneous hurt and pride.
At the studio, Chase and Mia sit and listen to her record (because she hasn’t heard enough of it during the recording/mixing process), and Chase says that although he wants her to stay, he knows that she has to go on the road for a few months, and that he thinks that her gift has to be shared with the world. She sits on his lap and tells him that her heart isn’t going anywhere.
At Clothes Over Bros, Millie goes to see Brooke … and Brooke tells her that she needs someone to run the store in Tree Hill, and she wants Millie to do it because her boy is there. Once again, life unfolds just perfectly for all parties involved, and it will mean that they can spend even more time together socially, because nobody really works in Tree Hill.
Dan goes to see Peyton and asks to hold Sawyer. She asks him why, and he answers because she’s the only one in his world who doesn’t know what he’s done. “Let the wild rumpus start,” he says, quoting “Where the Wild Things Are.” (Still more product placement — the film adaptation of the children’s classic is due out later this year … from Warner Bros.) He says he used to read it to Nathan, and as he walks away, he says that although he knows that eventually, they’ll have to tell Sawyer about what he did, he’s sorry that they will have to. And as he leaves, Dan runs into Lucas … and Karen. They stop and look at each other for a moment — she notes how weathered and old he looks, but doesn’t say anything — and Lucas ushers his mom past.
Victoria and Brooke continue to work on the drawings for the next fashion line from Clothes Over Bros, and Victoria nudges Brooke to tell her about Julian. “What kind of man is he?” she asks. “The kind who’s gone,” Brooke says.
Nathan goes to see Quentin’s grave and tells him he was right — it’s a comeback. And thanks him as he leaves a Bobcats jersey by Q’s headstone.
Brooke goes to see Peyton, and holds the baby, and Brooke tells Sawyer that she’s going to spoil her rotten, calling her Sawyer Scott. Peyton corrects her, calling her Sawyer Brooke Scott. Then Peyton begins to moon about how her life is turning out just like she’d dreamed, and then she asks, “What about your dreams, Brooke Davis?”
Later at the store, Victoria tells Brooke that she has a few business things to take care of back in New York, but in a moment of so-far-unseen maternal expression, Victoria finally admits to Brooke that she’s been a terrible mother. She talks about how proud she is of Brooke, how strong and bright she is, and kindhearted. And she tells her that even though Brooke has to take care of some responsibilities regarding the new line, her first priority should be to go chase after Julian. Then she tells her why — because Victoria gave up a man she loved long ago, and has regretted it every day since. Then she gives Brooke full ownership of the company, saying that she’d rather have a daughter than a company. It’s a mother-love-fest all round, and Brooke tells her that she wants to keep her on at the company, because she’s good at what she does … and because she’s her mother.
As we swing into the closing montage, we get syrupy voice-overs from nearly all of the principal cast, basically intoning the same message … “Believe that dreams come true every day … because they do.”
We see Mouth and Millie all smiles and back together. … Nathan, Haley and Jamie visit the arena where he’ll be playing, and we see him announced and go on the court, low-fiving his new teammates as he heads into a new chapter of life. … Dan sits on the River Court looking regretful. … Chase shows up at Mia’s CD signing in New York and asks if she can sign his CD with something about an amazing 45 seconds — she corrects him, saying, “30” — and signing those three little words on his CD. … Peyton, Lucas and Sawyer frolic at home. … Brooke shows up on Julian’s film set, and says, “Remember when you said that someday I might be able to let someone in again? Today might be someday.” She tells him she loves him, they kiss, and the lights in the trees go up on the set.
As Lucas and Peyton get the final word of the voice-overs, intoning, “Be happy because you deserve to be …” and such, Peyton and Lucas drive w/baby out of Tree Hill in the Comet, the camera staying on them as they drive their way out of sight. (Remember, this is likely their exit from the entire series, as Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton have not been renewed for next season.)
And so it ends. Nearly everything is tied up tight in a bundle, except for Dan Scott’s restless, condemned soul. Should The CW decide to shift gears and pull the plug on the entire series in the interim, Dan Scott will remain in limbo for all eternity. But if not, he should be a primary focus in the coming season.
What WILL change next year? That’s hard to say — the OTH creators seem to enjoy taking up the thread in a completely different place from where things had been left. Maybe next season will have Lucas and Peyton buried from a car wreck in the Comet, everyone in mourning, or maybe just moved to Boston or some such place. Julian and Brooke might be already married and starting to drift apart. Nathan might not be up to the rigors of NBA life and jeopardize his marriage once again, descending into a maelstrom of drink and debauchery. Whatever goes on, it’s going to take a lot for it to feel like anything but just more of the same. Because that’s all the gang in Tree Hill ever have to offer.
One thing we might speculate on: a significantly diminished role for Skills in the new season, as Antwon Tanner may, by then, be doing some real time as a guest of the state. As with everything else, we’ll see — because much to this blogger’s chagrin, this slippery slope just never seems to end.
Credit: Michael Tackett /The CW ©2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.