We’re in new territory. The new season of One Tree Hill without Lucas and Peyton started last night. How’d it go? Read on …
The episode opens with Dan Scott on the screen, talking about how, on the eve of his son’s first NBA game, he was sitting outside contemplating the death that was stalking him and supposed to claim him in a matter of days. He says that that was 14 months ago, and he’s still going on. (So we know, at this point, how much later the series is picking up. And yes, it’s noticeable how much older everyone is getting.)
From there, we get a sort of opening montage, similar to the closing montage of every episode, just to establish the characters and their circumstances. Haley is in the studio recording a new song. Brooke and Julian are doing the From Here to Eternity thing on a beach in L.A. We get our first look at Clay, a sports agent who represents Nathan and is trying to sell his playing skills while at the same time getting him endorsement deals for body spray. Millie’s working at Clothes Over Bros headquarters, calling the shots to her new assistant and being rather demanding about it — but she softens up enough to tell her assistant that she’s doing a good job and that she should remember to have fun while she’s still young. Back at home, Mouth comes just short of telling Skills to move out. Skills is starting a new business and doesn’t have the means to move out on his own just yet, resulting in a bit of tension between the two buddyroos.
As Brooke and Julian continue their discussion, it’s apparent that he wants her to move to L.A. so that he can pursue his work, suggesting that if she can run her clothing company from Tree Hill, she can run it anywhere. She counters that Tree Hill is home, and that that’s where she wants to stay. They attend the opening of his new film together, getting photographed on the red carpet … and then he gets a call regarding a new project that he’s being asked to helm — in New Zealand. The commitment involves eight months away. Brooke’s face falls as she sees her newfound happiness receding away from her.
Back at Haley and Nathan’s house, Jamie is getting a little older — he’s 7. After teasing him for a while, Haley takes him out back by the pool to see the how it and the backyard are tricked out for his party. Amid the various inflatable attractions, bevies of balloons and such is a cake with a piece cut out of it. At first, Jamie looks dejected when he sees it, but his aunt Quinn — Haley’s sister — shows up and tells him that it’s not his real cake, and pushes his face into it. A cake fight ensues.
We see Nathan in the locker room wearing nothing but a towel, spraying himself with body spray when a pair of naughty-looking hands creeps around his midriff. We’re supposed to be scandalized, but a director yells “Cut!” and we know he’s just filming an endorsement, which he’s not too pleased about. Clay insists that Nathan should be grateful, but Nathan just can’t get into it, even if the endorsement is worth six figures. (Ten percent of which, of course, goes directly to Clay.)
Hilarious moment of the night: In the war over the apartment, Mouth tries to creep out Skills by lounging around in the nude. Not to be daunted, Skills goes nude as well, and as they start discussing their situation, they begin to get a little mushy, talking about how much they like hanging with each other (no pun intended, of course), and then they both say that they love each other … right as Millie walks in. She turns and walks out.
Jamie’s birthday party is a complete freakout. Loads of people show up, gifts in hand. And some people who couldn’t be there send gifts — like Lucas, who gives Jamie the old basketball that he used to use on the river court. Next, Skills gives Jamie his collection of rap and hip-hop CDs, prompting a reaction of disbelief that he would give someone his old CDs as a gift. (Never mind the fact that he’s giving a boatload of gangsta rap to a 7-year-old. Gotta love The CW’s parenting standards.) Nathan gives his son a Jerry Rice jersey, but Clay ups him — by bringing in Jerry Rice to sign it right there, and to spend the rest of the day hanging out at the party. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman shows up and asks to take a picture with Nathan, then asks whether he’s been signed for the next season. He doesn’t recognize her, but she obviously is up to no good. Finally, after many tries and wondering why she can’t get Julian on the phone, Brooke sees him arrive, present in hand. They wend their way into one of the bedrooms and start getting it on, when Haley and Quinn walk in and tell them to get a room … somewhere else.
Later in the evening, as Quinn, Jerry Rice and a bunch of others play football in the backyard, Clay suggests to Nathan what this birthday will mean to Jamie in the future. Later that night, Jamie asks his dad what his 7th birthday was like, and Nathan tells him the story of how his party was cancelled because of a kiddie-league b-ball tournament that was in town that day, and his dad made him play. His team lost. Jamie asks if he’s ever forgiven his dad, and Nathan reflects that he probably hasn’t — and Jamie recommends (Kids are so wise, aren’t they?) that he do so.
Down on the beach, Brooke talks to Julian about how she remembers how they used to talk and text every night, etc., and how happy she is. Then, naturally, they go skinny dipping — fully clothed. As they dry off on the beach, Julian tells her that work visa and permit troubles will stretch his time in New Zealand to 10 months instead of eight. And that he’s decided not to do the movie, because he wants to be with her.
Quinn’s husband David is working on a documentary to save the world. Haley says she misses the noise of their house growing up. Eventually, Quinn breaks down and tells Haley that she has left her husband. Haley asks why, and Quinn says that he’s not the man she married.
Shortly, Quinn tells Jamie a story before bedtime, and Haley gets a call from the studio … which is weird, because it’s HER studio. On the other end is a British label rep, Miranda Stone. Haley goes to the studio, assuming that this woman is there to help her run the label. But she’s not — she’s there to close it.
On the court, Jamie asks Nathan why Lucas stopped playing basketball, and Nathan explains about Lucas’ heart condition. So instead of HORSE, they play LUCAS. (Yeah, I know — awww …)
Clay has a woman come over while he’s on the phone, and he jumps into bed with her, no discussion. He gets up from bed, then starts taking the next steps in his working relationship with Nathan — arranging to meet him at 4:30 in the morning, Clay shows him the photo of him and the mystery woman from the birthday party that day, telling him that she’s claiming to have slept with him on the road, and that she’s going to the press with the story. (Psychos and blackmail — never gets old on OTH, does it?)
At the episode’s close, we see Dan Scott in front of a crowd, talking about Redemption. (Is it a book title, or just the theme of his talk? A little hard to tell.) At the heart of it is his message: “What I am is what I’ve done. But what I’ve done is not who I’ll be.”
Wow. The heavy stuff just keeps comin’ down in Tree Hill.