Wednesday night we said goodbye to one of my favorites: One Tree Hill. For nine long seasons, we got to watch these characters grow from struggling teenagers to adults and saw all the ups and downs in between. Over the years there were nasty high school rumors, teenage pregnancy, deaths and goodbyes to old friends. And through it all, Brooke, Nathan, Haley, Lucas, Peyton, Skills, Mouth and so on, were by each other’s sides.
To me, a good TV show is when the characters and their families feel like your own. When a good show ends, it’s like you’ve lost a friend. And that is true of One Tree Hill.
Before the finale, the CW aired an hour long special featuring interviews with the current cast. It was great to hear their take on the show and what it meant to them. It would have been nice if they were able to bring back some of the original cast members that have left the show, but know many of them are busy. Lucas and Peyton, for example, were two central characters for so long, and they’ve been mentioned now and then, but I feel like there was no real closure.
In many series finales fans are often left longing for more. I think Mark Schwahn and the writers couldn’t have wrapped the show up better. The whole episode draws from previous seasons and the fans that have stuck around from the beginning got to enjoy a lot of old references and flashbacks. The episode opens with Nathan watching his 17-year-old self on the River Court, Brooke in high school when she wins class president and Haley making her wish list for senior year.
Here are the happy endings Mark left us with:
- Nathan, Haley, Jamie and Lydia – Now that Nathan is home safe and sound, the couple is back to being happy. This couple in particular makes a lot of references to the past. Nathan makes Haley dinner and gives her Cracker Jack’s for dessert (season one) with a diamond bracelet inside. Later in the episode, Haley shows Jamie her and Lucas’s predictions box and tells him to start his own. Jamie wishes to pass Nathan’s scoring record at Tree Hill High School, which we later see him do in the jump forward at the end of the episode. In another scene Haley says, “There is only one Tree Hill, Jamie Scott and it’s your home.” Karen said the same line to Lucas in season 2 when he was questioning whether or not to leave with Keith for Charleston.
- Julian, Brooke and the twins (Victoria and Ted) – Julian got the green light to move forward with the Tree Hill TV show. Similar to Dawson’s Creek, we get to see the show within a show concept. Brooke also launches her new clothing line, Baker Man, with her mom and dad. For the first time, her family is happy and together. Brooke ends up opening a store across the street from Karen’s Café. At one point Brooke is telling Julian about her childhood home and says that it deserves a real family. Julian – nicest guy ever – buys Brooke’s old house for their family.
- Chris Keller and Chase – These two characters were never full-time, but had recurring parts over the years. It was fun to see the bromance that developed between them. In the end, Chris Keller was fired from Red Bedroom Records and then offered a recording contract from Haley. And Chase became owner of Tric after Haley spoke with Karen, getting the ok.
- Clay, Quinn and Logan – In a surprise I didn’t see coming, Clay discovers that he has a son, Logan that has been living with his wife Sara’s parents. When Sara died, Clay blocked Logan out of his memory. After working with a therapist, he starts to remember what happened. Eventually Logan goes to stay with Clay and Quinn, the couple gets engaged (and then married) and they file for full custody.
- Mouth and Millie – This happy couple finds out they Mouth inherited $500,000 from Dan Scott’s estate. Mouth can’t quite figure out why, but in a reference to season one of One Tree Hill, the attached note tells him that his work matters. This was something Lucas said to Peyton when she through her art away. Mouth uses this money to create a new charity fund in honor of Jimmy Edwards and Keith Scott. In the closing scene of the finale, we see Millie pregnant with Mouth’s child.
- Skills – Back in Tree Hill after a stint in California, Skills gets a job alongside Millie hosting the morning show. In a fun surprise, he and Bevin end up getting back together. We don’t get to see the progression of this relationship in the end, but Bevin makes a return appearance at the court house when Clay and Quinn went to get custody of Logan. In the jump forward in the closing scene, Bevin and Skills are once again side by side.
- Tric – From the very beginning, music was always the backdrop of the show and Tric allowed the writer’s to showcase different artists. Tric really was a central character. After Peyton left, music really lost its importance. One Tree Hill tried to keep it up with Mia, Alex, and then the return of Chris Keller, but it was never the same. The finale also happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Tric so we see the return of some of our favorite performers – Haley, Chris and Gavin DeGraw! My favorite shot of the entire episode is the whole group together at Tric singing along to Gavin DeGraw’s performance of the show’s theme song, I Don’t Wanna Be.
The finale jumps ahead to Jamie’s basketball game at Tree Hill. The entire cast is in the crowd, cheering him on, including the grown up versions of Lydia, Logan and the twins. In a typical One Tree Hill voiceover, the show once again flashes back to a teenage Nathan shooting a basketball, Haley watching Lucas’s game and Brooke cheering with Peyton. The last line Is from an old episode. It couldn’t have ended better.