“One Tree Hill” ended its series after a nine-year run on April 4.
Nine years. Most shows don’t make it half that long. Nine years of love, heartbreak, murder, mayhem, and anything else creator Mark Schwahn could think up. That’s nine years of my life, almost a whole decade.
I remember watching the show for the first time, thinking, what a weird name for a television series. Nine years later here I am.
The series started out about the rivalry of two brothers, Nathan and Lucas Scott (James Lafferty and Chad Michael Murray) with the same father, Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) in Tree Hill, N.C.
For most of its run, the series was about the hatred the brothers had for each other and their dad, who was evil and manipulated people, including his family.
However the brothers grew to love each other and the resulting milestones that happened in their life were unforgettable.
Keith Scott, (Craig Sheffer) played an unforgettable role as the boys’ uncle when he stepped up to be a father to his brother Dan’s child and again when he cared for Lucas’ mother, Karen (Moira Kelly), only to be murdered later by Dan.
Haley James (Bethany Joy Galeotti) — Lucas’ best friend and later in the series, Nathan’s wife — remained a staple in the nine year run of the series.
Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton), who at one time was Nathan’s girlfriend, became Lucas’ wife and the mother of their child. Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush.) Lucas’ former flame, Peyton’s BFF, and more recently in the series, Julian’s wife and the mother of twin boys, also stayed with the series for the entire run.
After season six Peyton and Lucas moved out of Tree Hill (leaving the show) and with the exit, brought new faces and recurring guest stars to the series.
Those included: Julian Baker (Austin Nichols), who made perhaps the biggest mark, marrying Brooke and fathering their children; Millicent Huxtable (Lisa Goldstein), Brooke’s assistant and friend, and Mouth’s (Lee Norris) wife and mother-to-be; and Clay Evans (Robert Buckley), Nathan’s agent, friend, and in the final episode, brother-in-law, marrying Quinn James (Shantel VanSanten), Haley’s older sister.
As the final episode in the series was played, I tried to take it all in. What was the significance of each moment and why did it end this way?
I was pleasantly surprised with the final episode, though. It took place in the three more popular spots of the show (aside from the Tree Hill High) — Karen’s Cafe, Tric and the River Court which was the backdrop for an incredible turning point.
The show was no longer about rivalry but about embracing life, talent, and love.
In the finale, Nathan speaks with Jamie (Jackson Brundage) about playing sports because that’s what Jamie wants to do, not because he wants to follow in Nathan’s footsteps, like Nathan was forced to do by Dan. In that moment, Nathan assured viewers (if there were ever a doubt) he was the anti-Dan.
Tric gave a final show with an appearance by Gavin DeGraw, who sings the theme song for “One Tree Hill.”
The whole ninth season the theme song didn’t start the show off and this was a little disheartening for me because it was tradition.
The scene was a great moment, probably one of my favorites, to see the entire cast singing along to the words of “I Don’t Want To Be” — Nathan fist pumping and everyone singing together, paying tribute to a song that will forever make the world think of “One Tree Hill.” Tric was started by Peyton and Karen, then Haley took over. Chase (Stephen Colletti) was the bar manager for years and, being down in the dumps about the direction his life is going, Haley makes him the new bar owner, even though he can’t make a drink.
Karen’s Cafe rooftop is where Haley and Lucas began making predictions for the year.
They would write them down and put them in a brick in the wall. The predictions couldn’t be opened until the next year.
In the finale, Haley passed the tradition on to Jamie. She explained the rules and quickly, Jamie piped up, “I want to beat dad’s scoring record.”
The finale went into fast forward showing Jamie getting his wish. Although it was a sour note that Lucas and Peyton weren’t present for the final episode, Mark Schwahn sent the show off with a sense of closure.
Every character received his or her own ending. It was bittersweet.
To contact Emily Schorr, email firstname.lastname@example.org.