One Tree Hill — the little show that could and did, time and time again — came to an emotional end Wednesday night after nine seasons. But how did life pan out for Brooke, Haley, Nathan and the rest of the residents of the tiny North Carolina town?
The always-wise Haley James Scott set a fitting tone, telling the Tric crowd, “As most of you know, tonight is a very special night for us, so I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for being here. The time that we have spent together over the years has meant so much, and without you we would not be here tonight. Thank you. The night is yours, the night is ours, and it’s full of all kinds of surprises!”
More perfect words could not have kicked off the event, in which — Spoiler Alert! — everyone received a much-deserved happy ending.
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME… | The episode began with a trip down memory lane for the series’ three core characters — Brooke, Nathan and Haley — who, in present day, observed their younger selves. Emotional monologues from each accompanied the visually stunning scenes, and carried on throughout the episode up until the end. At that point, in memorable moments from Season 1 — Nathan at the free-throw line, Brooke cheerleading, Haley supporting from the stands — characters appeared to directly address their older selves with a wink and a nod, like, “We did it. We’re OK.”
STORMY WEATHER | After a season of very few ups and so many downs, Nathan and Haley shared a handful of what felt like earned, tender moments. The once again happy couple shared a romantic dinner, kissed — a lot — and took one last sexy, very sweet romp in the rain. (Longtime fans will appreciate that one.) Meanwhile, father and son exchanged an odd joke about kidnapping — too soon, guys — then engaged in the conversation Nate always longed for with his own father: the “you’re good enough and don’t have to be a star athlete” one. Upon hearing Jamie say that he needed to live up to his dad’s legacy, Nate assured him that whatever he chose to do and be in life would make him proud. All together now, awww. Later, Haley showed her son the wish box she shared with Lucas and even Nate, passing it on to Jamie to store all of his hopes and dreams — which, of course, consisted of besting his dad’s basketball scoring record.
HOME SWEET HOME | After Brooke confessed that her childhood house ” deserved better” than what her dysfunctional family gave it, Julian (aka Husband of the Year) went out and purchased it. Upon receipt of this major gift, a tearful Brooke — clearly speaking on behalf of fans — said, “I knew in my heart there was treasure here. And I found it.” (Sob!) In less-important-but-still-wonderful Brooke news: She and her parents successfully launched Baker Man — first the shopping site and then a storefront.
PRECIOUS MOMENTS | Foregoing their plan of a big wedding — mainly because Logan is the cutest kid ever! — Clay and Quinn quietly exchanged vows at the town courthouse right before legally adopting the aforementioned ball of adorableness. Of course, the kicker — for both Quinn and viewers — first came when Logan said to Clay, “You’re already my dad, Dad” and referred to Quinn as “Mom.” (Sob!)
TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HURT | Mouth, shockingly, inherited half a million dollars from the late Dan Scott, and struggled with both accepting it and putting it to good use. Ultimately, in a full-circle moment, Tree Hill’s newest sportscaster founded an athletic scholarship in names of both Keith and Jimmy. His reasoning: So, that one day this good thing might “eclipse” the negativity surrounding his onetime friend’s horrific choice to shoot up Tree Hill High.
EVERYTHING ELSE | Chris Keller signed with Haley and Red Bedroom Records, finally getting that second chance he so deserved… Chase stayed Chase, becoming the owner of Tric and continuing to search for love… Gavin DeGraw provided the soundtrack to much of the finale, including an episode-ending performance of “I Don’t Want To Be” that showcased the entire cast dancing and singing along.
IT’S NOT GOODBYE… | The perfect hour ended with a flash-forward to the gang gathered in the Tree Hill High gym to watch a teenaged Jamie play basketball. (P.S. Yep, he beat Dad’s record.) Millie was preggers, Skills and Bevin (!) were a couple, all the little kiddies were grown up and everyone was as they should have been — happy.
As we told you earlier today, we invited showrunner Mark Schwahn to share any parting words with his immensely loyal One Tree Hill fans. Here is what he said:
Do you remember the way we used to use classic literature quotes on the show? Well, I often recall the one from Julius Caesar:
‘There is a tide in the affairs of men/Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/Omitted, all the voyage of their life/ Is bound in shallows and in miseries./ On such a full sea are we now afloat,/ And we must take the current when it serves,/ Or lose our ventures.’
I always thought about that quote because opportunity presents itself sometimes and it’s not always obvious; sometimes it’s quiet. And this show was an opportunity to tell stories and to connect with people that I’ll never meet. We took the current when it served and it led on to fortune — for everyone! We all got closer to our dreams and our lives became exponentially better because of the show…. The fans, in their allegiance to the show, may not have known this, but they were giving us all quiet confidence in who we are, in our abilities, in our choices and in our instincts artistically. You may not have loved every episode — and a lot of people didn’t like the show at all! — but because there were fans that loved it, we all believed in it. We were proud not to be included; we decided to start our own club, and after 187 episodes, we were the cool kids. And I’m proud of that. And the fans made all of us better. They gave us things that are life-changing — and they might not have even known they were doing that.”