Thursday, April 5, 2012

The top five episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’

5. Some You Give Away – This season four episode (finally) marked a turning point for Lucas and Peyton fans. The central couple – who had been teased from the very first episode – finally got together. Sure Brooke and Peyton are still fighting (when weren’t they around that time period?), but they were softening towards each other. This is also the episode when the Ravens won the state basketball title – a titular moment for Whitey fans. Since this is ‘One Tree Hill,’ though, you have to have your moment of surrealism. This is the episode where Nathan – who was in deep with a loan shark – was supposed to throw the championship game. When he doesn’t, the loan shark tries to run down Nathan but hits a pregnant Hayley instead. In the melee following, Nathan beats the loan shark to death (he thinks at least), Lucas has a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital and Dan steps up to protect Nathan from going to jail.

4. Darkness on the Edge of Town – This is an event episode of ‘One Tree Hill’ – which they had a lot of, quite frankly. This happened in season eight when a storm has cut power to a lot of town. Young Jamie and two of his school friends are involved in an accident with their teacher when Brooke stumbles upon them. Brooke sends the teacher and Jamie’s friends for help while she remains behind because Jamie is trapped in the vehicle. Another vehicle rams into the prone vehicle Brooke and Jamie are trapped in, sending them careening off the bridge and into the river. There, Julian struggles to free both Jamie and Brooke. Brooke instructs Julian to save Jamie first, and when he returns she is drowning. He carries her up on the bridge – where Nathan and Hayley discover Jamie, Julian and Brooke. Jamie’s delivery of the line “Aunt Brooke is dead” is chilling. It’s ‘One Tree Hill,’ though, you knew Brooke would have a miraculous recovery.

3. Danny Boy – This final season episode took me by surprise. To be fair, I think that Nathan being kidnapped by thugs who didn’t like his basketball recruiting efforts was one of the dumbest storylines in the show’s history (only surpassed by Clay forgetting he had a kid). I know that James Lafferty only committed to a handful of episodes, but they could have found a better way for him to be off canvas without ripping apart his family. That being said, Dan’s badass rescue of his son was chilling. The next episode, ‘Danny Boy,’ was a lot more quiet. It dealt with the imminent death of Dan Scott – a character that had essentially cheated death for years. It was the final moments of the episode, where Dan imagined playing basketball with Nathan on the river court – for no score – though that were the most touching. Then, when Craig Sheffer did a surprise cameo so brother Keith Scott could usher his brother into heaven as his “plus one” I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Dan Scott is a murdering bully – but he wasn’t all bad, and this episode proved it.

2. Pictures of You – This season four episode was actually a quiet one. There were no big explosions or stalkers or car accidents. It was set during one hour in school, where the students were paired with other students to learn something about them. Former couple Nathan and Peyton mostly reminisce, while Hayley and Skills talk about the future and what it’s going to mean for them – especially now that it’s nothing like they imagined it would be. This is the episode where Brooke finally lets Chase see a little bit more of the real her, while ‘Clean Teen’ Shelly gets a little dirty with Mouth. The most touching pairing, though, is goth chick Glenda – who is a nobody at the school – and her blunt recognition of everyone else in the class as she lets Lucas know what's really on her mind.

1. With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept – Given ‘One Tree Hill's’ penchant for overdoing it, a school shooting episode could have been a disaster. Instead, it was a lesson in understated elegance. This third season episode showed that these kids were wise beyond their years in some respects and still children in another when classmate Jimmy brings a gun to school to protect himself from a bully. Locked in the tutor center with several of his classmates, Jimmy unleashes all the fury he’s been hiding for the past year, lambasting Mouth for forgetting they were friends and sharing his general unhappiness with everyone. While Colin Fickes was wonderful as the conflicted Jimmy, this is really Craig Sheffer’s moment to shine as Keith Scott tries to talk Jimmy down and then falls apart when Jimmy shoots himself. Of course, Dan Scott then picks up the gun and shoots his brother at point blank range – an act that will define his character forever – in the waning seconds of the episode, so it's not a total win. It's still powerful, though.

What do you think? What were your favorite episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’?


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