“One Tree Hill” Season 8 Finale
I am going to review a television episode in this review. Again I am looking at something very recent as “This is my house, This is my home” (#8.22) aired on the CW network in America last night:
“One Tree Hill” (2003-Present) roots lie in the “teen”, “coming of age” genre, however these days it has become the television show that does not know when to stop. When I first began watching the series right from the beginning I wasn’t initially gripped, it was one of those shows I had to persevere with but then it got good and I was hooked. It has always been quite cheesy in parts,very cliched and overly dramatic but it still had an endearing charm to it back in the days of Chad Michael Murray, who played the (and I emphasise this) MAIN character Lucas Scott. The plot centred around two half-brothers Lucas and Nathan (James Lafferty), who were united through basketball, and shared the same manipulative father Dan (Paul Johannson). It focused on family ties and their relationships with the three female leads Peyton (Hilarie Burton), Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush). The setting is based in a small town, which is what drew me to it as I can relate to living in a small area where everyone knows each other. I would say the show had six strong seasons, it worked well as a “teen drama”, however by the fifth series it was time to move on and cleverly the creator Mark Schwann made the decision to forget the college years and jump four years into the future where the characters had reached adulthood and yes it still worked, with a more mature tone and darker edge compared to the high school years. Suddenly in the sixth season and this still remains a mystery to this day, Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton left the series, both actors insisted there were no hard feelings about leaving. Okay so their characters had closure and there was nowhere left for them to go, so why not stop there?!
The show got a series seven, which comparatively to the previous years was very weak, the storylines became overused and in the process we were introduced to a number of characters who mostly served no purpose e.g. Chase (Stephen Coletti) I swear all he did was work behind the bar at TRIC and didn’t have an actual storyline until the past few episodes and what did he get?! a love triangle with two other characters the fans aren’t as bothered about. I did keep watching mostly for the remaining core three Brooke, Haley and Nathan, but even them alone couldn’t save the show from going downhill, not all of it was horrible, the show still had its moments, I really enjoyed the season seven finale “Almost everything I wished I’d said the last time I saw you” (#7.22).
With Peyton and Lucas gone there was a void that needed to be filled, they were replaced with Haley’s older sister Quinn (Shantel VanSanten) and Nathan’s sports agent Clay (Robert Buckley) who both for me just made the show unbelievably cheesy, seriously every time they’re on screen I cringe, all their characters did in season seven was bring in yet another stalker storyline which had been done to the death, similarly like the car crash storyline’s they seem to keep throwing at us (see #3.22 and #8.11).
Personally, I just think if you eliminate your main characters from a show then it simply doesn’t function in the same way, I often compare this to “The O.C.” (2003-2007) which also belongs to the “teen” genre, the main female lead Marissa Cooper played by Mischa Barton was killed off at the end of the third season and after that it just wasn’t the same, at least Josh Schwartz (the creator) realised this mistake and the show didn’t even get a full fourth season but at least we had a sense of closure; something “One Tree Hill” can’t seem to grasp, it just goes on and on with its pointless humor and recycled plots.
I am now going to focus on the latest episode, “This is my house, This is my home”, as it was a season finale I was looking forward to it and to be fair the previous two episodes “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” (#8.20) and “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” (#8.21) hadn’t been that bad, it even had its moments that reflected the old “One Tree Hill” such as Nathan showing he was the complete opposite of his father by telling his son Jamie (Jackson Brundage) that no matter what score he got in his baseball game it won’t matter as its just a game in order to not inflict the pressure his own father put on him (#8.20). A Plot line that has really bothered me is the infertility storyline surrounding Brooke, she was told she would never be able to conceive a child of her own, the reason for this was never actually developed, therefore the natural thing would be to have an adoption storyline like they did with Monica and Chandler in “Friends” (1994-2004), the storyline did take place however the birth mother decided she wanted to keep the baby after all “Quiet Little Voices” (#8.18). So with her dreams of becoming a mother shattered, suddenly she is pregnant?!?! again without developing the reason why she couldn’t have kids in the first place, it was pretty much set in stone that it would never happen for her. With two episodes to go we have this rushed pregnancy storyline and seriously it was rushed in the last episode, she went from being 3 months gone to giving birth in the space of a 40 something minute episode, poorly conveyed through time jumps. I know the fans want to see her happy and have enjoyed this plot development and yeah I’m fine with it as it does give hope to women in similar situations, I just hated the rush of it and lack of story structure. To top it all off she then discovers she’s having twins! I think then in the next scene she falls off a step-ladder and then she is in hospital and her husband Julian (Austin Nicholls) enters to announce they have sons.
As I have previously stated the episode wasn’t completely horrible however there are a few things I want to pick up on that I really disliked, I just felt this episode needed to focus on the core characters but instead it was filled with pointless storyline’s that I didn’t care for much, such as Chase joining the airforce and Mia (Kate Vogele) turning up again for two minutes only for him to realise its Alex (Jana Kramer) he really loves, Mouth (Lee Norris) and Millicent’s (Lisa Goldstein) Richard and Judy style morning television programme with Skills (Antwon Tanner) making a brief reappearance in a chicken suit?!?! and Quinn buying Clay a new chair?!?! most of the Jamie scenes were also cheesy, they make the character appear more adult than he is actually supposed to be, he’s far too wise for a nine year old, or maybe that’s due to mostly being surrounded by adults . My problem here was all these pointless fillers were depriving us the scenes we really wanted which were far too short in my opinion.
My favourite moments in this episode had to be the return of Dan Scott, which I was really looking forward to seeing, but as I said the scene was too short and didn’t really imply a lot, Nathan still seemed distant and confused and there didn’t seem to be any real forgiveness there, I’m guessing in giving him the photo of his daughter Lydia and Jamie’s baseball were to symbolise that he had reached out to his father to a certain extent?!
The re-opening of Karen’s Cafe was significant as it was again a reference to the old Tree Hill, I thought it was a nice touch how Haley and Brooke recognised this as wanting to give their own children the security they had growing up. I just felt this scene again was rushed and lacked a mention of Lucas and Karen, there was no explanation as to why they’re weren’t there, realistically they would be at the re-opening of their former business which was evidently a dedication to them. Just to add it was also nice to have the original version of the theme song back in the opening credits, Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be”, the majority of the covers they had used throughout the last season were painful to listen to so it was nice having the original back.
It has been recently announced that the show has been green-lit for a ninth season, but where are they going to take it now? I personally think it would be a fitting ending if they concluded it with a one or two hour special, just wrapping up all the storyline’s, and focus on the core original five, just like the majority of the fans I want to see Lucas and Peyton back briefly, I still think there is a lot of unresolved conflict there especially regarding Brooke, I always felt when it came down to it Lucas was the only important part of Peyton’s life and once she had him nothing else really mattered.
I know it probably sounds like I really dislike the show now, the writing of the latest season has declined when you compare it to episodes like “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept” (#3.16). I would say the show is still watchable but its far from the show I used to love.
Hayley Alice Roberts.