“Know This, We’ve Noticed” (#9.1) One Tree Hill: The Final Season.
“I don’t wanna die yet. At least not until One Tree Hill gets cancelled….” -Glee
“One Tree Hill” the long running US “Teen Drama”/”Soap Opera” series returned to the CW last week with a brand new episode beginning the show’s final season. Preceding the upbeat tone of the Season Eight finale, “Know This, We’ve Noticed” (#9.1) conveyed a darker edge with the show appearing to be going as dramatic as possible to see the series out for good. Instead of the familiar opening credits, the black titled background returned with sombre piano music over it emphasising the dark and melancholic feel that its approaching the end. Notorious for its time jumps the episode begins with the characters thrown into chaos with the reasons unknown to the viewer. There’s an explosion implying that as its the final season its going to go out with a bang, a familiar face has returned in the shape of Chris Keller (Tyler Hilton) who hasn’t been seen since way back in the fourth season (see. #4.17), at first the character re-introduction seems random but as loyal fans will be aware there will be a reason for his return. The major question however lies with why is he with Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) discussing “killing”? As well as where is Nathan (James Lafferty)? Why is his wife Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) identifying a body? is it his? Why’s Brooke (Sophia Bush) smashing up the cafe? Clay (Robert Buckley) and Quinn’s (Shantel VanSanten) relationship appears in jeopardy and Brooke and husband Julian (Austin Nichols) don’t seem to be experiencing the parental bliss we left them in back in the previous season. With interesting conflicts and over-the-top drama, the viewers can expect the series to finally end in epic fashion, with the intriguing opening encouraging us to keep glued. But as always the important part is the journey and how the characters ended up in this place…
“Know This, We’ve Noticed” sees Haley and Brooke running the recently opened “Karen’s Cafe” successfully judging by the amount of customers and warm welcomes they receive. Haley soon discovers upon arriving at “Red Bedroom Records” that she has accidentally taken on blast-from-the-past Chris Keller to run the label much to her dismay. Haley and the audience are well-aware that he hasn’t changed since the high school years as he continues to aggravate the other characters to the best of his ability, re-igniting Haley’s past conflict with the singer. Alex (Jana Kramer) also encounters him with negative first impression, demonstrating that he has the same irritating effect on the new characters alongside the more established ones. Chris Keller adds a fresh dynamic while also giving a sense of nostalgia to the show’s earlier and better seasons.
Haley and Nathan don’t appear in scenes together as he is away on business, they do however communicate over the phone and unlike the other couples that are physically together, Nathan and Haley still have strong chemistry, giving out a sense of longing for each other and vulnerability in their separation. Despite their farcical and less believable beginning’s with marrying at sixteen and becoming teenage parents, one of “One Tree Hill’s” strengths is the development and growth of their relationship into adulthood, its stood the test of time; therefore as its rumoured James Lafferty won’t be appearing as much this season and due to the return of his half-brother Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) it would be incredibly devastating for fans to see their favourite, long-standing couple end under tragic circumstances.
A sleep-deprived Brooke and Julian discover the downside of parenthood as they attempt to balance caring for their twin boys Davis and Jude as well as holding up careers for themselves. Julian utters in a tongue in cheek manner that he wants to go back to a life where they were free to do as they pleased, considering their initial struggle to have children of their own the remark feels out of place however also conveys the reality of the stress that comes with their situation. On the other hand Brooke delivers a stunning narration about seeing the place she grew up in in a different light after having the twins, metaphorically depicting the notion of viewing life differently as time passes on and through the changes it brings. Concluding with the line “Sometimes my heart aches at how my life turned out, in a good way, it doesn’t mean there haven’t been hardships, there have been, but I’m here and here is good” sums up Brooke’s growth as a character and her true appreciation of how her life has turned out. Finally seeing Brooke’s father (Richard Burgi) at the twins christening added a new spin and gives a better understanding of who she is and how she grew up, placing the missing piece of the puzzle.
Dan’s reappearance in the christening scene invokes many questions that have been present through various seasons of the show. It is unknown whether he is being genuine regarding the fact his home has been involved in a fire however its satisfying to see him in a desperate state with nowhere to turn but to the people he hurt in the first place. The encounter between Dan and Haley is an intense watch and cleverly depicted as Dan realises he’s asking far too much than he should.
The sub-plots such as Clay and Quinn’s issues in recovering from the shooting/stalker incident and the Chase (Stephen Colletti) and Alex relationship still remain as filler storylines and possibly unnecessary as the show’s strength remains with the original core characters that the audience have grown up with for the past nine years. On a personal level these minor stories aren’t as compelling. With the eagerly-awaited return of Lucas it will definitely bring the show back to its origins and generate intrigue in seeing what his character has been up to in his absence, like Chris Keller, its going to be interesting seeing him interact with the newer characters and of course Brooke, Haley and Nathan given its been three years since we saw them on screen together.
Overall “Know This, We’ve Noticed” was a decent opening and an enjoyable watch with compelling moments that have the potential for greater development. “One Tree Hill” is finally on the way to closure and hopefully will meet all the expectations the fans and characters deserve. It will be missed but the right time has come to call it a day.
For my previous Season 8 Finale Review Click Here: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/one-tree-hill-season-8-finale/
Hayley Alice Roberts.