I have absolutely no shame in admitting that last night’s ONE TREE HILL finale reduced me to tears at several points. For fans of the show, the episode did what the show had always done best (and what often brought scorn and ridicule from folks who didn’t get the appeal): It embraced its own predictability and cheesiness and while wrapping viewers in the warm and comforting embrace of a world where dreams come true and good almost always triumphs over evil. Like almost no other, HILL was a show which not only remembered its past, but knew that fans did as well and regularly rewarded them with references to events — big and small — to characters, moments and jokes from previous seasons. Here are our five favorites from last night’s finale.
The Edwards-Scott Memorial Scholarship Program
The season three episode in which troubled student Jimmy Edwards held classmates at gunpoint was a turning point for the show in more ways than one. By its end, both Jimmy and Keith Scott were dead, and the events of that day have never been forgotten by the survivors. Mouth using money he inherited from Dan to fund a scholarship showed that like viewers, the town would never forget those lost that day.
The “prediction box”
Who didn’t flash back to Lucas and Haley writing down their hopes and dreams for the future when she removed the brick from the wall, handed the box over to Jamie and explained its significance to him? “There’s only one Tree Hill,” she told her son… perhaps finally explaining the meaning of the title.
As the gang flashed back to the grand opening of Tric (which, you’ll remember, was originally a teen-friendly club back in season two before later morphing into a bar), Haley mentioned Brooke — struggling to deal with her parent’s unexpected poverty — having sold her blood in order to buy a new dress for the occasion.
It was all the way back in the third episode of season one that Nathan gave “tutor girl” the plastic bracelet he found in his box of Cracker Jack. (He was hoping the prize would be a cheat sheet!) The sparkly bracelet she got in the finale was definitely a step up!
As an alcohol aficionado, how could I not appreciate the running joke that was the hunky barman’s endless attempts to create a signature shot… all of which wound up being undrinkable. Or, as Chris Keller so eloquently phrased it last night, “It tastes like the devil’s ass!”
Richard M. Simms is the executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine and the author of Crimes Against Civility.