You brilliant, sappy, sadistic bastard.
Last night, you gave ONE TREE HILL fans a wonderful treat in which redemption was found, sanity was lost and a good time was had by all. You took us out of Tree Hill and put our favorites in a gorgeous mountain retreat so they could frolic in the snow and share emotional moments. You provided the cornyness we’ve come to expect (the owl), the emotional payoffs we demand (Julian’s proposal to Brooke) and, in what felt like a wonderful way for the series to end while still leaving us with the knowledge that life will go on in Tree Hill, another baby for Hayley and Nathan.
And then, you took it all away.
I suspected the happily-ever-after might come with a hint of “to be continued” when Chase got the text from Mia only seconds after officially launching his relationship with Alex.
But nothing could have prepared me for that final, brutal moment when first Quinn and then Clay were shot by his wife’s crazed doppelganger.
You brilliant, sadistic bastard.
Brilliant, because you achieved two things with the episode: Obviously, it got people talking and, with the show’s ultimate fate still up in the air, why not have message boards and twitter feeds light up with talk of the shocking cliffhanger? Secondly, while this may or may not have been in your mind at the time, with a little editing, the episode could easily be turned into a cliffhanger-free finale offered as an extra on the DVD. Edit the Quinn/Clay scene so we never see them go into the bedroom and get shot, clip out the text message from Mia so that Chase gets a happy ending with Alex, and then simply move the scene of Hayley sharing news of her pregnancy so it becomes your final shot.
As I said, brilliant. (And if I’m giving you too much credit, well, then I’ll allow myself to share the burden of being hailed as a genius.)
As for sadistic? Well, that should go without saying. Obviously, you rolled the dice. If the show gets renewed for an 8th season — and at this moment, things reportedly are looking good — you’ve set up a lot of great drama. But if the show fails to be picked up, it’s the viewers who ultimately lose. Even if you were to re-edit the episode, fans will know that Quinn and Clay do get off that couch, and that they walk into the bedroom and are shot down in cold blood. That’s not an easy image to shake.
But no matter how things play out, let me personally thank you for seven years of entertainment. Sometimes, I loved my weekly visits to Tree Hill, and occasionally I was left maddened by them. (Sorry, but I was a Brucas fan and just never got the Leyton thing!) I was mocked by many for my devotion to the show, but also understood their inability to see in it what I did. It was, at times, just a silly little show, and yet at others, it had the power to reduce me — a grown man — to tears.
While I’m hoping to see Julian and Brooke’s wedding, the birth of Jamie’s brother and the fallout from Quinn and Clay’s shooting, just in case that’s not in the cards, let me — on behalf of millions of fans — thank you for the show you obviously poured so much of yourself into.
As I said, you’re a brilliant, sappy, sadistic bastard… and we love you for having let us see that.