I wrote this post almost 4 years ago, in August of 2007. I still mean every word that is written below.
This episode is so pivotal in One Tree Hill, that I think it can honestly be called the center of the whole show. The entirety of OTH can be summed up as pre- or post- 3.16.
This 45 minutes of television are the most powerful I have ever seen on a fictional show. Prior to seeing this, I would have said that "The Body" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the most powerful. However, 3.16 (as I will call it for simplicity's sake) blows "The Body" out of the water.
3.16 is the story of an ordinary guy who is pushed too far and pushes back in the worst possible manner. Jimmy Edwards is just a normal kid. He had friends; who abandoned him; he had a mom and dad; and his dad abandoned him; and he was picked on at school. So he vented his rage and frustration into a safe place, the time capsule, supposedly safe for 50 years. But what he said gets out. That only increase the persecution. NOt only does the persecution increase, but his two "friends" who abandoned him to become popular, suddenly want to talk again. What fakers! So, for some reason, he brings a gun to school. Probably just to threaten someone and make them feel as small as they made him feel. He sees guys take apart his locker and throw his stuff on the floor. He decides to use the gun and scare them, only to shoot it. He is so freaked out that he stays in the school and hides. Eventually, he is forced to take hostages to avoid being captured by the cops. Then, seeing no other way out, he kills himself.
Is all that necessarily true and/or fair? No. Does it excuse Jimmy's actions? No. But it does explain them.
I really get what Jimmy was going through because I used to be Jimmy. Oh, I never even thought of bringing a gun to school, but I had one of my best friends from middle school turn his back on me in high school because I was unpopular. In middle and high school, I was constantly teased and harassed because I was uncool, fat, too smart, and other things. The only reason I could deal with high school was that I wanted to teach and I knew that if I wanted that, I would have to stick it out. If I had lost that chance, I don't know what I would have done.
This episode is about words. Even more than actions, words can make the biggest difference in someone's life. The wrong words can really, really hurt someone. Even the lack of the right words can really hurt. But, if you hear those words of praise or love, they can really make your day.
And don't think that just kids and teens have this problem. Even adult sometimes forget that words have power and use them carelessly.
So, no matter what your position in life, remember that what you say and do really does matter. If you're going to do something that can only hurt someone, don't do it. If it won't help, think twice. Please.
I know I sound like a PSA, but I really know the power that words can have. Even more than actions, believe me.
I'll get off my soapbox now.