And now begins my final review of One Tree Hill....
I need to start on a depressing note so it can only get better, so please do me a favor and hang in there because it will get better. :-)
First, I have to admit that I was disappointed by the finale. There was nothing wrong with the episode itself, but when they were advertising this as a "2 hour Series Finale", I was expecting just that: a 2 hour series finale; in other words a double episode. Instead, we got a 50 minute retrospective followed by an extended episode. I am not sure where to lay the blame for this, but I definitely think the advertising was misleading and consequently, I felt a little robbed by the episode. I wish they had advertised it as an extended episode preceded by a retrospective. If I had known that, my expectations would have been a little lower and I would not be feeling let down right now. I was also disappointed because the synopses I saw said something about old faces returning, so I was expecting some former cast members to come back and the only one we got was Bevin. Nothing against Bevin, I just wish we could have gotten more in that area too. The episode seemed to pack too much into the extended time it had. If they could have had a full two hours, I think they could have fit it in without feeling so rushed.
There were a couple other minor things I would have changed. First, I would have loved to have seen an older Jamie and not just his back. Second, it would also have been nice to have had a little montage of the opening of Baker Boys. Not major, just things I would have liked.
Those complaints out of the way, what was there was great. They wrapped up stories without ending them and we got to see our favorite characters in the future living life. Since there was no character development, this won't be one of my standard character based reviews. It will be more of a reflection on the episode and the journey that has brought us to this point.
I want to start with the numerous callbacks present in the episode. Nathan getting Chris' guitar back to him; the references to the Scott's penchant for being kidnapped; Jamie seeing the wish box and using it; Haley's use of Karen's line "There is only one Tree Hill and it's your home."; the sets of Peyton's room, the school corridor, and the front of Brooke's house; the River Court; the group lines at the end of the episode (from the Season 4 finale if memory serves); Haley and Nathan spending time in the rain; Nathan's dinner of mac and cheese and Cracker Jack with a bracelet in it; and Gavin DeGraw singing "I Don't Want to Be" in Tric. The memories of Jimmy and Keith and the growth in Chris' character were also wonderful. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.
I loved that Clay and Quinn got married in a special ceremony after Logan called her mom of his own volition. They never breached the subject of her adopting him, but he obviously wanted it and saw that it would be important to Clay. When he called her mom, I choked up. Ok, honesty time, I was misty eyed throughout the entire episode. From start to finish, I had tears in my eyes. There is so much love in that family and it was really sweet to see that he could accept her all on his own.
Seeing Haley and Chris performing for the last time in Tric was really special. Both characters really got their start there, so it was fitting that Chris get his new start there too. I also loved that he said that he actually admitted that he didn't like who he was then and he wanted to change. That is a huge step for Chris. I totally laughed when he called himself "I" for the first time; at least I think it was the first time. I am so used to him calling himself "Chris Keller" that calling himself "I" was just funny.
Dan giving Mouth the $500,000 was just incredible and what Mouth did with it showed that Dan didn't make a mistake. Using the money to honor Keith and Jimmy was a wonderful thing.
The ending (aside from the minor quibble above) was perfect. We got to see our characters 7 or 8 years in the future. Jamie is on the basketball team and beat Nathan's scoring record. Logan is grown up. One of Brulian's boys was with a girl (Lydia, I think) at the game. Mouth and Millie are still together (married?) and Millie is pregnant. And Skillz got back together with Bevin, which was really sweet. Life really does go on and our group learned from the past so that their mistakes did not become their kids' mistakes. This was unlike Dan, who learned too late how not to let his mistakes be Nathan's mistakes.
I am definitely going to miss this show. It is the first show to get me to care enough about the characters and story to write reviews about them. No other show has ever meant quite so much to me. One Tree Hill, thanks for the memories and the wonderful times. You will be sorely missed, although you will always live on in our memories.
"There is only one Tree Hill....and it's your home." - Karen Roe