'One Tree Hill' Series Finale: 24 Moments That Made Us Cry

Wed, April 4, 2012 11:59pm EDT by 57 Comments

Warning: Don’t read this post until you’ve watched the ‘One Tree Hill’ series finale. It contains so many beautiful spoilers.

Mark Schwahn told me he wanted to make the series finale feel like “a quintessential One Tree Hill episode,” and that’s exactly what he delivered April 4: introspective voiceovers, unforgettable performances, and a look into the future that wrapped up nine years of story into an hour-long love letter to the fans of “the little show that could.”

So, without further adieu, here are the 24 moments that reduced me to a ridiculous Andy Puddle during the final hour of One Tree Hill:

1. The opening shot of Tree Hill with the show title looming in the sky.

2. The characters, as grown ups, looking back at their 17-year-old selves.

3. Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) going through the old box of predictions.

4. Brooke (Sophia Bush) running her fingers along the records in “Peyton’s bedroom”

5. Haley singing at Tric for the last time — and beautifully, I might add.

6. Clay (Robert Buckley) asking Logan if he could be his dad again: “You’re already my dad, Dad!”

7. Nathan (James Lafferty) giving Jamie (Jackson Brundage) advice on the river court: “Play sports for you, and not for anybody else.”

8. Logan calling Quinn (Shantel VanSanten) “mom.”

9. Nathan giving Haley the bracelet in the Cracker Jack box.

10. Quinn telling Clay she wants to marry him: “I just want to be your wife… before we adopt our son.”

11. The very existence of Bevin. Love that bitch and miss her every day.

12. Mouth (Lee Norris) talking about the Dan Scott foundation: “What you do matters, and how you do it matters.”

13. Nathan and Haley kissing in the rain. They should always be in the rain.

14. Julian (Austin Nichols) walking Brooke through her old house: “Welcome home, Brooke Davis.”

15. Clay and Quinn tucking Logan into bed: “Goodnight, son. We love you!”

16. Jamie putting his own prediction in the box on the rooftop: “It’s a magical place, son. There’s only one Tree Hill, Jamie Scott, and it’s your home.”

17. Brooke crying by her high school locker with the NOFX sticker: “I wake up sometimes and I miss it.”

18. Gavin DeGraw performing “I Don’t Wanna Be” at Tric.

19. Haley reading Julius Caesar at Karen’s Café.

20. Millie (Lisa Goldstein) wearing a wedding ring — hello, time jump! — and being pregnant with Baby Mouth!

21. An excellent use of U2‘s “One Tree Hill.”

22. Nathan looking at 17-year-old Jamie’s “all-time lead scorer” jersey in the gym at Tree Hill High School.

23. The beautiful moment when you realize Skills (Antwon Tanner) and Bevin are dating, or at least banging.

24. The freeze frame of Jamie (from behind) in his Raven’s jersey.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Remember when Mark Schwahn talked about the One Tree Hill fans who started watching the show in high school? How they’re now out of college? Well, I’m one of those fans. When the pilot first aired in Sept. 2003 — when Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) first towed Peyton’s (Hilarie Burton) car and changed the course of so many people’s lives — I was a junior in high school. Now here I am, nine years later, and I’m writing about the series professionally. I’ve never found myself connecting with characters like I have with the residents of Tree Hill, and I may never again. For me, for the actors, for all of you, this is the end of an era. And it’s been an incredible one.

Good night, Tree Hill.

What did YOU think of the final trip to Tree Hill? Which moments had you reaching for the tissues, and which characters will you miss the most? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below — one last time.

— Andy Swift

Follow Andy on Twitter for more One Tree Hill talk

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Melissa

Posted at 9:54 PM on April 5, 2012  

I started watching One Tree Hill back in 2003 when it aired. I loved this show, I am still processing that it’s over. Mark Schwann is amazing. I started watching the show because I had always thought Chad Michael Murray was hot, so it perked my interest level. I was hooked after the first episode. After Murray and Burton left the show, I honestly didn’t miss them. Slowly, but surely, he added and removed new characters. I never thought it was two different shows after Murray and Burton left. It was still the same to me. It was nice to see him back for a final episode, but it wasn’t the same 2 seasons later of being gone and hardly referenced, if you ask me.
My favorite part of the finale… Clay, Quinn & Logan… that kid is too adorable! And Skills and Bevin. And Millie Preggers. And Brooke moving back into her old house. Also, I completely loved, in general, the return of Chris Keller, mainly because I love Tyler Hilton. One Tree Hill will always hold a certain place, and I think it ended perfectly.

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Lisa

Posted at 6:46 PM on April 5, 2012  

Wow, what a finale. I initially started crying when I saw that the first hour was titled “Always and Forever” and didn’t stop. I completely lost it when Logan called Quinn “Mom”, the Naley crackerjack scene, when Logan and Bevin threw confetti on the newlyweds and when Brooke Davis finally came home. I was SOBBING LIKE A BABY, not even kidding, I did that ugly Dawson cry, during the final scene when we saw pregnant Mille, the older children and finally #12 Jamie Scott. I also loved that they used the clip of Nathan at the basket shooting the ball without looking at the basket. I always loved that scene. Perfect ending for me.

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Michelle

Posted at 5:18 PM on April 5, 2012  

When gavin sang I don’t wanna be and they turned down the music and they were all singing made me cry like a baby

The little show with a huge heart will always be in my hEart

Always and forever

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Sophie

Posted at 3:55 PM on April 5, 2012  

OMG. One Tree Hill literally changed my life. I love love loved the show and I am so sad that it ended. I loved the future with Jamie being the all time scorer and everyone else. Bevin was back! I loved her. I also LOVED the end AND Gavin Degraw. This show was the best on TV and i have no idea what i will do without it. The Naley moment in the rain and Quinn, Clay, and Logan. Chase and Chris are awesome best friends, and Skills and Bevin together in the end is awesome. Mouth and Millie in the end with a baby on the way is perfect. The episode was a great way to end the show. Goodbye One Tree Hill.

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Maria

Posted at 3:34 PM on April 5, 2012  

What a finale! I love every moment of it. Cried every moment of it! I almost felt as though i was there with them saying goodbye and thank you. I too grew up with One Tree Hill. It stopped airing in Australia after season 2, biggest mistake they could have made. But i stuck through buying every season as it came to DVD. I feel as though there was always someone on it that everyone could relate to. Kudos to the original cast who were able to stick through it right to the end. Watching them grow along side us and giving them realistic problems was what made Tree Hill not your regular Tv series. Thank you for the past 9 years. After the final episode, i went back and watched episode 1 of season 1 again. It was amazing then. It is amazing now. It will forever be in our hearts. THANK YOU!

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CaitD

Posted at 1:59 PM on April 5, 2012  

I absolutely loved the final episode. Life won’t be the same without looking forward to OTH!! The ONLY thing I would have changed would be to have brought back Peyton and Lucas for at least a scene…I kept waiting for it to happen but it never did. Thank you Mark, for 9 AMAZING seasons!!!

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Danny B

Posted at 11:52 AM on April 5, 2012  

After nine seasons of being a fan, God am I going to miss OTH. Unlike other younger fans, I am a 50 year old male who has enjoyed Tree Hill (along with my wife) since episode one. My 18 year old son could not understand why mom and dad were so attached to a tv show that they had their own private viewing “party” for the finale. But the people reading this surely understand. My only regret…that Peyton and Lucas were not in the finale. Finally, many thanks to the fans who helped keep this gem alive for nine awesome years.

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Kate

Posted at 11:29 AM on April 5, 2012  

What One Tree Hill has been for you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was for me. The teens were sophomores when I was a sophomore, and I grew up with them. I feel like I should be welcoming you to the club.
Watching Haley and Nathan with Jamie always makes me tear up because I have a son of my own. Seeing Jamie as a high school senior at the end of the episode made me burst into tears.

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Jess

Posted at 11:26 AM on April 5, 2012  

This episode was perfect!! I can’t believe it’s over :'( This show means a lot to me, I grew up with it (like a lot of people I guess). I was only 10 years old the first time I watched it. I’m almost 20 now, and I remember everything about it : my first tears, the quotes, the first Naley kiss, the weddings…
“There is only One Tree Hill, and it’s your home” ♥ Tree Hill will always be a huge part of my life. Always and Forever ♥ “Mark Schwahn changed the world, and I’m not sure he even knows it”.

I really hope we’ll see Pierce Gagnon on our screens soon, he is the cutest kid ever!!!!

Goodnight Tree Hill..

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Andy Swift

Posted at 11:30 AM on April 5, 2012  

Agreed about Pierce! Logan was PERFECTLY cast.

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Kate

Posted at 8:50 AM on April 5, 2012  

It was a beautiful finale. I started watching when I was right out of college and my life changed so much but Tree Hill was always there. It was the one show that never disappointed me and never tried to be more or less than it was. I always understood what Mark was trying to say and it spoke to me. I will miss it

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allie

Posted at 8:45 AM on April 5, 2012  

what exactly was the quote mark schwahn said about viewers from high school to out of college??
i’ve been trying to look for it!! it is exactly meeee

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Maricris Lapaix

Posted at 4:18 AM on April 5, 2012  

It’s amazing that this show can touch so many people the same way. Amazing job because every moment you touched on…EVERY ONE…is a moment that made my heart skip a beat and ache because it’s all over. However, because I grew up with the show as well, I feel that it’s also my time to write my own story now and grow up and keep chasing my dreams….OTH for life <3

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Beth

Posted at 3:57 AM on April 5, 2012  

I was thirteen when One Tree Hill aired, just a year shy of embarking on a high school adventure all my own. And now? I’m weeks away from graduating college (at Duke, nonetheless. Dang, I wish Nathan would’ve ended up here!), and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way everything wrapped up. So many loose ends tied together so perfectly; I can’t imagine a more beautiful ending to such an instrumental show in the lives of so many. Definitely shed my fair share of tears during the opening shot, the throwback to Peyton’s room, Nathan/Haley & the cracker jack box, Logan Evans stealing the show with his “mom & dad” shoutouts, and possibly upon seeing Brooke’s NC necklace/Julian’s NC hat (lived here all 22 years of my life – what a wonderful tribute!) But during those final five minutes? I sobbed unabashedly at the poignant moments that unfolded. There is only one Tree Hill, and it has captured my heart entirely, playing a pivotal role in such a defining time in my life. Thanks for the memories, OTH. Always & forever.

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Kyndra

Posted at 3:01 AM on April 5, 2012  

I am soo sad that One Tree Hill is over :( I absolutely loved the show. And while I loved the finale, i was also a bit disappointed. I cried more on the Danny Boy episode than the finale. I didn’t cry on the finale. It was sad only because it was the last episode but I think I just wished Lucas and Peyton, or maybe even Rachel or Jake would have made an appearance. It didnt feel right ending without Lucas and Peyton, yeah they left after season 6, and that it was them wanting to leave but I just think they were a huge huge part of one tree hill, so it didnt feel right. They started it would have been nice to see them even if it was one or two scenes. But I still loved it and have all but the last season on DVD but will buy it as soon as it’s available. I can’t believe its over :( I have watched since season one. It was so relatable to real life.

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Tricey

Posted at 2:26 AM on April 5, 2012  

I legitimately cannot process this. lol I was in highschool when it started (im pretty sure a sophmore) in my mind i grew up with brooke davis. Laughed with her. Cried with her. hated peyton with her. I even went thru very relatable things (down to being left for my friend…. maybe that had something to do with peyton hate ha) I knew id be a little emotional watching it end, but the way he used flashbacks to remind you “o hey, yea, you grew up watching this… youre welcome.. you can cry now” haha loved the ending, but im so sad to see it go.

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Patricia

Posted at 1:25 AM on April 5, 2012  

It was amazing!
I thought it was going to be 2 hours tho? it was only 50 mins!

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Katherine

Posted at 12:20 AM on April 5, 2012  

I was eleven soon to be twelve in November when One Tree Hill started. i was in the seventh grade and now i’m a junior in college. it has been an incredible trip and i am happy I was able to watch it.

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Niki

Posted at 12:06 AM on April 5, 2012  

It was just beautiful and wonderful and warm and felt just like home. Perfect ending to a show that was just perfect. #GoodnightTreeHill

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ann

Posted at 11:44 PM on April 4, 2012  

Age ain’t nothing but a number for these loved-up A-Listers. My BF and I both think so! He is almost 10 years older than I. We met via ~~Agelessmeet .COM~~ a nice place for younger women and older men, or older women and younger men, to interact with each other! Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends :)

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Lindsey

Posted at 11:11 PM on April 4, 2012  

This entire finale made me cry. Unlike so many fans, I didn’t find the show until about two years ago, but I watched every episode and caught up within a month. I felt I could relate to the characters, and I couldn’t wait until the next week. Its so hard to believe its finally over. I wish they could pick up a spin off, even without the main (adult) characters. Many tears…

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Andy Swift

Posted at 11:31 PM on April 4, 2012  

That must have been quite a month :) Do you like the older episodes or the newer episodes better? It feels like they’re two different shows.

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Sam

Posted at 11:08 PM on April 4, 2012  

I haven’t been able to watch yet, but I am so disappointed that Lucas and Peyton did not return. However, I’m glad OTH had a great series run. I will miss the cast and hope to see many of their faces on our TV screens again! :)

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Andy Swift

Posted at 11:32 PM on April 4, 2012  

At least we know Sophia Bush and Robert Buckley have pilots for the Fall 2012 season! I hope they get picked up :)

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vanessa Genova

Posted at 10:47 PM on April 4, 2012  

I cryed threw it all ,my mother and I started watching it together 9 years ago.We would get upset with some people ,like Dan.we missed Keith,Lucas,and peyton.Jamie was so cute.Brooke went threw a lot ,and so did Haley.And my mother of 73 yrs.like Mouth ,she said he was so sweet.We would yell at the tv at them (like they could hear us)if they were doing something or didn’t think they should be doing.We would cry with them .We loved this show.I wish I had meant them.We loved them all.Thank u all for a wonderful show!

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mo

Posted at 10:42 PM on April 4, 2012  

Omg….I also followed this show for 10 years…the show never let me down u loved everything about this one final epsiode I loved everything about it….everything you mentioned….

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anna

Posted at 10:35 PM on April 4, 2012  

i thought the finale was amazingly done, it was beautiful illustrated in every scene. there were so many reminiscent moments, which reminded us why we fell in love with tree hill. i wouldve loved to see haley performed with chris keller again, but ALL the music in the episode we great. loved it, and i felt like it really “wrapped up”

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Andy Swift

Posted at 10:38 PM on April 4, 2012  

Yeah, it’s hard because they’ve done quite a few “endings” over the years, but this one really gave us closure. BIG JAMIE!

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Lauren

Posted at 10:26 PM on April 4, 2012  

I just wish that lucas and peyton made an appearance

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2012  

Hey, at least we got her old room.

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