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!”
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.