One Tree Hill — the little show that could and did, time and time again — came to an emotional end Wednesday night after nine seasons. But how did life pan out for Brooke, Haley, Nathan and the rest of the residents of the tiny North Carolina town?
The always-wise Haley James Scott set a fitting tone, telling the Tric crowd, “As most of you know, tonight is a very special night for us, so I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for being here. The time that we have spent together over the years has meant so much, and without you we would not be here tonight. Thank you. The night is yours, the night is ours, and it’s full of all kinds of surprises!”
More perfect words could not have kicked off the event, in which — Spoiler Alert! — everyone received a much-deserved happy ending.
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME… | The episode began with a trip down memory lane for the series’ three core characters — Brooke, Nathan and Haley — who, in present day, observed their younger selves. Emotional monologues from each accompanied the visually stunning scenes, and carried on throughout the episode up until the end. At that point, in memorable moments from Season 1 — Nathan at the free-throw line, Brooke cheerleading, Haley supporting from the stands — characters appeared to directly address their older selves with a wink and a nod, like, “We did it. We’re OK.”
STORMY WEATHER | After a season of very few ups and so many downs, Nathan and Haley shared a handful of what felt like earned, tender moments. The once again happy couple shared a romantic dinner, kissed — a lot — and took one last sexy, very sweet romp in the rain. (Longtime fans will appreciate that one.) Meanwhile, father and son exchanged an odd joke about kidnapping — too soon, guys — then engaged in the conversation Nate always longed for with his own father: the “you’re good enough and don’t have to be a star athlete” one. Upon hearing Jamie say that he needed to live up to his dad’s legacy, Nate assured him that whatever he chose to do and be in life would make him proud. All together now, awww. Later, Haley showed her son the wish box she shared with Lucas and even Nate, passing it on to Jamie to store all of his hopes and dreams — which, of course, consisted of besting his dad’s basketball scoring record.
HOME SWEET HOME | After Brooke confessed that her childhood house ” deserved better” than what her dysfunctional family gave it, Julian (aka Husband of the Year) went out and purchased it. Upon receipt of this major gift, a tearful Brooke — clearly speaking on behalf of fans — said, “I knew in my heart there was treasure here. And I found it.” (Sob!) In less-important-but-still-wonderful Brooke news: She and her parents successfully launched Baker Man — first the shopping site and then a storefront.
Lucas & Brooke’s first kiss: Episode 109, “With Arms Outstretched”
Brooke drags Lucas out for a night of B. Davis “fun,” complete with fake I.D.s and bonding over “Weird Science.” After a few drinks, Brooke shows Lucas her well-placed tattoo… and, naturally, the making out begins.
Brooke & Julian’s first kiss: Episode 615, “A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene”
On a non-date at Brooke’s house, Brooke and Julian discuss just how inappropriate it would be for them to date. After all, he’s got history with Peyton, they’re working together on his movie, and they don’t need to further complicate their lives. Needless to say… they decide to further complicate their lives.
When “One Tree Hill” premiered on The WB on September 23, 2003, I was a 16-year-old high school senior. I watched it because “Dawson’s Creek” was off the air and I had nothing better to do once I’d finished my physics homework.
It was almost 8 years later to the day that I, a real live adult, visited the set of the show to conduct interviews with the cast and observe while they filmed one of the final episodes of the series.
I sat behind the camera on set at Karen’s Cafe, watching Sophia Bush’s effortless transformation into Brooke Davis, as directed by Greg Prange. The scene wasn’t sad or even particularly poignant — she was flirting with her husband before he spotted something on the street and rushed outside. It was practically filler. But I blinked back tears anyway, because in that moment I felt instantly connected to my 16-year-old self, and, simultaneously, uncomfortably far away from her. It hit me that in a few months, I’d say a last goodbye to a childhood friend.
When Brooke made her first appearance in the second episode of “One Tree Hill,” she could have easily been written off as a brainless, slutty cheerleader. Initially, she was — her best friend labeled her as shallow, her parents nurtured her with their wallets. Boys pitied her as she propositioned them, naked in locker room showers and backseats.
At the time, I couldn’t have told you why I related to Brooke. At 16, I wasn’t promiscuous — I wasn’t even brave. I kept up a solid B+ in honors and AP classes, kept the bench warm for my teammates, and when my parents were out of town, I always volunteered to host parties, because that way, I knew I’d be invited. My journals from senior year alternate between wondering if people didn’t like me, then wondering why they did like me, back and forth.
Somehow, though, in Brooke, I found a fictional comrade onto whom I could easily project all of my problems and heartache and self-indulgent teen angst. In a Season 4 episode, Brooke confesses to a friend that she lied to him. “I was worried I wouldn’t be enough for you,” she says. “That’s what I’m afraid of, not being enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.”
And there it was. For all of her brash, naked-in-the-backseat bravado, Brooke was a girl who frequently fell short of who she wanted to be. People had low expectations for her, and often they were wrong, but sometimes they were right. She had her heart broken, repeatedly, by people she trusted, and she forgave them, disarmed and unprepared for the next painful twist of the knife. She made bad choices and suffered consequences.
Here are the screencaptures of Brooke Davis in 9×12 Anyone Who Had A Heart.
One Tree Hill > Season 9 > Screencaptures > 9×12 Anyone Who Had A Heart
The CW’s One Tree Hill concludes its memorable (and sometimes outrageous!) nine-season run this Wednesday at 8/7c, with a two-hour swan song, and we have your exclusive first look at the emotional farewell.
The following clip, from the aptly titled finale “One Tree Hill”, finds life-long residents Brooke and Haley reminiscing about old times, and, once again, leaving their indelible mark on the tiny town.
Press PLAY below to find out how the girls will remain forever engrained in Tree Hill history.
I have added episode stills of Sophia as Brooke Davis in the Series Finale of One Tree Hill, 9×13 One Tree Hill.
One Tree Hill > Season 9 > Episode Stills > 9×13 One Tree Hill