When we last saw the gang of One Tree Hill
, there were relationship scandals all over the place. Haley found a drawing from Jamie featuring the sexy nanny, leaving her a bit distressed. Peyton went to the opening of Clothes Over Bro's with Lucas as an awkward friendly gesture, only for Lucas to butt in when she tried to flirt with the hot bartender. Mouth (Lee Norris
) continued to get it on with his Mussolini of a boss so he'd have a chance of becoming a reporter, and Brooke's mom drove her to cry and eat ice cream.
In this week's episode we get a cavalcade of flashbacks that help fill in the gaps between seasons 4 and 5. It's kind of like an episode of Lost
, except nobody gets killed by a smoke monster and there are no mysterious hatches. However, there is a wise old bald man, and while he may not slay boars he sure can stare you down and dispense Yoda-like advice. Yes, Whitey finally returns!
The episode starts with Lucas trying to be all writerly, but he tells Lindsey that his writing is slow, sluggish, and plodding, which is probably how his first novel was too. She shows him a framed picture of Whitey holding the Ravens' championship trophy and asks if he ever regrets anything from the past. Lucas claims he doesn't, but he has that thousand yard stare that says it's time for a flashback.
It's now three years earlier and Whitey is giving an inspirational speech to the college basketball team, including Nathan, to prepare them for the upcoming big game. He sends them off and tells Lucas, who is his assistant coach, not to have any late night cyber chats with Peyton. Great, there's an image to erase from my brain.
Haley is trying to adjust to being a new mom, and thankfully Lucas is hanging around to help with Jamie. It also appears that baby Jamie can say the word "ball," which is just adorable. It'd be a little contrived if that was his first word, but I don't care because Jamie is awesome.
At the big college basketball game, Lucas is assistant coaching while Nathan leads the team. Just as an important call needs to be made and the game is neck and neck, Whitey passes the torch to Lucas and tells him it's time for him to lead the team. Whitey (Barry Corbin
) leaves the court, essentially forcing Lucas to win the game on his own. Lucas makes the right call, Nathan shoots the winning point, and the gym erupts in victory while Whitey looks on from the locker room. Boy, that Nathan could have a great career ahead of him if he doesn't get thrown through a window.
In the midst of winning, Lucas randomly flashes back to when he won with the Ravens and had terrible hair. In this flashback within a flashback, he's telling Peyton that she's the one for him as he kisses her. He then flashes forward to the original flashback, set three years in the past of this show that recently jumped four years in the future. Confused yet?
Whitey congratulates Lucas on the win and tells him that it's time for him to retire from coaching. Aw, don't leave me Whitey! You're the best. Whitey plans to spend his days seeing basketball games and yelling at the coaches, which sounds fun to me.
Nathan leaves the game, only to be heckled by a bad actor who asks if Jamie will grow up to be a point shaver like his daddy. Nathan nearly gets in a fight with him, but Lucas (Chad Michael Murray
) pulls him away. On the bus later, wise old Whitey tells Nathan that he has to get his temper in check if he wants to have a successful career. You should have listened to him, Nathan. Then you wouldn't have had those problems with the wheelchair, the beard, the scotch, and the whining.
Since Whitey is basically the human fortune cookie of this show, he wanders over to Lucas to dispense some advice about how love is more important than basketball. Lucas then decides that he needs to be dropped off at the airport so he can go visit Peyton (Hilarie Burton
) in Los Angeles. Will she be happy to see him, or will she be too wrapped up in her music career to care?
Lucas shows up at the record company to surprise Peyton, and she immediately stops her busy work of making copies and delivering mail so they can make out. Lucas gets a first hand glimpse at how terrible her job is, but Peyton points out that she's inspired to make it through her crappy days thanks to the talented people surrounding her. Lucas then reminds Peyton that she produced two albums before she was out of high school, but really, who didn't? Much like the characters on this show, I was married, divorced, had a stalker, went on a national singing tour, had a heart attack, got run over by a loan shark, and produced two albums all before I went to college.
Later that evening, Lucas and Peyton go to dinner to catch up with one another. Peyton gives Lucas a mix CD with some fancy Sharpie writing on it, and Lucas mentions that he has something to give her too. That's either some saucy sexual innuendo or a hint at an engagement ring. A shot of Lucas in his hotel room after dinner proves that it's the latter, which is just as I suspected.
After Peyton arrives in the hotel room, Lucas does the whole down on one knee thing and springs the proposal on her. Peyton insists that things aren't simple and that they need to talk these things over more. She has no desire to return to Tree Hill, and Lucas has a burgeoning career in North Carolina. She's willing to wait for him a year and see how things go, but Lucas isn't into the distance thing. He's offended that Peyton won't go back to his podunk town to marry him and pump out kids, which means their relationship is doomed. They fall asleep together, and with Peyton still snoozing, Lucas sneaks out in the morning without saying goodbye. He even leaves the mix CD behind. What an ass.
Lucas arrives at the airport and suddenly gets a call from future girlfriend Lindsey. She tells him that her company wants to publish his book, which means it's finally time for An Unkindness of Ravens
to be unleashed upon the world. Lucas thinks of calling Peyton with the good news, but since he just ditched her and tossed aside her mix CD like it was a day old fish sandwich, he decides against it. He hops on a plane to New York to go meet Lindsey and find out more about the publishing of his horrendously titled memoir.
In New York, Lindsey and Lucas rub elbows with the big wigs at a swanky bar, and one of them actually mentions that he should change the title. Thank you, random old man! However, Lindsey says that she likes the title just before admitting that this is the first book she's ever edited. Your inexperience shows, Lindsey. That title is terrible.
Lindsey takes off after dropping some flirtatious hints toward Lucas, and, thanks to the powers of plot contrivance, Brooke randomly shows up. Brooke tells Lucas about the fashion empire that her mom wants to build, and Lucas whines that his editor wants to make changes to his novel. Sorry to break it to you Lucas, but that's kind of what editors do.
Back at Brooke's place, Lucas tells her that he spontaneously proposed to Peyton, and she assures him that he's an idiot for going "all Naley on her." Ha! Just as Lucas gets down on one knee to show how he pulled off the failed proposal, Victoria walks in and gets the wrong idea. It'd be fun if she chased after Lucas and started beating him with her couture handbag, but sadly that doesn't happen.
In case one misunderstanding weren't enough, Brooke and Lucas go out for drinks and the waitress also thinks he just proposed to her. They both get sloshed on free drinks and go for a carriage ride, where the driver brings the room down with talks of the love and romance that neither of them have. Naturally, this leads to Lucas awkwardly attempting to make out with Brooke after they get back to his hotel room. She wisely rebuffs him, and tells him he should focus on his writing instead of his heartbreak over Peyton.
When Brooke gets home, Victoria immediately yells at her and insists that she won't be marrying that Lucas boy. After all, he's only capable of one facial expression, and that expression is, "what's that smell?" You can't marry a guy like that! Brooke (Sophia Bush
) corrects the proposal misunderstanding, and also says that she's reluctantly ready to jump into Clothes Over Bro's. Her mom is thrilled, and tells Brooke to call her Victoria instead of mom from that point on.
Back in the Naley household, Nathan (James Lafferty
) and Haley are playing with tiny little Jamie and rejoicing over the fact that everything is wonderful in their lives. At the same time, Peyton is feeling depressed at her job, and Lucas is bringing Lindsey the bamboo plant that would go on to haunt Peyton's nightmares three years down the road. I'm glad we found out the mysterious origin of the bamboo plant, as that was truly on the forefront of my mind.
The flashbacks finally come to an end. Lucas looks wistfully at the engagement ring that he still has in his possession three years later. Nathan and Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti
) look at his old basketball trophies, while Nathan apologizes for his anger issues and vows to work on strengthening their relationship again.
As the episode comes to a close, Lucas goes to Brooke's place to search for Peyton. She's not around, and Lucas asks Brooke if she ever regrets any of the paths that she chose in life. It's obvious that Lucas is finally starting to realize that Lindsey isn't the one for him. Yes, all the Lucas and Peyton lovers out there can finally rejoice!
- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of the CW)