The rescue of Nathan Scott on last week's One Tree Hill was an
action-packed thrill ride. This week there's no real action or suspense,
but it's an emotional rollercoaster that refuses to stop. It's happy,
triumphant, light-hearted, funny, bittersweet, sad, tragic, redemptive,
and everything else you can imagine. If, at any point during the
episode, you went more than five minutes without tearing up, you're made
And just when you think you can't take any more, the most amazing, shocking moment comes with the return of Craig Sheffer as Keith!
It all begins with Julian and Nathan rushing Dan to the hospital. In the first 10 minutes of the episode, Haley and Nathan are reunited, Jamie is flown back to Tree Hill and the doctors reveal that Dan Scott is going to die.
What follows is a series of goodbyes with Dan's family: Jamie, Haley, Deb and Nathan. It's so sweet, but for all of you fans who don't think Dan deserves to be forgiven, don't worry. Every time someone says how much they love Dan and says goodbye, he has flashes to murdering Keith and all of the bad things he's done. Dan is just like those fans, refusing to believe that he deserves redemption.
Then comes his big final scene with Nathan on the River Court (although it's just a hallucination). Dan delivers a big, fantastic monologue explaining why he killed Keith, how he was jealous and angry that Dan's own life never got any better. It's touching, but the best part is when he and Nathan then play some basketball on the River Court without keeping score. Only that's when Dan dies.
And that's when things got truly remarkable. As Nathan left the hospital room to get help, Keith appeared, causing me to gasp and nearly have a heart attack of my own. Kudos to Mark Schwahn and his team for keeping that one a surprise.
Keith is there is usher Dan into the afterlife. He takes him into the school hallway where Dan killed him and proceeds to explain that, as awful as that act was, Dan knows it's awful and everything he did after has been for good. Dan has tried, very hard, to be a better person, and in doing so, he has become one. And Keith proves that things do get better because Dan's family stands over his dead body, mourning the loss.
The very final scene is one that wisely deals with the issue of Dan's redemption. Dan admits that he knows Keith is going to Heaven, but he's unsure where he will go. Keith chimes in that Dan is his plus one. So Dan may not make it into Heaven on his own, but Keith lets him in. As I said earlier, if you made it this far without crying, you're a freaking robot. Paul Johansson was absolutely terrific and proved that, as much as this show is about the kids, Dan Scott's journey may be the most powerful of the entire series.
Brooke's Bad Dad
In far less "life or death" stories, Brooke's dad is back in town, but the only thing he's interested in is selling the business he just started with his daughter for a quick profit. Sorry, Brooke, but your dad is the old Dan Scott, and once she realizes it she slams the door in his face. Maybe, somewhere down the ride, a crazy nanny will kidnap Jude and Brooke's dad will save him and then rededicate his life to his family, seeking redemption for all of his past deeds.
Julian's Great Idea
Meanwhile, in the funniest, silliest, most meta and final season of Dawson's Creek-y storyline ever, Julian rereads An Unkindness of Ravens and realizes that it would make a great TV series. I don't care how painfully obvious this is, I now want the final scene of One Tree Hill to be all of the characters watching their TVs where two actors recreate Lucas and Nathan's one-on-one match from the series premiere on the River Court.
Haley and Nathan take the news that Clay has a son surprisingly well, and Sara's parents are totally cool with Clay despite the whole "fugue state, forgetting that he had a son for six years" thing. With some kind words and an X-Men toy jet, Clay convinces Logan that he's a good guy and father and son are reunited. So that makes two triumphant, father-son reunions, and one disastrous father-daughter story.
Next week on One Tree Hill: Julian convinces a TV network to make An Unkindness of Ravens into a series. These last two episodes are going to be a whole lot of fun.
(Image courtesy of the CW)