There are few TV moves that I think are more effective than the One Tree Hill time jump. It’s such a genius move. I’ll get into why as we move through it.
Season 5: Episode 1: “4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days”
Time jump! We move four years into the future (thus making the cast only 5 years too old for their characters rather than ten.) This was a brilliant move by the show, because the college episodes of teen soaps are categorically terrible, but as Beverly Hills 90210 proved, if you can survive them, the adult stories are a lot of fun.
So what do our Ravens look like as 21 year olds? Refreshingly realistic, except for Brooke. Peyton is toiling as an assistant to an assistant at a record label. Haley is about to teach her first real class. Mouth is looking for work. Lucas and Skills are getting ready to coach the Ravens and Lucas has writers block.
Brooke’s doing great but does feel really unfulfilled in her new role as big ass fashion designer, so she and Peyton decide to go home to reconnect. Lucas is dating his editor Lindsay and Nathan is wheelchair bound after being badly hurt in a bar fight the night before he was supposed to be drafted into the NBA.
Oh and we meet Brooke’s mother Victoria and Haley and Nathan’s son Jamie, who I understand is not widely beloved in the fandom, but who I believe is the thing that keeps the show from getting awful as it moves into it’s weirder grown up years.
This episode makes excellent use of “The Freshmen” by The Verve Pipe, which is a wonderful song to write a scene about regret to, I’ve learned over my years of writing. It’s so full of the schmaltzy regret emotions.
This episode also has my favorite Skills line ever “Shorty shouldn’t be in the paint. He’s gotta learn,” in reference to Jamie. It’s the best.
Season 5: Episode 2: “Racing Like A Pro”
See, I forgot how much I love season 5. I love Jamie. And I love the Nathan recovery story line. I love the Peyton getting back on her feet stuff and Brooke as everyone’s cheerleader. I love Haley’s class dovetailing with Lucas and Skills as coaches, and good God do I love the character of Quentin Fields, or Q, as we will soon, all too briefly (SOB) know him.
Yes, this episode we meet two more big factors into this season, the aforementioned Q, and Carrie, Nathan and Haley’s new nanny. Both will be important, both will cause awesomeness, in very different ways. Here we just meet Carrie, we don’t yet understand that she’s insane. Just that she’s a nanny and she’s hot. We do however establish that Q is a hotshot basketball player with no respect for anyone.
Also, Jamie enters a downhill race, and Brooke teaches him about self esteem and holding your own. When he winds up not racing, Haley uses it as a wake up call to get Nathan moving again, and it works. The moment where Nathan jumps into the pool and begins his rehab is in my top 10 Nathan moments. (Number 1 is the smirk free throw from season 3, ugh, it’s the best.)
Meanwhile, everyone is meeting Lindsey and realizing that she’s great. But even she can’t escape the inevitable black hole that is the epic love of Peyton and Lucas. It’s impossible. None shall survive. OK, so maybe they’re not that destructive, they aren’t Logan and Veronica, but they’re damn close. Lindsey is absolutely the Piz in this situation, a perfectly nice person, who’s life is just going to be totaled by these assholes.
Season 5: Episode 3: “The Way Home Is Through You”
God this season is so good. I forgot how good it was. It’s wonderfully good. In this episode we get the return of Dan. Nathan goes to see him in prison, because he wants to tell him that he’s a better father? I don’t know. I don’t follow Nathan Dumbass Logic.Either way it’s a classic Nathan and Dan conversation, “I was giving you the tools to succeed,” “You turned me into a miserable asshole!” Blah blah blah
Haley has gotten her class under control, by threatening to fail the people who don’t want to work and then giving an inspirational speech about how this is where their lives begin. It’s actually a really great scene and one of my favorite things about Haley as a character is her ability to be a hard ass, so I like it.
Peyton is opening her new label office, in the space next to Tric, and Brooke is turning Karen’s Cafe into a boutique. Lindsey goes to see both of them and gives them a lucky bamboo and tries to let them know that she isn’t threatened by them and wants to be friends. Peyton doesn’t buy it and is sort of a bitch about the whole thing. Brooke is a little more accepting, but it’s very clear that she has Lucas out of her system as opposed to Peyton who doesn’t. We also get a flashback to two years earlier when Peyton flaked on seeing Lucas again, so he got together with Lindsey. Whoops.
Also Carrie is still in the too good to be true phase at the moment and Q is still behaving like a rampaging jack ass. Oh and Brooke buys a house so that she and Peyton can stay in Tree Hill. Victoria is unhappy about it. And Peyton is trying to sign Kevin Federline’s band. Because KEVIN FEDERLINE.
Season 5: Episode 4: “It’s All Right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”
Guys Mia! I forgot about Mia! Anyway, Peyton is working on the album for K-Fed’s band. (God, it’s just so ridiculous to remember there was a time when anyone cared about that man. I mean besides his two adorable children who he had with Britney Spears. I imagine they still care about him.) He’s being a real jerk about it, and Haley comes in to try to help Peyton manage the band, and it turns out that really, they should all be paying attention to Mia! The mousy little key board player. Because if there’s one thing I know about most half assed hard rock bar bands, it’s that they have a sensitive, Vanessa Carlton/Sarah Bareilles style singer songerwriter hidden somewhere in them.
Look, I’m glad we got to Mia, I just think it’s a really contrived story. Which I guess is the OTH way, but still.
Lucas is still trying to pull the Ravens together and Nathan offers to help, by getting Q out of rampaging jack ass mode. As Nathan was once a rampaging jack ass himself, this is a good fit. Lucas agrees, but makes it clear that this is to give Nathan a sense of purpose, not because he actually thinks Q is worth it. But who cares, The Scott Brothers are back in the gym together! Hooray!
Brooke is opening the Clothes Over Bros store and the opening goes pretty well, but they don’t sell as much as Victorian wants, so she’s mean about it. Millie buys a dress, and it’s very sweet, but in the end Brooke cries into her ice cream and Peyton picks her up. It’s all very sweet.
Speaking of Peyton, she apologizes to Lindsey and suggest that they hang out. Lindsey says that’s sweet but she’s going back to New York for a little bit and Peyton should hang out with Lucas instead. Oh Lindsey, you poor dumb, pretty, nice girl. When Peyton flirts with a guy at the C over B party, Lucas gets all weird and Peyton yells at him, and here we go again people.
Season 5: Episode 5: “I Forgot To Remember To Forget”
So, it’s another, “Here’s what happened” episode. In this episode, we learn why Peyton and Lucas broke up and why Lucas and Brooke can be around each other with minimal weirdness. (Spoiler Alert: Because Brooke is an adult and brings out the adult in everyone else, even giant Man Baby Lucas Scott.) We see a flashback to a championship game 3 years earlier, that Lucas coaches Nathan to in a win. This prompts Whitey’s final retirement and the rebirth of The Scott Brothers Dream Team. Lucas realizes that all of this means nothing without Peyton, so he hops a plane to LA with the ring that Keith gave to Karen, to propose.
Peyton, meanwhile is busy with her perfectly realistic entry level job at the record label, which Lucas reminds her isn’t as exciting as her work in Tree Hill. Like seven times. Even when Peyton is talking about how much she loves living in LA and the opportunities she might get down the line. He’s just all, “but I love you! And you have to come home,” and it sucks! Anyway, she gets called back to work at their big dinner and by the time she gets to his hotel room he’s asleep. She finds the ring and when Lucas wakes up they have a conversation about this.
She basically says she wants to see what happens and you know, not get married at 18. And Lucas is all whhhyyyyy, I lovvveee youuu. And I want to punch him. He sucks in this episode. So they break up. He gets the call from Lindsey about publishing the book and he heads to New York, meets with her and then gets drunk with Brooke. Basically they run around Manhattan pretending to be newly engaged to get free drinks.
This is why, even though I understand the Lucas and Peyton endgame, I will always prefer Lucas and Brooke. It’s just better. (I feel similarly, btw, about Serena and Dan and Serena and Nate on Gossip Girl…) When he tries to kiss her and get her to sleep with him though, (woooorrrrrssssttttt) she tells him in no uncertain terms that that is never happening again. Hence the minimal weirdness. Lucas knows he’ll never be with Brooke again.
Oh, also we learn that Lucas is the one who started the Lucky Bamboo thing. And Jamie’s first word was “ball,” even though Haley was hoping for “guitar.”
Look the takeaway form this episode is that Lucas is the worst. I hope I made that clear.
Overall Analysis of This Arc
I love this season almost as much as 3 & 4, and I’d forgotten that. The time jump is a device that I’m a big fan of for long running shows. It’s not always well pulled off, but it can be extremely useful. Other shows that have done well by such jumps are Dawson’s Creek (though just for the finale in that case) and Desperate Housewives. I also feel like all of the new characters are introduced in an organic way, Q, Mia, Carrie, Lindsey, Millie and Victoria all feel like they belong. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.