Episode 6: “Choosing My Own Way Of Life”
There’s always been a weird undercurrent to how Peyton feels about her birth parents that I’m glad got addressed in this episode. I understand it was a convention of the show to have the parents (with the exception of Karen and Dan) being largely absent, but Larry Sawyer always seemed like a good guy and good dad, and Peyton really loved her mom, so this weird obsession with Ellie and now Mick always felt off. But, here, when she talks to him about why he and Ellie gave her up, and she realizes she had a great dad all along, that finally gets dealt with. It’s nice. I would have liked her to maybe throw a little guilt his way on Derek’s behalf, but we can’t have everything, can we?
Lucas goes to Omaha, and learns that no one cares about his dumb comet book. There is a fun Gossip Girl joke and he and Mouth decide to road trip back to Tree Hill together.
Millie and Brooke make a bucket list for Brooke, which gets interrupted, when Haley and Nathan find Sam sleeping in the school, and Haley suggests that Brooke foster her. Initially both Brooke and Sam are not super into this idea, but eventually come together and YAY! I’m so excited for this plot.
Nathan gets an offer to play a new sport called “Slamball” which is basically full contact basketball with trampolines, he’s nervous, but decides to go for it. Also Owen is on his team! Guys, Owen’s back! (I know it doesn’t end well, but I do so like looking at him…maybe when I’m done here, I’ll rewatch/finish True Blood…)
Dan is spending time with Jamie, and Nathan tells him he’s not sure where they stand, but it’s nice to see these two hanging out together. Dan also thanks Deb for not putting him back in prison, and Skills gets nervous that Deb will get back with Dan.
Poor Skills, he should know by now how crazy those damn Scotts are, he’s been around them all long enough.
Brooke also finally tells Peyton what happened in the store and that she thinks Victoria was probably not actually behind it, but she’ll never know. Peyton reassures that they’re best friends and nothing will change that. It’s all very sweet.
Episode 7: “Messin’ With The Kid”
Sam is running away every night, and one of those nights, she goes to Tric and Owen brings her home. This brings Owen and Brooke to a reckoning and it’s actually really nice. He apologizes for bailing and explains his reasons. Brooke kind of half forgives him. She also lays down the law with Sam, after going to see Sam’s mom. It’s all very Degrassi.
Haley is trying to figure out a way back into music when she meets a busker, and they play together over the finale. She also calls a mom at Jamie’s school a bitch. It’s a pretty fun Haley episode.
Speaking of Jamie’s school, he’s getting picked on by a kid for wearing his cape all the time. He gets into a fight, and then Nathan show up and gives all of the kids capes. Then Jamie decides to not wear his anymore. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s actually a really sweet little B plot.
Lucas and Peyton get the real juice in this episode. Peyton reads an article about moving in together in Brooke’s magazine and a sitcom level combining of the stuff ensues. They try to have sex in Karen’s room, Lucas paints a line down the middle of the house, they flirt, it’s adorable.
Episode 8: “Our Life Is Not A Movie, Or Maybe”
It’s Julian time! I mean, not exactly just yet, but we do meet him and I forgot how creepy he is to start with.
Anyway, a mysterious producer, (Julian) contacts Lucas about turning An Unkindness Of Ravens into a movie. Said producer (Julian) shows up in Tree Hill and knows EVERYTHING about Lucas and the book, and they go out for drinks. He knows all of this because he’s obsessed with the book, oh and also he knows Peyton from somewhere. And that’s where we get creepy. But seriously, guys, Julian is here.
Owen is trying to win Brooke back and we get to see a little bit of Joe Manginello being adorable puppy dog man. Anyway, Sam throws a party at Clothes Over Bros, and Owen and Millie help Brooke break it up, but it’s not enough for how upset she gets. The party wrecks Peyton’s wedding dress.
Peyton goes to see Derek and talks to him about Mick, which is really nice, she basically tells him that he was very right about it. They decide to put on a USO show together and it’s kind of adorable. Because not only are we getting into Julian stuff, we’re getting some new Derek stuff.
So much good in this episode.
Episode 9: “Sympathy For The Devil”
It’s The Ballad of Peyton And Julian. For reasons defying explanation, Peyton has decided that she’s not going to tell Lucas that back in LA she and Julian were a couple. Like, a serious, in love, living together couple. He broke up with her because it was very clear she was still obsessed with Lucas, but they were together. They met not long after Peyton and Lucas broke up.
Julian is pretty earnest in his desire to adapt An Unkindness Of Ravens though and he really could give a shit that Lucas and Peyton are a couple. Which is refreshing on this show of hand wringing and belief that every relationship must be “the big forever love,” to quote another WB staple. (Angel, that’s from Angel). Lucas is pretty pissed when he figures it out though.
Lucas is also angsting about the screenplay because Julian insists that he write Keith’s death scene and Lucas doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. He eventually asks Dan what happened and is not satisfied with the answer. To be fair there really is no way to be satisfied by any answer.
Nathan gets knocked out playing Slamball and decides to quit. Nothing is worth losing his mobility again. You guys, Nathan learned. This is a very exciting development.
Owen and Brooke almost get back together, but then she realizes that Owen is not the guy for her. It’s kind of sad, because I do like him a lot, and hey, we get more naked Joe Manginello in this episode.
Gigi is also back and hitting on Mouth aggressively. He’s trying to keep her at arms length and Millie is really insecure about it. I hate this plot, not because it doesn’t work narratively, it does, but because it’s character assassination on Gigi.
Episode 10: “Even Fairy Tale Characters Would Be Jealous”
Peyton puts on a USO show at Derek’s base and a bunch of things come to a head, and by that I mean, everyone talks out their problems and things are pretty low drama, which is really a great thing about the later episodes. Things just, get resolved, which sticks with the emotional honesty of the show.
Anyway, Haley is nervous about performing again. Everyone tells her that she’s going to be great. And SHE IS!
Nathan is nervous about playing and talks it over with Q’s ghost. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a ghost, so I was happy to see him. Nothing really gets resolved here, except that when Haley gets home they have a nice romantic moment.
Lucas punches Julian, and Peyton is worried because she doesn’t know this and thinks that his reaction is too muted. They all talk about it and Lucas agrees to keep doing the movie. Also Julian and Brooke meet, and flirt a little. (SQUEE!)
Mia and Sam bond, which is cute. Also, Brooke might be getting a baby, and Sam things that this means she’ll have to leave. Brooke has no chance to tell her that this is not the case at all.
Millie comes home to Gigi passed out in her and Mouth’s bed and Mouth on the couch. She freaks out and goes to Brooke, explaining the situation. Then she talks to Mouth about it and tells Gigi that she’s on to her, and it’s all so good.
Overall Analysis Of This Arc
I’m generally a fan of the quieter arc, and this one is no exception. The beginning of the movie stuff is awesome, as is the introduction of Julian, who works well as an agent of chaos and eventually as a member of the gang. I also love the idea that Peyton really did try to move on, but couldn’t get Lucas out of her heart. It gives the whole Lindsey thing a little more heft.
Also, it’s nice to see a ghost again. I love when this show has ghosts. I really love when anything has ghosts.