I've finished watching season 9, and I have a lot of feelings to share.
I had heard it had been a great season, and it really was. It gave proper closure to everything and everyone, characters AND audience, and it did so beautifully.
Dan and Keith
I was mentally ticking off all the callbacks and resolutions that were dealt with. The one that made the most impact to me was Dan and Keith's relationship being revisited. I was not a big fan of Keith around the time he was killed, I was pretty much over the grown-ups by then, but it was such a huge, shocking episode, it was impossible not to be sad about it. And seeing him back, with Dan, was very touching. I think Dan was one of the characters that really evolved and surprised me. He was the worst ever, but after he killed Keith, his character actually got interesting, and layered beyond 'crappy father of the century'Don't say I never gave you anything
A happy callback was Nathan giving Hales the bracelet. I honestly don't think I remembered how much I'd shipped them; Naley feelings always lived in my head (no fandom, no liveblogging, nothing of that kind back then), and seeing that moment, especially after their reunion, awoken all of my feels. I had shipped them so much, they were my favourite part of the series. They started off, like all my favourites, bickering, and having a love-hate relationship; and then, among the loud and messy triangle that I did not care for, they started developing feelings. It was just wonderful to get all those feelings back again.
Brooke & Julian
So glad to see Brooke happy, she deserved it. And so did Julian, he's been such a perfect addition to her storyline, it was lovely to hear that he'd added himself to her high school years on the script. They grew stronger as a couple throughout the seasons, and OTH managed to do that with most of its couples, in direct contrast with other shows which make their couples break up and get back together about ten times each season...
One Tree Hill's a very particular series because, all there is to it, is its heart, its characters. I was watching th TVD xtras, and Julie Plec more or less spelled out the formula behind writing her show. Paraphrasing here, the show's composed of 7 twists to fit the breaks, one romantic moment, and one big shocking moment at the end. I couldn't help but wonder, is it an equation or is it a TV show that she writes
Julian got meta and described One Tree Hill erfectly as A show that’s not afraid to be quiet or heartfelt, a show that’s romantic and sexy and makes you feel like you’re not alone. The characters, the show's core, the show's heart, they are what the show's about, and that's why it managed to stay on the air for nine seasons. There are no vampires, or parallel universes, or swords; no magic formula, there's just people. And Schwahn makes you care for his characters, you want them to have a happy ending.
Even Dan seems deserving of some sort of happiness. I really enjoyed his moment at the river court with Nathan, it was hard to listen to his motives, to be reminded of what he used to be like, and what he'd done. But it was right that we were, there had been all that darkness to him, and that can't magically fade away. It'd be disrespectful to just let him completely off the hook. And balancing that, giving Dan a bitter sort of redemption, in which he admits what a huge mistake he'd made, while still giving you the sense that he, to this day, hates Keith, that's a testimony to Schwahn's brilliance
His characters are flawed, and make mistakes, they are silly, and sometimes- okay, most of the times, they are cheesy. Some think of the show as a boring one, where not much happens, but that's why people liked it. In spite of the heightened reality that only a few shows are able to avoid One Tree Hill felt real, the characters felt alive.The GGs
There are other series which aren't so lucky. I think I was discussing Gilmore Girls hen the notion of a show having, or lacking, heart was triggered. Gilmore Girls had plenty of it on the earlier seasons, Stars Hollow always felt real, alive; its people, the town, I could just imagine that somewhere in the world they existed
But then there are shows lik Gossip Girl. It pretty fast became about the ~OMFG~ moment of the week. Characters were second to plot, and plot was second to twists, and twists were second to OMFG, and OMFG was second to promotion, and so on. What should've been first in line, was actually last; and the show lost all its heart, and settled for being trash TV, destined to be listed as a guilty pleasure, meant to be forgotten as soon as it ends.The LULZ
What I won't forget are Dimitri's wise words, which, in context, are all the more significant:
Seriously, though, when a thug calls you on your shit, when a fellow writer throws that shade at you... LOOK AT YOUR LIFE AND LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES SCHWARTZ/SAVAGE!
Chase & Chris were endgame, right? Anyone? Just me, then...The not so good
It's not that every aspect about season 9 and the ending was great. I thought they dropped it with Clay and Logan. The kid was adorable, but it was too much. I would've been okay if they'd made it as if Sara had been pregnant when she died, and he'd lost that baby, and that was the reason why he'd been repressing his memories. They could've easily had Clay and Quinn adopting Logan anyway, the son out of thin air is a storyline that I do not enjoy (looking at you, April!). And since we're talking about kids, I'm not sure if Julian forgetting Davis on the car was really the best they could do, but Julian's awesome made up for it.
Not good: CMM's hair. What a disaster!And after all...
This whole thing started, or my watching OTH ended, because someone on Tumblr asked me to make a Dan Humphrey/Brooke Davis graphic. I was playing with some screencaps, and it made me nostalgic for the old times. I had tried to finish the season before, but I kept getting distracted by other series/things. I'm glad I decided to stop pushing it, it was great to go back to Tree Hill.
One tree Hill was a compelling show, aimed at teenagers, and not so teens. Dealing with delicate subjects, respecting the viewer's intelligence, being as clever as it could be, never dumbing itself up. Sure it had lows, as does every show, but whenever that happened, they managed to pull through. They did one of the smartest things any show's ever done: avoid the college years, avoid them like wildfire. Instead of delivering a horrible attempt at it, instead of condemning some characters to be ~stupid and not attend college, or making up an insert-town's-name-here COLLEGE, they just flashed forward. And it worked, the show felt more grown up, and the flashbacks more than sufficed to fill in the blanks, and to give us the sense that the characters hadn't been spending four years doing nothing.The jump gave place to new faces, which most series actually flop at, bu OTH ade very smart choices. Julian, Sam, Jack, Quinn, Clay, and Chase (returning) were all much more interesting than the newest version of the triangle, with Lucas, Peyton and Lindsey; and later on, I didn't really mind Leyton's departure. I believe it benefitted the show because there is such a thing as characters wearing out, it comes a point in which one inevitably gets tired of all the drama falling over the same people over and over again. Sure that the show wasn't the same without them, but if it'd been the same, why bother watching it?
The new faces and new stories envigorated the series, the last season was very tightly connected, every episode was squeezed for all its worth. It looked like the cast was still having fun, and it all contributed to ending the series on a very high note. Well done Schwahn, very well done.