This is surprising to type out, but I actually really enjoyed this week's episode of One Tree Hill. I didn't blow me out of the water, but "Not Afraid" was a lot fun on many accounts.
Don't get me wrong, I was definitely groaning when we opened with yet another dream sequence. The difference was that this time it was so over-the-top that it was funny. I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if they spent the entire episode in that zombie/vampire world, but I'm glad Quinn's dream stopped when it did. It was nice in a small dose, but it could have been tiring if it went on for much longer.
Of course, I have a lot to critique here (this was an ep of OTH after all) but let's start with what worked well. Clay and Quinn's brief but great comedic moments were an awesome change of pace. As Quinn put on her cape and claimed to be Super Quinn, Clay wasn't sure if it was going to read, and their chemistry really came out in that moment. These two can do comedy really well together.My other favorite moment from the episode had to be one of the funniest One Tree Hill scenes in recent memory. Julian high five-ing Nathan while wearing a dalmatian costume is laughable on its own, but the set-up was perfect. The inside joke between Chase and Mouth created a great build-up to what was a huge payoff on how ridiculous Julian's high five actually was. Nicely done.
Now, on to my complaints. First, I have aa problem with Quinn. If I enjoy Clay and Quinn's happier moments, I'm completely over their sad times. I'm done watching Quinn cry about Katie. It's like she's slowly becoming a modern day version of Kelly Taylor in her later years right before my eyes. Just terrible.
Next, would Brooke honestly be that mean to some random person that knocks on her door? If she though it was someone hounding her about the loss of the company, I could buy it. If so, they didn't do a good job portraying that.
Nathan was great in his moments with Haley, talking about how he was happy with his decision to quit basketball, and how much he would remember his night trick or treating with Jamie, but his conversation with that budding young football player was tough to watch.
Troy: What you end up with, like 30 points?
Nathan: Honestly, I only remember the final score, and I'm pretty sure Duke ended up with more points than us.
What a joke. Please stop making Nathan out to be the epitome of a team player. No one acts like that. Don't go out of your way to make it seem like he didn't care at all about his own personal goals. Any normal person would have just said "yeah, something like that."
And then the kid says that Nathan is the first person to ask whether he is making the right decision about holding out for the season. Really? I'm pretty sure everyone and their brother would be asking him this question. It's not a novel idea. As much as I love sports, they need to cut all sports-related stories from One Tree Hill. They're always so awkward. Creator Mark Schwahn had a good grasp on high school basketball, but everything since has been tough to watch.
Even after all of my negative thoughts, I thought this episode was another step in the right direction for this season. Keep this up and we should have a nice bounce back year in North Carolina.
- My favorite costume was without a doubt Haley as Haley circa senior year. Creative and funny!
- What a nice cameo by Cullen Moss as Junk. Passed out on the couch with marker all over your face is always a nice way to show up.
- This episode was the second of the series to be directed by Sophia Bush. I thought she did a great job, especially with the freaky zombie dream at the beginning.
- For anyone who is a Madden lover, Jamie and Chuck were playing as the 49ers and the Falcons. The score was 0-0 in the first quarter.
- I was really digging the theme song this week. It was performed by Laura Izibor.
- Not that you could really expect them to get every little detail correct, but Nathan wouldn't have been playing in the game they showed of Maryland vs. Duke. In the quick clip they showed, I saw Nik Caner-Medley on the Maryland squad. Since I played with and against him in high school, I know that he went to Maryland from 02-06. The OTH chronology can be weird because it did two seasons per school year, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. The show started in 2003, so these guys graduated in the spring of '05. Nathan went to that rinky dink college with Lucas and Whitey for his first year, which would have been 05-06 and wouldn't have been to Maryland until 06-07. He never would have bee in a game with Medley. I rest my case.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.