It kind of came out of left field, but "Darkness on the Edge of Town" was a riveting episode of television.
In it, the writers simplified his show, cutting out a slew of characters, and finished off the fall season with a bang. Simply put, this was a great way to end the year.
One Tree Hill has always been able to do wonderful things with epic moments when it wants to. Whether it was Lucas' car accident, Dan killing Keith, or the first car crash on the bridge, the OTH flare for the dramatic will always rope me.
And didn't we all start having some flashbacks when Brooke, Jamie and Julian were in that river? I was half-expecting Rachel to pop up from under a seat cushion at certain points.But what was so great about this episode was its simplification. There was no Clay. There was no love triangle. And for the most part, there was no Nathan or Haley. It boiled down to a great disaster epic in Brooke, Jamie and Julian's night, along with a great horror thriller between Quinn and Katie. The two stories fit together and complemented each other very nicely.
So how about that battle between psycho Katie and Quinn James?!? Some of it was ridiculously obvious, like the fact that Quinn was going to be hiding in her room with the knife, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment. I mean, the foreshadowing might have been a little over the top, with all of the camera shots of the knife, but I might have been a bit too scared if I hadn't known that she was going to be okay.
What I didn't know was that Quinn would have such a terrible plan. Really? You knew there was a good chance that Katie had a gun, and your plan was to hide under the bed, stab her, and then stand there like a goon? Are you the same person that just received hours of advice from expert Dan Scott?
The battle royal that ensued was nothing short of breath taking. It resembled every movie thriller I've seen, chock full of near deaths for both parties, and finishing in style. Quinn shooting Katie, and her blood smearing on the door of the bedroom as she fell to the ground, was such a parallel to when Katie was doing the shooting. It was so very poetic in that moment that I didn't care about how fake-looking the gunshot actually was.
As we return to the disaster that was this crazy rain storm, I have to admit I didn't see that car accident coming. Because Nathan and Haley were so worried about it at the beginning of the episode, I thought the weather was going to be there in order to throw us off the scent. But once Chuck showed up on screen with that gash on his head, I knew we were in for a long hour of terror.
It was so nice to see Brooke as the hero, saving three people in the crashed car, even if she then had to be saved herself. Bridges are not safe in Tree Hill. Is this the same bridge and river that Rachel, Cooper and Nathan fight for their lives in during the season three finale?
It reminded me of that scene, only this time the ghost of Keith Scott didn't save everyone; Julian did. The only problem I had with his effort was that he never used the Jack Shephard method of punching the victim in the chest in order to get them to breathe again. At the end of the day, I knew Brooke wasn't going to die, but in the moment, I sure was on the edge of my seat.
It was a great way to end the first segment of One Tree Hill's eighth season. I have been pleased with the improvement shown over the past four or five episodes, and am actually looking forward to what our favorite Carolina town has to offer in 2011.
- I know it is the name of the show, but what is Brooke's obsession with staying in Tree Hill? Peyton and Lucas aren't even there anymore, how many friends do you really need to stay for? LA is a better fit for you and Julian.
- The opening credits were performed by Old Faithful. Gavin Degraw performed the theme song for the first time since the season premiere, and it was really nice to have him back.
- Elusive...e-l-u-r-something. Loved that.
- There was such a calm satisfaction in the moment when Julian showed up and he and Brooke looked at each other, that I knew something bad was about to go down. I thought it would be that sparking wire blowing up, but a screeching car getting into the mix worked too.
- There is no time for apologies, Brooke! You're about to drown!
- Julian carrying Brooke on the bridge was so reminiscent of Ryan Atwood carrying Marissa Cooper.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.