One Tree Hill Series Finale Review: There Is Only One...

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Even after the 45 minutes of interviews and clips highlighting the best moments of all nine seasons, the aptly titled "One Tree Hill" took us all down memory lane once again with callbacks to moments, locations, and characters of the past in last-ever episode of this classic drama.

Everything wrapped up in a tight little bow in the series finale of One Tree Hill, and I'm perfectly fine with that. It is certainly better than the adverse, where the audience is left in the balance, not having any idea what is going to happen to the characters it fell in love with.

That definitely wasn't the case with this ending, as we know exactly what Brooke, Nathan, Haley, Mouth, and the rest of the gang will be up to for the rest of their adult lives.  They will be living out the happy and the sad moments in this town... this place that they still look at ever so fondly.

One Tree Hill Finale Photo

Things have come full circle on One Tree Hill. It all began with a majority of these characters living in this town as kids. Those that have stuck around are now grown, and have kids of their own. The difference – and one of the best takeaways from the series in general – is that they have all learned from not only their own mistakes, but the mistakes of their parents.

They weren't all as terrible as Dan Scott, but most of the adult figures in these characters' lives had their issues. Highlighted by Nathan's speech to Jamie about being able to live his life however he wants to, THESE parents are going to be different. This generation of Tree Hill moms and dads is going to be loving. They're going to be inspiring.

The whole thing might have been a little too over-the-top happily ever after, but it seemed like that was their plan after wrapping up the dark and twisted kidnapping story line a few weeks ago. I mean, there had to be one major life-threatening event that took the town by storm before they all could enjoy themselves for the rest of time. It wouldn't be OTH otherwise.

Are we supposed to believe it is all roses and chocolates from here on out for these people, though? I can't imagine why. After all, a lot of tragedy does occur in this town. The ever so present happy ending, however, does give off that feeling that even when the lumps come at these people, they will take it in stride, and overcome.  That's what nine seasons has proven to us.

While the macro side of "One Tree Hill" was more about celebrating and moving forward, the micro was still about wrapping up the final chapter for each of these characters.

As should be the case, given what these two have meant to the show over the years, Nathan and Haley were given one of the best send offs. They called back to their first moment, as Nathan once again gave Haley a bracelet out of a Cracker Jacks box and the two engaged in one final romp in the rain before skipping ahead some years to Jamie's basketball game.

Brooke, maybe the heart and soul of this series, was given a similarly fantastic ending. Her parents are finally there for her, she is getting to run her own company again, this time set up right across the street from Karen's Cafe instead of in it, and her man gave her a dream home. Sure, it was her old childhood home, but it answered everyone's dream that Brooke remain "the girl behind the red door" forever.

Clay and Quinn getting married and adopting Logan, Chris Keller signing with Red Bedroom Records, and Chase becoming owner of Tric, were all nice stories, but didn't carry nearly the amount of weight as the first two did, and rightfully so. Those characters weren't nearly as important to the series as Nathan, Haley, and Brooke.

The one send off that seemed like it was supposed to be carrying a good amount of weight, however, was Mouth inheriting the $500,000 from Dan Scott. I loved the call back to Jimmy, Keith, and that moment in the high school hallway that changed the landscape of the series forever, but I really couldn't connect with the story at all.  Mouth creating that scholarship was a nice idea, but it didn't hit me emotionally, which is probably because Jimmy was never a character they any of us got to know, including the rest of the characters on the show.

Last, but not least, the series finale did a great job of saying goodbye to Tric. Centering the hour around its 10th anniversary was a nice send off to the club that allowed One Tree Hill to do in its last ever episode what it did for so many years before... allow music to enhance emotions.

Just as slow ballads made the sad moments even more depressing, or pumped up bangers made the basketball scenes that much more exciting, the many performances in this finale allowed the viewers to feel the emotion that was in the air. It wasn't just the emotion of the characters.  It was the emotion of the actors, especially when Gavin DeGraw broke out "I Don't Want To Be" and the entire cast started singing along. That song – and music in general – was a major cog in what made this show successful. This played as a fantastic tribute to that.

After last week's penultimate episode, I worried that the series finale was going to be too narrowly focused on the making of Julian's show within the show. I worried for nothing, though, as that was just a minor detail in the conclusion of One Tree Hill.

Julian was making a tv show about these characters' high school lives week in and week out, but the ending of this series was about the fact that these characters that the audience has gotten to know over the years - some for nine, others for less - are going to be living out the rest of their adult lives in this town... this place that they still look at ever so fondly.

What did you all think of the last ever episode of One Tree Hill? Did it live up to your lofty expectations or was it an utter disappointment? How long will it take you to get over the fact that the show will never be on again?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (368 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I thought the finale was really great for the fans and the endings for ech character was what was needed to finish the show. Your article was so well written and so heartfelt so thank you.


im really letdown by the final episode. i have watched this show since it first came on and i have never missed an episode. the finale was ok but i was expecting peyton and lucas to come in at any moment because the director and all the cast members all said they would be making a small appearance and that was mentioned many times during interviews. i dont think i have ever been more letdown by a series finale like i was this one because they were my favorite characters. :(


Maybe i was expecting too much, but I thought the oth finale was lame. There should have been sightings of Karen, Lucas, and Peyton. I thought there was too much music and that the interview hour should have been after the show. I felt it was false advertising. There was no mention of an interview session until the start of the show. I thought the Dan storyline was phenomenal. I am sad it's over it was a great series. I liked that it all wrapped up in a bow, I just expected better guest stars.


Amazing! I’ve been a fan since season 1 =) the final season brought back a lot of Tree Hill memories and LOTS of tears…including the finale!!! I appreciated how they incorporated tributes to past seasons’ memories: water balloons from Karen’s café, Peyton’s room, school hallway, hidden wishes/predictions where Hales and Lucas would hang out, mentions of Keith and Jimmy, cracker jacks bracelet from Nat to Hales, river court, Keller’s Haley James guitar LOL, Tric’s beginnings, the high school kiddos walking past Karen’s café as Haley and Nathan closed for the day, the empty street at night with the blinking traffic light, and finally the HS basketball fanatics as teenage Jamie runs into the HS gym to play. Great, great, great!!! FYI I’m naming my 2nd child after Brooke Davis: Sophia! =)


Hi, Do you know where I can find the interview hour after the finale?


I got to say, this is a truly fantastic post. I got teary-eyed reading it. I think it has finally hit me that this show is done & never returning. I agree with everything you've said. But besides Brooke Haley Nathan & Mouth, Skills also plays an important role in the series. I loved him. I thought he was the humour of the show & I just wish he's sendoff could have been more definite. Aside from the fact that he's got a new reporter job alongside millicent, we dont know much of his personal life. I guess that's why they brought Bevin back(his highschool sweetheart) & made her divorced. It makes it bearable for me because I can just assume that a relationship between them is going to sprout. It creates suspense. ;)


I can not believe it is over FOREVER... I am so sad it was really one of the very few tv shows I looked forward to watching every week...the show that when it ended you say to yourself that was an hour already...think if we petition CW they will bring it back lol...Really there are so few shows worth watching on tv with all the reality crap shows... one tree hill, Heart of dixie, gossip girl and the secret circle are the only good shows...Please CW change your minds keep one tree hill going like the soap operas that air for 20+ years...


Loved it!! From the first to the last minute. Every song, quote, memory... all of it. And I actually have the final quote ("believe that dreams come true...") written on my mirror since 2009, the first time I heard it on the show, so that was quite something for me. Miss it already but it´s time to move on.


I love one tree hill with all my collections that I have they r my memories!!! I wish they could of brought back everyone for the last episode like Luke and Peyton oh I wish they did... really gonna miss this show a lot


Ashley, when I saw that moment I was really confused too but I re-watched it and hopefully got it figured out. Brooke and Julian's twin boys(Davis and Jude) were standing on either side of Haley and Nathan's daughter(Lydia). When Julian looked over he just saw Lydia and one of the twin boys because the other wasn't facing that way. Hope this helps!

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One Tree Hill Season 9 Episode 13 Quotes

Dude, Chris Keller's on the lam.


That tasted like the devil's ass!


One Tree Hill Season 9 Episode 13 Music

  Song Artist
Blind pilot half moon Half Moon Blind Pilot iTunes
Song Blue Sky Bethany Joy Galeotti
Song Gun Is Loaded Amie Miriello