A little schedule change due to Daredevil and sleepiness!
Season 2: Episode 11: “The Heart Brings You back”
Jake’s back, Jake’s back. Lalalalalalala! OK, other things happen in this episode between scenes of Peyton and Jake being adorable and him deciding to move back to Tree Hill.
Namely, Anna comes out as bisexual to Lucas and he’s very cool about it. My favorite thing about this storyline is that it’s very much about Anna, not other people reacting to Anna. I should back track. First she goes to talk to Peyton, they make up and Anna kisses Peyton. When Peyton rebuffs her (being straight and all) she runs away embarrassed. That’s when she tells Lucas about it.
Meanwhile, Felix and Brooke are going on fancy dates and he’s giving her fancy presents and it makes her uncomfortable. He continues anyway because he’s the worst.
Haley’s sister Taylor shows up and it turns out that Nathan lost his virginity to her back when he was a freshman. Haley turned Chris down and she and Nathan have decided to work out their issues. This is nice. But also Taylor is the worst.
Also Lucas confronts Jules about Dan and she tells him the truth and Good GOD is this plot boring. But not as boring Karen and Andy and their misunderstood phone calls.
But Jake is back. YAY!!!!!
Season 2: Episode 12: “Between Order And Randomness”
Lucas still refuses to take the HCM test. Karen takes away all of his stuff as a result. Keith eventually gets through to him, saying that they can go together. It is one of my favorite things that all of their friends just straight up refuse to let Lucas play basketball until he gets the test, including Nathan.
Things are not going super great in Naley land, by the way. Taylor find out about Haley kissing Chris and confronts her about it. Haley explains her thought process here. She’s jealous of Chris’s freedom and is attracted to him, but she loves Nathan and wants to make it work.
Brooke gets a job! She’s wearing a giant crab costume and trying to get people to a restaurant. It’s the worst and she organizes the other crabs to get better conditions. I am 100% convinced that someone wrote this plot on a dare to get Sophia Bush into that crab costume because the visual is hilarious.
Anna and Lucas continue to talk about her fight with her sexuality. It’s sweet and intense and quiet and honest and I don’t think I can stress enough how much I love this storyline. There is a tiny little bit that annoyed me. Lucas tells Anna to stop stressing so much about finding her label, and while I agree, it’s an easy thing for a straight white dude to say. A Young Bisexual Latina MIGHT have a few more concerns about labels then him.
But Lucas being a mansplainer isn’t new, nor is it terribly relevant and I love this plot to death.
Season 2: Episode 13: “The Hero Dies In This One”
Lucas got the HCM test and he tells everyone he’s fine.
Lucas lied, you guys. He does in fact have HCM and he’s moving in with Dan to keep Dan from revealing the truth about Jules. Also buying Lucas his HCM medication. Karen’s freaking out about it, because you know Dan is the devil.
Meanwhile, Naley continues to implode, with no help from Taylor who’s decided to pose as Haley and email with Chris. For, reasons. Taylor is a terrible character, she has no motivation at all and all she does is cause problems. She is however the more likable of Haley’s sisters that we get to know throughout the show. (I’m really not looking forward to getting to Quinn…) Nathan finds out, he and Haley fight.
Brooke is running for student council president which is fun and she’s taking pictures of herself like as Hilary Clinton and it’s so misguided and fun. We also meet Erica Marsh, her rival and later the leader of Clean Teens (I really can’t wait until we get to Clean Teens). Brooke is ready for the challenge though and it’s so sweet when Lucas tells her to be herself.
Jake is back and he and Peyton are adorable and when she starts freaking out he calms her down and they are the best, that is all. Thanks.
Chris is back, because he’s on tour with the Wreckers. They invite Haley to join them. She and Nathan have a big fight about it he tells her that if she goes they’re over. She goes anyway.
Season 2: Episode 14: “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows”
Lucas is living with Dan and Dan doesn’t tell Deb, because you know, he’s the devil, and everything. Karen’s going bonkers about it so Andy goes down to the dealership and threatens Dan. For all that I think the story line that goes on around him is super de duper boring, I think Andy himself is a great character. He’s so nice! Anyway, after they get all macho at each other Andy tells Karen he’s going to help get Lucas back.
Brooke is still running for president and Erica is still sabotaging her. There’s some slut shaming, some general sabotage and then finally, Erica gets the principal to endorse her. But, Brooke gets something better, in the end, Mouth stands up for her. And then they’re friends again, and she wins! Yay!
Peyton and Jake are being adorable but Peyton is kind of fed up with not having a definition to their relationship. In her own awkward Peyton way (pouting away from Jake) he figures out that she’s not thrilled with the situation and they kiss and now they’re a couple YAY!
Nathan is in a tailspin now that Haley’s gone and it’s real sad. He’s being a jerk, but then he talks to Karen about how he’s screwed up and he cries and they hug and it’s really sweet.
Lucas chastises Haley for leaving. While I love not dealing with Lucas love drama, I forgot what a humorless scold Lucas becomes when he’s not dealing with a girl.
Season 2: Episode 15: “Unopened Letter To The World”
This episode is the first of my very favorite type of OTH episode. “Paper Thin Excuse To Have The Characters Stare into The Camera Directly And Talk About Their Feelings Explicitly.” I think it’s a testament to the strength of the characters. Because while the plot and details of this show were always a little iffy, the characters have always been spot on.
This time it’s a video time capsule. The show opens and closes with one of the most lovely emotional bits. Whitey’s time capsule from 1955 where he talks about wanting to be a father and teach his children about life. The ending his him looking at the pictures of The Ravens from the years. While Whitey never became a father, he did impact the lives of countless young people, and it means something. (I cried a lot)
But for the moment I want to talk about Peyton. Because when I watched the show initially I was less inclined to such analytic thought, I never grasped quite how revolutionary the character of Peyton Sawyer is, particularly in the context of a teen show. Peyton is neither virginal, nor is she promiscuous. Unlike Brenda Walsh or Kelly Taylor or even Jen Lindley, she is never punished for her physical relationships. She’s open and emotional, but strong as hell and well liked by her friends. She’s a really awesome character. And she and Jake decide to take it slow this episode after going on an adorable date and making out for a while.
This episode is also a big turn for Brooke, who goes to her victory party and Felix’s house and realizes that this isn’t what she wants anymore. She winds up spending the evening taking care of a blacked out Erica and actually feels good about it. Mouth helps Anna change her time capsule where she comes out as bisexual. She changes her mind and says that she’s a full on lesbian.
Overall Analysis of this Arc
I really can’t push enough how much I love Anna’s story. I love that she owns it, that everyone she comes out to is respectful and kind and understanding. I love it. I love it.
Lucas’s decision to “destroy Dan,” remains the most ridiculous early OTH plot. It’s so so so contrived and just makes him look like an ass. It’s stupid and I want it to go away. Additionally, so ready for the Keith and Jules stuff to be over. (SO CLOSE)
Brooke becoming a person of substance is probably the best through line of this season, even if it is linked to her terrible relationship with Felix.
But this whole stretch is dominated by Haley’s leaving and Jake and Peyton’s relationship and I love it so much!