The Road to Infinity: I am Iron Man

Iron Man

So, I’m rewatching all of the MCU movies. Some one them, I will be watching for the first time since I saw them in theaters. Some of them, I have watched a zillion times.

Iron Man, is one I’ve watched a zillion times. Everytime, I am reminded of why this is the movie that launched an empire.

It’s really, really solid. The script is good, the performances are excellent, and the effects still look a lot better than a lot of what you see in most superhero movies. (They are also used quite sparingly.)

And Good God, is Robert Downey Jr. excellent in this movie. He’s just astounding. Over the course of 20 films, he’s given a mix of good to phenomenal performances as Tony Stark, but this original one is the phenomenal one.

Also, I will never, ever let anyone say a bad word about Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, or generally as an actress. (Gwyneth Paltrow as an insufferable internet personality, sure, fire away! SHE has time to do Yoga everyday AND raise her children!) She’s such a bright spot in every scene she’s in and she really does look like she’s having a ball.

And this movie has a social conscious that I always forget about. I don’t just mean, Tony’s realization that he’s complicit in a cycle of violence that will ultimately lead to the creation of The Avengers, the signing of the Sokovia Accords and his mentorship of Peter Parker, but I mean the scene on the roof.

While at a benefit Tony and Pepper have a romantic moment, and she is immediately uncomfortable. When he tries to brush it off she insists that they discuss it, that the power differential between them (he’s her boss!) makes where it was heading inappropriate. And, this is the important part, Tony backs off. Granted, he finds out that his mentor is trying to take away his company (and murder him) but still, he backs off, until they can have a real conversation about it.

I love Tony and Pepper.

Anyway, I also think that people don’t give Jon Favreau enough credit. Iron Man moves well, manages to stay small enough and big enough in the right places and somehow, hits every note perfectly. The impact of these decisions cannot be overstated, as they shaped the other 19 movies substantially. (Though even in The Incredible Hulk, made the same year, things are ramped up a bit…)

Overall, I was wary about diving back into the MCU, I don’t know how all of the movies are going to hold up. (I am SUPER  nervous about watching Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World again, because OMG…) But I’m glad to know that Iron Man holds up and knowing how this story winds up going is an excellent beginning.

Plus, you guys, Phil Coulson, showing up for the first time, so unassuming at first and then such a complete and total badass.

We’re here to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” Let’s get moving!

Right Back Where We Started From

The past few weeks I’ve been rewatching The OC. This came out a desire for comfort food TV…and to remind me what I love about the teen soap genre as I attempt to write my own through the prism of epic fantasy. (The Marina Chronicle, get on board!)

As I worked my way through the dramatic glory that is season 1, the self aware diminishing returns of season 2, the super slog of grossness of season 3, and the delightful breath of fresh air of season 4, I was struck by a few things.

The first is how refreshingly low stakes the show is. Everything stays very personal, to the Cohens and their world, and for at least the first season and a half, the problems themselves aren’t terribly epic.

The second is how the show rolled with it’s various punches. Not every show handles becoming a pop culture phenomenon that well. (I’m looking at you Glee) Not every show figures out where to cut and run on troublesome storylines (Trey Atwood, Newport Drug Dealer and Attempted Marissa Rapist). Not every show figures out which recurring cast members should become permanent so perfectly. (Summer Roberts, Taylor Townsend).

And finally, I want to talk about Ryan Atwood. And Ben McKenzie as Ryan Atwood, and Ben McKenzie’s chemistry with Adam Brody. And Peter Gallagher. And Kelly Rowan. And Mischa Barton. And Rachel Bilson. And Melinda Clarke. And Willa Holland. And Autumn Reeser. (Do you see where I’m going with this?)

The OC is about a group of friends and about a family, but it’s seen through this kid. This kid who takes the opportunity of a lifetime and becomes someone special. (“He’ll always be a bad boy!” “BUT HIS HEART! IT IS PURE GOLD!” – My cousin Tommy and I last Sunday as we watched the last few episodes of season 3. You’ll be hearing from Tom more, in the coming weeks, as we’re going to Disney World together next weekend.) It’s about opening up to trust and love. As hard as it can be to emotionally square Marissa Cooper’s death (it’s still not a great choice.) I always loved the idea that as an adult, Ryan was about to move on to someone who could appreciate his steadiness rather than take advantage of it. (Also, Taylor Towsend is the best, I might just feel this way because she’s pretty much Proto-Blair Waldorf).

And that final moment, when leaving his fancy pants architecture job, he sees a kid like himself sitting worried, and calls out, “Hey Kid, you need some help?” It’s the perfect ending to this story, which while it is a TV show, so follows a lot of different people, is primarily about Ryan Atwood breaking a cycle and starting a new one.

Next on my Teen Soap rewatch? I’m knee deep in Gossip Girl. I watched season 1 in two nights.

It’s sooo good, you guys.

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1: Episodes 1 & 2

Hey everyone! It’s time for a new rewatch project. (You  missed it these past few weeks, admit it!) The timing may feel weird for this. It kind of IS! But I realized that two episodes a week (finales get their own post) gives me a full six month of posts. AND finishes up a second watching of Iron Fist in July of 2017. (still going to binge when it hits in March!) If The Defenders winds up with an October drop date, like Luke Cage, or a November like Jessica Jones (either is likely) it gives me a few months to organize my thoughts, rewatch episodes that I think link well together, or just full on binge again!

The other thing that is I need some inspiration right now, and I think this will do it. These are stories about standing up for the people around you against those who would exploit and disregard them. Granted, the heroes do it with super powered punching, but the principle of the thing.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes.

I really was trying to wait until it would line up exactly.

Also it might move to Wednesday when West World Ends. Who knows! We’re flying by the seat of our pants here.

We start with Daredevil Season 1 today. If you’re interested in my first reaction to this season of television, you can read it here, SPOILER ALERT, it might be my favorite season of anything ever. (I love it a lot). This is the first time I’m revisiting, so, deep breath, here we go.

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Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 1: Into The Ring

About ten seconds into Daredevil there are two things we know about Matt Murdock, he was in a tragic accident with some chemicals, and it happened because he was saving an old man from that same crash. We know immediately that Matt Murdock is a hero. The little boy rubbing his eyes as his lights go out forever is not the defining thing about that moment. It’s such a small thing but it’s so perfect and so defining.

I also love the kinetic feel of this scene. The confusion that Jack Murdock feels looking for is son is so palpable in this moment. It’s so good.

We’re ten seconds in and I’m already gushing. This project is going to go well.

When we next see Matthew Murdock, he’s grown up, sitting in a confessional and impossibly dreamy. This confessional scene means a lot to me, but I’ve outlined that before. It’s also pretty good writing. Matt clocks his own faith, his family history, his fear of his anger and his difficulty accepting the violence of his life choices. He’s so afraid of the anger, of “the devil in the Murdock boys.”

We then get the first of so many brutal, brilliant amazing fight scenes. But all I could focus on was how good that costume looks. I love the Daredevil suit, but the black mask and outfit are really, really effective. But I also forgot that this is the first place we see Turk, which is weird, because he’s terrifying here, forcing three women into a shipping container, and he’s basically comic relief in Luke Cage. 

I love these opening credits. They’re so Catholic, man. I heard a lot of people teasing about the dripping liquid because they didn’t understand the candle wax imagery. But it’s so good.

The next scene is where we meet Foggy, and my notes express my excitement at this development quite succintly. Also Matt is shirtless in this scenes. All of this equals, I had some trouble focusing. Then Foggy bribes Officer Brett Mahoney, who is my favorite, non Claire recurring character. So, we’re barely ten minutes into this and we’ve gotten a lot of what I really, really love about this show. Matt and Foggy tour their office, and Matt flirts with their realtor, they talk about “The Incident,” which is still a term that I love.

The hard cut to Karen standing in a pool of blood with that knife, just as Matt insists they’ll only take innocent clients is so imossibly perfect. This is just such DAMN GOOD TELEVISION. Anyway, her arrest, Brett calling Foggy and Matt, and their swift move to represent her all happens so seemlessly. And seeing the three of them together makes me so happy. The heart of this show is their relationship. We also get one of my favorite Daredevil tricks here, the human lie detector thing, where he listens to heartbeats.

After this we meet Wesley and I didn’t realize how much I missed him in season 2 until this scene where he threatens the prison guard who then tries to kill Karen. And let’s talk about that scene, which is so brutal and so violent, in a way that the fight scenes aren’t because there’s no aesthetically cool choreography here. Just a large man, going after an unarmed, scared young woman, and it’s brutal and terrifying.

I also kind of forgot that the whole Daredevil story starts because Karen noticed the company she worked for moving money around in a shady manner. It seems so, small, compared to what it becomes and it’s kind of genius. Anyway, Matt takes the terrified Karen back to his apartment and there’s a very tense scene where he tries to get more information out of her, that I really love because, I noticed there is no music which is always eerie, until Matt realizes that Karen’s lying and her heartbeat races.

The big meeting between all of the bad guys makes me giggle, mostly because of Nobu, who is not yet an immortal ninja man, and because both Owlsley and Wesley are deeply missed on this show as midlevel bad guys.

When Karen sneaks out of her apartment and is attacked, it’s shot like a horror movie and that’s pretty cool, but that she doesn’t know that Matt is The Devil of Hell’s kitchen (a name he doesn’t yet have) is just a huge jump in superhero credulity. I don’t mind, it’s just tough.

Matt’s passed out flashback to his childhood is chilling and wonderful. I really love John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock, he brings this brilliant vulnerability to the character, and it’s well done. Matt coming back to life as his father says, “come on Matty, back to work,” is so inspiring, and this fight is so good.

When Foggy and Matt and Karen regroup after Karen is cleared, and she gives them a caserole, is the scene is what made me fall in love with the show back at Comic Con 2014, so I have a deep affection for it, but I also just love the friendship between these three characters, but the actual finale of the episode, a montage of Hell’s Kitchen mayhem, while Matt beat’s the crap out of a heavy bag at Fogwell’s gym is a masterpiece. And as that little boy gets dragged away from his father, and Daredevil hears it, diving into action, I was overwhelmed with excitement to watch this series again.

Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 2: Cut Man

Back when Luke Cage premiered, I made an off the cuff statement on a friend’s facebook status that Luke Cage is about blackness, Jessica Jones is about rape, and Daredevil is about ninja fights. Obviously, that’s a simplification of all three series, and I’m gonna try this time around to hone in on another theme, and I want to say it’s about the cycle of violence. But also DAMN those ninja fights.

Obviously this episode ends with the most infamous of them all, dubbed “The Hallway Fight,” where Matt fights off like ten guys in a hallway to retrieve a kidnapped child. It’s an exceptional bit of stunt work and thrillingly shot. It’s been written about ad nausiem and it’s no less impressive watching it again.

But that isn’t all that goes on in this episode. Most importantly to the Defenders universe, we meet Claire Temple. Fucking Boss Ass Nurse Lady, Claire Temple. She’s the best. Just the absolute best. Her taking Matt in, fixing him up and helping him torture that Russian is easily the most pivotal moment in Daredevil season 1, and probably in the Defenders (Luke and Jessica would be very dead, if Claire hadn’t decided giving medical help to superheroes was her calling.).

This episode also features Jack Murdock’s death. His decision to not throw a fight, to bet on himself to give Matt a safety net and every small detail of this story, from Matt learning to read in brielle, to Jack calling someone (Matt’s mom Maggie? We’re two seasons in and we haven’t heard from her) to Matt’s role stitching Jack up, which to me creates this connection between helping with injuries and an act of love. There’s something there, or maybe it’s just that Rosario Dawson could have chemistry with an actual door.

The final bit of this episode is Foggy and Karen getting drunk which is so adorable, I can barely stand it. Also, Karen is wearing a very pretty flowered dress.

This episode is exceptionally emotional and wonderful.

Other Stuff:

  • Matt’s powers that we know of: Can hear heartbeats, super smell, super hearing, ability to constantly have 5 o’clock shadow, looking good in a suit and pectoral muscles.
  • I wrote a lot of notes about how hot he is. Charlie Cox is a deeply attractive man.
  • What America needs right now is a Foggy Nelson to get it drunk and make it smile. I’d volunteer but I’m not as beffuddingly charming as Foggy.
  • Here are some notes that I wrote down about Claire: “Claire as known Matt for five seconds and is already done with his shit,” “Claire’s hood in the torture scene is creepy,” “Claire keeps Matt human.”
  • Architect Nobu is not as interesting as immortal Ninja Nobu
  • Wesley is great.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 9: Episodes 6-10

We’re in the home stretch! I think I’m ready to say goodbye, but it’s going to be really weird to not have to watch this show anymore.

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Episode 6: “Catastrophe And Cure”

Haley has Dan arrested and when he says he didn’t have anything to do with Nathan’s disappearance, by recapping his role in the entire show, he gets let go. But now even Jamie hates him and is sure he had something to do with it. In order to both clear his name, and fix his family, he rents out Julian’s studio and makes a list of anyone who might want to hurt him. Julian decides to join him, since, apparently the whole, “leave the baby in the car” incident has given him a death wish, and Brooke is kind of done with the supporting him thing.

I dislike this development, as completely dedicated to Brooke’s happiness is the only acceptable way for Julian to be used.

Brooke is still feuding with Tara and steps things up by asking Chris to play at Karen’s Cafe, initially, Chris doesn’t want to cross Tara, but then he learns that Tara and Chase are sleeping together. He decides to play. This leads to a big confrontation, which ends with Chris declaring Chase his best friend, which is actually terribly sweet, and then them at a strip club, which most certainly is not.

I kind of hope we’re now done with Tara, but since we’re down an Alex and Brooke is now a responsible Mom, I guess we need a wild girl.

Mouth also decides to help Dan find Nathan, Quinn believes Dan, and Clay is still in the loony bin, hanging out with that adorable kid who I am still not completely convinced isn’t Clay’s Tyler Durden-esque projection that is the person he becomes when he dissociates.

Oh right, and it turns out that Nathan was kidnapped by the Russian mob, because of poaching Eastern Bloc basketball players which is just, so stupid, I mean really. But now they’re going to ransom him. Or something. Whatever. I know this plot was just because James Lafferty wanted a lower commitment, but still, it’s not great. Haley worries and yells, and also, she watches Lydia take her first steps, and cries because Nathan is not there.

That moment actually kind of got me, you guys, I’m not going to lie.

Episode 7: “Last Known Surroundings”

LUCAS IS BACK! This is one of those episodes that I actually watched when it was on, because I mean, it’s the return of Lucas. He’s taking Jamie and Lydia so that Haley can freak out over Nathan’s disappearance appropriately. She manages to tell a cop what she was thinking about Nathan’s disappearance but it turns out PLOT TWIST, he’s in on the kidnapping, so that’s fun, I guess. Nathan tries to escape, but now he can’t. Also, it’s probably my favorite detail that the Russian thug is talking like one of Lucas’s old voice overs.

Haley and Lucas have an optimist/pessemist conversation about it and it really is remarkable, how many times they’ve traded off on those roles throughout the series.

Brooke learns that Xavier, Jack’s Creepy Brother, is up for parole and she is called to testify at his hearing. She goes to see him first and he apologizes to her, but refuses to come clean about killing Quentin, she testifies that he shouldn’t be let out.

Meanwhile, Julian and Dan analyze a video of Nathan for clues and Dan sees a symbol that means something to him, and not a good something.

Episode 8: “A Rush Of Blood To The Head”

Ooh boy. Things are getting fun now. Everyone seems in on Dan’s “let’s find Nathan” plan, so that’s good. It comes together because Haley has to go identify a body that turns out not to be Nathan and you know, the police can’t investigate since that dumb cop is hiding all the evidence, or whatever’s happening there.

Oh, also Deb is around. It’s good to see Deb.

Lauren’s pregnancy is finally addressed and Skills thinks that it’s his. It’s not, it’s actually GASP! Quinn’s ex husband David’s, because I mean, sure why not. Why wouldn’t David hook up with Skills’s ex girlfriend. This is Tree Hill and there are like six people that live here! Also why is David in Tree Hill? Like, he and Quinn didn’t live there together. It really doesn’t make sense.

Xavier is stalking Brooke. It’s weird and gross but has a bitchin music cue. Chuck’s dad is beating him and Chase has to go back to the air force, and is worried, so he goes to the house and beats the snot out of Chuck’s dad, which is great, but means he’ll be kicked out of the Air Force, so that’s not great.

Oh, yeah and it turns out that Logan, the adorable child is not a Tyler Durden-esque manifestation of Clay’s broken psyche, but Clay’s son with Sarah, the memory of whom he has surpressed for the past few years. I swear to God, Clay is on a completely different television show than everyone else. That show is both infinitely weirder and nowhere near as good as One Tree Hill. 

Oh right, and it turns out that Dan may have been in prison with Demetri, who is responsible for Nathan’s kidnapping. Or something. I don’t know. I’m going to finish this show soon.

Episode 9: “Every Breath Is A Bomb”

Oh boy, things are definitely nuts. So, Xavier is definitely stalking Brooke, he winds up with a job at Tree Hill Cafe, and Brooke is righteously freaked out. To the point that she even goes to his PO, who is frankly unconcerned about this psycho. He winds up threatening Brooke and even breaking into her house and creepily holding one of the boys.

Remember back when I called him a poor man’s Psycho Derek? I take it all back! Xavier would eat Psycho Derek for breakfast.

In other bonkers news, Haley tarts up to tail one of Demetri’s men and then she and Dan kidnap him and torture him for information on Nathan’s whereabouts. This plot is so goddamned weird.

Clay and Quinn decide that they’re going to try to be a part of Adorable Logan’s life, but Logan’s not interested. Skills and Mouth work out and go to visit Jimmy’s grave. Mouth remembers his friend and starts a sports blog.

Chase is being court marshalled, but in the end Chuck comes and talks about how Chase was just protecting him. He’s still discharged, but not dishonorably, and he’s probably not going to go to prison. HOORAY!

Episode 10: “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will”

OK, so we’ve found Nathan. And Dan and Julian and Chris are going to get him. But first, Dan has to berate them both about their reasons for helping Nathan.

I want to talk about Chris Keller here though. Dan points out that by finding Nathan, Chris will lose any chance with Haley, but also if he doesn’t go, he’ll have let Haley down. Chris accepts that he never really had Haley. This, my friends, is an important character beat on One Tree Hill, and it turns Chris Keller, of all people, into a sort of Sidney Carton, tis a far far better thing he does, and all that. He loves Haley, he’s always loved Haley, but he wants her to be happy and that means she should be with Nathan, he’s always known this. Since back when he dressed up in the same Halloween costume as Nathan and kissed her, all the way back in Season 3. When I didn’t have to make ham fisted literary comparisons to be able to write about the show.

Anyway, while rescuing Nathan, Dan gets shot, and Nathan kills Demetri, and Julian bonks the stupid cop over the head. Nathan then holds a bleeding Dan in his arms, begging him not to die.

Meanwhile, Xavier attacks Brooke and it’s real gross. He’s definitely going to rape and kill her, but then Tara shows up and tazes him. It’s much more exciting than I’m making it sound, but really, it’s also deeply unnecessary. I return to my opinion that he is Diet Psycho Derek, he doesn’t even bring a photo collage, or an auto tuned pod cast, and there’s not a bloody prom dress in site.

But the Tara rescue is pretty great.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

I can see the light, you guys! The long tunnel that has been post season 5 is ending and I can see the light. There’s only a week left.

Anyway, I actually am really enjoying this season, it’s bonkers but it’s pretty fun. It’s worth noting that this is much more modern CW than anything the show’s done before, except that the Russian mobsters don’t have weird ties to any ninja groups, no one has super speed and Malcolm Merlyn makes Dan Scott look like the world’s best dad. Oh, and the shooting happens with guns instead of arrows.

But otherwise,this arc would be right at home on Arrow.

Guys, I’m going to be done next week. I’m interested in seeing how the show ends, but also, OH MY GOD I AM SO READY FOR THE SHOW TO END.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 8: Episodes 17-22

OK, we’re at the end of season 8! AT LONG LAST. Only thirteen episodes to go before I move into the next phase of things here. (To drop a hint it may involve a family of witches…)

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Episode 17: “The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get”

OK, so Haley is testing everyone’s baby preparedness. It’s hilarious the first few times and then it just gets old. Although Clay and Nathan hearing about the test and thus not paying attention when Haley actually goes into labor was pretty funny.

Meanwhile, everyone is obsessed with toaster strudel. Or something. It was a weird runner. Brooke gets to know Chloe, her and Julian’s baby’s biological mother a little bit and something comes very clearly into focus.

Nathan gets an A on a test and Kellerman asks him to stop representing Ian. He decides to dig his heels in and he and Clay get Ian to sign a contract that includes a morality clause.

Guys, Ian is very obviously the father of Chloe’s baby and the reason why Kellerman doesn’t want him around Nathan is that he’s happy Chloe is giving the baby up, and he doesn’t want them to change their minds, because Nathan and Haley make young parenthood look so awesome.

Also, Chase and Chuck bond some more, and Millie does a story about street signs, almost gets fired but then doesn’t. Or something.

Episode 18: “Quiet Little Voices”

Lydia is being born and everyone is reflecting on the past. My theory about Ian as the father of Chloe’s baby was way off, but, she wound up not giving to Brooke and Julian, because the father really was just some dude.

Serious missed opportunity for some convergence there.

Anyway, I enjoyed watching this episode since large swaths of it were made up of clips from season one, and I really, really miss season 1.

Anyway, Lydia is born, everyone tells Jamie how great Haley is and Brooke and Julian don’t get Chloe’s baby.

And that’s the episode.

Episode 19: “Where Not To Look For Freedom”

Nathan found a bottle of bourbon in Kellerman’s car, which is the same car that crashed into Brooke and Jamie. He and Julian decide to confront Kellerman about it, and he winds up taking responsibility and quitting his job. Of course this turns out to be premature because Detective Nathan eventually puts together that it was Ian who crashed the car, not his father.

Quinn is running Tric and Red Bedroom while Haley is out on maternity leave. She books Owen and The Moon and Alex opens for them and kicks all of the asses. She and Chase flirt some more and I’m totally trying to be open to them getting back together. Who am I kidding I love them together.

Clothes Over Bros offers Brooke a job in New York as Vice President. She decides, after consulting with Victoria and talking it over with Julian that this would be a good move for her. She’s having trouble dealing with losing the baby, and it would be a clean start so she decides to take the job.

Oh and someone is building a bunch of condos on the river court. Millie is going to do a story on it.

Episode 20: “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul”

So, with the new found knowledge that it was Ian not August who was in the car accident, Nathan agonizes over what to do next. He even considers talking to Dan. He does talk to August and learns that he’s sober, so you know, whoops? Anyway, Nathan, Clay and Julian confront Ian, who is basically a sociopath, and completely remorseless. They wind up shoving him into the river for reasons, and that relationship ends. Also, Professor Kellerman goes away on a boat, and Nathan does not talk to Dan.

In the most contrived plot in the history One Tree Hill, Chase asks Alex to pee in a cup for a drug test so that he can join the Air Force. (He accidentally smoked pot with Kid Cudi, so he can’t pass the test.) The results come back and whoever’s pee it was is pregnant! Turns out it’s Brooke’s! Brooke is pregnant! YAY! She also decides to stay in Tree Hill, because she doesn’t want to raise a kid in New York.

In Quinn needs to do a thing I guess. (I feel bad, she’s a useless character…) she’s getting ready to go to Puerto Rico to shoot some supermodels, so she works out a bunch and gets a silly spray tan.

The episode is framed around Jamie’s first baseball game, at which he recites “Casey At The Bat” in his head and then hits a home run. It’s very nice.

Episode 21: “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

So, I don’t quite understand how there’s one more episode after this, but, you know whatever. Quinn, Brooke, Alex and Lauren (hey! Lauren!) all go to Puerto Rico for Quinn’s photo shoot. They party a lot, especially Lauren, who has to be put to bed early. This is exactly like almost all of my friends who are elementary school teachers. Meanwhile, Alex continues to cover for Brooke, as they go out for sushi and drink a lot of alcohol. Things that Brooke can’t do because she’s pregnant.

The guys go to camp out by the river court and find an endangered bird that might save it from being turned into condos. They find a nest and also, Chuck drives a bulldozer after throwing a fit when Chase tells him that he’s moving away to join the air force.

Haley and Brooke decide to re open Karen’s Cafe, which is incredibly sweet and nice and I guess gives them a way to actually stay together and being connected story wise, which they just haven’t been lately.

Episode 22: “This is My House, This is My House”

OK, I see the point of another episode. This is yet another perfectly serviceable series finale if they hadn’t gotten those extra 13 episodes. We see everyone’s lives tracked over the course of a year. Brooke and Julian have twins, Haley and Brooke get Karen’s Cafe working again. Chase and Alex drift apart and come back together. Jamie learns how to be there for Madison. Quinn and Clay talk about their future together. (I kind of love that they’re not married, this show is very happily ever after minded and that they just kind of are is pretty special. But they are otherwise useless…)  Mouth and Millie have a morning show.

The twins are born, Nathan goes to see Dan and gives him a picture of Lydia and the ball from Jamie’s first hit.

I think there’s nothing better though than the wrap around narration of Jamie talking about how Tree Hill is a magic place and he was born in a magic time. My heart, it can’t take it.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

I liked this stretch more than any other in the post Lucas and Peyton era. There was a lot of heart and love injected and the cast was actually interacting beyond their typically assigned units. In general I’m not into how comedic this season was though. It was one thing when the show was incidentally funny, but this is more, like, trying to be funny, and it’s never been as good at that as it’s mirror twin The OC, so it all just lands kind of flat.

And Quinn and Clay really don’t have much to do and that makes it very hard to invest in them.

Overall Analysis of This Season

This season is tough man. It’s unbalanced, it’s not great but in the end it pulls itself together. I am definitely ready to finish up the show though. I’ve decided on 3 more weeks for the remaining 13 episodes. Two blocks of 5, then 3, a sum up of the arc, season, and what this project has meant to me.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 8 Episodes 12-16

Quick schedule change this week because I’m going to see Hamilton tonight and I don’t think I’ll want to write about anything else for tomorrow!

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Episode 12: “The Drinks We Drank Last Night”

It’s the court mandated Hangover episode. It’s the day after Brooke’s bachelorette party and the group must piece together what’s gone on the night before. They know it involves Brooke losing her engagement ring, Silvia crashing the party, Haley leaving early (hence no one remembering, as pregnant Haley wouldn’t have gotten blackout drunk), Dave Navarro and a skateboarding dog.

They track down the ring, and as it turns out at one point in the reveries, Brooke called Julian, kissed him (a waitress pointed out that she made out with someone, turns out, it was her fiancé) and he took the ring for safe keeping. The dog belongs to Nathan’s cranky professor and Dave Navarro is playing somewhere and they had a water filled condom fight with him. Oh, also Millie got a tattoo and drank a bunch of alcohol out of an old boot.

Peyton calls Brooke and tells her that she’s not going to make it to the wedding because Sawyer is sick and so Brooke asks Haley to be her maid of honor. (I have never been OK with this development, as it was reported to me by Katherine when it happened. I understand why, but it’s still a major, UGH.)

Episode 13: “The Other Half of Me”

It’s Brooke and Julian’s wedding day and thus we get all kinds of good stuff. The episode opens to a scene from Brooke’s childhood, where sitting outside her big house with the red door, hiding from an argument her parents are having and a bride driving by tosses her a veil. This comes back later, where Victoria comes by Brooke’s house while she and Haley get dressed and gives Brooke the veil as a gift.

Julian, meanwhile, relates a story about a childhood crush and a belief in love brought about from the exact situation of Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That,” (The barbeque stain on a white tee shirt is in fact left out…but otherwise). Jamie then uses this story in his best man speech and it’s adorable. Haley, meanwhile, recounts to events of “Every Night Is Another Story,” which reminded me of a time when this show was the best instead of mediocre.

Meanwhile, Skills has taken it upon himself to make sure that none of the Tree Hill wedding disasters come upon Brooke and Julian. Thus, he makes sure that Julian is who he says he is by running a background check (Keith and Jules), that all people entering the church are invited (Lucas and Lindsey) and that no one interrupts the ceremony with objections, (also Lucas and Lindsey). Brooke isn’t pregnant so her going into early almost deadly labor is not a factor. He arranges alternate transportation so that no one can steel and then drive the limo off of a bridge (Nathan and Haley).

Also there’s some drama with the Alex/Chase/Mia triangle and I can’t believe I don’t care about this. Clay and Quinn are in the episode, as is Nathan, but they basically do nothing.

Everything is lovely, I cried a few times, and it’s a perfectly serviceable. It’s just not blow you out of the water great, as this show once was.

Episode 14: “Holding Out For A Hero”

So Brooke is bored and has been watching Kick Ass and thus decides that she, Haley and Quinn should become superheroes. Look, we weren’t fully into Berlanti-Land but I’m pretty sure Arrow had hit by now, so I guess it makes sense. Either that or the show predicted the network’s future, either way, this plot is bananas, but it does get the girls dressed in super cute costumes and Brooke’s superhero identity of B-Dazzler is kind of completely genius. Anyway, they wind up defending a girl who’s getting bullied, so that’s a thing.

Julian and Mouth make a commercial for a community college and it goes really well, and it’s all terribly sweet. Nathan is still having trouble with his dickish professor, and Clay comes and saves him with some speech about integrity and how theory alone doesn’t cut it in the real world or whatever.

Chase has volunteered to be a big brother and gets assigned to Chuck, who is such an asshole kid, but whatever. Turns out Chuck’s home life is kind of a dumpster fire, and Chase is going to be there for him. It’s very nice.

Episode 15: “Valentine’s Day Is Over”

It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone’s getting sexy, except Nathan and Haley. Brooke and Julian spend the whole day role playing sexy scenes. It’s adorable and funny and really just an excuse to get Sophia into some killer lingerie. It’s very cute and the whole thing ends with Julian saying that he thinks that they should look into adoption. Considering they got married like 5 seconds ago, I mean, I guess they should jump right to having kids.

Chase continues to big brother Chuck, who, as it turns out is a musical theatre genius. He wrote a perfectly serviceable show tune song about lost love and longing. Also, he helps Chase transform Tric into a romantic date spot exclusively for Clay and Quinn. After Clay pretends that he’s just not into Valentine’s Day.

Nathan and Haley agree not to do anything, but it’s also a fake out. This is cute, but not exactly revelatory. Jamie takes Madison to a carnival…which I bet is a move he got from Julian. Mouth and Millie make an audition tape for him to try out for a field reporter position.

Episode 16: “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”

Haley is going a little stir crazy, and she’s bugging Quinn a lot. And Quinn and Brooke are trying to organize a surprise baby shower for Haley, so this is a problem, I guess? Anyway, at the shower, everyone sends love at Haley and Haley feels good, and then everyone starts asking Quinn when she and Clay are going to get engaged. I feel sort of bad for Millie in this scenario, since Quinn does not want to talk about it, and Millie drops a big giant, “HEY! I MIGHT GET ENGAGED SOON TOO! I AM ALSO IN A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP HERE!” convo bomb and everyone sort of ignores her.

Clay and Nathan have been scoping out a baseball player to sign and he’s the son of Nathan’s dick wad teacher, and has a season 1 Nathan size chip on his shoulder. He does come to Jamie’s baseball practice and teach the kids some stuff though, so that’s pretty fun and cute.

Brooke and Julian meet with a pregnant girl who might give them their baby. They try to come off as perfectly normal and stable people, and while they are stable, they are not normal and the girl, Chloe picks up on that but decides she likes them anyway. Yes, Brooke and Julian are the best people ever.

In the end Quinn and Clay go to a garden that they both dreamed about when they were in their weird sideways coma world. So, you know, that’s fun.

Overall Analysis of This Arc

I will get through this series. I will get through this series. I only have a few weeks left. I will finish. I’m ready.

I am actually excited to see the Brooke and Julian start a family stuff. They are the best. I’m deeply over all things Naley, which makes me sad, because they used to be the best.

 

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Watch: Season 8: Episodes 1-5

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Episode 1: “Asleep At Heaven’s Gate”

GUYS! The opening song is back. This is almost as exciting as the fact that Quinn and Clay are currently bleeding out on his bedroom floor, because Crazy Katie shot them, and living in a sideways universe where Quinn runs around topless on the beach. So that’s what’s going on with my least favorite characters.

Let’s talk about my favorites!

Alex has decided she wants Chase. I am all for this. Because I love Alex and I love Chase. I also love Mia who also wants to get back together with Chase. I support this plotline because Love Triangles is where OTH is most comfortable. (And family drama) Also because everyone should want to be with Chase, because he is adorable.

Speaking of adorable, Brooke and Julian are having adorable Grease 2 themed sex. (Julian’s obsession with that movie is the kind of bizarre detail that I can’t get enough of!) That is until Brooke is arrested because Clothes Over Bros has been misreporting their profits, or something. That the Tree Hill cops would arrest her for that and not like, federal officers, really breaks this plotline for me.

Haley’s running around telling everyone she’s pregnant, and Jamie asks where babies come from. Nathan and Haley do a terrible job of explaining it and it leads to him and Chuck googling pictures of vibrators. Or something. Also, Nathan is about to go back to training camp and is worried about Haley’s depression. She’s also keeping a journal, which is SOOOO therapy that I can’t even deal with it.

Episode 2: “I Can’t See You, But I Know You’re There”

Wow, this episode is just a whole mess of hot garbage. I get the feeling that I’ll be saying that a lot. Even Grey’s Anatomy never tried to pull off multiple episodes of dream world watching yourself in the hospital. (Or maybe the have, I haven’t watched that show in a while…) Anyway, Quinn and Clay are hanging out in their naked beach dream world, but now they know that they’ve been shot and Clay is dying and Quinn is unconscious and OMG, I just, I can’t, it’s horrible garbage and I can barely stand to watch anymore. BUT WATCH I SHALL!

Alex and Mia are in full compete for Chase mode and I wish that this was the whole episode, but instead it’s only like five minutes. But it’s a delight.

Julian watch Jamie while everyone else is at the hospital and they go to the batting cages and the arcade and they talk some more about what a nerd Julian was, and Jamie, the spawn of the rock star and NBA player who were also the best couple ever in high school has no frame of reference for this.

Haley, meanwhile, writes another journal entry/letter to Lucas and this plot device needs to DIE because it’s just a reminder that all of this shit has gone down for Haley and Lucas hasn’t come home for any of it, and it’s just really bad. Like, storytelling wise. Nathan comes home and he, Brooke and Haley sit around and talk for like a minute. Brooke is dealing with the fact that Victoria and Millie signed her name on documents lying to investors and now she might go to prison.

Seriously, Brooke is on another completely different and largely way better show. Oh, also Sideways Quinn and Clay cry about the fact that Quinn is going to live.

GARBAGE

Episode 3: “The Space In Between”

Well, Clay spends this episode alternating between talking with a new ghost, a dude named Will, who I like a lot and wish wasn’t a ghost, and crying about how he just found love again and now he’s going to die. Oh, also, Quinn wakes up and Nathan contemplates giving Clay his kidney. But in the end, Clay gets Will the ghost’s kidney.

Ghosts really do make this show a good deal better. Anyway, because of the new Ghost, who I wish we knew better because he seems like a cool dude, Nathan doesn’t have to give Clay his kidney, not that he could have anyway, because he’s not a match.

Brooke and Julian take Jamie for the day and they play baseball and also Jamie comes up with a bunch of adorable scenes for when Clay wakes up. One of them includes confetti.

Oh, and Victoria is going to prison, and Brooke’s in the clear, but she’s still way sad that she can’t have a baby.

This episode included exactly zero scenes about the Alex/Chase/Mia triangle, and it’s really the worse for it.

It did however feature a ghost, so I guess that’s a point. Also, Millie and Mouth got back together, or at least had sex again, and then Mouth frames the whole episode with a podcast about sports movies.

Episode 4: “We All Fall Down”

Quinn is ready to come home, and she moves back in to Nathan and Haley’s. Haley is in full caretaker mode with Quinn and she’s also working at a crisis hotline and it’s all very important. She’s annoyed at the hotline though, because no one who’s called has been depressed enough for her. Also, she’s still writing letters to Lucas, saying she’s having trouble dealing with the fact that they aren’t facing the future together.

Brooke realizes that she can’t declare bankruptcy after an angry investor yells at her about losing all her money. She decides that she’s going to leverage all of her assets and pay back her investors. Victoria, meanwhile, is thriving, running the business from prison.

Something’s going on with Nathan, who has now decided not to play basketball. He thinks it’s too big a risk with his back and he’s probably right.

Oh, also, we learn that Jamie’s really good at baseball. I like this as a plot point because physically Jamie’s much more likely to be a baseball player than a basketball player, but it keeps him as a possible star athlete someday.

Also, Julian is making a documentary and he has an awkward conversation with Haley. I’ll get into that later. Also, Chase and Alex play golf and it’s pretty damn adorable.

Episode 5: “Nobody Taught Us To Quit”

Brooke and Nathan both have to quit their dream jobs and they’re both really sad and nervous about it. Also, we learn that Julian’s documentary is about “what comes next?” You know, because when you’re 25 and you’ve already gotten to be the best at everything you’ve ever done, it’s hard to move on or whatever.

The only person who I feel like gets this sort of quarter life crisis right is Mouth. Who, in his unemployment is just hanging around his apartment in his pajamas and “needs to consider it” when Chase offers him a job at the bar.

Anyway, at least Nathan’s crisis is coming from an external source. Jamie is worried that if he’s not playing, Nathan is going to turn into the fuzzy alcoholic sleep on the couch guy again. In order to prevent this, Nathan and Clay become partners. Nathan is going to be a sports agent! This is just further proof that Nathan is the dream vessel of many dudes I grew up with, who wanted to be pro athletes and sports agents. Nathan does both! I should note that a couple of said dudes did become pro athletes and sports agents. But most of them wound up working in insurance or banking or becoming teachers and moving into shared apartments in the frat house on the Hudson that is otherwise known as Hoboken.

Oh, also, Quinn and clay move back into the beach house…but I barely care.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

BOOOOO. Look, I get it, this era of the show was during a weird time when The CW knew that it was no longer The WB, the network of Dawson’s Creek, Felicity and Gilmore Girls, but before it found it’s true identity of The Network Where All Greg Berlanti’s Super Hero Dreams Come True, (Seriously, they only have 10 hours of programming, and 4 of said hours are going to be Berlanti super hero shows this year. AND I WILL WATCH IT ALL!) and One Tree Hill as it was, a quiet family and friends drama steeped in pop music and basketball didn’t fit on it’s new identity of OOOH SHINY (Gossip Girl really was the perfect show for them at this point. It was such a mess from day one that it reflected the network well.) But the show just seems lost at this point and it’s sort of depressing.

But, if there’s one thing that I really like about this arc is how they illustrate that Julian just isn’t really one of the gang and probably never will be. It’s such a realistic touch. Like, he’s friendly with everyone, but he’s not a part of this group and doesn’t have the blood tie like Quinn does. He’s with Brooke, who loves these people, so he’ll be around them, but he’s not ever going to go full Raven, and that’s fine.

Also, I love the cover versions of “I Don’t Wanna Be” that’s before each episode, if only because this feels like a cover version of the show.

 

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 7: Episodes 17-22

Next mega sized post! And we’re through Season 7. So close to the end here!

Season 7

Episode 17: “At The Bottom Of Everything”

Haley is not ready to accept that her mother is dying. She’s researching treatment, and even gives her medical records to Nathan’s doctor. Her mother is just not interested in treatment at all, even though she’d also terminal, there’s nothing to be done. So the James clan, minus Taylor, has one last Christmas together, because that’s what Jamie thinks would be best.

Mouth and Lauren continue to bond, this time playing video games together. Also, Millie runs into Owen at an NA meeting and Mouth gets jealous, and so he asks Lauren out and I actually like the idea of them as a couple.

Brooke and Julian come close to getting back together. She gets all dressed up to meet him at a hotel and walks into his room and finds a naked Alex in bed and she’s really, really mad about it. Alex didn’t in fact sleep with Julian, but with Alexander. Brooke misunderstood. Or something.

Clay goes to recruit a tennis player. It turns out she looks a lot like Sarah.

Episode 18: “The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance”

So, Haley’s mom dies, like for real, she collapses and in the hospital, she shares memories with Haley and Quinn and wishes that they’d make up with Taylor. So Quinn goes to see Taylor, who then has a confrontation with her mother about being a disappointment. Turns out that their mom sees more of herself in Taylor than her other children and it’s all very sweet. Haley teaches herself how to cook her mom’s chicken and dumpling soup because what else is she going to do? Quinn makes a slideshow.

Lauren and Mouth decide to go for it and kiss, but then it turns out that Skills comes home whoops!

Brooke punches Alex in the face, because she thinks that Alex and Julian slept together. When she realizes what actually happened, she tearfully goes to Julian and they get back together. Also, it turns out that Alexander is also sleeping with Victoria, so, that’s kind of fun.

Oh, and that tennis player Clay went to sign? She’s crazy, and wants to marry him after hanging out with him twice. She tells her roommate, Iris West, that she’s exactly his type. She dies her hair blonde so that she looks even more like Sarah, and it’s so creepy and weird and great. Her roommate Iris, should totally call her foster brother/love interest, The Flash to trap the crazy lady.

Episode 19: “Every Picture Tells A Story”

Quinn is opening her gallery, and it’s been a while since we had  a party full of drama in Tree Hill, so I’m pretty happy about that. Haley is not doing well dealing with the death of her mom, and also she’s pregnant.

At Quinn’s show, Crazy Katie, who has decided she’s going to replace Sarah, buys a portrait of Clay. It’s bonkers and kind of great.

Victoria gives Alexander a blow job and gets caught, because Lauren and Mouth get caught by Skills, who tells Lauren that he moved back for her. Guys, it’s been so long since we had a best friend centered love triangle. It’s nice to see that back here.

Magical Bartender and Miranda continue to be adorable, but it turns out that she’s being deported. So, that kind of sucks. But they’re adorable, and his name is Grubs, which I now remember.

Oh, also Alex and Josh, the guy in Julian’s movie, made a sex tape and it might be getting leaked.

Episosde 20: “Learning To Fall”

So the sex tape thing hits the fan. Turns out Josh leaked it himself, because he’s gay and he’s trying to stay closeted. That’s really it. Alex agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend because she’s sick of everyone thinking she’s a big slut. So, that’s an arangement that’s going to work out.

Brooke tells Mouth to talk to Skills, as Mouth often encouraged her to make up with Peyton. Lauren says the same to Skills. They do make up and I guess that Mouth and Lauren are a thing. Also Millie and Mouth have a nice moment about all of this.

Haley is just, kind of a train wreck, and it’s pretty great. I mean, it’s not great for Haley, but it’s great for the show.

Grubs keeps asking Miranda to marry him so that he won’t get deported. That’s a thing that’s happening. It’s incredibly adorable and I can’t get enough of them, even if they feel like they belong on another show.

Not belonging on another show? Crazy Katie. Who I adore. Her roommate, Iris West, comes to see Clay and it turns out that Katie is off her meds, and has been collecting picturs of Sarah. She also comes to see Quinn and threatens her. I’m really excited about this story, it feels old school. And also it involves Iris West. (I know that Candace Patton is not actually Iris West, but I’m just so excited to see her!)

Episode 21: “What’s In The Ground Belongs To You”

Haley is really not doing well. She sets her piano on fire, and she’s fantasizing about drowining herself to “The Sounds Of Silence.” Everyone is just trying to protect Jamie, but you know what? After seven seasons of Nathan’s moping, I think it’s her turn to be a teensy bit dramatic. But it is unsettling. Even more unsettling is that she’s leaving long sad messages on her mom’s voice mail.

Not that it doesn’t cause for an adorable B plot with Quinn taking Jamie on a treasure hunt and a lovely scene between Brooke and Nathan where Brooke teaches him about laundry. Seriously, can’t get enough of when those two are friend-y.

Chase is back, and it turns out Mia broke up with him via text. Then she shows up and they have a tough heart to heart conversation. Also, Miranda and Magic Bartender break up, and the whole thing is very heart breaking.

Crazy Katie shows up again, but also it might have been Sarah’s ghost, Clay isn’t sure and it’s starting to make him feel crazy. Iris West does not show up in this episode.

Julian sells his movie to a film festival.

Episode 22: “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You”

Everyone’s off to Sundance (that isn’t Sundance) to see the movie premiere and try to sell it. This episode harkens back to the cabin episode from season 4, but isn’t as good, because season 7 isn’t as good. But everyone is also using the trip to help cheer Haley up. She’s in therapy at least, after trying to drown herself “to feel something.” Also, Haley tells Nathan that she’s pregnant.

Julian is in full freak out about the movie and can’t even watch it. However, Brooke is being really supportive and sweet. Eventually, he sells the movie and then they go for a walk in the snow and he proposes! HOORAY!

Skills and Mouth decide that it’s time to be friends again, and Skills wears a ridiculous coat. Alex hits on Chase and Josh decides that he’s going to come out, but he wants to go see his parents first. It’s very nice. Clay and Quinn have some fun sexy times, and Quinn and Haley talk about their mother. When they’re settled back into the beach house, Crazy Katie shows up and shoots them! IF ONLY HER ROOMMATE IRIS WEST HAD GOTTEN THE FLASH TO STOP HER! (This headcanon is going nowhere). We have a cliff hanger.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

It’s blurry. I watched it all very quickly last night and this morning. But I liked it. There’s not a lot of depth here. Even Haley’s depression seems too broad and it’s kind of a bummer to me. But overall it’s fine. It’s a perfectly fine show. I’m just not hooked like I used to be.

I was super psyched to see Candice Patton though, like, REALLY psyched.

Overall Analysis of This Season

I’m running in place here you guys. I wanted to enjoy this season, and I didn’t hate it, but the show is at the moment, a pale shadow of itself. Only Crazy Katie and Alex are really worth watching at this point, even though I love Brooke and Julian, I just don’t care enough about these storyline. But I’m pushing through, I’ll get there, I promise.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 7: Episodes 6-10

Season 7

Episode 6: “Deep Ocean, Vast Sea”

Brooke is so very done with Alex. She fires her and lays down the word with Julian that she’d rather not deal with Alex’s shenanigans in their relationship. This is, of course, after an immature outburst that leads to her measuring a semi nude Chase, because she’s decided to extend Clothes Over Bros to Clothes For Bros as well.

The half naked Chase scene just leads to Chase and Mia being adorable. Because they are. I almost don’t want to move forward, because I’m so afraid that they’re going to break up. They’re just an oasis of adorable. They’re not even in most episodes, they’re just the best.

Haley is really starting to  believe Renee, who is now working with Dan and Rachel to talk about her story. Nathan is feeling a little put out, because he’s losing his endorsements, and Clay is sort of checked out, and Haley doesn’t believe that he didn’t get another woman pregnant. His point that him abandoning a child he fathered makes him like Dan, and that’s what stings the most about all of this, that Haley believes he’s anything like his father.

Millie starts taking diet pills, because she thinks she’s too fat to be a model or something. Also Mouth does another “sports news should be pure and not report on my buddy’s supposed love child” broadcast. I don’t think Mouth understands how the media works, like at all. Also, Nathan and Quinn fight about her and Clay hanging out and Clay leaves Tric with a  mysterious blonde, and I still don’t care. (OK, I’m starting to care a little) (Also, I know that the mysterious blond is Clay’s wife Sarah, who’s dead, and this is her ghost.)

Episode 7: “I And Love And You”

So. Many. Flashbacks.

I think I’ve put my finger on what annoys me about the Quinn and Clay storyline. Actually, I’ve known it forever and it was what turned me off of the show. For all of it’s bonkers plotting and on the nose dialog, One Tree Hill never, before this season, used to use shortcuts on the characters. The characters earned your love. Here, they’re trying to tell us that we love Quinn and Clay without earning that love.

This episode does a lot to alieviate that. Showing Quinn’s disillusionment with her marriage to David, as well as Clay’s happier than actually possible marriage to Sarah, through flashbacks, and Clay’s conversation with Sarah’s ghost. So, I’m backing off on the “Quinn and Clay Ruined the Show” stuff for the moment. They may yet prove me wrong. I’m just saying the flashbacks worked.

Brooke and Julian have a very nice, very honest conversation about their future. It’s sweet and disconnected from just about everything else that’s going on right now with the show. But it’s very nice and I like it a lot.

Meanwhile, in, what’s everyone else doing? Dan has Renee on his show, and hooks her up to a lie detector to prove that Nathan is a cheating scum bag. But then, PLOT TWIST! Dan actually uses the lie detector to prove Nathan didn’t father Renee’s baby, and now that lying whore can go away forever! (This statement is satirical. But I’m pretty sure Renee does go away forever…) Also, it turns out that Dan had a heart transplant! WHAT? MORE DAN CENTRIC PLOT TWISTS! Also, Haley and Nathan talk about how their love will see them through whatever happens. It’s adorable. And unnecessary, as it turns out that nothing happened.

Also, better story telling would have been having Clay be the baby daddy. I’m just saying.

Episode 8: “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight”

It’s this season’s hang out episode! And it’s a doozy! So, the guys (except Clay) go off on a camping trip. Julian doesn’t want to go, having not yet bonded with the other dudes, and pointing out to Brooke that he’s never really been friends with dudes. Brooke tells him that this is all silly and that he should go. So he does. He’s such an awkward dork, and it’s so cute. His movie nerddom does not fit in with Nathan and Skills’s jock vibe, which is complimented by Mouth’s sports nerddom. But he endears himself to the group by saving Jamie’s dignity a few times, and scaring the pants off of Chuck. Also, he and Nathan talk about having shitty fathers.

Speaking of Nathan’s shitty father, we get yet another flashback to Dan’s super sketchy and illegal Mexican heart transplant, that I’m pretty sure is really racist. Anyway, Dan’s feeling guilty and seeing the ghost of the young Mexican boy who’s family Rachel bought his new heart from. Anyway, after they fight kind of, Dan decides that they should go home to Tree Hill.

Quinn makes some pot brownies, and then doesn’t eat them so she gets to see the hilarity that is Haley and Brooke high. (Brooke high, BTW is me high. I get very paranoid, and then angry and forgetful. I hate weed.) She also calls a psychic, who tells her to go to Clay, who’s spending the weekend with his wife’s ghost, who is kind of really into him boning Quinn. They wind up spending the night on the beach, talking about his dead wife.

That is the least sexy thing to ever happen on this show.

Oh, right, and Julian learns about the Nathan and Brooke sex tape. Guys, I miss that era of the show so much…

Episode 9: “Now Lift Your Eyes To The Sun”

Rachel and Dan are back in town, and of course a bunch of stuff hits the fan along with that. Jamie is ready to forgive Dan, and Nathan is starting to waffle. Haley isn’t involved in this because she’s having a surprise show to try out some of her new material at Tric. Miranda isn’t thrilled about it, but also, like, I feel like that’s a fairly normal thing to do? I don’t know, I don’t understand the resistance there. But the show goes well.

Rachel goes to see Mouth who, in the way only he can, tells her that she needs to make things right with Brooke. She attempts to, kind of, by paying Brooke back for the money she stole, but she also, doesn’t really apologize, and Brooke doesn’t take that well. But as usual, Rachel gets all the good lines. When she says hi to Jamie and tells him, “I remember when you were a rumor in third period,” I nearly died laughing.

Millie’s been taking diet pills, and is quickly going down the Jessie Spano manic drain. She’s mean to Mouth and Brooke, and is acting more and more like Alex. It’s not attractive. In the end, she steals some coke from Alex, and that’s going to be a thing now.

Alex, afraid that she’s going to use again, calls Julian to talk her out of it. But when the vial she’s staring at turns out to be empty he storms out, really angry, because this friendship is straining his relationship with Brooke and now it turns out Alex is a liar.

She’s not a liar, but that’s sure to come out eventually.

Quinn and Clay continued to live out their Nicholas Sparks movie, by finally sleeping together, I think? There have been like four or five fake outs with them. But they also volunteer at a youth center together, and Clay befriends a kid playing basketball.

Episode 10: “You Are A Runner and I Am My Father’s Son”

Oh boy, are things ever about to get nuts. Clay has stopped communing with his wife’s ghost and is full on with this whole Quinn thing, to the point where he messes up Nathan’s contract. Because of this, Nathan, kind of rightfully, fires him as his agent. Look, I’m not saying that Nathan using Clay’s relationship with Quinn as part of his justification for it is fair, but Nathan wanted to stay on The Bobcats, and Clay didn’t get that done, so you know, fired.

Speaking of people who are behaving weirdly. Millie’s doing loads of coke and just generally acting like a garbage person. (A garbage person is a person who’s made of garbage, the worst kind of person. A garbage person is not be confused with a sanitation worker, who is usually a hard working individual who keeps our streets clean) She’s demanding Brooke pay her lots of money for the modeling…which, I mean, again not unreasonable, but the way she’s going about it is just not cool, and is clearly not going to jibe with Brooke. She’s getting drunk with Alex, who’s supposed to be sober, and also stealing from her, even when Alex tries to explain why she can’t be around people who do coke. She’s lying to Mouth and taking him for granted. Katherine once warned me that they totally ruined Millie. I see this now.

Rachel has the brilliant idea to film Dan’s show from the hallways where he killed Keith. Dan thinks this is a weird idea. Dan’s instinct here is right on. Dan then just wanders around town dispensing unsolicited advice to different people, namely Mouth and Clay. With Mouth, he says that he was right to stand up for Nathan (ehh) and with Clay, he “baptizes” him in the ocean, (nearly drowns him), telling him to get his shit together and get Nathan a job. (What?)

Skills takes a job with a sports coordinating company in LA, which means he has to move out there. Brooke, in addition to being shit on by Millie for a few scenes, and interacting with a very drunk (and hilarious) Victoria, confesses that she recently learned she can’t have children. Julian, being perfect, hugs her and tells her that he’ll do whatever it takes for them to have a family.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

In general? I like what’s going on here, but, like most of latter day OTH, it all feels quite disconnected. There’s no real reason for Brooke’s storyline to connect with Nathan’s which barely connects with Quinn and Clay’s, and that’s a real failing for a show that was once so thematically sound on an arc to arc and episode to episode basis. While I get that’s necessary as the cast grows and the storylines escalate, it’s just really disheartening.

Alex remains the best. She’s like Rachel but better. And Rachel’s around, and is probably the most consistently written character in the show’s history, so that’s cool.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 7: Episodes 1-5

Guys, we’re just about diving into the unknown. I think that these five episodes were the last episodes I watched on the regular. Seriously. I’m interested into seeing what happens.

Season 7

Episode 1: “4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)”

It’s time for us to check in on everyone status quo. I remember seeing this episode and being completely confused. Nothing terrible had happened? No one was waiting for some awful news? Dan alive, Nathan thriving in the NBA, and filming a commericial. Mouth and Millie together, Brooke and Julian together, Haley recording, and Nathan’s agent Clay, who we’re supposed to care about all of a sudden is hanging around, and Haley’s sister Quinn also shows up.

It’s Jamie’s birthday, and there’s a party. We learn that Nathan is having trouble getting a new contract to the levels he wants. Julian turned down a huge movie in New Zealand to be with Brooke. Oh, and Quinn left her husband and Clay has random sex with the model from Nathan’s commercial. And a girl is trying to blackmail Nathan by saying they slept together at some party.  Oh also, we meet Miranda, who wants to close Red Bedroom Records, Haley has that to deal with.

Episode 2: “What Are You Willing To Lose?”

So Haley is fighting to keep the label open with Miranda, and it’s actually a really good conflict for her. She also gets to role play a conversation with Peyton and Lucas where she does imitations of them, it’s hilarious and great. She eventually convinces Miranda that she’s worth keeping on because of that old Tree Hill stand by, “I really love this and it matters to me,” and thus a new thing is born for Haley to do.

Nathan and Clay confront the black mailer. She says that she has proof that Nathan slept with her. Seriously, I had next to no memory of this plot line. It’s pretty contrived, and now that I’m revisiting it I remember it a little, and being sort of let down that they didn’t have Nathan actually cheat. You have to remember that by the time this season aired, Gossip Girl had been on the air for three years, and in Gossip Girl, Nathan would have totally actually cheated. but OTH has different rules, which make for slightly healthier relationship models, but way less drama.

BUT, for every, Nathan is actually faithful to Haley lack of drama there is a Dan shaped piece of bonkers joy, this season, that is held by the fact that he’s now working as a Dr. Phil type personality and is married to Rachel. RACHEL!

Oh, also, Quinn and Clay flirt, and Quinn explains to Haley why she left her husband, and I’m sorry, I just don’t care. Maybe I’ll eventually care, but not at the moment.

We also meet Alex, the trainwreck actress, who I sort of remember. Brooke hires her to be the face of clothes over bros, and she’s a trainwreck, and that’s what we need at the moment. Our main cast has their shit way too together these days.

Episode 3: “Hold My Hand as I’m Lowered”

We learn more about how Dan and Rachel ended up together. She was stripping and he hired her to have sex with him a few times. She laid some of her patented Rachel Gatina Truth Bombs on him, and she helped him write a self help book and now they’re together. Also, he’s taken to befriending the homeless, while she takes pictures of it. Also, he seems to actually love her? Which is just, so weird. She seems to just be in it for the money, which is just, so Rachel.

Brooke and Millie are dealing with Alex, who is very good on camera, and has also decided to set her sights on Julian, which is just, so hilarious, and great, and I kind of love her.

Mouth and Skills finally talk about why Skills doesn’t want to move out, and it’s because he isn’t ready to commit to Lauren. Mouth accepts this because Mouth is a really good dude. There’s also some bussiness with a lizard and a snake, and Jamie gets involved, because that kid needs a hobby. Or at least some age appropriate friends.

Clay and Quinn continue to flirt, but he hooks up with Alex, maybe? It’s been established that he’s a huge whore, and she’s still married, so those are both things. Also, her husband shows up. I have bumped up this plotline from “who cares” to “mildly diverting.”

Oh right, and blackmail girl is pregnant and Nathan decides to call her bluff, even though her going public will put his family through hell, even though he didn’t do anything, and this is all very confusing and weird. And Julian’s dad wants him to break up with Brooke, or marry her, and Brooke gets upset when Julian doesn’t ask her to marry him. Or something.

Episode 4: “Believe me, I’m Lying”

It’s time for a Clothes Over Bros fashion show. Millie organized it. It’s very fancy and some dumby model calls Millie ugly, so Alex gives her some pills to OD, and Brooke gave Millie the spot, while she sports the tee shirt that says “Zero Is Not A Size,” which is pretty great. She’s a big hit, and Alex takes her to a party, and she blows off Mouth.

Mouth is having a bad day because he doesn’t want to report on the whole, Nathan getting a girl pregnant thing. Which comes to a head this episode with it being reported in the tabloids, and Jamie finding it, and then Renee (blackmailing girl) confronting Haley at Tric, and Haley slapping her in the face. Also, Miranda bitches out a reporter who’s trying to get Haley’s take on things.

Chase is back, making terrible cocktails that get everyone drunk. And by everyone I mean, Clay and Quinn. Quinn finally tells her boring husband that she doesn’t want to be married anymore. So he comes to yell at her and Clay punches him. Then Quinn and Clay leave together.

We learn that the script that Alex gave Julian is a script that she wrote. Julian offers to help her with it, and Brooke is a little bit worried about that, because Alex, is Alex.

Episode 5: “Your Cheatin Heart”

So Haley’s in jail because Renee decide to press charges. She makes friends with a hooker and a woman who hit her cheating husband over the head with a computer, or something. Anyway, they, plus a conversation with Renee, plant the seeds of doubt about Nathan, though she is publicly standing by him. He gets real angsty about her having doubts though.

He takes that out on Clay, who he yells at about hooking up with Quinn, except they didn’t have sex, they just talked, which is not what Quinn told her boring husband and…OMG I’m starting to remember why I stopped watching the show, because they tried so hard to make Quinn and Clay a thing. And I just can’t bring myself to care.

Alex, however, is kind of my new favorite OTH character, besides Brooke, obviously. She’s great. She tries to seduce Julian and he rebuffs her adorably. Then Brooke yells at her and she accepts defeat adorably. Then she adorably tells Millie that Millie should totally be a model, again adorably.

Oh also, Chase is flying planes and Mia is visiting. Also, Dan is making some kind of plan with Renee, and reaching out to Nathan to try to help. Rachel tells him this isn’t a good plan. Of course it isn’t, because Rachel is smart, if misguided.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

This is not as bad as I thought it would be. I truly don’t remember how any of this turns out, because, as I noted before this is about where I bailed (picking up to watch the last season, which I also wound up bailing on. I will not bail this time. I may stumble. (It took a bit of a push to get these episodes in…) but I’m going to finish. I think. Also, I like Alex. She’s like, the new Rachel. AND Rachel’s around. This is kind of the best.