Chekhov's Gun fires blanks on 'One Tree Hill'
That, pre-literary One Tree Hill fans, is what we call Chekhov's Gun, as textbook and border-line infantile an example of that particular device as you're likely to see in your lifetime. So kudos OTH scribes. You just earned a gentleman's C in freshman comp!
[Spoilers to follow, duh.]
After Wednesday (May 30) night's original CW line-up, I'm inclined to offer up a new tagline for the network's 9 p.m. drama: One Tree Hill: At Least It's Better Than Hairy Palms.
Quality of OTH aside, the specific articulations of the rules of Chekhov's Gun vary based on translation or specific source, but the long and short of it is that Chekhov (he's a Russian playwright and short story writer, kids) observed that you don't introduce a gun in the first act unless somebody's going to use the darned thing by the end. We like using Uncle Vanya (one of my five favorite plays) as an example, as a casually noted pistol becomes a vehicle for potential homicide by the drama's conclusion.
Thus, when Barbara Alyn Woods' Deb, a character marginalized into nothingness this season, suddenly popped up in one of the episode's earliest scenes wildly waving a gun and talking of her
new-found love for firearms (had this ever been a character detail mentioned previously? [Retroactive note: a reader reminds me that yes, indeed, Deb's appreciation for guns had been established before, if unmentioned for a long time]), you knew that pesky gun was coming back later. That's why, as the episode concluded, we had Lucas, suddenly out-of-his-gourd insane, waving his gun at his dad in front of his pregnant mother and eventually discharging the weapon as the episode faded to black.
OMG! Will Dan die?
WTF? Will Karen lose Keith's baby?
LOL! Will Lucas be thrown in jail and have to share a cell with Peyton's Crazy Fake Brother Derek?
Is it just me or has the promise that One Tree Hill is jumping forward by four years for next season taken away some of this season's suspense? Guess what: Next season is not going to begin with Lucas Scott sitting in jail after having killed his father, nor is it going to start with him finally being released, Norman Bates-style, from the mental hospital. That, to me, pretty much means that not only did Lucas not kill Dan, but he probably didn't hit him. Would Lucas know a blank from live ammo? I'm doubtful. And I'd have to guess that Lucas' perpetual squint would mess up his ability to aim.
I've already made the proposal that if Veronica Mars can't come back next season already inducted into the FBI (a plot that was going to force Rob Thomas and company to ignore that the FBI basically doesn't accept people straight out of college, sorry Veronica), can all of the characters from One Tree Hill be federal agents next season? Pretty please? Peyton, Brooke, Lucas, Haley and Nathan can be like The Mod Squad, going undercover and busting the country's most feared criminals. Skills and Mouth are welcome to come along too. Anybody with me? That would be far more interesting than Peyton working in A&R for some fake indie label, Brooke designing clothing, Lucas toiling over a screenplay, Nathan sitting on the bench for the Los Angeles Ponders of the American Basketball Organization and Haley working for Sunkist (somebody's gotta take a bullet for the sponsor).
Other quick thoughts from this week's episode:
So what'd you think of this week's episode? And what do you think of my OTH: FBI idea?