'One Tree Hill' finale: Everything's better and everything's safe
Tuesday's Season 8 finale of "One Tree Hill" was not the series finale -- just hours before airtime, The CW officially picked up a 13-episode Season 9. That said, it could have easily served as a satisfying end to the series. Though Mark Schwahn shot several cliffhangers to end the season on in case Season 9 got the green light, he ultimately decided to end with some closure.
The season ender spanned a year - so much time that Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) went from having just learned of her pregnancy to giving birth to twin boys, Davis and Jude. With Davis, Brooke and Julian (Austin Nichols) stuck with the Tree Hill trend of naming their kids after their mothers' maiden names, while Jude's name came from "Hey Jude," which John Lennon wrote for his son, Julian.
She was also enjoying the successful reopening of Karen's Cafe, which she and Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) opened in a sweet homage to Haley's childhood sanctuary. The Cafe provided a stage for Haley to perform a cover of Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Walk On the Ocean"... and for Nathan (James Lafferty) to give a hilarious performance of his own. (Let's just say that the DILF factor on this episode was truly outstanding.)
Elsewhere, Mouth (Lee Norris) and Millie (Lisa Goldstein) scored their own Tree Hill morning show, and Chase (Stephen Colletti) returned from a year in the Air Force to reunite with Alex (Jana Kramer). We were treated to music from Kramer, set in the background, and in a sweet moment, we even saw Mia (Kate Voegele) perform one of her new songs before a final moment with Chase. After Clay (Robert Buckley) returned from a successful scouting trip with Nathan, he and Quinn (Shantal VanSanten) resumed their saccharine love story.
In a poignant moment, Jamie Scott (Jackson Brundage) donned an old Keith Scott Body Shop hoodie and dribbled his basketball across the bridge on his way to the River Court, in a recreation of the classic shot of his uncle Lucas from the series' pilot episode.
The episode was heavy on the music montages that have become a staple of "One Tree Hill" over the years, and after last year's life-and-death cliffhanger, we're a little bit relieved to see a season finale that doesn't leave us worrying about our favorite characters all summer long.
Because we loved the music so much, we've listed all the songs below. You know, in case you need a soundtrack to cry to.
Sarah Jaffe - Clementine
Gavin DeGraw - I Don't Want To Be (Yeah, you know this one. Still, it was nice to hear the original.)
Rosie and Me - Darkest Horse
Jana Kramer - Why You Wanna
Mah Nà Mah Nà
Bethany Joy Galeotti/Toad the Wet Sprocket - Walk On the Ocean
Kate Voegele - Heart In Chains
Sea of Bees - Wizbot
Jarrod Gorbel - A Moment of Peace
Matt Nathanson - Kiss Quick
Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane
Future of Forestry - Slow Your Breath Down
Weigh in, "One Tree Hill" fans. Do you wish there had been cliffhangers in tonight's finale? Do you feel that Season 9 is unnecessary now that we've seen this episode, which could have served well as a series finale? What do you hope to see in Season 9? Drop us a line in the comments below and let us know your thoughts.