'One Tree Hill' Wedding: Brooke marries Julian and says goodbye to the red door

brooke-wedding-dress.jpgWhen the "One Tree Hill" gang was still in high school, Brooke ( Sophia Bush) described herself as "the girl behind the red door." She was referring to the front door of the giant house she grew up in -- raising herself, more or less. "The girl behind the red door" was a lot of things over the high school years - she was the head cheerleader, the class president, and, in less pleasant times, the school slut and the girl whose heart was broken repeatedly by the people she trusted most.

Over 8 years of "One Tree Hill" we've watched the other original series regulars pair off and settle down while Brooke was married to her work, but on Tuesday night's episode, Brooke finally said goodbye to the girl behind the red door and married the guy for her - Julian ( Austin Nichols).

Cue waterworks. Okay, okay, we know it's lame to cry over TV and even more pathetic to cry over a CW show that even the most die-hard fans would agree is past its prime. But when we saw Brooke in her dress, we couldn't help but tear up a little.

Or a lot. Whatever, we've watched this show for 8 years, okay? It was nice to see our girl finally get the guy.

The episode opened with a young Brooke sitting outside her red door, listening to her parents fight inside as a bride and groom drive by. The bride tosses Brooke her veil.

Back in 2011 (or 2015? When is it in Tree Hill, exactly?) Julian tells Jamie ( Jackson Brundage) about his first crush. It's a long story, but it boils down to: he gave her his heart and she gave him half of a bumper car token, which he's held onto because he's a total romantic sap and because he's sure he's going to find his other half.

Had "One Tree Hill" not received a full order of 22 episodes, this episode would've served as its season (and possible series) finale, so it's got an appropriate number of callbacks tucked into it, starting with a brief visit to the River Court. Throw in a reference to Sam, Brooke's long gone foster daughter who hasn't been mentioned in way too long, and a sweet reminder of the moment when Julian first fell in love with Brooke. (He caught her dancing "Breakfast Club" style to Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me).")

All that before the theme song and everything. Tonight's was sung by Augustana and was appropriately anthemic.

Weddings in Tree Hill tend to be catastrophic. Brides run away or turn out to be lying crazies, limos go flying off of bridges, crazy nannies steal children... it's never pretty. Brooke's, however, went off without a hitch... unless you count Skills having a little outburst, but he's still traumatized by the crazy nanny thing, so we forgive him.

We have to say, we thought we'd really miss Lucas and Peyton, but we didn't. Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton opted not to return to "One Tree Hill" for the wedding episode, so the characters' absence was explained by their baby daughter's illness. Jamie's best man speech featured a little nod to Lucas' penchant for quoting the great writers -- Jamie chose J.K. Rowling -- and a photo on Brooke's dresser reminded us that Peyton was still her bestie. Other than that, though, it was kind of nice for Brooke to get married without the people who, regardless of good intentions, bred her insecurities in high school.

Also absent from her wedding? Her always M.I.A. dad, who blew it off at the last moment. Oh well... we've gone 8 years without a face for the guy. Who needs one now? Plus, Brooke's mom got to redeem herself for her many, many indiscretions by walking her daughter down the aisle.

As she walked, we were treated to a montage of all the best Brooke and Julian moments. Because they were adults when they met, well away from the mercurial emotions of high school, their epic moments and grand gestures may not seem as epic or grand as the ones that happened between Brooke and Lucas in high school, but it's clear in the montage that Julian had one thing that Lucas didn't -- certainty. He was always sure of his feelings for Brooke and always consistent in them, despite her occasional doubts.

So we cried through the montage, and then we cried through the speeches - especially Haley's (Bethany Joy Galleotti), since she recalled one of our favorite episodes in Season 1, "Every Night Is Another Story" in which Brooke, high on painkillers, first met Haley on a hijinks-heavy roadtrip with Peyton.

After their limo is... occupied... Brooke and Julian opt to drive away from the reception in Skills' truck. It gives us a nice little full-circle moment as they drive past Brooke's old house and she says goodbye to the lonely girl who once lived behind the red door.

What'd you think of Brooke's wedding, Zappers? Do you think she ended up with the right guy? Did you miss Peyton and Lucas? What'd you think of the dress, designed especially for Brooke by BCBG Max Azria and Sophia Bush herself?

We'll end this little recap with some words of wisdom from Bush, who logged onto Twitter after the episode: "Girls, this episode, & Brooke's journey, makes me think of an important life lesson. Never settle. Never accept less than what you deserve, hold out for a partner in life who treats you like gold, believes in you on good days & on bad days, & who is your best friend. Hold out for the guy who'll love you like no one ever has before. You're worth it. And the same goes for all my girls who like girls & all my boys who like boys. Hold out for the partner who deserves you b/c you're amazing!"
Photo/Video credit: CW