Seeing as we jumped four years in the future this season, flashbacks are a great way to show the audience what happened during those missing years. One question, though: do they have to be so darn boring? Going back three years to explain what exactly went wrong in Lucas and Peyton’s storybook romance is a good idea on paper, but the execution was dull dull dull.
(Transylvania sized spoilers below!)
The episode focused almost exclusively on Lucas’s journey during his first year in college juggling assistant coaching duties, trying to get his novel published, being a part of Nathan, Haley and Jamie’s family, and having a long distance relationship with Peyton. It started out fabulous, showing how Lucas really came into his own as a basketball coach, even winning himself and Nathan a Division II championship. When this show started it revolved almost entirely around basketball and it was nice to see it taking center stage again, if only for a few minutes. It also came with a welcome cameo from Whitey, who stuck around long enough to pass head coaching duties to Lucas and give some sage advice about success in life being nothing without having someone special standing by your side when you attain it. If you forget this life lesson don’t worry, as every character will utter it at some point during the hour until you want to bang your head against the wall and scream, "I get it already!" Also, a student head coach? Even at a Division II school that seems a might unrealistic.
After realizing his dreams are nothing without Peyton, Lucas impulsively flew to Los Angeles and surprised Peyton at work. His grand dreams of proposing, sweeping her off her feet, out of Los Angeles and off to college with him are dashed, however, when Peyton makes it clear that she is committed to making a go of it in the music business out in L.A. Lucas basically tells her it has to be now or never, and she rightfully tells him if he loves her, he can wait for her. Ridiculous Lucas apparently can’t do that, and leaves in the morning before Peyton wakes up, even going so far as to leave the love mix CD she made him lying on the pillow next to her as a goodbye note. Burn! Also: cold, Lucas.
On his way out of town Lucas gets a surprise call from a publishing house (Lindsey’s publishing house, to be exact) telling him he needs to get to New York right away because they want to publish his novel. Once he arrives we listen to much drivel about how profound Lucas’s novel is, but by the snippet we heard in the season premiere I’m thinking that’s a whole lot of smoke being blown where the sun don’t shine. The best part of his New York trip by far is when Brooke shows up and they have a natural, interesting and friendly night on the town where people mistakenly believe they just got engaged and give them lots of free stuff. Note to self: I need to get an engagement ring and try that trick next time my bank account is a bit anemic. Remember when I said everyone kept talking about success being nothing if you don’t have someone you love to share it with? Well, even the freaking handsome cab driver gives this advice to Lucas. We get it, dude. If you don’t have someone to love you will be miserable and bitter and die a horrible, lonely death. Also, I hope for Brooke and Lucas’s sake that horse didn’t eat any beefaroni recently.
In the end, this entire episode was a vehicle to show the audience that Lucas still isn’t over Peyton. We already know Peyton isn’t over Lucas, so you can see where this is heading. Poor Lindsey. She’s a completely underdeveloped character, but she doesn’t deserve this. Also, does anyone else think Lucas and Peyton are far more interesting when they are dealing with anything but their love lives? I enjoy Lucas the basketball coach, Lucas the brother, Lucas the friend and Lucas the godfather. Lucas the boyfriend is far less palatable, and the same goes for Peyton. Her adventures with her record label are far more compelling than her pining over the fair-haired Scott.
Also in this episode: Nathan and Haley! The flashbacks showed a wonderful side of their relationship with a one-year-old Jamie, where they were all happy as clams. In the present, Nathan tells Haley he realizes their relationship isn’t as solid as it used to be but vows to fix it. Uh oh. If there’s one thing you can be sure of on this show, is that when someone makes a declaration of doing one thing, the exact opposite will immediately happen. Be suspicious of that nanny, is all I’m saying…
What did you guys think? Was this a good use of flashbacks? How long until Lindsey realizes that Lucas isn’t over Peyton? And does anyone else miss the credits as much as I do?