'One Tree Hill': I shall believe

sophia-bush-oth-320.jpg" One Tree Hill" says goodbye to Haley's mother and hello to a second chance for Brooke and Julian in one of the best episodes the show has produced in years. YEARS, I say!

The meat of the episode was, of course, Lydia finally succumbing to her pancreatic cancer. She started the episode fine but quickly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, only to find out that the end for her is coming much sooner than anyone anticipated. Haley, Quinn, Taylor, Nathan and Jamie all spent the rest of the hour reminiscing with her and saying goodbye in their own way, and it managed to be genuinely touching.

Perhaps I'm just a big old softy, but I got quite emotional several times throughout the hour, especially in any scene involving Bethany Joy Galeotti and Bess Armstrong. They really have marvelous acting chemistry together, and this story has really given Galeotti a chance to shine. More meaningful storylines for Haley, please!

The only quibble I have about the whole story is Taylor. Ah, Taylor. How I find thee useless. The conversation between Lydia and Taylor wasn't terrible, but I can't help but think of how much better it could have been with some actual character development for Taylor first. We just got reintroduced to her a few episodes ago, so it really isn't enough time to prop a character redemption for Taylor. Still, overall, Lydia's death was one of the best little mini-arcs the show has done in several seasons so I am very, very pleased.

The other main story of the episode is Brooke and her mistaken notion that Alex and Julian slept together last week. At first it was jarring to see this "jaunty" story interspersed with the very serious happenings going on in the James/Scott family, but once Brooke realized her mistake and had honest conversations with both Alex and Julian the stories worked together perfectly. The whole "Brooke just assumes things without asking and makes a fool of herself" thing (I mean, punching Alex? Really Brooke?) is completely overdone, but the heartfelt apology she gave to both Alex and Julian almost made that ridiculousness worth it. Notice I said almost. Still, if Brooke and Julian are truly back together and over the tired Alex jealousy, then all I can say is Hallelujah! Now, can Brooke not cry for at least, like, three episodes? Please?

Clay fulfilled the "obligatory crazy 'One Tree Hill' storyline" this week by meeting his potential client (and Sarah doppleganger) Katie. Also, it turns out Katie is a scheming, conniving, crazy psycho! I think we've had too many female psychos lately. It's time for a male. Maybe Millie can get a stalker!

Also in this episode: Mouth and Lauren decide to "go for it," but Skills comes home and interrupts them before then can seal the deal, Victoria embarks on a relationship with Alexander, and a distraught Alex sleeps with her male costar. On tape. Oops!

Random thoughts:
  • Okay. Mini-rant time. Katie (a.k.a. Sarah's evil brunette twin) gets an ENTIRE SCENE before we even really know who she is? What? How is this good writing? Wouldn't it be more interesting for she and Clay to have their first meeting before finding out she is eeeeeeeeevil?
  • The music was especially well placed tonight. I loved the callback to season one by playing "I Shall Believe" during Lydia's funeral. They even slipped in some Fleetwood Mac! I pretty much want all of it on my iPod immediately.
  • Completely shallow observation alert! James Lafferty looked very nice in this episode. New haircut, maybe?
  • Is poor Alex going to have a sex-tape scandal now? C'mon, show. I actually sort of like her. Can't she catch a break?
  • "Dawson's Creek" fans: Lydia's funeral was at the ruins! I kept expecting to see Dawson trying to secretly tape them or something.

Favorite quotes:
  • "In movies you never see how much punching hurts the puncher." - Brooke
  • "Why is this door closed and why are you lying on the floor?" - Victoria, to Brooke
  • "I'm trying to pick a place to hang myself." - Brooke, in response

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Photo credit: The CW
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