“One Tree Hill” fans, prepare to feel old: Monday (Sept. 23) marked the 10 year anniversary of the Season 1 premiere.
The WB/CW teen soap that touched so many lives, changed the TV landscape, and became a pop culture event is now a decade old. Has it really been that long since Lucas and Nathan first battled out their long-simmering sibling resentment on the River Court? Since Peyton’s car broke down, and she and Lucas had their first real conversation? Since we were first introduced to Dan Scott’s evil ways? Since we met the all-around perfect mom in Karen Roe? Since we first saw the Tree Hill Ravens?
In the nine seasons since that fateful premiere, all the characters grew into completely different, wonderful, unique people, and we as an audience grew with them. To celebrate the monumental milestone, here are 10 classic “One Tree Hill” episodes to binge watch on the 10 year anniversary of its premiere:
10. Season 1 episode 1: “Pilot”
Obviously, we can’t properly celebrate the 10th birthday of the pilot without re-watching the episode that started it all.
9. Season 6 episode 18: “Searching for a Former Clarity”
This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the biggest “WTF” moments in “One Tree Hill’s” history. Karma came back to bite Dan in the butt (err, heart?) when a dog ate the heart he was supposed to get in a transplant. Hilarious, ridiculous, and totally perfect.
8. Season 3 episode 1: “Like You Like an Arsonist”
The Season 3 premiere makes this list for one major reason: Peyton’s memorable speech. “At this moment, there are 6 billion, 4 hundred, 71 million, 8 hundred, 18 thousand, 6 hundred, 71 people in the world. Some are running scared; some are coming home. Some tell lies to make it through the day; others are just now facing the truth. Some are evil men at war with good, and some are good…struggling with evil. Six billion people in the world. Six billion souls. And sometimes…all you need is one.”
7. Season 3 episode 22: “The Show Must Go On”
Haley and Nathan’s second wedding took place in front of all their friends, and while the whole episode should have been a happy occasion, this is “One Tree Hill” we’re talking about. You don’t get happy without the tragedy. Brooke and Lucas’ fight was a knock-down, drag-out performance by Sophia Bush, and was the official end to the Brooke/Lucas saga. “Newlyweds” Haley and Nathan didn’t make it to their honeymoon, instead crashing into the bridge and Nathan diving into the water to save the day.
6. Season 7 episode 22: “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You”
Finally, Brooke got her happy ending after years of not believing she was enough. As everyone made the trip out to Utah to attend Julian’s movie premiere, he proposed to Brooke, giving her everything she ever wanted. Oh yeah, and Clay and Quinn got shot and left for dead in one of the most shocking, out-of-nowhere moments of the series.
5. Season 4 episode 9: “Some You Give Away”
This was the episode fans had been waiting for ever since the series premiere: Lucas finally picked Peyton. Their kiss was monumental, taking place after Lucas makes the game-winning shot to win the state championship game for the Tree Hill Ravens. We waited for this moment for four seasons, and it was everything we wanted … and more, because the episode also found Haley getting hit by a car, Nathan killing the guy the responsible, Dan taking the blame, and Lucas having a heart attack. Whoah.
4. Season 9 episode 11: “Danny Boy”
After nine seasons of terrorizing Tree Hill and all its residents, Dan Scott couldn’t escape death. But instead of his death being a happy occasion after all the evil he had released on everyone around him, “One Tree Hill” threw us for a loop and made his final goodbyes an emotional hour that fans will never forget.
3. Season 3 episode 16: “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept”
“Glee,” please take note: this is how you do a school shooting episode (also, no show will ever beat “One Tree Hill’s” school shooting episode, so we should probably retire that story line forever right now). This whole episode was a huge risk that paid off: though the events were catastrophic and tragic, the hour changed everyone’s lives for better or worse. The biggest reason this episode will go down in history? It never made Jimmy out to be the bad guy. He was remembered for being a friend, not for the one horrible choice he made.
2. Season 4 episode 21: “All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone”
The Season 4 finale could have actually been the series finale had “One Tree Hill” not gotten a Season 5 renewal. And if that had happened, we wouldn’t be mad: this was a perfect way to end the series (though we are extremely happy we got another amazing 5 seasons!). It was an emotional hour as everyone graduated from Tree Hill High, both Haley and Karen gave birth, Chase lost his virginity to Brooke, and the girls gave one amazing Spice Girls dance performance as everyone partied for the last time as seniors. In the finale scene, all our favorite characters gathered on the River Court and promised to be best friends forever.
1. Season 9 episode 13: “One Tree Hill”
The best way to cap off your 10 year celebration? By watching the all-around amazing ending to the series. Everyone got the happy ending they deserved after nine years of ups, downs, psychos, murders, relationships, and friendships that will last for life. The hour ended with a flash-forward to everyone in the stands in the Tree Hill High gym to watch a teenaged Jamie play basketball. The perfect ending to the perfect series.