One Tree Hill has captured the hearts of fans for about 20 years now, and it’s still a popular series to go back to today. Whether it is because of Nathan and Haley’s iconic romances or the relatable and extremely emotional storylines, the cast and crew never failed to impress audiences, keeping them on the edge of their seats, weeks in and weeks out.
With 9 seasons in total, the series has tackled many topics and explored many arcs for each character. However, if a person was to ask which storylines they believe were the best in every season, there was always just one that stood out above the rest.
Season 1: Haley Tutors Nathan
In the very beginning, it was clear estranged brothers, Nathan and Lucas did not seem eye to eye. They were always going to be rivals. However, Nathan tutoring Lucas’s best friend, Haley set it over the edge.
This was quite a unique storyline as it set the groundwork for many iconic relationships to come. Not only did the enemies to lovers dynamic between Haley and Nathan have viewers deeply intrigued, with them rooting for them to overcome many obstacles, but this blooming romance also encouraged Lucas and Nathan to try and repair their bond. It was certainly one of the most important storylines in season 1.
Season 2: Haley Goes On Tour
Fans of One Tree Hill know how music played an important role in the series, whether that be through Peyton’s love for vinyl records or a trendy new song being played in the background. However, in season 2, it ultimately played a major role in Haley’s character arc as well as her relationship with Nathan.
This storyline allowed Haley to become more than just a best friend or wife. The writers fleshed her personality out some more and made her a lot more human and relatable by letting her pursue her dreams. She also became very self-aware, sharing a lot of wise and memorable quotes that One Tree Hill fans never forgot (even to this day). Things did get tricky when Chris Keller came into the picture. But ultimately, worked out for the best.
Season 3: Peyton Meets Her Birth Mother
In season 3, Peyton ended up having one of the most emotional and complex arcs after she meets her biological mother. Although she is initially hesitant to get to know her, the pair eventually do bond over their love of music, with Ellie also giving Peyton some insight into her family background. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last long as Ellie sadly passed away after she revealed that she was dying
It was certainly one of the most heartbreaking elements in season 3 – particularly since everyone knew that Peyton had been struggling with a lot of personal issues that she didn’t want to share with her friends. It seemed like Ellie understood her on a level that no one else could, so it was really upsetting to see this relationship eventually end. Fans would have loved to have seen more of their partnership on-screen develop
Season 4: Lucas Discovering The Truth About Keith’s Murder
One of the biggest influences in Lucas’s life is his relationship with his uncle Keith. When Keith is murdered in season 3, Lucas goes on a mission in season 4 to learn the truth about who killed him.
There are many dark and twisted truths to learning about the day Keith was murdered. It was the most interesting storyline for Lucas because it showed how invested he was in getting justice for the ones he loved. Learning about the truth, kept the fans on the edge of their seats even though the viewers knew the truth. But the clues made it the more fascinating.
Season 5: Brooke Wants To Start A Family
Brooke has gone through one of the most memorable character developments in the series. She comes to the conclusion early on that she didn’t want to be defined by boys and partying, which set up her journey of self-discovery in season 5.
This was the season the characters had a time jump. After the success of her company, Brooke realized she already had everything she needed, but she felt like one thing was missing. She wanted a family like Haley and Nathan’s, and was thinking about fostering a child. It was certainly one of her best and most relatable storylines as the fans loved seeing how she bonded with Angie, how they helped each other, and how it eventually made her address the issues she had with her mother.
Season 6: Nathan’s Career
After season 5 saw Nathan go through rehabilitation and physio after he experienced a career-ending injury, season 6 saw him decide that he was now ready to achieve his dream of becoming an NBA star again.
Through many phases, Nathan dabbled in slam ball and was then later asked to be a coach. These plot lines were realistic struggles Nathan had to deal with. It would have seemed too easy for him to join the NBA right away, and it gave Nathan the chance to be humbled by his choices and his chances of playing basketball, professionally. However, the chain of events that leads the audience to learn that he became a part of the NBA is so memorable and special to fans.
Season 7: Clay Dealing With His Grief
Clay is introduced in season 7 as Nathan’s friend and agent, but there isn’t much to his background until it’s revealed that he had a different life before knowing Nathan.
A couple of episodes into season 7, it was revealed that Clay had been married to a woman named Sara, who sadly passed away. Although Sara wasn’t in it for long, the relationship was one that pulled at the viewers’ heartstrings as it gave them insight into Clay’s mind and provided them with answers to the many questions they had. It was also one of the most resonating storylines as many felt like it was extremely relatable and brought them a lot of comfort.
Season 8: Julian & Brooke’s Wedding
Brooke goes through many highs and lows during the series, and it is finally satisfying to know she gets her happy ending in the end when she gets married to Julian in one of the best weddings shown on the show.
The storyline stands out because it’s wholesome and light-hearted compared to many heavier topics that the show tackles. There are also plenty of hilarious hijinks and wild schemes that lead up to the event too, including Brooke’s bachelorette party and Jamie’s attempts to come up with a “Best Man” speech
Season 9: Dan’s Redemption
Dan was the center antagonist throughout the entirety of the show. He goes through many moments in the show in which his morality is tested, especially in season 3 and 4. He has a few redemption arcs throughout, but this final arc is his best when he saves Nathan.
This arc seemed to matter the most because it was the final moments of the final season and his loyalty to his family stands out as being heroic. It’s enough to allow him to have an intimate moment with his family as they say their goodbyes. He even gets to be reunited and forgiven by his brother. Many fans may not agree with the amount of times he’s been forgiven, but it’s the one that means the most.
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