‘One Tree Hill’ Is Leaving Netflix In October & You’ll Want To Catch These Episodes While You Can
If the upsetting news that One Tree Hill is leaving Netflix in October has left you in a frenzy, then you're likely already trying to watch as many episodes of the show as possible while you still can. But honestly, considering that you only have until Oct. 1 in which to cram as much One Tree Hill goodness into all of your free time, you might want to prioritize your viewing list a little. Sure, we'd all love to enjoy just one last marathon watch of the classic teen show, but what you really need right now is to know what the best One Tree Hill episodes are so that you can really focus your viewing schedule and still get your fill.
Obviously, deciding which episodes of the show are the most essential is no easy feat with a quality series like this one. Particularly when there are episodes with standout moments (such as the dog that eats Dan's emergency transplant heart in episode 18 of Season 6) that aren't necessarily overall standouts themselves. Or when the show manages to have a collection of episodes one after another that join one intense plot line together. But fans would be here all day if they were to watch everything that could be included on this list. And honestly, there are a lot of episodes that should be here, but aren't because who has the time, guys? Nobody, that's who.
Instead, these are most essential episodes that you absolutely need to watch before October. (Spoilers ahead, if you haven't already seen the series.) Schedule these episodes into your calendar, and let's all try and get through this difficult time together, alright?
1. Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"
A true fan of any show should always revisit that first episode to see where all the magic began. Even if that means a great character like Brooke is somehow absent from proceedings. One Tree Hill's pilot is exactly the perfect blend of intense melodrama, hype basketball scenes, and flustering flirtations that made fans fall madly in love with the show.
2. Season 1, Episode 22: "The Games That Play Us"
Epitomizing everything that made One Tree Hill so great, the Season 1 finale is full of gasp-worthy, super dramatic moments. There's a wedding, a heart attack, a terrifying stalker, and a sweat-inducing basketball game, and that's all before the jaw-dropping cliffhanger which sees Lucas and Keith leaving town. It's a lot, you guys.
3. Season 2, Episode 22: "The Tide That Left And Never Came Back"
It featured an entire plot line leading up to a guest performance by Jimmy Eat World — it was early '00s angst-ridden perfection. But as if that wasn't enough, this first part of the Season 2 finale was just absolutely thick with emotional speeches, emotional montages, and emotional epiphanies. The likes of which make for some A-grade teen TV viewing.
4. Season 2, Episode 23: "The Leavers Dance"
Probably one of the core episodes that Brucas shippers will already have ear-marked as essential viewing, "The Leavers Dance" is also notable for the mystery of its cliffhanger ending as the dealership goes on fire with Dan still inside. No matter how many times you've seen the episode, it's still an emotional roller coaster.
5. Season 3, Episode 16: "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, And Tired Hearts"
Does this darkness have a name? One Tree Hill's school shooting episode is still immensely powerful. It's raw, it's upsetting, and the last five minutes are basically impossible to watch without crying as Jimmy comes to terms with his actions and turns the gun on himself. Not to mention, the final twist as Dan savagely shoots Uncle Keith, right after he's tried to save the kid's life.
6. Season 3, Episode 22: "Show Must Go On"
It's another classic One Tree Hill finale, folks. There's Peyton and Brooke's big fight, Dan finding out that Deb is the badass that tried to fry him, and Haley and Nathan having the happiest day of their lives ruined when Rachel steals their wedding limo with Uncle Cooper in it and swerves off a bridge. This show had the best finale cliffhangers ever.
7. Season 4, Episode 12: "Resolve"
While there were a cluster of great episodes in the middle of Season 4, this one is the perfect blend of light and dark. There's a Full Monty-esque plotline involving Nathan, Skills, and Mouth trying to raise money by stripping. But it's also the episode where Deb's addiction takes one hell of a dark turn.
8. Season 4, Episode 21: "All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone"
Not only is it graduation day, but Haley finally gives birth, Dan winds up finally going to prison for killing Keith, and there's an impromptu dance tribute to the Spice Girls. It's a full-on victory lap of an episode.
9. Season 5, Episode 1: "4 Years 6 Months 2 Days"
Bringing us back into the show with a well executed time jump (and a whole lot of back story), the Season 5 premiere shows how the lives of the Tree Hill gang have changed since we last them, and where things have gone horribly wrong. Everyone is kind of being a successful grown-up (but also kind of not), and it's perfection.
10. Season 5, Episode 12: "Hundred"
Lucas' disastrous wedding day to Lindsay brings the old gang together in the best, and worst, way possible and it's absolutely glorious. Here's to having to explain the hidden meaning of your groom's book to him at the alter, and right in front of his ex-girlfriend who he's blatantly still in love with.
11. Season 6, Episode 23: "Forever And Almost Always"
Not only is it Lucas and Peyton's wedding day, but Nick freakin' Lachey also happens to be in attendance as Brooke's date. And then there's also Peyton's dramatic collapse at the end of the episode to shake things up for us, too. It basically ticks off the entire check list of teen TV drama essentials.
12. Season 6, Episode 24: "Remember Me As A Time Of Day"
It's rare that One Tree Hill would do a finale without slamming a few dozen shocking twists and cliffhangers into it for good measure. So this one, in which there isn't a single cliffhanger and everything kind of ends pretty happily, is shocking in it's own delightful way. Lucas and Peyton even ride off into the sunset together for the ultimate swoon-worthy ending.
13. Season 7, Episode 22: "Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You"
The whole gang take a revelation provoking road trip to Utah to watch Julian's new film, he proposes to our girl Brooke, and it's just fuzzy feelings central.
14. Season 8, Episode 11: "Darkness On The Edge Of Town"
This episode is non-stop high tension as a supreme storm sweeps in and basically tries to take out the entire gang. Lauren has a car accident, Brooke's nearly killed, and Katie tries to murder Quinn. It all goes off big time.
15. Season 8, Episode 12: "The Drinks We Drank Last Night"
With the previous episode being so intense, it's always a pleasure to follow it up with this fun little number. Brooke's bachelorette party gets way out of hand and everyone tries to piece together their memory of the night in their messy, hungover haze. It's so good and painfully relatable.
16. Season 9, Episode 11: "Danny Boy"
Many of the final episodes of Season 9 really hyped up the heartbreak for viewers. But it was "Danny Boy" that really tugged at our heart strings the most as Dan and Nathan have a difficult heart to heart right before Dan's death.
17: Season 9, Episode 18: "One Tree Hill"
Saying goodbye is always so difficult, and hot damn, did One Tree Hill have fans beaming, chuckling, and bawling all at once with this final episode.
Is it too late to arrange for One Tree Hill to be a permanent fixture on Netflix? Just for a little while longer? Because this all feels too soon. Fans already had to say goodbye to the show back in 2012, and that was rough. But to say goodbye to it on Netflix is a whole new kind of heartbreak.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly summarized what happened with the limo in Season 3, Episode 22.