Today on Prada & Pearls we’re ranking the best episodes of One Tree Hill (and the worst!). One Tree Hill was my favourite show growing up and with the new podcast Drama Queens out, hosted by Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis), Hilarie Burton (Peyton Sawyer) and Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James Scott) I get to rewatch it all over again!
One Tree Hill really has so many good episodes. From the romances, to the car crashes, to all the psycho moments (cue Derek, Nanny Kerry and Katie) a lot happened in the 9 seasons it was on television. If you’re wondering what seasons are the best check out my related article here:
Whether you’re rewatching like me or, you’re watching for the first time, these are the episodes to watch out for!
***Note Spoilers Ahead***
The Best Episodes Of One Tree Hill
This was such a hard list to put together since One Tree Hill has so many awesome episodes. I tried to include a lot of the pivotal moments of the series that are undeniably the glue that holds this show together and makes for really memorable moments.
With that said, I also threw in some fun episodes that really stand out over the years. These are the episodes that make you laugh and add some comic humour to the show. It’s important to have some balance, since One Tree Hill can get a little tense and dramatic.
10) Season 1 Episode 17: Spirit in the Night (Away Game)
To start this list we have Spirit In The Night. In this episode everyone heads to an away game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The cheerleaders try to win a cheer competition and when one falls sick, Haley must step in. Nathan and Lucas must work together and Mouth has some shining moments. All around it’s a fun episode to watch.
The girls really get along in this episode, which is a nice break from all the drama. It’s a feel good episode which is needed at this point in the season.
9) Season 5 Episode 1: 4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days
This is one of the pivotal moments of the entire series. At the start of season 5 we are introduce to the 4 year time jump.
We learn what’s happened to the characters within the 4 years at “college”, which is surprisingly to say the least. It’s an interesting episode and sets the series up for the later seasons.
8) Season 2 Episode 5: I Will Dare
I Will Dare is a great episode that brings some fun into season 2. Two new characters, Felix and Anna, are introduced and the gang must perform some hilarious (and humiliating) dares. It’s one of the more fun episodes to watch and adds some excitement to season 2 which starts a little slow.
7) Season 3 Episode 6: Locked Hearts and Hand Grenades (Fantasy Boy Draft)
Another memorable fun episode of One Tree Hill is Locked Hearts and Hand Grenades. Brooke comes up with a fantasy boy draft to stop the cheerleaders from fighting over the same boys.
Not all goes as planned however and some girls don’t get who they wanted. Meanwhile, Dan and Karen battle it out in the mayoral race. All in all it’s a fun episode to watch.
6) Season 1 Episode 18: To Wish Impossible Things (Boy Toy Auction)
If you’ve watched season 1 of One Tree Hill you probably remember the boy toy auction. Of all the funnier episodes of One Tree Hill this one takes the cake (remember Deb and Tim).
There are some serious unlikely pairings in this episode which leads to some hilarious moments. We also see development in Brooke and Mouth’s friendship which is really nice to see.
5) Season 6 Episode 23/24: “Forever and Almost Always” & “Remember Me as a Time of Day”
The two last episodes of season 6 are so iconic for Lucas and Peyton’s romantic arch. These are the episodes where they get married and give birth to their daughter. Do I need to say anything more!?
These are also the last episodes these two characters really appear in (minus a brief stint in season 9), therefore making them really bittersweet.
4) Season 3 Episode 13: The Wind That Blew My Heart Away
This episode just has all the makings of good tv. A massive storm rolls into One Tree Hill which forces people together. Brooke and Lucas mend their relationship, Haley and Nathan make up and Keith and Karen get together. There’s a lot of reconciliations, which everyone wants to see at this point.
3) Season 4 Episode 16: You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love
Two words psycho Derek. What a wild ride we had with that character. It all culminates in this crazy episode.
Brooke and Peyton are held hostage by Derek in Peyton’s basement where they must set their differences aside and team up to take him down. This is one of the craziest episodes of One Tree Hill which makes it incredibly memorable.
2) Season 3 Episode 16: With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
One of the most iconic episodes of the series is the school shooting. It’s both emotional and heartbreaking for many reasons. One Tree Hill was one of the first tv series to really tackle this difficult subject, which at the time was (2006) wasn’t widely discussed.
It also worth noting that the episodes that follow are extremely well done as we watch the aftermath of episode 16.
1) Season 4 Episode 9: Some You Give Away
This episode has everything in it that One Tree Hill really represents. It’s the state championship, which is also Whitey’s last game. Peyton and Lucas finally get together (emphasis on finally) and Haley learns the sex of her baby. It’s such a great episode to watch and really has everything you want it to have.
The Worst Episodes of One Tree Hill
I think we can all agree that seasons 7 and 8 of One Tree Hill are by far the worst. After Lucas and Peyton leave, the series struggles to find it’s footing. They had to introduce new characters, which is hard to do when fans are so invested in the original cast.
Below you’ll find the worst episodes of One Tree Hill. They range from bizarre plot lines to just downright boring episodes. If you can tough out season 7 and 8 One Tree Hill, it surprisingly gets a lot better in Season 9.
5) Season 8 Episode 4: We All Fall Down
This is a great example of why Season 8 isn’t good. There’s a lot of focus on new characters which aren’t fun to watch, while our main characters are dealing with problems. Overall it’s just not a fun episode. The story lines just aren’t really strong anymore at this point.
4) Season 7 Episode 1: 4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)
This is the first episode without two main characters of the show (Lucas & Peyton) and it unfortunately shows. Quinn is introduced and the series tries to bring interest but it’s just really lacking. Season 6 didn’t really end on any sort of cliffhanger which means season 7 really had to start from scratch.
3) Season 8 Episode 2: I Can’t See You, But I Know You’re There
Nothing good happens in this episode it’s just a lot of bad things to characters we are not invested in. The writers tried to bring in some drama but it’s almost worse when you don’t really care about the outcome. The Quinn and Clay story line was always a hard sell and their struggles are front and centre in this episode.
2) Season 8 Episode 14: Holding Out for a Hero
Bad, Bad, Bad. Brooke, Haley and Quinn dress up as super hero for this episode and use their talents for good. I won’t even mention what the other characters do because it doesn’t even matter. We really didn’t need this episode. I think the writers ran out of ideas.
1) Season 6 Episode 11: We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)
Where to start. Unfortunately Chad Micheal Murray helped write this episode which makes it even more tragic.
Lucas falls asleep and dreams that everyone is in the 1940s. The premise sounds really fun but the execution was lack lustre. It just didn’t gel very well and we could have done without it.