‘One Tree Hill’ Finale: How We Would Have Said Goodbye To Leyton

By Kathleen Newman-Bremang

If you haven’t watched the season finale of “One Tree Hill” yet, stop reading this now. Seriously. The following post is packed with spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Umm … that’s it? That was the big Peyton/Lucas send-off? No deaths, no heartbreak and (gasp) no car crashes. What!?

Since news broke that Hilarie Burton and Chad Michael Murray — otherwise known as Peyton Sawyer and Lucas Scott — would be leaving “One Tree Hill” next season, I’d been mentally preparing for a heart-wrenching and emotionally draining season-six finale. You know, complete with the cliff-hangers, fights and shocking drama “OTH” finales are known for. Well, last night, that’s not what fans got. Sure, I was blubbering like baby Sawyer by the first commercial break, but after 15 minutes, we found out that Peyton wasn’t going to die (thankfully, since the show’s body count was getting kind of ridiculous) and Nathan would get the chance to play in the NBA (finally!).

After those two heartwarming revelations, the episode went on to depict a world in which all the characters in our favorite fictional town live perfect lives — except for resident villain Dan. It all just seemed too perfect. Yes, the episode managed to tie up some loose ends — Brooke and Julian are back together, score! — but it left me with a few burning questions. Where was Skills? Why did “Laguna Beach” alum Stephen Colletti get so much (or any) screen time? And finally, did I miss something?

In the final minutes, without explanation or any clear motivation, Lucas turns to his wife and says, “Take a ride with me, Peyton Sawyer,” and they drive off into the distance … never to return. Ever. Seriously? I know die-hard “Tree Hill” fans will be with me on this one. THAT’S IT? Come on, “OTH” writers, If Leyton were going to ride into the sunset, they should’ve at least been dragging Dan’s dead body behind them. Too morbid? Well I’ve got five other possible endings I think would satisfy fans more than the subdued send-off we had to settle for.

So without further adieu, I give you my list of five alternate “OTH” season endings:

1. Lucas and Peyton both die. Hey, hear me out on this one. Peyton dies of complications from childbirth as expected, and Lucas subsequently dies of a broken heart. (He does have a heart condition, remember?) They’d still get their happy ending — in heaven! It would totally be like the end of “The Notebook.” Oh, and Brooke and Julian would adopt baby Sawyer. Too perfect!

2. Peyton tells Lucas the baby she just had isn’t actually his — it’s Julian’s! The news makes Lucas so mad he skips town after partaking in a really hot fight scene with Julian. Peyton is so overcome with shame that she also flees Tree Hill. It’s not very happy, but I promise, it would’ve been a really good fight scene.

3. Lucas and Peyton ride into the sunset — but first, they actually explain to everyone where they are going. It’s so crazy it could work.

4. The season ends with last week’s episode: Lucas and Peyton’s wedding. The episode left us with Peyton collapsed on the floor. The cliff-hanger would’ve killed us for the whole summer!

5. Crazy nanny Carrie comes back (from the dead?) to steal Lucas and Peyton’s baby, which sends them on a cross-continental hunt for their missing daughter and said crazy nanny.

OK, OK. Maybe after all they’ve been through in six seasons, these two deserved their happy ending. Lucas and Peyton, you were this generation’s Joey and Pacey: the overly dramatic couple we couldn’t help but root for. We’ll miss you.

What do you guys think? Did the show give Lucas and Peyton a proper send-off? Will you watch a Leyton-less “OTH”? Sound off below!