Nathan left for Europe to scout for athletes on behalf of his agency Fortitude in the last episode of One Tree Hill (902: “In the Room Where You Sleep”). He told Dan to be out of the house by the time he returned. So Dan is around for the time being. Haley is busy running Karen’s Cafe.
Her chef quit to go work at a new restaurant that has just opened across the street. Chris Keller is unable to fill in as a chef, try though he may. Dan, much to Haley’s surprise, shows up in the kitchen to help her out. Remember, he ran a diner which burned down so he knows how to cook. I really enjoyed how the writer Lenn K. Rosenfeld and director Paul Johansson (who plays Dan Scott) set up Dan’s intro to the scene.
He doesn’t have a scene where he says, “Haley, do you want me to come over to the cafe to help out?” Instead, we see Chris Keller enjoying his food and saying, “compliments to the chef!” Haley then wonders who is cooking since Chris is in the dining room. She walks over and peers through the window to find Dan standing over the grill. That was brilliant. It makes the scene more interesting by adding an element of surprise to it. As I mentioned before, this creates anticipation and interest for the audience, just like the opening montage of the season premiere. I really enjoyed this whole scene with Dan helping out in the diner followed by the confrontation with the patron who wants to know why Haley has a “murderer” working for her.
The crew who designed and decorated Karen’s Cafe have done a wonderful job as well. It’s such a warm atmosphere. It is a mom and pop establishment with tasteful interior design that fits right in with the town of Tree Hill. The floorplan is almost like a 1950s soda fountain with the counter right in the middle of the restaurant. They kept it fresh by not designing it to look exactly like Karen’s Cafe looked in seasons 1-4 of the show (though let me be quick to point out I loved that set as well). I wish there was a Karen’s Cafe to go to in my hometown of Bakersfield, CA. I would eat there several times a week!
Brooke and Haley reopened Karen’s Cafe at the end of season 8 and they both operate it together. However, Brooke has not been around the cafe as much lately since she is trying to launch a new clothing line for babies (“Baker Man”) with her father. She loves designing clothing but really wants nothing more than to spend time with her father and have a close relationship with him. Both parents were de facto absentee parents to her for most of her life. She spent her high school years (seasons 1-4) without her parents as they gave her little attention. They all lived under the same roof but seldom saw each other. The parental influence in her life came primarily from Lucas’ mother Karen (Moira Kelly), Karen’s Cafe’s namesake, and Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer). Brooke and her mother,Victoria, have reconciled and grown close in recent years.
Victoria has been warning Brooke that her father can’t be trusted. Brooke wants to reconnect with her father in the same way that she reconnected with her mother. Brooke expects to meet her father at the golf course for a day of golf together and to plan the clothing line. When she arrives, she finds out that he has already played a game of golf with business contacts and instead brings her to meet with them to discuss the business venture; or, to “close the deal” as he puts it. So she feels used and disappointed that they did not get to spend time together that day. Perhaps her father is planning to use her to make money off of her if the business successfully launches and then split and not be heard from again? This nefarious possibility may be Victoria’s concern.
Meanwhile, Clay is still suffering from blackouts and sleepwalking. Quinn has grown increasingly concerned and worried about Clay’s behavior. She follows him to find him purchasing drugs from a shady drug dealer character (who we will probably see causing more trouble later in the season). She confronts him about it and he denies it until she tells him she saw him buying the drugs and took photographs. Clay later tells her that he started taking the drugs to help with the pain after the shooting (recap: they were both shot at the end of season 7 by Sarah’s (Clay’s deceased wife) psycho look-alike). This is a plausible explanation but there seems to be more reasons for the drug use. We, the audience, are left with the impression that the reasons for his drug addiction are more complex. This remains to be seen and we will surely learn more about this in future episodes this season.
Julian is trying to rent out his recently-purchased sound stage (is this set actually an empty sound stage owned by Screen Gem Studios, where many of the interior sets of One Tree Hill are/were located?) in Tree Hill to filmmakers. He mentions the perks of shooting in Tree Hill: a historic downtown, a nearby beach, and a tax incentive; all of which, incidentally, are reasons why so many TV shows and movies have been filmed in the real Tree Hill of Wilmington, NC. He gets so stressed about not being able to find anyone to rent out his sound stage to that he becomes overwhelmed with joy when he finally gets a call from a potential client.
He agrees to meet the producer who will be flying in that afternoon and becomes so preoccupied with excitement over this potential deal that he accidentally leaves his baby, Davis, locked in his car. The weather is warm in Tree Hill in the setting of the story; probably late summer/early fall.
I would like to digress momentarily and point out that it certainly was warm in Wilmington, NC., for at least the first half of the season 9 shoot. The crew began shooting last July (shortly after getting the green light from the CW network for a 9th season) when Wilmington was experiencing a relentless heat wave. Temperatures soared and consistently hovered at the century mark for about a week at one point in the summer. Several cast members tweeted about how hot it was on set. So kudos to the cast and crew for the great work they did amidst such an intense heat wave. But was it as hot as it was when Spielberg and his crew were shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark in Tunisia? 🙂 Of course, Wilmington has very temperate and beautiful weather for much of the year but at this time the whole lower 48 United States were experiencing an unusual heat wave.
He returns in horror to find his car window shattered and EMTs putting his baby into the back of an ambulance. This scene combined with Haley thanking Dan for his help but telling him it is probably not a good idea for him to help out again (“This is Karen’s Cafe.”) and Mouth and Millie’s discussion about her outburst live on TV about Mouth’s (Lee Norris) weight make up the coda for this episode. I really like the song “Tamer Animals” by Other Lives that music supervisor Lindsay Wolfington and show creator/writer Mark Schwahn used for this scene. I don’t know which of them chose the song but she chooses most of the music and each song is given Mark’s stamp of approval. It was definitely an intense cliff hanger scene and the music gives it a great energy and tempo.