The opening scene is the boys at the River Court messing around. I can already tell you as someone who has gone to a shit ton of high school basketball games, Luke would have been forced to be at the school already watching the junior varsity game if he was actually on a high school team, but this isn’t reality. And it slightly pisses me off.
Haley has a hilarious diatribe about Karen not wanting to go to the game because of Dan and speak of the devil he is in the next scene giving Nathan pointers.
Whitey in an awkward moment yells for “Scott” and both Lucas and Nathan turn to look at him. And Nathan is pissed when it’s not him.
Tim refers to Lucas as the bastard spawn.
Mouth and Jimmy get kicked out for being “media”, it’s hilariously adorable at the basketball game while trying to get a quote from Lucas. I really love Mouth and Jimmy.
Nothing like a bunch of white guys chanting off key and clapping out of rhythm.
Dan is shocked to see Keith at the game and assumes he’s there to watch Nathan, but really he’s there to see Lucas.
We finally get a glimpse of Brooke who is intrigued by Lucas.
And then we get one of the iconic Leyton quotes with
“Nice Legs” bit between Lucas and Peyton, as Lucas plays the worst game of his life and looks like an idiot on the court.
Dan is excited to see his other son, the one he doesn’t love or actually acknowledge, get benched.
Peyton and Nathan make out in a super awkward scene in the car. Nathan starts making fun of Lucas sucking and Peyton gets mad. She tells him he should be focused on her instead of celebrating a public humiliation and that it was “played out”, and he implied that being with her was also “played out.”
She gets angry and she gets out. He leaves her at the River Court after throwing her c.d. out into the dark.
Keith and Karen argue about what he did to get Lucas on the team. Karen feels guilty for not going to the basketball game, but she just can’t go back to the gym after everything that had happened.
Peyton finds Lucas forlornly shooting the basketball and says that misery loves company. She gives him a really depressing pep talk. He offers her a ride home in the tow truck.
Nathan, meanwhile arrives home and his dad is angry at him for giving up a scoring opportunity when he passed the ball to an open teammate. Nathan is clearly upset and tells Dan there’s a reason why his mom extends business trips and doesn’t come home.
Peyton asks Lucas why he joined the team, since he doesn’t fit in. He tells her he wants to know if he’s good. Peyton says that basketball is a waste of time. He asks her why she does cheer leading then if she feels it’s a waste of time. She says if she says she likes it, she’s a liar, but if she says she’s doesn’t then she’s a fraud and it’s a lose lose situation either way.
She asks Lucas if he’d like to come in to her house. He asks about Nathan and she says, “What about him?”
She gets out of the car. Lucas stares in stunned silence for a few seconds and then gets of the truck. He follows her up the steps and as she’s unlocking the door she turns around and asks him what he’s doing.
He stumbles over his words about her inviting him, and she says,
“I didn’t invite you to come in. I just asked if you wanted to. Thanks for the ride.”
She then shuts the door and Lucas is left on the doorstep looking pissed and like an idiot. (And every time I see this scene, I can’t help but think that Michael Kelso is waiting in one of the bushes and will pop out and do this:
Lucas arrives home and Karen tells him she’s sorry that she missed his game. Lucas goes to his room to pout.
Nathan calls Peyton and apologizes for taking his frustration and anger with his dad out on her. He tells her he knows that he hasn’t been very good to her and she’s sorry. He asks her to just say okay so that they can go back to being them. She reluctantly says okay.
The next morning Lucas is at the River Court practicing, but continues to miss all his shots. It cuts to English class and the teacher is discussing Hemingway and the idea that “less is more.”
The teacher asks Peyton describe Lucas in one word and she says “choke”. Lucas describes her as “lonely.”
Nathan clearly pissed raises his hand describes Lucas in one word as “bastard.”
Lucas attacks Nathan and the rest of the class cheers them on.
Whitey is furious at them for fighting and is especially mad at Lucas for doing it when he took a chance on him. Lucas tells him he doesn’t think he can be on the team. Whitey is frustrated.
Meanwhile in the locker room, Tim was asking Nathan what he did after he tackled Lucas. He tells Tim that he would’ve kicked his ass if Mr. Kelly hadn’t broken them up.
Jake Jagielski laughs and says, “Or he would’ve beaten your ass first.”
Nathan asks him what he would know about it.
Jake says he’s pretty sure that Lucas tackled Nathan first and when it was broken up he was on the bottom being hit by Lucas.
Whitey breaks them up and tells them to get to practice.
Nathan stops and tells Lucas that “This is just the beginning for him.”
After practice, Haley asks Lucas why he wouldn’t tell her about getting into a fight. He tells her he’s fine, but he just wants everything to back to normal before all of this started.
Brooke and Peyton are in Peyton’s room listening to music and Brooke tells her she’s glad that Nathan and Peyton are fighting again, because Peyton always buys new music when it happens. Brooke tells Peyton that she knows she’s all “Plaid skirt, Gwen Stefani, I’m a badass, but we love you and you know why? Because when it’s Friday night and it’s game time and there you are. One of us.” Peyton doesn’t seem to excited to hear that and tells Brooke that “Gwen Stefani is not a badass.”
Peyton asks Brooke if she’s past it, high school, the cheer leading, the basketball, the popularity drama. Brooke says that yeah, but the future scares her, but she’ll go to college and join a sorority and marry a rich guy, “unless I get fat.” (I want to like high school Brooke. I really, really do. But when she’s written like this, it just makes me want to slap her.)
Lucas is at Keith’s body shop. Keith is telling Lucas that even Michael Jordan had off games. His first game as a rookie wasn’t very good. Lucas tells him that Michael Jordan scored 16 points and Keith laughs and says he didn’t think Lucas knew that. Lucas tells him that it’s not just basketball, but it’s everything, the pressure, the popularity. He tells him he’ll never fit into their world. Keith tells him to talk to his mom about it. Keith takes the cover off Peyton’s car and it’s really messy inside. Keith says it’s a rule of life, “The prettier the girl, the messier the car.” (Some shows have continuity! This is reference to the first episode when Peyton’s car overheated by the lake and Lucas had to tow it). He finds her sketchbook in the backseat and looks through her artwork. And of course Peyton would walk up at that exact minute and start yelling at him for invading her privacy and then makes a really mean comment about how she doesn’t read his diary about how much his dad doesn’t love him and to stay out of her stuff. (I don’t like this early version of Peyton either. She’s such a bitch to Lucas and other than looking at her sketches, he had never done anything to her).
As he watches her walk away I’m always trying to imagine what he’s thinking, because his face goes from
“Holy shit that girl is crazy” to smirking and being like, “but that’s cool, because I like crazy.”
Meanwhile, Nathan is at home lifting weights and Dan comes home and yells at Nathan for getting into a fight with “that kid”.
Dan tells him to not get into fights over stupid things like girls. He asks if Nathan got hurt and he says “No. Did you?”
Dan looks stunned at that and Nathan tells him that Lucas wasn’t swinging at him, but at Dan.
Karen yells at Lucas about getting into a fight with Nathan and the he never fought before that. She tells him she doesn’t care what happened or what Nathan did, nothing was worth fighting and Lucas asks her how she could possibly know considering she never even to the game.
He felt bad and the next morning he apologized for being a jackass and she explains why she couldn’t go to the gym. She tells him she never regrets anything about Lucas, but it still hurts to know that Dan chose basketball over Karen and Lucas. He tells her he’s sorry that she had to live it.
Dan tells Nathan that Whitey won’t kick Lucas off the team because of one game and it’s because Whitey hated Dan and he’s only keeping him on the team to punish him. Apparently, Dan was on the championship team in high school and Whitey benched him. Dan says that he refused to go back in the game, because he though Whitey’s way of coaching was stupid and he’d rather watch his team lose, than give Whitey the chance to think he was the reason they won the game.
Lucas is in the school library looking for a book and Jake comes up to him. He asks him if he reads a lot and Lucas tells him he does. Jake tells him he has something for him. Jake tells him that Nathan is a great player, but Lucas scares him and everything changes when fear is involved. He tells Lucas he’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t let Nathan take it. Lucas asks him what that means, and Jake tells him he’ll find out when he reads the book.
Back in English class, Mr. Kelly tells them he’s going to do the project again, but instead of doing it out loud, he gives them a piece of paper. He tells them each to write down what they want out of life most at that very minute in one word.
Lucas is back at the river court practicing and Nathan shows up. Lucas is still missing all of his shots and Nathan tells him “You do it like this” and shows him how to shoot various shots. He tells him it’s fascinating to watch someone lose their talent and he’s enjoying watching Lucas lose his. He tells Lucas to prove him wrong. Nathan says he was looking forward to taking him down slowly, but now Lucas has made it easy for him and won’t show up to practice just to humiliate himself.
Whitey goes down his roster and realizes Lucas didn’t show up for practice. Peyton shows up to get her car and asks Lucas about missing practice. He hands her the keys and her sketchbook. She tells him that he knows nothing about her and her drawings don’t mean anyone to anything. She wants her art to be meaningful and if it’s not, she doesn’t want to ruin it. Lucas tells her that’s how it is for basketball and him too.
Dan shows up at Whitey’s office and tells him to get over the high school championship and to stop taking it out on Nathan and that he’s only humiliating “Karen’s son.” Whitey tells him how it feels to father and abandon a child. Dan laughs at that and tells him to move Nathan back to shooting guard and maybe they’ll win more games. Whitey tells him he’s making it a career to ruin kid’s lives. Dan tells him that Whitey already made that his career.
Mr. Kelly is in his classroom reading the answers from the earlier class activity. We find out that Peyton wants truth in art, Nathan wants revenge, and Lucas wants answers.
Lucas sits on the picnic table at the River court when Whitey shows up. Lucas tells Whitey he can’t do it. Whitey tells him that he has had 35 winning seasons and the only thing that keeps him up at night is the college jobs that he never took. He says that it’s the missed opportunities that haunt us. He tells him that once he figures out what he’s afraid of he can beat it and better yet he can use it to conquer his fears. He tells him he’s on the team until the next night’s game.
Nathan is painting Peyton’s toes. He tells her she has ugly toes and they fight about it. Nathan tells Peyton he wants to quit the team because Whitey is never happy and he can’t do anything right according to his dad. She gets excited and says we can both quit, but Nathan laughs at her and says he’s not actually quitting.
Haley and Lucas talk about their porn names. (This scene is just totally out of nowhere and doesn’t really fit in, but it was cute). Haley tells him that no jersey and nothing will ever change Lucas from who he is inside. She says that they’ll go get pizza later to get his mind off the game.
He looks through Peyton’s sketches again and he finds the “They Are Not You” sketch and his mother walks in his bedroom with laundry. She says this reminds her of when he was in junior leagues and loved playing basketball but he suddenly quit the team. Lucas tells her he quit because of Dan. He didn’t want to have to see him and because he was afraid if he played he’d become just like Dan. He said that when he played in the gym he felt like Dan had a piece of him and it never felt like that at the playground. Karen tells him that Dan has taken enough from them and she’s going to watch her son play the game he loves. Lucas thanks Karen for the words of wisdom. He runs to Thud and gives them Peyton’s sketches.
He makes his way to the gym. Dan tells Nathan to think about no one but himself and let everyone else worry about him.
Peyton shows up to cheer in the game and Brooke says she was worried she wouldn’t show.
Lucas is in the gym and Dan calls him “son.” He turns around and Dan asks Lucas to give Nathan his bag.
Jake sees this and tells Lucas not to let Dan take his talent, because it’s all his, not Dan’s.
Luke in a voiceover shares this quote,
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
Karen shows up and catches Dan’s eye. She keeps her head up and finds a seat. Lucas runs out with the team and stops at Peyton and says,
“Your art matters; it’s what got me here.”
Whitey smiles at Lucas and says that he will be okay and Lucas grins and says I know.
Whitey moves and Lucas is left staring at Dan. Dan smirks, but Lucas smirks back and turns around.
His shirt is missing a last name. He had ripped off the Scott name and left it in the locker room and for the first time in two episodes, Dan is clearly upset by something Lucas has done.
And it fades to black….
Songs used in this episode:
1. Overdue- The Get Up Kids
2. Switchback- Celldweller
3. Hard to Find- American Analog Set
4. Beside Me- Forty Foot Echo
5. To Hell With Good Intentions- McLusky
6. She’s Got it so Phat- Bosshouse
7. Echo- Vertical Horizon
8. Further- Longview
9. Belief- Gavin DeGraw
Overall Impression: This is actually one of the best episodes in season 1 to me. We are introduced to Brooke, Jake and Lucas meet, Karen overcomes her fears, Lucas and Peyton have some iconic Leyton moments, and we see Dan actually being treated like the jerk that he is.
“Your art matters; it’s what got me here- Lucas to Peyton
“I’d stand up, but every time I do somebody kicks me in the ass for putting you on the team.”- Whitey to Lucas
“You ever wake up from a really good dream and try really hard to get back to sleep or you’ve got the flu and promise yourself you’ll appreciate normal so much more if you could just get back to it?”- Lucas to Haley
Jimmy and Mouth getting kicked out for being media or Lucas and Peyton discussing her art in the auto shop