One Tree Hill‘s “Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.” is one of the series’ most emotionally compelling episodes in its entire nine-year run. It’s devastating in every way an episode centered around a young man’s death can be, leaving the characters and viewers utterly ruined in the aftermath. It was tough to watch while it was airing live, and it’s even more brutal to watch today.
Quentin Fields was one of the most memorable characters in One Tree Hill’s history, and losing him the way we did is still the kind of decision that I wish showrunners hadn’t made. But this scene breakdown is about a piece of advice we don’t talk about as frequently in media. It’s about what happens when you’re struggling, but so is everyone else around you. How do you cope with your pain and heartache when you don’t want to burden your loved ones who are also grieving?
“This thing with losing Quentin is hard, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty prominent thing in our lives for a while but that doesn’t mean your problems are any less important.”-Nathan Scott
In 2020 when we all stepped into a global pandemic, the world became a lonelier and darker place. Somehow, everyone you knew was dealing with something treacherous. The friends who were always happy were now breaking inside and guilt became an even bigger, all-consuming darkness. It might never stop feeling silly to be sad about something that seems small when people are grieving. I don’t think we’re ever going to get to a place where we don’t question ourselves or our issues this way. But maybe we can try because sadness is a part of life.
Nathan Scott reminding Brooke Davis that it’s okay not to be okay from 2008 is something we could still hold onto today.
Nathan Scott and Brooke Davis have always been kindred spirits in their upbringing, and it’s lovely that the series remembers this fact. It’s beautiful that it’s something they could bond over, especially as adults. Thus, Nathan choosing to remind Brooke of this detail is crucial, but more than anything, his decision to see past the armor she’s wearing for all of them is his strongest attribute.
Sometimes, while it’s important to trust a person’s agency and give them the necessary space, it’s also essential to push when you know they wouldn’t otherwise budge. In this case, it was up to Nathan to insist that they were all here for Brooke. The decision to conceal the truth behind what’s happened is entirely in character for Brooke, but as is Nathan’s ability to see beyond the armor.
His advice is crucial because it’s the kind of reminder everyone could still use, years later, if they need the reassurance that their problems deserve attention even if they aren’t as harrowing or life-changing as grief. Therapy wasn’t as prominent in media (or even in the real world) in the early 2000s. Still, it’s admirable that we have this moment between two broken characters who’ve often allowed their darkness to consume them.
This is why One Tree Hill’s “Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.” is such an exceptional episode because it allows its characters to feel. It allows Nathan to express that he’d be upset if she felt she couldn’t come to him, and then later, it allows Brooke to hold onto Jamie’s hand as she sobs.
Moments like this are why One Tree Hill remains such a comfort show for so many of us, even with all the heavy topics it addresses. It’s why the women of the series taking back the show through the Drama Queens Podcast means so much to viewers because advice like this has stayed with us.
We’ve all wished for a Nathan in our corner to make us feel like our problems are never a burden. Brooke doesn’t confess everything in this moment, in truth, nothing changes, but Sophia Bush does an exemplary job of showing the audience that she’s trying to allow the words to simmer. She’s trying to believe that this is true. It’s okay not to be okay for reasons outside of what her friends are going through.
Brooke was always an empath. She’s grieving for a person she doesn’t know as well as carrying the aches that her friends feel because she understands how deep this loss hits. She understands that it’ll stay with them. It’s why she’s carrying her own crosses alone, but still, it’s the kind of moment that allows the audience to see how fervently these characters adore each other. It paints a clear picture of steadfast loyalty in a way that’s crucial to revealing the importance of friendships and communities.
Tree Hill was a safe place in moments like this where characters made it their priority to check in on their friends. It was a safe place when it reminded viewers that no problem is ever too small to ignore. We are conditioned as human beings to believe that’s selfish to ache when other people do, but there’s only ever problem if you don’t give as much as you receive. These characters have all had their storms, and though sometimes holding the umbrella up for someone else was tough, the next time it rained, they could give back in tenfold.
It’s the kind of moment of vulnerability that’s always capable of hitting empaths, especially hard because it’s easy to forget this advice after some time passes. It’s easy to grieve alone and believe that we’re a burden after asking for help too many times. We all want to be problem-free so we could keep extending our hand instead of needing one to grab onto, but life doesn’t always allow that. One Tree Hill had a myriad of flaws, but it was always great at reminding viewers that human beings are profoundly complicated and the learning process never truly ends.
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.