Show: The CW’s One Tree Hill
Featured Characters: Brooke Davis and Julian Baker
Writer’s Note: When we write about this show here at Marvelous Geeks, we want to make it abundantly clear that our support goes to the actors and the characters. We do not condone vile, malicious behavior or credit the writers, Mark Schwahn especially.
There’s treasure in this relationship—something inexplicably beautiful that’s been waiting to be found for years and years. Sometime during One Tree Hill Season 2, Brooke Davis became the one person whose happiness I wanted to see most. Life screwed her over, and the world misunderstood her most. Brooke Davis has always been more than a pretty face—she was more than just the cheer captain. She was ambitious and compassionate in ways so inspiring that the man who stood by her side had to be incomparable. They needed to be worthy. They needed to be better than most.
It was easy then to actively root for Brooke Davis and Julian Baker when he began showing just how considerably he cared to know more about her story. It’s vital to note that at the end of the day, the most incredible relationships are the ones that effortlessly heal all wounds while simultaneously challenging their partners in the best, healthiest ways. Love’s an outrageous mess wrapped gorgeously in a bow of infinite possibilities—a safe place where strengths and vulnerabilities are welcomed. Love is a whirlwind of emotions and hard work, and it’s the boldest risk taken daily with admirable openness and unwavering adoration.
Brooke Davis and Julian Baker and The Treasures Uncovered
First, Brooke’s character broke my heart the most throughout the series. And as a result, rooting for her happiness always felt like the number one priority as a viewer. It wasn’t just about her present, but it was about her past and the future too. Thus, I’ve always loved that though she met Julian years after graduating high school, he found ways to incorporate it into their relationship to create better memories for her. Julian was undoubtedly captivated by Brooke’s character from the beginning, but it floored me that it wasn’t until he witnessed her doing Molly Ringwald’s dance to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me”that he truly realized what a treasure she was. Of all the moments, there couldn’t have been one to showcase her spirit most.
Stereotypes in the early 2000s (and to a degree, today) painted Brooke one way, but episode after episode, Sophia Bush broke those molds, offering the audience what it means to look beyond the labels. And thereby, what we watched in Julian was a man who understood the tireless fight Brooke put out to make a name for herself and all the people she cared for. Her fight was always worse than it needed to be, and her heartaches were boundless. It was unfortunate (albeit deeply relatable) to see that nothing came easy for her. Yet, amidst all this, Julian kept pointing out the treasure in her even while he messed up.
Additionally, it’s 2022, and we still live in a time where if a woman wants to be in love, she’s somehow perceived as weak or less of a feminist. Someone somewhere will always talk. Still, that would always be one of the things that made Brooke Davis incomparably strong as a character. She followed her dreams, no matter what other people thought of them. Brooke wasn’t strong because she was alone, but rather because she won every battle she fought through. She was strong because she continued to try. Because she grew up in a toxic home, she wanted to ensure she’d be in a relationship where the firm foundation was unwavering love. She wanted to bring children into this world to raise them in a loving environment where they’d constantly believe they’re more than enough and can do anything they set their minds to. Henceforth, when she would open her heart, she’d open it completely. She’d give all she could for her partner to see how significant he was to her. The word significant meant something to Brooke Davis—love meant everything. She gave every piece of her, and yet somehow, she was continuously left behind; she wasn’t the chosen one—until Julian.
For Brooke, it’s always been about finding the person who’d ceaselessly support her dreams every step of the way. It was about someone seeing her as she truly is without wanting anything else in return. And Julian was a man who discovered her worth instantaneously and promised he’d do anything to make her the happiest she could ever be. In short, if I were to mention every scene I adore with them, we’d have fifty-plus pages. Still, there are some worth noting because they essentially showcase why Brooke Davis and Julian Baker are the perfect people for each other.
Don’t You Forget About Me
Referring back to the “Don’t You Forget About Me” dance, it’s genuinely remarkable that Julian chose to remind Brooke of that moment on their wedding day. It’s impressive that he made sure she knew he fell in love with the wild soul within her that stayed true to her through all the years of endured heartaches. And then there’s the proposal. Julian came to Tree Hill to create a TV adaptation based on a book he read, but it was about the girl in the story somewhere deep within. After his career-defining movie premiere, he ensured that his next move would be more defining than the applause by proposing. He chose Broke Davis. And at that moment, it was clear that no form of fame or fortune could equate to the honor of being the man Brooke Davis said yes to. And that’s what Brooke deserved—a man who knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that she was the greatest treasure he’d ever found.
One of the most defining moments for Brooke and Julian, the ultimate scene where we can be confident their love had come full circle, wonderfully occurred in the very last episode. I’m unashamed to tell you all that I wept like a baby when Julian bought Brooke’s old house for their family. One of the things Brooke always loved was the fact that she was known as the girl behind the red door. She lived in a gorgeous house that deserved a beautiful family, and that’s exactly what Julian gave her when he repurchased it. He gave her a family and a promise. When she lived there with her family, the house was merely a place—a fortress she felt comfortable with even though she was torn up inside, but it’s in the moment where Julian buys it for her that it finally becomes a home. It’s now the place she’s always wished it’d be—somewhere warm and full of love, anchored through promises they’d both keep.
And this isn’t in any way a means to dismiss the ugly bits of their relationship that were both realistic and embellished for television purposes. This deep dive is a celebration of the detail that Brooke Davis and Julian Baker chose one another through every dark path, every weakness, and every strengthening moment. They were each other’s person, even if they didn’t believe they deserved the love or grace granted to them.
Brooke Davis and Julian Baker’s relationship has always been about strengthening the love they found. It’s been about understanding and cherishing each other even when they make mistakes. It’s about knowing that it doesn’t matter who they’ve been or where they’re going because they’re better together than apart. It’s about making dreams come true and healing all the old wounds life has left in their hearts. It’s about beautiful little moments, such as when Brooke kissed Julian in the car because he was never the popular kid in high school. It was about helping each other make big or small dreams a reality.
Whether they’re having a ball roleplaying like the ridiculous nerds they are, or having a quiet night on the couch, Brooke Davis and Julian Baker were treasuring one another in ways no person ever has. They had both gone their entire lives believing they weren’t enough, yet to each other, they were everything. It never mattered what they did or how hard they worked because disapproving parents have continuously been louder than their successes. The treasure uncovered through their unwavering love helped create something magical for their entire family. You don’t need love to be complete, but when desires are there, it makes every little thing in life worth it when it’s found. It’s what made the darkest days bearable and the happiest times incomparable.
One Tree Hill was a lengthy show, and though Brooke and Julian’s relationship didn’t start at the beginning, it’s still a colossal beauty to cover. Some people get to love more than once in their lives, but others only know heartbreak. Julian Baker knew that one day, he’d find his other half to spend the rest of his life with, and though we don’t know much of his journey, we saw enough to understand that every crossroad was worth bearing through for Brooke. And while the majority of this analysis focuses on the love that Brooke Davis deserved (and received), it’s imperative to remember that to be loved by her was the ultimate gift Julian gained. In cherishing her and making all her dreams come true, he grew into a better person and even better filmmaker.
There are corners in their story that deserve excavating for pages on end and beats that I still can’t get through without weeping. Theirs is the kind of love story that reminds viewers that the perfect partner is worth the wait. It’s the kind of love story that tells us that where our vulnerabilities find light in another’s darkness, insurmountable healing takes place, setting our life towards a brilliant and beautiful trajectory. The ugly pieces stir into something wondrous when they’re adored, pain finds the means to dwindle into the void, and a love like Brooke Davis and Julian Baker’s only ever grows.
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.