‘One Tree Hill’ Cast Revisit The Show’s Most Heartbreaking Episode

By John Popham

September 21, 2022

Silhouetted man in the Building
Photo: Getty Images

Content advisory: This episode of One Tree Hill and Drama Queens discusses the topics of mental health, suicide, and gun violence in school. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, please call the 24-hour 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

There were no ads this week, no opening theme music, there was just the voice of Sophia Bush Hughes addressing the listeners of Drama Queens, the One Tree Hill rewatch podcast she co-hosts with former castmates Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz.

“When we start discussing this episode, we are all going to stay in it with you,” said Hughes. “As a team we have decided not to air ads, it doesn’t feel right for this episode. We are thankful for our sponsors for allowing us to air this episode uninterrupted.”

After spending more than a year rewatching one of the most popular shows of their careers, the three hosts reached season three episode 16 "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept," the episode where a classmate at Tree Hill High brings a gun to school.

“We have been reading a lot of (listener) messages and I think what struck the three of us so much is that a lot of you have written about how you have rewatched the show so many times before we started our podcast and that very often you all skip this episode,” said Hughes. “I kind of wish we could have skipped this episode because we are going to have to talk about it.”

The three discussed the balance the show tried to take when dealing with such heavy topics. They also complimented Colin Fickes (“Jimmy Edwards”) and his ability to bring humanity to his character even as he held his classmates and former friends at gunpoint.

To better understand his process, the hosts welcomed Fickes himself to the podcast to discuss what went into the landmark episode. The actor recalled being mistreated by the studio and gradually written off the show before being asked back to film episodes fifteen and sixteen.

“It feels meta,” said Burton. “’Jimmy Edwards’ was left behind by the group in season one, only to become this big deal in our season three storyline. Behind the scenes our show loved taking things in real life and utilizing them on screen. It was your story and Jimmy’s story.”

Fickes returned to Wilmington, N.C. and to the set of One Tree Hill to shoot the episode, but despite being a crucial part of the plot was the last to receive a script. The actor recalled locking himself in his hotel room for days and running lines with his mother in order to prepare for his return as “Jimmy.”

“It was less about what he does and more about what he feels,” said Fickes. “All I could think about was ‘what would cause someone to get to this place,’ and so I started there.”

The previous episode of Drama Queens, “The Future is Now” touched on the groundwork the show laid for “Jimmy’s” return and mental health crisis. It was the revelation of the time capsule, the bullying, and the feeling of hopelessness that drove Fickes’ character to the edge.

Listen to “Dial 988 w/ Colin Fickes” to hear the full conversation about this episode. Next week Drama Queens will return to discuss season three episode 17 and the aftermath of this episode. Again, if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, please call the 24-hour 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

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