- TV News -Dan Scott Redeemed Himself By The End Of 'One Tree Hill,' And To Think Otherwise Is Wrong
Whether you loved Dan Scott or just loved to hate him, you have to admit he made watching One Tree Hill a million times more entertaining. But there’s one thing when it comes to Dan that may divide us, and that, of course, is whether or not he redeemed himself by the time he dies in Season 9.
It's hard to come up with one good thing Dan did in the first four seasons of the show (except maybe for rescuing Lucas from the car accident in Season 1, but let’s be real, he probably only did that out of obligation rather than anything heroic or selfless); Dan was always the ultimate villain. He was completely hateable and very fun to root against.
But fast forward to Season 5 of OTH and we see a completely new side to a previously one-sided character. Dan reemerges in the show as a hero when he saves his grandson, James Lucas Scott (aka Jamie), from getting kidnapped by the crazy nanny Carrie. Jamie becomes obsessed with having a relationship with his grandfather and Dan suddenly seems sweet and caring for the first time ever.
Dan's goodwill only goes so far, though, because soon enough he uses his brother’s murder as a way of gaining massive TV success, becoming super rich as a result. The return of this old, evil Dan certainly spiced up the plot and brought back some of the OG character dynamics that were fun to revisit and, hey, if we’re having fun, that must mean that Dan Scott is back to his villainous ways.
But! Just when you thought Dan was pure evil again, he had to go and save the day. There’s the whole Nathan-and-his-crazy-“fan”-who-claimed-she-was-having-his-baby thing, and after that curveball, Dan confuses us again by donating all of his money to charity and giving up the high life to work at a diner.
Then, at the end of Season 9, Dan’s most inarguably redeemable moment comes when he gets shot while trying (and succeeding) in saving Nathan’s life, which he did despite Haley trying to exile him from Tree Hill. This sets us up so that we finally get an explanation as to why Dan shot and killed Keith.
The beautiful, raw scene between Dan and Nathan gave them — and us — the closure we needed before Dan took his last breath. Even Nathan cried, and so did a lot of fans who had loathed Dan for the better part of a decade. The episode ends with Keith forgiving Dan as he puts his arm around him as they walk away into "the light" together.
So, should we forgive Dan for the bad and only remember the good? And if Keith forgave him, does that mean we should all, too? The actor himself, Paul Johansson, told TV Line in 2012 that he felt Dan's arc was complete. "Not to go Biblical on you," he told the publisher, "but St. Paul’s name was Saul and he was a murderer. He saw the light, turned his life around and he is now one of the greatest saints. It’s the classic story of forgiveness."
Turns out, many fans were able to forgive Dan after the episode aired back in 2012. According to a website that categorizes old tweets and trending topics, "Dan Scott" was a trending topic on March 14, 2012, the night the episode aired. The most common sentiment on social media at the time? "Dan Scott, you’re pretty freaking awesome after all. Please don’t die…"
Dan was able to mend almost every relationship he'd previously destroyed prior to his death; even those on Team Lucas have to admit that Dan did, in fact, redeem himself.
Because in the end, Dan's honesty and vulnerability — while seen through the forgiveness-colored lens that imminent death affords us, sure — did give the guy a happy ending after his very, very, unhappy beginning.