Back in the game again, the boys form up for the tip-off. A Masonboro Mean Dude says, "Better watch that sore shoulder." Luke cuts back, "You'd better watch the scoreboard." Ohh! He wins that genius showdown. Not. Yawn. The ball goes up, and the Ravens win the "tip" as Mouth narrates, "Nathan Scott brings it up front to the delight of his hometown crowd. I'll tell you there's a lot of love in the air tonight!" Cut to Peyton smiling over at Brooke as they do their cheerleading thing.
And we're flashing back; this time we're in the same skanky bar where the kids always end up. Brooke sits there nursing her girlie drink as Psycho Nikki comes over and sits down. Brooke says, "That seat's reserved for my friend Peyton." Nikki's black eyeliner swerves so far down her face that it looks like her eyes are dripping. And lopsided, but whatever, she's a freak: "Your friend, huh?" Brooke half-smiles as she says coyly, "As far as she knows." Brooke smiles directly at Nikki, who says, "Where's Jake, Brooke?" Brooke replies, "Buy me a drink and maybe I'll tell you." The music bomp-bomps in the background. I half expect some naked boys making out behind her, it sounds so much like Queer as Folk. Nikki and Brooke size each other up across the table, with each girl trying to out-bitch the other.
Cut back quickly to the last shot before the commercials: Brooke winking at Peyton, and the two of them grinning. Are they back, or aren't they? What does a murder of Ravens Cheerleaders symbolize?
Oh, look. A Cingular ad. Yawn.
The girls yell, "Defense!" Mouth tells us that Masonboro are giving the Ravens a run for their money in the second quarter. The Mean Mason gets past Lucas and dunks. He shouts, "All night baby!" Dan shouts, "Shut up, you little punk." Mouth narrates, "Could be the time away, or Dan Scott's influence, but they have dug themselves a hole and it's going to be a long battle back." The crowd cheers. Luke runs off to the other end of the court. I really like it when they actually play basketball; it grounds the show in a context that it seems to miss when it's not the central focus. Anyway. Karen looks over at Keith, who looks at her for a minute, and then studies his toes. We fade to white.
We're back at Keith's -- maybe that night Luke announced he was leaving, maybe another night, but it's definitely within that time period. Keith holds a picture of a much younger Karen holding Lucas, while he sits beside both of them. Keith's smile feels warm and natural, like he's extremely happy. He holds the photograph and asks Karen painfully, "Did you ever love me, Karen?" Karen's reply is equally as pained: "I do love you, Keith." Keith says, "Not like that --" Karen lets out a deep, emotional breath and turns away, teary. She says, "I don't know how to answer that." She dances around the issue as she steps around the room, walking off how uncomfortable she feels talking about personal emotions. Keith stands still, staring right at her: "You don't know how to, or you don't want to?" Her eyes fill up with tears as she says breathily, "Keith! I don't want you to leave like this." He shakes his head and examines his feet again. Perhaps he's deciding to finally untuck his pants from his boots. Keith: "It's a little late for that. But at least, let's tell the truth, okay. I'm not leaving for a job or for some fresh perspective, or because I always wanted to get out this town." He takes a deeply dramatic pause. "I'm leaving because I can't look at you anymore without my heart breaking." Oh man, my heart just broke there for him. He asks her pointedly, "How many serious relationships have you had since Dan? I'll tell you: none." Moira's permanently applied that breathy "emotional voice" as she asks him, "Why are you doing this?" Keith answers, "Karen, it was a dark day when you said no to my proposal. But I can live with that." He glances down at his shoes again, notices perhaps they need a polish. Oh right, we're being serious, and they're actually doing a good job in this scene so I should probably stay on track. "I don't need you to love me." Pause. "But you've got to open up your heart to somebody. You've got to let somebody discover how staggering you are. Just don't be alone. That I can't live with." Oh, Keith? How much do you hurt, buddy? How much?