"4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days" is the first episode of the fifth season premiered of One Tree Hill and the 89th produced episode of the series. It was broadcast on January 8, 2008. Four years later after the season four finale, Tree Hill is a new place. Lucas is a struggling writer who is about to embark on a new coaching career with Antwon. Peyton is at the beginning of a budding music venture, while Brooke's fashion line is at a crossroads. Meanwhile, Nathan and Haley are young parents trying to find their way. Much has changed in four years, but in many ways, the journey is just beginning.
Four Years LaterLucas Scott returns to the Rivercourt where he sees everyone's names have faded. Meanwhile, at the Scott house a dark and solemn Nathan Scott watches his son Jamie playing with a toy basketball and harshly asks Haley where he got it. After she tells him that his Uncle Lucas gave it to him, Nathan tells her that he doesn't want Jamie playing basketball. Elsewhere, in New York, Brooke Davis walks through the offices of Clothes Over Bros talking to her assistant, Millicent. It seems Brooke has everything she could ever want and she plans her busy week ahead, including a conference call with Macy's and a premiere she will be attending that night (although she plans to skip the movie after the red carpet.) On her way, she notes the size of the model on the cover of her magazine and demands she gains weight if she is to be on the cover of Brooke Davis magazine, exclaiming "anorexia is a disease, not a fashion statement." When she tells Millicent that she will meet Victoria in the limo, she is reminded that Victoria won't like that. Brooke tells Millicent that Victoria works for her. In LA, Peyton Sawyer sits in the lavish office of her boss who reminds her she is only the assistant-to-the-assistant of the label president. When Peyton asks to present some unsigned bands to her boss, he lets her - on the condition that she drops a button on her top, which she does.
At Tree Hill High, Lucas enters Haley's classroom on her last day of being a student teacher. and tells her that Jamie is growing old fast. Lucas and Haley each discuss their worries, Lucas worries about his inability to write a follow up novel and Haley about next week, when she starts teaching by herself. While Jamie draws, Lucas reminds Haley that she can't look after him forever - and by him he means Nathan. Haley hopefully recalls that it's only been four months since it happened. Back at home, Nathan watches as the Seattle Sonics select their line up for the next season, causing him to flashback to the day he and Haley bought their house.
Nathan tells Haley and Jamie that they are moving to Seattle given that being him being drafted to the Seattle Sonics is almost definite. When Haley questions if they should buy a house in Seattle, Nathan says they should but they can't leave Tree Hill for good, because "it's home." Happily, he remarks that this is what life is like when you're dreams come true. In the present, Nathan has enough of watching the TV and leaves the room - revealing to the audience that Nathan is now in a wheelchair.
Mouth tries to film his demo as a sports anchor but is interrupted by Junk and Fergie playing video games. Their attempts to stay quiet during the filming fail and Mouth remarks to the camera "I'm Mouth McFadden, and still unemployed". Meanwhile, Lucas joins Skills in the Tree Hill High School gym and reveals that they are both now coaching the Tree Hill Ravens, whose winning run ended after they won the state championship. They, however, decide that they will be able to turn the team around. In LA, Peyton prepares to present her band, Low Vs. Diamond, to the execs who seems to prefer the commercial sound of another generic singer. John Knight immediately stops the record and tells a dejected Peyton to go and get them lunch menus.Back in Tree Hill, Nathan goes through his draws and finds a pair of the sneakers made for him when he joined the Seattle Sonics. He then flashes back to a night club where he, Haley and Lucas celebrate him being signed to the Sonics, where he is presented with the shoe. In the present, Lucas attempts to write but doesn't success until a video message from his editor Lindsey appears and asks how his second book is going telling him he needs to write something soon. In New York, Brooke walks down the red carpet with her date and they get in a limo where Victoria is waiting for her. She immediately kicks her date out and, when he is gone, Brooke chastises her for being rude. Victoria then tells Brooke that they are having to let a model, whom Brooke is friends with, go and Brooke will have to fire her. In her apartment, Brooke tearfully fires the model. In Tree Hill, Lucas enters Jamie's bedroom with another postcard from Karen and Lily who are now in Ireland but their conversation is interrupted when Lucas leaves to talk to Nathan. He finds his brother using a basketball trophy to try and get alcohol. Lucas tries to reassure him that the doctors said he should be back to normal soon enough but Nathan refuses to accept that his life will be normal without basketball. Lucas grabs the alcohol and refuses to give it to Nathan unless he stands up and gets it himself until Nathan comments that if Lucas carries on "Dan won't be the only Scott to kill his brother. Hurt, Lucas takes Jamie and leaves Nathan alone. He takes Jamie to the Rivercourt where they find Skills and Mouth. In LA, Peyton talks to John and her idealist ways about music become apparent until John reminds her that music is still a business and there isn't room for idealism in the business. When Peyton says she isn't interested in playing this game, he tells her she already did by dropping a button to get into the meeting.
As Brooke attends a red carpet event and is asked if she misses being a regular adult she responds that Clothes Over Bros is her dream come true, although she is forced to question if she is happy living her dreams. As Lucas struggles to put pen to paper, a lost Peyton wanders the streets of LA. As she finds Lucas' novel on a book stand and a copy of Brooke Davis magazine she is reminded of the life she left behind in Tree Hill. Back in their hometown, Haley wakes up a drunken Nathan and asks him not to become Dan. Feeling lost, Peyton arrives home and places another copy of Lucas's novel on a bookshelf among several others before making a phone call to an old friend saying that she doesn't know who she is anymore. Meanwhile, Nathan destroys his trophies while Haley and Jamie lie in bed upstairs, both saddened by what is happening downstairs.
Lucas then visits his editor Lindsey having missed another deadline. In return Lindsey tells Lucas that, while his first book was good, to have a career he needs more than just one good book. In New York, Victoria chastises Brooke for not being happy on TV and reminds her that she has everything she ever wanted but Brooke's expression shows she still feels like something is missing from her life. In LA, Peyton arrives at the record company and lectures her boss saying that his views on the industry are wrong and states that they day she thinks music is just about money is the day she betrays everything she believes in. She then quits her job and decides she's going home - back to Tree Hill.
Lucas goes through his draws and finds some old pictures including a picture of him and Nathan from his wedding day and a picture of Peyton, while Peyton arrives back in Tree Hill. Brooke also prepares to leave for a business trip to Milan and tells Millicent to try and have some fun while she's gone. Elsewhere, Nathan continues to watch the NBA draft as he remembers the night of his accident.Lucas and Nathan are celebrating Nathan's success when they are approached by a man asking for Nathan's autograph. He obliges but the man reveals himself to be a player for an opposing team and a fight soon ensues, but Lucas reminds Nathan that he has too much to lose and tells him to walk into the car. Nathan gets in his car and prepares to drive home but Lucas dissuades him and goes to get the limo to take them home. However, Nathan hears the man accusing him of hitting him and threatening to sue so he goes back into the bar. Nathan tries to walk away but when the man refers to Haley as his "fat-ass wife" Nathan refuses to walk away. In the fight that follows Nathan is thrown through a glass window and when Lucas finds him he notices glass embedded in his spine and Nathan tells him that he can't feel his legs.
Back in Tree Hill, Peyton goes to the rivercourt where Lucas finds her and the two reunite after two years apart but Lucas knocks Peyton aback by revealing that he's now seeing someone. Back at his house, he opens his draw and finds an engagement ring and then turns to reveal Lindsey in his bed. Lucas' girlfriend is in fact his editor who is now living with him in Tree Hill. Outside his house, Jamie gives Nathan the picture he's been working on - one of his father playing basketball. Nathan finally starts to fight back against his injuries and manages to stand up in front of his son and apologises to him for everything. It is then revealed that Peyton's phone call in L.A. was to Brooke, who never boarded her flight to Milan but instead returned to Tree Hill. Peyton and Brooke reunite at the airport - bringing everyone back to Tree Hill.
- "He's right. We should get the house, Hales. You know why? Because we did it. Together. We made it, and we're just gonna have to get used to the fact that this is what life's like when your dreams come true"
- "We can't be like this Nathan. You're son needs you. Please don't become your father"
- "My father's in prison, and so am I"
- "Well, you can walk out"
- "Chapter Three. Peyton Sawyer is destined for greatness. Actually, she already is great. Because Peyton Sawyer has a thing called integrity. And nothing or no one is ever going to change that"
- - Lucas Scott in his novel.
- "The day that I think it's just about making money, is the day that I betray everything I've ever believed in about music and life and myself"
- "That is not the face of a happy girl who got everything she wished for"
- "I think you drink too much"
- "I think you're right"
- "I missed you Brooke Davis"
- "I missed you P. Sawyer"
- Peyton Sawyer and Brooke Davis after returning to Tree Hill.
- "Guys. Absolutely not! There is no way she gets on the cover of my magazine unless she gains 10 pounds, minimum. She looks unhealthy."
- "We were just brainstorming."
- "Brainstorm better. Anorexia is a disease. It is not a fashion statement.
- - Brooke Davis to her assistants
- "Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday; graduating high school, saying goodbye. That feeling that you get at 17 or 18 that one in the history of the world has ever been this close, has ever loved as fiercely or laughed as hard or cared as much. Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday, sometimes it feels like someone else's memory"
- - Lucas Scott (opening voice-over)
- "Hi, it's Peyton. What happened to us, you know? I miss who I used to be. I wanna have a home again, you know. I miss that. And I miss you. I guess I just miss all of it.
- - Peyton Sawyer (closing voice-over)
- "Mercy" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
- "Light Up The Sky" - Yellowcard
- "American Beauty" - Salme Dahlstrom
- "I'll Be" - Low Vs. Diamond
- "You Got What It Takes" - Selectrack
- "Steal Me" - Jupiter Sunrise
- "Hollywood" - Wild Whirled
- "Irvine" - Kelly Clarkson
- "What U Gonna Do" - Lil Coe/Northstar
- "Slow Show" - The National
- "Come Undone" - Jackson Waters
- "Green Gloves" - The National
- "Fake Empire" - The National
- "The Freshman" - The Verve Pipe
This episode's title originated from the song 4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days, originally sung by Tree Fort Angst.
- Dan does not appear in this episode.
- This is the first season premiere to not feature Dan.
- This is the first season premiere to not feature Karen.
- This episode aired as part of a double-bill on January 8, 2008 alongside the following episode Racing Like a Pro.
- Lucas' remark that Jamie is growing up fast is a reference to the four-year gap and to the fact that the last time the audience's saw him he was a newborn baby.
- Nathan remarks that if Lucas doesn't give him the alcohol "Dan won't be the only Scott to kill his brother" in reference to Keith's death. ("With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept")