"Return of the Future" is the eleventh episode of the third season of One Tree Hill and the 56th produced episode of the series. It was broadcasted on January 18, 2006. After losing their second game of the season, the Ravens receive tough love from Whitey. Peyton and Ellie try to recruit rock band Nada Surf for their benefit album. Haley reveals a disturbing fact to Nathan, and Brooke plans a romantic night for Lucas after learning that he submitted her fashion designs to a prestigious competition in New York and a familiar face returns to Tree Hill.
SynopsisThe Ravens get back from a game as the two brothers argue among themselves. Whitey storms in accusing the team of not playing as a team and not sharing the ball. In the cheerleaders' locker rooms, everyone is down about the game, except Haley who calls a scrunchie request to Brooke. She walks out as Brooke confesses to Peyton that her and Lucas haven't had sex yet and under Karen's roof, nothing else is going to happen at the moment. As Nathan leaves the court, Dan accuses Haley of the reason he lost the game and accuses him of possibly getting her pregnant. Haley asks him over, to stay, and Nathan agrees as Dan watches on in doubt. Lucas and Brooke leave as she tries to find a way to be able to sleep with Lucas. Lucas quotes one of her letters and receives a punch, but the topic is soon changed as Brooke screams and runs off to hug Keith outside the gym. Lucas follows shortly behind and Brooke goes to crash on the couch to let them catch up.
As Keith and Lucas walk with each other, Lucas apologizes for not telling him, but Keith has forgiven him. He tells Lucas he found Jules, but Emily wasn't the person he was looking for, he was looking for Karen. He also says that he came back because Deb told him everything. Keith asks to surprise Karen and Lucas agrees. Peyton gets back to find Ellie in her room going through bands for their record, but nobody will agree. They set their sights on Nada Surf. In Brooke's apartment, Nathan is going through photos and Haley says how cute Jenny is. She cuts herself and Nathan goes to get a band-aid. As he does, he finds Brooke's birth control patches and continues to look through Haley's stuff. As Brooke gets the mail, her designs have been selected for the Rogue Vogue competition and the two decide it is Lucas as it is something he would do. Nathan comes back out and asks Haley if she was on birth control when they slept together, but Haley confesses she wasn't and Nathan walks out saying his dad was right.The Ravens are up at 5 A.M. to see Whitey with the school bus. He tells them they are going to their new gym and leads them to a dump. He tells them they will practice and play games there until they begin to play better. Brooke is going through Lucas' drawers looking for her letters as Lucas walks in and quotes her letters. She flirts with him and says bring the letters if he wants to sleep with her. Brooke tells Haley in school, that she is needing the room tonight to 'reward' Lucas. She asks about what happened last night and Haley confesses they had unprotected sex a few days ago. Brooke asks if she is pregnant, but Haley is on the pill and she thinks Nathan is thinking she is trying to trap him. Brooke then says maybe she wanted to if she didn't stop it. Keith walks in and surprises Karen so much she smashes a pot of coffee. Karen told him he shouldn't have come back as Dan thinks he tried to kill him, but Keith doesn't mind and tells Karen she is prettier than he remembered.
At the gym, Nathan refuses to clean and sparks another argument with Lucas. As they argue that Nathan is the only one who needs to play college ball, Whitey tells them to get back to work, only to have Nathan walk out. Keith goes to visit Dan and tells him that if he did try to kill him, he would be dead, but Dan has clues like the bottle of alcohol and shows Keith CCTV footage of him buying booze. He also tells him that if he touches Lucas again, he will wish he killed him. Outside the Scott household, Dan gets home to find Nathan has changed the locks. He tells him about the new gym so Dan offers to help. Nathan tells his dad he knows about him turning away scouts and Dan continues to tease him about Haley's pregnancy. Keith and Karen are together and she confesses Andy wasn't the one for her and the person she did want was there all along. As she drives off, Lucas goes to see Keith and the two talk about their relationships.Trying to get into the gig, Ellie and Peyton have no tickets. Ellie pretends to be on the phone and walks straight in pretending to be someone important, impressing Peyton in the process. They find the manager, and Ellie gets Peyton to go and talk to him. She begins persuading him, impressing him with her knowledge of the band. He agrees to talk to the band. Lucas goes to see Brooke with the letters as Brooke leads him into the room, throwing out Haley, just as Nathan walks in the apartment. He asks her if she thought about pregnancy, which Haley denies and says it takes two and she went off birth control as she had no one to sleep with on tour. Lucas and Brooke begin to undress each other agreeing they are both in love, but then they overhear Nathan and Haley screaming at each other. The two end up pressed against the bedroom door, listening in. She says it is Nathan's responsibility and Nathan agrees asking for her pills. Haley gives them to him shocked and upset and storms out insisting she won't need them anymore.
After hearing a second door slam, Lucas and Brooke assume they are ok to talk. Brooke thanks Lucas for entering her into Rogue Vogue, which Lucas knows nothing about. Realizing she doesn't know Lucas as well as she thought Lucas suggests talking about her letters, which Brooke declines as it is too hard. Lucas promises her he will not hurt her again and Brooke gives him the letters. On their way home, Ellie tells Peyton about her adoptive mom and how great she was. As they talk, Peyton asks about the cancer which Ellie manages to dodge the serious subjects, just as Peyton gets a call that Nada Surf is on the record. The following day, Lucas goes to see Nathan and tells him that if they work together they can win. Back at the gym, Lucas is fixing the court as Dan walks in and threatens Whitey to lose the team, just as Nathan walks in. He tells Whitey he is staying and Dan is forced to leave, embarrassed.Karen asks Keith if it was him across from the cafe, and he says it was him. She asks why he was there and it was to see Karen, but he heard she was going to see Andy. He bought to booze and decided to kill Dan, but Deb stopped him. He remembers Deb going round to the apartment, she tells him not to kill his brother and picks up his gun. She refuses to let him as Keith promises that he will go after Nathan next. Deb leaves after he is calmed down, only for her to come back later when he was asleep. Deb wakes him up in tears and tells him that Dan is burned and in hospital as Keith wakes up, Deb tells him that it was the only way and it was her war. But then Deb tells him how he got it and promises that he will go out of town and never tell anyone. Karen is shocked with his announcement but Keith says that it wasn't a mistake to hide her as she has been in prison with Dan for the last 17 years. Back at the gym, Nathan and Lucas play in their newly cleaned gym. Lucas has found a dead spot and thinks they can use it to their advantage. Haley goes to see Peyton, amazed at the bands she's signed up. She tells her she is waiting for an answer today, from Haley James Scott, which she happily agrees to. Lucas gets home to get a lecture from Karen as she found out he spent the night with Brooke. Karen tells him to be careful, not just physically but with his heart. Lucas tells her he is, but, like her, there is a time where you have to let your heart get what it deserves, like her and Keith. Nathan goes to see Haley and apologizes but Haley says that if he doesn't want to be like Dan then don't. Brooke looks through her designs for Rogue Vogue and then remembers Rachel wearing her dress, thinking she might have entered her. As Ellie signs up Fall Out Boy, Peyton tells her that she wants Ellie there when the record is completed, which she assures her she will be. Brooke asks Rachel if she entered her into Rogue Vogue and Rachel confirms that she did. Shocked she thanks Rachel and walks away, as Rachel thanks Brooke with a sly smirk on her face.
Lucas mails a first letter to Brooke, like she did to him. Karen goes to see Keith and tells him she is sick of looking for excuses to not be with him, and she will not do it anymore. She kisses him as the police pull up and he is arrested for Dan Scott's attempted murder. As he is led into the car, Dan watches from across the road and smirks smugly at Karen as she stares in disgust.
- "Basketball is a team game, and there is no I in team. I assume you know how to spell"
- "I think you're rubbing off on her"
- "Why? Is being desperately horny contagious?"
- "What are you doing?"
- "Oh, I was just looking for band-aids"
- "Well, buddy, you found my birth-control patches, those fix a whole other problem"
- "Nathan, don't walk out, you do it all the time"
- "That's because it keeps me from saying things you don't want to hear"
- "Haley, you are usually little miss responsible. I am all for the sex part, but I kind of want to slap you for the lack-of-protection part."
- "There are deal-breakers for 17 year old boys, even married ones. There is a time to keep your mouth shut, and there is a time to lie. That was a lie time"
- "I don't want to lie to my husband"
- "I guess that's in the vows huh? I wonder if you knew that when you signed up at the ripe old age of, like, 12"
- "Your future as a basketball player is totally secure. Your future as my husband, not so much"
- "I don't know why it's so easy for me to get naked one way, but not the other"
- "I do. I hurt you pretty bad. I'm not gonna do it again"
- "I have something to say. We've known each other for a long time and everytime that we have gotten close, I have been stubborn and scared and have found ways to let things get between us and I can't let that happen again."
- "If you're always looking for reasons not to be with somebody, well you'll always find them, and I guess at some point you should let go and give your heart what it deserves."
- "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats"
- Lucas Scott (opening voiceover)
- "Over My Shoulder" - I Am Kloot
- "Low C" - Supergrass
- "Concrete Bed" - Nada Surf
- "You Wanted It" - MoZella
- "Free" - Kate Earl
- "Always Love" - Nada Surf
- "Moska" - Twinstar
- "The Blues" - Switchfoot
This episode's title originated from the song Return Of The Future, originally sung by Scooter.
- Mouth does not appear in this episode
- This is the first episode of Season 3 that Keith appears in having been absent for the first ten episodes.