Although viewers are still waiting to hear whether One Tree Hill will get another season, at least one wait is over: After a two-month hiatus, the CW series is back Monday at 8/7c for this season's four final episodes. James Lafferty, who plays Nathan Scott, one of the only original characters left, tells TVGuide.com there are "really gratifying moments for those fans that have hung in there." Read on to see what Lafferty has to say about the season's last episodes, including some big decisions that will be made and where the series stands at the end of the season.
TVGuide.com: Before the show's hiatus, Haley's mom died. Will she and Nathan still be dealing with the loss when it returns?
James Lafferty: Yes, absolutely. There's definitely a grieving process. Not to make it sound like it'll be all gloom, but that's Haley's journey ... and she's going to need help and that help is going to come from her family unit.
TVGuide.com: What leads the gang to Utah in the finale?
Lafferty: Julian's film has a certain amount of success, and that's why we're in Park City, Utah. For different reasons, they decide not only do they want to show their support for the film, but they want to get out there to blow off some steam and have a good time. There are actually a lot of big decisions that are made in that town, and after the characters come back to Tree Hill, a lot of big things will happen.
TVGuide.com: So is there another time jump?
Lafferty: That's a good question. I don't know if I have an answer there. It seems a little quick for his film to be edited and already submitted, so maybe we did jump ahead a little bit.
TVGuide.com: What was the best part about shooting in Utah?
Lafferty: Those snow days were so much fun. It was literally like being a kid again. Working in that much snow all day, having that much fun, having such a blast building snow men and throwing snow balls around and having Jackson [Brundage]around —his energy is so infectious you're a kid right along with him. You wrap a day, take all your snow clothes off, put on your regular clothes, get in the van to go back to your hotel, and then it just hits you how exhausted you are.
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TVGuide.com: How was the feeling on the set, not knowing if the show is coming back?
Lafferty: It was weird because we left here and didn't take all of our crew to Utah. So we had a little impromptu wrap for Wilmington when we left, in which we said goodbye to a lot of people possibly for good. It's tough, but it's really hard for it to be sad. We're lucky to still be here and so grateful for it.
TVGuide.com: Does the season finale feel like it could be a series finale?
Lafferty: I think [creator Mark Schwahn] has really walked this fine line. He knows the affection the fans have for the show, so he doesn't want to leave the show so open ended that they get no gratification from it because ultimately that could define the legacy that we leave. We just want to be remembered as a show that delivered, but at the same time he wants to set up what could possibly happen next year if we get another season. So it's a tough line to walk, but I think the fans are going to be pleased either way.
TVGuide.com: Tree Hill fans are one of the more vocal groups. Do you have a message to the viewers that have been with you since Day 1?
Lafferty: Thank you. It's because of them we're still here. A show can't stay on the air if it doesn't have viewers, but our viewers have always gone above and beyond. They've always gone the extra mile to keep the show on the air and to let it be known they're watching the show. All you can really say is thank you to the fans, and they've really helped define what the show will be remembered as. It's just not this cult hit; [it's] truly a show that has staying power and a generation identified with.
TVGuide.com: What can viewers expect in the final four episodes?
Lafferty: Fans are really going to enjoy seeing characters make some very important decisions — everybody from Brooke and Julian to Nathan and Haley. There are a lot of things that are going to actually happen. The characters have been in limbo for a long time throughout all the seasons, but there's going to be some really gratifying moments for those fans that have hung in there.