I loved Peyton in season 5 - except how she treated Lindsey. That was unfair. I genuinely don't understand the hate Lindsey received. She was a nice girl who happened to be in love and dating Lucas and didn't take Peyton's redirected anger. That, to me, makes her strong. I do think she acted childish and bitchy about Peyton in 506 (dinner scene with Lucas and Naley) but really, I couldn't fault her completely. Not after how Peyton's been treating her. I just felt that Lindsey was better than stooping down to Peyton's level during that scene.
503 - Peyton was a jerk. She was so quick to judge Lindsey and be so defensive - first with the "I'll tell you why" and "people are just not that nice" and everything else she said while talking to Brooke and Haley. But I loved her again in 504 when she genuinely apologized to Lindsey. The girl deserved that. 506-507, Peyton turned that nice switch back off. She was frustrated with Lucas (rightfully so) and also took it out on Lindsey which wasn't fair. 509 - wow, Peyton royally pissed me off. She went out of her way to be a bitch and to be cruel to Lindsey. And she started it whether some fans want to admit it or not. First with Mia and the "cheapass engagement ring" and "that's who we hate" talk. Then with her snide "hey, it's my old friends Brooke and Haley and their new friend Lindsey" talk. Peyton was a first class bitch in this episode and I, for one, am proud of Lindsey for not letting Peyton treat her like that.
I agree with some who say Peyton doesn't have to be friends with Lindsey - she absolutely doesn't. BUT she shouldn't have made that effort in 504 then just to turn around and act like a jerk all over again. She could have just told Lindsey that it was too hard. Believe me - I've been through this personally with my current boyfriend and his ex. It was months later when I started dating him but she still had feelings. Unfortunately, his friends were her friends as well so we were bound to run into each other. She actually pulled me aside one day and we had a good talk - agreed to be civil with one another but we were never gonna be friends. Somethings just can't be plausible. And honestly, I respected her for being that honest with me. And my relationships didn't have anything to do with her - it was me and my boyfriend. She wasn't even an issue for us - whatever feelings she had she had to figure them out on her own.
Those were my only issues with Peyton in season 5. I absolutely loved her and agreed with her on everything concerning Lucas. She said "someday" but Lucas (like usual) didn't hear what he liked so he ran away. For God's sake, they didn't need to break up. How old were they? They didn't have to be Naley and in Brooke's words "get married at the ripe old age of twelve". They also lived on opposite sides of the country at the time; marriage wasn't exactly sensible. Lucas was the one at fault in the Leyton breakup - he wanted what he wanted and didn't give a damn about anyone else's feelings.
And how he treated both Peyton and Lindsey wasn't fair.
Lucas chose to be with Lindsey. Lucas chose to propose to her. Lucas chose to say "I do". Nobody held a gun to his head. He chose all of that - even after Peyton made it clear she wanted him back. Lucas knew he still had feelings for Peyton but he was a coward and took the "easy" way out. In the process, he strung along an innocent girl. He repeatedly reassured Lindsey it was over between him and Peyton; Lindsey was in love with Lucas so I don't find it too crazy that she was kind of "wearing glasses" when it came to Leyton. To us viewers, it was painfully and annoying obvious but it's understandable why it wasn't to her. We have to remember that Lucas and Lindsey had two years (that we didn't see) with no Peyton - just the two of them, building a real relationship. But when Peyton comes back into the picture, that relationship was tested. Lindsey's feelings never changed but Lucas's clearly did. He should have been a man and ended the relationship - at least so he could figure out which damn girl he wanted without hurting either of them further in the process.
Peyton (in terms of Lucas) was also innocent. She tried to keep a distance between herself and Lucas but he kept pushing his way back in. In 504 at COB, I really loved Peyton when she went off on him. He was unfair to her. Let's face it - Lucas is a wishy washy dick when it comes to relationships. I honestly don't see what Peyton or Brooke or Lindsey see in this guy but whatever - I don't have to. LOL! Peyton was honest with her feelings, too. I think she may have went about them in kind of the wrong way (the 507 kiss - again, that's mainly because she was cheating with someone else's boyfriend again) but at least she was honest. And with the mixed signals Lucas was sending her - it's hard for me to truly blame her.
So was Peyton a bitch in season 5 - IMO, only with Lindsey. Everything else, I'm on her side.