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Friday Night Lights is about to leave the airwaves for good, but in a blessed twist of fate, one of the best scripted dramas of the last 10 years will go out as an EMMY NOMINEE FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES!!!!!! That’s right, ladies and gentleman! Much like one of Coach Taylor’s patented 4th Quarter Comebacks ™, our beloved series has scored a touchdown in the final seconds for an amazing upset win! FNL has fought adversity in the form of low ratings and impending cancellation, but miraculously has survived and thrived, leaving a lasting impression on the landscape of celebrated television drama series. CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS CAN’T LOSE!!!! Realistically, we have no shot to win the trophy in two months time, but that is mostly irrelevant.
Congratulations also go to Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton on their repeat nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama Series, and to Jason Katims on his nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, for the upcoming series finale. When you’re watching the episode tomorrow (or today, depending on when this recap gets posted), enjoy it that much more knowing that it’s been justly recognized for its excellence.
That being said, we arrive at the penultimate episode in this final season. The Finale Prologue if you will. And everything that happens in this hour is squarely designed to send this show off into the annuls of television history. If you came for the funny, you might be disappointed. I can’t promise belly laughs at this stage of the game, when so much of the action is so realistic and serious. I’ll try my best, though.
Our episode opens late at night, with Tami-Joe Clark arriving home via taxi. Initially, I thought it strange that Coach wouldn’t be there to pick her up, but I remembered Gracie Bell. Somebody has to stay home to watch her.
Honey, I’m HOME!!! No, don’t get up…
She walks in to find Coach sleeping on the couch, attempting to wait up for her. He gets up to welcome her home, sharing a tender kiss and embrace. Tami is excited to tell him about the trip, but he has a surprise for her. Princess Angst walks out from the bedrooms to greet her mom, and Tami is clearly thrilled. She finished up her exams early, so she thought she’d come home early.
Not early enough to pick her up from the airport, though. Selfish brat!
Or she’s officially dropped out of college. Given the amount of time she’s missed this semester, I can’t see how she was able to salvage her GPA. And now I’m wondering why no one picked her up from the airport. That was kinda shitty. Then again, we wouldn’t get this wonderful Taylor family moment.
Meanwhile, we cut to the trailer where Texas Forever is squatting. The door flies open, and a half naked Texas Forever jumps out, dragging the mattress and throwing out various pieces of bedding. Is it a fit of rage? Did he have a bad dream? A flashback to a particular traumatic event that occurred during lights-out in prison? We may never know.
Gratuitous Semi-Naked Pic of the Week: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Edition
But clearly, he’s having difficulty adjusting to the outside world. He stumbles away from the trailer, looking over his shoulder with a mixture of confusion and fear showing on his handsome face. If only I could be there to hold him in my arms and comfort his weary soul….
The next morning, we visit the Red Storm field, where the press has taken up residence. As in years past, the NBC Peacock is positioned front and center for some seamless (and well earned) product placement.
Would it have killed them to throw DirecTV a bone here?
Principal Downtrodden is fit to be tied, yelling at the reporters to move their trucks and tents off the grass. He barks at Coach what the hell is going on, as he drives up. Coach responds with the obvious answer. STATE!!! DUH!!! Coach has a little bit of experience with it, but Principal Downtrodden responds that he’ll never get used to the media circus. And the 800lb elephant sits squarely in the middle of the field with a sign that reads, “You probably won’t ever have to get used to it.” The school board’s decision to cut one football program hangs heavy in the air.
The Red Storm football players convene at the local grocery store with the rally girls and cheerleaders, handing out flyers to publicize the upcoming hearing and gathering signatures in support of their team. Hayseed Hottie begs a Mexican woman with a bag of groceries in one arm and an infant in the other to attend.
No encienda mí en el Departamento de Inmigración, por favor!
A light bulb bursts above Hayseed’s head as he points out to Blind Side Lite that they need a babysitter. That way, all the single mothers can show up to the meeting. Brilliant idea, Hayseed!!! Add community organizer to your list of interests… maybe someday you’ll be president too! Blind Side Lite sees the value in his idea, saying QB Princess can do it. She immediately responds, “OH HELL NO!” She turns the idea back on the boys, telling them to be the babysitters and learn how to nurse a baby. Um… Peter Griffin tried it, and it doesn’t really work out all that well, but thanks for the suggestion, QB Princess. Blind Side Lite asks if Hayseed Hottie will be going with him to Ray’s BBQ to pass out more flyers. He can’t, because Coach set up a recruiting meeting for him with a small D3 school. Why aren’t bigger schools interested in him, given all the highlights we get to see of Hayseed scoring TDs and smothering on defense. But an opportunity is an opportunity.
We check in with Small Town Loser and Stripper Wife at their ultrasound appointment. They watch the screen with excitement as the technician finds the little fetus. Small Town Loser kisses his wife in celebration just as the technician notices something of mild importance. She congratulates them because they’re having TWINS!!!!
Delusion on the left, Reality on the right
Small Town Loser go nuts with joy, but Stripper Wife understandably can’t hide the fear and panic on her face. Once the adrenaline wears off, Small Town Loser gets a little dose of reality too. The reality of this moment is striking and a little heartbreaking.
Tami visits Coach in his office at school, wanting to talk about Braemore College, seeing as they haven’t had an opportunity to discuss it. She drops the bomb on Coach, that they offered her the Dean of Admission position and that she wants to take it. At no point does excitement or pride register on his face.
More like incredulity over the mere suggestion that his career take a back seat to hers.
He points out Braemore College is in Philadelphia, saying that it’s a long commute. Tami realizes that an anvil just fell on her dreams, Looney Tunes style. Cue the little puff of dust. Her voice cracks a little when she says that they’d have to move, and Coach digs his feet firmly into his position on the matter. “But we LIVE in TEXAS.” For possibly the first time ever, Coach acts like a complete asshole and a hypocrite, pointing out that their family and friends all live in Texas. Texas is where HE works. Except you were perfectly ok with moving to Florida two episodes ago, when it was for YOUR JOB!!! BOOOO, COACH!!!! Tami presses on, pointing out that this is an opportunity of a lifetime, and a great time to look at how they make decisions for their family. Also, the timing is opportune, given the fact that Coach may be OUT OF A JOB in a matter of days. Tami says that they should at least talk about it, but Coach can’t be bothered to talk about it right now.
Yes, you married a neanderthal. Watch out before he clubs you over the head and drags you back home by your hair.
With disappointment and hurt all over her face, Tami correctly points out all the times in the past that they’ve moved for HIS job. ATTA GIRL!!! Coach completely deserved that kick in the nuts!
After the theme, we check in with Texas Forever working the bar at Buddy’s. Small Town Loser walks in and meekly says hello.
Can we talk calmly this time? I just got rid of the black eye from our last heart to heart conversation.
Texas Forever looks at him and walks away, getting a beer for a customer. Small Town Loser implores him to talk. When ignoring him doesn’t work, Texas Forever finally gives in. Small Town Loser plays the brother card, saying it’s stupid for things to be this way and telling him to just come home. When Texas Forever responds with, “I’m moving to Alaska,” my jaw hits the floor along with Small Town Loser. He’s gonna work the pipeline after his parole is up. Small Town Loser tries to laugh it off, joking about sleeping with woodchucks and moose, asking what about his ranch land. Texas Forever reveals that he’s gonna sell it and leave Texas. Small Town Loser, looking hurt and disappointed, takes his keys and walks out. Oh, Tim Riggins, what happened to you? Texas is supposed to be FOREVER, remember?!?!?!?
Meanwhile, QB Princess can’t get the washing machine door to close, banging out her frustrations on it. Blind Side Lite walks in, asking if everything is ok. She mutters that it’s broken, and he walks up to calm her down and easily closes the door. She wallows in her own angst, telling him not to be nice to her. She needs people to be fair, not nice. Oh honey, you should already know that life ain’t fair. You live in the ghetto, left behind to raise your brothers while your dad is off franchising his restaurant. But I can understand the feeling.
Yes, because the school board’s real agenda is to prevent you from becoming the nation’s second female high school football coach.
Looking hurt and disappointment (do I sense a pattern forming here?), she finally got what she wanted—an opportunity to shadow a great football coach and take positive steps toward achieving her own coaching dreams. Now, with the writing on the wall, her opportunity is slipping away. Just like Hayseed Hottie’s with TMU, just like Blind Side Lite’s with Okla Tech., just like Coach’s with Shane State, and just like Tami’s with Braemore College. Blind Side Lite, either ignoring said writing or foolishly believing that they can change the inevitable, tells her that they won’t let that happen.
Hayseed Hottie takes his recruiting meeting with two guys from the pathetic little D3 school. One of them returns to the table remarking about how great the pudding is and how much he loves a good pudding.
If you look closely, the dude in the tie has pudding face from those creepy commercials.
The other dude starts talking about the program, and you can see the disappointment and hurt build on Hayseed’s face. They play an 8 game schedule (fewer than high school, apparently) mostly in Arkansas, but they do get to go to Oklahoma once every other year. He’d be playing both offense and defense, just like in high school. The town is bustling, with a new CostCo, a new movie theater, and a thriving fishing community. Hayseed says, with no enthusiasm whatsoever, that he probably likes fishing, and it all sounds perfect. The meeting wraps with the Coach Dude passing across a playbook and inviting him to get in touch with any questions, saying they’d love to have him.
It’s ok, Hayseed. There’s always the show pig competition circuit and community organization. You’ll survive.
Hayseed is completely polite, but you can see the last ties to his football dreams getting completely severed here. Again, my heart breaks because he deserves so much more than this. But as with so many other things, we don’t always get what we want. Poor kid.
As the team runs out onto the field for practice, Blind Side Lite plays cheerleader while Coach takes an interview. The reporter asks about the burdens placed on Blind Side Lite to lead the team and has he taken on too much. Coach responds that his star quarterback is perfectly capable to handling the pressure and they haven’t even scratched the surface of his true potential. The entire time he’s answering, he’s fidgeting and showing signs of distraction.
No, the impending school board decision and my wife’s job offer aren’t distracting me in the…. SQUIRREL!
She follows up with a question about Coach’s focus, and he deflects nicely, acknowledging the elevated emotions, but there are no problems with focus. He excuses himself from the interview to have a chat with Hayseed Hottie about the recruitment meeting. Hayseed says that the meeting went great, but you can tell his spirit is crushed. Coach catches on to it, trying to draw out the details of the discussion. Hayseed says that they were nice men who were passionate about the program and about him… that’s all you can ask for, but really, there’s so much more you can ask for. Coach can only respond, “Good,” and Hayseed thanks him before walking off with Coach looking on with concern.
We check in with Booster Dick, who’s frying a steak while listening to radio announcer/narrator talking about the inevitability of the Evil Empire prevailing in the upcoming school board decision. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door, and Booster Dick turns off the stove to answer it.
Devil in a Blue Cap
Perfectly on cue, the head Evil Empire Booster stands there, immediately diffusing the tension. He doesn’t wanna be there any more than Booster Dick wants him there, but the winds of fortune are shifting. He has the inside track on how the board will rule, and the Evil Empire is destined to prevail. Booster Dick acts incredulous and asks how he knows. The Evil Empire just KNOWS, because they’re evil and they probably have the school board strung up like puppets. But it’s Dillon, and Dillon is a Panther town and Booster Dick is still a Panther deep down.
They want him back because changes are coming and they need someone to handle Blind Side Lite, who will be a Panther in the fall. And Booster Dick can lead it all if he wants to. He watches Evil Empire Booster walk away with an expression of mild anger mixed with resignation. The odds continue to get worse and worse for our beloved Red Storm, as Booster Dick will likely be the first turncoat here.
Meanwhile, at his bar, Texas Forever is trying to handle serving drinks to a huge crowd when one disgruntled drunkard gets impatient. He pesters Texas Forever for his drink, saying he’s been waiting over 5 minutes to get served. Texas Forever ignores him until the drunkard develops beer muscles (see definition in last week’s recap), calling him a JAILBIRD! OH FUCK NO!!!
Bet you wish you kept your mouth shut and waited patiently for that beer now, huh?
Texas Forever drops what he’s doing and leans over the bar to grab the idiot by the shirt and pull him up into his face. He utters a softly spoken but firm threat to END HIM if he ever calls him that again. Just then, an angel walks in to prevent a clear parole violation and a return trip to jail. The angel speaks to get Texas Forever’s attention, saying she’s been waiting for 5 minutes to get her drink. Recognition crosses Texas Forever’s face as the rest of FNL Nation squeals with delight as the camera turns to reveal a brunette Tyra Collette, AKA Ex-Slut.
Welcome back, Tyra!
Texas Forever lets go of the drunkard as she teases him, calling him a jailbird, too. But she does it with a flirtatious smile, sauntering up to the bar and telling the drunkard to move. She takes a seat and greets Texas Forever with a look of happiness that acknowledges only the good history between them, and the inner turmoil disappears off of Texas Forever’s face. YAAAAAAAAAY!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!
Now this is the Texas Forever we know and love!
However, what I do not love is the look on Tami’s face as she sits at home wallowing in self-pity. Coach walks in and sits down next to her with a sigh of exhaustion. He apologizes to Tami for his behavior earlier, saying that he’s just having a hard time wrapping his mind around her news.
She’s not cutting off your dick and making you wear a dress, Coach.
He continues, acknowledging just how much he’s aware of how much this means to Tami, and the brief glimmer of hope I had for him is quickly extinguished. The way he’s talking, you know there’s a huge BUT coming… “But I am sorry, we’ve got an obvious problem here.” That was rather ambiguous. What exactly is the problem? The fact that Tami has a job offer, or the fact that you don’t wanna sacrifice your own career? Because the last time I checked, there are high school football programs in the northeast. I live about an hour north of Philadelphia and high school football is pretty popular up here. So, again, I ask, WHAT’S THE FUCKING PROBLEM?!?!?! As if answering my question, Tami says that she doesn’t see a problem here, pointing out the impending school board decision to cut one football program <cough Red Storm cough> and how lucky they can be to have a decent income coming in once Coach gets fired. Coach gets suddenly angry, accusing her of being against “them.” Tami asks for clarification and gets insulted when she finds out he means HIS TEAM when she’s trying to have a conversation about THEIR FAMILY and THEIR FAMILY’S FUTURE.
God forbid we have a conversation that isn’t about YOU!
But she keeps calm, pointing out all the decisions they’ve made based on his career and begging him to at least consider something beyond football for once. She asks if they can just have the conversation, and Coach falls back to being an asshat, sarcastically nodding his head, saying YEAH, and walking out of the room, leaving Tami behind to wallow again in her own self pity. Dammit, Coach, why are you making me dislike you?
I wish I could have a beer on my breaks at work. Who’s with me?!?!?!
Texas Forever and Ex-Slut share a beer out behind Buddy’s, catching up. Stripper Wife is mad at Ex-Slut for only coming home once since Baby Riggins was born. Texas Forever asks why she doesn’t just come home, and she responds that she doesn’t like coming home. She’s always been a proud woman, but she’s also always been ashamed of where she comes from. But she mentions that Stripper Wife is gonna need help with the twins. This is news to Texas Forever, and Ex-Slut asks if Small Town Loser told him. He admits that they haven’t been talking much, making a hasty exit to get back to work. He thanks her for writing to him in prison. She asks if Small Town Loser went to see him in prison, and he says with disdain that he sure did visit, taking real good care of him. Ex-Slut looks after him slightly confused. Hmmm I wonder how much of the situation she really knows.
Back at the Riggins house, the camera pans from the baby’s crib to the master bedroom. You can hear Stripper Wife crying and Small Town Loser saying some unintelligible words of comfort. Stripper Wife explodes in a hormone induced meltdown, bemoaning her belief that her baby boy won’t know who she is because she’ll be knee deep with twin crap. She’s just being ridiculous here, but reality soon sets in. They don’t have the room in the house for twins (not with T&T Girl staying there), having to live in a tent because they can’t afford having more babies.
She didn’t get an Emmy nomination, but she’s been FANTASTIC this season, nonetheless!
God bless Small Town Loser and his optimism here, saying things are gonna be ok. That might have worked before when they thought they were having one kid, but that shit ain’t flying now. He says that he’ll be coaching next year, and Stripper Wife calls bullshit on that real fast. But he’s committed to his delusions, managing to calm her down by pointing out that he’s always taken care of her. My BFF, Lrhflute, pointed out that they’re like the white trash Taylors, and this scene really drives that comparison home. They’re both strong individuals who obviously love each other and help each other through the many obstacles of life. Dammit, Tim, why can’t you see this? Your sacrifice really did pay off!!!
At the Red Storm field, Coach Father Figure wraps up a practice and sends his players off to the locker room. Booster Dick shouts words of encouragement as they exit the field, and Coach greets him. Booster Dick very carefully and discretely asks if Coach has been thinking about the possibility of things not going their way at the school board meeting. Coach, with his head buried deeply in the sand, or the Texas equivalent thereof, refuses to believe that the board will eliminate the Red Storm. Booster Dick presses, tipping him off to what’s really gonna happen. They’ll take the best of the Evil Empire and the best of the Red Storm and create a super team with many more state championships ahead of them. Booster Dick implores Coach to think about what they can do with all the funding and all the community support. Coach stubbornly responds that he thinks Evil Empire Coach will do a fine job, but Booster Dick states the obvious about who they’ll want as coach, tacitly implying his role in the future of football in Dillon. And like he’s done all episode, Coach refuses to talk about it, leaving to pick up Gracie Bell.
White Trash Family Reunion
The Riggins/Collette family reunion commences, with Mamma Debbie Downer asking Small Town Loser what he’s gonna do for money with a toddler and two more babies on the way. Stripper Wife looks on while Small Town Loser verbalizes his delusion that he’ll survive the school board decision with his coaching job intact. He believes that they’re not gonna cut a state champion, clearly putting all his eggs in the same basket as Coach Father Figure did last week. Meanwhile, Stripper Wife and Ex-Slut both stand by, neither one brave enough to tell Mamma Debbie Downer to shut the fuck up. Probably because they both feel the same way, and just want Mamma to take the brunt of Small Town Loser’s anger. T&T Girl fails to change the subject, commenting that Hayseed Hottie says the Red Storm defense is unstoppable. Ex-Slut pipes up, talking about her visit with Texas Forever. Stripper Wife sits up for the gossip, knowing the sordid history between the two, but Small Town Loser asks if he told her about his plans to move to Alaska. By Ex-Slut’s reaction, the answer to that is a resounding WTF!?!?!? Small Town Loser says it ain’t gonna happen, writing it all off on him having a difficult time readjusting to freedom.
I’m smarter now. Not because I’m going to college, but because of Clairol Nice N’ Easy, Chestnut Shimmer.
Ex-Slut, however, puts her higher education to good use, silently analyzing the different pieces to the puzzle and seeing just how none of it fits together. Doing her best Detective Beckett impression, you just know she’s gonna get to the bottom of all this nonsense.
A car drives slowly down a residential street, focusing on one particularly run down but oh so familiar home in Dillon. As if we didn’t already know, the camera shows the familiar blue and gold sign that once proudly stood on the front lawn for former Panther QB1, Wounded Puppy Dog. Princess Angst pulls over and sits there, looking at the house considering all the things that might have been.
Awwwww! Those were the days, my friend… I thought they would never end.
A pickup truck drives up to the Country Junction Ranch, and Hayseed Hottie looks up from his chores to see that it’s T&T Girl paying him a visit. He asks her whose truck she driving and she lets him know that it belongs to the married Riggins brother. She wants to explain things to him, but he barely looks up from whatever he’s doing. Like a petulant child, he says he’s got a lot of work to do, so she slings attitude, promising to make it quick.
I’m surprised he isn’t standing there with his arms folded and a scowl on his face.
She proceeds to go on a somewhat justified rant about her feelings for Texas Forever. She was lonely and felt like she was in the way. Then Texas Forever showed up and treated her like a friend. He was there for her and helped her when she got pregnant. She admits to loving him and idolizing him, but she also admits that she knows it isn’t real. Hayseed Hottie is real. And having bared her soul, Hayseed Hottie continues to be a stubborn brat, telling her to put her pretty words in a poem. True to form with this episode, she looks hurt and disappointed, telling him very loudly to GO TO HELL!
I let perverted men touch my girl parts so that I could give you a silk tie, and this is the thanks I get?!?!?!?! NO FAIR!
Now, if he knew that she had been waitressing in a strip club and letting skeevy men stuff cash in her panties, then he might be justified in acting this way. And if T&T Girl was truly being honest with him, instead of glossing over the details of what Hayseed interrupted last week in his drive-by, then she’d be justified in her hurt and disappointment. Hey, FNL can’t get everything right.
We arrive at the town hall meeting to discuss the topic of football programs, and which one of them gets cut. Lots of shouting goes on, and the chair of the meeting has a hell of a time keeping everyone calm.
Not your average Stars Hollow Town Hall Meeting. Where’s Taylor Doose when you need him!
Coach Father Figure and Small Town Loser stand in the back looking like deer caught in headlights at the craziness of it all. Finally, the Chairperson whistles, and silence settles across the room. He gives the floor over to a woman in orange, who proceeds to make a very valid point for the Red Storm needing the funding more since the other program gets most of its funding from booster donations. One word for you: JUMBOTRON! Because really, does any high school football team in the country really NEED one of those monstrosities? Exactly my point, and hers. The crowd erupts again, and the Red Storm players walk in amidst the ruckus.
WTF! The adults have gone insane!
A female Evil Empire supporter gets recognized by the chair to make her point—that some of the people on THIS side of town happen to own their own houses. WHOA! Not only does that statement have racist implications (considering a white woman spoke it), but it also has no bearing whatsoever on helping to determine which football program should be salvaged and receive the school board funding! I’ll make the obvious parallel between the Red Storm supporter making a valid and well articulated point, and the Evil Empire supporter being ignorant and entitled.
Civilized debate? I could tell you that this is a picture of the US Congress, and you’d probably believe me.
The room erupts into chaos once again, and Coach Father Figure just stands looking embarrassed. The Red Storm supporters in the room start chanting STATE, and another point in their favor gets recorded. Case closed… keep the Red Storm.
The next day, Small Town Loser tries to multitask, scribbling prepared remarks onto a small piece of paper on his steering wheel while he tries to drive.
Texting and Driving, circa 1987. Dude, join the 21st century.
We cut to him delivering those remarks to Coach Father Figure, asking about his future in the football landscape next season. Coach carefully considers his response, saying only that the landscape is a little blurry right now. Given what Booster Dick told him, he’s either stringing Small Town Loser on or he’s clinging to the hope that the Red Storm might still get chosen. Small Town Loser, on the verge of desperation, clues Coach in on the fact that he’s got twins on the way. Coach wishes he could be more helpful, but he just doesn’t know. Come on, Coach… cut the guy some slack. He needs the job. At least tell him he should be putting his resume together or something.
Hayseed Hottie awkwardly visits Buddy’s Bar, which is oddly vacant of paying customers. Texas Forever notices him there, asking what he’d like. Hayseed orders a cheeseburger and a coke. Clearly sensing ulterior motives, Texas Forever asks if there’s anything else, and without skipping a beat, he comes right out and asks the stupidest question ever. “Are you and Becky in love?” HAHAHAHA!!!! We’ve always known that he’s a romantic, but he’s giving Wounded Puppy Dog a run for his money here. I don’t know how Texas Forever refrains from laughing in his face. Still, the sensitive athlete shtick is rather attractive…
So much hotness on my screen right now!
Texas asks if he’s serious, and Hayseed responds, like a heart attack. Texas Forever proceeds to say exactly what T&T Girl tried to tell him the night before. He asks if Hayseed has any other questions. Hayseed blurts out the situation with the D3 school and how unsure he is of what to do. Texas takes a seat, and drops some knowledge on Hayseed. Nothing will be bigger than STATE, so play the game like he’s never going to play again. Then move on with his life. I wonder if this is the best advice, but I think Texas Forever is just helping Hayseed accept the reality of his situation. It’s a great moment between the two of them.
Meanwhile, Blind Side Lite and QB Princess visit School Board Person who was running the town hall meeting the night before. Looking frazzled and somewhat impatient, he asks that they keeps their remarks concise. Blind Side Lite brings up their attendance at the meeting, but he wants to take the high road and talk straight. School Board Person is grateful and gives him the floor.
QB Princess is just as pleasantly surprised as we are over how much Blind Side Lite has grown up.
Blind Side Lite talks from the heart about how football at East Dillon saved him from juvie, and it probably saved his life. He’s got great teammates and a coach who’s like a father to him. Coach gives 100% every game and every practice. Football is more than a game for them… it’s their life. School Board Person thanks him, saying it was the best part of his day. Tears well up in QB Princess’ eyes, both at the passion with which Blind Side Lite spoke, and at her own desire to see the Red Storm survive his decision.
Back at Texas Forever’s trailer, he and Ex-Slut relax in lawn chairs while she breaks down his situation. He’s squatting on this land, living in a trailer that isn’t his, moving to Alaska and not talking to his brother.
He’s still got a beer in his hand, so he’s still the Texas Forever you know and love.
She asks if things are really that bad. Texas Forever answers the awkward unspoken question by denying getting raped in prison. PHEW, that’s a relief! Ex-Slut asks what the hell is going on with him, and Texas Forever admits that Small Town Loser started the chop shop and went to prison for his brother. Ex-Slut is flabbergasted at the truth, and can’t figure out why he would do something like that. Texas Forever spells it out for her, saying he had the opportunity to change something, to give his nephew something they never had—a father. Ex-Slut looks at Texas with compassion and pity, and that sound you hear is her ovaries jump-starting like a tractor engine.
A biological clock the size of Big Ben
Back at the Taylor household, Tami-Joe Clark has resorted to the bottle to drown her sorrows, sipping from a Big Carl-sized glass of wine. Princess Angst comes in, mildly disturbed at the scene in front of her, asking if she’s ok.
Do I need to call Dr. Drew for you? Between Love Lines and Celeb Rehab, we’ve got all the bases covered.
Tami nods, but her face betrays the depth of her hurt and disappointment. She’s asks why she didn’t go with Coach to the meeting, and Tami responds that he decided to go on his own. Translation: He’s being a prick, and she has no desire whatsoever to be with him right now. She asks when they’re going to announce the decision, and Tami searches her brain through the alcohol induced fog to respond soon. Princess Angst asks with a little bit of shame what she’s hoping for. Tami truthfully responds that she hopes that the Red Storm get to stay and that she can be Dean of Admissions at Braemore College. At that point, Tami feels the need to reassure Princess Angst that her mother and father love each other very much. Translation: They’re headed for Divorce Court. Check your local listings!
At the school board meeting, several hundred people have gathered for the much anticipated announcement. The Red Storm, the Evil Empire, coaches, boosters, teachers, news crews, kids, adults, vagrants.
At such a highly charged moment like this, would the enemies really be fraternizing?
Looks like FNL spent a good portion of their extras budget for this one scene. Strains of an emo rock song rise up while the camera pans the crowd to catch 90% of the major cast members awaiting the decision. The School Board Person comes out to address the crowd. A hush falls as he begins speaking. After careful consideration and a vote of 5-2, the football program remaining in Dillon will be the Evil Empire. The Red Storm have been eliminated. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! And yet, it was the decision we all expected. Cheers go up from half the crowd while faces of hurt and disappointment show on the rest.
One face, in particular. I’d feel more sympathy for you if you haven’t been such a complete jerkwad to your loyal and supportive wife.
Coach Father Figure starts to walk away when Blind Side Lite approaches him. Coach tells him that he’ll shine as the star QB of the Dillon Panthers next year, and I vomit a little in my mouth at the thought of him wearing the blue uniform of the Evil Empire. Blind Side Lite then throws his arms around his Coach/Father Figure and they hug out their hurt and disappointment.
Ok, fine. I still love him!
When their embrace ends, he pats Blind Side Lite on the shoulder saying they’ve got one more game, and he’ll see him at practice tomorrow. Coach gets to his truck to quietly make his getaway to find Booster Dick waiting for him in his car. With a serious, introspective look on his face, Booster Dick says that they have to talk.
The Evil Empire fans take their celebration to the streets while Princess Angst and Ex-Slut catch up with each other.
Bob’s Big Boy is about to attack! Maybe Ginger White Bread will show up, kill him with a pipe, and toss his body in the river…
Princess Angst sarcastically says “Welcome back to Dillon!” and I die a little inside. The high school football machine has prevailed despite the glorious uprising of their rivals in red. It’s a sad sad night. The girls laugh in the face of the ridiculousness of it all, but Ex-Slut acknowledges how Dillon and/or football in Texas is like this drug that keeps drawing them in. Then she asks Princess Angst about Wounded Puppy Dog, getting the basic rundown. They still talk once in a while, she visited him in his new home in Chicago, but she doesn’t know what they are or aren’t anymore. Ex-Slut waxes almost-philosophical, saying that life is much harder when you really love someone. I wonder if there’s a double meaning there. Maybe she’s still in love with Texas Forever? Their conversation takes on a whole new level of subtext now as they sit there quietly and ponder their situations.
Over at the Evil Empire Stadium, Booster Dick and Coach Father Figure have that talk while sharing a beer in consolation while the infamous Jumbotron looms large in the background. Booster Dick assures Coach that he did the best he could to save his team while Coach curses those Sons o’Bitches for making Blind Side Lite a Panther. Their conversation is silenced by the cheers and horn honking by a car load of obnoxious Evil Empire-ites.
They could have moved the Jumbotron over to the east side of town and painted it red. Just saying….
Booster Dick continues to paint a rosy picture on the situation, saying that the Evil Empire gets Blind Side Lite, and in June, Coach gets the Panthers. He’ll win STATE with Red Storm, and move over to the Panthers because the nebulous THEY (Boosters? School board? We’re not really sure.) will want him to coach Blind Side Lite. Coach adamantly vows that he can never come back to this school and coach after what they did to him. AMEN!!!! FUCK THEM and their privileged, entitled asses!!!! Booster Dick calls him out on his pride, asking him to picture the following year, with all the players, money and facilities he’ll ever need, resulting in a second straight STATE championship with the Purple Super-Team (blue and red makes purple, right?). And 3 STATE Championships in 6 years, a feat unmatched in Texas Football. Coach will have everything he could ever want. And Coach considers everything that he’s saying, realizing how attractive it all sounds. He calls Booster Dick a Sonavabitch for playing on his ambitions to make him want the job with the Evil Empire. Booster Dick laughs sinisterly, and as they look out at the field some more, we know that Coach has taken the bait. UGH!!!
Meanwhile, our Red Storm players gather at their own football field to get drunk and commiserate over the unceremonious end to their own football program. Tinker engages in the Samoan war chant that started as a joke, but has helped to heal the emotional scars of midseason and bonded them together, stronger than ever. Blind Side Lite pegs him with a football, telling him to shut up, while Lil Dick pours some of a 40 into a red plastic cup. Tinker yells that it’s just like Camelot, and I need help piecing together the comparison. First of all, are we talking about the legend of King Arthur or are we talking about the Kennedy’s? I’m guessing it has something to do with sudden rise and fall of a super power, but I’m hazy on both references. The years of smoking blunts and pounding beers have taken their toll on me, I guess. Either way, Lil Dick is equally confused, and Sunshine 2.0 pokes fun at his naivete and/or ignorance. A clearly wasted Tinker sits down and starts carving out a piece of the grass, containing his blood, sweat and tears, for him to take home and plant in his yard.
I thought “yards” in the ghetto were of the concrete variety….
Blind Side Lite thinks it’s a good idea and asks for one too. Except he doesn’t have a yard in the ghetto, so good luck with that. Then Blind Side Lite announces that they’ll never be able to take away what they were able to accomplish on this field. Hayseed Hottie, once again in that magical state of drunkenness, declares his love for this team and teammates. They’re going to STATE and they’re gonna win, and then he announces that he’s done with football. Blind Side Lite mentions the D3 school that’s trying to recruit him, but Hayseed Hottie doesn’t care about them. He’s got STATE, just like Texas Forever said. They toast to STATE, to Coach Father Figure, and to the Red Storm! Then, Lil Dick pukes on his crutches.
Back at Buddy’s Bar, Texas Forever is mopping the floors when Ex-Slut pays him another visit to drop more knowledge. She can’t imagine how much he’d have to love Small Town Loser to do what he did, but does he really want to turn him away? He’s been his only family and Small Town Loser is one of the few people who’ve believed in him. Truer words were never spoken, and Texas Forever looks as though he can finally see that. She quietly turns and leaves the bar while Texas Forever stands there deep in thought. Suddenly, he snaps back to life, coming to a realization or two. He runs out of the bar and after Ex-Slut. He catches up to her, quietly calling out her name. She turns to face him, and an entire conversation takes place through their eyes in this brief moment. Texas Forever than places his hand on the nape of her neck, his thumb stroking her cheek.
He’s been in prison for almost a year, Tyra. Be careful…
Ex-Slut shrinks away from his touch at first, fighting her feelings, but quickly gives in. A suddenly vulnerable Texas Forever implores her not to go, and rests his forehead on hers. She brings up her hand to tenderly stroke the side of his face (or his long greasy hair). And finally, they share an amazing kiss in the empty parking lot while the wind rustles through the power lines overhead.
Coach Father Figure stumbles in his front door, only to find Tami sitting on the couch waiting up for him. Coach sits down on his easy chair, tosses his keys onto the coffee table and rubs his forehead. He tells her that the Red Storm is done. She knows already, saying it’s all right. Then he tells her that they want him to coach the new team. She’s confused, so he explains Booster Dick’s concept of the Purple Super Team , stupidly repeating Booster Dick’s claim that it’s everything he could ever want. And in that moment, Tami’s hopes are extinguished like a smoldering campfire being pissed on.
Her dreams never stood a chance
But she gathers up her pride, along with a healthy dose of anger to make a powerful point to her husband, saying that she’s gonna say the one thing that he hasn’t had the grace to her. “Congratulations, Eric!” The word is sharper than a samurai sword as it pierces the center of his chest. Then she gets up, grabs her boots and purse, and goes to leave while Coach sits there, hopefully realizing what a complete shithead he’s been.
The next morning, Ex-Slut lies next to Texas Forever in his bed in the trailer. Sun is filtering in the window as she nudges him awake. She’s anxious to have him take her somewhere of significance, but despite his questioning, she refuses to tell him where. Apparently, he’s a heavy sleeper, because she has to climb on top of him to coax him up.
If he really had been raped in prison, this action would have triggered a flashback and ignited a violent reaction.
At East Dillon, QB Princess skulks around Coach Father Figures office, and Blind Side Lite catches her looking at plays he’s drawn up for STATE. Nostalgia immediately sets in as Blind Side Lite laments the imminent demise of everything they’ve worked so hard for. Sadness befalls QB Princess as well. Then, Blind Side Lite draws a parallel from the current situation to their relationship, asking where they stand. QB Princess, having gained a little perspective, tells him that she’s proud of his efforts to save the team, thanking him. Blind Side Lite slowly steps towards her, admitting to being a jerk and letting stuff go to his head. He sincerely apologizes, and she calmly explains that there so much about him that she loves. But he’s got some other stuff in him that, when it comes out, it hurts.
She means your ego and conceit, not your penis.
Blind Side Lite steps around Coach’s desk, asking what might happen if he promises to never be that guy anymore. QB Princess mixes her sports metaphors, saying he already has two strikes against him. Drawing on the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against him, he wisely points out that he was born with two strikes against him. Tears well up in QB Princess’ eyes and her resolve drops and she takes him into an consoling embrace. Like a phoenix from the ashes, they’re relationship is reborn!
Alaska? Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking!
Texas Forever and Ex-Slut have arrived at our previously mentioned significant location. They stand in front of his pick-up, looking out on the ranch land he purchased last year with his share of the chop-shop money. The rising sun casts a beautiful pink glow on them as Ex-Slut asks about Alaska. Texas Forever smiles knowingly, recognizing his foolish attempt to deny the very nature of his soul.
OMG, GRAMMA!!! Mrs. Saracen taps her foot while rocking back and forth in her recliner, eating what looks like an orange? There’s a knock at the door, and then Wounded Puppy Dog steps inside, dragging a Christmas tree behind him.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas… Please Come Home for Christmas…. Oh, Christmas Tree…. Santa Baby…. All I Want for Christmas…. they all work here.
Gramma looks up, not recognizing him at first. He tells her who he is, and pure joy leaps from her old, lonely soul. She shrieks with delight as she gingerly gets up and throws her arms around her beloved grandson!
Awwwww! Best Christmas Present EVER!
He wishes her Happy Christmas and asks if she’s surprised. Clearly she is, and then she asks if he told his daddy he was coming home. The heartbreak is swift and powerful, and I get tears in my eyes. A variety of emotions battle for control of his face, but he covers it well, telling her that she’s the only one who knows that she’s home. They hug again, and he tells her that he loves her. She loves him too, and she’s so glad that he’s home. GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!
And finally, we check in with the Taylors. There’s a knock at their door as well, but this is a business visit, and certainly contains no pleasure for Tami. She opens the door to greet Booster Dick and Evil Empire Booster. They ask to speak with Coach, who appears on the doorway behind Tami.
That’s right. They devil just came a’knockin and you’re gonna let him in.
She steps back, and Coach looks at them with a cold, rigidly intense stare, finally inviting them in. Tami recognizes what all this means as she lets the gentlemen in past her, closing the door behind them. She quietly reminds her husband of the length of time she’s been a football coach’s wife, and then walks past him, asking her guests if she can get them anything. Coach pauses for a second before stepping inside. And I’m hoping that the look on his face is his own little moment of recognition that he’s about to sell his soul to the Evil Empire. DON’T DO IT, COACH!!!!!!
And there we have it, folks. One episode left, to resolve the issues still outstanding, to tie up loose ends, and to send this show off. Will the Lions win STATE? Will the Taylors remain in Dillon? What will happen to Vince and Jess, Luke and Becky, Billy and Mindy, Matt and Julie, Tim and Tyra? Join me next week to savor every last minute of the hour and a half finale.