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Ugh. That is all I have to say about this week’s episode of Friday Night Lights. Just ugh.
I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden everything sucked. Except the Taylors, who were delightful as always. Everyone else – dead to me. I’m looking at you, writers. I know you wrote this episode long before the strike began, so there’s no excuse. Lay off the late night Red Bull.
And apologies for the lateness. I got way behind this week and almost decided not to write this recap, but then caved anyway, if for no other reason that to loudly complain about how awful it was. Join me, won’t you?
We begin with Lyla traversing the streets of Mexico in a taxi. She arrives at the hotel and attempts to check in, but the guy doesn’t speak English. Hey, dude. Speak American when you’re in Amer- Oh. Never mind. Jason shows up, still wearing that damn hat, the one that was charming last week but is now painfully stupid. He gets pissed at her, then gets pissed at Tim, then I get pissed at him because where has my precious adorable Jason gone? He’s been replaced by a cranky old man. That would explain the hat.
Oh, but nothing slaps a smile on my face like a little Taylor fun. Coach sets up some candles in the bedroom and makes some fuck me eyes at his darling wife. He asks how it went at the doctor’s, then not-so-subtly starts begging for sex. Though flattered by the gesture, Tami says she’s not ready yet, and instead instructs him to go spend some time with his baby daughter so she can get some sleep. This woman must have nerves of steel. How could she refuse The Eyebrow??
“Oh hello, I…didn’t hear you come in.”
Jason and Tim are once again gallivanting through the streets in Mexico, regaling Lyla with stories of their their drunken adventures. Meanwhile, at their former high school (seriously, do truant officers exist in Dillon?), Julie runs into Matt in the cafeteria. They flirt awkwardly for a moment, and when Matt returns to the table Landry just repeats the word “No” about seventeen times. Haha. I miss goofy Landry.
Over at practice, no one calls attention to the fact that both a star player and a coach are missing and presumed dead. Maybe the plan is for the entire team to slowly leak across the border until we get enough to start a new show, Luces De Viernes Por La Noche. Coach makes everyone switch jerseys so that offense is playing defense and vice versa. They make it seem like a big deal, but since it has to do with football, I don’t get it. Coach takes special notice of Landry, though he still thinks his name is Lance, in a nice throwback to last season. Matt and Smash start fighting again, and Coach punishes them with 100 up-downs, which sound sexy, but in fact are not.
Following practice, Mac McGill corners Coach in the office and starts drilling him about his sex life. “Back in the saddle with Tami yet?” he asks. I promptly vomit. Coach looks not far behind. Mac continues to dispense advice that Coach did not ask for, suggesting that he make Tami go to a book club so she can get all liquored up with the ladies, so that when she comes home she’ll be ready to go. Coach deadpans perfectly: “Not now, or ever again. I don’t want to hear about you and Susan riiiding in the saddle.” If I had been drinking milk, that line would have sprayed it all over the screen.
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here. Tyra recaps for Landry her trip to the police station. More of we’re in this together and I’d do anything for you and kissy faces. Moving on. Over at the actual police station, Daddy Clarke listens in on a conversation about the dead rapist and how Tyra is definitely a person of interest. He looks Concerned, though this is probably more due to the fact that he’s stuck in the Plotline From Hell.
Lyla’s making a run for the border! She tells Tim that there’s no reason for her to be here, that he thinks it’s all just a big joke and he has no plan. Ah, but Lyla has once again underestimated our dear Riggins. His ace in the hole: a booze cruise. Tim argues that it will contain dolphins and snorkels and is the perfect place to crush Jason’s ever-diminishing hopes and dreams. Lyla is of course outraged and reminds him that he’s an idiot. Tim shoots back that at least he’s here, doing the best he can, while all she wants to do is run away. And then he plays the Bad Christian card, so Lyla has no choice but to grudgingly agree to stay. Poor kid, stuck in Mexico with these two yahoos. I hope gets a nice souvenir sombrero out of all of this.
Breakfast at the Taylors’! Coach is lovingly preparing bacon for his darling wife. He informs her that there are going to be some changes around here. “It’s Wednesday. And what happens on Wednesday nights? Well, I would know that because of this new chart I’ve created! Let’s see…Wednesday…Oh gee, there’s book club tonight!” If this doesn’t send you into hysterics, you have no soul. Tami says she doesn’t want to go to the book club because those women are crazy, but Coach sternly demands that she go, have some wine, and relax. “A man takes care of his wife,” he barks.
“Gee thanks, OPRAH.”
Landry and Tyra flirt over math for a little bit (hot!) and they kiss goodbye upon the threshold of his house. Daddy Clarke just so happens to arrive home at this moment and sees the whole thing. Once she’s gone, he asks his son why he didn’t mention that Tyra had been attacked by the guy whose body they found. Landry feigns innocence on all charges, denying that she ever told him about the attack and that maybe she just didn’t want to talk about it. Dad goes on, now clearly no longer talking about Tyra, saying that sometimes people need someone to talk to about these sorts of things and it’s hard to carry it all alone. Landry doesn’t budge, and Dad doesn’t look mad, just disappointed.
Coach has decided that there is no problem that his Magic Chili can’t fix, so he has Smash and Matt over for dinner to iron out their problems. After some prodding, Matt says that Smash is only in it for himself, and Smash calls him a little bitch. The Magic Chili, isn’t working! Matt compares Smash to Coach, saying how he also only used the team as a stepping stone to something better, and so did his daughter, with the Swede. Ouch. How dare you speak that way in front of the Chili, Saracen?
Tami comes home later, drunk as a skunk. Well, not really, but she’s tipsy and singing a little. It’s cute. He tells her that dinner was a disaster, and she is also shocked that the Magic Chili didn’t work. She’s also acting quite frisky, but apparently it’s all a ruse, because as soon as Coach starts in again on the begging she tells him that every woman at that club had the same six-week story of their husbands begging for sex before they’re ready. He doesn’t take the hint and continues to grope her, but it makes her boobs hurt too much and she leaves to go pump them, reassuring, “I love you, don’t touch me, I love you. Ow ow OW.” Poor Coach. You could see his blue balls from space.
Julie invites Matt to a concert, and, ignoring Landry’s persistent advice, folds like a house of cards. This kid should have the word “doormat” tattooed on his forehead. Or, even better, on his wrist, in Sanskrit, like all the cool kids are doing. Coach, meanwhile, calls Lance (ha!) into his office and tells him that he’s putting him in the game on Friday. Landry, half naked, thanks him and does a little celebratory jig in the locker room. Easy there, Papelbon. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Daddy Clarke pays a visit to Tyra’s house. Mindy walks in half naked, and Tyra gets rid of her by telling her to put some clothes on. Ha. Always a trip at the Colette house! Maybe Mom will wander in and put her ass through the coffee table again. Dad says he’s starting to catch on as to why Tyra and Landry are hanging out all the time now, and have ever since they found that body in the river. Tyra asks if she’s being accused, but Dad says he’s only there as, well, a dad. “Landry has never lied to me. Never. But he’s lying to me now.” And then he forbids her to see Landry anymore.
The House That Strippers Built
Over at the Arctic Freeze, Tami picks up an order from Matt, who asks her if he’s a chump for saying yes to Julie’s concert date. Tami, trying to balance a drink, a bag of food, and a baby, is caught off guard. She stammers for a bit, thereby proving, to me at least, that the Saracen Stutter Syndrome is contagious. In the end, she says that the most important thing in a relationship is trust. So, there’s your answer, Matt. Chump.
Booze cruise time! It should be noted that the name of this illustrious watercraft is SeÃ±or Dolphins. This almost, almost makes up for the load of crap that’s about to come next, but, sadly, it’s not enough. Anyway, it’s a dinky little boat that contains a few bored-looking Mexicans and, of course, our motley crew of high school dropouts. Jason, STILL wearing that godforsaken hat, is chilling in the back of the boat (stern? bow? I have no idea), trying on some goggles and attempting to make himself look even more ridiculous, if that’s at all possible. Why the producers are choosing to cover up all that beauty with oversized novelty props, I’ll never know. Eventually, Tim and Lyla saunter over with somber faces. Time for the intervention.
It doesn’t go well. They say the shark surgery is too dangerous, pointing out that even the doctor said there’s a chance he could die on the table. Whoa. Left that little detail out, didn’t you? Jason doesn’t care, he wants out of the chair, and if he dies then he’s fine with that. Lyla actually says the line “You have so much to live for,” which makes me throw up in my mouth a little, and then starts in with all of the God has a plan and Jesus stuff. Tim wisely attempts to shut her up. Everyone snarks back and forth for a while, ending with Lyla telling Jason he’s being an idiot, and Tim telling him point blank that he’s never going to walk again, period, and that he loves him and he’ll knock him out and drag him back to Dillon if he has to. Oooooh, Tim is gay for Jason!
So this whole mess is painful enough as it is, and not painful in the normal my-heart-is-breaking-but-it-feels-so-good way that this show usually delivers. There is much wincing going on all over my face. But it’s nothing compared to what comes next. Tim and Lyla storm off to watch some dolphins or snorkel or something, and Jason is left alone in the back (port? starboard? poop deck?). After a moment of pensive thinking and plaintive music, he throws himself off the side of the ship and…does not surface. After a moment or two, Tim notices and starts calling for Jason and yelling at the crew to turn boat around. But no one can see him anywhere.
SeÃ±or Dolphin does not have time for your foolish “emergency”!
Okay. I’ll be honest. For a moment, I was terrified that they had killed him off. I was positive they wouldn’t do that, but a part of me was really scared there for a second. No matter how lame Jason gets, he’s still my love and if anything were to happen to him I’d probably have a 100-point freakout. But of course, he’s fine. He surfaces after a minute. My fear turns to disgust real quick, as there’s all sorts of slow motion and goopy music and melodramatic flailing and determined facial expressions like something out of Titanic. Titanic pulls it off quite nicely. This does not. I can barely watch.
Never let go, Jason!
But all this I could forgive (well, no, but I could try and forget) if it had a spectacular ending. Let’s find out what happens, shall we? Jason washes up on a beach and sits there on the sand for a while until Tim and Lyla drive up in the truck and rush over. He’s just sitting there with a stupid little grin on his face, wistfully staring out at the ocean. He apologizes to them, and then says, “I’m not having the surgery. Let’s go back to Texas.”
Okay. Deep breaths.
What?!? That’s IT? Week after week of this kid steadfastly resolving to get this damn surgery, absolutely nothing will change his mind, and then this? A little dip in the ocean and all is well? Cop out. COP OUT.
Not cool, FNL. Not cool. There is well-written drama, which I know you can do exquisitely at times, and then there is schmaltzy crap. This was the latter. Jason’s plotline is one of the best, please don’t reduce it to movie-of-the-week garbage.
Okay rant over. For now.
I think there’s a football game going on or something. As punishment for not respecting the Chili, Coach has benched Matt and Smash, and as a result the Panthers are biting it big time. It’s 13-0 at the half. Time for an inspirational yell. In the locker room, Coach demands to know if anyone has something to say. Landry stands up and meekly spouts a whole stream of sports clichÃ©s, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, they’re better together than they ever could be apart, there’s no I in team, teach a boy to fish, and a rolling stone gathers no moss. It’s kinda lame, the boatload of crap that preceded it certainly not helping. Though it’s nicely topped off with him saying that it’s an honor to even be in the same room with all of them. That’s sweet, at least.
OBEY THE CHILI
The Panthers, freshly inspired, come roaring back onto the field and start winning. Coach puts Lance into the game, much to the delight of his family. He makes a key play, allowing the Panthers to score. Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, meanwhile, are still sitting on the bench. They figure out that Coach wants them to kiss and make up, so they apologize to each other, in a terrible after-school special kind of way, and then tell Coach that they want back in. He relents. Some other things happen, but I don’t notice because I’m too distracted by Grandma Lorraine’s Tyrannosaurus Rex Dance.
Shake it, Lorraine!
More football. The other team fumbles, giving the Panthers a chance to score the winning touchdown. There’s the snap, Matt passes to Landry, Landry gets pummeled, and the Panthers lose. But wait! In the spirit of happy endings and every little plotline getting tied up into a big Christmas bow this episode, a penalty is called, the Panthers get once more chance to score, and they do. The crowd goes wild, chanting Landry’s name. Mama and Papa Clarke are particularly adorable, with Papa yelling “My baby boy!” Aw. All grown up and murdering. You must be so proud.
“You’re no longer a constant disappointment!”
Limping to the finish line now. At the Landry’s Not An Idiot After All party, Tyra pulls her boy out of the celebration thrown in his honor to tell them that they’re through. And she does it in the only way Tyra Collette knows how – by breaking his heart. She says if it hadn’t been for the murder, he never would have had a chance in hell with her. Ouch, Tyra. If only your lustful eyes weren’t betraying you. Lo, the deceit!
In other news, Matt finally grows a pair. He tells Julie he’s not going to the concert because he’s still pissed at her. He’s mad that she’s come crawling back to him after The Swede Incident and never even said she’s sorry. When she whines that she is, he says it’s too late. Congratulations, Matt. Today you are a man.
And then something very disturbing happens. We see Tim, Lyla, and Jason having a celebratory Shark Surgery Epiphany Party. They’re all sloppy drunk and lollygagging about, fine, fine, whatever. Lyla kisses Jason, and Tim watches, smiling. Oh, how nice, I think, a little out of the blue but maybe they’ll get back together? That’s sweet. But THEN Lyla grabs Tim and kisses HIM while JASON watches, smiling! WTF??! She wipes her mouth coyly and coos, “I gotta go pray.” Yeah, you better pray, WHORE. If I weren’t so incredibly jealous of you I’d throw YOU off the back of a boat (crow’s nest? galley?).
Luckily, some halfway intelligent writer is smart enough to wash this disgusting taste out of our mouths by finishing up with a delightful Taylor scene. Long story short, they finally get it on.
So there it is. What did everyone think? Were you as disgusted as I was? I mean, to be fair, it was still better than most of what’s on television these days, but geez. I guess I just hold this show to a higher standard. I care not for defaulting to trite Lifetime Movie clichÃ©s and lame dialogue. However, since last week’s episode was pretty awesome, I’m just going to chalk this up to a bad week. I’m sure they’ll be back on their game next time. Or else…
Or else nothing. Let’s be honest, I’d still watch this show even if it turned into a badminton tourney. I want to see Coach in short shorts.
Did the Leap Into The Ocean Of Insight make you want to:
b) throw the television out the window
c) watch Titanic