So, THIS is the third-to-last episode of Friday Night Lights for the season, not last week’s, as I previously said. Erroneously. I must have been blinded by all of the brilliant television and fantastic acting and the several hours of gushing I do each day. Yeah, that must be it. Hey, if it means we get one more episode, I’m all for it. For what? I don’t know. Think about THAT.
We begin this week with an outrageously naked seventeen-year-old waking up in the bed of a salacious thirtysomething. That’s right, it’s little Timmy Riggins, and it appears that he has scored a touchdown of a very different sort. “Wow, that’s illegal,” I tell my television, as if it has any idea what it’s displaying to me. I am also reminded of last week’s final line in the episode, wherein MILF told Tim that Bo can never know. Um, try the police? The POLICE can never know??Coach drives through the Dillon countryside as Explosions in the Sky plinks away on the soundtrack. Back at the Taylor House, Julie is grilling her mother on the chances of her father actually taking the job. After that lovely little speech you gave him last week? I’d say nil, but Tami puts it more at 80-20. Poor Julie mopes a little more but Tami tells her not to worry, it’s not real yet. More of Coach driving, and just as I’m starting to wonder where the Expositional Radio Sports Show is this week, there it is, chatting about how the Panthers are two days away from the state semi-finals. I KNEW you’d deliver, Sports Jockey.
Coach glances out his window at a field, where Matt just so happens to be running some plays while Jason coaches. He’s apparently been working him pretty hard, as Matt suggests that he’s about to throw up. Jason, the little rascal, is apparently all spunk today: “You wanna go home Saracen? Because I got a busy day too, I can pick up a paper, check in on Oprah…Something wrong with Oprah, Saracen?” Matt stutters no, and Jason affirms that “nothing is wrong with Oprah.” Hehe. I do love me some Jason. What I do not love is the return of the hideous Caesar haircut. I thought that the spinal cord injury had cured him of this terrible affliction, but it looks like it’s back and I’m not a fan.
What’s going on here?
Coach arrives at the field, where the circus is apparently in town. Everyone has started to set up early, with souvenir shops and banners and hoo-has and whatzits everywhere. Coach looks generally disgusted with all of this, and becomes even more so when Buddy Garrity calls at him from the top of the bleachers, where he demonstrates a massive ad for his car dealership. Coach half sarcastically yells back that it’s spectacular. Buddy looks pretty proud of himself.
“Yep, I’m pretty awesome!”
Over in the locker room, Matt finds an envelope in his locker that has…well it APPEARS to have some sort of money in it but that is not real currency, my friends. It is very clearly fake money. I hope the propmaster got fired over that one. Anyway, Matt is clearly unnerved by his newly acquired Monopoly money and looks around the room, confused.
Texas operates on a different system of currency.
*The More You Know*
Coach barges into his office to find Mac lounging about, watching television. Coach asks what the hell he’s doing, why he’s using the office as a living room. You know who, as a hypothetical coaching replacement, wouldn’t do that? JASON. Yeah, I got it, show. Subtle, but I picked up on it. Coach looks out the window at all of the hoopla and complains about how everyone is in it for the money, not for the football. And speaking of blatant commercialism, Buddy bounces into the room, giddy and excited over everything. Coach delivers the best line of the episode, a gushingly sarcastic: “That’s the most fantastic logo I’ve ever seen!” Buddy mistakes this for sincerity and thanks him, so Coach sees his opportunity and digs a little deeper, calling it an incredible piece of art. I feel a little bit of sadness sometimes when I think about how I’m never going to meet anyone in real life who is as awesome as Coach Taylor. It’s truly a shame, WORLD.
Matt stutters and mumbles his way into the office, so Coach kicks everyone out so he can talk to his quarterback. Matt shows him the envelope, and Coach is clearly surprised and perturbed, either because he recognizes it as a sort of bribe, or because he’s confused about what country the money is from. He tells Matt to keep it between them. Suddenly, there is a huge noise and the windows of the office are blown in. Uh oh, looks like Mystery Country wants its dollar bills back. Coach asks no one in particular what the hell that was, then goes outside to investigate, only to find a black cloud rising in the distance.
It’s Valencia all over again! Someone call Jack Bauer!
Jason and the ‘rents are at home, discussing the implications of today’s settlement meeting. Mom doesn’t even want to go, since she’s positive they won’t be offering enough. Jason of course gets moody about this so he abandons his oatmeal for the television, which by now has news of the explosion, which as it turns out was literally…a trainwreck! And a POSSIBLE TOXIC HAZARD!
Dillon High, which is apparently right next door to the trainwreck, is in disarray. A school official assures them that there is some cause for alarm. Thanks dude! He informs the crowd of students that the school is being evacuated and that they can go home, as long as they avoid the section over near…the football field. Damn you railroad engineers, for building your rails so close to the hopes and dreams of America’s youth! Coach barks to his players that there will still be practice. Because if the kids can’t toss a football around, the terrorists have already won.
Julie gives Matt a big old hug because she loves him. Aw. This leaves Landry free to flirt with Tyra some more, who as always stares at him as if he were some sort of dung beetle and declares that she’s leaving. Haha. For me, this little cat-and-mouse game will never grow old. NEVER! Julie lets it slip that Tyra is going to the library, because she has an algebra exam to study for. You can see Landry’s gears slowly starting to grind, and he runs off, visions of quadratic formulas dancing in his head.
Smash and Waverley are having yet another what-are-we-supposed-to-do-now conversation, since Smash STILL doesn’t know how to handle the whole bipolar thing. Waverly is willing to let him off the hook, but he insists that’s not what he wants. He runs off to practice, leaving things unresolved for the forty-seventh time. Waverly turns and complains to…Lyla? Really? I never even thought of these two existing in the same high school. Weird. What’s next, Julie and Tim Riggins? Lyla tells her new BFF Wav about her own boy problems, that her fiance went to Austin and got a tattoo from a sexy girl that he’s clearly into, and that she’s called him four times and he hasn’t called back. Waverly is disgusted that she’s actually called him four times, prompting Lyla to ask exactly what she should do. Wav gets a weird little smirk on her face. I hope the solution is something BITCHIN’!
Cut to Lyla aiming a shotgun. The solution is to KILL Jason?! Oh wait, no. The girls have wandered over to some abandoned field and are now shooting beer cans with shotguns. Yeehaw!
Over in the library, Landry is pacing around and nonchalantly leafing through Our Bodies, Ourselves, which in and of itself is just so hilarious I can’t comprehend how someone even came up with that gag. I envy them and their comedic abilities. He (badly) feigns surprise at running into Tyra, and asks what she’s up to. She says she’s wishing that she could build a time machine to go back and kill whoever invented algebra. Landry points out that she might need algebra to build said machine, and after a beat of awkwardness she attempts to send him away again. Priceless. But Landry isn’t licked that easily, and makes an excellent case as to why he should be her tutor, since he’s some sort of math genius and all. Tyra is FINALLY worn down by his charm and laughs. Yay! I can’t even imagine how awesome this is going to be. Let me just start fashioning my “Landry + Tyra” banners right NOW. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve had them fashioned for months.
Over at the Bank of Whoremerica, MILF is leaving work early to go pick up her gremlin child. But lo and behold, he is already there to greet her, as Tim has retrieved him himself after school got cancelled. I’m starting to think that Bo is actually an old man of some sort. Or one of those kids on Maury Povich who have that disease where they age really fast. Yeah, he looks like that. Anyway, she sends him into the bank offices to finish his homework, which I’m sure her fellow employees are simply thrilled about. She thanks Tim but tells him it’s probably not a good idea for him to come in here, since it’s a small town and it’s outrageously ILLEGAL and whatnot. But then Tim offers to pick up pizza for dinner and all is forgotten. MILF is the biggest pushover I’ve ever seen. Also, a huge slut.
The Panthers are practicing in a field somewhere with little kids running all around. They are grumbling to each other about how beneath them this all is, when Coach catches wind of the discord and knocks them down a peg or two. He gathers them up and tells his team about the two hundred dollars (snicker) Matt found in his locker, then asks who else got some. No one owns up. Maybe no one else got any, or maybe they’re just pissed because two hundred isn’t even enough to buy Marvin Gardens. Meanwhile, Buddy and the Mayor have crept onto the field to have a little chat with Coach. The Mayor tells him that the EPA has decided to keep the school closed until they can sort out all those toxic fumes, and that there is no way that a home game can be played on Friday. Buddy stabs himself in the heart right then and there.
Later, Coach is touring a very fancy football field with the Coach of the rival team. OtherCoach yammers on about how wonderful the stadium is, but our beloved Coach says he’s going to pass. The deal was that the Panthers were going to get a home game, but this place is closer to the other team and he senses that they’re trying to swindle him, so it’s a no.
In the car ride home, Buddy whines that the state-of-the-art facilities would have been great for his sponsors, and Coach mockingly apologizes for losing out on all of that for him. He suggests that he buy out the whole game and call it the Garrity Bowl. Buddy considers this for a moment. Ugh. Coach asks him if he knows anything about the money left in the boys’ lockers, but Buddy claims innocence. His scandalous hair tells a different tale.
Waverly and Lyla are having lunch together. Yeah, because Lyla really needs some more lessons in CRAZY. Waverly says goodbye and leaves, and Smash, who has been hiding in the bushes, swoops in to talk to Lyla. Lyla mocks him, saying that she’s been cheering for him all these years and not once has he ever talked to her, but now that she’s chumming around with Waverly, here he is. Huh. Good point. She jokingly tells him to watch out because she’s a good shot, then tells him about their little shooting party. Smash predictably freaks out and tells her that…Waverly’s got the bipolar! Careful Lyla! You’re gonna catch it too!
Somewhere on the side of the road, Buddy Garrity is taking a leak. Ew. Coach is still grilling him about the money question, and Buddy doesn’t exactly deny it but instead changes the subject. Oh, Buddy. Uncle Moneybags would not approve. He insists that Coach should be focusing more on where the game is going to be played. As Buddy keeps babbling, Coach takes notice of the giant cow pasture in the background. He gets a sly little smile on his face and laughs to himself. Because Coach has a fever. And the only prescription is more cowball.
Landry and Tyra are really hitting it off, math-style. Tyra suggests that he form some sort of math club, to which Landry sheepishly replies that he did but no one showed up. Tyra snarks that that’s shocking. Landry calls her out on the bitterness and they flirt a little more. I wave my banner. Tyra wants to study a little more for the test on Monday, so she says, “Hey, if you’re not doing anything on Friday–” “YES,” shouts Landry. Haha. She says it’s a date. You know, nonchalantly, as the expression calls for. How much you want to bet Landry shows up in a tuxedo?
Coach arrives home, immediately collects his wife, and drags her out to the cow pasture. They stand in the middle of the field and a herd of cows. It’s WONDERFUL. Tami brings up all sorts of logistical questions, none of which Coach knows the answers to. She suggests that this may not be the clearest thought he’s had in a while, but he insists that the whole town is money-hungry and he just wants to play football. He takes her in his arms, makes her close her eyes, and tells her to pretend that she’s ten years old again, “just playing”. They share an extremely sweet kiss and she screams that she loves it. And I scream that I love the Taylors, but it’s not nearly as adorable and maybe even a little creepy.
“Honey, I can’t help but feel that we’re being watched.”
Coach drags the entire football team to the hardware store and gives them a giant list of supplies to buy. They’re making a football field! Huzzah! Of course, Jason happens to be there too, because at that exact moment he is in dire need of some WD-40. Coach asks him what he’s been up to lately, and it’s pretty clear that it’s not much of anything besides admiring his stupid Sanscrit tattoo and not returning his fianceÃ©’s phone calls. I’m almost positive Coach is going to offer him a coaching position right here in the middle of the hardware store, but instead he just says that he’ll see him at the settlement meeting tonight, which Jason apologizes for yet again. Coach has to run off because his boys have decided to knock over a bunch of rakes, and leaves Jason there all alone again, looking pathetic and sad. Poor kid. He wishes he could knock over rakes too.
So he decides to go home and sulk about it. Lyla shows up at his house saying that they need to talk. But first he demands a glass of water, which Lyla obediently gets for him. She asks why he hasn’t called, and he bullshits that he’s been busy. She points out that it’s not to much to ask for him to call and let her know if they’re still engaged or whatever. WELL. Jason explodes and yells for her to get off his back, he’s lost the Coach, lost the team, lost his friends and he has nothing left. Um, I seem to recall a heartbreakingly beautiful nighttime football field party with friends last week, but never mind me. Guess he’s also lost his memory. PLUS the glass of water Lyla got is too full for his tastes. Ironic, isn’t it?
Lyla picks up the glass, throws the water in his face (awesome) and FINALLY shows some balls of her own: “You think it’s been easy for me to help you in and out of that chair?! I do it because I LOVE you, stupid!” Stupid – very teenager, I love it. “But now you’re sitting here feeling sorry for yourself and acting like a JACKASS all the time. You want to play rugby? Find another team. You hate this lawsuit so much? Find a way to make it go away. Next time you want a glass of water? SAY PLEASE.” And she barges out and slams the door. Uh oh. I might love Lyla just a little bit.
Buddy is whining to Coach yet again, asking what the hell he’s trying to do here. He doesn’t think that the semifinals is the time to make a statement about the state of high school football. Also, if he’s trying to do something memorable in his last season as coach (before he goes off to TMU), he doesn’t like that one bit. Hey, Buddy? Shut up. Aren’t you upset at all about the cars that your own daughter smashed up last week? Don’t you have a storefront window to replace or something? Get outta here.
Matt and Landry are chatting about the big date at a barbershop, of all places. Landry is getting a haircut. Classic. Matt is arguing that the term ‘date’ was just being thrown around as an expression, or a “collokialism”, as he says. Landry says he’s ready to be a leading man and that he’s going to go and declare himself to her. Then he snaps at the barber, because he doesn’t want to look too frayed “when I go to see my lady.” All I can think about with all this talk of the big date is that scene in Rain Man when Charlie keeps talking about the date with Iris, who turns out to be a hooker. I mean, I know Tyra isn’t a hooker, but well, you asked. Or you didn’t. Either way, I like that movie.
Lyla is in the car with Waverly, and not-so-subtly hints that Ms. Taylor is a great person to talk to, you know, in case you have any problems or a hypothetical mental disorder or anything. Waverly immediately can tell that something is up and asks if Smash talked to her. Busted, like so many of your father’s cars. (Seriously? Nothing more mentioned about that serious act of vandalism?)
Waverly tracks down Smash at the restaurant and bangs on the window. He comes out front to talk to her, but she is already crying and totally hurt that he betrayed her trust like that. But apparently today is the day for Growing A Pair and Dramatic Confessions of Sacrificial Love, because it’s Smashy’s turn. “I’m the only one who knows about it and I can’t tell nobody? No, that’s not fair. Okay, I’d do anything for you but that’s too much. I think you need to talk to somebody.” He suggests his mother, she’s a nurse and she knows her and maybe she can help. He says that she can stay mad at him, but it’s not going to change his mind about anything he just said. Aw, Smash love! Poor Waverly is truly a wreck and he gives her a big hug as she sobs. Sigh. No happiness for anyone in Dillon.
Tim is gearing up for yet another night at MILF’s house, but Billy is finally on to him. “I might not have a Ph.D. in Stupid like you do, but I’m gonna tell you right now this is gonna turn out badly. Hell, it’s probably going to end badly right around State.” Hmm, does Billy have an advanced copy of the script or something? That seems remarkably spot-on and is pretty much exactly what I was thinking. Also, Ph.D. in stupid? How amazing is that?
Over at the settlement, things are getting ugly. Jason quickly realizes that he is being used as a pawn and decides to shake things up a little. He points out that he’s not brain dead and is perfectly capable of doing something with his life, and wants them to stop using him to make money. His seedy lawyer tries to placate him but he tells his parents that they’re not there to win the lottery. He writes down a number. Mom sobs that she just wants him to have a good life. He assures her he’ll be fine. He passes down the number, the suits confer, and say that they can live with that. Happy music. Coach stands up and points at him, a little I-always-knew-you-were-cool gesture.
Coach and OtherCoach are going over the rules with the officials to make sure that what the Panthers have put together is an actual, official football field. OtherCoach refuses to play and calls the whole thing a joke, but Coach just keeps nonchalantly repeating that it’s a damn well built field. Hehe. They keep bickering and eventually Coach suggests that the other team is scared to lose, which in sports is all you ever need to settle a score, so OtherCoach accepts the challenge and they all agree to play. Fantastic.
“Don’t even try to out-awesome me. Unless you enjoy failing.”
Game Day! And Game Day montage! The fair folks of Dillon are having a hell of a time out in their cow pasture. And oh dear god there appears to be some sort of ogre! Okay, it’s just a really wrinkled old man, but wow. He is ancient. Tami, somehow suppressing the urge to recoil in horror, tells him that he can sit anywhere he wants this time, there are no assigned seats. This pleases The Thing and he walks away.
Run! Leper! Unclean!
The game begins. The Vikings score twice right off the bat, so the score suddenly jumps up to 8-0. And then…it starts to rain.
Landry, meanwhile, is in his car ready to leave for The Big Date, but what do you figure – it won’t start. He starts to plead with it, and then the rain begins. He shouts a cute little “thank you!” to the heavens. Tyra arrives over at the Arctic Freeze, where some dude asks why she’s not at the game. She answers that she has a big exam on Monday. Which makes me wonder exactly what the rest of her weekend consists of, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s a Big Date.
The game has turned into a total mud bowl. You can barely see what’s going on, except that it involves a lot of mud. Football, football, football. It doesn’t look good for our dear Panthers. Jason gives Matt a little fist-bump and encourages him to do what they had practiced. Coach watches this little conversation, of course. OFFER HIM A COACHING POSITION ALREADY. Tim, Matt, and Smash complete a few nice plays at the end of the half and before you know it, we’re all tied up. The ref calls the coaches in and suggests that they call the game, what with all the rain and mud and, let’s face it, copious amounts of cowpies strewn about. Matt and the other players insist that they want to play, so the ref allows it.
Mud is sexy. Fertilizer is sexier.
Back at the Arctic Freeze, Tyra has waited long enough. She packs up her books and heads out to her car. But Creepy Dude is right behind her and tells her that she forgot her notebook. When she turns around he smacks her and drags her into the truck and starts to rape her. You know, I guess I’m pretty naÃ¯ve. Every week I watch this show thinking that there might not be That Scene that makes me sick to my stomach, and every week, there It is. As always, it’s completely horrifying and difficult to watch. Tyra manages to push in the cigarette lighter as we cut back to the game.
Coach gives them the big inspirational speech of the week. They built this field with their own hands, and now it’s theirs to win, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!
Back to Tyra. She burns the shitbag in the eye with the lighter, then manages to get out of the truck and slam his fingers in the car door.
34 seconds on the clock. Jason tells Matt not to let them breathe. Matt makes a nice play to Smash, who runs it down the field, almost slipping and falling on the way.
Landry finally arrives to find a bedraggled Tyra out in the rain, trying to pick up her algebra books. He asks what happens and she sobs that some guy tried to rape her. Landry flashes that patented I’m-in-over-my-head look that Smash has perfected so nicely over the past few weeks.
Last snap of the game. Matt keeps the ball and runs it all the way down and it’s good! Panthers win! WE’RE GOING TO STATE!! (I apparently go to Dillon High.)
It is at this time that I think the episode is over, but it appears that our deal FNL is now experimenting with what I like to call the ole Grey’s Anatomy fakeout. This means that we go to commercial and it really feels like the show is over, but we are in fact only at the 50 minute mark and there is still one more segment to go. That’s what it felt like this week. I’m just sayin’. Oh, forget it.
After the game, Smash leads his fellow teammates in a prayer, thanking God for letting them play with “honor, pride, and heart.” And mud. Everyone rushes the field, brushing past Jason like he’s a nobody. He watches forlornly. A dog comes and pees on him, a few people spit on him, etc. Julie tackles Matt back into the mud and tells him she’ll always love him no matter what happens. Smash runs over to his family and sees that Waverly and his mother are engaged in a Meaningful Conversation. Bo congratulates Tim by screaming at him, then asks if he’s sleeping over. Tim, ever the smooth talker, says “Uh, I do know that we’re going to State!” Putting that Ph.D. in Stupid to good use, I see.
Back at the Arctic Freeze, a devastated Tyra sits across the table from Landry. It should be noted that she looks more like a teenager at this moment than she ever has. She looks vulnerable and not put-together and just sad. Landry pulls up a chair right next to her and holds her hand and embraces her as she starts to cry. Not exactly the way I wanted these two to get together, but it’s a lovely scene nonetheless.
Everyone is having a grand old time back at the mud field. Even the band geeks are rolling around, tubas and all. The only one not joining in is Jason, who just watches kinda sadly. Coach approaches him to say that Matt was a different quarterback out there tonight, and that he did a good job. And then, “Every thought about coaching?” An adorable smile creeps onto Jason’s face. FINALLY.
What would John Phillip Sousa say about all this?
He would not be pleased.
Oh, man. Intense episode. But what else is new? Hopefully Jason can get his shit together now and get his life back on track, and hopefully Tim will come to his senses and dump that creepy MILF and her gremlin son in time for State. And poor Tyra, could her life get any harder? Oh, and the Taylors are lovely as always, and I think that from now on all of their scenes should include a herd of cows in the background. Thoughts? Comments? Who caused the toxic trainwreck? Was it…you?