[For those just tuning in: I first covered Friday Night Lights here at TV Club when it ran on DirecTV back in the fall. I'm rerunning those posts as it runs on NBC to a much larger audience. I'll be checking the comments regularly, as will FNL fans Scott Tobias and Noel Murray. A further wrinkle: My satellite crapped out on me shortly before the season finale so I'll be covering that as it airs on NBC. —Keith]
[Note 2: Everyone saw this, right? Yay! (Assuming it's true.) Though rumor has Minka Kelly already negotiating to be on another show. That's okay. Nothing against Kelly, but I like the idea that the core of the show—Coach, Mrs. Coach, Dillon as a character—can withstand the comings and goings of other characters.]
[Note 3: Did I underrate all these episodes the first time around? I kind of pride myself on being a harsh grader, but I'm fighting the temptation to go back and up all these grades a notch. It's a really good season overall, and it's about to get even better.]
So, men, huh? What are they good for? This week we had three break-ups and three attempts at reconciliations. One, Cash, deservedly got left in the dust (literally). Another, Billy, got taken back, almost assuredly undeservedly. The third, Tim, screws up royally and then works his way back into Lyla's good graces by becoming the first Riggins to go to college.
Actually "work" might be too strong a word for it. With a less persistent recruiter he probably would have been perfectly happy to let any college plans drift and found another way to get Lyla to take him back. Or would he? My sense is that Tim knows Lyla's the best thing in his life right now but this episode found him acting as self-destructive as we've ever seen him. If he didn't have people pulling for him, where would he be? He'd probably turn into Billy, and not all that slowly, but does he know that? (On the other hand, it did occur to me that his gift for binge drinking will give him a leg up on other college freshmen next year.)
As for Billy and his on-again/off-again fiancée Mindy, while they largely seem to be there to provide a contrast for Tim and Lyla, as usual, the show gives both characters a little more depth. Lyla and Mindy get a memorable girls'-night-in to regroup after their break-ups and we get another peek at the whole break-up-to-make-up lifestyle that seems to be part of the Collette family women's genetic make-up. It even has a soundtrack all its own.
Of course, if anyone looks destined to break out of that lifestyle, it's Tyra, who this week makes a seemingly definitive split with the we-knew-he-was-no-good-all-along rodeo star Cash. He's not just a boozer, a pill-popper, and a womanizer, he's also a degenerate gambler, which proves to be the last straw for Tyra. She's out of there, even if it means a late-night call that disrupts Coach and Tami's getaway at Dillon's most romantic motel, fancy robes and all. (A side note: How many times have we seen Coach watch his amorous evenings go down in flames?)
Oh yeah. There was also football. The Panthers make the play-offs and the show smartly doesn't try to pump up the drama about this too much since a play-off run was pretty much a given this season. Instead it provides an opportunity for Matt to make his debut as a wide receiver and for the show to address the tension between Matt's mother and grandmother, which is well played but gets resolved rather easily, for at least this episode.
And as for this episode: It felt like another solid outing in a season that's been solid with outbursts of greatness. Now that the playoffs are here, it might be time to kick things into high gear.
- Adventures in moonlighting #1: Looks like Aimee Teegarden will be on 90210. Yay?
- Adventures in moonlighting #2: Has everyone seen Taylor Kitsch in his Gambit costume for the Wolverine movie yet?