Friday Night Lights: Mud Bowl
Let's start with the game. I liked that the rains came and the game turned into a big sloppy mess where neither team could score. More points for how they handled Saracen's performance as well. The tutoring he received from Street over the past couple weeks provided some technique, but more importantly it also brought a needed confidence boost. That, combined with a game ending bootleg was a good way for the Panthers to win. Watching him stumble his way through the mud and puddles fit right in with both the conditions and how he has grown as a player. He is now that guy that can seize the moment.
As to the cow pasture, I liked it for what it represented in Eric. Through all of the ups and downs in the Panther season Eric has always been a little uncomfortable with all of the stuff that gets glommed on to the side of the football. Most notably, Buddy Garrity, but it goes deeper than that. This certainly was him making a statement, and it's one worth making. I think it is also something that could come back and effect his decision about where to coach next year as well. If he thinks Buddy Garrity and little Dillon, Texas are a handful, wait 'til he gets a load of a college booster program. It's also worth mentioning the scene with Tami and Eric in the pasture. Honestly, I just can't get enough of these two on my television.
As for Street, as the season for the show winds down, it's time to start wrapping up some of the loose ends left from earlier. That brought us a couple answers where Street's story is concerned. I think everyone was expecting the inquiry from Eric about whether Street had ever considered coaching. It was still nice to hear it. On the other hand, I was somewhat surprised by the result of the lawsuit. I was operating under the assumption that at some point Street would take control of the affair, like he did, but I thought he would just call the whole thing off.
It was nice to see him stand up to everyone and bring it all to an end. And I really liked that little exchange between Street and Eric as the meeting came to an end. Just a look, but it carried a lot of information. Eric was thanking Street for what he just did, but underneath that you could once again see his admiration for the man Street is becoming. Of course, he's not all grown up yet, as his ongoing issues with Lyla demonstrate. At this point I think it is just a matter of both of them accepting that it isn't right and moving on, to the benefit of both of them.
Also finding some answers, or at least on the path to those answers, was Waverly. Lyla's advice for her to go talk to Tami was sound, and would have made for a good scene I'm sure. As much as I like Tami though, I like that she is going to Mrs. Williams for help. She's not one of the major characters, so we haven't seen as much of her as some of the other Dillonites, but every time she's been on the screen she's been terrific. That was a nice scene for Smash as he struggled to do the right thing. He's completely out of his element, but trying.
The romance between Tim Riggins and Jackie continues to grow, but to what end? Billy spoke for more than a few of us, I'm sure, when he said that this can't end well. I don't know. He's probably right, but stranger things have happened. No matter which way it goes, I'm looking forward to watching it unfold. Taylor Kitsch and Brooke Langton are good together, and even goofy little Bo is starting to grow on me.
Finally, we get to the Tyra and Landry story. I have mixed feelings about this one. I really liked the way it started. The determined Landry once again makes a completely ignored attempt to get Tyra's attention. Not to be deterred, he makes his way to the library to 'bump into' her. His little speech about why he would be a good tutor was great. I especially liked the line about the catch 22 of needing the algebra to build the time machine, and his reference to his adventure with Riggins, "Did your tutor teach Tim Riggins to read in a day and a half?" It was all very cute and fun.
What happened later was both terrifying and heart breaking. Terrifying because of the way they shot the attack. It was so up close and personal it brought the audience right into Tyra's trauma. It didn't come as a surprise that she was able to protect herself though. She's a tough girl. And it was heart breaking because of the journey we have been on with Tyra. It's hard not to root for her. To see her hurt like that is crushing. And to see all of Landry's hopes dashed in an instant just adds to it. But all of that was good. Big drama is one of the things we watch for. The problem though, it just didn't fit.
To me, the whole thing felt like it was shoehorned into the episode. They had this great idea for moving these two characters together with this dramatic moment, but where to put it? This wasn't the place. To start, I like that Tami got through to Tyra and she is taking her studies seriously now, but do I really buy that it includes skipping the biggest game of the year, so far, to study? Not really. You could sell me on Landry giving up on watching the game because of his infatuation with Tyra. The whole thing just felt a little off though. It would have been better served taking place earlier in the episode, or being pushed to the next one. Maybe I'm being too critical, but this show has set the bar very high, and I expect a lot from it now.
After all of that, and with that one negative in mind, I'd still call this a very good episode. Another win for the Panthers and all the dominoes lined up for the big push to the end of the season.