Friday Night Lights: Are You Ready For Friday Night?
(S02E03) "What if I told you I could make him go away and you could have your job back?" - Buddy Garrity
That line was the big feature in the promotion this week, and it certainly means a lot moving forward, but that was just a tiny part of what was a jam packed episode three. Really, sometimes when I look back over an episode of FNL I can't believe it's only an hour long show. When it's firing on all cylinders, they really can deliver a boatload of story. And that's what we got in episode three, with everybody getting involved.
Gallery: Friday Night Lights
Since Buddy got the quote, let's start there this week. This whole thing has come as a bit of a surprise to me. After everything that went into the decision for Eric to leave Dillon for the new gig, I didn't think he would be on his way back so soon. They are doing a good job selling the idea though. With college coaching not living up to what he had hoped, Tami struggling with the new baby, all of the new behavioral issues with daughter Julie, Glen mucking about the icebox, and the chaos that is the Panther football team... that column for reasons to go back to Dillon is getting overrun with check marks.
I actually like the little conspiracy that Buddy is cooking up. The slimy schemer is a role that suits Buddy all too well. Which is part of the reason I took pause when he pulled the family card on Eric. Buddy Garrity, who is still sleeping at work 8 months after his wife kicked him out, giving someone family advice? It's as if millions of pots and kettles all banged together at once. I have to admit I am very curious to see his plan for getting rid of the Tennessee Tyrant? You have to figure that his 'inside sources' and their information about practices running long will play a part. That scene really summed up Buddy very well. Hearing that Riggins was hung over, instead of trying to tell him he shouldn't be doing that, or offering any advice, Buddy comes back with, "I've seen you play with a hangover and you played like a champion." Nice.
Riggins got a lot of time this week, and some interesting developments. It was nice to see Billy again, and I like that they tied up any remaining questions with Tim and Jackie. A relationship between Billie and Jackie actually makes a lot of sense, and it frees things up for the latest chapter in the Riggins/Lyla story. This one stood out to me as being a very FNL thing. With everything they had going on in this episode, that church scene could have easily been shortened. Instead, they let it linger, giving a lot of time to the sermon, which really solidified the idea that this could all really have an effect on Riggins.
Of course, even if a leopard can change his spots, he doesn't do it overnight. The fact that Riggins later bungled the whole thing by barging in on Lyla and making a move on her actually played very well. I was a little concerned initially with the Lyla/religion angle, but so far I like how it's all playing out.
That's going to have to be after Riggins makes it back from Mexico though. I was kind of hoping that idea was just kind of going to go away, and when Herc showed up, that's where I thought we were headed. He had similar ideas, asking Street, "Are you trying to be a cliche? Stem cell surgery in Mexico?" It was great to see Herc back. Street needs that voice of reason, and the show is better off with that character in play.
Street ignoring Herc's advice brought about another coaching surprise as he quit the team. I really didn't see that one coming going into the season, but as with Coach Taylor situation, they did a good job selling the idea. Coach McGregor is just an asshole. When he not only ignored Street's input on the game, and I believe Street's suggestion would have prevented the interception that Saracen threw, but also followed it up by calling him the mascot, it was clear that change was coming. Still, I think it's a pretty safe bet that if Coach Taylor gets his job back, Street will be coming with him.
Saracen brings up a couple of the more questionable parts of this episode. First, QB1 vs The Smash. I actually like this story. The fact that Matt confronted Smash on behalf of the team says a lot. It might not always be evident, like when he mumbled his way through that conversation with Coach Taylor, but this is a more confident and responsible Matt than we saw last season. I thought his speech about being a captain was particularly good. Unfortunately, I don't think they did a very good job setting it all up. What exactly is it that Smash is supposed to have done? Compared to the Smash that we met at the beginning of last season, this seems like a toned down version. It would actually work if the story they were trying to tell was that Smash has changed, but if they are trying to sell us on Smash being selfish to the detriment of the team, they need to work a little harder.
The other part of the Saracen story I'm not sure about has to do with Carlotta. Is that really headed for a relationship? The two scenes we see with them were so opposed to each other. First, this is a job and she's working to put herself through school, and it's all professional. Then it's right to the all too touchy feely back massage. I don't know which way it's going, but I'm pulling for the former. And if it does go the way of a relationship, I expect it to be rather short lived, as I don't think things are finished between Matt and Julie.
Yes, Julie. Good grief has she just gone off the rails. I was actually somewhat sympathetic to Julie's situation up to this point because there have been a lot of changes going on around her, and she is at an age where doing crazy things is a part of learning. But tonight I turned on the character. It wasn't the breakup with Matt, or staying out too late, or even the still very frickin' creepy relationship with the Swede. The line that really changed my mind and put me firmly in the Tami camp was when she referred to baby Grace as "Your baby." That's cold, and I think calculated to hurt Tami.
And that brings us right back to Landry and Tyra again. I still haven't bought into the whole murder sub-plot, but I will say this. As bad as the beginning of that story was, the writers and producers were right that getting Landry and Tyra together, and showing us Landry's home life, was a good idea. That part of the episode was full of good moments. My favorite of those was the meeting at Applebee's between Landry's father and Tyra. It was very well done. From his concern for his son, to her very sweet explanation, right through to the long shot of him pondering that explanation. I'm quite looking forward to the scene when Tyra finally comes through the front door and gets to interact with the rest of the family. Also, Glen Morshower is an example of great casting.
This part of their story works very well with what we saw from both of them last season. This is the Tyra that we saw start to change at the end of season one. And it's all very believable as a progression of Landry's story. I am a little disappointed that it's come at the expense of some of the Landry/Saracen scenes we have become accustomed to, but there will be time for that later. As of now, I'm more interested in how the relationship plays out, while tolerating the still hokey murder story.
So, there we have it. Overall, this was an excellent episode. There was just so much going on. With this installment, season two is now in full swing. All of our major players are now moving forward, for better or worse depending on their stories, and for the most part, this feels like the Friday Night Lights of season one. I think the murder is going to continue to hang over the show, but I'm hoping that those fans that were put off by it will continue to tune in because the show clearly has a lot more going for it than that one story.
|Hate it, hate it, hate it. What the hell?||69 (10.8%)|
|Still calling it a mistake, but hanging around for the rest of the show.||186 (29.2%)|
|Not crazy about the genesis of the story, but loving the Tyra/Landry so it was worth it.||318 (49.9%)|
|Totally buying in to the whole thing.||64 (10.0%)|