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July 23, 2014

Friday Night Lights: Backfire

by Brett Love, posted Oct 27th 2007 9:00AM
Kyle Chandler and Brad Leland - Friday Night Lights
(S03E04) "The Eagle has landed. It's a done deal." - Buddy Garrity

Another Friday night spent with NBC, and this one came across as a little bit strange. Not bad strange, or good heavens, what now strange. Just that the story here caught me a little off guard. It's a little early in the season for what you might call a pivotal episode. Usually at this point things are being put in motion, or big picture stories are getting a break for a stand-alone episode. Such is not the case in Dillon, as three big stories had big moments this week. To balance it out, we also had more from the shark blood road trip, and the quickly getting away from us Lyla crusade. All that, and some other junk, after the jump.

I think the biggest news has to be the return of Eric to Dillon. That's all well and good, but I have to say, it was all a bit rushed. I was really expecting a large part of the season to deal with how Tami and Eric cope with the separation. And, while that was going on, it looked like we might be in for some interesting turmoil as the Tennessee Tyrant lost control of the team.

Instead, it all wrapped up pretty quickly as Buddy made the pitch to Eric last week and the deal was complete by the end of this episode. Rather, mostly complete. There are a couple little threads left dangling that may or may not pay off with some good stuff later down the road. Coach McGregor's threat certainly leaves a door open. I'm awfully curious to find out what he means by "I'll be seein' you again." But I'm hoping it's not a rehash of the Voodoo story with McGregor getting a gig at another school and showing up against the Panthers in the playoffs. And while Eric's return should do a lot to bring the team back into focus, that doesn't mean that the issues between Smash and Saracen are just going to disappear.

Even though the whole process came across as rather quick and convenient, it might have been for the best. I'm sure we could have had some great scenes with Tami and Eric with a more drawn out story, but I don't think I'm going to miss Eric at college. The head coach never really worked for me, and the one story there that did show promise, his mentoring of Antwone from "Bad Ideas", was dropped almost as soon as it appeared. So, like Eric, let's mark the college experiment down as experience, and move on.

Also hitting a big point this week, the story of daughter Julie. I actually thought that this was what we were going to be getting after the bar incident, where Eric had to come and pick her up. Apparently, Julie just needed a little more convincing that this was not the path for her. Here's hoping it sticks this time. The rebellious daughter has given us some great scenes between Tami and Julie, but I think the story has been told now.

And our third story getting a big development, the controversial Tyra/Landry murder conspiracy. I'm just not sure on this one. On the one hand, the police telling Tyra that they were going to close the case was music to my ears. I haven't been a fan of the murder sub-plot from the start, so filing that case away sounds like a capital plan. Still, how they went about it doesn't really sit right either. It just strikes me as odd that they go out of their way to add on that her attacker was wanted in two other rape cases. Just to make sure we know he was a really bad guy and it's ok that they killed him? It makes it stick out even more that they really should have just called the police immediately.

Of course, the closing of the case may just be wishful thinking on my part. That little detail of Landry's watch is still floating out there. I have a sneaking suspicion that there may still be something to come of that. If I had my choice though, I'd rather they let it go and take the good that came of this strange choice, the Tyra/Landry relationship, and run with that. They really are good together on the screen and there is a lot of ground that one can cover.

Meanwhile, back at the cantina... Going to Mexico for an experimental surgery is crazy. That said, I think it actually works for Street's story. Keeping in mind that he was the golden child. The caliber of athlete who has the whole path all laid out in front of him. Having it all taken away like that, it rings true that he would be willing to try anything to recapture whatever part of that life he can. Something we saw in his comments to the crowd at the bar when he talked about Dillon being a terrible place and how he wants to walk away from there. I don't think there is anything necessarily bad about Dillon, what is terrible is living in Dillon with the memory of who he used to be. Right now, Street probably needs a good dose of therapy much more than he needs shark blood.

Watching it unfold though, I am left thinking it would be better if Herc was his wingman for the adventure. It would make sense for him to tag along, using every available opportunity to try and stop it. And then, when it looks like he can't actually change Street's mind, calling up Lyla, Riggins, or Ma and Pa Street looking for help.

Speaking of Lyla, her story is losing me a little bit. I'm on board with her looking for some kind of order in her life as her home life has become so chaotic. And I think up to now they have done a pretty nice job with it. The scene at the church with Lyla and Riggins in particular was really well done. But, the trip to the boys home? After what, three weeks since she accepted Jesus and joined the Teen Messengers? It felt off, and as each domino fell after that, picking up the kid, Buddy hiring him, I was left thinking that there are a whole host of other stories I am more curious about. It's not the show at its best.

So, after week four where does that leave us? In a good spot I think. Quick or not, having Eric back in Dillon is a great thing. His presence offers hope to the town, the team, and the viewers. It's also nice to see at least the beginnings of a resolution to the murder. For me, that has clearly been the worst decision the powers that be have made for this show since the pilot, so it's nice to look at moving on. Hopefully those that were put off by the story will take another look.

Was Eric's return to Dillon to quick and easy?
Yes, it could have played out over more episodes.114 (30.2%)
No, clearly his family, the team, and the show all need Coach in Dillon.206 (54.5%)
I don't know. I'm having surgery tomorrow so I am completely drunk right now.58 (15.3%)

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Joel

This is such a great show. Though it may be taking a bit longer to get kick started than season one, I will trust the writers who put such a work of art together.

October 30 2007 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I already thought what eric f. said when I saw Landry's dad look at Tyra in the station. It wasn't a big leap. They wouldn't have made a big deal out of the watch if it wasn't going to come back in some way.

I don't think Lyla's going to the boys home was too far out in left field. She had others with her. Lyla throws herself into everything so finding God and trying to convert a boy right away sounds like her to me. She might see a little Riggins in him and since she can't save him, she can save this guy instead. Buddy just gave him a job to get Lyla back into his life and to like him again.

For me Kyle Chandler reminds me of many football coaches I know. His voice, his mannerisms, etc. He was perfect to cast for this role. The whole family makes the show for me and I'm glad he's back home so we can get more interaction between those wonderful actors.

October 28 2007 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Actually, in 2005 it was the reverse...

Nationally, the number of unsolved homicides has risen over the last two decades, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 2005, 62 percent of all homicides were cleared with an arrest and conviction, compared to 79 percent in 1976..

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/250568

Still a pretty high number of unsolved cases and (getting back to the storyline) I'd imagine guys who are wanted for rape in 3 states aren't high on the priority list.

October 28 2007 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

las6,

my initial sentence was practically as clear as saying "spoiler ahead". besides what anyone saw on tv already, the rest was just my theory.

October 28 2007 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

Allison could you please get me the source of those 40%? Because I get the feeling you just pulled that from... nowhere.

October 28 2007 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
las6

thanks a lot, ericf.
you just fracking spoiled the next episode for everyone that doesn't want to be spoiled like that...

October 28 2007 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison

Although if Dillon is a small enough town and that guy Landry killed was really a bad dude, the law enforcement would make it disappear without ever solving it. I know of it happening in real life. Also, only 40% of murders are ever solved anyway.

October 27 2007 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cody

The stories in this season haven't pulled me in as much as the ones in the first season. Some of them seem too contrived. But I do like having Coach Taylor back. I like the way he pep talks.

October 27 2007 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

Georgia... I thought that the last scene was Taylor with the team on Wednesday practice (Two days to game day).

October 27 2007 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Georgia

Regardless of if they close the case of murder, there's still Landry having to live with the cracking of the skull.

You suppose with the ratings being bad this year they jumped ahead with getting Eric back in place. Maybe even dropped an episode? Would make sense with the Lyla suddenly being so agressive with the Teen Messengers.

Since Eric's not back at work yet - he's the one that needs to go to Mexico to save Street.

October 27 2007 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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