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April 23, 2014

Friday Night Lights: How Did I Get Here

by Brett Love, posted Nov 10th 2007 9:02AM
Glenn Morshower and Jesse Plemons - Friday Night Lights
(S02E06) And you may ask yourself - Well... How did I get here?

It's a great title for this episode as we find a lot of our pals in Dillon questioning, being questioned about, or owning up to the situation they are currently in. That doesn't make for huge plot points that you can point to and say, "Look at that!" But it does bring up some interesting questions, and pave the way for stories in the future. With so many of the characters getting time this week, all of these changes actually overshadowed the one big, holy smokes, moment of the episode. That little thing you see in the screen cap.

Since Chad and Landry got the picture this week, let's kick things off there. I liked how this played out, but I have to say, it left me questioning whether the creative team changed their mind on this story midstream. With all the set up that went into that moment in the garage, I kind of expected that story to get more focus when it finally came around. Instead, it felt like just one small part of the episode. Given the very mixed reaction that whole plot line has received, it seems there might be a possibility that somewhere along the way someone decided to tone it down a little bit.

Either way, the story is what it is and it has to be resolved. It was clear last week that Chad was onto the whole conspiracy. I think he was just biding his time to see whether or not anyone was going to come up with anything concrete, and once they did, it was time to act. He was so cool about the whole thing at the station as he found out that there was real evidence. And once again we need to applaud Glenn Morshower. The big scene with Landry in the garage was great. "If you had something to do with this, you have got to tell me right now. Time to trust me." For me, that's the best bit of casting this season.

Now that the car is torched and that evidence is seemingly destroyed, Landry is one step closer to getting away with it. However, I don't think we're done with the whole thing yet. There is still the issue of the watch hanging out there. Are the detectives going to turn that up at some point as well? And we still have some unfinished business where Tyra and Landry are concerned. That was another part of the story that I thought was oddly limited in time this episode.

Moving on, Eric's return to Dillon continues to be quite the bumpy ride. Really, you have to think he should have seen this coming. Is there any reason at all for Eric to put the smallest amount of trust in Buddy after what we saw him do in the first season? That said, even with a wary eye on Buddy, who could have imagined a 40% pay cut after winning the championship? I like the solution of making Eric the A.D. It's already started to pay off with the arrival of Bobby Roberts. The preferential treatment of the football team, especially in relation to less popular sports like women's soccer, is fertile ground for a story.

It's not exactly smooth sailing for Eric at home either. The arrival of Tami's sister, Shelley (Jessalyn Gilsig) wasn't exactly what the coach needed. Shelley is a piece of work, with her over the top personality that just doesn't mesh with the Taylor dynamic. She does play well as Tami's sister though, and the pair of them delivered a nice scene at the end as Tami confessed her fears about the new baby. "She's going to turn into Julie and be mean to me." Gilsig has had quite a run of recurring gigs over the past few years, with stops at NYPD Blue, Prison Break, Nip/Tuck, and Heroes to her credit.

Street made it back to Dillon in time for his 19th birthday and continues to search for who he is, and who he wants to be. It's an ongoing theme, but one that I think works particularly well here, and they are doing a nice job showing his growth. The scene at the party where Buddy makes the comment about what could have been is something that would have set season one Street off in a rage. But here, he handled it well, showing that there is progress being made. He was also there for what I thought was the best scene of the night. That being when he gave all of his highlight tapes to Eric and told him that he was leaving the team to figure out how to be a new guy. Eric's answer, "Let me tell you something. Coaches and players, they learn from each other. It goes both ways. You lift up everyone around you. I hope I didn't let you down." was awesome. It's Kyle Chandler at his best and the reason that I watch this show.

That close coach/player relationship they share is not something that Riggins has working for him. I was actually surprised by that turn of events. I had just assumed that he would return to Dillon and go right back to playing football. With Eric just returning and so many things in flux, it seemed there would just be a clean slate and a starting over for everyone. I still think we'll see Riggins back on the field before too awfully long, but I'm curious to see just what hoops he has to jump through before Eric allows it. It was also nice that Smash got something to do this week. He's still been underused thus far in the season, but dinner with the whole Williams family was a nice addition. At this point, I'm less interested in Riggins mentoring Santiago. I know they have bigger things planned for that story, so I'll wait and see before passing judgment on it, but what we got tonight was one of the weaker parts of the episode. Hog catching?

And that leaves us with Matt, Julie, and Matt's new lady friend. For her part, I was happy to see Julie at the burger shack with a heartfelt apology. It put a period on that whole story and gets Julie back on track, now with more angsty teenage romantic drama to deal with. What they are doing with Matt continues to impress me. He's also changing, just at a really slow pace. The crazy nervous guy still comes out with great regularity, but the fact that he was able to put the moves on Lauren is a big sign. And Lauren, I'm crazy about that character. But then, I'd be crazy about Matt with any girl that wasn't the live in care-giver, because I really didn't want them to go there.

And there we have it. A lot of set up stuff this week as we get some balls in the air for the next arc of episodes. Overall, all the various parts came together well. After a bumpy start, the show is getting into its rhythm and season two is looking pretty good.

Which of these things will happen first?
Riggins is back on the team.231 (53.6%)
Matt and Julie are back together.22 (5.1%)
Case closed on the murder.66 (15.3%)
Smash gets a story of his own.112 (26.0%)

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danny

i usually get lost in each fnl episode. and after i kno that the episode has gone at least half an hour or so, i'm always constantly hoping that the current scene is not the final scene of the episode. and when it is, and the episode ends, i'm always like, "oh no! dont end. keep going."

i especially felt that pining at the end of episode 6.

largely bc that last scene where tim riggins was coaching santiago and then matt and smash happened to join them reminded me of my favorite scene from season 1 when jason street first showed his coaching potential when street encouraged and coached saracen into throwing an 18-yd deep out pattern successfully. that was magic.

this had less of that uplifting/satisfying feeling. but it still made you feel good. i'm also frustrated that coach taylor seems not to know the whole story of tim's absence. but i guess they're really committed to santiago because it seems clear to me that santiago is going to be their new fullback. (buddy was only half-wrong about santiago's usefulness to the team)

November 15 2007 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matt

Someone said Scott Porter looked like Tom Brady earlier. I don't really see that but I guess it's not way off. But, he is a dead freaking ringer for Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.

November 13 2007 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vito

I did not read this post but I just wanted to say this:

I've just started watching FNL: Season 1 and IT ROCKS. I am so sorry that I waited this long. This show is terrific!

November 13 2007 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stivo

I really enjoyed this week's episode, and am glad that the murder storyline is getting a little closer to closure. Am excited about the new girl, and am glad that I have no idea who she was prior to being on the show.

On a side note, however, did anyone notice the blatant misdirection the show went with NBC's Green Week? First, the only two environmental mentions came from the sister, who quickly mentioned that Gracie should be in cloth diapers, and that she uses a recyclable shopping bag. But, the real "huh?" moment came at the end, when Landry and his father lit the car ablaze. Really, how safe and environmentally conscious is that? It made me laugh. Also, not to mention, that a few weeks ago, when Julie was with The Swede and his pot-smoking friends, she suggested that global warming was a scare-tactic from polar bear choking EPA agents. Not that I care, either way, what the show has to say about such topics. I just found it amusing. Did anyone else happen to notice it, or anything else for that matter?

November 11 2007 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shmuffin123

Additionally, an observation from my boyfriend--anyone think Scott Porter (aka Jason Street) resembles a young Tom Brady?

November 11 2007 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shmuffin123

Bah I'm appalled the reviewer neglected to mention one of Gillsig's most notable recurring roles, Boston Public! Although I must say seeing her go from playing Christian Troy's nympho-HIV positive exgf on Nip/Tuck to Tami sis on FNL was quite a transition, I kept waiting for her to seduce Coach Taylor :)

November 11 2007 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Usama

Tom, I understand that most "high school" kids on TV are actually much older. The issue I had was the order was reversed in my mind for Kim Smith. She's a hot model and now they're turning her into a (wholesome?) teen in high school. There's a cognitive dissonance there, kind of. With the others (like Minka) I felt dirty for thinking how she was, sigh, hot, but then when I saw how old she was I felt better. Anyway you get the idea.

November 10 2007 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

"It's kind of creepy how they were able to make Kim Smith look convincingly like a high schooler."

ummm...high school on TV usually means about 28 years old. I mean, Zach Gilford (Matt), Minka Kelly (Lyla), Taylor Kitsch (Riggins) and Scott Porter (Jason) are all older than her and Gaius Charles (Smash) is the exact same age.

November 10 2007 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

It's not believable that nobody has thought to tell Eric why Riggins went to Mexico. The whole problem of Riggins getting thrown off the team could be cleared up just by telling Eric how Riggins saved Street - maybe even saved his life. Even if Riggins was protecting Street's privacy, at least a stand-up guy like Street would have appealed to Eric. This is shoddy storytelling.

It's also not believable that Matt is still so naive when a girl throws herself at him. All of his buddies understood it - they started hooting as soon as she walked away after sucking up to him in the hall. The high school quarterback is a god in a town like Dillon - the guy every girl wants. The only explanation is that Matt is so pathologically shy that he should be taking anti-social-anxiety drugs. He should have figured things out by now.

Just nit-picks, really. I love the show.

November 10 2007 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

"It's kind of creepy how they were able to make Kim Smith look convincingly like a high schooler."

Fully agreed. It's really nice to see her in something other than Maxim or an NSync video, and I must say that I never thought I'd be jealous of Matt, but two hot chicks that want him? Damn. I'd be happy with just Kim or Aimee.

Anyway, if I had one "wish" about the episode, I wish the conversation in the garage would've gone a little deeper. Perhaps a little bit of explanation on Landry's part, maybe to clear Tyra's name (since she was interested in him before this whole rape thing even came up). Obviously, they didn't talk on the way to the fire, nor at the fire. I'm hoping they'll retcon in a dialog in which Landry was able to explain that Tyra had nothing to do with Landry's actions. I like seeing the good guy get the girl.

November 10 2007 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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