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Friday Night Lights: There Goes The Neighborhood

by Brett Love, posted Jan 5th 2008 10:22AM
Kyle Chandler - Friday Night Lights
(S02E10) And we're back. After a month off for viewers to celebrate the holidays, and for the networks to try and figure out how to fill up the schedule as the strike stretches on, our old pals in Dillon have returned. And things picked up right where they left off. Riggins is still wandering from home to home. Buddy is still in denial. None of us are sure just why Shelley is still living with the Taylor's. And Landry has gone from being riddled with the guilt of committing murder to being emotionally pummeled by the fact that he's fallen for a passive aggressive nutjob. It's a lot to get to, but we'll give it a shot, after the jump.

First up, tornado season. I almost started with a bit about how crazy it is for people to live in tornado country. But then I was reminded once again that I once had a volcano blow up on me, and we do live with the constant threat of "The Big Quake" turning the whole city to rubble. So, I don't really have a leg to stand on there. Suffice it to say, tornadoes are scary business. Although, I could have gone for this tornado being a little scarier. However, I will give them credit for using local Texas weatherman Jim Spencer for the tornado warning.

That wasn't the story though, it was the arrival of the Laribee Lions, a team you may recall from the season one episode, "Homecoming." I'm kind of fifty-fifty on this story because the bulk of it was obvious and felt like something we've seen before. The opposing team's coach being a jerk, the players little pranks, and the inevitable fight, were all things that I could take or leave. What I did really like about the going of the neighborhood though was what we saw of Eric. It's part of what makes him such an interesting character. Make no mistake, Eric is a good guy who almost always operates with the best of intentions. But Eric is not a great guy.

A great guy, seeing Coach Donald lay hands on Riggins would have stopped at "If you ever touch one of my players, you'll never coach another football game as long as you live." But a good guy with some intriguing shades of grey in his character adds that little extra bit about kicking his old tired ass six ways from Sunday. It does all go a long way in setting up the big Panthers vs. Lions game. That scene and the little unspoken conversation between Eric and Tim after Tim thanks him for looking out for him are why Coach Taylor continues to be my favorite part of the show.

And speaking of Riggins, I was so disappointed to see how his stay at the Taylors' ended. Not that it didn't fit, because with what we know about his past, and what Eric knows, the quick jump to that conclusion is understandable. I'm just disappointed because I like the dynamic of Riggins being injected into the Taylor day to day so much. I could have gone for the blowup being held off for a while. Tim as big brother to Julie, and the tension as Tami becomes more frustrated by Tim and Eric would have been worth the wait.

I actually thought that the real tension was going to come from the interaction between Shelley and Tim. It was certainly a reasonable guess given the FNL writer's fascination with inappropriate age differences. That could have just been a bit of wishful thinking looking for a way to get Shelley to go home. I just have no idea what she is doing there. Surely Dillon must have some qualified caregiver that is willing to do a solid for the coach.

In other news, Pam's engagement was a bit out of left field, but I like where it is going. I was a little surprised that we didn't get more of Lyla's reaction to it, although her fake smile congratulations did speak volumes. What I really like is what it all means to Buddy. I'm solidly in the Pam camp on this one, and I don't think Buddy has much hope of a reconciliation. That being said, I'm very curious to see if this is the thing that finally changes him for the better. Buddy continues to become more and more interesting as the show moves along.

And finally, Tyra and Landry. I'm still waiting for the episode where this story "adds a grandness" to the series, as Jason Katims said. As Tyra regresses to the character we spent season one with, and Landry continues to beat his head against a brick wall, the thing I find myself thinking most often during their story at this point is, "I wonder what Street is up to right about now." I get that her wacky mother screwed her up, and that she has issues, but I got that last season when Tami figured it out and decided to try and help her. Remember, that figured into the ultimatum that kept her from leaving Dillon with Eric. But now they've both forgotten all of that and we're back in the same place. I guess I expected something better from her story.

So, as has been the case for the whole season, I'm still not on board with the Tyra and Landry story. At this point though, I'm willing to roll with it to get to the rest of the characters. There is still plenty of story to be had in Dillon. A fact that is all the more apparent given the current landscape of our prime time schedules.

How long lived will the latest rift between Eric and Tim last?
Daughter Julie is involved. This could take a while.218 (51.8%)
It's too simple an explanation. They'll share an Alan Alda moment in the next episode.187 (44.4%)
Forever. The next soapy stunt will involve the tragic death of Riggins. Not to worry, he'll soon be replaced by his long lost evil twin.16 (3.8%)

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I loved the Riggins livin' w/ coach story line - it was funny, which is something this show lacks at times - can't the good times roll for a little while.

January 07 2008 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

actually, i think that the one making trouble here is tammy, she is sooo anoying (and the best actress in the show), i know that it's hard having a baby and all, but she really doesn't thanks her sister for taking care of the baby, and the superiority of her speach makes me a little mad, i don't get it, is shelly there just to help her sister or she doesn't have other place to go??, because with all the crap that her sister tells her she shoud be a goner...

these was a very entertaining episode, i really lol in many parts, i woud love to see riggins back with the tailors, just hope that the little drunk remember what happened and tell her father that he made a big mistake!!!

January 07 2008 at 1:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heh, I love that you also are unsure of why Shelley is still on the show. I thought I was the only one who didn't see the point of the character and was hoping for her to leave soon. It seems like all she does is cause problems.

January 06 2008 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Great episode. I love this series. I just felt sooo bad for Riggins at the end of the show. He has no place to go. I hope Julie is able to tell Coach the whole truth. But she may have been too drunk to remember.

January 06 2008 at 1:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so glad to get a new episode. the two scenes i loved where the coach taylor "if you ever touch my player again" and when riggins tells the dude who is going to take advantage of julie to go away. my favorite line was the "no really, not even now, go that way" when he started walking back towards her. glad there are going to be a bunch more episode. and really, where was street? not that i'm loving his stories, just missed him a bit. this episode made me like riggins more and lyla less.

January 05 2008 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I coulda sworn that the Laribee coach was played by Coach Brandon of the team in "Mud Bowl" last year. Remember? "Butch up Sally, 'cause you gotta game." Swear it was the same guy.

January 05 2008 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

Eric, the last I heard they were going to complete fifteen episodes of Friday Night Lights, so we should have another five to go.

January 05 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm so glad to get a new episode. The theme song pops into my head every once in a while. I even watched the opening twice.I really liked it when Coach Taylor stood up to that other coach. Julie still gets on my nerves, but that's ok.Landry was annoying this week, but he's still my favorite character.

January 05 2008 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

I hate to ruin the surprise for myself, but how many new EPs of FNL are left? I was so happy to see a new one last night, I could care less about any minor plot holes or weak story-lines (of which i think there are few).

January 05 2008 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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