Friday Night Lights: Tami Knows Best
by Brett Love, posted Jan 24th 2009 3:30AM
(S03E02) That episode title gets right to the heart of one of the main stories this week. Although, perhaps it should have been followed by a question mark. The backlash from Tami's decision to nix the jumbotron, which we all knew was coming, started this week, and things don't look so good for our favorite principal. Meanwhile, Brian continued to search for Smash, Tyra went back to basics for her campaign, Tim and Lyla continued the vicious cycle, and we got a little peek into Matt Saracen's past. It all made for a very good hour of television.
Starting with Tami, we could all see something like this coming, right? She certainly has the moral high ground. It's hard to argue that a jumbotron is more important than books, or teachers. But this is Dillon we are talking about. And just in case you didn't catch it in the first two seasons, Eric came right out and told you again, "The people of Dillon like their football." The big showdown with the board should be exciting, but I think we all know which way this one is going.
Tami's struggle was also a good showcase for the regression of Buddy. It would seem that any progress or growth that came from the breakup of his marriage, or the now forgotten Santiago saga, just didn't take. This is old school Buddy, and he means business. The creepy, semi-threatening dealings with Tami were bad enough, but what about that little conversation with Riggins? "I will hurt you." Yikes.
That dinner scene was actually my least favorite part of the episode. I get what they were going for. Riggins is sabotaging himself. I just didn't think it played out very well. He answers a question with "Um," and Joe just moves right on to the next question? It was all very odd. Mostly, I was left thinking, "Hey, look at that. Janine Turner is back on our TV!" Not the best Riggins/Lyla stuff we have seen, but it does set the stage for Riggins going forward. Will he get it together and take advantage of those college opportunities? Or will he just be the hunkier version of Billy?
Tyra is in a similar situation where college is concerned, albeit for slightly different reasons. While Riggins looks to have colleges courting him, her past transgressions are now coming back to haunt her. And, like Riggins, the question is whether she makes it out of Dillon and goes to college, or becomes the hotter Mindy. The strippers in the quad might have been pushing it a little, but the fact that she entered late and won actually rang true. High school politics are just not known for being big on the issues. And it did get us to the big scene with Tyra and Tami. It was clear that Tami was going to be disappointed, but I really didn't see that coming. She just crushed Tyra. Given their history, that has the makings of a good story.
Then there was Saracen, learning the hard way why you shouldn't have sex with your grandmother's in-home caregiver. I kid, a little, but this portion of the Matt and Gran story is so much better than the Carlotta section. They've really put in the work establishing what a strain it all is on him, and it paid off here as he finally breaks down and goes to visit his mother. There is some serious bad blood there. That's another story I'm really looking forward to hearing. The only problem was that it felt a bit shoehorned into the script, like they weren't exactly sure where to put it. If you'll recall, he tells Landry the car will be back in the morning and he'll never know it's gone. Morning comes and he's still on his way to his mother's house. He then proceeds to drive back, make it to Smash's practice, and go pick up Julie. Good stuff, but the timing was just wacky.
And that brings us to Smash, once again part of the best scene of the night. This worked really well with his bit last week about being Brian. Yes, he hurt the knee, but the big problem is he lost his confidence and that Smash swagger. Tonight, we saw him get it back. The best bit, though, was coach stopping by to give the Williams family the news of the tryout for Texas A&M. We hear them all erupt as Eric walks away and gets that look on his face. It's one of those great Friday Night Lights moments, and it's why I tune in every week. That really should have been where the episode ended.
Overall, another really good episode. They now have me hooked on Smash's story, how things are going to play out with Tami and the boosters, what the blowup means for the Tami/Tyra relationship, and what will come from Matt's reunion with his mother. Lots of balls in the air. It should be a fun season.