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April 23, 2014

Review: Friday Night Lights - In the Skin of a Lion

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 12th 2009 1:10AM
friday_night_lights_nbc(S04E03) There's so much that's right about Friday Night Lights this new season that it probably sounds like I'm overdoing it with the positive notices. However, the way they've shaken up Eric and Tami's life together in Dillon has been terrific.

The gerrymandering for the town, sending Eric to coach a poor school with a tattered football squad is inspired storytelling. And Tami's not in a better place back at West Dillon because she sent Luke Cafferty to East Dillon, the school he was supposed to be attending. The Boosters are not happy with Tami. Eric's not sleeping. What's going to happen now?

It was a real kick in the head for Eric to hear from Levi, Principal Burnwell, that the football team was in jeopardy of being disbanded. And Eric had contributed to the mess by forfeiting the first game.

The lengths he went to for the team, putting up $3,000 of his own money -- Taylor family money -- to pay for replacement uniforms showed his desperation. The fact that the team was overjoyed to see the new stuff was a comfort to him, but I loved his line: "They may be new, but they're still work clothes. Let's go to work."

When Eric finally told Tami the truth, the shit hit the fan. Tami was in the right, but Eric was in a corner. But when Tami went to see Eric at his office, it showed why they're such a good couple. He was wrong, but she reached out to him because he needed her support and understanding. He agreed to never write a check like that again.

Matt and Julie are in a good place as a couple and that irked Richard Sherman. Matt hasn't been enjoying his internship, but if there's one aspect of the show that's not working for me it's this pairing. Sherman is a cliche -- the angry artist who is mean and nasty, but when Matt sees his sculpture, he can't be mad at Sherman. This has been done before.

Buddy found his balls. He couldn't take it anymore, especially when he overheard them plotting to get Tami fired. Buddy admitted that he told Eric about the mailbox. He called McCoy a cancer to the Panthers. He was so disgusted by McCoy and the Booster Club, that he renounced the Panthers. His last words to them, however, were pure Panther: "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."

But what is Eric going to do about his Lions? Cafferty was frustrated that Eric wasn't respecting him; he wasn't even letting him play offense. Vince, meanwhile, was resenting Eric's involvement in his life. He didn't want Eric on his case.

And when a friend implied to Vince that it's a racial thing, that Eric will eventually give the white kids more opportunity, Vince listened. Later, on the field, he refused to block for Luke. That's a sin of epic proportions in football. Eric and Vince's face to face confrontation was amazing. Kyle Chandler was channeling Bill Cowher (without the chin).

Of course, the victory for East Dillon was only that they managed to score. They're not good enough to win. A muffed field goal attempt turned into a Vince touchdown -- which was after Eric chewed him out. Perhaps Vince needs to be red with anger to produce.

Eric also had a one on one with Luke at his family's farm. Luke put his cards on the table; he needs exposure to get a scholarship for college. Eric made a deal with Cafferty. If Luke became a team leader, Eric would help get him out of Dillon and into a university. Judging by Luke's actions in the game, he's going to fulfill his part of the bargain.

Now if Eric could only get some sleep.

Other points of interest

-- Tami and Julie's discussion about church and religion. Julie's heart's in the right place, even if she's not thrilled with church. If there was an earthquake, she'd look for her family before praying for herself.

-- Eric asked Landry to learn to punt. Thanks to Jess's Zen coaching, he actually did a good job. Landry has good taste in women; she's beautiful and smart. No Steven Harris this week, but now we know that he was a quarterback and hates the game.

-- Becky is a clever manipulator, but Riggins may have turned the tables on her by playing matchmaker for her and Luke.

-- Eric needs to recruit Buddy to create the East Dillon Booster Club.

[Watch Friday Night Lights episodes and clips at SlashControl.]

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Yme Sandelmann

I didn't think they could do it, but FNL has reinvented itself. I actually love that they are forced to change the actors (unlike on some shows where kids go to college for 15 years without ever advancing). They got a likeable cast and I love the storylines so far. Even Matt becoming an artist...

November 13 2009 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pedwalk

"Yes, you must have missed this as it was called "the entire 2nd season""

Third season actually. We are on Matt's wrap-up now, and we'll probably see Lila's and Tyra's as the season progresses.

November 13 2009 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Great show, love the season but this was the weakest episode thus far.

The scene between Vince and his buddy shooting hoops was really forced and atypically poor writing imo.

And maybe I missed this but we didn't really get any wrapup or explanation as to why Lila, Jason, Smash, ect are no where to be seen.

November 12 2009 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Tom's comment
Nacho

"And maybe I missed this but we didn't really get any wrapup or explanation as to why Lila, Jason, Smash, ect are no where to be seen."

Yes, you must have missed this as it was called "the entire 2nd season" Jason and Smash were both given 3-4 episodes each as a proper sendoff. It was explained last season that Lila went off to college.

November 12 2009 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary

Why would they repeat what was already told last season? Smash is at college (the one Coach helped him get into), Lyla is at Vanderbilt, and Jason is in New York being a sports agent.

November 12 2009 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evocatus

I think "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." is a Coach Taylor thing rather than "pure-panther" thing, since he said it at West Dillon before their first game. I think by Buddy saying that, he is saying Coach Taylor is the 'true' coach, that they made a mistake by replacing him with Mccoy and his lackey, and that he will from now on side with Coach Taylor(perhaps help him with the money problem)

I'm loving this season so far. FNL is by far my most anticipated show of the week.

November 12 2009 at 5:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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