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September 1, 2015

Review: Friday Night Lights - A Sort of a Homecoming

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 19th 2009 9:29AM
Life is what happens while you're busy making plans. Matt hasn't exactly been the architect of his future, but the Dillon former quarterback has been plugging along. This week found Saracen in the cross hairs emotionally. The Taylors, meanwhile, continue to struggle through the professional turmoil, and the younger set in Dillon has definite issues -- some good, some not-so-good.

Then there's Buddy Garrity. If he's not a Panther anymore, and he denounced his identity with the West Dillon team last week, what is he? As he told Eric, the beauty of boosterism is that it comes from the heart. Where's Buddy's heart now? More on that and the rest, after the jump.

How amazing is it that Riggins may be the most emotionally evolved character on Friday Night Lights? His scene with Matt in front of the campfire on a hunting trip -- which fortunately scored no whitetail or boar or anything else -- was the kind of simple drama that other shows wish they could master. Riggins is not articulate, but he draws it out of others. Matt admits his troubles with Julie are of his own making, that he's resentful of her college plans because he sacrificed his future to stay in Dillon to be near her.

Then there was Riggins "shopping therapy" for Becky. Could there have been a stranger sight than Tim in a pagaent/prom/bridal gown warehouse shop? But Becky needed someone to care about her Miss Texas aspirations, and her mother was MIA. What is her problem anyway? She was there, then she wasn't. No wonder Becky's confused.

But Riggins came through. He even sounded like a variation on Tim Gunn when he said, "What's that saying, doesn't the dress find you?"

Eric's still looking for solutions at East Dillon. The pep rally/homecoming at Ray's Barbecue was inspired, as was gathering the 1983 championship team members, but is it enough? Will he ever get the town behind his rag-tag team? Maybe if he can get Steve Harris's Ray on board, that might make a difference. It's got to happen, doesn't it? Ray's story is unfolding slowly, but as Jess said, football is in all the Witherspoons.

At least Eric's invitation to Buddy reaped dividends, although it cost Coach Taylor all his steak. And don't you love Tami? Even with all the grief she's enduring, she steps up to make the dinner party for Eric. And he didn't even have to ask.

Tami has no relief in her school. She's under siege with sports radio talk, the school administrator gives her grief, her car is vandalized. Is it any wonder she turns to chocolate?

The younger crowd has their ups and downs. Vince and Luke's feud goes from the practice field to the locker room and, eventually, to a holding room at the police station. Coach Taylor saves their butts, but it comes with a cost. He tells them, "You get one chance in life, fellas. You either take advantage of it or you piss it away." Then he dumps them in middle of nowhere in the middle of the night to figure it out. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship between Vince and Luke? Luke did get his wallet back.

It was great to see Landry, in his own Landry way, take the next step with Jess. And I admire Julie for going to Steers with Devon. That's friendship. Julie was very cool about going to a gay bar. But what was up with Eric's assistant coach being there and then denying it.

But nothing hit as hard as Matt's story. Like a bolt from the blue. After the hunting trip, Matt returned with resolve. He was going to make up with Julie and clear the air. Then life mucked up his plan. Fate intervened. Matt learned that his father was killed in combat. As Julie hugged him in comfort, the question in his eyes and in our minds, was this -- what happens now?

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

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Thanks for the recap! That was just about one of the most perfect FNL episodes in a longggg, they juggled so many storylines and themes and still was able to pack a wallop of an ending. How do these writers keep bringing their A-game, episode after episode, season after season. Just wow...

November 21 2009 at 5:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks, Allison, for the review. I know TV Squad likes to not always review good shows these days (Psych comes to mind), but it's nice to see FNL is still on the list.

I'm not crazy about how they've created the East Dillon geographic region out of thin air. Thought Dillon was a small town, but apparently it's big enough to have a seedy side to it. Still, it's FNL and it is so good. Last night was classic FNL and I'm lookin' forward to "the most dramatic FNL episode...ever" in two weeks' time.

November 19 2009 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show continues to impress. It's amazing how they're able to move forward from season to season, keeping things fresh without drastically altering the vibe of the show. It's all about character, in the four seasons this show has been on, we've gone through a cast of great characters and yet with a new team, a new town, and a whole set of new challenges, the show hasn't lost it's direction. Don't get me wrong, there was a huge misstep with the Landry murder plot a couple of seasons ago but they have more then made up for it. One of the best, wholesome, redeeming shows on right now.

November 19 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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