Review: Friday Night Lights - Stay
by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 11th 2009 12:48AM
(S04E06) After last week's episode -- a tour de force by Zach Gilford as Matt -- this show felt almost like a transition. The stories are in motion, the characters are in flux, and change is coming. It's inevitable given the relationships and the ages of most of the cast, so it would be disingenuous to be surprised by what's happening.
There were two songs that informed the major changes, Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and Patsy Cline's "Crazy." More on the tunes and the trials, not to mention that thirteen on eleven drill that's got the East Dillon Lions starting to roar on the field. Not winning the game, but at least winning respect. For more on all this stuff, follow me.
Standing at the crossroads of life is precisely where Matt Saracen has found himself. The trip to Austin with Julie was a revelation because at last the truth came out. He had stayed in Dillon for her and Julie knew it. She let it happen. She was selfish because she loves him.
So, teenager that she is, Julie risked the wrath of Tami -- and she knew she was going to get it when she got home -- to placate Matt and to hold onto their romance by arranging the trip to Austin. Sure, Matt needed a diversion after the trauma of his father's death, but the difficulties he's dealing with can't be solved with a music festival.
Now, the Bob Dylan song suggests that Matt's moved on, not to mention his driving off to somewhere in Texas after leaving Julie and seeing his family through the window. Is this the end of Matt's story? I don't think so. It's not his style to walk away like that. I think he's on a walk-about in a station wagon. And as for his romance with Julie, well, as Bob sang, "I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind, You could have done better but I don't mind. You just kinda wasted my precious time. But don't think twice, it's all right."
As for the the other musical reference, we have Lyla and Tim. She was home for mid-break and for a few days, their romance was rekindled. The key moment for them, though, was the final morning after. What did Riggins want? Lyla asked. His answer was Lyla. Not once, but twice. That said it all for Lyla. She wanted Tim to want more, and Tim can't see beyond the horizon. Or the next beer. Patsy Cline's song, like Dylan's, said it all about Tim's love for Lyla: "Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you, I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying, And I'm crazy for loving you."
When Lyla took that bus back to college, there was no question it was a door closing. Becky's "sage" advice for Tim, about first love being heartbreaking and your greatest love might be across the world in Sri Lanka, was actually pretty sweet. So was Tim's response. He told her to shut up. Then added a please.
Tami's freaking out about Julie taking off without permission was pure prefiguration. Tami's going to freak out when Julie goes off to college in a year, especially since she's talking about out of state schools. Eric's middle of the night response was perfect -- and exactly why these two are such a real couple. He said he supported Tami 100 percent. Smart husband.
As for the game, it looks like Eric's making some headway. The Riggins boys joining in for a practice paid off. The Lions didn't win, as I said, but they're improving. And nobody's forfeiting anything anymore.
Like I said, transitions. Lyla moving on without Tim. Julie accepting that Matt's not staying in Dillon. Tami preparing for her second favorite daughter to leave the nest.
All in all, a good episode -- but I want to see Matt come back or call home in a future show. I need more closure on his story.
Other points of interest
-- Do you think by the time Landry graduates high school he'll learn to think before speaking? He put his foot in his mouth three times in this episode!
-- Great product placement when Vince and Luke took the game film to Sears to watch it on the big screen in the electronics department. You see, product placement can work if it's done realistically and with subtlety.
-- Vince's mom seems to be clean for the moment and it was nice that she cared enough to go to the game. I just don't think she'll be able to stay that way for long. And Vince is still being lead astray by the barber shop guys.
-- Is Jess really interested in Landry or Vince? I'm thinking she likes the red head.
[Watch Friday Night Lights episodes and clips at SlashControl.]