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November 22, 2014

Review: Friday Night Lights - In the Bag

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 17th 2009 1:28AM
friday_night_lights_landry_jess
(S04E07)
Friday Night Lights is a show that's as much about subtle touches as it is about bone-crunching hits on the football field. This episode was all about pain, but not just the kind that requires a doctor's touch. Julie felt it, as did Landry, Becky, Vince and Tim in their own ways.

For a change of pace, Tami wasn't getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, and for Coach Taylor, things were looking up even though the sheriff was snooping around the locker of one of his players. And if you're wondering what happened after Matt left Dillon last week, read on.

The pain that Julie felt was the result of Matt's abrupt departure. What made it even harder to take was that after three years, Matt had left and not bothered to call her. He contacted his family, but nothing for Julie. Throwing herself into Academic Smackdown turned out to be therapeutic. In fact, the question about Thomas Wolf's novels seemed like a plant.

That's right, I think Tami put that question into the contest just so Julie would realize "You Can't Go Home Again" was all about her and Matt. And how perfect was it that Tami was there with the comforting shoulder for Julie to cry on when she realized it was over?

Becky had romanticized her trucker father's visit -- and his getting her a dog -- because she didn't want to face the fact that he had emotionally abandoned her. Tim learned the truth about his Seattle family, and because he'd been abandoned by his own father, Tim couldn't let Becky keep fooling herself. He forced her to hear and see reality and then, guilt-ridden, went back to get the dog from the pound. And when Becky's father came after Tim for ratting him out, Tim was more than happy to beat the crap out of the asshole. Every punch could just as easily been for his own father.

Tim Riggins has so much more going for himself than brother Billy. That last scene in the 25 acre lot was fraught with subtext; will Tim be buying the land or will he be sucked into another harebrained scheme with Billy? You'd like to think he learned something after the last criminal escapade that nearly got Tim thrown in jail.

At least Landry cleared his head about Tyra. That one-sided phone call was all he needed to answer his questions ... and steer him back in Jess's direction. I don't think it's the prospect of being the subject of a song that made Jess say yes to a date.

Vince stepped up and repaid Eric's faith in him by giving him the bag. With Luke's injury likely to have a major effect on the team, I can see Vince taking on more of a leadership role in the weeks ahead. And how great was it that Tinker worked on the fence with Luke's dad? See what I mean about subtlety? That was a great touch.

Other points of interest

-- Glenn beat himself up for making a pass at Tami, but if I could see it coming, why couldn't Tami? He was gushing too much over her for it not to be a sign that he had a crush on Principal Taylor.

-- Tami didn't tell Eric about the pass. Smart wife.

-- Every time they show Ray's barbeque, I get hungry. Whataburger, however, is not appetizing.

-- What a shocker, Billy Riggins is one of the 47 million Americans without health insurance.

-- Even if Matt didn't want to talk to Julie, he could have sent her a postcard. That was cold.

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

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Ceti

Tammy rigged a school competition? You must must be joking

December 18 2009 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wheat

I dont think Matt was being mean in not contacting Julie. It is obvious that he is still in love with her (he stayed in Dillon because of her). But he finally realized with his dad dying and his trip to Austin with Julie that he was hurting himself staying behind in Dillon. He needed to leave and Julie even pushed him to realize that.

However, the trouble with Matt leaving is that he and Julie are in love. But he knows that the best thing he can do for himself is leave and that means leaving her. I think he doesn't call her because it would hurt too much to talk to her, so he's trying to forget. Peter Berg talked about how Matt "found the right girl too soon."

The whole ordeal is just as tough on Julie. She realizes that he needs to leave, but struggles with letting him go. This whole ordeal really captures the pain of two young lovers growing apart not because they do not love each other but because their lives pull themselves in separate directions.

December 18 2009 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ben

This show continues week in and week out to leave me amazed. Amazed that a network like NBC could be so blind as to the gold that FNL is, amazed that each week the writers are able to engage the viewer with such compelling story lines and characters, and amazed that after three seasons, this show is just as good as the first season and the book upon which it's based. Anyone notice Matt was not in the opening credits of the show this week? Is he gone for good?

Peter Berg and crew have managed to put together one of the best television shows I have seen. Ever. Where else can you see such a wonderful ensemble of actors hashing out story lines that are actually based in REAL LIFE? Good god, even the previews for the next episodes are better then 90% of the television shows on right now.

I really hope that the end shot of Riggins is the just the beginning of him starting to look beyond just Lyla and more to his own future. I would love to see him become a permanent member of the coaching staff at East Dillon. It's the type of career he would thrive at, and I think it would offer the much needed stability that his life is currently lacking.

I really thought that the entire team would rally around Luke and help out the fence construction, but it worked really well with Tink stepping in. It's moments like that, and the follow-up glance that Luke's father made toward him that really make this show spectacular. You are absolutely right in that subtlety is what this show does best. As soon as those quite "Explosions in the Sky" guitar lines start infiltrating a scene, you know you're in for something meaningful, hopeful, and wholesome - even if it's a tough situation to face.

God I love this show. Thank you DirecTV for keeping it alive.

December 17 2009 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Matt left Dillon.

hehe, Matt Dillon

December 17 2009 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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