'Friday Night Lights' - 'Thanksgiving' Recap - Season Finale
by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 11th 2010 3:30AM
(S04E13) One of the stranger things about 'Friday Night Lights' airing on DirecTV -- before this same season airs on NBC starting April 30th -- is the fact that this was the season finale and it was all set around Thanksgiving. We may be contemplating Valentine's Day on other shows and in our own lives, but in Dillon, Texas, it's a Thanksgiving turkey feast, time to hang Christmas decorations outside the house, and -- oh, yes -- the big local high school football game. The Clash of the Cats - Lions versus Panthers. More about the game, the guests, and the tough decisions to be made after the jump.
Coach Taylor really, really wanted this win. East Dillon has had a trying season that began with a forfeit. Beating the Panthers wouldn't get the Lions a playoff game, but it would get them some much deserved pride. Vince doubted he could deliver, but Eric never wavered. If there's one ingredient that separated Coach Taylor from the guys in blue across the field, it was the way he motivated his men.
His approach to the game reminded me a bit of Sean Peyton, the New Orleans Saints coach who led his team to the Super Bowl win last week. Coach Taylor was creative, daring and determined. He purposely told Luke he wouldn't play, then used him. He benched Landry as a kicker, until it was the most important kick of the game. With a glint in his eyes, Coach Taylor proved he was the real McCoy -- not the West Dillon McCoys.
Tami showed her strength in just as tough a match. At the special school board meeting set up for her to capitulate to the town pressure, she went off script to speak from the heart. Then she wisely cut a deal, agreeing to give up the principal's job at West Dillon to run the counseling department at East Dillon.
Tim wasn't as fortunate. His deal involved martyrdom. When he gave Becky the snowglobe, when he rubbed Skeeter's ears before leaving the pick-up, when he tossed his #33 truck keys to Billy, that was it. Tim was doing the time and leaving Billy to be the Riggins man they've both tried -- and failed -- to become. The door was left open for 33's return, but the show may be gone by the time he's out of prison.
Matt's return to Dillon was also a way to tie up loose ends. Julie admitted it was hard to stay mad at him, but she was smart enough to know it was over. Tami's daughter rose to the occasion. She turned down the invitation to go to Chicago with Matt because that was never her dream. It's doubtful Matt was overjoyed to return to Chi-town with Landry, but that's what friends are for, right?
In all, it was a wonderful season. Just 13 episodes, but a transition was made involving major characters -- like Tim and Matt -- while others reaffirmed their commitment. The Taylors were tested, but didn't break apart. West Dillon is in the rearview mirror and more and more of the action is shifting to East Dillon, including the newer characters like Vince and Jess and Becky and Luke. And, fortunately, there will be more 'Friday Night Lights.' In 2011, season five commences.
Other points of interest
-- The threat against Vince, the one issued by Kennard last week, was gone for now, and it was refreshing to see him in the light. He shared barbecue with his recovering addict mother for Thanksgiving, and he and Jess have turned a corner in their relationship.
-- After getting kicked in the teeth by Jess, Matt and Vince metaphorically, Landry deserved that moment of glory. Kicking a "72 yard field goal" was miraculous. As Coach said, after three years, he made Landry a football player.
-- On the surface, Luke seems like a good young man. He's not. After all the crap he pulled this season, he was still trying to work Coach Taylor before the game. He wasn't honest, he was manipulative and deceitful.
-- Thanksgiving at the Taylors was quite a gathering. Considering that her career was on the verge of being deep-fried the next day, Tami handled it with aplomb, including Buddy's deep-fried bird. Billy's speech was heartfelt, although completely out of place. Still, it turned the key for Tim to do what he did, and yet Billy wasn't saying what he said to get his brother to sacrifice himself.
[Watch 'Friday Night Lights' episodes and clips at SlashControl.]