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'Friday Night Lights' - 'Thanksgiving' Recap - Season Finale

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 11th 2010 3:30AM
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.]

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The scene where Tim told Billy he will do the time alone hits me real bad. I've gone through the same thing with my older brother a few years back. I straight myself up since then and I'll remember his sacrifice till I die.

February 12 2010 at 6:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show. The ending hit me from all angles.

But, damn, I don't think I can watch it without Tim, Matt, and even Landry around ... I'm so attached to those characters and their place in this world. A season without those characters would not feel the same. Especially a season without 33.

February 11 2010 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love the episode and the tying up of loose ends. I cannot side with Julie, however. The way Matt left town was inconsiderate, but he had been let down by Julie long before that.

It's fine that she's looking for her "own Chicago", but she never paid the slightest bit of attention to what Matt wanted. Early in the season she discussed her list of schools with him and not a single one was in Chicago or even Illinois. All that despite the fact that he was definitely going to go there. That signalled the end of that particular relationship to me. Matt just tried to hold on to it until he couldn't anymore.

Poor Landry. He has bad luck with women. Bad luck with some remarkable women, but that doesn't really change anything. He must have been a senior this season, right?

February 11 2010 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did you notice that Coach Taylor called Landry by his correct name the entire episode. It surprised me when he told Landry to pack up and go (during the Thanksgiving practice) and he didn't call him Lance.

February 11 2010 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kilgore's comment

Great notice Kilgore. I didn't pick up on the practice part, but I did catch that during the game. It speaks volumes for Coach's respect for him. In Texas, where football reigns supreme, the name Landry (after Tom Landry naturally) means much more than just a name. I imagine Coach never called him that because he didn't believe he had earned it until the end --- which was very likely Landry's final football game ever.

February 11 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A great way to wrap up this season. I was relieved this morning to see that the series will be back for a final season. Last night's ending really could have been the final good bye. It was sad to see Tim take the fall for his brother, but I guess it's one of the final rungs in the ladder Tim has been climbing throughout his story. Great show, too bad NBC hasn't given it its due - no surprise there though.

February 11 2010 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally agree. Friday Night Lights is the very best show on TV. My very favorite, no way I would miss the show. In fact, I watch the show on Wed and Friday nights. It is so wonderful. Such great acting, so natural, so believable. Love it!!!

February 11 2010 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Quite simply.....the best show on TV

February 11 2010 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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