'Friday Night Lights' Season 5, Episode 1 Recap (Season Premiere)
by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 28th 2010 1:15AM
['Friday Night Lights' - 'Expectations']
When you watch a show as good as 'Friday Night Lights,' you're reminded that television can be a transformational medium. It's been months since the last time we were rooting for the East Dillon High Lions, but within minutes, the life and times of the folks of Dillon were vividly brought back to us. It was a time of transitions and, as the title suggested, expectations.
For the Taylors, transition has never been more evident than Julie (Aimee Teegarden) leaving for college. Her nonchalance about moving away irks Eric (Kyle Chandler), and to be honest, it was surprising that Julie didn't want her parents to take her to school. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism by Julie, a way to fight the emotions that she had to be feeling. Still, that last game of ping-pong with Dad had to get to Julie. Seeing her pull out of the driveway, leaving the family behind, was hard to watch.
Also off to college was Landry (Jesse Plemons). His last days in Dillon were filled with nostalgia, giving a final concert with his band, saying goodbye to Matt's grandmother, reminiscing with Julie. Julie then gave Landry the epic last night he'd always hoped to have when he went off to college; Julie took him to the strip club and left him there to have a grand old time.
Tami (Connie Britton) was also undergoing a major transition, trying to fit into East Dillon as a guidance counselor. Being in a school where the funds are tight and neither the students nor the parents seem to care was demoralizing. Tami's enthusiasm was gone, like the air from a balloon, by the end of the episode. After running the show at Dillon, will she adjust to working just as hard as before, but with no power to get things done?
Expectations always make Eric nervous because in the world of Texas football, every season is supposed to be the season. After a 2-8 record last year, can Eric turn the Lions into a winner this year? Will adding Billy Riggins (Derek Phillips) as a coach be helpful?
Well, it might help Billy, who was determined to improve his life as a way to repay Tim's (Taylor Kitsch) sacrifice. Tim, by the way, has three months more behind bars, but his spirit has been shot. Tim will never be the same after this experience, even if it was the noble thing to do.
The girl Tim left behind, Becky (Madison Burge), undergoes a transition, too. Her home situation was a mess, forcing her to ask Billy for a place to stay. That situation seems combustible, to say the least.
Vince (Michael B. Jordan) and Jess' (Jurnee Smollett) relationship has transitioned into a true romance, but Jess has her hands full with her brothers. Ray is in Dallas, expanding his barbecue business, but Jess was left to pick up the pieces in his wake, to hold the family together. It felt right that it was Vince who made Andre realize that fathers who care -- like Ray -- will always come back. Not like Vince's father. Hopefully, Andre got the message.
A new character entered the scene -- Hastings Ruckle (Grey Damon). He's a free spirit, a basketball player, a kid who doesn't like football. That's not allowed in Texas, so Eric enlists Vince and Luke (Matt Lauria) to recruit him. But Vince wisely turns to Jess to use her womanly ways to land the new receiver. She listens to him express his doubts about living up to the expectations of others, and let's him know he's a coward. That does the trick.
By the time of the Whataburger Kickoff Classic, after the Lions put on a tremendous charge to get back into the game, Hastings gets a chance to play and makes a great catch. The reverse Statue of Liberty sneak for a two-point conversion gives East Dillon the win.
Expecting wins may be too much to ask of the Lions, but expecting a great season from 'Friday Night Lights' is not. The only bittersweet thought is that this is the final season.
'Friday Night Lights' airs Wednesdays at 9PM ET on DirecTV's Channel 101.