'Friday Night Lights' recap: Tyra brings it

Fridaynightlights_lThis week, we got another excellent episode of Friday Night Lights, even if it was not exactly the one I’d press upon a newbie I want to recruit for the FNL-watching team. You had to be hardcore to relish all the troubles and woes that rendered this one of the more downbeat editions of the series. Me, I pretty much loved it.

Right off the bat, this hour addressed the plot point I had said the producers ignored last week — the theft of drug money by Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and his brother. The scene of Riggins getting bashed in a parking-lot was mighty scary-effective, and I liked the way it kick-started something that, at first, may not have made narrative sense. Why, you might initially wonder, would Riggins getting the crap beat out of him compel him to suddenly decide he had to declare his love for Lyla (Minka Kelly) right now? I mean "right now" as in, barging into a church service and insisting on talking to Lyla when she was in the throes of both spiritual rapture and the more earthy kind as she gazed upon Smirky Gilmore Girls Guy. (Is his name really "Chris" — by extension, making him Chris the Christian — or did I mis-hear that?)

But when you think about it, it all makes perfect Riggins-sense: Faced with extreme danger, the guy wanted to make sure, if the violence escalated, that at least one person in this world knew of his love for her. It was a profoundly romantic gesture. And the fact that it resulted in a less-profound action — Lyla giving Riggins the money he needed to pay off the meth-head — well, that’s just another reason to admire FNL‘s emotional complexity.

addCredit(“Friday Night Lights: Bill Records”)

The other big plotline was having the cash-strapped Jason Street(Scott Porter) start working as a car salesman in Buddy Garrity’sshowroom. I thought all the petty anger the rest of the staff showedtoward him was totally believable, even if it looks, ultimately, like adead-end job for Jason, who’ll never settle for such a conventional,draining 9-to-5, do you think?

As for the Smash (Gaius Charles) subplot — boy, did I not want tosee him get punished for scrapping with that racist teen from lastweek. I know, I know: Smash shouldn’t have put his little sister in thevulnerable position she was in last week just so he could have asneaky-date with his girlfriend, but Smash has suffered enough, don’tyou think? On the other hand, this was completely in line with FNL‘sunblinking take on small-town racism. I just wish the show hadn’tstooped to that last bit, with the local TV newscasters ambushing Smashfor a reaction, goading the poor guy. It made me squirm a bit: angryblack youth who can’t control his temper.

While I really enjoyed watching Connie Britton’s Tami fiercelycoaching the girls volleyball team and enlisting Tyra (AdriannePalicki, pictured), I had a wee bit of difficulty with believabilityhere. Last week, the Taylor family was in chaos because baby Gracieneeded tending to, yet this week, Tami was able to carve time out ofher heavy schedule to coach the team? I at least wanted to see a quickshot of the now-always-sour Julie (Aimee Teegarden) hoisting that kidaround on her hip after her school-day ended. That teenager needs morediscipline and responsibility in helping her parents, to say nothing ofincreased bonding-time with her sister Gracie. Does that make me soundlike a mean old father? Well, so be it. On the bright side (and I mean"bright" in every sense), we got a glimpse of Landry’s new object ofaffection, Jean (Brea Grant) — cheerful, intelligent (visual cue:eyeglasses!), with white-blonde dreads (loved that tracking shotfollowing the back of her head as she made her way to Landry’s table)and a fondness for the kind of metal music Landry (Jesse Plemons)likes. The scenes in which Tyra had to communicate her mixed feelingsupon seeing this new twosome (jealousy, yet a jealousy she brought uponherself by breaking up with Landry) proved once again what a superbactress Adrianne Palicki is.

What did you think? Are things getting gloomier for you as Friday Night Lights‘ final pre-strike episodes wind down?

Comments (42 total) Add your comment
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  • Murphy

    I loved how Jason “coached” that guy to buy the truck. He talked just like a coach trying to get the best out of a player, and I think he’ll end up going back to coaching football.

  • Mrs. Taylor

    Loved this ep! Loved this exchange:
    Julie: “So, what, they’re now 1-7?”
    Coact: “Why do you have to be like that? Mom’s 1-1!!”
    And where in the world did Lyla get that $ (besides daddy)? It’s not like she has a job; isn’t the radio show a volunteer thing? Anyone have any guesses?

  • Kerry

    So, do you think this is Riggins time to shine on the field? If there’s no more Smash for the last three games of the season, will Tim step up like he did last time Smash was out of commission?
    So good! Maybe Tim will get himself a scholarship and out of his sad sack life.

  • Jenny

    I’ll be so sad when this show runs out of ep. It’s fanastic! I figured Lyla got the $ from her dad. He would have given it to her out of guilt for all of the family problems. Maybe this is a deleted scene? Glad to see Jason and Herc return. Loved the whole Landry new girlfriend thing as well.

  • cidigi

    I will surely be depressed when the series runs out of eps. I love this
    show and thought last night was great.
    Landry’s new girl-great! Riggins has got to ‘step up to the plate’. Smash
    needs to chill. He’s too full of himself but I adore that role anyway!
    Of course Daddy paid the debt. Sweet needs to go back to coaching!!

  • cidigi

    I will surely be depressed when the series runs out of eps. I love this
    show and thought last night was great.
    Landry’s new girl-great! Riggins has got to ‘step up to the plate’. Smash
    needs to chill. He’s too full of himself but I adore that role anyway!
    Of course Daddy paid the debt. Sweet needs to go back to coaching!!

  • Anonymous

    Think you heard that character’s name right, and not just Chris the Christian, but Chris Christianson the Christian, for crying out loud! A good episode, though I thought Landry was just using that new girl to make Tyra jealous, which would be too bad, because she seems to have the same interests he does. Also, did everyone just conveniently forget (including Landry himself) that he killed someone? I mean, what happened to the tortured conscience? Wish the Smash storyline would go in a different direction–those white kids need to be exposed for the instigators in this situation, though that might be too easy for this show. I loved seeing Jason Street again and the scene where he actually sells a car to the “looky-loo” was great (“Be a man and show these people you’re not afraid to follow through,” as if it’s something important to prove to a bunch of salespeople, but, heck, it worked). Is this the second-to-last new episode?

  • anne

    I love this show! Taylor Kitsch and Adrienne Palicki have really stepped-up to the plate this season. I liked the silly scene with the both of them at volleyball practice. I love that he’s standing there with all the balls and she imagines that the ball she is hitting is his head and all of the sudden you see all the history between them. fun stuff. Poor Smash, he really doesn’t deserve more hassle but the situation rang so true. Next week has Matt had a strip club should be awesome! He hasn’t much to do this season and he deserves a better storyline.

  • Amy

    Very good episode this week…VERY good! Everyone really shined of course minus the chronic pain in the butt this year…Julie. I really didn’t not miss Jason much they last 2-3 weeks,but man it was good to have him back. This show is soo good at bringing characters in and out. I really didn’t miss Tyra and Landry either but the exchange they had in the lunch room was fantastic. Next week looks very good. I will soo miss this show. PLEASE NBC DO NOT CANCEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Green Gummi Bear

    Normally I feel a little guilty being a grown-up guy watching something that can border on CW soap (bordering, not yet going over). But I have to admit, I was giddy as a schoolgirl when they started up the episode with a Replacements song! And and older one, “I Will Dare”, at that! Made me feel like I was back in high school.
    I think the new girl is great for Landry, she’s a bit geeky and looks different, just like he was before he joined football and dated the “bad girl”. He’s going to have to ask himself who he is, does he really want to try and fit in with the “cool kids” and be the jock he never was before, or be his own unique individual? Will he stand up to Smash and others who would pick on him for not dating a cheerleader? Sadly, according to the previews it looks like the show is going a bit cliche and sending Matt down the drunk path. He’s already going to the parties and being accepted as the QB, I’m sure that will conflict Landry and if he wants to stay unique.

  • Carli

    I think when Coach said ‘Your mom’s 1 and 1″ at the end, that it was a mistake by Kyle but they went with it, since he immediately recovered. It made me laugh, though.
    I’m going to be mad if they make it seem like Tyra’s only now going after Landry because of this other girl. She already told him how she feels about him (more than she’s ever felt for anyone), so to say she’s just in it for the chase would be a mistake, IMO. Only problem is that I think Landry actually likes this girl. Should be interesting to see what they do.

  • JamesB

    Adrianne Palicki better get an Emmy nod for the wonderful job she has done this season. This young women has a very bright future.

  • Hannah

    This was not my favorite episode so far this year. They can do so much better! Glad to see the Riggins/Meth Head storyline wrap though. Whew!
    I loved Jason’s sales pitch to the guy at the end, up until a commercial cut in after and showed it all to be a big product placement. Anybody else turned off by that? Come on!
    And I hate to put so much negativity into a post (because even though this wasn’t my fav episode this season, it’s still sitting pretty on the high end of quality TV) but does anybody else wish Smash’s mom had more to her than “powerful, sassy black woman”? Come on writers, you can do it!

  • smooches

    What about the Santiago drama???!!! Please, please, please don’t let that guy be dead! I’m not ready for another murder in Dillon!!!
    Am I the only one who is tired of Riggins never getting a chance to be totally happy??? Every time he gets close to finding inner peace, he gets crap!!! Just give him one episode of stability please!!!!
    At the end of every episode, I hold my breath waiting for the upcoming episode scenes. I just know that the day is right around the corner where I will have to come to grips with no more life in Dillon!

  • Tony

    I liked this episode, but could we PLEASE have more on-field action? Or is volleyball the new football? I felt like most major storylines last season somehow tied back to the football field or at least had consequences for Panther football (the racism episodes, Street’s paralysis = Saracen’s on-field development, etc.). Not only has there been a lack of football this season, but the consequences of off-field actions don’t even mean anything in the big scheme of things, i.e. FOOTBALL in this small-town. Hopefully the Smash suspension will really allow some football action to play out…

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