This week's Friday Night Lights wasn't the most subtle episode of the show, with its twin themes of separation and prejudice leaving their mark on almost every story line. But amid the occasional heavy-handed nonsense, there were some interesting developments for Smash, Tami, and even Matt (finally). Want to read my thoughts and add your own? Just
Sometimes I think FNL just let its cast grow too big; even I'm having trouble remembering the last time we saw some of these people. Take Lyla: After a several-episode absence, she popped up as the new co-host of a Christian teen radio show that Tim Riggins prank-calls while he's hanging out with Jason Street. (Yes, I said Jason Street. We can cancel that missing persons' alert now.) While the radio show — and the associated makeout session with the boy formerly known as Logan from Gilmore Girls — came out of virtually nowhere, a few things about it worked. For one, I like seeing Lyla getting more comfortable with expressing her faith. For another: That moment with Tim Riggins walking in with drugstore flowers just as Lyla and her co-host started kissing was fantastic. I'd nearly forgotten Tim was still carrying a torch for her, and while he might have tossed the flowers aside, I don't think he's going to give up on Lyla so easily.
Onto Smash: As skeptical as I am of the idea that his mom and Noelle's parents would throw a dinner party to announce that a black guy and a white girl shouldn't date, this was an intriguing story. Dillon's a place where players of all colors share space on the field relatively easily, but we've also seen how tenuous that racial truce is, and I'd believe an interracial relationship could still raise some eyebrows. I wish we could have seen a little more of that eyebrow-raising before this episode's big blowout, though — not to mention some more of Smash and Noelle actually dating, rather than her acting as his football adviser.
Tami got a big dose of separation anxiety when she realized that leaving Gracie with Shelly and with strangers at day care were two very different things. I loved the way Coach and Tami ended up having essentially the reverse of the conversation they had about TMU in last season's finale: In that episode, he said he wouldn't take the job because he didn't want to hurt the family, and she insisted she had to follow his dream; this time, she said she was ready to give up her job, and he refused to let that happen. Their scene on the couch, with Coach assuring Tami that Gracie could always come to her for counseling, was one of my favorites.
Some other thoughts:
- So, Carlotta's gone. I guess I'm glad it's over, but why did it even happen?
- Santiago's story with Buddy's grandpa's watch and his juvie friends was about as telegraphed as anything gets on FNL — I mean, Buddy practically said aloud that one of Santiago's friends would steal the watch. Also, between this and the watch Landry lost, this show has quite a fascination with heirloom watches.
- Speaking of Landry, we finally got a scene of him and Matt hanging out! What's a little murder between friends?
- Guess that drug dealer had better things to do this week than come after Riggins.
Your thoughts? Was this episode too predictable, or was the payoff worth it? And why didn't Riggins just go live with Herc and Street in the first place?
Photos courtesy of NBC