The Panthers finally prepare for their first playoff game on this week's "Friday Night Lights," and everything seems to be getting more intense — the practices, the pressure, and especially the teen angst. Jason takes a stand against Buddy, Julie strikes up a friendship with Tyra, the Streets and Coach meet in court for the first time, and Matt gives in to some shirtless hot-tub action with the rally girls. There was so much going on in this episode, in fact, that I wished it had been a two-parter, because it felt a little rushed. As it was, it was an action-packed hour, so for the scoop,
Remember when Herc told Jason he was going to have to stand up to the Buddy Garritys of the world? Well, Jason apparently took that to heart. When Buddy brushes off Jason’s commitment to murderball, Jason snaps back that when he starts playing all over the world, he's taking Lyla with him, because they're getting married. Silence. All that, and we still never get to hear her say "I do." Lyla's apparently the one in this relationship who's a little unsure — she later tells Jason she's worried they're too young. Buddy, meanwhile, asks Coach to intervene.
Speaking of couples on the rocks, Julie gets a taste of what it really means to date a Dillon Panther. First, Matt gets stolen away from their dinner to guest-star on Panther Radio. Then he strands her without a ride at Applebee's when Riggins physically drags Matt away. (I thought Landry drove Matt everywhere?) That at least gives Julie a chance to strike up an awkward friendship with Tyra, who drives Julie home and later steals her a lipstick. Matt then gets tapped to appear on a TV show with Coach on a night when he already had plans with Julie — and asks her to watch his grandma during the taping, to boot. Julie really must be the coolest and most understanding girl in the world, because she says OK. Julie invites Tyra over to help with the Grandma-sitting, and Tyra gives Julie tips on how to keep Matt interested. "He's gonna have these rally girls falling all over him until spring," Tyra says. She suggests Julie develop a sudden interest in a Dillon basketball player.
Tim goes to court to pay a speeding ticket and finds out he has to get a form signed by his dad. He doesn't even know where his dad lives now, but he tracks him down at the golf course where he works, and they go to a diner and then out bowling, where the waitress tells Tim how proud his dad is of him. The next morning, they go golfing and make a deal: If Tim wins, his dad has to come to Dillon to watch Tim play. Tim's dad ultimately sinks the winning putt, and Tim grumbles that if his dad didn't want to come to Dillon, he could have just said so.
Smash spends most of the episode worrying that he's not good enough to play sans steroids, and I think a scene with Smash and Tami in the counseling office must have been cut, because Tami tells Coach that Smash is losing confidence. That spurs Coach to drive over to Smash's neighborhood, where they watch a bunch of little kids play football in an empty lot. Coach tells Smash he can't let his team down, but then a little kid interrupts them, saying Coach better get ready for him in the fall of 2014. Aww. Smash says he used to be that kid.
Tim gets home and barely has time to talk about dad before a parade of rally girls comes streaming through the door. They head to Matt's and shake him awake, then drag him to some crazy party. Apparently it's the Sexy Dillon Panther Hot Tub Calendar Shoot. Matt says Julie's not going to like this, but a rally girl shoves a drink in Matt's hand and takes his shirt off, and pretty soon he's Mr. November.
The next day is Coach's first court date with the Streets, and Coach tracks Jason down and offers some pretty bland marriage advice of the “just be sure” variety. Julie, meanwhile, asks Matt what he did last night. He says nothing, and by my count that's at least strike four. She says she saw the calendar, and why did Matt lie about it? "My head is all foggy for some reason," he says. "Can't imagine why," Julie replies. Oh, snap! She tells him to go off with his little rally girls and leave her alone.
Smash, meanwhile, sprints into Coach's office, where Coach tells him he's starting the game. In the pregame montage, Smash leads the team prayer, and Billy flags down Tim to tell him his dad is there. Game on.