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"Friday Night Lights" Recap: Episode 20, "Mud Bowl"

"Friday Night Lights" Recap: Episode 20, "Mud Bowl"


Well, "Friday Night Lights" sure knows how to kick us in the stomach, huh? With three episodes left in the season, Jason finally got angry, Lyla finally pushed back, and Smash finally broke down. And that was all before the last few minutes, which mixed euphoric joy with a sad twist I never saw coming.

It's a few days before the game that will decide whether the Panthers go to the state championship and face the team led by Voodoo "tangential plotline" Tatum. Coach spots Jason coaching Matt in an empty field. Buddy has a huge logo for his dealership painted on the stadium (I'm sorry we didn't get to see his reaction to Lyla's smash-up), and Matt finds an envelope full of cash in his locker, which Coach assumes must be Buddy's doing. To see what happens from there, read more

Then everything goes kablooey. Literally. There's a train wreck, and an explosion, and everybody's evacuated from the school. Landry follows Tyra to the library, telling her he can be her "A-team tutor" while waving around Our Bodies, Ourselves. Marry me, Landry. Tyra agrees to meet him Friday night to study, saying "It's a date," and Landry can't believe Tyra said the "d" word.


In the rush of the evacuation, Waverly randomly ends up complaining about Smash to Lyla. Lyla says her boyfriend went to Austin and got a tattoo and now he won't return her calls. Waverly has the cure for their troubles: shooting guns at bottles. Smash later tells Lyla that Waverly's bipolar, and while he's not sure what that means, he's pretty sure she shouldn't be shooting guns.

Coach finds out he can't have a game in Dillon because of the toxic fumes, but he doesn't want to lose home field advantage. He turns down a state-of-the-art stadium and decides to build a field in a cow pasture. Tami wonders where people will park, and then one of the cows walks toward her and Coach notes that even the cows are supportive. I think that was unplanned.

Lyla tells Jason they need to talk, and he snaps back that he's lost everything — his coach, his town's support, his shot at a new sport — so he's got more on his mind than being the perfect boyfriend. Minka Kelly then makes me regret every mean word I've ever said about her acting by throwing a class of water at Jason and delivering this awesome speech: "You want to play rugby? Find another team. You hate this lawsuit so much? Find a way to make it go away. And the next time you want a glass of water, say please."


Waverly yells at Smash for telling Lyla she's bipolar, and Smash tells her that it's not cool for her to stick him with that secret. Meanwhile, the Streets and Coach try to settle the lawsuit, and Jason says maybe he can just write down how much money he wants and be done. Everyone's startled, but they agree.

And really, we're just getting geared up for the big stuff.

The game starts, and it's pouring rain, and it's not looking good for Dillon.

Landry's car won't start, so Tyra's alone at the diner. A guy asks what she's up to, and I think the twist will be that Landry finds her with another guy.


Jason gives Matt advice, and the Panthers tie the game. The refs want to call it off, but the players refuse.

Tyra gets up to leave. The guy tells her to be careful, and I think the twist will be that she wrecks her car. But the guy follows her and shoves her in his truck and tries to rape her, and she fights back and stabs him with the cigarette lighter and slams his hand in the door. He drives off, and she's sobbing and picking up her things when Landry arrives.

Matt scores the winning touchdown, and the Panthers are going to state! Waverly talks to Smash's mom, and Julie tells Matt she'll always love him, and everyone plays in the mud. Coach asks Jason if he's thought about coaching, and Bo asks Riggins if he’s sleeping over again, so I guess the jig is up there. It's all so happy, but I can't celebrate, because Tyra's in the diner, holding Landry's hand and sobbing. That was a bold move, but I think it was powerful. What about you?

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