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Friday Night Lights Recap: Season Three, Episode 11, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"

Friday Night Lights Rundown: Episode 11, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"

On this week's Friday Night Lights, the Panthers face their toughest football challenge of the season. That puts even more pressure on JD, who's continuing to defy his father by seeing (or at least texting) Madison. Meanwhile, Lyla remains in her funk over her magical disappearing college money, and Matt's forced to take a hard look at how much he can really do as his grandma's caretaker. There's so much to talk about when you


Way to kill a buzz, Joe McCoy. The Panthers are going to State, and yet there's no victory lap. There's just Joe and JD, screaming and shoving each other in the Applebee's parking lot. JD isn't following orders: He's still seeing Madison (who's even showing up at practices now), and — maybe even worse — he's going against Joe's game strategy. The game wasn't pretty, but he got the team to State; what more could Joe want? A lot, actually: To Joe, that was a travesty and a sign of how JD is going off the rails. And when JD fights back with a "screw you," he finds himself up against the back of the car, his father slapping him — presumably for the first time, given Katie's horrified reaction when Tami tries to comfort her. But that doesn't mean there hasn't been all kinds of psychological abuse going on in the McCoy house. Nothing JD does is ever good enough, and now he doesn't want to see his father again.

There's a little of that going around: Lyla's still on the run from her dad, drinking herself into a good-girl version of a stupor with the Rigginses . When she finally does go home, she finds her acceptance letter from Vanderbilt, the school that Buddy's Landing Strip antics might prevent her from attending. How amazing is it to see Riggins be the good guy? He could take advantage of having his hot girlfriend drunk and in his bed 24/7, but instead, he takes her to church and convinces her that college isn't off the table — and oh yeah, by the way, he loves her. He loves her! Matt, too, finds himself wishing away a parent: Grandma falls out of the car on Shelby's watch, and when the doctor suggests again that Matt consider assisted living, Matt turns it on his mom: Isn't it just like her to shirk responsibility? But oh, Matt's finally realizing he's in over his head. The scene with the slippers gave me chills; this is more than he knows how to handle.

Tyra, meanwhile, runs smack up against her vision of her future at Mindy's "classy" tea shower. She's gotten her SAT scores back, and they're better but not enough better. Even Landry can't even manage to seem overjoyed, but he does tell her that he's proud of her for not coasting by on her beauty. And yet, we see Tyra wondering why she's not just coasting on her beauty. I wouldn't have expected Angela Collette to be the parent in this episode who steps up, but there we have it: She says Tyra has surprised her from day one, and if she just keeps working, eventually she'll surprise herself, too.

Some other thoughts:

  • I have a feeling this whole redistricting debate is setting up some interesting stuff for the potential fourth and fifth seasons — a new cross-town rival, the loss of a ton of Panther players, the gain of several new prospects. And there's also Coach's lie to Tami about the boosters redrawing the district border. Lying to Tami never ends well.
  • Something I never thought I'd see: Billy Riggins wearing lingerie.
  • I have to chuckle at some of JD's George Michael Bluth-ish comments, like telling Madison it's pretty warm on the field when she comments on how hot he looks at practice. He doesn't have much of a personality, but he's never been allowed to.

Are you excited for the upcoming trip to State? Or do you, too, feel a sort of ominous cloud hanging over the Panthers' season?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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