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"Friday Night Lights" Rundown: Episode 1, "Last Days of Summer"

"Friday Night Lights" Rundown: Episode 1, "Last Days of Summer"

Oh, "Friday Night Lights," it's good to have you back. This episode had a lot of what makes "FNL" so brilliant — but it also had one major moment that took the show down a new, and pretty controversial, path. If you're ready to talk about the episode, just

We pick up roughly nine months after State, and a lot has changed in Dillon. For one thing, all the high schoolers seem to be wearing a lot less clothing. For another, Coach is off in Austin at TMU, while the Panthers struggle with a new coach and Tami prepares for life with a new baby.

That baby makes its appearance pretty early on, when Tami goes into labor while visiting Julie at the pool. On the one hand, I thought it was a bit much to have Tami's water break at the pool while Julie was lifeguarding; on the other hand, is there anything that could be more hugely humiliating? As part of her coping, Julie embarks on some serious sabotage of her relationship with Matt, flirting with some older lifeguard nicknamed The Swede.

Lyla, meanwhile, has become born again. There's no explanation, just a scene of her being baptized in a river. But if it leads to more moments like the one at her family dinner where she prays for everyone to have "the strength to remember that mothers of three should not be wearing skinny jeans," I'm cool with that.

The biggest moment in the episode belonged to Landry and Tyra — and it's got to be the most divisive thing the show has ever done. The man who tried to rape Tyra comes back and attacks her again in a convenience store parking lot; Landry goes after him with a pipe, whacking him across the back of the head and killing him. The two then load his body into Tyra's truck and appear to dump it in the river. It sounds very I Know What You Did Last Summer, and when this promo spoiled the big twist for me, I was worried that's how it would be.

But when I actually watched the scene, I was taken by how moving and restrained it was. (Frankly, I preferred it to the scene where Buddy attacked Pam's new boyfriend in the dealership parking lot.) Tyra and Landry are terrified; Landry has set himself up to be Tyra's knight in shining armor; they have a chance not to live in fear anymore. Now, dumping the body is a different matter, and I'm worried about how "FNL" is going to play out the consequences of that decision. Obviously the two of them are in shock, but I still think it's a leap for them to find the river and throw the guy in it. All told, I don't think the plot line is a show-ruining development, but I do fear that people who saw "FNL" for the first time this week will decide it's just a dumb teen show because of that twist.

A few other thoughts:

  • The relationship between Matt and Landry is still one of my favorite parts of the show; Landry's "What Would Riggins Do?" deserves its own bumper sticker.
  • I'm not getting much from the new Panthers coach yet, probably because I figure that Coach Taylor will be back soon enough. Still, I was surprised at just how much he berated the players — and I sort of loved the way he threw Buddy Garrity out of practice.
  • My favorite act of rebellion from Julie: "I'm not wearing shoes, dad."
  • The scene with Coach giving all the Panthers their championship rings? Tears.

What did you think? Are you glad to see the Panthers back? Was the Tyra/Landry story line too over-the-top for you? And what do you think happens next?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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Join The Conversation
RachB424 RachB424 8 years
Watched the whole first season from tivo and I loved it!But I wasn't too impressed with the first episode this seson. I agree with everyone on the whole murder/cover up. I will keep Tivo-ing and see of the season lives up to last year.
juliet juliet 8 years
Agreed re: Tyra/Landry murder plotline - it's a little too soap-opera-y... And the trouble Julie and Matt are having is just too much! I am glad this show is back though - it's pretty much the only thing I watch on TV (other than SATC & Seinfeld re-runs!)
ktc71 ktc71 8 years
I agree with fleurfairy, what happened with Tyra and Landry was self defense, but I think a lot of high school kids would panic just as they did and not think logically. I adore Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. They are brilliant! I swear I could feel Tami's pain when Eric was telling her he had to go back early. They really do deserve Emmy's! I have been on a campaign to get people to watch FNL! :) I was hooked from the very first episode....
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
I watched the last episode from last season online after it aired. It peaked my interest. Now, while everyone thinks that the murder/cover-up/death mystery plot line has been done before, I can't see where else they would take a rapist and a "new" boy. Additionally, it's not murder. It was definitely self-defense. I think I'll keep watching and I'm glad that there was something else to juice up the plot since I really don't like football. Hee hee. Like JLew I think I'll order Season 1 on Amazon.
JLew1982 JLew1982 8 years
This was the first full episode I've seen, but I ordered season 1 on DVD after I saw that! I'm def. watching from now on.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
genvessel, I was also intrigued by the Lyla and Tim Riggins interactions. I think something will be going on with those two again...
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
God I love this show. I was wondering why the hell Landry and Tyra just didn't go to the police and say it was self-defense. Anybody would have believed them. But I think FNL was being realistic with this one. High school kids don't always make rational, calm decisions. I think they freaked out. That's a normal reaction, especially for two teens that were scared and angry and confused. So I'm waiting to see how it plays out. Kyle Chandler deserves an Emmy like nobody else. He is so restrained and natural. He is amazing in this role. Please watch and support Friday Night Lights everyone! It really is the best show on TV. Give it a chance and you will be hooked!
nomerz nomerz 8 years
I was just like you Trish, and then I watched the whole season online (I know, nerd alert!) and now I'm addicted. it's really good, you should give it a try. :)
SassAndBide SassAndBide 8 years
dont watch this show but i liked the movie (Friday night lights)
genvessel genvessel 8 years
I loved that Buddy got thrown out of practice... but that also sealed the deal for me that this coach will not last. you do not come into small texas towns and rearrange things immediately. you just do not. he will either leave on his own accord from being miserable or be thrown out. i am intrigued by the lyla/riggins interactions and i think that there's lots more to come on that front. LOVING tyra and landry. i think that they're great for each other. coach/julie... be fun to see how this plays. also.. poor tami. that's a lot to handle. but i still maintain my girl crush on her.
beram1220 beram1220 8 years
I really hated the twist with Tyra and Landry and I think it definitely looked like just another teen show for people who just started watching. Why is it that every teen show on TV has to come to the point when someone is murdered and covered up? I am just waiting for it to happen with Gossip Girl.
briggs313 briggs313 8 years
I agree with a lot of what everyone else is saying. I really appreciated the show for having realistic plot lines and concentrating on the relationships, be it friends, family, or romantic. But when the whole murder/coverup element began, it kind of entered this whole soapy drama teen show and i didn't like it. And i was rooting for Landry all the way, now i just don't see them ever getting together which is a bummer. As for my other fave love story ... julie and matt, i hope that he doesn't forgive her for a while and she has to spend the season pining for him! But i want them to still be together soon! Also how good does coach taylor look! I mean he was gorge before but this season he is looking good :)
nomerz nomerz 8 years
I don't think the Tyra/Landry story is that bad. I dunno, I think that yes, the logical solution would have been to report it as an accident, but they were shocked, scared, etc. and it gives Tyra and Landry a chance to bond forever, even if it is a horrible way to bond two people. Even though it's not my favorite storyline, I'm interested to see how it plays out. I'm really hating Julie right now. I also don't understand why her relationship with Matt changed so drastically. She's part of the reason Tami came up with the plan to keep her and Julie in Dillon -- because Julie was so attached to Matt -- and now they're barely speaking. (was there even a hug or kiss?) I love their relationship and for as mad as Julie got at Matt for the rally girls in the hot tub, Julie commits a worse offense judging from next week's preview. I hope she gets her head on straight soon, because Matt's no comparison to The Swede. (I watched every season one episode over the weekend, so now I'm well-versed in FNL, ha!)
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Like KerryG, I really hated the Tyra/Landry storyline but, Buzz, I agree: I don't think the murder is a show ruining twist. I'm very anxious to see how the writers get out of the box that they created with this storyline; perhaps this is small town, Texas justice, but so far, I'm disappointed that they went there. I loved Julie's rebellion, Matt's innocence (he and Tami are my favorite characters; honestly is there anyone more brilliant than Connie Britton?) and Lyla's prayer before the family meal. Lyla has never been my favorite but I think the new Lyla may be a lot stronger this season. The new coach isn't Eric Taylor, for sure; his comment to Jason about being the town "mascot" seems to sum up his crudeness. He's likely to be fired at season's end, leaving the door open for Coach Taylor to return to Dillon for Julie's senior year--and Season 3! Let's just hope the Tyra/Landry storyline doesn't bring Season 2 to an abrupt end. Go Panthers!
KerryG KerryG 8 years
I have to say I really, REALLY hated the Tyra/Landry murder storyline but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll deal as sensitively with it as they did with some of the other tricky storylines they did last season. Otherwise, I loved the episode, especially the scene when Coach picks up Julie after curfew and Lyla's passive-aggressively b*tchy prayer, which made me laugh out loud even while feeling mortified for everybody else in the room.
jdots24 jdots24 8 years
I didn't like the twist with Landry and Tyra. What I liked about FNL last season was all of the stories and characters were so believable. Now it almost made the jump to ridiculous TV show where characters kill people and then go on with their lives. (Which is fine for Tv shows, but it just wasn't FNL) I'll have to see how it plays out.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
I watched this online and didn't really like this episode even though i love this show. But i rewatched it when it was on friday and i liked it much better the second time. The only thing that really bothered me was that Julie and Matt really liked each other in the season finale and on the season premier they were not even really speaking it was kind of weird because you didn't know what supposedly happened between them as it was 6 months later.
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