Friday Night Lights is one of the few, fortunate shows that has several more episodes stored up to get through the Hollywood writers' strike. Nonetheless, Friday night's episode felt like the end of a chapter. On the one hand, I'm glad to see some of these stories end; on the other, it felt like a little too much, too fast. To read my thoughts and add your own, just
I have to start with Landry, because his confession anchored the episode. Landry has always been at the moral heart of the show, and so it makes sense that once he'd admitted what he'd done, he'd want to be punished. As usual, Jesse Plemons sold every one of his scenes; I shudder to think how bad this story could have been with a less-capable actor. But the whole arc — from the confession itself, to telling Tyra what he'd done, to the decision not to press charges — felt way too neat to me. A cop's son — a Dillon Panther, no less! — confesses to murder, and the whole town isn't buzzing? That's tough to believe. Even tougher: that the police don't care that Landry dumped the body, nor that his father destroyed evidence. True, I would have hated to see Landry go to jail, but why take the show so far from its heart for a story with no consequences?
Speaking of the show's heart: we FNL fans like to crow that the show's not just about football, but I must say, the football parts of this season make no sense. Have the Panthers played a single game yet where they haven't been behind? And wouldn't Dillon be expecting more from its defending state champions?
I am still liking Santiago's development, however — even if his whole force-a-fumble, be-the-hero story was pretty much the Landry plot from episode five. He's so tough, but he's terrified; he's the kind of kid who's always given up, and now he's surrounded by people (Coach, Buddy) who won't let him. His scenes from the football game really got me into his head, as he got rattled again and again before learning how to respond.
My favorite subplot of the whole night, though, was Jason's blind date with the pee girl. Jason finally gets the nerve to date while in a wheelchair and ends up with a girl who gets turned on by golden showers? Some luck. I loved the waitress getting the full wrath of Ms, Kinky while Jason cowered behind the kitchen doors. One glaring inconsistency, though: His parents freak when he spends one night with a girl, but they don't care when he sneaks off to Mexico?
Some other thoughts:
- Riggins' meth-making roommate creeped me out in this episode, and I'm hoping Riggins is out of there for good. The scene with Coach wordlessly handing Riggins a sleeping bag was one of those little moments this show does so well.
- Matt and the nurse: still boring. Kinda cute — making mole, aww — but boring.
- Tami and Julie ended up in a good place at Gracie's christening, but it sure took a lot of work (and some crafty playing-dad-against-mom antics) to get there. That "a thank-you would be nice" fight was such a classic mother-daughter moment, it gave me chills.
So, that's all our FNL till 2008. What are your hopes for the show in the New Year? Mine: less murder, more Smash, less Matt and Carlotta, more Landry and Tyra, and a decent helping of Taylor family drama every week.
Photos courtesy of NBC