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Friday Night Lights Recap: Episode 10, "The Giving Tree"

Friday Night Lights Rundown: Episode 10, "The Giving Tree"

Have you ever read The Giving Tree? This week's Friday Night Lights made me want to go dig out my old copy, as Landry delivers one of the sweetest/saddest monologues I've ever heard on the topic. OK, it's one of the only Giving Tree-related monologues I've heard, but still! Meanwhile, the rest of the episode focuses a lot on fathers and children, both in the actual and metaphorical senses. Ready to talk about it? Just


Let's talk about sex (baby). Specifically, let's talk about sex and dating in the universe of FNL. Because there's a lot of that in this episode, and none more painfully than what happens with Julie and Matt. First of all: Close the door! (Which is what Matt says when Landry asks him what he's learned; Landry's hoping for "don't have sex with the coach's daughter.") But second, I love the way the show plays that scene and the aftermath, with the actual discovery revealed only by Julie's squeal and Coach's hasty exit. He wisely doesn't try to talk to her about what happened, leaving that to Tami, who calls the conversation they have about sex Julie's only punishment. And oh, it's so sweet, with Tami trying to be so tough — like, my daughter is 17, and she's having sex, and really, I'm fine with that, really — and Julie acting aloof until she realizes Tami is crying. Once again, FNL gets it right.

It's an interesting reflection of the two other father/child stories in this episode. Taking Buddy first, he's done a very bad thing, and it's become several very bad things: He's gotten himself arrested, and he's lost a big investment, which also happened to be Lyla's college fund. And that's the last straw for Lyla; she's stuck by Buddy through a lot, but this is too much. How tough must it have been for Buddy — not that he didn't deserve it — to hear from Riggins that Lyla would not be speaking to him right now? Meanwhile, JD actually has a girl interested in him, but as soon as Joe gets wind of it, he decides the relationship has to end. Girls will be lining up for him, Joe says, as soon as he wins State. But once again, Riggins tells JD what he needs to hear: If he can't even make dating decisions without daddy's help, how can he lead a football team? So JD and Madison sneak out, much to Katie's delight — but that look on Joe's face scares me.

On the football field, Coach gets ejected from a big game, leaving behind his struggling team. That puts Wade in charge, and with Coach's attempts to guide him foiled by cell phones and crowd noise, he leads the team to victory. Coach must feel a little of what Matt felt about JD earlier in the season, with the TV broadcast showing a winning Wade lit in an almost heavenly glow, but he doesn't look too upset. He even smiles a little, like he's managed to teach his young protege well.

In other news:

  • The Giving Tree! Landry finally tells Tyra — who just pops up "at the most random times" — that he's done letting her use him. And Julie tells Tyra that Landry's right: He does her all kinds of favors, and in return, he's merely allowed to be seen with her. So Tyra tries to set things right in her own sweet but twisted way, getting Crucifictorious a gig. And you know what? They're actually not so bad — better than season one, anyway.
  • Love Madison pouring JD milk in a wine glass: "You're like this young, wholesome, milk-drinking quarterback."
  • Apparently the Sopranos aren't the only ones who have business meetings at strip clubs!
  • As real as Tami and Julie's sex-talk moment is, so is Coach and Matt's own exchange, with Coach spitting out serious words about respecting women in between taking out some massive aggression on the grill.

So: One more game, then State. Then what? Oh, this show. Only three episodes left — help me deal in the comments!

Photos courtesy of NBC

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