On this week's Friday Night Lights, the Panthers move into the playoffs and face the pressures of winning or having the season end right then. Lyla does some bonding with an unlikely character, and Matt's grandma and mom continue their standoff. And things really come to a head with Tyra and Cash, culminating in a late-night trip to Dallas. Ready to talk about it? Just
Time and again, FNL has argued that the Panthers are the only thing bringing Dillon together. We see that happen on a small scale in this episode, and it's my favorite moment of the whole hour: Grandma Saracen and Shelby dropping their territorial feud the second they hear Matt's going to play. Now granted, I'm not convinced that Grandma would skip a game — much less a playoff game on national television — even if Matt did say he'd just be on the bench. But it doesn't matter, because it's a fine scene as they rush around gathering up their coats, babbling about how they'll get tickets, and finally treating each other with some civility. No, they still don't like each other, but they do love Matt, and for a few moments, that's enough.
Another story of love in this episode comes courtesy of the Riggins boys, or rather, courtesy of their disgruntled women. Billy's apparently done some unspecified jerky things, leading Mindy to call off their wedding. Meanwhile, Tim's being hotly pursued by a college recruiter who's in town and wants to talk. Lyla loads him up with research, but Tim's not interested in her college blather. And when Lyla realizes she's not being taken seriously, she dumps him by the side of the road. That leads to one of my favorite FNL moments ever: Mindy Collette and Lyla Garrity getting drunk and dancing to Mama Collette's "all men suck" music mix and talking about how they're going to form a no-Riggins force-field. For whatever reason, though, they both end up back with their respective Rigginses by the end of the episode — after both men have finally learned to apologize. So Tim's going to college? I can't imagine he has the grades for it, but I'm sure he's not the first football player to get in despite subpar scores. Love him telling Lyla she was right while she stands there intoxicating him with her morning-after-bender breath.
Meanwhile, we all knew things with Tyra and Cash would get ugly, eventually, and, sure enough, Tyra finds out that Cash is in a bunch of debt. She sees the darker side of him, storming around and leaving her alone in that seedy bar while he goes out — supposedly — for money. Tyra's a strong girl, so things must have been really freaky for her to be terrified. She's had enough daring cowboy adventure; on the phone with Landry, we can hear the relief in her voice. And I'm glad Tami comes to get her, even if it means spoiling her birthday celebration; Coach would have done the same for one of his players.
Some other thoughts:
- I love how determined Tami was to continue enjoying her birthday spoils, going so far as to take the champagne with her in the car.
- I wish we could have seen more of Landry Clarke: Scholar-Athlete.
- Speaking of Landry, how perfect is the look on his face when he realizes Tyra's now used her sick aunt excuse on Julie?
- All of these characters have burdens to bear, but Matt's is huge even by those standards. I hope he finds some path to college, even if it means staying near Dillon to keep caring for Grandma.
- Favorite part of Tami's delight at Coach's surprise: the look of sheer joy on her face when she found the hotel robes.
Are you amazed that Riggins is college bound? Happy that the Panthers are continuing their playoff march? Rooting for Tyra and Landry to get back together now that her cowboy days are over?
Photos courtesy of NBC