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Friday Night Lights Rundown: Episode 4, "Backfire"

Friday Night Lights Rundown: Episode 4, "Backfire"

It seems like everyone's talking about how Friday Night Lights just isn't as good this season, with the murder plot and the Mexico trip and Coach being away. I've had my complaints, too. But I loved the latest episode (with one exception — but I'll get to that in a minute). And the amazing thing was, the story that I liked the most was the one I was prepared to truly hate. To see what I'm talking about, just

The story of Riggins and Street in Mexico went from hopeful to hilarious to completely heartbreaking in about five minutes flat. Jason really, deeply believes this risky surgery will make him walk. And Riggins, who just wanted to get some drinks and chicks, is realizing he needs to be the responsible one. Jason's joyful, delusional karaoke revealed his desperation, and Riggins is wise enough — who would have thought? — to know his friend is in trouble.

The other major development this week was the return of Coach Taylor. I don't think the path the writers took was the most interesting option — what if Buddy's plot hadn't worked? — but all in all, it's good to have Coach back. I'm surprised we didn't see more town reaction to the decision (this is a man they were calling Judas not long ago), and I'm wondering if the team will be happy or resentful. But what really shocked me — and this was my major problem with the episode — was that we never saw Coach and Tami talk about the decision. Moments between the two of them are the heart of this show, and that was a huge one to just gloss over.

Oh, and the body's out of the river — but that doesn't seem to spell the end of that story. Interesting detail that the man was wanted for rape in other states; that made it all the more frustrating that Landry and Tyra didn't just call the police in the first place. I admit, I'm loving the way Tyra is driving the cover-up. She comes from a very different place than Landry; I mean, she drove her mom's boyfriend away with a fire poker. How different must her experience with law enforcement be than Landry's, who grew up with a cop for a father?

Some other thoughts:

  • Julie did a 180 on the subject of the Swede in this episode — and while Tami's speech had a lot to do with it, I think it was more that the Swede completely forgot Julie was coming over. He's the center of her universe; she now knows she barely factors into his.
  • I'm of two minds on Lyla and the ex-con. On the one hand, I'm worried they're leading her into an annoying and ultimately doomed relationship. On the other hand, I think this story shows how new Lyla's faith still is. She was only baptized a few weeks ago; she hasn't had to answer the hard questions yet.
  • The scenes of Julie and her parents driving struck me as so real. Who didn't have a huge fight with their parents while also trying to steer a car on the freeway for the first time? It was like driver's ed all over again.

I do wish the show would rein in some of these subplots and get back to the little moments of small-town life that made it such a standout a year ago. (I mean, I can't un-see that promo with Jason falling over the side of the boat.) How are you feeling about the state of FNL?

Photos courtesy of NBC

Join The Conversation
nomerz nomerz 9 years
I mostly thought this episode was lacking, what I dunno. Maybe my love Matt Saracen? ;)
ktc71 ktc71 9 years
I really look forward to scenes with Tami and Eric too. I'm hoping now that he's back in Dillon the upcoming episodes will have a lot more of them together. If I could only watch one show all week, FNL would win hands down!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Great recap, Buzz! I loved this episode too but, like you, I do hope that some of the subplots get resolved; the focus seems to be everywhere at once these days. Loved the practice driving scenes with Julie and her parents; those scenes brought back some laugh aloud, tear jerking moments for me. Also loved Riggins and his realization that his best friend is really in trouble. Not sure if Landry's father suspects Tyra's involvement in the murder or if he just wants to protect Landry from what he sees as a girl from the other side of the tracks. I am anxious to see where that goes next week. Glad that Coach Taylor is back but I doubt that he has an easy return; if anything, he's likely to be scrutinized even more by the team and by the town. FNL still ranks as my #1 show. Go Panthers.
JustSomeChick JustSomeChick 9 years
Liss, I second your sentiments. I don't generally get caught up in how hot a celebrity is, but damn that boy is fine.
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
I loved this episode also. I agree that this season isn't as good as last season but it is getting better. I keep thinking about Jason falling overboard and am wondering where they are going to go with that. I feel so bad for him he really believes that the injection will help him. I can't wait for this weeks episode. If you are not watching this show definately check it out. Even if it is just to watch how hot Tim Riggins is each week! :drool: Check out my avatar!
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
I loved this episode, although I admit this season is much different from last season. I had to choke back tears when Riggins was on the phone with Lyla begging her to come meet them in Mexico to help Jason. All we've seen from Tim this season is this n'er-do-well with a drinking problem, but he really pulled it together when he saw that Jason was off the deep end. I had a feeling the rapist had a record, but does that mean the storyline will go away? Seems like Landry's dad might have put two and two together about Tyra being involved in the murder. I hope that 1) Lyla doesn't hook up with the kid from Juvi and 2) that Matt doesn't hook up with the nurse.
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