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Friday Night Lights “The Giving Tree” Review (3×10)

26 Oct

FNL01“Money comes and goes. These kids of ours? That’s a one time deal.”

Every parent deals with his or her kids differently. Yet, it doesn’t work out all the time; sometimes you screw up so badly that it mars that relationship forever. Take Buddy Garrity, for example. Sure, no parent is obligated to pay their kid’s college fund, but when your kid is promised one and has worked with the assumption of a future, to throw it all away is an incredibly dickish move. It’s sad seeing how far Buddy has fallen; he’s lost so much, and all he has left is Panther football. It’s also disappointing, seeing as the shit that’s befallen him recently helped augment his appreciation for Lyla; he’s a guy that wants to get his way, and here’s an example of him trying to solve everything in one fell swoop. It’s reckless and selfish, and I feel for Lyla. Kelly and Leland are both fantastic at illustrating the dynamics of that relationship.

On the “treating your kid poorly” front, we also have Joe McCoy not allowing his son to go out with the insanely cute, seductive milk redhead Madison. It’s a fun storyline, especially the scene in which Katie sees J.D. sneaking away in the night; I half expected Joe to jump out the window and chase the car down the street. Then someone should throw rocks at him or something. Anyway, this all paves the way for some more interesting material in the future, especially as J.D. continues to explore his independence.

Julie’s already doing that, though. Coach catches her in bed post-happy time with Matt, and that segues into a fascinating, realistic, and beautiful portrayal of the handling of teenage sex. It’s a stark contrast to the other stories; Coach and Mrs. Coach treat Julie with respect, not blowing up at her or being dismissive of her choices. Chandler and Britton convey so much through their body language, and this shows how much the whole family has matured since “I Think We Should Have Sex”. In a wonderful scene, Coach tells Tami to make sure she knows what she’ll say to Julie, and when Mrs. Coach actually has that conversation, it’s freaking beautiful. It’s honest, emotionally resonant, and mature. Connie Britton and Aimee Teegarden, you break my heart.

Of course, this all doesn’t mean Coach isn’t angry. He’s able to keep those emotions bottled up (awesome angry grill scrubbing, man.), but everything explodes at the end. He blows up at the refs, getting ejected and turning over the reins to the now revered Wade Aikman. Because his team is an extension of his family, he’s standing up not only for his players, but symbolically for his daughter; he feels like he needs to act out, but he knows that it’s not his place to do so at home. At the surface, though, it’s fun watching Chandler get into it like that.

Finally, we have Tyra and Landry. Although I’m not sure how I feel about the two potentially getting back together, I appreciate the complexity of it all; I have about 50 different takes on their arc here. Landry is justified in laying it all out on the table, and I’m happy for him for telling Tyra to return the favor once in a while. On the other hand, Tyra never asked Landry to, quoting Julie, “worship the ground she walks on”. One thing’s for certain, though: she needs to really open up and commit to the relationship if she wants Landry back. Her getting the gig for him is the first step; while I’ve seen others read it as her doing it out of spite, I also see an underlying change in Tyra’s character. She’s reaching out, something that’s difficult for someone like her to do. Now get into college, damn it. I’m counting on you.

This episode is ultimately an exploration of past storylines, but with different spins. Yet, it doesn’t feel repetitive. Life catches up to you even as you’re moving forward.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Lock the door, Julie and Matt! Also, I love how that scene’s shot; we don’t see Coach finding them, but rather him walking out and trying to gather his emotions.

-Landry’s Giving Tree observation is a bit misinterpreted, but it makes perfect sense why Landry would see it that way.

-“So, tell you what, you know what’s good before a game? Getting laid, a lot.” Tim Riggins, you’re great. In addition, this episode does a nice job of showing how he’s matured as well, through that scene in which he blocks Buddy from getting to Lyla. The relationship has really helped him grow as a person, and I love it.

-“I WANNA SEE IT, LEMME SEE IT, I’LL DO ANYTHING TO SEE A GODDAMN FLAG!”

-Ever heard of a text, Coach?

-I bet that even if they showed a video of Buddy destroying The Landing Strip, he’d still go “Not guilty.”

-“So then why don’t you just get Landry to help you? It’s not like he has anything better to do.”

-29 episodes to go. That’s not enough.

Credit to NBC and Friday Night Lights for all pictures. I own nothing.

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