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Friday Night Lights Season 1, Episodes 8-10 Review

6 Feb

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EPISODE 8, CROSSING THE LINE

The episode does a nice job of bringing Billy and Tim’s relationship to the forefront, shading in some more backstory and giving us a brawl at the end. What this is is a relationship that’s been simultaneously torn apart and strengthened by their parents, and Tim has been able to avoid coping with the reality of his parents leaving; it’s really emblematic of his character, the guy who avoids his problems and isn’t exactly appreciative of everything he does have. The entire episode consists of Billy and Tim trying to convince themselves that they have a beef with the other person, and it’s tough to watch the brawl. However, we also get a nice moment at the end, showing us that even amidst all the problems and the conflict, the two will be there for each other.

For Jason, the feeling of success that comes with the quad rugby game helps motivate him to finally confront Tim and Lyla; it’s a cathartic moment for everyone involved, and it’s something that needed to happen. Of course, while these relationships are disintegrating, we also have Julie and Matt. I love how the Taylors handle this; Mrs. Coach dances around the edges a bit while Coach is very direct. The talk about relationships over ping-pong is brilliant.

Speaking of (eventual) disintegration (of the body), Smash! Dude, what the hell are you thinking? More on this later.

EPISODE 9, FULL HEARTS

Matt Saracen. Mr. Sandman. Oh man, he’s such a great kid, and the first date perfectly captures the awkwardness and hilarity of a first date, culminating in that gorgeous sequence in which he sings. He’s embarrassed by his situation, but once again, people end up appreciating him all the more.

As for Smash, it’s nice to see him having to come to terms with his past and his family, because this is a great family and he’s, you know, taking steroids. You can tell he respects and loves Corrina and Sheila, and actually, we learn that “Smash” doesn’t even originate from football. This guy is all about family, and I love that Corrina tells him the truth about his father at the end; sure, she didn’t tell him before, but I don’t blame her at all. Yet, telling him is probably the best possible thing for their relationship. The final image of him making his way over to his mom after the game is beautiful; it’s a glimmer of hope.

Oh, and we get a nice moment between Buddy and Lyla, made all the more sweeter by the fact that Mrs. Coach dished out the advice to Buddy. It’s nice to see him actually listen; he doesn’t scold Lyla, but rather listens to and comforts her.

EPISODE 10, IT’S DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS

One of the great things about FNL is its ability to handle ideas of gender and sexism, and that’s on display here; Lyla is subjected to a large amount of vitriol while Tim, for the most part, skates by without many consequences.Whether you like her or not, it’s a painful truth expressed here that, fittingly, leads to Tim, Jason, and Lyla starting to repair their relationships.

The idea of “it’s different for girls” makes its way throughout the rest of the episode, too; for example, Smash objectifies Waverly when he meets her. It’s when he gets to know her personality that he starts to respect her for who she is. Over with the Taylors–this storyline ties in very nicely with the previous two episodes–Coach is trying to sabotage Julie and Matt’s relationship, trying to shield his daughter from the world of dating. It’s understandable, but Mrs. Coach is absolutely right when she questions his decisions. Mrs. Coach is always right.

Photo credit: NBC, Friday Night Lights

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