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Friday Night Lights “Extended Families”/”Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” Review (1×18/1×19)

7 Mar

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EPISODE 18, “EXTENDED FAMILIES”

As mentioned in the title, this episode is about various family dynamics and how they play a role in shaping our characters’ decisions and attitudes. For example, we have Tim Riggins essentially integrating himself into a new family, which certainly makes sense due to the events that transpired with his dad; that sense of disappointment is manifesting itself in a desire to prove something to himself through Bo and her mother. Although as of right now, I have to say that these two new characters don’t do much to really peak my interest, I’m sure Kitsch will handle it well. I’m betting this will go down the “sleeping with Jackie” road.

Elsewhere, I like how the show’s handling the Smash-Waverly relationship, both conveying signs of maturity for Smash–his reaction to her coming clean is fantastic, and it goes back to what I said in the “I Think We Should Have Sex” review; this show doesn’t shame anyone for choosing to do the things that they do and being who they truly are–and a darker road ahead for Waverly. That final scene is both chilling and heartbreaking.

Speaking of heartbreaking, how ’bout that Mrs. Coach-Tyra story? I love that FNL is willing to take a step back and say, “Hey, Mrs. Coach can still hurt someone.” Obviously, that sounds worse than it really is, but what I mean is that it’s still entirely possible for her to actually do something that needs to be called out. I can definitely see her side of things, but I can also equally see why Tyra deserves an apology. It’s fantastic that Mrs. Coach actually does apologize, and it’s fantastic that this relationship is being expanded upon.That conversation is so beautifully acted by Palicki and Britton, too.

Oh, and TMU makes an offer. Uh oh.

EPISODE 19, “CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES” 

Well, Tim, that escalated quickly. I think it’s understandable why this would arise: 1) Jackie’s clearly very lonely, and 2) He’s, you know, Tim Riggins. However, I must say I’m more intrigued by his relationship with Bo; it’s interesting to see him take on more of a fatherly role, especially given how the show’s portrayed his immaturity.

In other topics…well, thankfully Jason doesn’t get onto the team, because that wouldn’t really be realistic; of course, I never thought he would, but still. Going to the tryouts is more about opening his eyes to an even wider array of opportunities, and even though it’s a blow to hear that he’s not going to Beijing, I like how he returns to his passion–football–just in a different manner. The scene where Smash, Matt, Tim, and Jason are all hanging out on the football field is a dream come true. I love it, and it perfectly captures the whole “it’s a show about football, but it’s really not about football” idea.

Of course, with Jason comes Lyla, and everything’s going to shit for her. I think Minka Kelly’s done a nice job, and although the Jason-Lyla relationship is the most soap opera-y and repetitious plot, it still makes for some great moments. For example, I really like the argument between the two, mostly because Lyla stands up for herself and takes the initiative; her “perfect life” is in shambles, and it’s great to see her try and avoid making the mistakes Pam made. Then, she drives a car into Buddy’s dealership. Through the window. Hey, it’s about time Buddy got his comeuppance.

Two more things…

1) As Tami takes Tyra under her wing, we can see how Angela’s insecurities cause her to react like she does. There’s a fear of being abandoned for a better life, and while I feel a tiny bit of sympathy for her, there’s no doubt that she’s caused Tyra a lot of pain over the years. So, I’m glad that she pours her heart out at the dance and realizes what her daughter wants.

As for the Taylors-Tyra relationship itself, let me first give you this exchange:

Coach: Do you like your chili spicy, lady?
Tyra: I like spice.
Coach: You like it spicy?
Tyra: Sure!
Coach: I’mma get you some spicy chili!

So yes, that’s fantastic. On Tami-Tyra: I think Tami’s doing a great job of opening Tyra’s eyes to bigger and better things; Tyra has certain self-esteem issues, and Mrs. Coach’s the perfect person to help turn that into confidence. There are parallels between the two characters, and Tami definitely sees some of herself in Tyra. Yet, the beauty is that Mrs. Coach treats her as a friend, a partner, a pipe of potential just waiting to burst.

2) I looove that Coach-Julie car scene. Julie’s a teenager, so she can sometimes act like a brat, but it’s nice to see her dad acknowledging and respecting her opinion; it’s the mark of a more mature Julie and an always-perfect Coach Taylor.

Photo credit: NBC, Friday Night Lights

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