Friday Night Lights Season 3, Episodes 1-4 Review

5 Jul


EPISODE 1, “I Knew You When”

We’re back! It’s amusing–but also refreshing and understandable–how season 2 is pretty much swept under the rug here, fast-forwarding a bit as the show seems to wash its hands of whatever mess it got itself into. I appreciate the way this episode focuses on the natural conflicts and connections that arise between our central characters, some of which include the parallels between the Coach-Smash and Mrs. Coach-Tyra relationships; the Taylors are, as expected, being awesome people, and they seem to have taken it upon themselves to help foster a bright future for their respective “kids”. These are the struggles I want to see from people like Smash and Tyra (love her smackdown of the Asst. Principal), these real-life difficulties that interfere with their outlooks of the future.

EPISODE 2, “Tami Knows Best”

First of all, I agree with this title. Second, Tami’s experiencing reality, embroiled in a conflict over the Jumbotron that pits her against the Boosters. This is a complex situation, as she’s absolutely right about the necessity of funds for textbooks, teachers, etc. (and why the hell do they need a Jumbotron?); however, the Boosters are justified in their anger over the money being used for a different purpose than they intended.

I also love the Tim and Matt storylines, the former of which ties nicely into Tyra reverting to what she knows in order to win the election. The show does a great job of conveying the uncomfortable nature of his being placed into a different setting, and the fact that Tim orders raw squab cracks me up every time. We get pants-less Tim Riggins, as well. As for Matt, his storyline is just so damn sad, as he goes to ask his mother (Kim Dickens!) to be an emancipated minor; we can tell where he gets his artistic talent from, but we can also see that schism that’s continuing to grow everyday. At least he has Grandma Saracen. “You are such a good boy.” “Well, that’s ’cause I was raised by you.”

EPISODE 3, “How the Other Half Lives”

I’m a few episodes into season 4 right now, and JD’s an asshole there. However, this episode marks the first time he speaks, and when he does so, it’s a quietly devastating moment that really begins to paint a picture of the effects of a parent like Joe McCoy (who’s an asshole from the beginning). There’s a sadness that makes its way throughout the episode, from Billy begging Tim to help him to the weight of the loss being dropped onto Matt’s shoulders at the end.

EPISODE 4, “Hello Goodbye”

“Where you at, baby? Where you at?”

There’s a lot of good stuff in this episode (e.g., Mrs. Coach getting Buddy to host a charity through her speech), but it’s all about Smash. Man, what a sendoff. We get to see just why Coach loves his job, why he puts in so much effort and fights for his players: those simple, heartwarming scenes of joy at the end of the episode. To have such an impact on someone’s life is a damn fantastic feeling, and that final sequence consisting of his thanking Coach, telling his family, and throwing around the football with the boys is FNL at its best. Friends, family, mentors, parents, teammates. All of them worked for this, and in the words of Smash Williams, “I’m going to college, Mama.”

Damn right, you are.

Photo credit: Friday Night Lights, DirecTV, NBC

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