Friday Night Lights “Laboring”/ “Thanksgiving” Review (4×12/4×13)

20 Aug

Friday Night Lights

The final two episodes of season 4 of Friday Night Lights work in tandem to tell the stories of people who fall, people who feel the walls closing in around them and the world out to get them, people who go through a hell of a lot, but are able to find something to hold onto at the end of it all.

It’s difficult to watch Tami having to deal with the fallout of Becky’s abortion, and even though she constantly asserts that she wasn’t trying to nudge Becky one way or another–news flash, Dillon: she wasn’t–people twist things way out of proportion because that’s what people do. I’d like to twist them out of proportion, but hey, you can’t have everything, right? That’s exactly what Tami learns throughout these two episodes: she’d probably win the case at some point, but there’s the key phrase; right now, she has to swallow and move on, and it’s difficult to do. Her attempting to recite her apology in front of the mirror is a scene that will always wreck me, and her not going through with that apology will always warm my heart.

We see the pain and frustration translate to Coach’s actions as well, and not only does he have to deal with the outcry over his wife doing nothing wrong, but he also has to deal with the Panthers and the destruction of his field. And what does he do? He does what he does best: channel those feelings toward a game of football, one that would prevent the Dillon Panthers–the people who ruined his field, the town that’s turning on his wife–from making the playoffs. Oh, how satisfying it is when the Lions win, and how satisfying it is when these people can finally find a little nugget of joy after hardship after hardship.

“I’m gonna enjoy watching you beat him all night long.” Vince Howard has had a tough go this season, and it’s nice to see him doing well at the game or having Thanksgiving dinner with Regina and Jess; it’s something after the heartbreak of “Laboring”, an episode that nearly sees his life come to an end. In that episode, we see Vince trying to convince both Jess and himself that he’s capable of murder, of enacting revenge, but when he has a gun to his head, he’s determined to get out.

Someone like Tim thought he was out. In “Laboring”, we see him and his brother at their happiest, with a new family member on the way, new land, and their illegal dealings behind them. Suddenly, it all comes crashing down, and Tim is forced to leave all those dreams behind for the moment. Yet, it speaks to his growth this season–seriously, where’s that textbook throwing dude now, right?–that he asks for a second chance from Becky, that he sacrifices for his brother, someone who needs the freedom more than he does. And so, Tim is flying free in his own way, and he’ll be back, I tell you. He’ll be back.

At the end of the season, Tami’s leaving a school she cares about, Matt’s leaving a girl he cares about, and Tim’s leaving a brother he cares about. The future may be bright, though, and their decisions here are why we care about them.



-All the Riggins hospital stuff? Love it. “I’M THE DAD!” Yes, Billy, you are.

-That Billy-Tim goodbye scene…all the feels.

-Coach’s speech to the team at practice on Thanksgiving is just awesome.

-Well, final season, here we come.

Photo credit: DirecTV, Friday Night Lights, NBC


One Response to “Friday Night Lights “Laboring”/ “Thanksgiving” Review (4×12/4×13)”

  1. MovieManJackson August 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I should have got into this during its original run. Guess that’s why they’re DVD’s and Netflix though right? Love the write-ups!

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