EPISODE 2– “On the Outside Looking In”
As the title suggests, this episode deals with those on the outside looking in, whether it be someone like Tami, who’s attempting to enact change at East Dillon but is running into unending obstacles, Julie, who’s navigating her first days at college, or Becky, who’s lost and without a stable family. We also see this idea play out in the fact that after the Lions’s win against Croft, people come down hard on the team just because it wasn’t supposed to win.
Of course, each one of these people is slowly being let in: Tami gets Epyck to show up for a meeting (I’m not quite sure if I like this storyline yet, as I feel like we already saw a much more interesting variation of it with Tyra), sparks start to fly between Julie and a TA (suggestion: find a student, Julie), Becky’s appreciative and happy when Mindy pays attention to her and scolds her for staying out too long, and finally, the support for the Lions is starting to spring up. That support includes college letters to Vince, and his attitude here toward his future in regard to his mother and football reminds us of Smash; however, this is something Vince couldn’t have even fathomed a little over a year ago.
EPISODE 3– “The Right Hand of the Father”
Michael B. Jordan gives an absolute tour de force of a performance in this episode, selling every last bit of the resentment he harbors toward his father, as well as the respect he has for Coach in that wonderful scene in his office. Many of these characters have had to grow up and support their families themselves, and it’s not a shocker that Vince’s father returning would cause Vince to lash out; what I really like about this episode in particular is the fact that, at the end after the two shake hands, his dad still leaves. You can’t really force your way back into someone else’s life without conflict, so that isn’t going to happen; instead, it’ll be a process.
As for the rest of the episode…meh. I completely understand why Julie would fall for the TA, but I was looking forward to her in a more interesting storyline; this is, after all, the first time we’ll see an extended look at a character in college (no, Tim Riggins, your one episode there doesn’t count). As for Tami, I can get behind the lessons she’s trying to instill–yes, you need to be very careful around alcohol–but the writing is very, very shaky, and it results in her placing the blame more so on Maura than on the guys who participated. That in itself is problematic, and the alcohol lecture scene is just awkwardly handled.
EPISODE 4– “Keep Looking”
Buddy and Buddy Jr…good job on the casting, show. Anyway, this is just a fantastic episode all around, complete with two father-son relationships slowly working themselves out, Mindy really taking Becky in, and Jess being great. On the topic of Mindy, it really speaks to her growth over the course of the series, as well as her history of toxic relationships, that she recognizes what’s going on with Becky’s “family” and decides that she and Billy have to be that girl’s role models. As for Jess, it’s clear that she enjoys being a part of the team and that she has legitimate skills when it comes to football knowledge, and it’s great that she gives it straight to Vince here: she’s going to do this, the relationship will be left out of it when she’s in the locker room, and they’ll both come out all the better for it. Essentially, she’s the polar opposite of a rally girl, someone who’s “part of the team” but only for that title.
-Gracie Bell: “Think about it, daddy!”
– “He insulted your ASS?”
Photo credit: NBC, DirecTV, Friday Night Lights