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Friday Night Lights “The March” Review (5×11)

10 Oct

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The Lions are marching toward state, and this once 2-8 team is now moving right on through the competition. In an interesting stylistic choice, the playoffs are reduced to one episode, partly due to time constraints, but also due to the fact that it simply works. It doesn’t feel rushed at all, and the journey the show takes us on from that early scene in Coach’s yard to that final scene outside of the stadium is thrilling to experience.

Season one (seems like it was yesterday) utilized the Panthers’ march toward the playoffs as a framing device for the entire season, and “The March” utilizes the Lions’ march toward the playoffs as a framing device for the episode. It’s an hour of marching forward, for one, not only for Coach and the team, but also for Tami and Jess. The former is offered the Dean of Admissions job at Something-similar-to-a-real-college-but-different-enough-to-avoid-legal-trouble, and the scene in which she’s actually offered the job is wonderfully played by Connie Britton: she’s there under the assumption that she didn’t get the job but is just happy for the experience, but when the file actually plops down in front of her, the happiness and the surprise shine through. As much as she’s had success within Dillon, a huge part of her life has been in service of her husband; that idea is highlighted when Coach complains as he’s driving her to the airport. She certainly has no problem with that–she loves helping those around her and supporting her husband–but here’s a big break that’s been a long time coming.

Jess is also moving forward, and the affectionately named “pest” is determined to achieve her dream of becoming a football coach. The notion is laughed off at first by Crowley–a reaction that, let’s face it, sadly would be replicated by much of society–but Coach takes the time to help her out; they both understand how much of a long shot it is, but also how wrong it would be not to make an effort. Jess is obviously overjoyed by her opportunity, and we can tell that Vince is happy for her as well.

Of course, there’s also the other side to moving forward, and Ornette’s someone who regresses in “The March”. When Vince was benched, his father was riled up, taking it as an insult to himself and making it his mission to not only get his son a great offer, but also to show up Coach a bit. Now, when Vince decides to side with Coach, Ornette takes that as an insult, as his own benching. Any progress he’s made has been tied to his son, but now, when it seems to him like his own son’s leaving him, that progress is thrown out the window. He’s drinking and doing drugs again, and as they’ve done for so many years, Vince and Regina comfort each other. At the end of it all, they’re there for each other. Ornette isn’t.

We also see Tim not necessarily regressing, but still stuck in a place of resentment and frustration. He leaves Billy crying in the Landing Strip parking lot, moves out of Billy and Mindy’s house, and returns to the trailer he lived in a while ago. As much as his family and friends have missed him and are happy he’s back, it’s clear to him that they’ve lived their lives without him; so, that explains his move back to the only place he thinks he has left.

Tim has his trailer, Jess has her coaching aspirations, Tami has her new job, and the Lions are going to State.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Smash is an Aggie.

-I love the final shot of Coach, looking for his wife but unable to find her in the crowd.

-It’s nice Tim still apologizes to Becky, though. He can still recognize that he’s wrong; he just feels like he doesn’t belong. Also, Luke, she may be your girlfriend, but talking to people is still a thing she does.

-Two more.

Photo credit: NBC, DirectTV, Friday Night Lights

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