Full disclosure: I called the latest episode of Friday Night Lights the “best hour of television ever” to a few people last week (I mean, until Whip It: The Series premieres). After the shocker at the end of the last episode (Matt Saracen’s dad died in Iraq), there was a certain amount of expectation going into the show. Friday Night Lights has dealt with loss in various aspects of life (loss of love, loss of vitality, loss of innocence, job loss, loss of key chain) but this episode felt special. The loss addressed in the episode did not fall into the typical traps and tropes (for the most part) that television shows use when trying to break down such an event. The only other show I’ve seen take on the subject of death and loss as well as FNL was “The Body” episode of OftGTVSoAT Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, lots of heavy stuff going on here.
Riggins has himself a sort of week. First, he has to help Matt deal with his loss. Then, he has to up the weird sexual tension with Becky. This happens in the form of them kissing when Becky is vulnerable. Tim Riggins realizes “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t be getting involved with this young girl. I mean, sure, it would give me the mother/daughter spot on bingo, but I think I sill have a bit of my conscience left.” So, Tim doesn’t fuck Becky. This works out really well for him since Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly aka The Reason The Yankees Won a World Series) comes back. They have history. Remember when Tim was fucking his paraplegic best friend’s girlfriend? That was Lyla. Now, she is at Vanderbilt (Fun Fact: She wanted to go to St. Mary’s for a little bit. Fourth Wall BOOM). She was back for Mr. Saracen’s funeral. Next week is going to be a big Lyla/Riggins week I bet.
After Becky is spurned by Tim Riggins, she goes to buy her mom some stuff at the convenience store. There, she meets a shirtless BMOC, Luke Cafferty. After buying her some stuff, Luke asks her on a date to the car wash around 10PM that night. Only in West Texas!
Why was Luke Cafferty shirtless? Well, his “friend” (soon to be frenemy, soon to be enemy) JD McCoy shot him with a paintball gun from two feet away. They are fucking done professionally.
Also, Vince has a great game for the East Dillon Lions. He is named conference player of the week and gets to go to a pancake lunch. He also learns how to steal cars (not at the pancake lunch). If I was being nit-picky about the episode, I would say Vince’s story gets the short end of the stick. But I shouldn’t be nit-picky because this was amazing TV.
The show did a great job tying Mr. Saracen’s death to the community and Matt. It also let Zach Gilford show how incredible of an actor he is. From his reaction to the McCoys coming to his father’s wake to the last tear-jerking scene of the episode, Gilford is exceptional. It is difficult in real life to understand the range of emotions that accompany losing a loved one (even if the loved one was absent) and that Gilford could do such a great job is a testament to his ability. He deserves all the Emmys. All of them.
NEXT WEEK: Decisions and Tim Riggins.