Friday Night Lights - Pantherama!
Smash’s college options are revealed on the first official day of recruitment; Coach Taylor focuses on a new athlete; Matt is tempted by his grandma’s nurse even though he has a new girlfriend; Julie befriends a teacher; and Lyla and Tyra work on an event together at Tami’s bidding. Photo © NBC.
I would have rather opened this post with a photo of Santiago, but believe it or not I can't find a decent one. This episode was pretty much all over the place, so try to keep up! As “Pantherama!” opens, we learn that recruitment is beginning for the senior players of the Dillon Panthers. Eric sits all the players down to have “the talk” – accept no gifts, take no meetings without running it through him, etc, etc.
Smash receives call after call, and I can’t help but wonder what will happen this time (faithful viewers will remember that the last time Smash was faced with a recruiter, he seriously ate it). Fortunately, Smash is courted by all the best schools – and a black college with a paltry football program who tries to sway him by offering a full education scholarship instead. Smash and his mom get into it – she using Street as an example of why Smash shouldn’t put all his eggs in one basket, he retorting that he needs her full support because he is absolutely going to make it to the NFL – and finally he tells her that he will deal with recruitment without her help. She appeals to Coach Taylor to step up as a father figure, making my aside during last week’s post quite topical, and Coach puts Smash in his place.
And speaking of father figures! This week we find Santiago much improved at football, but when Coach sends him to Tami to make sure all his schooling is squared away, he is forced to admit that his parents were deported, and he has been living with his uncle … who hasn’t been home in 10 months. Tami informs Eric, and they get into a mini-fight about what to do after Buddy offers to let Santiago move in with him. In the end, Tami finally agrees that it’s better not to throw Santiago into the system, and he moves into Buddy’s apartment, where he heartbreakingly explains, “this is the first real bed I ever had.” Up to this point, Buddy seems to be trying really hard, but at this he looks awkward and leaves the room, leaving me to wonder if he can actually step up and do this. Don't fuck this up, Buddy!
Santiago is growing on me, and I am curious to see how the relationship between he and Buddy will play out. I have always liked Buddy, even when he was a cheating bastard, and I could see him being a good father for Santiago. The fact that he stocked his fridge with steak was cute, as was Tami telling him to "get some vegetables in here." And speaking of father figures and my amazing precognizance, when Eric explained to Tami that the team would be Santiago’s family -- I just loved it!!!
Meanwhile, Riggins has moved out of the house because he is uncomfortable being around Jackie and his brother. Or something. At first I thought she had moved in, but that makes no sense because she has a kid. So I guess it's just that she's there all the time. He goes to Tyra, who gives him a 48-hour time limit (I think, details like this are the casualty of my lack of Tivo), and he eventually ends up living with some random dude that Tyra’s stripper sister knows. I foresee this ending badly. Oh, and he’s still not back on the team, nor does this episode even mention it, which is pretty lame.
Julie, still upset about Saracen and the new cheerleader, befriends a young teacher who also happens to be the newspaper advisor. She writes a controversial story about the money raised during Pantherama & where it goes (Eric is not happy), and she very clearly has a crush on this guy, who looks like that guy from A Walk To Remember, although I don’t think it’s him. [Update: I looked it up, his name is Shane West). After seeing Julie and the teacher together once – and only for a few moments – Tami immediately knows that something is going on, but she doesn’t really say anything. For his part, the teacher doesn’t seem like a sleaze, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Tami, with her usual “sweet bulldozer” technique, forces Tyra and Lyla to run a portion of Pantherama, and they repay her by choreographing a striptease (in the loosest sense of the word) for the Panthers to do during a pep rally. Once again, Tyra is a side character here. Considering what has been happening in her life recently, and that she was JUST! forced to break up with Landry against her own wishes, she seems awfully carefree. Her hallway conversation with Landry was awfully uneventful, considering he was telling her that not only did his father figure out that he had killed someone, he then destroyed the evidence. WTF?!?
Matt Saracen, trying to learn the moves for the aforementioned striptease, gets a little closer to his grandmother’s nurse, and then a little closer still when he unexpectedly kisses her in the parking lot after the pep rally. She looks uncomfortable, he feels stupid, but then the next morning at breakfast she lays her hand on his back as she puts his plate down and smiles over her shoulder as she walks away, and suddenly Saracen can’t wipe the grin off his face. But isn't he still dating cheerleader girl, you ask? Why yes, he is! This should be interesting. Cheerleader girl doesn’t have much spark yet, but for some reason I can totally see her as a psycho stalker a la Swim Fan.
And, in the most disappointing news of the night, Street is totally MIA from this episode. Damn.