Friday Night Lights – How Did I Get Here
Building pressure forces Landry to tell his dad the truth about the killing, the arrival of Tami’s sister (Jessalyn Gilsig) prompts Tami to reexamine her life, and Riggins has something to prove after he’s kicked off the team. Photo © NBC.
In the Taylor home, Eric is furious when he discovers that his salary has been cut by 37%. He goes to Buddy, who works out a deal to make Eric the school’s Athletic Director, though they tell him that it’s not really a job, just a title and a salary bump. However, we learn that is not the case when the Women’s Soccer coach comes storming into Taylor’s office with a deflated soccer ball, railing on him because the Football department gets all the school’s money. I’m sure she will be back, and if they even hint at the fact that Coach Taylor could possibly be unfaithful (even if he doesn’t go through with it, much like Sandy in the first season of the OC when he came this close to kissing another women), I will be pissed.
Tami’s sister Shelley (Jessalyn Gilsig as a nice person, hooray!) comes to visit in this episode, and we see how different the two women’s lives are. Shelley is a free spirit who travels a lot and doesn’t have a family to tie her down. Tami freaks out when she is forced to face facts and it hits her that she has 18 more years of caring for another human being in front of her. Though her sister comforts her, it doesn’t end in smiles.
Matt Saracen meets a new girl at school, a cheerleader, who introduces herself in the hallway. His teammates vibe him as he talks to her, laughing and nudging him, and he is so adorable that he asks why they are hitting him. Later, Julie comes to see Matt at the diner and apologizes for everything, telling him she hopes they can be friends again someday, and Matt reciprocates the sentiment. Even later, however, he makes out with new girl outside a party, where Julie sees them and tears up. Tyra, taking on a big sister role, takes Julie home for movies and ice cream. Other than that, Tyra does not make much of an appearance in this episode except when she provides Landry something to look longingly at.
And speaking of Landry, I WAS RIGHT!!!! Landry’s father figures out that he had something to do with the killing, and to protect his son he drives their station wagon out to the middle of nowhere and sets it on fire as he prays to God for forgiveness. I have no idea where this storyline will go next. Will the detectives figure everything out and end up arresting Landry’s father for tampering with evidence? Will he lose his job? I’ll be on the edge of my seat until we find out!
Meanwhile, Riggins has gotten himself kicked off the team, as missing a week’s worth of practice does not sit well with Coach Taylor. His brother takes him to meet with Tami (who has returned to her job as a guidance counselor), and after a hee-larious conversation about how a breast pump works, Riggins’ bro asks Tami to pull some strings with the Coach to get Riggins back on the team. Tami is not down. Riggins then proceeds to get drunk (who saw that coming?) until Lyla asks him to help her new ex-juvenile-delinquent buddy Santiago learn to play football. Riggins blows her off, but then sees Santiago practicing (horribly) by himself and comes to his aid. Smash and Matt join in the fun, and when Coach sees them he offers Santiago a chance to practice with the team. So far Santiago appears to be acclimating nicely to the school and the team – I expected to him to have more of a chip on his shoulder, although I guess nobody has done anything but be really good to him. They seem to be creating a character that can take over Riggins’ position, which is interesting. As Coach walks away, Riggins asks if he’s “showing him something” and Taylor just laughs and tells him he’s not even close.
I adore the whole notion of “coach as father figure” that this show has cultivated. The Dillon Panthers have great home lives, terrible home lives, and everything in between. However, one thing that most of them do not have is a father. Riggins’ father is a drunken jerk who abandoned his kids, Saracen’s father is a decent man who nevertheless abandoned his kid to go fight in Iraq, Smash’s father is dead (and we learned in first season that he was an adulterer)... The coach is all they have. He is the one who pushes them to be the best they can, who listens to them when they need it, who is tough on them when they that, and from who they are constantly vying for approval. In fact, I would say they are desperate for his approval.
Or at least, they were. Now that Eric abandoned them (to go teach at TMU), the dynamic is very different. They talk back to him more, and respect him less. I am looking forward to watching the relationship between Eric and his players mend itself as second season continues.
Finally, after a birthday party during which they WATCH A VIDEO OF HIM PLAYING FOOTBALL (!!!), Street realizes that he has to quit coaching the team and move on with his life. But what will he do in Dillon, a town that is all about football? Tune in next week to find out!