Friday Night Lights – Seeing Other People
Smash visits a college that’s recruiting him; Matt considers an open relationship; Tami lashes out at Julie’s teacher; Eric is jealous of Tami’s relationship with a colleague, and Tyra’s attacker’s brother asks to meet with her. Photos © NBC.
I have newly converted a friend from work into a FNL fan, so I will likely be mentioning her in my FNL posts. Her name is Pants. Just, you know, FYI.
As FNL opens, Matt & Smash are at odds again. The Panthers have just lost a game, but Smash is far too self-involved to care. He’s being recruited, and that’s all he can think about, as he is on his way to visit McNair State for the weekend. Smash is starry-eyed after being wined, dined, and girlied by the college, and all of the players are welcoming – except one huge guy named Katrell, who is super rude to Smash for no reason. Later, Smash is in his boxers and on the verge of doing it with some random girl when Katrell bursts in, furious. Is it his girlfriend? His sister? Alas, it is not for us to know. Regardless, Katrell chases Smash from the room, and from the campus, screaming at him to choose another school. I sense we have not seen the last of Katrell, and I foresee some type of male bonding in the future. Pants wondered if Katrell is the brother of the girl Smash was macking on last episode, but we have no idea.
Meanwhile, Matt is given the opportunity to sleep with Lauren (previously known as “New Cheerleader”), but he refuses due to his feelings for Nurse Carlotta. Moments later, however, Carlotta attempts to shut down his growing crush by pretending nothing has happened between them. Later he makes another move, and this time Carlotta responds, but the two are interrupted by a surprise visit from Lauren.
The two storylines converge when Smash calls Matt to pick him up from where his hideout under an overpass. Apparently they are buddies again after all, although when did this happen? A few episodes ago, when Eric kicked Matt & Smash out of the game until they agreed to “be BFFs again,” it was obvious they were just doing it so they could play. But then suddenly, the rift between them has healed – when and how did this happen? Did I miss something?
Anyway, Smash tells Matt that the best way to get Lauren to dump him is to ask her if they can have an open relationship. This does indeed work, but Lauren is understandably upset and tells Matt she can’t believe his behavior after she told him what her last boyfriend did. I feel the crazy bubbling up, folks! Matt goes back to Carlotta and tells her that he has broken up with Lauren, that he can’t stop thinking about her, and that he “really likes her.” How adorable is this boy? He goes back to his room, but Carlotta comes in and attacks him, and Matt loses his virginity.
Although I'm no Lauren fan, I'm also not into the Matt-Carlotta relationship. As Pants pondered this morning, "Isn't that statutory rape, again?" When you think about it, there is an awful lot of that sort of thing going on in Dillon, and yet no one bats an eye.
Across town, Riggins has moved in with a freaky guy that Tyra’s stripper sister knows. The guy is kind of gross but seems nice, convincing Riggins that there’s more to life than football and taking him hunting. They have a nice day drinking and not shooting anything. But, in a not-so-shocking twist, the roomie turns out to be a drug dealer! Or he’s running a meth lab or something, I wasn’t really clear. But it’s something bad. And he tells Riggins, “It’s a good thing you’re a cool dude or I’d have to kill you.” And he’s totally not joking.
Understandably upset after this glimpse of what life may have in store for him, Riggins goes to practice, suits up, and refuses to leave the field. He individually apologizes to each member of the team, and they all forgive him. Eric concedes to let Riggins take his spot, although he tells the boy that he still has a long way to go. Will Riggins move back home? I hope so, I love the relationship between Tim and his brother.
During the aforementioned football game, Shelley confirms Tami's suspicions that Julie has a crush on her teacher Noah, though she assures Tami that nothing is going on. Not one to treat such things lightly, Tami corners Noah in a classroom and reams him out, threatening to have him fired and thrown in prison. He looks completely taken aback, and FNL is walking a nice fine line with this character. It does seem possible that something untoward is going on, but at the same time Noah doesn't appear to be doing anything wrong. It's kind of nice that we don't really know what's going on, and are left to draw our own conclusions. Naturally, all the students find out about Tami's tirade and it sets the school abuzz. When Julie hears the news, she storms into the guidance office, screams at Tami, and then rips a few posters off the wall for good measure.
Moving on in her reign of destruction, Tami gets into a huge fight with Eric after she goes for a night out with some other teachers. Upon hearing that Glen was there, Eric tells Tami that he doesn’t like her spending time with Glen, and his reprimand is almost word-for-word what Tami has said to Noah earlier that day (right down to “lunch behind closed doors”). Eric tells Tami she needs to pay more attention to her family (!!!) and although it would have been perfectly within reason for her to smack him, instead Tami tells him that he’s sleeping on the couch. Finally, after a mini-fight with Shelley, Tami realizes that her actions have had mortifying consequences for Julie. She also makes up with Eric, who admits that he’s feeling neglected and he misses her.
Once again, no mention of Street. Also, no mention of Santiago. This sucks!
Last but not least, the cops come to see Tyra because her attacker’s brother wishes to make amends. Tyra agrees to see him but then freaks out, so Landry agrees to go in her place. But seriously, WTF is up with Tyra & Landry!?! After everything they have been through, and the way she treated him during their breakup, I can’t believe things have just gone back to normal. Their interactions are really stilted and weird, and I don’t understand what their relationship is supposed to be anymore.
Anyway, Landry meets with the brother, Jeff, who goes on about how he can’t believe his brother would do such awful things, it’s not like him, blah blah blah. Landry, suffering equal parts guilt and anger, gets increasingly upset until he finally blows up and walks out on the guy … and runs into a beatific Lyla. Landry admits that he has a terrible secret eating away at him, and Lyla tells him that truth is a surrender to God. This was really much less hokey than it sounds, and the show ends with Landry walking into the police station and confessing to the killing.
The scenes from next week’s FNL looked kind of awful.
“Was it murder … or self-defense? Will he be ... convicted?”
In an earlier post I referred to the incident as “the murder” and then I immediately felt stupid. Isn’t this pretty cut-and-dried self-defense, or at least manslaughter? Plus there’s the fact that this guy has attacked and raped other women, which we discovered in this episode. The attempt to entice viewers by dangling the possibility that Landry will be convicted of murder seems like NBC thinks we’re all idiots.
I still love FNL, but upon talking with Pants this morning I am left wondering what will happen at the end of this season. The seniors are graduating, right? Smash, Riggins, Street … how can FNL continue with all these boys in college? Will Riggins flunk out? Will Smash leave? What do you think? Leave us a comment!