It’s Mama’s choice, let’s watch Foul Play again!

Friday Night Lights – Jumping The Gun
Smash feels pressured to make a commitment to a college, Coach Taylor worries about Riggins and Julie, the Panthers gear up for the biggest game of the season, and Tami clashes with her sister. Photo © NBC.

As the show opens, we learn that Smash is dating Noelle, the recruitment-savvy girl we met a couple of eps ago. Noelle is cute and disarming but smart and tough, and her brother has gone through the recruitment process so she is a great help to Smash. His mother, however, does not like Noelle, or the recruitment process itself—she is being courted just as much as Smash, with recruiters accosting her even in the middle of her grocery shopping. She thinks Smash is spending too much time worrying about recruitment and not enough time on his schoolwork. Smash is feeling a ton of pressure to commit to a college even though his top choice, TMU, has not yet approached him. Tami suggests that Eric speak to Smash, so Coach, Smash, and Noelle have a meeting and Eric reminds Smash to consider all of his options very carefully. I was concerned the Noelle would be difficult, but she backs up everything the coach says. Finally, the TMU recruiter shows up, and Smash accepts his offer in front of an entire restaurant full of people. In the end, he brings his mom flowers, and the Williams family is relieved to be done with the recruitment process.

In other news, Julie wakes up from her night of hard drinking in tears. Eric pokes in his head to check on her, being very gentle and treating her … well, like a girl who has been taken advantage of. Julie tries to tell her father what happened, but he cuts her off, and honestly she really doesn’t try that hard. I am starting to hate Julie again. Flash to Tim, who has slept in the locker room that night. Eric, tough as nails, kicks him out. Julie eventually goes to apologize to Tim but says she couldn’t tell her dad what happened, and Tim is very sweet about the situation, surprisingly. I would be like, “Bitch, tell your dad the truth already!” FINALLY, at the end of the ep, Julie admits the truth, and Eric goes to Tim to apologize, telling him that he is an honorable man—and that he says this not as a coach but as a father. Cue the waterworks.

In other Coach news, Eric and the Laraby coach are not getting along, though Eric tries to make amends. (NOTE: “Laraby” is how the name was spelled in the subtitles, I used “Larribee” in my last post but it’s the same thing). The Laraby coach is distracted and it's obvious something weird is going on. At the Dillon-Laraby game, the coach’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, and I'm thinking maybe his job is in trouble if they don't win the game. The Panthers pull some kind of switcheroo play [to be honest I wasn’t entirely clear on this] and the Laraby coach becomes so incensed that he runs onto the field and tackles Tim to keep him from scoring. Later, he admits to Eric that his wife is dying, which was a cheap sympathy ploy. I would have preferred my storyline.

Back at the Taylor household, Shelley passes her real estate licensing exam. Her presence is wearing on the family, but Tami doesn’t want to ask her to leave. However, after Shelley accidentally tapes “The Office” over game tape, Eric loses it and asks when she’s moving out. Shelley is hurt and embarrassed, as she thought that she was helping with Grace rather than being a nuisance. She leaves to check into a hotel, and Tami (who has no idea what has happened) runs into her as she is getting into the cab. Tami asks her to stay, but Shelley says no, and Tami is understandably pissed about Eric’s behavior. Later, Tami and Shelley meet for coffee and Shelley announces that she’s moving to Dallas. The end of the ep shows the new and improved Taylor household, back to the loving, joking family we grew to adore first season.

Finally, in more Tim Riggins fun, Tim goes back to Billy's and discovers a delinquency notice on the front door. Inside, the house is a disgusting mess. Jackie [hot mom/neighbor] is moving out, and tells Tim that Billy lost his job, and that they have broken up. Billy is also a mess, and he apologizes to Tim for dating Jackie. The brothers make up, but now they have a new problem, for the house will be taken away if they can’t pay their mortgage. Billy accompanies Tim to Guy’s [crazy meth-dealing roommate] so Tim can pick up his stuff, and Tim finds a stack of cash hidden under the couch … after he accidentally knocks Guy’s gun onto the floor. Personally, that would be my first warning signal that taking the cash would be A BAD IDEA. And, even though Billy knows it’s a bad idea, he lets Tim convince him they should take it.

Not that I’m complaining, but second season is really focused on Tim Riggins. I notice in this post I’ve started referring to him as “Tim” rather than “Riggins” which I think is a by-product of the in-depth character development we’ve been getting. And I love Riggins, but where oh where is my dear Jason Street? In this ep we had no Street, no Santiago, no Lyla, no Tyra, no Landry, no Buddy, barely any Saracen … geez!

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