You’re going to apply a grade 9 education to the stock market?

This huge, hand-embroidered love letter to FNL was created by our very own staff member Alligator! Check out her other work here, she's amazing.

Friday Night Lights – Humble Pie
Smash must deal with the consequences of his actions, Tami becomes coach of the girls’ volleyball team, Street gets a new job, and Riggins struggles with his feelings for Lyla.

Finally, the return of Jason Street! And Guy cracks Riggins over the head with a beer bottle in the middle of a parking lot in broad daylight! And the cops arrive to arrest Smash for assault! And all before the credits!

Phew. I admit I came into this ep just a little late, but something is wrong with Jason’s truck so he goes to Buddy, who offers him a job. Again with the continuity. Unless I’m missing something, wasn’t the last major interaction between these two when Buddy didn’t want him marrying Lyla? And now he goes to Buddy for help? Perhaps I am just a person who holds grudges. Anyway, all the other salespeople at Garrity Motors are irritated because Street can play the wheelchair card. And he totally pressures a “looky loo” into buying a truck. The same truck that we then see an advertisement for. An advertisement that uses the scene from FNL as part of the ad. I can’t even find the words.

Fortunately, in this ep we also see how Street and Herc are doing living on their own. Street is probably my favorite character, with Herc following close behind, so I hope this means they are back for good. I was, however, confused about the lack of mention of Street’s girl. I guess the waitress and he are no longer together? Or perhaps the writers thought we’d forget?

In other news, Riggins begins to pursue Lyla, who has become smitten with Chris. Riggs shows up at church and asks Lyla to come over later, and when she does he has cooked her dinner and set up candles and flowers. Puh-leeze. Fortunately, he immediately admits “this isn’t me.” Lyla walks out, he follows and says he loves her. She says, “How do I react to that?” He says, “Brutal honesty.” And she tells him it’s never going to happen, and that she doesn’t feel the same way.

Lyla then tells Chris everything – about what just happened, about how she slept with her paralyzed boyfriend’s best friend [they sure do love that phrase on this show], everything. And Chris, bless his heart, doesn’t judge her. He just asks if she has feelings for Riggins. And she says no, but does this very suspicious, slightly longing sidelong glance. Grrrr. I really, really do not want Lyla to have feelings for Riggins. I think it would be so much better if she honestly did not love him back, and he would have to learn that he can’t have whatever he wants,whenever he wants it. Especially when it comes to girls.

In other Riggins news, Guy knows that he stole the money and comes after him. The Riggins boys are jumpy, and every time someone knocks on the door they prepare for a fight. Eventually Lyla gives Riggs the $3000 (what?!?) and he & Billy return the money to Guy, foolishly thinking this is the end of the situation. During the exchange, Billy gets all protective of his little brother and attacks Guy, who pulls a gun, and I honestly thought Guy was going to shoot him. But the Riggins boys escape. Guy is kind of a weird character for the show to have utilized for so long, but the guy who plays him (Joey Oglesby) is super creepy.

In the Taylor family, Eric the Athletic Director convinces Tami to coach the girls’ volleyball team. But wait -- in the last ep wasn’t Tami just about to quit her job because she was spread too thin? Shake it off. Anyway, Tami takes over as coach and tries to whip the girls into shape, but they are truly terrible. When Tyra comes over for dinner, Tami sizes her up and realizes that she could be a good addition to the team. I do not believe for a SECOND that Tyra would join organized sports, but whatever. She does love Tami. She joins, and it instantly really good. [And there is finally some nice continuity in that Riggins is helping out, as part of his punishment].

Meanwhile, Landry has met a new girl named Jean who is super cute. They have a ton in common (music, movies, etc) and Tyra is jealous. When Tami is trying to coax her to put her heart into the game of volleyball, she tells Tyra to pretend the ball is someone she hates. So instead of pretending that it’s Jean, or even Landry, Tyra pretends it’s Riggins, which makes absolutely no sense but does make for a fun scene in which Riggins is forced to avoid a ball being smashed at his face. And the girl’s VB team wins their game, which is also ridiculous considering how terrible they were.

One thing this ep absolutely had going for it was a preponderance of excellent lines, mostly from Riggins. Lyla asking Riggins, “Why would you steal $3000 from a meth addict?” was particularly amusing, as was Riggins’ background chortling when Jean approaches Landry to give him a power metal mix CD and tells him he can listen to it in his car or his bedroom. “Wow, bedroom. Deep. Soulmate, right there.” Later, he asks Billy, “You’re going to apply a grade 9 education to the stock market?” And of course, Eric telling Tami he’d love to butter her toast.

In other player news, Smash is arrested for assault. His family is receiving obscene/threatening phone calls. He makes a formal apology, but then sees the boy he punched on TV railing on him. Suddenly a reporter appears, and Smash is coerced into telling the truth, which is that he wishes he had done worse to the kid. The ep ends with Smash coming home to find his mom and Coach Taylor in the living room, and Coach tells him that the board has chosen to suspend him for three games. “But that’s the rest of the regular season. How are we gonna get to State?”

And, with that climactic ending, we come to one of my main issues with FNL’s second season. Unlike season one, football has seemed utterly unimportant. We have seen almost no games, and the sense of urgency has been missing. Suddenly they’re concerned about going to State? Why weren’t they concerned before? Just because they won last year, that means nothing. For me, the lack of emphasis on actual football games means that the show has also stopped giving the impression that these kids are superstars in Dillon. Smash giving a press conference to apologize reminded me of that. I don't mind the character development, for sure, but I definitely think that football needs to come back into it in order to bring back the urgency.

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