Friday Night Lights S3E2: Tami Knows Best

Perhaps I’m missing something, but it is remarkably difficult to find episodic FNL promo photos online. Even today, the NBC site only has photos from S3E1.

I know it has only been two episodes, but I’m a mite disappointed so far. The Matt-Julie thing has been done. Why bother with it again? I don’t get Riggins-Lyla, and I have a horrible feeling we’re going to see the “you’re trying to change me” fight more than once. Tyra is kind of lame this season, while Landry is simply an afterthought. And still no mention of Santiago, who had become one of my favorite characters. And a pretty major one, seeing that his main purpose was to allow Buddy’s redemption. During the scene in which Lyla and Buddy eat dinner, it was pretty clear that Santiago is no longer in the picture – but why not at least a brief mention of what happened to him? Same with Street. Second season ended – literally ended, as in it was the final scene – with Street telling the waitress that they should have the baby. Didn’t it? Or, even if it wasn’t the final scene, it was a pretty fucking big part of the finale. And now, it’s like it never happened. What do you think? Is FNL still as good as ever, or is it starting to falter?

On to the recap:

1. Tami is interviewed by a local paper, and explains her reasoning for reallocating the JumboTron funds. She is quite neutral during the interview, but the reporter spins the story with a headline something along the lines of “New Principal Vows To Shake Up Establishment.” Soon after, she gets a visit from Buddy and Mayor Rodell, who basically threatens her. It’s a sticky situation. Buddy points out that when he solicited the funds, the donors were specifically told they would go toward a JumboTron. On the other hand, Tami is trying to give a much-needed boost to the marginalized academic program at Dillon High. Regardless, even Eric doesn’t support her, claiming that she should know better than to go up against the Boosters (which is true, just look at everything the Taylors have been though). “If that’s what they want, that’s what they’ll get,” Eric says. In the end, Buddy arrives at the Taylor home to inform Tami that there will be a hearing to decide what to do with the funds.

2. Eric is working with Smash to improve his speed and agility, but Smash is easily frustrated. He thinks the only reason he was good, is because he was a Panther. He can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Eric is contacting schools for Smash, with no luck. He’s pushing this so hard, while Smash is ready to give up, that it seems this is more for Eric than it is for Smash. One night, Smash goes out onto the field in a Panther uniform, looking distraught. It is really depressing, because it appears that he is wandering the field alone, longing for the glory days. But then, the rest of the team shows up. “You ready to go live?” Eric asks, and Smash plays wonderfully. Awwww. Later, Eric receives a call from Texas A&M. He goes to tell Smash and his family, and there is this perfect little moment when he walks from the house, the door shuts behind him, and then from inside there is an eruption of delighted screaming. Eric allows himself the tiniest of smiles, then leaves.

3. Tyra runs for class president. After her posters are defaced, she tries to come up with a campaign strategy. In a move that is completely out of character, Landy convinces her to play up her hotness in order to win. Her mom and Mindy agree. “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em,” says Mom. So on the day they give their speeches, Tyra brings strippers to school and wears a revealing oufit. She tells the students they should vote for her because nobody will get laid at prom if the other candidate plans it. She wins by a landslide, but her delight is stamped down by Tami’s supreme disappointment. “You have to earn back your own self-respect, and my faith in you, or you really will be on your own,” Tami says. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I love Tyra, but I can easily see her slipping back down the quick & easy path.

4. Riggins starts geting letters of interest from various colleges, which delights Lyla. When Buddy and Lyla are invited to dine with the McCoy family, she brings Riggins (against Buddy’s wishes). As they walk into the restaurant Buddy holds Riggins back for a moment, threatening him not to screw it up. He literally says, “I'll hurt you.” It’s nice to see a Buddy with bite again. It was a little bit intense, but then again Lyla is the only family he has left, and is a girl, and Buddy is a bit crazed when it comes to football and, now, the McCoys. Unfortunately, Lyla finally managed to build Riggins up and now Buddy has shredded his confidence in about two seconds. Naturally, Riggins becomes a robot during dinner. He won’t answer any questions, or talk at all, and he orders rare squab. Later, he accuses Lyla of trying to change him. “Trying to change you into a person who doesn’t order raw pigeon?” she shoots back. They sort of break up. That night, Riggins is chilling at home in his underwear with Tyra, who is waiting for Mindy. Refreshingly, they don’t hook up. Even more refreshingly, when Lyla shows up and finds them, she doesn’t run away in tears. Lyla gives Riggins a hamburger, and they make up.

5. Matt’s grandma is getting worse, but he can’t legally take care of her affairs. He meets with a lawyer to discuss his options, and it soon becomes clear that he needs to be an emancipated minor. However, his father is in Iraq and can’t sign the form. Frustrated, Matt attacks a bunch of empty boxes behind Applebees, where he runs into Julie, who has gotten a job there. They share a moment. Out of options, Matt goes to see his mother. I’m assuming he’s always known where she lives, because they don’t show him tracking her down or anything like that. Matt’s mother knows NOTHING. She doesn’t even know that his dad is in Iraq, or that Matt has been left behind to care for Grandma. She tries to ask him about his situation, but he shuts her down hard. Helpless against his glares, she he signs the papers. On the way home, Matt veers back toward Applebees and offers Julie a ride home. They stop to look at the car Julie is saving up for, and it’s just so sad! Julie’s biggest worry is how to buy a used car, while Matt has the weight of an entire family (and an entire town) on his shoulders. They flirt, exchange a meaningful look, and … credits.