Vince and family are watching his first interview on the local news. Everyone’s happy, except for Jess who asks why Vince didn’t recognize his fellow teammates. Pops says Vince can’t help it if he’s the star. She leaves.
Luke and Becky are in bed making out, but she pulls back. She can’t do this. One more kiss before she leaves.
The Taylors are assembling a new bike for Gracie Belle. The doorbell rings and Julie opens it up to TA Derek. He wants to talk to her, but she asks him to go. Coach comes to the door, realizes who it is and chases him out to his car, holding Gracie’s handlebars which he then uses to break the taillight of TA Derek’s car as he drives off.
The team teases Vince about being on the news and being all cocky, but he lives it up much to Jess’ chagrin.
At practice, Billy thinks they are the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors or something and they do the traditional haka dance only to result in Buddy Jr. fracturing his leg. “No discipline,” Crowley sighs.
The loosest girl in Dillon, Mara, is back and this time she has a catfight with Epic. Counselor Mrs. Coach breaks them up and takes Epic to her office. Counselor Mrs. Coach tells Epic to just walk away from situations like that, but Epic is more concerned with the sandwich on the desk. Counselor Mrs. Coach lets her have it and Epic digs in like she hasn’t eaten in days.
Counselor Mrs. Coach then gets a visit from TA Derek who apologizes. She doesn’t want to talk to him, but he continues saying he’s resigned and wants to make things right by talking Julie into going back to Burleson. He says he’d feel horrible if he was the reason she’d dropped out of college. Later, Mrs. Coach tells Julie about the visit and urges her to end it, now. “Put this behind you and go back to school.”
The Howards talk to a scout/recruiter/alum who wants them to come up to Oklahoma Tech. He wants to get them to fall in love with the place so Vince can eventually lead them to the Big 12 and then National Championships. Vince misses practice to go up to OK Tech. He gets escorted around by two tightly-dressed, short-skirted girls and he and Pops enjoy the awesome campus.
Coach asks Jess where Vince is, but she’s just as pissed he’s not at practice. The tour reaches the stadium. Oklahoma Tech Buffaloes.
The alum tells Pops and Vince to just stand and listen as the team runs out for practice. The Coach follows and stops to talk to the alum basically saying, Vince, give a verbal to OK Tech and you’ll run the offense in two years. He smiles over to the Howards and Pops and son are excited.
Becky thinks about doing another pageant, but it’s in Wichita Falls. “ROAD TRIP!” says Mindy and her gal pals. At school, Luke tells Becky how much he likes her, but when she wants to go out, to give him a call… or an email… or a postcard… maybe a carrier pigeon.
At The Landing Strip, the ladies wonder why Becky is so hesitant about the cute farmboy, but she drops the abortion bomb and says she likes him, but it’s just awkward and weird. She feels weird having lost her virginity in a truck. The ladies all proudly say they lost their virginities in trucks and cars too.
The four ladies head to the pageant and the three gal pals cheer for Becky who finishes 2nd runner up. The pageant officials are appalled by the unruly behavior of Mindy and friends.
Epic gets into another tussle with three boys and Counselor Mrs. Coach tells her to get in the car. Epic sees a bag of chips and asks if she could have some. Counselor Mrs. Coach takes her to get food instead. While chowing down on burgers and fries in the car, Counselor Mrs. Coach asks her about her home life. No food at home? She says sure, but there’s lots of fighting, lots of other boys there, “you know what it’s like.” No I don’t, Counselor Mrs. Coach says.
What are you afraid of, she asks. Epic says she can take care of herself and if Counselor Mrs. Coach calls social services, she’ll just get shipped off to another foster home and she won’t get to see her anymore.
Vince brags to Jess about OK Tech and asks if Coach was mad. Nice someone had fun today, Jess says. What the hell were you thinking, she asks. How could there be a practice without the QB. “I had to,” Vince says. Bullsh-t, Jess answers. Don’t you know that’s against the rules? But Vince says he can’t pass up the chance to be the star QB.
Next day at school, Coach asks Vince if he’s okay now. He says yeah, he just had to take care of his mom who’s BACK TO HER OLD HABITS. (WTF?!? Now that’s low!) Coach says next time, let somebody know his situation.
Later, Coach asks how his mom is doing but he gets to the point. He shows Vince a picture of him at OK Tech on a recruiting website. Coach warns Vince that his father is driving him in the wrong direction and that offer at OK Tech is worth nothing. Vince yells back, upset. “You’re knocking on the wrong doors,” Coach says.
Julie and TA Derek meet at a restaurant. He tells her he’s going to his family’s Tennessee cabin to finish his dissertation. “We had a connection, didn’t we?” he asks and says he and his wife are getting a divorce. He hands her his address in Tennessee. “Take it, just take it. If you need anything, my door’s always open.”
Julie tells Mr. and Mrs. Coach that she’s going back to school. “I belong at school, … [I’m] wasting my life here. Sorry for all the BS I put you guys through.”
Counselor Mrs. Coach goes to Epic’s foster home. And surprise… or not, she lied about the whole situation. Contrary to her hellish description, this foster home is actually a sweet, warm home with a couple of little children being raised by a kind mother. “She can be a sweet girl,” the foster mother says and that the little ones love her. “She’s had a tough life though. Lost both parents to AIDS. Abused, addicted. She deserves a lot of credit. But she is a handful.”
Counselor Mrs. Coach goes to Epic who is eating at her favorite restaurant. She asks why she lied and Epic softens up.
Becky writes a note to Luke and leaves it on his truck windshield, “I want to start over. XO Becky.”
Pep rally at school. Pops is laughing it up with the coaches when Coach comes to talk to him. “How was Oklahoma Tech?” He continues, “I won’t have any one player bigger than my team.” Coach threatens to bench Vince, but Pops mentions Shane State and how he knows there’s an offer. “I mean what I say,” Pops says, attempting to threaten Coach back.
Billy and Coach Crowley start to get at each other’s throats and Vince and Luke get at it. The hallway is filled with tense voices and Coach tells them to SHUT UP as the doors to the cafeteria open.
Julie leaves Dillon again, but this time no ramming herself into brick posts. She drives through Texas and calls Derek.
“Did you come to Dillon to get me to come back to school or just to get me back?”
“The 2nd thing.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Julie suddenly takes a U-Turn.
It’s evening and she knocks on a door. It opens to reveal… of course, who else but Mr. Matthew Saracen.
This had to be the strongest episode of the season so far. Everything clicked, the story beats were on point and those were some wonderful last scenes.
The show is making it really hard to root for Vince these days. Using his mother’s addition was beyond horrible and such an asshole-y move.
Epic’s story, for me, has been the weakest this season if only because we still don’t care about her at all. Though it appears her story is merely in existence to prop up Counselor Mrs. Coach’s own barely there story (which is disappointing because we need more powerful Connie Britton just as much as we have beautiful, subtle, understated Connie Britton performances.)
The final scene with Matt and Julie… totally expected of course but no less awesome.