Friday Night Lights, Episode 5.11 – The March

It’s a Welcome Home party for Tim. Becky goes to Tim who looks very lonely looking out into the backyard. He asks her what her boyfriend thinks about her working at the Landing Strip. She says he’s fine with it.

We get a flash of the scoreboard for their first playoff game. The Lions beat West Cabria 38-7. Only three more games to State.

Principal Levi calls a special meeting for faculty and staff and tells them some of them won’t have jobs next semester. It’s never been this bad, the district actually wants money back from the schools. It’s crazy. He tells them to pray.

But Counselor Mrs. Coach gets a call. From a college up in the Northeast, Philadelphia. An ivy league school, but not really. They want to talk to her and they’re willing to fly her out there. “It might be a hoot,” she says.

They hear something outside and they go to find the Lions out on the yard working out. They’ve run over there. A nice sight for Coach.

Vince comes home to his parents arguing because Pops brought home a pack of beer when that isn’t supposed to be in the house, per his mom’s rehab.

Tim’s working at Buddy’s bar and they see highlights of a football game on the TV. It’s Smash Williams and he’s lightin’ it up at Texas A&M… or at least, at an Aggie university.

The coaches have a lot on their plate, having to make cuts to their budget as well having to prepare for their next game.

Jess comes up to Coach to hand him a scouting report on Preston, a team they might meet in the quarterfinals. She video taped the game too and has a DVD. I didn’t ask you to do this, he says, and it’s illegal. But no, it’s not since she’s not a coach… though she’d like to transition into becoming one. Coach is speechless. But Crowley says she’ll never be a coach.

Luke and Becky are making out on the couch when Tim comes home. “Don’t stop for me,” he says. “Use protection this time, my friend.”
Very awkward. Luke leaves.

Regional Playoffs… East Dillon Lions beat Bellemeade with another last second (yup, LAST SECOND) play by the Lions by way of Luke. 30-14.

At the post-game, Principal Levi is telling Coach that football is on the board’s target list, so they better make the cuts before the board does.

At breakfast next day, Coach doesn’t know what he can do to fix the team’s budget. But Counselor Mrs. Coach has something else on her mind. The university has called her again and they really want to meet with her… problem is, it’s two weeks from Friday, same day as the semis.

During practice, Jess brings Coach an article about the first female high school football coach. Coach’s response, “You know what you are? A pest.”

Billy is worried about his job and venting to Tim, but Tim isn’t that interested. He actually appears a little cold or just really disinterested.

They hear something outside and it’s the team again, jogging in place on a lawn. Just paying respects to “the god of D” Luke says. Tim cracks a smile for the first time as Billy leads them in the haka again and off we go to the playoff game against Preston. Coach leads the prayer before the game and they head out onto the field into a sea of boos and popcorn.

Another win as Vince tells his mom about the game. They’re at Ray’s BBQ eating when Pops shows up drunk. He gives each of them a leather jacket and they wonder where he’s gotten all this money. He starts getting rough with Vince’s mother, forcing her to put on the jacket, but Vince pushes him away and the little bags of white powder come raining out of his clothes. Auntie Byrd comes out and threatens to call the police and Pops leaves.

Regina cries and Vince takes her home.

Only four teams left in the Texas state football championships. From 2-8 to one game away from the state title.

Coach is driving Mrs. Coach to Dillon Regional Airport (!) for her flight to Philadelphia and he brings up the fact that she’s leaving at the time he needs her the most.

“You have lost your mind.”

And they have a cute little moment. (Give them the Emmy for this scene!)

In the field house, Coach approaches Jess about coaching. He lets her shadow him.

Tim can’t believe this strange set up at the Landing Strip. Mindy’s give lap dances, Stevie’s being bottle fed by strippers in the back. Tim asks why Billy didn’t stop Becky from working there.

“She might as well be stripping!”

Tim goes over to Becky to stop her “best customer” from touching her. They start getting into it, but the bouncers escort Tim out. “She’s only 17! A high school junior! But it’s okay because it’s Dillon! It’s Dillon, Texas!”

Billy yells at Tim to take his anger out on him and not Becky.

“We had a deal! I screw up my life, you fix yours!”

I did fix my life, Billy says. Tim punches him and gets in his truck.

“How long you gonna hold it over my head man?”
“Rest of my life if it needs to be.”

“I’m sorry!” Billy yells after him.

Meanwhile, drunk Pops comes home to find the locks have been changed. Regina had changed them. And this angers him even more. He starts kicking the door in. Vince goes to hold him off as Regina calls the police.

Becky is upset because Tim humiliated her at the Landing Strip. He doesn’t even talk to her anymore, she says. Luke drives by, sees them together and he drives off.

“I have to go,” Tim repeats.

Principal Levi calls Coach in the middle of the night. The budget meeting has just finished and Principal Levi tells Coach that there will only be one football team in Dillon next year. Which team, that’ll be decided next week.

The community sends off the team again as they go to the semifinal game against Arnett Mead. Reporters are there and ask Coach about the possibility of a Dillon team getting eliminated next year. They can’t eliminate a state champion, Coach replies.

Becky goes to Luke before he gets on the bus and tries to apologize for what he saw but he says nothing and gets on the bus.

Vince sees his mother who asks if it’s okay if she doesn’t go to the game. She needs to go to a meeting.

Braemore College in Philadelphia.
Counselor Mrs. Coach tells the committee about how colleges are missing out on wonderful students just because they have a rigid cutoff on SAT scores. The director of admissions (the person ultimately deciding if she has a job here) is not having any of what she’s saying, actually kind of being condescending. He changes the topic and asks what is up with her going from guidance counselor to principal to guidance counselor again.

Tim decides to leave the house and Mindy tries to get him to stay. Mindy tells him how grateful Billy is, how grateful she is for his sacrifice for them.

“You’re different, you know that?”
“Yeah. I am.”

Blanchard Stadium, Arnett Mead. Lions down 9-13 with 1:44 to go in the 4th. At the own 10 yard line.
No huddle, Coach says. Watch the clock.

The Lions go to the line. Two plays, they’ve eaten up more than a minute. 36 seconds left. Vince lobs it in the air. Hastings catches it. Next play, Vince runs. They’re at Arnett Mead’s 21 yard line. 16 seconds left. No time outs.

Hastings catches another pass from Vince. Steps in, then out. Stops the clock at 2 seconds. 12 yard line. Last play. Vince takes it himself. First attempt. No go, looks for another hole… and gets it.

15-13, Lions are going to the Texas State High School Football Championship Game.

Tim goes back to the trailer outside Becky’s home.

Counselor Mrs. Coach is at dinner and the President of the college arrives. He says they are not offering her Assistant Dean of Admissions. Oh that’s all right, Counselor Mrs. Coa… because they are offering her the position of Dean of Admissions!

He presents her a folder with the offer. She is the kind of person he wants at the college. Not that crabby man.

The team arrives in Dillon and heads to Carroll Park where East Dillon is there to celebrate.

Vince goes to look for his mother. He sees her and they hug.

Episode Thoughts
Wow.

The slow build up these last couple of episodes is really working. I can feel the end just around the corner and it is both an exciting and sad feeling.

Wonderful episode. Building on what has now been a string of excellent episodes.

Those game titles and the familiar, seamless passage of time really did the trick. Very emotional and very exciting. Now, I and many other fans out there have criticized the repeated use of the last minute play, but still, you can’t help but get affected by seeing the joy and pure happiness of the team and the town making the championship.

Kind of wished there was a little more on Tim/Billy though it worked the way they had it. The whole Becky/Luke aspect of it was kind of underdeveloped and it felt like they had cut a few scenes from them almost.

Also, Pops’ descent back to his old ways, though not unexpected, was kind of rushed into as well or at least it felt a little too out of the blue. Like, did we know he was a drunk aside from being a dealer?

And it was awesome seeing Counselor Mrs. Coach get offers for a change instead of just Coach. But seeing as we’re already two episodes out, I wish they had given Connie (and Kyle) a few more episodes to deal with this too. Now it makes the whole Epic storyline even more pointless.

Now as to Emmy bait… again, Friday Night Lights is enjoyed a lot more than just by watching one episode and they don’t use Emmy bait like other shows do. But I am hoping the last two episodes will hold that golden Emmy tape for Kyle and Connie. On the other hand, there are some great Supporting tapes from Michael B. Jordan, Brad Leland, Derek Philips, and Stacey Oristano. (Funny how three of those four names are actually recurring and not series regulars… at least officially. Hmph.)

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