Friday Night Lights 3×12: Underdogs – With Heart

It is refreshing seeing Dillon gearing up for another State Championship. We were kind of cheated out of one last season, but this year we get the full festivities. And what a perfect backdrop for all of our favorite Dillon residents.

Tyra and Landry
Tyra’s dream of going to college hasn’t been completely smashed yet. She’s busy working on her personal essay and can’t seem to get it just right. Meanwhile, Landry was excited about finally getting the call to play special teams in the big game. He goes to Tyra to tell her about it and that he’s got better seats for her, but she has to finish up her paper. Landry understands, but goes partying at Casa Riggins and passes out. He wakes up, its morning. The rest of the team is on the bus ready to go to Austin and Matt wonders where he is. Mindy walks out just as Landry realizes he’s missed it and she takes him to the Collette home where he asks a big favor from Tyra to drive him to Austin. He promises to help her with her essay and she agrees. It isn’t until the night in Austin at the hotel when Tyra finishes and comes up with the right words that perfectly describe her drive and determination to go to college.

The McCoys
Last week, we saw the stage/field-dad Joe McCoy turn into douche-y, straight up as—ole Joe McCoy as J.D.’s new girlfriend and his less than stellar performance on the field got him a couple of slaps to the face in the rain, outside of the Applebee’s where Coach and Mrs. Coach could easily see them through the window.

The repercussions only began this week with child protective services coming to McCoy Manor after Mr. and Mrs. Coach thought hard about what they had to do after what they had seen.

While the McCoy family is “in tact” for now (as much as it can be at least), J.D.’s mind is mostly anywhere else but in football. He confronts Coach about informing the authorities and later as the Panthers get ready for the State Championship, it appears J.D. isn’t going to be the freshman phenom he’s been the entire season. And it gives Matt a chance to possibly end his football career on a high note.

The Saracens
After Gramma Saracen’s accident last week, Matt is still torn about whether or not he should leave to go to college. He’s found a great art program in Chicago and his mother suggests she stay with Lorraine while he’s at school. Lorraine isn’t having it. Later at the stadium hours before the game, Lorraine and Julie have a little conversation about Matt. Neither wants to hold him back from his dreams.  “I don’t want to be the one to hold him back from anything,” Lorraine says, “But I just can’t stand the thought of losing him.”  “I know,” Julie responds, “me neither.”

The night before the game, Matt and Tim are in front of what seems to be the capitol building (I have no idea). Matt finds a Frisbee, insists it’s not covered with dog pee (as Tim says) and they throw it around while they reflect. “No regrets.”

Lyla and the Riggins
Billy’s found the perfect new business venture, which causes Tim to pause and think about his own future. Lyla, having left her father after he basically embezzles her college fund, isn’t enjoying having an underwear-only clad Billy walking in on her using the bathroom, she still sticks by the man she loves. She tells her father that she’s decided to go to San Antonio State with Tim and Buddy appears to accept it, albeit reluctantly.

In a beautiful scene, while the rest of the team is waiting on the bus to go back home, Riggins is alone on the field. He looks up at the scoreboard, pauses, and leaves his cleats in the end zone.

The Big Game
Though the Panthers didn’t win the game (we could point fingers, mostly at J.D.’s poor performance behind center), but Coach tells them and their loved ones that they played their hearts out that evening.

It’s been a long season for them and it’s finally come to an end. It’ll be very interesting to see what’ll happen, well next week in the “climactic finale” but also when the show returns for season 4 in the fall/next January.

With one episode left, I feel like season 3 has rebounded close to season 1’s greatness after season 2 felt off. It is great seeing football playing a big part of the show, but more importantly, family and relationships taking center stage in the same style as season 1 with realism and sincerity. No dumping of dead bodies this year. And that’s a very good thing.

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