Friday Night Lights 4.03 & 4.04 – East and West

Finally caught up with the last two episodes of the increasingly excellent Friday Night Lights (as if it could be anything but! –blacking out most of season 2 from my head-).

We got a lot from almost every single character, good or bad, but there have been a lot of stories that are presenting themselves that may not have been possible before. And that is very interesting to watch.

Let’s start off with our new recruits first…
Becky definitely stepped up her snagging Riggins’ attempts, whether it was directly or inadvertently. The school rides continue, but Tim sees why Becky probably is overly-happy and perky to cover up the pain and frustration of her perpetually absent mother. She makes it into the Miss Teen Texas USA pageant and that gets her and her mother excited until her mother isn’t there to basically bond as she had promised. Tim, who’s been almost tolerating Becky since he is renting out their trailer, probably softened up on her after their little dress shopping heart to heart.

Everything’s connected! First, Jess and Landry’s relationship continues to blossom, as was very much expected right? But what wasn’t expected was Vince’s part of the equation. Apparently Vince is pretty close with the ladies, so much so he’s probably scored quite a few, and Jess is one of them. He hits on her at a party (which she gets Landry to drive her and her friends to), but she brushes him off and says she has a boyfriend and proceeds to put on a show for Vince by dancing with Landry. Vince confronts the “opie-looking kid,” but Landry denies he’s her girlfriend. Landry asks Jess, she says she never told Vince and that they’re only friends. But after a punting lesson and an exciting, energetic pep rally at her father’s restaurant, Landry and Jess share a kiss. “Definitely not dating.”

At that punting lesson where we also meet Jess’ three little brothers, we learn her father was a football star. He almost went to the pros, but now he hates it, while she and her brothers still love the game. After Coach Taylor tries to get Jess’ father to be part of the pep rally, Jess tells her father that it’s up to him if he doesn’t like football anymore, but they’re still a football family, and the four siblings will always love football. Her father eventually lets the Lions have the pep rally at the restaurant and after a rousing speech by the championship Lions team, maybe he’ll come around.

Vince and Luke… The in-team rivalry we never saw on the Panthers until J.D. McCoy came around. (Boo J.D. McCoy!) For Vince, certain bad influences around him are emphasizing the class and race distinctions that almost help him justify his resentment towards Luke and annoyance with Coach Taylor. For Luke, it’s his frustration about playing for a lame team that won’t make the playoffs and this thorn in his side that Coach seems to favor a lot more than him. In a way, both are jealous of each other when really they have no reason to be. On the field, they actually proved they’ve got the talent, for Luke, unexpected talent on defense, but also on offense which is what he really wants to play.

Though Vince has got his own voices harping in his ear, so does Luke in J.D. and his friends from the Panthers which leads to him again confronting Vince about his missing wallet. They end up getting arrested and to keep Vince from going to juvi, he makes Luke admit it was his fault since he’s got no record. But the big speech is given to them in the car, which he stops in some random road off the warehouses in Dillon (5th & Shady!)…

You get one chance in life fellas.
You either take advantage of it, or you piss it away.
You do the latter, and you’re going to regret it the rest of your lives.”

He tells them to get out of the car and leaves them there to find their own ways home. Vince says thanks to Luke and then pulls out Luke’s wallet from his back pocket. Luke take it with a “Really?” expression on his face, which is probably the right expression after all they’ve been through since he first found out his wallet was missing in the locker room.

But while there’s plenty of room for us to warm up to the four new recruits, the characters we’ve been emotionally invested in for three seasons had some big turning points as well.

Buddy Garrity! It pained him so to finally stand up to the douches known as the boosters and the King Douche himself Joe McCoy who has completely take over Panther Football completely. But he did it and now he isn’t too sure what to do with himself. Should be fun watching him deal.

Julie is semi-rebelling, though thankfully not as much as when she was fawning over the greasy Swede. She’s questioning things and being open about new experiences which is great. And she’s expanding her horizons applying to colleges across the country, which Matt is kind of surprised by at first. He gets frustrated, then upset, but realizes she never asked him to stay in Dillon. More on that a little later.

Tim and Matt go hunting and reconnect after their summer and their respective college experiences. Tim misses Lyla, but college life isn’t for him. And Matt comes to realize that maybe Julie isn’t to blame for him staying in Dillon and delivering pizza while working for a douche that could actually be an artistic genius. When they get back home after their trip, Matt lets Tim drop him off at the Taylors but he gets slapped with horrible news. We see Mom Saracen opening the door to uniformed men and then Gramma Saracen breaking down, it could only mean one thing. Matt’s father is dead. And episode 5 looks to be a huge episode for Matt.

And finally, the Taylors… Mr. and Mrs. Coach. Coach still isn’t having the easiest time getting the Lions up and running. He had to find a way to squeeze out money from their own personal account to pay to replace the uniforms he burned. Then he has two punks he has to knock back in line on the team.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Coach continues feeling the scorn and resentment of the boosters and the entire Panthers community about her traitorous handing over of Luke to East Dillon. Slammin’ Sammy Meade even renamed one day’s show “Slammin’ Tami.” Mrs. Coach gets some chocolate to comfort herself, but it appears things aren’t going to get any easier for her.

This has been a great season so far. Episode 5, which has aired by the time this gets posted, has been hyped as an excellent and emotional episode. I’m sure it will be.

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