Friday Night Lights 4.05 – Simply, One of the Best Hours of the Show Ever

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After Luke and Vince connect to have the Lions finish strong in a 24-14 loss, Coach pauses the locker room celebration to ask the players for a moment for Matt’s father. He asks Landry Lance to lead the prayer.

Matt sits in his room watching an old, short video his father sent from Iraq a few Christmases ago. Landry and Julie come by to try and lift his spirits.

Coach calls Vince to tell him he’s one of the co-conference players of the week. Because of that, he’s invited to a pancake afternoon breakfast where he’ll talk to the little kiddies. Excited, he gets up, but finds out their electricity and water’s been cut off. He then finds his mother sleeping on a bench outside their apartment. He carries her inside.

Tim goes to support Becky at the Miss Young Texas pageant. She sings of course, but is sad her father hasn’t come to support her again. Her mother is livid and lets the whole mall hear her give Becky’s father a piece of her mind. Becky calls the Saracen’s house later to get to Tim (who knows how!?) who’s there for the wake and says Thanks for being there.

At the wake, Buddy tries comforting Matt, politically, but it doesn’t help. Later outside, Matt is visited by a military officer and tells him about how his dad was a joker, always playing practical jokes. Matt says that’s absurd, his father was far from a jolly joker.

He walks in upset and gets even more upset when the father and son McCoy duo come bearing a basket of fruits from the Panther Boosters. Matt slams the door in their collective Panther face with a “Are you serious?” or more like a “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

The J.D. fun train continues when he and his friends drive by Luke jogging along the country road. Thanks to J.D.’s ego we learn he is Vince’s co-player of the week. J.D. rubs it in that Vince is it and not Luke. But Luke doesn’t care, especially after what happened last week and them letting Luke take the fall. “J.D. McDick” Luke says, but they feign an apology and they fist bump, possibly going paintballing tomorrow.

Julie stays in the car with Gramma Saracen as Tami accompanies Matt into the funeral home to make arrangements for the funeral. The guy explains everything, which seems overwhelming to Matt. He asks if his father is there and if he can see him, but the guy infers that it may not be a good idea by saying a closed casket would probably be best for the service.

Tami notices Matt’s discomfort and tells him to head back to the car and she’ll finish up. Tami then asks the guy to present other choices that don’t cost as much, and something a 19 year old kid can afford, even in spite of what veteran’s affairs will cover. Back home, Julie sits with Matt outside and invites him to dinner tonight.

At the Taylors, Coach is babysitting Gracie while watching Smash in action on TV. Tami goes to take a nap with Graciebelle leaving Coach to comfort Julie.

Later at the pancake breakfast in the afternoon, J.D. finishes worshipping himself with his speech to the kiddies and now it’s Vince’s turn. He has no idea what to say, but tells them “Don’t panic, stay cool… and get paid.” The kids love it. The McCoys think he’s lame.

Later that evening, The Riggins boys and Landry take Matt to the field (PANTHERS FIELD!) with some beers and a football. They’re having fun, until Matt mentions how he has to give a eulogy tomorrow. How he has to say good stuff about his father, but all he really wants to say is…

“Here lies Henry Saracen. His mother annoyed him, his wife couldn’t stand him, and he didn’t want to be a dad, so he took off to be in the army. Because it was the only way he could come up with to get out of here and ditch all your responsibilities that no one could call you out on and that worked out great, so you just decided to enlist four more times and that ended up getting you killed and now here you are. And all you got left, all you left behind is a mother with dementia, a divorced wife and a son who delivers pizza. Thank you coming one hundred people I do not know. “

What gets Matt even more is he doesn’t even know if the person inside the casket is even his father. Or a bunch of rocks. Tim suggests they find out, so they break in to the mortuary (which is open anyway).

The boys, drunk, run into the guy that runs the place. Matt tells him he wants to see his dad. The guy reluctantly leads him to the casket. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but Matt insists on opening it. He takes a look inside, eyes welling up, says Thank you and walks out.

Luke is driving J.D. and friend around as they paintball everything they see, even some guy walking down the street. Finally, Luke can’t take it anymore and sees how big a dick his former buddies really are. He tells them to get out of his truck. Luke shoots the other guy in the leg and says they’re done. J.D. shoots Luke in the chest, and then drives off.

Becky sees Tim sitting out on the lawn and joins him. She tells him she finished 2nd runner-up. She asks about his day. He tries to explain his feelings about earlier with Matt. She tells him to close his eyes and she kisses him, but he says this can’t happen and walks into his trailer.

Becky goes to the convenience store for some candy and beer, but the guy won’t sell her the beer without ID. A shirtless Luke comes out of the bathroom and pays for all her stuff. Outside she thanks him and he asks if she wants to go to the car wash with her. Why the hell not she says.

It’s 10:24pm at the Taylors, Tami wraps up Matt’s plate just as he arrives at the door. She brings him his plate and they join him at the table. He looks at his food, saying he doesn’t like carrots and he doesn’t like it when they touch the meat.

They say it’s fine, but he hates being rude and apologizes. He breaks down. He doesn’t like hating people, he says. He’s put all his hate on his father so he doesn’t hate anyone else, and especially love people like his grandma and Julie. He wants to say I hate you to his father straight to his face, but he doesn’t even have one anymore, he says.

He leaves, Julie gets distraught and Coach goes to follow him. He stops him outside and offers to walk him home.

It is the day of the funeral. Shelby helps Lorraine with her hair and Matt gets ready himself. They get to the cemetery, all the familiar faces are there, even Lyla.

It’s time for Matt’s eulogy, but he doesn’t read from his paper. He tells a story of the four of them at the supermarket from when he was six about toilet paper.

He mentions how his father was probably funnier than he let on. But what his father wasn’t private about was his service. Matt then talks about being able to grow up because of people like his father who serve in the military and that is something he is proud of. He sits back down.

The soldiers hand Grandma Saracen the flag and they lower the casket after a gun salute.

The visitors all head back to their cars (Lyla and Tim sharing a smile at each other) leaving Matt and Julie by the grave. Matt gets up and takes the shovel from the cemetery workers and begins filling the grave himself.

Episode Thoughts
Well, this recap was months in the making. After episode 5 premiered on DirecTV, I decided to wait for NBC to watch the rest of the season and it’s been great to watch the series on broadcast television again.

It is easy to see why this is the episode they are sending in for Emmy consideration. The emotion pours out of the screen. The performances are amazing. Zach Gilford is amazing.

An episode that really highlights what makes Friday Night Lights so good.

We continued to get bits and pieces of the new arrivals and so far, interesting enough.
But the strongest parts of the episode definitely involved the vets. Of course, this episode focused on the Saracens, Matt specifically.

It seems like such a long time ago when Coach first put Matt Saracen in the game after Jason Street’s football career came to a screeching halt.

Matt’s been through so much, and we are definitely seeing the beginning of Matt’s departure from Dillon, sadly. But I’m sure we’re in for some more emotional moments in the next few weeks.

As FNL always does, the little moments often make the episodes. One little moment I wish we had in this one was one between Matt and Grandma Saracen. For years, it was just the two of them so I wish they had even a little moment of just two of them together. Every scene of them together is gold, and that was really what was missing in this episode.

Otherwise, an amazing episode that really deserves some Emmy love, yes? Let’s hope!

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