Friday Night Lights 4.10 – Deciding What You Can and Can’t Do

Luke and his family are at church, with their pastor applauding him for making their congregation so proud. If only they knew! Luke thinks.

Tim asks Becky how she’s doing. “Still pregnant” she says, but she hasn’t told her mother yet. Tim takes her to see Mrs. Coach. She sits down with her and tells her to find a way to talk to her mom. Becky asks what she should do. Mrs. Coach tells her about the free teen clinic that can help through the pregnancy as well as an adoption agency if she would like.

“But what if I don’t want to have the baby?” Becky asks. Mrs. Coach, calmly but maybe a little surprised replies, “I can direct you to a, literature… for that.”

Later, Becky springs the news on her mother who doesn’t take it very well. Mrs. Coach tells Coach about it later and says she did what she (as a counselor remember, she was a counselor before she became principal) was supposed to do.

At school, Luke asks to talk to Becky. She is very frazzled. She and her mother go to the clinic and her mother gets very annoyed by the doctor going through all the legal explanations of the procedure.

Tim is off at the scrap yard, selling the skeletons of their chop shop. But the guy doesn’t want any more for fear of getting the cops involved. Now the Riggins bros have to find another place to dump all the car scrap. Billy starts to worry, but they decide to bury the car frames.

Big Mary Merriweather comes to his first Lions practice, the other Lions vets happily surprised to see him there. He watches as Vince stumbles while Coach gives him plays.

Vince comes home after work with some BBQ, but he comes home to his mother passed out on the couch, unresponsive to him. She calls 911 and is taken to the hospital. She wakes up and asks what happened. “You ODed” Vince says and she gets up to hug him only to find herself handcuffed to her bed. “Mom,” Vince asks, “why do you keep doing this to yourself. Why do you keep doing this to me? Am I that bad? Why don’t you want to be with me? Why do you want to leave me by myself? Because, I don’t know if I can’t do it mom. I can’t do it by myself ma.”

Outside, Vince goes to talk to the lady in charge of the rehab program. She tells him they have an opening at the beginning of the year for the government run rehab, but there are also private rehab centers. They’re pretty expensive though.

Later, Vince goes to Big Mary Virgil to ask for an advance on his paycheck, $4000. He tells him about his mother . Jess listens in on their conversation. Virgil says he can’t give him the money, but he believes in him and promises to help him figure it all out. Vince thanks him and leaves. “How can you believe in him,” Jess asks him, tearing up. After years of him saying Vince is a no-good low-life, why is he now showing more care for him than her and her brothers in their endeavors.

Big Mary and Big Coach go out for a drink and Virgil tells Coach that to get Vince to his full potential, to let his instincts take over. Not have him swimming in the playbook all the time. Coach thinks Virgil is telling him he can’t coach Vince because he’s black and it’s a whole back and forth. Next morning, it seems Coach had a lot to drink last night, so much he had to call a cab to go home. Mrs. Coach is driving him back to the bar to where he left his car.

Mrs. Coach: “I do appreciate you calling a cab last night honey, but I think you need to face the realities about your age which is you can’t go drinking like that on a school night.”
Coach looks around and doesn’t see his car.
Mrs. Coach: “You don’t even remember what bar you were at do you? ”
Coach: “Go around the back.”
Mrs. Coach: “Okay. Good. Lord. You need to not feel like you got to drink everybody down under the table.”
Coach: “It’s right there!”
Mrs. Coach: “So it is.”

Mrs. Coach stops her car, Coach wonders if she’s going to drive him all the way to his car.

Mrs. Coach: “I think you can walk. Walk’ll do you some good.”
Coach: “Are you serious?”
Mrs. Coach: “Fresh air in your hair.”

They exchange hilarious I Love Yous and Coach gets out as Mrs. Coach drives off.

Julie brings Habitat Ryan home for dinner. He talks about his work traveling the world. But enter awkward when Ryan asks Coach about football. (Another hilarious scene…)

Ryan: “So Coach, uh, Julie tells me you coach football.”
Coach: “Mm-hmm.”
Ryan: “I heard, uh, the other day it was gonna rain on Friday. You know, how is that?”
Coach: “How is what?”
Ryan: “Yeah, it must be weird. You know, everyone out there… in the rain. Playing football.”
Ryan: “You know, it’s raining. ”
*pause* The Taylors have a “What the hell are you talking about” look on each of their faces.
Coach: “Yeah, it can get pretty weird.”
Mrs. Coach interrupts.
Mrs. Coach: “Aare you going to stay in Dillon, or, um… I’m going to get some more of these popovers, they’re delicious.”
Ryan: “Well, actually I’m the team leader of a new building project so I’m going to head to Arizona next week.”
Coach: “Oh, well that’s a shame. You know, Arizona is a beautiful place.”
Mrs. Coach: “Oh that is beautiful there in Arizona. Dry.”
Coach: “It’s a desert honey.”
Mrs. Coach: “Mm-hmm, very dry.”

Julie notices her parents’ sarcasm.
That night, Tami, with Gracie in her lap, wakes Coach to ask him what he thinks Julie would do if she got pregnant. She’s worried about whether or not Julie would come and talk to them if it happened.

Luke is also up in the middle night worrying. His father comes out to see him in the kitchen and asks what’s wrong. Luke tells him the news. The next day, home from school and practice, Luke’s parents wait for him in the kitchen, hoping to talk to him about it all. His mother says it’s okay, “Mary and Joseph thought they were in a situation at first…” “Becky and I are not Mary and Joseph,” Luke says. His mother wants to meet Becky and then figure out what to do.

Julie and Ryan make it up to the top of the Dillon water tower. They talk about their journeys in life, where he’s been and where she sees herself going. She says she used to hate it here, but now, she doesn’t know. She wants to see the world though. He takes a picture of her, “this is you seeing the world.” They kiss.

Billy and Tim are on the outskirts of town digging a hole for the scraps. Tim’s had it with all the illegal stuff, they’ve made their money now it’s time to get out of it and go back to honest work. Just Riggins Rigs. They shake hands on being partners.

Becky goes to the Taylors in the middle of the night. She tells Mrs. Coach about her abortion appointment tomorrow and that her mother will accompany her. “Good,” Tami says. “Yeah. So why do I feel so weird?” Becky asks.

“Cause it’s a hard thing, it’s a hard situation. Have you thought about what you want?”
“We don’t have any money. I’m in the 10th grade. And it was my first time. And I threw it away, and I don’t want to throw my life away. It’s just really obvious that my mom wants me to have this abortion. Because I was her mistake and she has to struggle and hurt everyday and she wanted better, and I knew better and I was just thinking, You know forget what she wants, like what do I want? And maybe I could take care of this baby and maybe I would be good at it. And I could love it and I would be there for it. And then I just think about how awful it would be if I had the baby and then I spent the rest of my life resenting him. Or her. Do you think I’m going to hell if I have an abortion?”

Mrs. Coach: “No honey, I don’t.”
Becky: “What would you tell your daughter?”
Mrs. Coach: “I would tell her, to think about her life, and think about what’s important to her and what she wants. And I’d tell her she’s in a real tough spot and I would support any decision she made.”
Becky: “I can’t take care of the baby. I can’t.”

The next day, Tim arrives home just as Becky and mom head to the appointment.

Jess’ brother has a Pop Warner game and their father Big Mary comes for the first time to support. Vince takes his mother to the private rehab facility. He tells his mother that he believes in her. They say goodbye and Vince pays the $4000… in cash! He gets outside and rides in a car with… Calvin and his car-stripping buddy! Who hands Vince a gun! Not good.

Luke is at home and calls Becky who is also back home. He apologizes and just wants to remind her she’s not alone, that he’ll be there for her no matter what. Help her raise the kid and even if they’re young and they don’t really know each other, that he’ll be there by her side through all this. She thanks him and tells him she took care of it so he doesn’t have to worry. “It was the right thing to do,” Becky says. Both hang up, emotional.

Episode Thoughts
This was a really great episode. It has an effortless mix of some great humor (courtesy of the newly Emmy-nominated Mr. and Mrs. Coach) and some of the most emotional and heavy scenes this season outside of “The Son.”

First, such real moments with Coach and Mrs. Coach. The scene of hungover Coach getting driven to his car by Mrs. Coach was awesome and then the awkward hilarity at dinner was priceless and really both were perfect examples of the show’s trademark little moments that just hit you either way.

The Riggins boys digging in the middle of the night bring back bad memories of season 2 with naked drug mules and murders, but I certainly hope they’re getting out of the chop shop-ing business before things get out of hand (*wishful thinking*).

And the two big emotional punches of the episode.

It seems we’ve been leading up to Vince finally taking his mother to rehab. It’s been slowly developing over the season and we find that it leads him down that path he’s been trying not to go down. Michael B. Jordan gave a very strong performance this episode and he and Angela Rawna (who plays his mother Angela) have great chemistry as mother and son. Strong scenes.

And another strong performance this episode is from Madison Burge. Finally she gets some worthwhile material and she hit it out of the park. Understated, but moving and emotional, just the right amount to keep the storyline grounded without going over the top or after-school-special-y. Abortion is never an easy subject to take on on television, but FNL did it without skipping a beat and as they do, making the story real and sincere.

Kudos to Connie Britton as well in their scenes together for the calm but conflicted counsel. I only wish they gave Matt Lauria some good stuff too. He did well with what he was given, but I would’ve loved to have seen him tackle more of the heavier stuff too.

So a strong episode overall. I can’t believe just three more episodes left this season!

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