Blue and Red are gathered at City Hall to celebrate the revival of the Big Cat Clash. This is it. Coach tells his guys at practice that even if they aren’t as fancy schmancy as the West, they can do this.
“You look around at each other right now and you ask yourselves gentlemen, because it is time, ‘What kind of a man am I?’ Because Friday night… Friday night, there will be a bond formed between and among you that will never be broken. I will not be proven wrong on that.”
Mrs. Coach is practicing her apology letter in the mirror. She can’t stand reading the crap, but Coach tells her she’ll get through it.
Tim and Billy, at home, talk to their lawyer about their options. If they plead guilty to the trafficking stolen merchandise, they could end up with one to five years in jail.
At school, Jess is locking her bike into the rake when Landry comes up and gives her Crucifictorious’ new demo album which includes “Song for Jess.” But oops… “I have feelings for Vince” she drops, “I’m sorry.” Landry walks away.
Julie goes over to the Saracens to asks if Gramma Saracen wants a ride to their house for Thanksgiving dinner. But Gramma Saracen says, well Matt’s here with a rental so she won’t have to drive her. Before Julie can even react, Matt steps out from behind his grandmother.
Later, they go grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and he tells her about Chicago. Julie doesn’t seem interested. “I miss you,” Matt tells her. You know, most people say goodbye to their girlfriends, Julie says. “I had to get out of here,” he replies, “If I tried to say goodbye to you, I never would have left.” He then says he already bought her a ticket to Chicago.
Coach and Mrs. Coach arrive at the press conference with a room full of people, reporters, the community, Mrs. Cafferty. Mrs. Coach heads to the microphone and gets ready to read the apology. But she closes the folder.
“Listen y’all. I’ve always put the welfare of the students ahead of everything else. Everything action that I made was with that intent. And it always will be. And that’s all I have to say. Thank y’all.”
She walks off the stage with some applause, but Mrs. Cafferty and friends are absolutely shocked.
Later, Luke goes to tell Coach that St. Patrick’s has offered him a scholarship. And unlike the Lions, they might actually make it to the state championships. Okay, Coach says. But Luke wants him to make him stay. Coach asks him why he didn’t say anything about his hip. If he did, maybe he would’ve played on Friday. Instead, he’ll suit up, but won’t play.
Matt goes to visit Landry. But Landry isn’t too pleased with Matt not calling him either. Or a text. Landry could’ve used a good friend going through losing a beautiful girl and having the Lions hopes all on his shoulders. He slams the door on Matt’s face. “It’s like a girl,” Matt says as he leaves. (Hilarious.)
Later that night, Mrs. Coach is getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow when Coach drops the bomb that… Buddy will be joining them for dinner! What’s one more person when they’ve got the Saracens, the Collettes, and the Rigginseses already coming over.
“Buddy Garrity is being a deep fryer to my house on Thanksgiving, and cooking a turkey? When I’m making dinner? Does that make any sense?”
But the real tension is a meeting Mrs. Coach will have with the school board and superintendent on Saturday. “It could be a firing meeting.”
As Billy worries about what’ll happen now, Becky comes to visit to ask Tim if all of it was true. She can’t believe it. She believed in him but now she thinks she gave him too much credit. He was just like every other no good guy her mother’s dated before.
Thanksgiving Day and the Lions are out practicing at Carroll Park. Coach dismisses players one by one when he feels they’ve got it, leaving him and Vince left alone on the field.
“Can I do this?” Vince asks. He wants to give Coach the win against West Dillon, knowing how much he wants it, but he doesn’t know if he’s the guy. Coach reassures him.
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Taylor’s (but it really wasn’t because it certainly didn’t look like the Taylor’s at all). It is a full house, but not everyone is 100% happy.
Mrs. Coach can’t believe Buddy brought a deep fried turkey over (which Gramma Saracen prefers) when she had a perfectly roasted, natural hand-picked turkey. Angela Collette is flirting with Buddy (as Mrs. Coach expected). And Matt and Julie are at the kids table with Gracie eating a cob of corn.
Billy interrupts dinner to make a toast, talking about the little moments everyone should cherish with family and friends.
Vince visits his mother at the rehab center, bringing her some Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of the Merriweathers and while talking about the game tomorrow, Jess arrives to bring over the pie Vince forgot. They smile at each other.
Later, Tim goes over to see Becky . He wants to be her friend, and that means she’s part of his family. He tells her his family will be there for her as well and asks for a second chance to earn back her trust. He gives her the snowglobe his mother game him and tells her to hold on to it until he can come back to get it from her. He kisses her on the forehead and leaves.
In bed, Coach and Mrs. Coach are lying awake thinking about what’ll happen if she gets fired.
It’s Friday! Game day! The entire town has shut down for the big game. Everyone heads over to Hermann Field. Another amazing montage of scenes with amazing music before we head out to the field, the stands filled with people cheering, the bands playing.
The game starts, Panthers score fast. “I’m going to enjoy watching you beat him all night long,” Coach tells Vince as the Lions go on offense. Julie, Matt and Gramma Saracen are in the stands cheering them on as Vince takes the ball himself into the endzone. Landry kicks the field goal… and misses.
Panthers score again… and again. Score is 21 to 6.
Coach calls Vince to pass to Tinker… in the endzone. Coach goes for two, sorry Landry. And they get it. 21-14 at the half.
The Lions are hyped up at halftime. Except Lance. But Coach comes in and tells them to listen to the crowd. They get even more pumped up and the Lions stop the Panthers at the start of the 2nd half. J.D. rips his O-line a new one.
Coach calls Luke over and asks if he’s warmed up, if he’s all right. Of course Luke is ready to go. The Vince-Luke connection gets out on the field and they sprint downfield for another touchdown. The score now is 24-20 and Coach goes for two again. Sorry Landry. Luke takes the ball and they push him into the endzone.
14 seconds left in the game, the Lions are down two points and they have the ball. Luke runs down the field with the ball and gets hit. Coach calls timeout and calls over Landry for a 45 yard field goal. “I can’t” Landry says, but Coach replies “What do you mean you can’t? You know what, I spent three years turning you into a football player, you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to go out there and you’re going to kick that damn field goal. You hear me? And you know what, it could be worse son, it could be 47 yards, so do us proud.”
Landry heads out, 6 seconds left. Officially a 46 yard field goal. If he makes it, the Lions win. The ball is spiked, Landry kicks, the ball is up… and through the uprights.
THE LIONS WIN! THE LIONS BEAT WEST DILLON!
Next day, Coach is in the car, the Big Cat Clash trophy in the passenger seat, listening to Slammin’ Sammy Meade saying, goodness, he might have just become a Lions fan.
Principal Mrs. Coach, accompanied by a new attorney, is told by Superintendent Paul that the board has voted to put her on administrative leave. She offers to leave her position as principal of West Dillon to instead head up the counseling department in East Dillon. She just wants all of this over.
Tim tells Billy that he’ll take the fall for both of them. He’ll go to jail, just him. “I can’t let you do that.” “You are my brother, you are all I have. You have a family now, you are a father, and you need to be one. This is my decision, this is what I’ve decided. This is what’s going to happen. You’re my brother.” “I am so sorry,” Billy replies and they hug.
Billy drives Tim to the police station.
Matt and Julie are at the spot where he “deflowered” her. They make up, but she says she can’t go to Chicago with him otherwise she’ll fall in love with the city and the apartment and Matt and she won’t ever be able to follow her dreams. And as much as she loves him, she has “to find [her] own Chicago.”
Matt goes to Landry and he reluctantly lets him in. He tells Landry that Julie just broke up with him and so he hopes the two of them can be friends again. They laugh about Landry’s field goal.
So who’s going to get the ticket to Chicago? Landry asks. Gramma, Matt says. Landry scoffs.
Coach, Julie, and Gracie are putting up Christmas lights when Mrs. Coach comes home. She tells Coach everything’s all right.
Up in the plane, Matt heads back to Chicago… with Landry sitting next to him.
And with Steve Earle’s “Goodbye” playing… The End. Of Season 4.
What a great way to end the season. I cheered more during this episode than when the Panthers went to the state championship.
I watched this episode for the first time a couple of weeks ago when I did a marathon of the last half of the season and it was really a rush watching the triumph and happiness when they won the game.
It wasn’t all joy though. A lot of bittersweet goodbyes, very emotional endings, even though we know we’ll be seeing some of them in season 5 for a few episodes.
Julie’s going to find her own Chicago, Landry and Matt continue their bromance in the real Chicago, Tim took a huge bullet so his brother could be a father, and both Coach and Mrs. Coach will be in East Dillon next season.
What a whirlwind it has been for Coach and Mrs. Coach these last three seasons. And it was all amazing to watch.
Lots of great music in this episode too. The opening montage of the Lions getting ready was amazing. As was the scenes of the field and Coach by himself right before the team took the field at the game. Very powerful, excellently directed.
I have to say, season four might be the strongest season of the show since the first. It was fresh, but familiar. It went back to the show’s roots.
I can’t wait for the 5th and final season. I wouldn’t doubt they will ramp the emotions up for the finale. It is going to be tough to say goodbye to Dillon, but I can’t wait to watch it.
EPISODE 4.13 – THANKSGIVING
Miss the episode or want to watch it again? Watch full episodes at NBC.com and download full episodes at or on
Pre-order the Season 4 DVD now at