Friday Night Lights 5.02 – You Gotta Earn the Right to Whine

The Lions win is the talk of Texas on Monday, but Coach doesn’t want the team to get all wrapped up in thinking about championship rings. (Let’s win some games first!)

In the cafeteria, the Lions are raffling off the players to the rally girls. One girl picks Vince’s jersey, but (surprise!) he apologizes to her and gives the jersey to Jess. Aww. Now the girls are pushing Becky to choose a jersey. A certain someone sits up and starts getting very hopeful. (We know where this is going right?)

Becky pulls a jersey out aaanndd… she gets Tinker’s. Luke’s face drops.

Outside, Counselor Mrs. Coach walks up to a girl sitting on a table smoking. She tells the girl there’s no smoking on school property and the girl says everyone smokes in Texas, even babies. Counselor Mrs. Coach says even babies can’t smoke on school property.

And so this is “Epic” (the girl, I mean. Not the moment). Counselor Mrs. Coach says they’ll be working on her grades, coming to class, and coming to guidance counselor meetings. Epic walks the other way, couldn’t care less about what this lady is babbling about.

In the locker room, Coach calls Vince in and shows him letters from Georgia, UT Austin, Alabama, USC (!?), and others, all interested in him. Later, Hastings takes a breather, takes his helmet off and sits on the grass in the middle of practice. Coach Billy doesn’t like it, even more when Hastings calls him “Billy.” Coach tells Billy to take it easy on the kid and then tells Hastings to never take his helmet off on his field.

The players are enjoying the treats left in their lockers from the rally girls. Hastings got porn in his locker though, doesn’t seem that excited. But even less excited is Vince when he finds nothing in his locker. He goes to talk to Jess and she tells him maybe this rally girl thing isn’t for her so she says he is free to get himself another one. One who’ll actually jump at the chance. When he leaves, she doesn’t feel too hot about it anymore.

At the faculty meeting, Counselor Mrs. Coach is suggesting they have a once a week tutoring session for the at risk kids. Have some teachers volunteer and help out. The other teachers don’t give a crap about at at-risk kids, especially if they aren’t going to get paid to do it.

Hopping over to Burleson University and Julie is bored out of her mind during class talking about Davy Crockett. That is, until the cute TA comes along to tell the class to get themselves into study groups. Julie hasn’t made friends yet it seems, so she goes up to a guy on his computer but it turns out he’s just a pledge taking notes for guys in his frat.

Later, Julie goes to her dorm room but can’t really because her roommate is in bed with her boyfriend. She apologizes and Mrs. Coach calls to check up on her. She’s fine and says she has to go now. The boyfriend leaves and her roommate tells her is okay to come in now.

Julie goes to the history department mixer the next day but is the odd man out again. Until she sees someone watching a football game on TV. She walks over and sees it’s the TA. He introduces himself as Derek Bishop.

At the Riggins’, Becky is trying to double up a cookie recipe for Tinker, but she’s doing it wrong. Billy comes home and helps her out, but Mindy isn’t having any of this. She confronts Billy, afraid he’s going to cheat on her, but Billy reminds her that his brother, who is in jail because of him, asked him to look after Becky.

Vince waits for his mother to get home from work. (She’s clean!) He’s excited to show her all the letters… Miami, LSU, Ohio State, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, USC (!?). He asks her where she wants to live. He’s going to take care of her. They hug. They’re happy.

Next morning, Coach, after telling everyone to stop thinking about rankings and rings (the season hasn’t even started yet!), he himself is checking them out. They’re unranked by the way. Gracie Belle meanwhile demands some Mac and Cheese for breakfast.

At practice, Coach gets more upset when the team can’t stop thinking about the rankings and why they aren’t on the list! They are actually pissed about it. Completely enraged.

At school, Principal Levi is telling Counselor Mrs. Coach about how students are calling the tutoring session, “the Homework Club” and how the other teachers don’t appreciate her lecturing. He suggests building alliances first so she has some backup.

Jess really regrets letting Vince get his rally girl when she comes over in barely any clothes and flirtily asks for his address.

Vince and Luke go out to get some ribs together. Luke doesn’t like “fruitcake” Hastings too much. While in line, a man, Bob Short, the owner of a garden supply store, congratulates Vince on an amazing game. He wants to the shake the canons and he gives him his card. If Vince needs anything, just give him a call. He offers to pay for Vince’s food and Vince introduces Luke as the All State star running back. Okay, he’ll pay for his food too.

Over on Lions Field, Coach is watching over the guy fixing the scoreboard when Buddy comes to give him a heads up. The Athletic Administration is going to have a hearing concerning Luke’s perfectly legal hit on the QB last week. Buddy says it is just a bunch of bureaucrats covering their asses over a safety issue. But Luke might get suspended.

At school the next day, Jess confronts Mara, the rally girl, in the bathroom.. Apparently she put her panties in Vince’s locker. Mara says she’s being jealous but Jess laughs and talks about having some self respect. Mara then tells Jess she’ll have her boyfriend in 2 weeks. Jess isn’t playing around anymore, Mara calls her a dumbass and they fight .

Jess meets with Counselor Mrs. Coach. She lets it all out, she says she loves Texas football. Counselor Mrs. Coach suggests some after school activities for her so she will never fight again.

The other teachers are talking about happy hour and Counselor Mrs. Coach passes by and sees maybe a chance for an in. One of the teachers says she should come and Mrs. Coach says she’ll try. With Mrs. Coach’s back turned, they laugh at her.

The locker room hears about Luke’s hearing and again they are pissed off that they are not being respected like the championship team they are. Coach comes out to calm them down again.

He heads over to West Dillon and talks to now apparently Head Coach Mac McGill. Mac says of course they’re not ranked because Coach is an “outsider” now. And the inquiry into the hit was not from the league, it was from Jim Leland over at Croft. They then make a bet about this year’s West vs. East game.

Coach and Mrs. Coach are starting to turn Julie’s room into an office. She asks him about happy hour and he says she should totally go. He leans in for a kiss but she says that’s disgusting. Not on their daughter’s bed.

At school, Counselor Mrs. Coach catches Epic smoking in the bathroom. She takes it, puts it out in the sink and escorts her to class. Epic says fat chance having her foster parents come in for a meeting.

At the inquiry, coach and the suits watch the play again and Luke leaps into the air to hit the QB in the head with his shoulder pads. Coach says maybe it was the refs’ fault for not throwing a flag. The suits say yeah, but really anything Coach says is irrelevant. Coach says maybe they wouldn’t be here right now if the Lions didn’t beat a team they weren’t supposed to beat.

The suits hold steady on this being a safety issue.

At happy hour, Tami tries to fit in but it just isn’t working. The other teachers are in a world of their own and then one of them knocks a glass over and spills wine all over Counselor Mrs. Coach. She says it is fine and says she was going to leave anyway.

Outside, the teacher that was most vocal and annoyed, Laurel, apologizes to Tami and says it’ll get easier. It is always hard for new faculty to fit in. She then offers to volunteer for the tutoring.

The Lions and the teens are having a kegger somewhere. Luke is drunk because he got word that he was suspended. Mara comes over and asks Vince for a kiss. Instead Jess challenges her and beats her at chugging beer. Her eyes flutter.

And she throws up. They sit away from the party and she tells Vince how much she misses them talking football, being together, strategizing together. Vince takes her home.

Luke gets into Hastings’ face. Why are you even here, he asks. Becky comes over before they start to fight. She wants to find him a ride home. He’s wasted. They get a ride and she takes him home. At the door he tells her that he traded his pig Maribel for her. He gave Maribel to Tinker in exchange for having Becky as his rally girl. He asks her to come in but she says maybe next time. They hug.

When Becky gets home, Mindy tells her off. They were up worried sick about her. Becky apologizes since no one has ever cared or noticed before.

Next day, Counselor Mrs. Coach comes to her office to find Epic waiting for her. She’s ready for the stupid meeting.

At BU, TA Derek comes up to “football” Julie and says she was right about that game. He offers to buy her coffee. She obliges.

Vince takes him mom to see Mr. Short from the ribs place in the hopes that his mom can get a job at Short Garden Supply. And she does, but Vince gives a strange reluctant look.

Before the game, Coach writes one word on the board… STATE.

Episode Thoughts
Oh boy. This episode.
I really wasn’t feeling it. While there were some great moments here and there, I just could not get over the team bitching about their damn ranking!

They expect to be ranked and be championship contenders after winning TWO games last season and ONE out of ONE game this season. They were absolutely incensed that they weren’t being “respected.”

Um… maybe they should win some games first. Maybe do something to deserve that level of hype and respect they think they so rightly deserve.

First of all, upsets happen. It doesn’t mean underdog teams are going to be propelled into the Top 10 of whatever. Lets rewind a few seasons ago in college football. A lowly Stanford team stages the biggest sports upset ever when they beat #1 USC. Great win, but that doesn’t mean Stanford is going to play in the National Championship. Hell, they didn’t even play in a bowl game that year.

What, are there only 21 high schools in Texas? That East Dillon was #21 and should’ve been #20? I honestly don’t get it.

So before you start bitching about some unspeakable act of being wronged, concentrate on winning first.

Now, if this is all about “outside looking in,” sure. I get that story possibility. But with the ranking debacle and the Luke hit…

Speaking of, very interesting that FNL touches on dangerous hits after all the drama in the NFL a few weeks ago (and currently). Looking at that replay footage in this episode, that block by Luke probably would get him a fine and suspension in the NFL. It wasn’t helmet-to-helmet, but he did lead with his head and he literally leaped into the air to make that play. This episode was written and filmed months ago, but today, that play would probably cost ’em.

So, that argument, also sort of not in the Lions favor.

So the Lions are whiny and Coach Billy needs to stop encouraging the guys to be over aggressive.

I think this storyline about the more elite, rich teams wanting to put down a legitimately good and winning Lions team is happening too early in the season. They’ve played only one game! They have proved NOTHING yet other than they can hold their own on the field.

That doesn’t equal a ring yet.

And Vince getting letters from all those schools? USC!?! Come on. He’s only been QB for a few games on a 2-8 team. And certainly not playing at a level that warrants getting 20 letters from across the country. Smash wasn’t even that heavily recruited and he was a dynamic player on a state championship team. Come on now. Seriously.

Other negatives? Jess and Vince being too syrupy. Matt & Julie and even Jason and Lyla in the pilot were never this syrupy sweet. It feels so over the top. Now I can’t wait for Hastings to break them up, honestly.

Good things about the episode though? (Are there any?)
The little moments between Coach and Mrs. Coach were beautiful. The scene in Julie’s room and the scene of little Gracie Belle demanding mac and cheese were hilarious and so natural.

I also like seeing Luke and Becky’s story continuing, but slowly. That has a lot of story possibilities.

And Julie hooking up with a teacher (well, teacher’s assistant) at college is not surprising considering her crush on Austin Nichols back in Dillon right?

Definitely no tears for me this episode.
Well, actually… yeah, I did cry. I cried at how horrible the episode was.

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