Due to the MWC postponing their season, we’ve been forced to think outside the box a bit in terms of our content. One of those things we will be bringing out is a weekly series discussing thoughts on arguably the best football TV show ever in Friday Night Lights. If you haven’t seen it, there is no better time to start. If you have seen it, there’s no better time to rewatch it. And if you’re like me, and watch an episode or season every year in preparation for college football, you’re right on track. Regardless of which category you fit into, it’s on Hulu, and you can follow along each week (on a Friday, of course) as a different episode from season one will be discussed, from the heartbreaking cliffhanger of the pilot to the final nail-biting game.
Random thoughts in live-tweet form.
- Jason is watching the Panther’s football game, which is probably both calming and painful for him.
- The announcers say Coach Taylor is off to a disastrous start this season. He is 1-1 and lost his once in a generation quarterback. There is no slack cut for him.
- Lyla Garrity comes to Tim’s house to see him. She still is trying to get him to go to the hospital to see Jason.
- Someone puts graffiti over Matt’s football sign in his front year. Some kids drive by to ridicule him. This kid puts up with everything and doesn’t flinch.
- Lyla is trying to lift Jason’s spirits by telling him the team was lost without him, but Jason doesn’t appreciate it. Also, Lyla starts to see the reality of Jason’s new world set in with his recent medical issues.
- Tim runs into Mrs. Street and tries to convince him to be there for Jason as well.
- A random man in town starts bothering Julie Taylor and then Eric because the Panther lost a game. It’s incredible how much some grown adults care way too much about high school football and need to harass coaches who are trying their best as well as their high school daughter. He must feel proud.
- “I can count really high Smash. Do you want to see how high I can count?” Hilarious.
- Buddy Garrity, always the schemer, makes plans to drop by on Voodoo Tatum, a QB from Louisiana who has been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
- Lyla’s mom tries to talk to her about spending so much time with Jason. She remains blindly optimistic and states she is going to marry him someday.
- Matt tries to talk to Julie, who rushes off without saying much to him.
- At the pancake dinner that is a fundraiser for Jason, Buddy tries to convince Eric to scout Voodoo in front of the boosters, backing Eric into a corner.
- Tyra blows off Smash, Tim blows off the pancake dinner.
- Tyra goes to see Tim, they get in a fight, and they break up. Wonder what will happen next?
- Coach Taylor finds out that Mac had already seen the Voodoo highlight tape at Buddy’s house last weekend. This makes it clear there is some dissension in the coaching ranks.
- Matt goes to see Mrs. Taylor about dropping a class to go to morning practices. She asks him how he’s doing, and he opens up about his grandma. She’s concerned about him and his personal life. Matt is worried about losing his spot to Tatum if he transfers in and says he loves playing football.
- Buddy has won Mac over on Voodoo. Eric calls Matt a wild card in a good way. They go to see Voodoo. Buddy makes his recruiting pitch to the Tatum family. He insinuates that they can help his dad get a new job, that the town can raise funds to help the family get back on their feet, and that Voodoo is the guaranteed starter. Eric says he has a problem with that. He cuts to the chase and says if he has dreams, everything is earned. Clearly, this isn’t going to go well for anyone.
- The pressure is getting to Eric Taylor, which prevents him from doing his best to develop Matt after losing a game that wasn’t his fault.
- To make matters worse, Smash does a tv interview, and the reporter leads him into saying that Coach Taylor should focus more on winning football games. As a side note: Smash hasn’t done much on the field in the two games we’ve seen so far.
- Coach Taylor is furious and calls a team meeting late at night. He goes to pick Smash up personally. They meet at the field and take the bus to a hill where they do win springs in the rain.
- In the episode’s defining moment, with everyone on the team soaking wet and exhausted, Coach Taylor and Smash make eye contact, and the message has been received. Smash needs to become the team leader, and the leader unites the other players, he doesn’t cause trouble. He starts the “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.” chant that Matt joins in on. Then the whole team shouts it and believes in it. Then Smash leads them unprompted in another wind sprint up the hill. The task becomes player-led instead of coach-led, and that makes all the difference.
- Lyla spends her birthday with Jason and keeps talking about the future being brighter, and faith needed. She continues to downplay Jason’s injury, and he gets upset with her. They get into a fight. He tells her she needs to stop pretending everything is okay, and it’s not helping him. He’s trying to accept it, and she’s making it more challenging to do so. He tries to break up with her.
- Coach Taylor talks to Tim, telling him Jason’s injury is not his fault. Tim opens up and breaks down, saying he didn’t even try. Coach Taylor speaks right to his heart, telling Tim he needs to let himself off the hook.
- Coach Taylor also tells Tim never to walk off his practice field again (remember that one) and that he owes him a practice. Tim nods in agreement until Coach Taylor says he will make it up by walking him in the rain. Tim and the players on the bus can’t believe it, but he does it.
- In a pure coincidence, Lyla is driving by and picks him up, right as the music starts playing. Lyla takes out her anger on Tim, yelling at him and breaking down. She slaps him and pushes him in tears. Tim embraces her to consul her, and that quickly turns into a kiss. We now have a MAJOR issue as Jason’s girlfriend and best friend have acted on feelings for one another while he is in a hospital unable to walk.
- The next morning, Lyla shows up late to Jason’s transition from the hospital to the rehab facility. Jason apologizes from last night and asks if they can pretend like last night didn’t happen. Lyla, full of her own regrets, quickly agrees.
- Just as things seem to be clicking again for the team, Voodoo shows up with Buddy on the practice field. Voodoo doesn’t seem thrilled to be there, and neither does Matt.
Coach Taylor’s speeches.
- He focuses on the execution or lack of it in the first half. That was an issue in the first game too. Maybe quarterback isn’t the problem with this team. He questions Riggin’s toughness, although it’s obvious his head isn’t in the game, and instead, his mind is on his best friend, Jason. He calls out Smash for going against the game plan, and Smash questions the game plan.
- At the end of the game, he cites that Matt played a good game, then shouts to the team that it wasn’t nearly good enough. That’s probably the best summary of Matt and the team in this game. Everyone else says they should have won easily (they haven’t lost to that team in 17 years).
- Smash leads other team members in putting Matt down, saying he needs to practice his handoffs. Smash talks back to Coach Taylor, and the wind sprints continue.
- Coach Taylor schemes well for Matt, calling the bootleg and giving him time and room to pass worked very well, until the fumble.
- The announcers comment on Matt’s courage and note he has played with a lot of heart.
- With the game on the line in the final seconds, the play blows up, and Matt tucks the ball and runs. He evades defenders and has pretty nice game speed, but is tackled inside the one for a heartbreaking loss.
- From the game clips, it’s clear Matt is a gamer and plays above his abilities during games. This game, Matt was also more of a game manager. He made his reads, completed passes, but didn’t throw touchdowns. He didn’t lose the game (although the media and town won’t agree), but he didn’t do much to win it either.
- Coach Taylor is trying to get the team in better shape. They are playing a team with massive size in the trenches, and since they can’t match their size, he wants to counter it with speed—a smart tactic.
- Coach Taylor is trying to get through to Tim at practice, and he walks off the field without saying a word. Mac says he thinks Tim is blaming himself for what happened.
- Buddy is getting his digs into Eric, saying a player walking out of practice never would’ve happened “in the old days,” whatever that means.
- Practice resumes with newfound intensity and energy after the midnight running in the rain.
Quote of the episode.
- “Champions don’t complain. Champions don’t give up. You’re not champions until you’ve earned it.”
Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose. official counter: 8
Texas Forever official counter: 2
Riggins quitting the team official counter: 1