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Friday Night Lights Review S1E20.

Mud Bowl.

During the offseason, we are continuing our 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.

  • Julie asked Tami how likely it is that Eric takes the TMU job. Tami tries to console her.
  • The town prepares for the big semi-final game and the radio guy foreshadows a reunion match-up against Voodoo Tatum and West Cam in the championship.
  • Eric is tired of all the hype surrounding the game.
  • Matt finds an envelope of money in his locker. He goes straight to Coach Taylor about it.
  • As they are addressing that, an explosion takes place and the windows to the office are broken and a cloud of smoke appears in the sky.
  • As Jason and his parents discuss money and the lawsuit, the news discusses the explosion and how an evacuation of the area is necessary, including the school and more importantly, the football field.
  • As Julie and Matt bond, Tyra blows Landry off. He goes to stalk her at the library. Meanwhile, Waverly and Smash are on rocky ground. Waverly and Lyla bond over their guy troubles. The ladies go shooting to work off their frustrations.
  • Landry offers to tutor Tyra in algebra.
  • The school will be closed for at least a week to evaluate the air quality, which means no home football game.
  • Smash asks Lyla about Waverly and Lyla calls him out about never talking to him until he needs something. Smash discloses that Waverly has a mental illness.
  • Buddy is side-stepping talking about the money in Matt’s locker.
  • As Landry tutors Tyra, she asks him to tutor her Friday and calls it a date.
  • Eric decides he wants to play the game in a field. He wants to have an old-school game game for the pure joy of playing.
  • Coach Taylor gets his players in the store to purchase items to build a football field. He also runs into Jason and they make awkward conversation about life and the lawsuit.
  • Lyla goes to see Jason to talk about their relationship. Jason tells (yells at) her that he has nothing going for him in his life. They fight, Lyla puts him in his place a bit and leaves.
  • Eric tells Buddy that he is making a statement and that he wants to have a football game “without the crap” and Buddy calls him out on making history before bolting to TMU.
  • Matt tells Landry to temper expectations about his study date with Tyra.
  • Waverly calls Smash out for telling Lyla about her mental illness.
  • Billy warns Tim about how badly things will unfold with him and Jackie
  • At the lawsuit hearing, the lawyers argue about who has a better case. Jason speaks out on behalf of himself, and he and his parents figure out a reasonable settlement. Jason shows a more level-head compared to the adults in the room and he gets what he needs without screwing over Coach Taylor or anyone else.
  • Landry’s car stalls as he goes to meet Tyra.
  • Tyra gets to the dinner and a guy there starts talking to her. When Landry doesn’t show up, she packs up to leave.
  • As Tyra walks out, the guy follows her blindsides her, hits her and forces her in the truck. He is assaulting her and trying to rape her. Tyra gets the cigarette lighter out of the car and shoves it in his eye. It works and she is able to escape.
  • Landry arrives as Tyra is outside in the rain and falls into Landry’s arms as she is overcome with emotion after evading a rape attempt.
  • Smash leads the team in a prayer after the victory with players from both teams joining in at mid-field.
  • Julie tackles Matt at mid-field as she kisses him, telling him he will always love her no matter what.
  • Smash and Waverly seem to have made up. Jackie and Bo came to the game.
  • Tyra and Landry sit in the dinner as Tyra cried and Landry does his best to comfort her.

Coach Taylor’s speeches.

Football observations.

  • Jason continues to coach Matt on his footwork. He is helping him stay light and quick on his feet.
  • The team is complaining about having to complain on a dirt field. Coach Taylor addresses the whining as well as the money in the locker room. He uses it to motivate Smash.
  • The Brant coach finds a state of the art stadium to move the game to, but Coach Taylor thinks it’s too close to Brant and says no deal. Buddy laments about his lost revenue and ad opportunities.
  • The Brant coach (Brandon) objects to the game being played in something that isn’t a traditional field, but eventually agrees to play the game.
  • The field is transformed into a football stadium for the semi-final game.
  • Dillon gets the opening kickoff but fumbles the onside kick and Brant scores. They also fake the extra point to go up 8-0 after two plays. Then it starts raining.
  • Matt throws a pick, but Jason encourages him. It pays off as Smash scores on a nice play-action pass to tie the game at half.
  • The refs want to call the game at half, but the captains from both teams express their desire to finish the game out.
  • Brant misses a field goal and the momentum shifts heavily in Dillon’s favor.
  • With 35 seconds left, Jason tells Matt to “not let them breathe” and leads the team down the field. He completes a skinny post to Smash for a huge gain.
  • With 19 seconds to go, Matt fakes the spike, gets a huge block by Tim, and runs for the game-winning touchdown to send the team to state.
  • It goes without saying but Matt was so worried about letting the team down and he ends up making the game-winning play. Matt and the team are elated.
  • The players and fans celebrate and the coaches realize they will play Voodoo in the finals.
  • Coach Taylor tells Jason that Mat was a different quarterback tonight and that Jason did a good job training him. He tells Jason to think about coaching.

Unanswered questions.

Plot holes.

  • Keep an eye on the Brant coach. He may appear again later in the series.
  • The Viking player talking smack to Smash looks to be at least in his 20s.
  • The look of the filming and some of the tone of the episodes makes it seem like this episode (and likely the ones following it) were filmed at the same time as the first two or three episodes.

Quote of the episode.

“Everything that has been asked of you this year and that you have asked of yourselves, gentlemen, comes down to this. Blood, sweat, and tears, it all stays right here on this field right now. This is our dirt. This is our mud. This is ours, baby. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” - Coach Taylor

Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t Lose. official counter: 16

Texas Forever official counter: 6

Riggins quitting the team official counter: 1

Coach Taylor calling Landry ‘Lance’ official counter: 2

Jason’s job aspirations: quad-rugby player, football coach