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Friday Night Lights: They’re losers, baby

Have I mentioned how much I really don’t want Friday Night Lights to end? Because I don’t. At all. With only four episodes remaining, I am literally starting to feel anxious at the thought of how this series will wrap up. Which of my favorite characters will I get to see again? Will Julie move to Chicago and live happily ever after with Matt? Will Coach and Mrs. Coach leave Texas? Will Vince redeem himself? And for god’s sake, will Tim Riggins get out of jail???

The jail question, I think, might be answered in next week’s episode. As for the other things, for now we can only guess.

Vince has been having a rough time over the past few episodes, and that culminated in him getting benched this week. Vince has had an interesting storyline. He cleaned up so fast and so well, going from a small time criminal to a strong leader and football player, you knew it would be too good to be true. Of all the players we’ve seen on FNL, Vince seems to have the least support. Matty had his grandmother, and a special relationship with Coach Taylor that I don’t think we’ve seen since. Smash had his mother. Even Tim Riggins had a screwed up but well-intentioned older brother. Vince’s mom is a recovering addict and his dad is a charming freeloader who just got out of prison. Who can he trust?

OK, there were two people he could have trusted. Jess and Coach. And by listening to his dad he betrayed them both. It was nice to see Vince’s mom wake up from her stupor and tell Vince that he shouldn’t always take his father’s advice. She hasn’t quite recognized that Vince’s dad just sees his kid as a meal ticket, but she at least reminded Vince that he should be thinking for himself. Hopefully with that pep talk and a couple of serious wake-up calls (Jess dumping him and Coach benching him), he’ll realize that he needs a serious attitude adjustment in order to get back on the team. For that, he needs to stop listening to his dad and realize that football is a team sport, not just a way to show off his own talent and secure his own future.

Coach played Luke as quarterback instead of Vince, and they managed to squeak out a win – this means they’re going to playoffs. It took a lot, though. Luke had support from Becky, his parents, Jess and Coach Taylor and he was still doubting his own abilities. 

Speaking of Coach and Jess, I wish the show had had time to develop that relationship a little. As touching as it was to see him be nice to her when she was crying, why did Coach have to catch her in that moment? Why couldn’t he have walked in when she was running over plays with Luke? I haven’t always been the biggest Jess fan (it’s the shrill voice) but she’s grown on me. I’d love for Coach to realize that Jess has a talent for working with the players.

 The relationship I could use less of is Becky and Luke’s. I don’t know why, but Luke has just never grown on me and I don’t see any chemistry between these two. I was glad to see him stand up to his mother for her, but I don’t really care about them ending up together. As for Becky’s potential job as a waitress at the strip club, I’m torn. On the one hand, yeah…it’s kinda gross and inappropriate. On the other hand, if she saved that money for college instead of using it to buy silk ties for boys, then I think I’d be able to stomach it. I’ve seen teen pop stars wear less clothing for less noble causes.

As for Mindy’s second pregnancy…oy. Her and Billy’s contradicting reactions just showed why they shouldn’t be the main caretakers of Becky. They can barely take care of themselves, let alone set a good example for a struggling teenage girl.

Tami’s storyline was kind of heartbreaking this week. Just when it seemed like she was really making progress with Epyck, she experienced a major setback. Tami intervened in a scuffle between Epyck and another teacher over an allegedly stolen twenty dollar bill and Epyck accidentally smashed Tami’s head against a window. The girl was taken away in handcuffs and sent to what I can only assume is a juvenile detention center or something equally unpleasant. I’m not invested enough in Epyck’s character to care about her, but it was sad to see Tami fail. Connie Britton is always great in scenes where she’s saving troubled teens, and she played the failure equally well.

Of course, the undercurrent to Tami and Eric’s struggles with their teenaged problems was the possibility of Eric getting an offer from Shane State University in Florida. I have to say, I feel OK about the idea of the series concluding with Eric, Tami and little Gracie Bell packing up and heading for the Sunshine State. He’s earned it, and a talented coach can’t stay at a small town high school forever. Plus if Julie moves to Chicago they’d be closer to her in Florida than in Texas.

Should Julie move to Chicago? I’m not advocating running away from one’s problems, but she didn’t seem happy in Burleson even before the whole “Julie Taylor is a whore” incident. There are plenty of great colleges in Chicago and probably more opportunities for someone like Julie than there are in Burleson. And doesn’t she belong with Matt? The obstacle here is that from what we’ve seen, Matt has grown up a lot while Julie hasn’t. If she moved there, would she be clinging to her high school boyfriend like a trusty security blanket, or would she be following her heart?

My main question is, why would Tami and Eric stay in Dillon now? They’re not from there. Julie doesn’t go to school there anymore. Gracie Bell hasn’t started school yet. Other than Tami’s job (and she could find another) and some sort of sappy connection to the town, is there anything keeping them there?


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