Spoilers for "Friday Night Lights" episode two, just as soon as I decide between the Nachos Nuevos and the Boneless Buffalo Wings for my appetizer...
Well, damn. When a show has a pilot as terrific as "FNL," the show usually takes a small step back in the next few weeks as the creators try to figure out how to sustain that quality without just repeating themselves. But I found this episode even more gripping and well-done than the pilot. I've already resigned myself to the show's failure, based on the miniscule premiere ratings, but I'm going to enjoy this while I can. If nothing else, it'll make a fine 13-hour DVD that someone can get me for Father's Day.
Street's crippling injury ratcheted up everything: the pressure on Coach Taylor, the reliance on faith, Lyla's unflinching optimism that her life with Jason is going to be storybook all the way, Saracen's feeling of being an outsider, Riggins' self-destructive tendencies, the boosters' wives trying to turn Mrs. Taylor into a pod, etc.
Several moments stood out to me. One was the sports talk radio host dubbing Street's injury "just a tragic blow to the season" and then quickly seguing into a rip job on Saracen, as if he'd never heard that cliche about tragedy in sports putting your priorities in order. Another was Saracen's discomfort at getting a spirit girl of his very own ("You tell me what you like and I'll provide it") and especially the scene where Taylor takes Saracen out onto the field to discuss his father and try to psych him up. (What makes it especially great is that you can see on Kyle Chandler's face that Taylor knows this is like putting a ballgown on a pig, but he has no choice but to work that zipper.)
I also liked the glimpse of Smash's Planned Parenthood mom, and Landry (whose parents must be very, very disappointed in their son, given the name they hung on him) trying to find a way to exploit his best friend's newfound celebrity. Hell, I didn't even mind the blatant product integration stuff with Applebee's ("This is a fantastic meal. Fantastic meal."), since I completely believe that Applebee's would be a culinary destination in a town like this.
So what did everybody else think?