I leave for the airport shortly, so some quick thoughts on "Friday Night Lights" before I go...
Definitely not one of my favorite episodes. In its best moments, "FNL" feels almost documentary-like in its authenticity, which is why I get uncomfortable when it starts acting like Just Another High School Drama, and the Saracen and Tyra stories both fell into the latter category.
A shrieking Tyra chasing her mom's abusive (and, compared to Tyra, tiny) boyfriend around the house with a poker? Would have been a great moment if we'd seen any of this dynamic before. Instead, Tyra's been the show's forgotten character (Landry gets more respect), popping up on occasion to snap at Lyla or Riggins, then walk off as someone comments on how long her legs are. So all the stuff with her mom (whose every appearance made me want to say, "Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo") was far too rushed to have any real impact.
Saracen's story, meanwhile, ended far too easily. A week ago we saw Matt so far at the end of his rope that he can't even see the rope, and now he's just hunky-dory sending his dad back to Iraq? They tried to sell us on the idea that nothing had changed, workload-wise, but again, they rushed the job too much for it to work. As with Tyra, this would have played out better over several more episodes. (Also, isn't Matt just the littlest bit concerned about his dad dying? I know Harry's not working in combat, but engineers are getting killed over there, too.)
Outside of the "Waverlash" joke (somebody on the writing staff hangs around message boards), Smash's subplot wasn't too special, either, with his big speech another "Hi. You're watching a fresh episode on the CW" moment. Really, if it wasn't for the Street story and the usual slice of Taylor domesticity, I would have written the episode off as a total loss.
What did everybody else think? See you all when I get to LA.