In my review today, I talked a bit about the genius of "I Think We Should Have Sex," and while this one wasn't quite as epic, it was another beautiful Taylor family tale. Kyle Chandler's specialty has been the hard-ass, sarcastic side of Coach, and he got to show a compellingly softer side here, especially in the scene where Tami suggests that Julie is really in love with Matt... about three seconds before Julie walks in looking extremely grown-up (but not all hoochie'd out the way she was that time Matt wore his Members Only jacket), and it finally hits him that his daughter is becoming a woman worthy of more respect and consideration.
I especially liked that the story didn't end with Julie's speech at the dance convincing Eric to give up on his dream job. It was much more realistic and, honestly, touching that he heard her out, made it clear that he understood her concerns but couldn't let those concerns be the sole factor in a decision that would affect the whole family's future.
The flip side of that was the story with Tyra and her mom, which very much fit the encroaching TV-ism that occasionally infects the writers. Up until the scene at the dance, I was really going with it, I liked how Mama Collette took Tami's mentoring as an indictment of her own motherhood, how her own hang-ups were making her push her daughter towards the same life she's had. And maybe if she came around to the college plan over time, or if some significant event happened to make her change her mind, I would have gone with the uplifting ending, but as it was, it just felt like the episode was coming to an end and so they had to wrap things up.
Street's story heads back towards making him a part of the main ensemble again. For all the liberties they've taken thus far with the Murderball storyline, it's still only been a few months since Street was put in that chair, and world-class athlete or not, he shouldn't be Paralympic-ready yet.
I've seen next week's episode, but it doesn't take a psychic to figure out what course Jason's going to travel from here. Loved the scene with the four guys -- the former superstar and the three players who have combined to carry the team in his place -- getting drunk, comparing sob stories ("Chair says I win. Every time.") and, eventually, scrimmaging to instill some confidence in poor Matt. Very "Dazed and Confused," only if Pink still gave a crap about the game.
Some other random thoughts:
- I've talked before about how most of the kids are having to raise themselves and, in some cases, their parents, but this is the first time it's occurred to me that the only kids with fathers in their lives are Julie, Lyla, and Jason. Buddy's a waste of a human being and Mr. Street's clearly distanced himself from his son since the accident, so that really only leaves Julie. Huzzah for the nuclear family!
- Lyla trashing Buddy's car lot was a nice touch. Minka Kelly's much better when she doesn't have to talk.
- Is there some revisionist history at work about the Taylor's geographic history? This episode implied that they've moved around a lot over the years as Eric's moved from job to job, but the pilot established that he'd been coaching Street since Pee-Wee football. So unless the Streets have been moving around a lot while the Taylors followed their meal ticket from town to town, that doesn't make sense.
- For them what care, the band at the Austin club where Street unleashed his bitterness on Herc was a local Austin band called Little Captain Travis. I liked the sound of them but can't find much about them online.
- My issues with Riggins and the MILF next door story remain the same as last time: Bo's too sitcommy cute, and Taylor Kitsch and Brooke Langton look too close in age.