Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Friday Night Lights, "After the Fall": Where's Wallace? Where's the boy, String?

Spoilers for tonight's "Friday Night Lights" coming up just as soon as I find my inner pirate...
"Don't quit on me. Don't quit on yourself." -Coach
The season four premiere climaxed with Coach taking one for the team - accepting the public humiliation of a forfeit to protect his eager but inexperienced players from further injury.

A forfeit is a big deal in the show's world, and "After the Fall" doesn't shy away from the ramifications of it, from the "QUITTER!" signs on the Taylor lawn to the team staging an unofficial mass walk-out to protest Eric humiliating them right along with himself. They may have been spared any more physical pain, but this is mortifying for all of them. And it's made worse because Eric - who does not like to share his thought processes with his players under even the best of circumstances - won't explain why he did what he did, and because these kids barely know Eric(*) and therefore don't implicitly trust him the way the Panthers might.

(*) Even Landry was a scrub who was so far removed from Coach that Eric thought his name was "Lance" for the better part of three seasons. And speaking of which, did I miss a moment in season three where he finally started calling him by the right name, or was an opportunity missed here by having him suddenly switch to "Landry"?

As the school year begins at both Dillon high schools, and as Eric and his threadbare coaching staff try to recover from the opening game fiasco, "After the Fall" has to deal with some of the usual logic holes that come up a few times a season on "FNL" (not even counting that time Landry went on a three-state killing spree). For one, it's awfully convenient that the Lions would have a bye in the very second week of the season, at the exact moment when the players have all quit and Eric needs extra time to get them back together and practicing.

For another, it feels like the vast majority of the students at East Dillon didn't exist in this show's universe until the writers came up with the redistricting idea and needed a bunch of poor and/or black kids to attend the other school. We know from Smash's family that Dillon had some low-cost housing, but the vibe at both East Dillon high and in the projects where Vince lives was far seedier than anything we'd seen in the show's first three seasons.

But if the east side of town sometimes feels as if it sprung up magically during the hiatus, its existence is allowing the show to deal with race and class in a more ongoing manner than in the past. It wasn't a coincidence that nearly every player who walked out on the team after Eric's rant last week to Angry Necklace Guy was black (though several black players, like Vince, stayed). Eric has had black players, even stars, on his teams in the past, but the one we got to know was Smash, who was laser-focused on being a pro football player one day, and who therefore was willing to put up with whatever Coach dished out if it would make him better. Most of the kids at East Dillon are not only coming from a very different cultural place than Eric, but they have no real organized football experience (if they did, they'd have been gerrymandered into the other district), no apparent interest in a long-term future in it (even Vince joined the team to get out of trouble with the cops) and perhaps no interest in indulging the histrionics of your average Texas high school football coach.

By the end of the episode, it looks like both sides are willing to learn more about the other - Eric recognizes he made a mistake in giving money to Vince's mom, and Vince gets the team to show up for the special practice - but this isn't going to come easy for anybody.

But if the Lions are still a mess, at least Eric gets an unexpected windfall when Buddy tips him off to the existence of the phony mailbox, which Tami uses to get stud running back(**) Luke Cafferty transferred to East Dillon. I imagine there will be some direct confrontations between Eric and Joe McCoy before the season's out, but for now it's damned entertaining to watch Mrs. Coach take it to evil Joe, calling his bluff about getting previous Panther titles voided in front of all the other Panther-loving boosters. In the end, the situation is a mess for all involved - Joe loses his star tailback (and possibly some face with the boosters), while Tami gets blamed for screwing with the Panthers - but it's sure not dull to watch.

(**) Luke's status is another one of those things you just have to accept. If the kid is as all-world as we're told - so revered by Panthers fans already that the student body roundly boos Tami, that the boosters are all in a panic about losing the kid to the ghetto school across town - wouldn't we have met him before? Riggins was only the tailback last season because Eric didn't have anyone better after Smash graduated, and Luke acts like he's never met Eric or the non-Mac assistant coach before. And I really don't want to have the show claim he's a freshman. Not only does Matt Lauria look at least 25, but with the show almost certainly coming to an end after next season (the end of the two-year DirecTV extension), there doesn't seem to be a need to play games anymore with what grade the kids are in.

So we already knew Vince and Becky, who now gets to live in dangerously close proximity to Tim Riggins And now we know Luke, who's this ultra-polite, eager-to-please kid who seems to feel as bad about lying to Tami as he does at having to go to East Dillon. And we've met Jurnee Smollett as Jess, whose bike gets hit by the Landrymobile 2.0. And with Landry and Devin and Julie all attending East Dillon (Julie by choice, in a decision I suspect she's going to regret if the schools academic program is as pathetic as its athletic program), our new locale is fully-populated, with JD as the only kid we know who's still at West Dillon. It's going to take a while to get to really know all the new characters, and to see how all these pieces fit together, but so far the reinvention of the series seems to be going pretty smoothly.

I just wish there was a way to more easily integrate our two Panther alums. Saracen in particular still feels like he's off in his own show. While I like the idea of Riggins turning into an acolyte of Coach's - Taylor Kitsch and Kyle Chandler were both terrific in the way they showed how happy each man was to be in each other's familiar company after their recent setbacks - I remember how quickly the show squandered the potential of Jason Street: Assistant Coach, and I hope they have a better plan this time around.

But like I said last week, I wouldn't want to have to say goodbye to Tim Riggins, particularly when he and Billy keep providing the funny, as they did when Tim told his brother, "Billy, would you pass me that violin, please? You're hoggin' it!"

Some other thoughts:

• I loved the closing line of the episode, because as soon as Eric and the kids started throwing jerseys into the fire, I said to myself, "This is a team that's so poor Eric didn't have an extra hat to give to his new assistant coach. How's he going to get new jerseys?" Thankfully, the writers were thinking this, too.

• Anyone want to set the over/under on when Angry Necklace Guy shows up on the practice field, chastened, and asks Eric if he can re-join the team?

• Richard Sherman the artist was played by Hey It's That Guy! John Diehl, whom I'll always think of first as Cruiser, the guy in "Stripes" who had the dumbest reason for enlisting. (As a "Shield" fan, I'm also obligated to point out that he played Assistant Chief Gilroy.)

• Meanwhile, Jess' father was played by Steve Harris, best known for "The Practice," but who will always hold a special place in my heart for being on the receiving end of this John Munch rant from the pilot episode of "Homicide." (Clip's audio-only, alas.)

• Still one more guest star note: the weird dude talking to Coach at the gas station was Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach. He follows on the heels of last week's cameo by Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha as the cop who introduced Eric to Vince.

What did everybody else think?

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Tami for taking it to McCoy about his threat to take away the Panther rings in front of the Boosters. Laughed my ass. Go Tami!
Burning the jerseys (and the past) got to me. Damn you, Coach.
Where can I join the Lions Booster Club? Those boys need support!

Puff

John Tegan said...

Thanks Allan for another terrific analysis. I think this was a nice improvement on the first ep (though that was pretty good, too).

After 3 full seasons+ now, I still ponder the same question at the end of every episode. How does this show manage to make us all misty-eyed time and time, without it feeling forced or phony? Is it the acting, the writing, or just an overall tone that always seems to hit that melancholy chord?

Eldo Owens said...

I just realized that it's Alicia Witt who's playing National Anthem Girl's mother.

Holy crap. I'm an old man. :-(

David Coleman said...

I just about lost my mind at Mike Leach's scene. Freakin' hilarious! I'm a sportswriter in Texas and have actually interviewed Leach. He's not that bizarre IRL but is always fun. And yes, I plan on imitating the pirate sword bit frequently

mj said...

@John Tegan. I think at least a partial answer to your excellent question is beautifully captured in the one scene when Tami and Eric have heated words. Can you imagine how that scene would have turned out if the words exchanged between Tami and Eric were actually scripted? I got dust in the eye twice tonight. The raw emotion of Luke discovering the discovery of his lie caught me off guard. And, of course, Coach's humility in front of his players blew me away.
I thought the dark skies or rain that framed many of the scenes was a nice touch. It's hard to find that in Austin for any prolonged period of time.
Last - if East Dillon's principal was being heckled at the football team's pep rally, I wouldn't mind betting Coach Taylor would have stepped in to try and calm the crowd down. Coach Wade, on the other hand... well, he just didn't.

Henry said...

I kept saying, "That guy looks familiar," when Coach Taylor encounters him at the gas station. Then the light came on! It was Mike Leach! Then I asked to no one in particular, "What's next? They gonna have Mack Brown do something?"

I find it a little strange that West Dillon is thinking State after just one game! Uh, guys? You have about 12 more games to go before you even touch state. Don't go thinking you already have it in the bag, especially now that you've lost your tailback.

And I think it's just ridiculous that the East Dillon student population is all minorities. Did the writers do that just so Julie and Landry would stick out even more?

I do like that Tami is just stuck in a situation where there's such animosity from all sides.

Alan Sepinwall said...

"What's next? They gonna have Mack Brown do something?"

Mack Brown cameo'ed in the series pilot as a Panther booster.

mj said...

re Mike Leach (who I agree was v.v.funny, as was Coach's stunned reaction to his rant) - for the NBC viewers way in the future, there was another Peter Berg talking head after the Directv showing tonight (which I'm assuming NBC won't show.) Berg describes Mike Leach as one of his "personal heroes."

Anonymous said...

"did I miss a moment in season three where he finally started calling him by the right name, or was an opportunity missed here by having him suddenly switch to "Landry"?

Coach called Landry, "Landry" when he awarded him a start on special teams for the state championship loss due to "Lance's" efforts in the classroom.

Henry said...

Okay. How about Wade Phillips then?

Mark said...

You do not have to worry about Taylor Kitch leaving the show. Riggins is a character destined to stay in town and coach the rest of his life there.

Mark said...

Has anyone noticed the new start-up team in Dillion shares the same Red and White colors as that other team in Odessa? Odessa High that routinly plays second fiddle to Permian?

ps said...

Is it the acting, the writing, or just an overall tone that always seems to hit that melancholy chord?

It's all of that, but I would add the cinematography. I think it's the way the show is lit and the speed of the film/digital whatsit and the handheld/camera angle part as well. It feels more real. If it was taken like a soap opera or 7th heaven or something, it would feel a lot more hackneyed.

And I think it's just ridiculous that the East Dillon student population is all minorities.

Have you ever been to a school in the south? Schools in my district were exactly like this. Blacks and hispanics went to one school; whites and asians to another. When I was in elementary school, the federal govt stepped in and started enforcing an old law on integration. My sister got bused to the minority school, and I was sent to a special integrated magnet school.

Racial segregation is not longer forced. It's a consequence of socio-economic status -- poverty.

Merrylegs said...

It's really a testament to the quality of this show how much I care about these characters, particularly Eric and Tami. I was actually uncomfortable and upset during their argument. They feel like family and you don't want to see them experiencing this type of friction. And yet that argument felt very real. Tami having a stressful day dealing with McCoy and it building up all evening until Eric got home. Eric having a stressful day and walking into Tami's frustrations. I know my husband and I have had those kinds of arguments. It was also nice to see the seed planted in season 3 when Eric notices Buddy working on gerrymandering the town and trying to turn a blind eye and say I don't want to know about it. Yet, in some respects he did lie to Tami because while he did not know all the details he did know what was going on and did nothing about it. It was nice to continue to see Eric as a flawed human being who had to face the consequences of past decisions and get frustrated by it and finally to admit to it and apologize. Very nice.

bsangs said...

Sorry Alan, but John Diehl will always be Larry Zito to me and any other "Miami Vice" fans.

Tami vs. McCoy is fantastic. The writers are really going out of the way to make us hate what the Panthers have become - and it's working. Reminds me of the days I loved the WWF, when they'd turn a good guy into a heel with the snap of a finger.

And there is no way Riggins living in that trailer ends well for the women of the house. No way. :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the episode yet, but I recently read a great profile of Mike Leach about how he is personally obsessed with pirates and pirate culture and uses that as a metaphor/motivational tool for his own team. I'm sure Berg read that same piece and wrote it into the show. I can't wait to see it...

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan said...

Does this show know how to pour it on when it needs to and pull back when it needs to, or what?

Despite some of the more glaring plot issues (here's another- East Dillon hasn't been in existence for quite some time - and to my knowledge there's not another school - so why would Coach or any of his predecessors need a phantom mailbox?) this show is really starting off well.

The scene with Luke and Tammy was incredible well done - and like someone said earlier - also caught me off guard - they don't do anything one note.

I agree with that bet about angry necklace guy coming back but how ‘bout if Coach takes it one step further and get's ALL those basketball players on the team

Anonymous said...

I am actually reading the book right now. And the East Dillon storyline pretty much follws along the real life story of Odessa High including the treatment of minorities in the book.

zodin2008 said...

God, I am loving Tami vs. Joe McCoy as well. She's trapped in the lion's den by still being at "West" Dillon, and she is showing her claws. The booing scene was tough, but it showed that when Tami challenges and wins some battles with Joe, there will be backlash or consequences.

But ultimately, she was willing to wound herself to help Eric out and has delivered Eric a star player to start giving East Dillon more credibility.

Regarding some of the creative leaps Alan talked about, I have to say that while it's noticeable how much worse they've made the projects of East Dillon in order to show a starker difference between the two schools, it's a necessary evil to really push the story arc for seaosn 4.

As for Luke Cafferty suddenly being a star player to show up out of nowhere and at running back no less, it's entirely possible that this was was there at least 2 years as a great player who was simply behind Tim Riggins and Smash on the depth chart and waited his turn. One assumes that a championship type H.S. program like Dillon would be farely deep in the talent pool, as sort of a Texas Longhorns on the High School level, where the new starter are just as good as the old starters.

Yeah, there was some creative writing involved in that we hadn't been introduced to Luke before, but again, I have no problem with it to help advance the season and especially the fantastic arc going on between Tami and Joe McCoy.

My question is where is Mrs. McCoy (Janine Turner)? Is not having her around helpful to further make Joe and JD villains?

Kimi said...

I feel as if Coach Taylor is doing altogether too much groveling and begging this season with his players. But Alan made a good point when he said that these kids probably have never played any organized ball before and don't know how to take his coaching method. So I'm sure he's going to have to rethink his whole style of coaching these boys, but as funny as that inner pirate thing was, I totally agree with the sentiment. Coach needs to find a way to get back to being coach.

Myles said...

Re: concerns about where Cafferty came from.

1) Coach Taylor didn't seem to know Cafferty, which implies that he only recently moved to Dillon (which doesn't make sense considering his parents' supposed inability to move, but stay with me).

2) If he HAD lived in Dillon before, wouldn't they have placed his neighbourhood within the redistricting scheme on West Dillon's side?

As such, my presumption is that his parents have sacrificed their lives for him to play in Dillon but couldn't afford a house in a nicer neighbourhood, and since it happened after redistricting the mailbox was necessary.

The show could clear a lot of this up by being a bit more organized with its back story, but I don't think it's a definitive logical hole.

Alan's review touched on most of my points: while they tried to link the thematic of Saracen/Riggins starting over into the Lions' experience, it felt too broad and never connected for me. Rest of the episode was strong, though.

Alan Sepinwall said...

East Dillon hasn't been in existence for quite some time - and to my knowledge there's not another school - so why would Coach or any of his predecessors need a phantom mailbox?

I imagine they used the mailbox to sneak in kids who lived just out of district but wanted to play for the Panthers rather than their own school's less impressive football program.

belinda said...

Did they ever mention (or used) that mailbox when Voodoo was transferred to Dillon from New Orleans?

I love seeing just how genuinely happy Coach was to see Riggins and vice versa, despite both of them being in terrible places.

It's nice to see the Coach admitting to his mistake (to the team and Tami).

I didn't know who Mike Leach was, so that scene was a little strange to me. But, it's pretty cute that they had his cameo in the show.

I like Luke. Right off the bat, he's very likeable. It'll be interesting to see who he is, even though he does look a tad old for his supposed age.

As for the East Dillon projects, I don't think they 'made' it any worse than it is - we just have no comparison for that part of town in the past since we were never shown it. (Though it does beg the question, where did these kids go to school before when East Dillon was shut down?)

Brandy said...

Aww it's so not easy watching Coach struggle so much. It's good stuff. And it keeps me rivited but it's not easy. Much like coach at the start of last season with Smash's reahab... I need something good to happen.

It's amazing to me how easily I turned against the Panthers. I rooted so heavily for the Panthers for three seasons and now I'm all "Go Lions... you can win one. If you win one it'll be like winning State!" And when the panthers are watching game tape and all, "State, State, State" I'm all... oh stop being so smarmy.

I guess I'd follow Coach Taylor anywhere.

Did Buddy say, "Hey friend" when he pulled up to take Buddy to the field?

How come Julie gets to chose? I mean I'm stoked Julie's at East Dillon and all of her friends are there so aside from the academics no biggie. But if Luke and Landry Devin and whomever have to be Lions because of where they live why doesn't Julie have to be a Panther?

I'm cool with the seedy side of Dillon. Sure it happened overnight but whatever... Dillon's a bust and boom town with the oil fields so I'm willing to pretend Dillon has a transient population.

My bigger question is where do all the hispanics go to school?

Joe McCoy thinks he's all that as the new booster kingpin but I'm pretty sure Buddy'd have found that kid an apartment on the West Dillon side of town... heck he's taken in kids before. Joe is a lightweight.

Of course Buddy was undoubtedly complicit in the mailbox in the first place... but I still think if he was caught he'd have found the kid an apartment.

How long until Buddy becomes the Lion's first booster?

Matthew said...

so uh, sepinwall, looks like you gonna be having some fun pullin wire quotes for this season's jump-liners eh? I'm excited for what you will bring to the table

Trey Jackson said...

Luke is more than likely a junior. He was a above average player on the JV team and when you play at such a top program and deal with so much in a small town. Coach Eric wouldn't have been attending JV games and knew of Luke but not actually know him. Then with the top running back spot open Luke steps into his own getting more and more carries during the summer practices. Word spreads around town that he is the next Smash, teammates tell other students in school how amazing Luke will be. That fills in the booing of Tami, and Luke and his polite eager to please way would have introduced himself the same as he did way if he knew the coaching staff on a personal level or not.

I find it interesting the Lions new star player wasn't a QB and we will get to see the two best players on the team battling for carries throughout the season.

Bryan said...

How come Julie gets to chose?

Where I live - and I'm assuming it's the same in Dillon- one of the perks of working for a school is your child can attend there if you want. Julie can choose because she has a parent working for each school.

James said...

Thanks for keeping up with FNL posts Alan. I don't get have DirecTV, but my office does so I stay here late every Wednesday and watch it in the our conference room. I gotta have my Panther, er, Lions football.

A few random thoughts:

- Did anyone else think that Tyra was going to come out of the house when Tim got called for a tow? Their houses were borderline identical, if not the same.

- How about the lighting on Joe McCoy at the Pep Rally? Made him look like pure evil. Although, I guess he is the villain.

- The golf cart is ridiculous. I enjoyed it when Tami referenced it when she brought her "talk" with Joe McCoy in front of the boosters.

- Any word on whether Mrs. McCoy is still in the cast? She seemed to ally with Tami last year. I wonder if that will come up as Mrs. Coach and Joe continue to spar.

Alan Sepinwall said...

None of the McCoys are regular castmembers. They appear as needed. We only saw Janine Turner a few times last year, definitely less than Jeremy Sumpter as JD or DW Moffett as Joe.

Wheat Hotchkiss said...

FYI I am 90 percent certain that Luke was the guy standing next to JD when he hit on Julie in the last episode.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The DirecTV people who provide me access to the episodes (as I'm dish-less) have asked me to remind you that you can see each new episode of the show Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on DirecTV's 101 Network.

Anonymous said...

can you ask the directv people who provide you with the episodes how FNL is doing in the cable ratings?

Peter said...

Buddy Garrity is still king! I loved his suppressed smirk during the restaurant confrontation. Face turn coming up.

Tom said...

I have a feeling they're going to become the East Dillion Pirates. Just a feeling though.

ShayDetta said...

With the two best players on the team being running backs behind a weak line, wouldn't it make sense for Coach Taylor to install a wildcat offense?

Anonymous said...

The scene with Tami and Luke was phenomenal. It was understandable that he'd beg her, say he'd do ANYTHING to stay with the Panthers. But then when he actually apologized to her for lying, that was...wow.

I honestly can't even bring myself to care about the logic/plot holes, I love this show so damn much.

fgmerchant said...

I'm sad for Luke since his devastation made me believe he needed to be at the better high school if he had any prospect of getting a scholarship and playing college ball. By coming to East Dillon his college chances would be threatened and his future may have been squashed in that one moment. I'm a little disappointed the show did not explore that!

When McCoy threatened to investigate and get titles and rings taken away I knew he was screwed. Doing that would only turn the rest of the town against him and he wouldn't get what he wants anyways because he would be shunned!

I'm having difficult buying Alicia Witt as a mom of someone that old. She doesn't look near old enough! Even if she had her as a teenager, the hard Texas living and bartending and so forth would certainly have aged her. She is much to attractive!

Mike Leach was great and that Pirate line was right on the money! Was he playing himself or just some crazy guy?

@Myles, that's the same logic I used to explain away how Luke would exist without us knowing!

@Brandy, most districts give students the freedom to chose to go to the same school their parent works at. So if wants to switch, all she has to do is fill out a form and pick if she wants to go to East Dillon (because of her mom) or West Dillon (because of her dad).

@ShayDetta, I wouldn't be surprised if they employ the wildcat later on, but the blocking needs to be much better (even the minimal amount needed for a misdirection offense like the wildcat) if that is going to work.

Anonymous said...

I'll honestly never understand the near-universal willingness to overlook everything that's glaringly bad about this show -- with, y'know, the one exception.

I could wrap my head around people denying that the horrible aspects are, in fact, horrible. What I find baffling is the readiness to acknowledge just how preposterous the writing often is, only to act as though those instances are independent of the whole and don't count against it.

erin said...

This show still gives me goosebumps when the credits come on. Still.

I'm enjoying the new characters (except for Becky...she's annoying). I think Jess has promise--she has a very direct way of acting that I like. And I've missed Steve Harris!

I was really concerned about Luke on the field...he looked more than just upset, he practically looked suicidal. I was worried for him!

What I love most about this show is how authentic it is. WHen i was watching the final scene, as they're talking about their day, Tami could have easily skirted the issue of the boo-ing, just to pretend she's got it all covered. But she didn't--she told Eric everything, all the problems. There are no contrived set-ups, and I appreciate it SO much.

The scene with Eric and Wallace's mom was just heartbreaking to me. He's a good actor, I feel for him.

Riggins as a coach's assistant...that feels so right! I hope the writers make that work. It makes perfect sense.

And finally, I don't mind the Riggins/Saracen storylines. I don't think they have to be part of the current football team to be relevant. Their stories are about what happens to a Panther when you don't know what your next step should be, and I like the uncertainty of it. A lot of graduates feel that way (even without the high school "fame"), and I like that FNL is exploring it.

@fgmerchant--I thought the exact same thing about Alicia Witt, then looked her up in IMDB. She's 34, so she could have a 15-year old when she was still a teenager. But still...she looks good!

MM said...

I thought it was a spiffy piece of writing to have Luke turn back around, despite his misery, to apologize for lying to Tami. That small bit made me love him.

It's strange - we've loved those Panther rallies in the past. And now, I looked at it in horror. Funny how a bit of a perspective alteration changes something entirely.

AsprinKid said...

Mr. Sepinwall, as someone who draws parallels quite well, I'm surprised you didn't mention the similarity of Coach Taylor and Vince's mom with that of McNulty/Bunk with Wallace's mom.

And, I hate to say it, but the FNL version seemed to hit harder as a stand alone scene.

Byron Hauck said...

When given the choice between realism and fertile ground for stories, always always always pick the stories. And the sudden super-sizing of Dillon is already paying off. So let's stop talking about it.

(Says the guy who's mad at Grey's for illegally breaking contracts with cheap labor instead of legally firing overpaid attendings. But that doesn't make sense in an laws-of-economics way, which is different from deciding you want to tweak the setting.)

Robert said...

Really enjoyed the episode.

Couple thoughts:
1. Someone asked why Julie could go to East? In my school district, with 3 high schools, if a parent taught at a different high school that the student was supposed to go to, they were allowed to switch. I'm also guessing that since East is clearly not as materialistically and academically well off as West, there isn't a problem in Julie attending.

2. Those same 3 high schools within 1 district that I attended had significant differences in quality and diversity. I was fortunate to go to one that had high academics, but at the loss of any diversity in the student body. I'm not at all surprised at those differences existing in East/West.

Sharon said...

The scene when Coach is at his lowest point nearly crying only to perk up at the unexpected arrival of Tim Riggins was one of the best of the series.

Luke is even more earnest than Matt which I didn't think possible.

I hope Riggins doesn't hook up with the 14/15 year old daughter. The sexual tension between him & Julie when he was bunking with the Taylors was a little hard to watch considering the age difference between the two actors even though the characters were close in age. (His hook-ups with the two older women don't seem as scandalous as they would be in real life since Taylor Kitsch is closer in age to those two actresses than most of the actresses playing the high school students.)

How come when I call for a tow truck, the drivers look more like Buddy than Tim Riggins? Billy is missing out on sure-fire marketing scheme: I think a lot of Dillon ladies (& probably some gents) would pay top dollar for a "ride" from Tim Riggins who used to be a Panther.

Stav said...

Anonymus @ 7:23:
"Glaringly bad"? Please. So the creators of this show don't care for a perfect "Dillon Universe" big deal. The show is about the characters and how they deal in their universe. It is not about a universe and the characters that inhabit it.

rakeback said...

I preferred the story-line and characters they had on in previous seasons, but I still enjoyed the first two episodes. The producers take too many liberties with the coach going to a college program, then he comes back, then after winning a state title they get rid of him and he has to go to a rival school thats awful?

My Finest Hour said...

I know this is really late, but I just had to add a quick thought on this episode.

On an acting and storytelling level, the scene that had me utterly transfixed was when Tami came to the practice to inform Luke that he had to transfer to East Dillon. In terms of straight realism, there are a lot of issues about why it would not really go down that way (was that really the proper time and place? don't you need to get the parents involved?). But I think this is a great example of the "lie that tells the truth" in that the scene was so well done and spoke to the real issues going on that I wanted to believe that that scene happened, and so had no problem suspending my disbelief.

Despite looking well past high school age, I thought Matt Lauria did a great job of expressing the roil of emotions that earnest Luke would have gone through--the confusion and desperation and helplessness, and contrition, all while trying to "keep it together" in front of his peers. And what it really made me think of is how young girls and boys have so much of their lives affected by what seem like whimsical decisions of adults (despite what Eric says in the next episode, there's no way Luke hatched this fake address plan on his own--and we also learn it wasn't his parents' doing either, so...).

There was a riveting part where Principal Taylor rather summarily dismisses Luke with a "you go on now," and after taking a few steps away, Luke walks back to Tami to apologize for lying to her. I love Tami Taylor as a character, but she does not have the moral high ground here; seeing Luke apologize and even thanking Tami brought this home for me and was just gut-twisting. And the high pitched "I'll be right there coach" at the end is just great.

For me, this short, marvelous scene succeeds in taking the plot where it needs to go in a very economical fashion while still carrying the emotional and thematic richness of something much longer and developed. That's good tv storytelling.