Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Friday Night Lights": The case of the missing wallet

Spoilers for this week's "Friday Night Lights" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

This week's episode was a typical "Friday Night Lights," with a mix of the bleak (conflicts between Luke and Vince; the shocking announcement about the death of Matt's dad at episode's end; the crapstorm of controversy that continues to surround Tami) and the hopeful (Yay! The Lions have boosters!).
As I'm super late with this recap, I'm going to skip right to the bullet points. I'll save some energy for the recap of next week's episode, which is arguably the best in the show's history. Anyway, insights on "A Sort of Homecoming" below.
* Poor Tami. First she gets her library funding cut, then her car gets vandalized, and then she has to listen to a torrent of criticism about her decisions on the Slammin' Sammy show. Oh, and in the midst of all this, she has to cook dinner for Eric and bunch of potential Lions' boosters. No wonder the lady needs chocolate. Nice work, as always, from Connie Britton throughout. I especially loved her yelling at the radio show as if it were a real person. Nobody plays noble exasperation quite like Britton.
* One question -- how did Tami get her car clean so quickly? I imagine that a quick run through the car wash wouldn't have obliterated the "Panther Hater" scrawled on her vehicle so speedily.
* OK, it's natural that the team's two stars would have a personality conflict, but it seemed a little cliche and over-the-top. The bit with the missing wallet and the macho fistfight in the street -- it didn't feel totally real to me. But Matt Lauria and Michael B. Jordan played it nicely, particularly the detente during their walk home from jail.
* Remember last season, when it seemed like J.D. McCoy was basically a good kid in a bad situation? Well, he's apparently a full-on jerk now. In the premiere, we saw him provoking Matt at the Panther party. And in this week's episode, he eggs Luke on to fight Vince, then peels off when the cops arrive, leaving Luke behind. Guess you can only stay decent for so long if Joe McCoy is your dad.
* I really dig the Riggins/Becky storyline. I like how Riggins wants to push away the lovestruck teen, but always gives in to her -- not because of romantic interest, but because he's sympathetic to her situation. He knows what it's like to have neglectful parents. Riggins at least had Billy who, goofy as he is, did care about him. Becky has no one but Riggins. And that's how he ends up driving her to school or helping her shop for pageant dresses. By the way, how awesome was that whole sequence with Riggins in the dress shop? From him doubled over as if in physical pain, to him joking about his devastation about not becoming Miss Texas -- it was all great stuff.
* I'm less interested in the Jess/Landry story, though I do like the storyline with Jess and her dad, Virgil. As played by the excellent Steve Harris, Virgil doesn't say much, but his quiet, sidelong glances speak volumes about his unwillingness to participate in football. There was also a nice moment for Jurnee Smollet as Jess, when she took her dad to task for rejecting football.
* I also liked the scenes between Matt and Riggins. Though they're not best buddies, they have built a mutual admiration and respect over the years. And, as former teammates, they can confide in each other in a way they can't confide in others. Tim tells Matt about how much he hated college, and Matt confides his concerns about Julie going away to school. There's a nice lived-in quality to these scenes that I quote enjoyed.
* Buddy Garrity is such a wild card. Watch the way Eric's body tenses as Buddy enters his impromptu boosters' dinner. He's never sure whether the addition of Buddy is a good thing or a bad thing. When the ex-Lions greet him with warmth and enthusiasm, Eric relaxes in relief. As always, nice work by Kyle Chandler.
* We also learned this week that Assistant Coach Stan might be gay. Or he might just like playing pool. At the very least, he's a big fan of barbecue. That we know for sure.

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