Friday, August 6, 2010
"Friday Night Lights" season finale recap: "Thanksgiving"
After a sabbatical from the "Friday Night Lights" recap, I'm making a grand -- albeit brief -- return to recap the fourth season finale, "Thanksgiving."
Spoilers below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.
Seriously, "Friday Night Lights" -- how much heart-wrenching drama do you think we can take in one episode? The Lions beating the Panthers; Matt and Julie splitting up; Tami leaving her job rather than compromise her principles; Billy's Thanksgiving Day blubbering and Tim Riggins going to jail ALL IN THE SAME DAMN EPISODE? Oh, and I didn't even mention Landry's heroic field goal or Coach's gentle bucking up of Vince before the big game or Vince's dinner with Jess and his mom.
If my heartstrings had a groin, you just kicked them in it, "FNL."
Anyway, it was a strong, emotional end to what was arguably the best "Lights" season to date. I sort of think that, dramatically speaking, it was a little early for the Lions to beat the Panthers (I actually think that would have made a great SERIES finale, but what do I know?). Still, the victory felt honest and earned -- and it sure was sweet to see that look of dumbfounded disappointment on Joe McCoy's smug face.
Plus, the win wasn't completely happy. Luke did suffer a major injury, which -- compounded with his existing injury -- might put him out of commission for a while.
Yet the indomitable spirit of the Lions made their triumph deeply satisfying. Heck, even old Sammy Meade was tearing up.
Anyway, here are some more of my thoughts on "Thanksgiving."
* Mostly, I thought the resolution of the Tami plot was handled well. It's completely in character that she wouldn't be able to deliver the groveling apology speech (particularly with her husband present), and that she'd step down before she'd destroy the school district with a lawsuit. But I don't get her decision to move to East Dillon High. I understand why she'd want to do it, but would that be allowed? I mean, at least for the time being, Luke is a student at East Dillon. Would Mrs.Cafferty really stand for her mortal enemy becoming a counselor at her son's school? It seems questionable to me.
* The reunion of Matt and Julie was wrenching, wasn't it? The way it went from her shock to seeing him again, to her anger to their reconciliation and eventual break-up -- heartbreaking. One quibble, though: this show's dialogue can be a bit too on the nose at times, and the line "I need to find my own Chicago" is a world-class groaner. Not quite as bad as JD's "This is my Dillon now!", but close.
* However, I have no complaints about Landry's pissy little fit at Matt. That was perfect.
* Also perfect? Billy's Thanksgiving speech. Derek Phillips is often reduced to playing the clown, but his authentically emotional blubbering here was pitch perfect. I also like the way that all the Riggins' are emotional wrecks during the speech, and everyone else is just sitting there bewildered and confused. Awesome.
* OK, even though I saw it coming, Tim turning himself in about killed me. The worst was when he tossed Billy the 33 key chain. Nooo! I don't want Tim Riggins behind bars! Stupid Becky and her need to lash out against to Tim for disappointing her. Are you happy now, you moralizing cow?
* Love, love, love how Coach handled Vince's last minute doubt about his ability to deliver in the big game. Rather than deliver a big pep talk, Coach just asks Vince if he has Thanksgiving plans. Vince smiles. Coach's fatherly concern and casual confidence provide more courage than any inspirational speech. Well done.