Joe Dyton

Friday Night Lights recap: “How the Other Half Lives”

In Friday Night Lights on February 4, 2009 at 1:02 am

Hello Dillon Panther fans!


On Friday, as the episode was appropriately titled, we learned how the other half (of Dillon) lives. Joe McCoy’s beer distributor business has afforded him a pretty nice pile of bricks, not to mention a personal quarterback coach for his golden boy son, J.D. The McCoy estate is so nice in fact, Mrs. Katie McCoy offered to host the annual Panthers barbeque, much to Eric’s chagrin.


We also learned how quickly a town can turn on a team after just one loss. Seeing those “For Sale” signs in the coach’s front lawn never gets old. That happened in the movie, “Friday Night Lights” as well, so I assume people actually take the time do that in towns were high school football is taken that seriously. I’d love to hear from any Texas readers to confirm if that really happens.


The other thing we learned is that football is a tough, painful “What have you done for me lately,” type of game. Despite Matt Saracen leading the Panthers to a state title just two seasons ago and the fact that he’s a senior, everyone wants to replace him with the freshman because they think he can handle the spread offense better, which is what the town thinks they should run against their upcoming opponent Arnett Meade. The craziest thing about this is Dillon was 2-0 heading into this game! It’s not like they lost their first two games. Thank goodness coach Taylor has his head screwed on straight and remained the voice of reason during this ridiculous quarterback controversy. He’s a loyal guy and he knows it makes the most sense to stick with guy who has gotten him this far.


Overall, I thought this episode was good. I especially enjoyed everything that went on between Eric and Tami. The football stuff is great, but their relationship is the heartbeat of the show. I also loved the final scene between Smash and his mom. I was happy to see a little more game action this time than we got last week. The only thing I didn’t really enjoy about the episode was the storyline with Tim and his brother stealing the copper wire. It didn’t really fit with the rest of the episode, and I hated Tim’s decision making during the whole ordeal. Other than that, I felt this was a strong episode. This season has gotten off to a much stronger start than last year with the awkward Landry-Tyra murder storyline.


Here are few quick hit thoughts on the rest of the episode:


*The best storyline by a long shot was the tension between Eric and Tami surrounding the team BBQ. The both had a point about who should be playing host. Tami has a school to run now, she really doesn’t have time to clean the house and shop for 20 racks of ribs; especially since Eric isn’t a big help in the process. On the flip side, I understood Eric’s concern about letting the McCoy’s host the barbeque. He was simply concerned that they (well, specifically Joe) would want something in return like…hmmm…let’s say his son be the Panthers’ starting quarterback.


After their argument, it did feel like Eric did get the short end of the stick by letting the McCoy’s play host. I enjoyed watching him openly show he wasn’t having a good time; I thought it was great that he didn’t even let the valet park his car. Then, the poor guy just wanted to shoot some pool by himself, and here came Buddy, Joe and J.D.’s personal coach, Wade to “just talk football.” Of course “talking football” turned into grilling Eric about his strategy for Friday’s game. I have to give Eric credit for sticking to his guns, and reminding everyone that he’s the head coach and that in time, he’d get to know J.D.


One of my favorite lines/exchanges came from this storyline as well. I loved when Eric admitted to Tami that he missed, “the coach’s wife.” Then she throws this beauty at him, “You know who I can’t wait to meet? The principal’s husband.” Great line, great show. It’ll be interesting to see how this power struggle between the two of them affects their marriage.


*Watching Smash work his way back into playing form has been one of the best story arcs of this young season. I’m impressed with how mature and selfless he’s become. I never thought he’d consider giving up his dream of playing college football for a career at the Alamo Freeze, but that’s exactly what he did when he found his mom was taking a second job to pay for his college tuition if he gets into A&M.


But, in one of the most touching scenes in this show’s short history, she said there was no way he was passing up on this opportunity. I’m not sure why I was so moved by this scene; I guess I just think it’s so great to see how much Corrina loves her son. I loved her line about how Smash would pay her back by graduating and how she wouldn’t mind watching him play football again. Here’s hoping his tryout goes well next week.


*As I mentioned before, the only thing I didn’t like about this episode was Billy and Tim stealing copper wire. There was nothing I liked about this storyline. Especially how Billy kept pressuring Tim to help him, lying the “I’m your brother” guilt on him. I think what made me dislike this scenario the most was it forced Tim to stand up Lyla, which Tim tried to explain to Billy. You’d think Billy, who was stealing this stuff to set up a better life for his fiancé, would understand Tim wanting to do right by Lyla. No dice, however as Billy was only interested in helping himself. I’m just happy they didn’t get caught.


I thought this might have been the point where Lyla’s patience with Tim finally expired. I was shocked that she gave him another chance; just so long as he doesn’t make a fool out of her. Part of me wants to believe Tim will keep his promise; but the other part of me thinks along the lines of Buddy; that he’s no good and will break her heart. I hope Buddy and I are wrong.


*It’s been great watching Matt and Julie reconnect. There was nothing worse than watching Julie become such a brat last year. She has been much more bearable this year. And with Matt hearing J.D.’s footsteps everywhere he goes, he could really use a good friend like Julie in his life. I thought it was incredibly sweet of her to wait for him after the game. I know he wanted to be by himself, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone to talk to after a tough game like that. It’ll be interesting to see if these two get back together.


*Last, but not least, we can’t forget about the game. The Panthers lost a tough one to rival Arnett Mead, 21-17.  Saracen played his heart out in this one, but I’m sure that the town is still going to be screaming for a change at QB. That’s just a guess. We know for sure that the Dillon faithful wants a new coach, as seen by all of the “For Sale” signs in the Taylors’ front lawn. I mean he’s only been to the playoffs both years he’s been the head coach and won a state title, but who cares about the past right? I think it’s safe to say coach Taylor needs to win the next game in the worst way.


Well, that wraps up another week for our favorite fictional football team. What did you think of the episode? Do you think Smash will get into college? Will Eric cave to the pressure and replace Matt with J.D.? Will Riggins ever get his stuff together? Feel free to comment below!


Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at


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