On Wednesday’s episode of Friday Night Lights, the Taylors found out Julie was no longer their little girl, Lyla discovered that her college fund was drained because Buddy made a bad investment with the money, young J.D. McCoy started to become his own man and Landry finally took a stand against Tyra.
I thought this episode was good. The scenes with Tami and Julie and Buddy and Lyla were especially strong. The stuff with J.D. and his dad was OK, but all the storylines can’t be home runs (or I guess I should say touchdowns for this show, right?). And I always enjoy the episodes where there’s a game, which there have been plenty of this season because of shortened amount of shows (13). Speaking of which, I can’t believe there are only three episodes left of this season! Where did the time go? Anyway, here’s my breakdown of the main storylines from Wednesday’s episode….
Landry and Tyra
This week’s episode’s title, “The Giving Tree,” was the basis for the one-sided friendship of former lovers Landry and Tyra. After blowing off school and SAT preparation to go on the road with Cash, Tyra fell woefully behind with her schoolwork and asked Landry to come to her rescue. Being the good guy that he is, he said yes, despite his band mates mocking him and telling him he’s basically a prostitute. Except, “he doesn’t get paid, and he doesn’t get laid.”
Fortunately, Landry saw the light when Tyra asked him if he could delay his band practice so they could finish their SAT vocabulary session. Landry finally put his foot down and gave her “The Giving Tree” breakdown of their friendship. The little boy would take and take and take from the tree that loved him so much, but eventually there was nothing left but a stump. Tyra’s the little boy who Landry, the three, loves to death and she continually takes from him, but gives nothing back. It was nice to see him have a backbone when it comes to Tyra for once.
As for Ms. Collette, she redeemed herself by getting Landry and his band a gig. Part of me couldn’t help but wonder if she did it because she cared about Landry, or because she wanted to prove she wasn’t selfish. The optimist in me is going to go with the former. I was just happy to see Tyra do something nice for him after all that Landry has done for her.
Buddy and Lyla
Is it wrong that I felt a little bit sorry for Buddy in this episode? I know that he lost Lyla’s whole college fund in a risky investment, but I couldn’t help feel bad for him when he was on Tim’s doorstep pleading for her to come outside or when he left that apologetic voicemail for her. I guess I’m such a big fan of Buddy that I can’t help but pit him a bit. If you want to get technical, one could say his relationship also had a “Giving Tree” feel to it. Buddy provided for Lyla his whole life, but now he’s just a stump and she wants nothing do with him. I couldn’t blame him for calling her spoiled.
In the end however, Lyla was right; this mess was Buddy’s own doing starting with cheating on his wife and then compounding it by using Lyla’s college money for that business venture without even asking her. Something tells me that she’ll still find a way into college though.
Matt, Julie and the Taylors
This was my favorite storyline of the episode because it shows how real this show is. Eric and Tami’s reactions to finding out Matt and Julie were sleeping together and how they went about handling it was spot on.
Let’s rewind for a minute though. I cringed when Coach went into the Saracen house to get Julie when no answered his knock. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Julie’s shriek was priceless. As was Eric’s about face back to the car. When Julie finally got into the car, her and Eric’s silence was deafening.
As for the parental guidance on this delicate matter, I love, love, loved Tami’s talk with Julie. It was so real and heartbreaking all at the same time. I loved Tami’s honesty about how she hoped Julie would wait. Her advice was just as good from always being safe to letting Julie know if she and Matt broke up, she didn’t have to feel like she had to sleep with her next boyfriend. If this scene doesn’t get Connie Britton an Emmy nomination, then I just give up trying to understand awards shows.
While I enjoyed Tami and Julie’s talk, I think I liked Eric and Matt’s talk better. It may have been shorter and more one-sided, but it hit the same points. I got a kick out of Matt telling Tami that he was there to pick up Julie and bring her right back home and his deer-in-the-headlights look when Tami told him he could go outside and wait with Eric while Julie got ready. He looked like he was walking The Green Mile as he headed to back yard. As Eric forcefully cleaned off the grill, he made his point with just a couple of sentences, “I know your dad is in Iraq, but I think he’d agree with me when I say women are to be respected,” and “That is my daughter.” All Matt had to say (and all he should have said) was, “Yes sir.” I was just happy to see that this personal stuff didn’t affect the football stuff. A more clichéd show would have had Coach put Matt on the bench, the team struggle, and Matt give Coach the old, let’s put personal stuff aside and win this game type of speech at halftime and then Coach puts him and Dillon wins the game. Luckily for us, this isn’t that type of show.
Joe and J.D. McCoy
This storyline felt a little like filler to me, but it is important to establish J.D.’s character if this show gets a fourth season. With most of the players graduating this year, J.D. will at the forefront of the cast next season. It’s sad that there are actually parents out there that are so wrapped up in their kids’ athletics, that they forget to let their kids have a life outside of sports.
It was so silly of Joe to ask J.D. to put his thing with Madison aside until the playoffs were finished. Doesn’t he trust his son to be able to handle being a football star and high school relationship? I cheered when Katie saw J.D. sneaking out to see Madison and didn’t say anything to Joe. It’s good that J.D. is standing up to his dad and doing what he wants, thanks to some advice from Tim Riggins of all people.
Honestly, could a referee crew really get away with not calling any penalties on the other team because they don’t like coach Taylor? That was so ridiculous. Maybe things are different in Texas, but in my youth sports experience, there’s no way officials could get away with letting their personal feelings get in the way of calling a fair game. I mean, they weren’t letting ticky-tack stuff go; there were late hits and blatant pass interference calls. When Riggings ran in for the winning touchdown, I was worried that the refs were going to throw a flag against Dillon for a phantom holding penalty. My favorite part of the game (aside from the Panthers winning) was Eric getting thrown out of the game for arguing after he told his team that they were going to control their tempers no matter how bad the officiating was. Practice what you preach, coach!
The other key thing that came out of the game, the accolades Mac McGill’s replacement and J.D. quarterback coach, Wade, got for leading Dillon to victory with that last drive. Could there be a coaching controversy in Dillon? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Well, that is it for this week. What did you all think of the episode? Will the Panthers make it back to the state championship? Comment below!
Joe Dyton can be reached at email@example.com