Welcome back, Dillon Panther fans!
Last night, NBC began its season three run of “Friday Night Lights.” I have DirecTV, so I’ve seen the entire season already, but I didn’t start this blog until there were about four episodes left in Season Three. So, I’m going to write recaps about the first nine episodes. That’s right, I like this show so much I’m going to watch it again during NBC’s run. Also, I will do my best to write these recaps like I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I don’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen this season’s episodes yet. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, whatever you do, don’t read my recaps titled, “The Giving Tree,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Underdogs” or “Tomorrow Blues.” Those are recaps of future episodes.
Now, let’s get back to business. Last night’s episode began season three and picked up with a new football season. We find out that last season ended without a return to the state finals, mainly because the team’s biggest offensive weapon, Smash Williams got hurt. This season, Smash has graduated, and its up to senior quarterback and newly appointed tailback Tim Riggins to pick up the slack. Will they be able to do it? I guess we’ll find out….
Coach Taylor’s on the hot seat
The town of Dillon is not so sure about Eric’s coaching despite being one year removed from a state title. He took the brunt of the blame for last year’s playoff collapse because he didn’t have a backup plan after Smash got injured. Now he’s burdened with questions about whether Riggins can effectively take over for Smash and if the new freshman phenom quarterback J.D. McCoy will replace Matt Saracen. It’s all is a day’s work, right coach?
There’s a new sheriff in town, and her name is Tami
That’s right, folks. Tami has been promoted to principal of Dillon High. When “FNL” creator Peter Berg asked Connie Britton to be on the show to reprise her role from the movie, he promised her more to do this time around. He wasn’t kidding. She quickly went from “Coach’s wife” to guidance counselor at the school to principal. Not a bad turn of events for her I’d say. But Tami learned quickly that heavy lies the crown. She’s now stuck with trying to figure out how to pull Dillon High out of its economic crisis. That sounds eerily familiar to what’s going on in real life, doesn’t it?
Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity: Secret Lovers
Last year’s season finale was titled, “May the Best Man Win.” Well, it looks like Tim won as we saw him having a sleepover at Lyla’s house unbeknownst to her father, Buddy. It looks like these two had quite a summer together, but once they get back to school, she’s decided she wants to keep it hush-hush. I guess I can’t blame, she’s right about Tim: he drinks constantly, skips out on class, has rally girls do his homework, why should she take him seriously? It’s like Tim’s brother, Billy said to him, “She went to bed with Jesus and woke with…you. You’re a rebound from Jesus.”
By episode’s end though, Lyla must have seen some potential in Tim, at least enough to give him a big kiss in front of everyone at the Pathers’ post-game rally, much to Buddy’s chagrin.
No college for Tyra?
Ah poor Tyra. After goofing off for a better part of her high school, career she learns point blank that her college prospects are bleak. Despite cranking it up and improving her grades, her current GPA was a pedestrian 2.6. The vice principal told her point blank that state schools were a pipe dream and she should be “realistic” about her post-high school plans. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the way he went about explaining Tyra’s situation to her. On the one hand, he was just being honest. Why build up her hopes only for her to end up disappointed? On the flip side, I can’t help but feel as an educator, he’d want to encourage Tyra and make her feel if she continued to work hard, who knows what could happen. Thank goodness there’s Tami to do that. I’m glad Tyra realized she’s better off at least trying to get into college rather than end up like her sister Mindy who earns her living dancing for dollars (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and marrying a slob like Billy Riggins. After realizing this, she probably could have waited until the next school day to talk to Tami about this rather than waking her up in the middle of the night, but whatever works.
Will Smash bounce back?
After Smash’s devastating knee injury last season, we see him working with Eric to get back to his old self in hopes of landing a football scholarship somewhere since Whitmore took back its offer. After finding out from the doctor that his knee might be as good as its ever going to get, he decides he’s going to give up. That really surprised me since all Smash wanted to do since the series began is play college football. It seemed out of character for him to be discouraged so easily. Fortunately, Coach wasn’t willing to give up as easily, and told him he’d keep working with him. We’ll have to wait to see if Smash takes him up on his offer. Hopefully he will because as Eric put it, “I need something good to happen.”
One of my favorite characters on this show is Buddy Garrity and last night is one of the reason why I like him so much. Despite Dillon High’s financial woes, he presents Tami with a huge check from the boosters to purchase a Jumbotron for the football field. He just cracks me up with how short-sighted he can be sometimes. Never mind the four teachers who quit or the fact that Tami was forced to decide between buying soap or chalk because the school couldn’t afford both, what Dillon needs is a Jumbotron!
I have to be honest, I was very surprised that Tami so brazenly decided to go against the boosters wishes and use the money for school funding. She made the right choice of course, but I don’t’ think the boosters are going to see it that way. There’s nothing Dillon, TX loves more than its high school football. She might be fighting an uphill battle on this one. Of course what will make this interesting is what side Eric is on in all of this. Does he back his wife or side with the boosters as they’re the ones that back him and his boys?
Well, I guess the Panthers are going to be OK, aren’t they? Geez, all that panic about losing Smash seemed like it was for nothing as Dillon mopped the floor with South Pines, 44-13. Hopefully the critics were silenced after the performances Saracen and Riggins put up.
I have to say, Matt may have a right to be concerned about his job security as QB1. Freshman phenom, J.D. McCoy looked pretty good in garbage time, didn’t he? The look on Matt’s face (and his grandmother’s) said it all.
My only complaint about the game was why was Coach Taylor still calling passing plays when they were up, 38-13? He doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who would run up the score, does he? Wasn’t he the same coach who had the defense let South Pines score a TD last season so they wouldn’t be shut out?
Overall, I felt Season Three of “Friday Night Lights” is off to a good start. Last night’s episode was solid. I especially liked the interactions with Coach and Smash and Tami dealing with her new position. I’m not too keen on the father of the whiz kid J.D., Joe McCoy. Who offers a coach Cuban cigars and a bottle of scotch unless they want something in return? His kid is a freshman for crying out loud! He’ll have three more seasons to lead Dillon to state titles. I did get a kick out him sending a smoothie truck to the field though. It was just ridiculous enough to be funny.
Whew, so that’s enough writing for one episode. I’d love to hear what you all thought of the premiere. How happy are you that the show is back? Will Matt lose his job at QB, will Smash and Tyra get into college? Will Hermann Field get a Jumbotron? And where the heck is Jason Street? Feel free to comment below!
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.