Joe Dyton

Posts Tagged ‘Tim Riggins’

Friday Night Lights recap: “I Knew You When”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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.”

 

The Jumbotron

 

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?

 

The Game

 

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 thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “Tomorrow Blues”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Hello Dillon Panther fans!

On Wednesday DirecTV’s 101 Network finished its Season Three run of “Friday Night Lights” with the season finale, “Tomorrow Blues.” I for one was very grateful for DirecTV pitching to keep this fantastic show alive. I also enjoyed watching these episodes without having to sit through commerical breaks. And as much as I hated seeing a shortened season (13 episodes), I think that number of episodes worked perfectly. Since this show deals with the high school football season, there’s no need to worry about what stories to tell during the offseason with only 13 episodes. If the show is brought back (fingers crossed!), I wouldn’t be surprised it there’s another 13 episode run.

As for the season finale itself, what else can I say besides it was excellent.  Even without any game play, there were plenty of stories that kept us in suspense, mainly Coach Taylor’s future with the team. We also spent the hour wondering if Tyra would get into college and if Lyla would stick with her plan of going to San Antonio State with Tim or attend her dream school Vanderbilt courtesy of funding from Buddy’s less-than-beloved brother, Gary.

Let’s take a look at what happended, shall we?…

Coach Taylor, thanks for the memories.

Wow, football really is a, “What have you done for me lately” type of business, isn’t it? Despite leading Dillon to three straight playoff appearences, which included a state championship and another state finals appearance, Eric was shown the door to make room J.D. McCoy’s personal quarterback coach, Wade Aikman. Did anyone find this as ridiculous as I did? I guess money talks, as the board felt they’d rather have Joe McCoy’s financial backing amongst the boosters than Coach Taylor’s coaching experience.

I think what surprised me the most about the situation was when Joe was more or less threatening to have Eric fired, one of his demands that J.D. would be the starting quarterback next season. Was there any doubt he would be? The kid led the team to the state finals (although he was pulled), was named the high school player of the year and Saracen was graduating. Of course, he was going to start at QB next year. Joe’s other demand is probably what more so made Eric tell Joe to “stick it.” He wanted Wade to call the plays, which would make Eric’s current  offensive coordinator, Mac obsolete. I was happy that Eric stuck to his guns and told Joe he knew what he could do with his “opportunity,” even if it did cost him his job.

I liked that Coach did the right thing and showed up at the board meeting to defend himself. His speech was short and sweet, but true: “If you want to replace me with a guywith a lot money whose son has a rocket of arm, you are wrong. You are dead wrong.” I was paraphrasing, but you get the idea. And who knows, maybe by him showing up, it helped him land his new gig: as head coach of the East Dillon Panthers. I wonder if I could place a bet somewhere that next season, East Dillon will face Dillon in a crucial winner-take-all matchup. It’s just a hunch, that’s all.

Tyra’s going to be a Longhorn!

After what seemed to be an uphill battle a season and a half, Tyra battled her way into not only college, but a good one, Texas U. It’s funny how when this show started, she was more or less a fringe character, but now she’s front and center and a wonderful part in this cast. When she opened her acceptance letter, I felt that was one of the most triumphant moments in the show, maybe the most triumphant since Smash dove into the end zone to win the state title in the Season One finale, “State.”

With this storyline, came a great pep talk, or maybe it was more of a venting session from Landry. After Tyra stormed the Texas admissions office begging for a slot on the freshman call sheet and found out she had a one in a thousand shot of getting off of the wait list, she really began feeling sorry for herself. Thankfully, Landry, the voice of reason, finally got out of the car because he couldn’t take her whining anymore. Basically he told her she can be anything she wants to be and needs to believe in herself. I can’t help but wonder what will happen with these two, who make a good couple. They bring out the best in each other. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall where Landry said he’s going to school

Lyla and Riggins part ways

Well, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tim and Lyla were going to San Antonio State together in the fall. As it turns out, Buddy may have found a way for his fisrt-born to go to Vanderbilt after all. It seems like he’s willing to swallow his pride and his brother for the money. Which begs the question, why didn’t Buddy think of this weeks ago when Lyla moved out because she was so mad that he blew her college fund? Wouldn’t that have saved everyone a lot of heartache and aggrevation? The answer is yes, but of course that would not have made for great drama. As great as “FNL” is, it is still a TV show.

To add more drama, Lyla had the ultimate decision to make: go to SAS with Riggins, or attend her dream college? She predictably decided to stand by her man and go to the lesser school. But Tim unpredictiably wouldn’t let her do it. He didn’t want to be “that guy” that asks his girlfriend to stay only to resent him for it later. I have to say that Tim has really grown from the slacker who only loved girls and football in the beginning of the series.  He really has become quite wise, even if he almost decided not go to college. Thank goodness his brother Billy told him he had to go to college if for nothing else to show his future niece or nephew, or maybe even his own kids that anything is possible if you go to college. That was a very touching moment between the Riggins Bros. Speaking of bad decisions…

Matt’s staying in Dillon?

Last week we learned out of nowhere that Matt was an incredible artist, which got him into the Art Institute in Chicago. Everything looked like it was set up for him to head up to the Windy City. He and his mother were packing up the house so Grandma Saracen could make her way to a retirement community. But then he pulls a 180 and decides to take his grandmother out of there and that he’s not going anywhere. Huh?

I understand Matt feels he owes his grandmother because she’s the only person who never left him. And that he didn’t want to break up with Julie, I get it. But I just don’t buy him giving all of that up, even though it’s something his character would do. I guess I was more suprised that his grandmother didn’t give him the same “Go” speech that Tim gave to Lyla. I can’t wait to see what Matt’s doing with himself next season. I’m hoping after he and Grandma danced, she talked some sense into him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working at the Alamo Freeze in the Season Four premiere (fingers crossed!).

What happens now?

With Riggins, Lyla, Landry (?) and Tyra all headed of to college and Coach Taylor taking over a new team, our beloved show will have a new look next year. I have to give Jason Katims, writer of this excellent episode, credit. The episode ending the way it did (with Eric and Tami standing in the center of the poor-looking East Dillon field looking around) made it a perfect season or series finale. I’m hoping for the former, but if it does end with this episode, at least we know what happened to all of our favorite characters. But I’m not ready for this show to be finished. So, please cross your fingers along with me that “Friday Night Lights” gets renewed!

Oh, and two random notes because I didn’t know where else to put them:

*I loved the cowboy hats Billy and his groomsmen wore during the wedding

*How nice of the Eric and Tami to buy Julie her first car.

What did you think of this episode, and this season as a whole? Do you think it will come back for a fourth season? Feel free to comment below!

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.