In the sixth episode of the first season of Friday Night Lights, everything is awful forever, and I am not prepared for this. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.
Oh god, let’s just do this so I can continue to suffer in private.
I assumed that at some point, this show would have to address the special treatment that sports players get in high school if they’re needed on the team. Hell, I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed it myself. It’s awful, and there was always a part of me that despised it because I don’t believe I ever once benefited from it myself. I saw coaches pass students who weren’t even trying to do coursework, and I certainly saw favoritism when it came to sponsorships, gifts, popularity, and even a few run-ins with the law.
The thing is, I didn’t expect it like this. “El Accidente” is a complex examination of this because it also deals with racism, lying, and Coach Taylor’s ongoing drama with another possible impropriety in the form of Buddy Garrity. Can I say fuck Buddy Garrity again? Good, there it is.
Anyway, it was clear to me that Reyes’s horrifying assault of Kastor was a reaction to what Voodoo said to him. This fool was angry that he didn’t stand up to one guy, so he thought he should release some steam by beating up a nerd who doesn’t worship football??? Obviously, in the heat of the moment, I’m sure he thought he’d get away with it. And that’s what we see in “El Accidente.” There is a fraternization within football that inherently allows for this sort of thing to happen. Obviously, that’s not unique to football or sports for that matter, and I’m not trying to be reductive about this. It’s Landry who finally spells out why this is so fucked up: At no point did anyone realize that they were valuing someone’s position on a football team over another person’s life.
That’s the crux of the moral dilemma that Coach Taylor and Matt both face in this episode, though it affects both of them in different ways. It’s even worse for Taylor, since he also has to deal with goddamn Buddy Garrity. This forces Coach Taylor to think about what his own morals are in this situation. Does he do what’s best for the team or what his conscience tells him? He knows that lying about how long ago they made contact with Voodoo is absolutely wrong, but then he’s forced to accompany Buddy Garrity to a meeting and listen to that asshole try to rationalize it away with some bullshit about “everyone is doing it.” ARE YOU FUCKING FIVE YEARS OLD? WHO USES THAT LOGIC AS AN ADULT? This show does not feature Buddy Garrity getting punched in the face enough, I swear.
But then Reyes has to lie himself. Oh, no. NO. What the fuck are you doing? Here’s the evidence that this kid truly believes that he’ll get away with this. Even with plenty of witnesses that saw and heard Voodoo use racial slurs, he’ll tell a BLATANT LIE ON TELEVISION because he knows that the community will support him. This is where Matt comes in. First of all, he’s friends with Kastor and Landry, and while I don’t normally buy the whole BUT MY FRIEND ISN’T RACIST HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE THEM OF THAT, I think this context didn’t misuse this. It did seem out of character for Kastor to say such a thing. More important than this, though, is the fact that Matt and Landry both saw Voodoo use the slur.
It’s the parallel journey of Matt and Coach Taylor that occupies “El Accidente.” Do they choose their team or their hearts? Matt has Landry not only insisting that he should stand up, but even trying to pick a fight with Reyes over the fact that he’s a liar. Coach Taylor has his wife, who sees the certainty and heartbreak in Kastor’s mother’s eyes when she complains about the preferential treatment that Reyes will get.
So we don’t see Coach Taylor lie to the investigative board, but we can tell he’s upset about selling his soul up the river, as he puts it. It’s not until Matt realizes that he can’t do such a thing that this whole mess comes crashing down. I respect that Matt would tell the truth because going up against a machine like your own football team in a town like Dillon is pretty much a death sentence, but he did it anyway. And then Coach Taylor has the decency to not only promise Kastor that he’ll be safe from bullying from the team, but he actually kicks Reyes off of the Dillon Panthers. It sucks, and I’m not stoked that a kid lost his future like that, but you cannot do what Reyes did and not face the consequences.
Intermixed with all this, there’s a sweet (but awkward) development for Jason when he finally gets Riggins to visit him regularly. Well, he gets him to visit after a particularly frustrating update on his physical state where his nurse tells him he can’t ejaculate. (I wasn’t clear if this meant right then or ever.) He lays into his best friend when Riggins does show up, and the man deserves it. Dude, how could you do that to your best friend? Well, wait, that should be said in general to everything Lyla and Riggins are doing, but THAT ISN’T THE POINT RIGHT NOW.
Actually, I take it back. It is. Because even amidst the fact that Lyla and Riggins are sleeping with one another while Jason is in rehab, they still manage to put aside their endless foolishness to give him a good day. No. It was a great day. It was his absolute best day since the day he got injured. Guess how long that great day lasted after they dropped him off? LIKE TWO MINUTES. TWO FUCKING MINUTES before he catches the two of them being affectionate with one another from the second-story window. Jason… my god, he is going to be fucked up in the next episode, isn’t he?
And so are the Panthers. To add insult to the loss of Reyes, Buddy Garrity shows up late at night to Coach Taylor’s house to reveal that Voodoo went home to Louisiana. AFTER GIVING AN INTERVIEW TO A LOCAL REPORTER STATING THAT HE’D ONLY BEEN IN TOWN TWO WEEKS. It’s all come undone, and all that fuckface Garrity can think of is how the season is ruined. You fucker, IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU DID THIS!!! Oh god, I knew it was going to backfire, and I was still unprepared for this goddamn show.
This goddamn show, y’all.
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Mark Links Stuff
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
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