In the thirteenth episode of the first season of Friday Night Lights, Smash’s life is thrown into jeopardy right before an important playoff game. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.
There’s no way this can be sustained. NO WAY.
How is this kid real? He’s so incredible to me, and I’m in love with his ability to bounce back from anything. Even with his father leaving him just before his stupendous performance in Friday’s game, he’s still able to find the fortitude to play football. Extremely well. Matt’s stories consistently break my heart, and seeing his face when his dad told him his unit wanted him back in Iraq was no exception. But Matt’s a trooper! Oh god, I love that Julie is spending so much time with Matt and that his grandmother has accepted her, too. Julie/Matt forever.
I was worried that Coach Taylor’s frustration and stress was going to lead to him not listening to Matt’s suggestions about South Pines’ defense. But in the final moments of the game, Coach Taylor takes his team’s motto to heart, clearing his head and allowing Matt to take a risk. It’s a great moment for Matt, who probably needed this more than anyone else realized. I’m sad that Matt’s father is gone, but at least he has Julie and his grandmother for support. It’s been so satisfying to watch him grow over the course of this season.
Just curious, but where did Landry go?
Oh my god, A CANONICALLY GAY COUPLE IN THE SHOW. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see more of Mayor Rodell, to watch this show tackle homosexuality in a small, conservative town, and to witness more evidence of why I believe Tami Taylor is the best character on this show, the moral center of Friday Night Lights. I’m so happy that she refuses to feel awkward or defensive about the fact that Mayor Rodell is a lesbian. I’m glad she has absolutely no qualms about running her campaign, even if it means she’ll face a great deal of pushback and awfulness because of the Mayor’s sexuality. UGH, I LOVE TAMI SO MUCH, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE MORE OF THIS.
Let it also be known that Coach Taylor threw a tantrum about Dr. Q., only to incorporate her words into his ~inspirational speech~ to his players. Tami’s always right, dude. Just accept it.
Continuing from “What to Do While You’re Waiting,” Tyra struggles with breaking her mother’s destructive habits. I’m pleased that this show isn’t demonizing Angela for what she’s going through. The writers don’t glamorize it, either, for that matter. Angela has drifted from destructive, abusive relationship to another, and the reality of stopping that cycle hits the family hard. Angela needs a job, and she needs one to avoid running back to Bob just to get her bills paid. Throughout this, I noticed that while Tyra was honest and harsh with her mother, she still made sure to be positive with her, to tell her that she loved her and wanted the best. Ugh, Tyra, I adore you.
So she convinces Tim to ask Buddy Garrity to give Angela a chance to interview for a receptionist position. Good for you, Tim, for the record. That couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. However, there’s no guarantee here, not like their was for Matt’s father. (If I had more evidence of this, I’d blame this on Buddy’s misogyny, but we’ll have to wait for that. Oh god.) And in a terrible stroke of bad luck, Tyra experiences a tire blowout, making her mother late for her appointment. I think that Tyra was spot on, though, about why it was so important for the two of them to repair the tire on their own. Both women are trying to be independent, to support one another without running to the awful men they’ve historically gone to. So the task before them is symbolic. They have to do this on their own to prove to each other that they’re in this for the long run.
Which is why the conclusion of this plot freaks me out. There is something wrong with Buddy Garrity. Well, there are a lot of things, yes, but what the fuck just happened between him and Angela??? He was clearly checking her out. Their “interview” covered no substantive issues, and Angela doesn’t even know what she’s getting paid. If the position had been filled, why the fuck did Buddy change his mind? Oh god, THIS IS BAD. I know it, and you could see Tyra’s intuition flare as she watched the two interact.
I’m scared, y’all.
First of all, I am so ecstatic that this show is making Ms. Williams out to be such a sympathetic character. A million other shows would demonize a woman like this, but Friday Night Lights shows us that she’s right, that what she did was the best thing for her to do, and that she is absolutely not at fault for what Smash has done. Smash himself is responsible for this, though it takes him nearly half the episode to humble himself before his mother and Coach Taylor. And look, perhaps this isn’t important to you, but it’s a big deal to see a family of color loving one another so openly and honestly on television. It’s an enormous thing, and I’m so happy with it.
I am, however, completely terrified about the future. I’m guessing that Smash is going to have to sit out at least one more game. There’s no way Coach will just put him back in the game. If Coach Taylor is serious about making sure Smash is clean, then I’m positive he’s going to have a very difficult journey ahead of him. How is he going to deflect attention and pressure if he goes another week without Smash playing? I do get the sense that Smash genuinely wants to do right by his family and Coach, so I don’t think he’ll relapse in the future. He’s experience the terror of having his football career taken away from him, so I don’t believe he’ll ever test that again, at least not in this context. Still, how can they sustain this? God, will anyone find out? PLEASE NO.
I actually didn’t see the episode title until after I’d finishing watching it, so the final reveal was a huge surprise to me. I am incredibly thankful that Jason has someone like Herc in his life. I didn’t think that Jason’s jealousy would lead to him confronting Buddy Garrity, but LORD. As I said before, I have a lot of reasons to dislike the man, but his ableist, shithead monologue about how there’s no “future” in Jason made me wish that Numair could pop up and open the earth beneath Buddy and eat him. NO. So hearing Herc give his support in such an affirmative way was another powerful moment in “Little Girl I Wanna Marry You.” (How did I not realize until I typed that last sentence that this is a Bruce Springsteen song? I SHOULD HAVE REMEMBERED THIS.) First of all, Herc’s words are a brilliant criticism of the way society views people who are disabled, the way that we tear down people by insisting that their lives are damaged or incomplete or unable to be whole simply because their bodies do not work as ours do. Buddy Garrity may love his daughter a lot, but that doesn’t excuse the tidal wave of bullshit and hatred that comes out of his mouth.
I know it’s going to enrage Buddy a whole lot, but I don’t enjoy Jason’s proposal just for that. I am just happy that Jason is doing this because he wants to believe in himself, and he knows that Lyla can help make him a better person in the process. He doesn’t want to feel sorry for himself anymore, and he doesn’t want to feel guilty about his love for Lyla. Y’all, what a great end to this episode. UGH, I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.
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Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
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