Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S01E19 – Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

In the nineteenth episode of the first season of Friday Night Lights, everyone must cope with drastic changes in their lives. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

You can’t keep doing this to me. YOU CAN’T.

Jason/Lyla

I should just resign myself to accepting that this show is going to find new ways to rip my heart out. How? How do writers do this? It’s intimidating as a writer because this is so consistently impressive! How do these people keep sustaining this???

Anyway, “Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” opens with a bang: Jason is not going to Beijing with the quad rugby team. Herc spells it out plainly for him, too. The man is simply not used to being in his chair. Sure, he’s skilled, he’s aggressive, and he’s passionate, but, as Herc says, the team exists to win, not to provide therapy for Jason. Which is super fucking disheartening for Jason to hear because quad rugby means so much to him, you know? And it’s hard for him to realize that he was assigning all this importance to the sport because he saw it as a way out of his town, out of mediocrity, out of a lifetime of feeling left out. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with him being hopeful here. I think that his reality crumbled because he was hopeful without anything else to fall back upon. He went down to Austin with every intention of joining that team, which was great for his confidence and performance, but he also left behind his fiancée and rarely included her in the process.

I’m not looking to normalize or condone his behavior post-rejection, either. I understand his need to feel less alone, to feel connected to someone, but lord, DON’T MAKE OUT WITH SUZY. Dude, you know firsthand how awful it feels to have a significant other cheat on you, so what the fuck do you think you’re doing? It’s especially hard to watch once you see what Lyla has to deal with back home. At a time when her family is fractured due to her father’s indiscretions, she needs Jason more than ever. However, she can’t get ahold of him, he doesn’t contact her and tell her when he’s coming home, and she’s left assuming the worst. Now, I’m not one to think that people have to get married once they’re engaged. It’s never been a serious issue to me because… well, okay, I grew up thinking it would never be possible for me to even get married. But I do appreciate the importance of loyalty, so that’s what hurts the most here. Jason isn’t loyal to Lyla, just like she wasn’t loyal to him when he needed her. Plus, I’m glad the show has Lyla spell this out to Jason and the audience: Just because she was unfaithful doesn’t give Jason the right to either. He needs to come clean and tell Lyla what he wants instead of expressing how he feels by making out with other people.

It’s this sort of emotional turmoil that leads Lyla to react so violently to what she learns about her father. It was bad enough to see Buddy deal with his wife in such a dismissive manner. And I could even understand why Lyla was so willing to forgive and defend her father! She cheated on her boyfriend, and she knows how it feels to be unforgiven. But then her mom admits that she knew that Buddy has MULTIPLE AFFAIRS OVER THE YEARS. Oh my god, oh my god. I should not have been surprised by this reveal, but I was stunned, y’all. So when she lashes out and destroys a bunch of cars in her dad’s lot, I wonder who she’s angry at. Is she furious that the men in her life can’t be faithful? Or is she angry that she sunk just as low as they did when she cheated on Jason?

My god, it’s all such a mess. But there is a sliver of hope at the end of this episode: HOLY SHIT, JASON IS REALLY GOOD AT COACHING FOOTBALL. Please? PLEASE CAN THIS BE A THING.

Smash/Waverly

I really hope the show spends more time on these two because I really do want to see their story pan out. Initially, Smash does his best to try and understand what’s going on with her. God, I’m curious if any of you who have dealt with mental issues or illness have ever had that exact moment Waverly does when she realizes Smash is afraid of her. It took me years to be able to be open about my problems with PTSD, abuse, self-esteem, body dysmorphia, suicide, and emotional trauma, and even then? I still have to pick and choose who I talk to because too many people react like Smash does. Now, I understand that all of this is very, very new to him, and it’s overwhelming. I get that. But if he’s telling the truth at the end of this episode – that he’s “taking it like a man” and ignoring Waverly as much as possible – then I am extremely disappointed in him. I can’t imagine a worse reaction to confiding a mental illness to someone. Waverly probably needs Smash in her life more than ever before, and he’s fucking that up. Jesus. 🙁

Tim

This might be a controversial opinion, especially since I am a pacifist who has never been in a physical fight in my entire life, but I wish I had someone like Tim Riggins in my life when I was kid. I wish someone had taught me to fight back and defend myself instead of living in fear. Maybe that wouldn’t have ever manifested as violence, but I could have used the support that Tim gives Bo in this episode. I also want to acknowledge that Tim does this without Jackie’s consent because that’s not cool, especially after she told him not to do things for her without asking. It is fascinating to watch Tim with Bo, though, something that’s entirely unexpected. So much of Tim’s characterization in this season has been marked with immaturity, so it’s bizarre to see him act fatherly. You know, once you think about how his own father probably didn’t treat him the way he treats Bo, my heart breaks a little? Or a lot? Yeah, it’s a lot. IT TOTALLY IS.

And then he kisses Jackie.

Like, what the fuck? It’s not that I didn’t see it leading in that direction, but Tim is only sixteen, so I figured the show wouldn’t go there. And then it happens, and Jackie pulls away, and holy shit, what is going on? Tim, you’re sixteen. She is definitely not. At first, both parties realize that this shouldn’t have happened, and I appreciated that the writers didn’t ignore that Tim was underage.

AND THEN JACKIE INVITES TIM OVER AND HAS SEX WITH HIM AND TELLS TIM THAT CAN’T EVER LET BO FIND OUT AND WHAT THE HELL. IS THIS HAPPENING. Oh my god, this… this cannot fucking end well. It can’t! What if other people find out? How are these two people going to deal with this? Oh god, I don’t know Texas law when it comes to unlawful sex with a minor, but… this can’t be good. IT CAN’T.

Tyra/Angela

Ugh, this show (so far) portrays mothers so much better than I have seen before, even in complicated cases like Angela Collette. Picking up from “Extended Families,” Tami really does try to get Tyra interested in school and in going to college. However, Angela feels betrayed, as if the Taylors are trying to take her daughter from her. In a sense, she perceives that the Taylors are saying they’re better parents. And I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s how Angela views it. On top of that, she’s terrified of Tyra’s future. Can she afford college? Will she leave her mother behind in the process? You have to remember that Angela has severe abandonment issues. The men in her life have historically left her alone, and now her daughter might be doing the same thing. So she lashes out, and it’s heartbreaking, and seriously, has any character on this show not had an emotionally devastating plotline? No? Damn it, what have I signed up for?

It takes Tyra affirming her need for her mother in her life to make Angela realize that Tyra always wanted her mom to be a part of this. The two of them are a team! They’re going to do everything together, and that doesn’t break my heart. Oh god, I love Tyra and Angela so much.

The Taylors/TMU

Julie’s reaction to the news that the family might move to Austin is not surprising at all. I did not take to kindly to my father telling us we were moving from Boise to Riverside, though my reaction wasn’t nearly as vicious as Julie’s was. I was also eight years old. It wasn’t as serious. It wasn’t!

For Julie, she’s finally at a good place in her relationship with Matt. She’s found friends. She’s found her place. And now they have to up and leave just as everything’s gotten good? It’s traumatizing, y’all, and Julie’s fury is a result of that. Plus, you have to factor in the fact that the Taylors have moved a lot. It’s hard to make connections or feel permanence if you move a lot. I’m speaking from experience here, as I’ve lost track of how many different places I’ve lived in the last thirteen years. So now that she does have something steady and stable, it’s all about to change. Resisting that change is completely sensible for Julie!

That’s why I’m so touched by Coach Taylor’s conversation with his daughter. (Oh god, I know his name is Eric, but it feels weird saying that. He’s Coach Taylor!) He establishes the fact that Julie alone cannot dictate where they live, but that he values how she feels about all of this. THERE ARE TOO MANY EMOTIONS IN THIS SCENE AND THERE WERE TOO MANY TEARS IN MY EYES AND HOW DID THEY FIND THIS CAST. EVERYONE IS SO FLAWLESS AND AMAZING AND I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT. I’m so done with this show, and I’m not even close to being done with it, y’all.

So Coach Taylor delayed his decision even more. Gah, THIS IS TOO STRESSFUL.

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!
I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– 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!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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