Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S01E20 – Mud Bowl

In the twentieth episode of the first season of Friday Night Lights, a train derailment puts the Panthers’ semifinals game in jeopardy. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

This episode was just monumental. I’m seriously never going to forget it.

Trigger Warning: Due to Tyra’s plot, I have to bring up rape. I don’t talk about it in detail, but it’s there.


Oh, you should not have done that Smash. It may have led to a good place, and I don’t want to ignore that. It seems like Waverly has reached out to Smash’s mother in some form, and I’m hoping that she can find an outlet for what’s going on in her mind. But sharing Waverly’s mental illness with someone? No, nope. And I know that it’s hard to have to deal with this sort of thing! If I decide to open up about my own mental illnesses with someone, I do tell that person that at any time, if it’s too much, they can ask me to stop. I appreciate that folks need to take care of their own shit, you know? But that doesn’t mean you can just spread that shit around, so I totally empathize with Waverly’s rage here. It’s upsetting to know that someone disclosed a personal issue because it comes down to control. You can’t control how the other person shared that information, and no matter how much you might trust a person, there’s still the chance that made things worse for you. Still, I hope Waverly can get some help from Smash’s mom.


I really don’t see Jason and Lyla lasting much longer as a couple, and that’s so weird to say because… well, it’s Jason and Lyla. They’re supposed to be with one another forever!!! High school sweethearts!!! But the show has been deliberately twisting our expectations for this couple over this season, and I can’t see how they’re going to work through their problems anymore. Their big fight in the middle of “Mud Bowl” highlights exactly what’s wrong with them. Jason feels aimless in his life, unconnected to anyone or anything after being rejected from the quad rugby team, and his apathy extends to Lyla, too. Without any direction, he chooses to ignore her. Lyla’s infidelity haunts the relationship, except now Lyla suspects (correctly) that Jason hasn’t exactly been faithful, either. On top of that, she can’t get him to do anything for her or with her. What’s she supposed to do?

Well, hang out with Waverly. I am totally into a Waverly/Lyla platonic friendship. I am into this forever. God, it’s so great!!! MORE PLEASE. And while I don’t think Lyla and Jason will be together, i do enjoy both of their characters and want them to find happiness. Will Jason find that in coaching? Because holy shit he is really good at that. And if this is the case, where will Lyla find happiness? The show hasn’t really given me a direction for her character yet. MORE PLEASE. That seems to be all I request from this show, and then I get it, and then everything hurts. I guess I haven’t learned yet. AND I NEVER WILL


Look, I’ll just repeat what Billy says: There is a 0% chance that this storyline will end well. None. There is no way. NONE. ABSOLUTELY NONE. Tim, what are you doing?

Nope. Nope.


I just… I don’t know what to say. I was interested in her story with Landry. Landry makes me laugh. And he is a good tutor, and I wanted Tyra to do well. And then this show just… damn. To say it was triggering is an understatement. It was hard to deal with an attempted rape being intercut with a super exciting football game. How do you go from feeling utterly empty and terrified to being overjoyed that the Dillon Panthers were going to state? It was a jarring and distracting experience, and it’s my only complaint about “Mud Bowl.” I wish they’d been separated. And perhaps that’s a personal preference and not any sort of critical analysis, and I’m okay admitting that.

I’m glad that Tyra had someone there in the moments afterwards because I’m sure she’s never felt more alone in her life. My god, I don’t even know where her story is going to go at this point, but I really hope this show doesn’t do that thing where it’s rarely addressed in the future. This is, unfortunately, a big moment in Tyra’s life.

Basically, I don’t know what else to say, and I’m going to wait and see how this unfolds before I say anything more.

Coach Taylor

I JUST RESPECT HIM SO MUCH. I love that he purposely fights the outside influences in Dillon, that he refuses to make his team a money-making machine, that he is getting more aggressive in rejecting Buddy Garrity being gross all of the time. I admire his creativity and his quest for purity in the face of endless complication. And I am just so in love with the Taylors as a family. This episode shows them as a resolute force, which also makes me nervous for the future. Is Coach Taylor going to take the job in Austin after this season? How much are the events in “Mud Bowl” going to affect his decision? Shit, look what the man did in this one episode! He kept the hometown advantage, built a football field in 24 hours, and helped bring his team to victory. (Jason helped out a lot, too. Let’s not forget that.) The man really is a stellar coach, and I’m sure his talents would be appreciated at TMU.

So what’s he going to do now???

I will say that the entire Mud Bowl sequence is just iconic for this show. I didn’t even understand half the terms being thrown at me, and I had a blast watching those two teams play football. Bravo, Friday Night Lights. You’ve gotten me to care about football.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on for just $0.99!

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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