Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S01E21 – Best Laid Plans

In the twenty-first episode of the first season of Friday Night Lights, I did not know a television show could hurt this much, and I have been destroyed by TV professionally for nearly three years. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

Y’all, this is easily one of the best shows I have ever seen, AND IT HURTS SO MUCH.

Trigger Warning: Talk of rape/sexual assault. It’s unavoidable.

Tyra

Let’s just start with her story. I think that this is a decent depiction of the horrible aftermath of rape, at least from Tyra’s point of view. It’s never a black-and-white issue, and the writers do manage to convey how complex this is. And from personal experience, I know how strong the desire to hide is after a sexual assault. Not only did I initially do this, but I then tried to make it hurt less by turning it into a joke with my friends. (I’m not going to go into details because I need to keep some of my life private, but a close group of my friends found out about my assault from the person who did it, so that’s why we talked about it openly.) I didn’t go to the police (though I certainly could have) because I was so ashamed and disgusted that I just wanted to run away from it all. I didn’t want to prolong matters, despite that I also maintained an intense desire for revenge. So I know it may be uncomfortable to see Tyra so unwilling to report the man who tried to rape her, but I get it. I get her.

And I also understand what a huge weight this was for Landry. The guy was clearly conflicted about whether he was overstepping his boundaries with Tyra. I tend to believe that we should respect the requests of the victim, but I’ve also never been in a situation like this. I don’t know what’s best because the whole issue is a complicated mess for me. I will say that I’m glad that he went to Tami Taylor. If there was one person in Dillon who would have treated Tyra with dignity and respect, it’s her.

I am certain about one thing, though: Landry’s reaction to Tyra’s apology is REVOLTING. I think the writers don’t portray this positively, and you can tell from Tyra’s reaction that we’re meant to think that he’s being wildly inappropriate. There’s no dramatic swell of music to imply that he’s being heroic or noble. No, he’s being a stereotypical Nice Guy. Seriously, just because you comforted Tyra post-assault does not mean she is obligated to give you one second of her time. Jesus, Landry, what the fuck are you doing? Do you think now is the time to criticize Tyra for who she chooses to hang out with or date? SHE WAS NEARLY RAPED JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE THIS.

Just… no.

Smash/Waverly

I admit to feeling pretty sad that Waverly was letting Smash go, even temporarily, because I’m really enjoying their relationship. And Waverly was feeling like she was a burden to Smash, which just makes me even more sad, since I’ve definitely been in a place like that, too. So I am endlessly stoked that Smash brings a slice of cake to Waverly as a way to include her while respecting her need for order and structure. Y’all, Smash is growing up into a mature man, and it is giving me so many feelings.

Tim

God, I had spent so much time freaking out about the age difference between Tim and Bo’s mother that I never really thought about how much their sexual relationship might hurt Bo. I still maintain that if the two had kept up their affair, there would be no positive end to things. Here, though, the writers point out that it’s Bo who stands to be hurt the worst. We’ve seen how the kid already has trust issues due to difficulty coping with his father leaving. He obviously viewed Tim in a fatherly way, so how was that going to end well? Tim is only sixteen years old. I don’t think he’s ready for fatherhood in any substantial way. Also, he’s sixteen.

But it’s the scene where Bo talks about Tim’s busy schedule that hit me the hardest. You can totally see how hurt he is that he can’t play with Tim right at that moment. While he leaves Tim excitedly, pleased with the prospect of seeing him later, I can tell that things would be a million times worse if Tim had let this spiral any further out of control. I mean, it was fascinating to see this side of Tim, but this was a disaster waiting to happen.

Jason/Lyla

GODDAMN IT, SERIOUSLY? Seriously? There are so many poor decisions made in this episode, and him making out with Suzy is REALLY HIGH UP ON THE LIST. And this episode starts out so positively! JASON IS AN ASSISTANT COACH AT DILLON!!! God, I mostly feel intense sympathy and sadness for Lyla in this situation. Y’all, her family is getting a divorced, she’s disgusted upon finding out her father was unfaithful multiple times, and now she just caught her fiancé making out with the very woman who she suspected he was cheating on her with. My worry is that she’ll do something worse than damaging the cars on her father’s lot. She needs some help, and I’m scared that she doesn’t have anyone to turn to.

My heart. 🙁

The Taylors

No, my fictional mom and dad are fighting, and I hate it. 🙁 🙁 🙁

This episode introduces the first real big fight between the Taylors, and it’s one hell of a battle. The cold open shows us that Coach Taylor has accepted the job at TMU, and it’s just a disaster from there on out. I don’t know where Dillon is supposed to be in relation to Austin, but I got the sense from Coach Taylor that it was a long commute, not something he could do realistically every day and still see his family with any sort of regularity. And I imagine this was especially hard for him after having been wooed by the TMU folks all around Austin. He already had it in his head that the move to Austin would be wonderful for his family.

So I wasn’t surprised that Julie was heartbroken by the news. I was, however, unprepared for Tami being so forceful about agreeing with Julie. After the events in “Best Laid Plans,” Tami realizes that she has done (and can continue to do) good in Dillon, Texas. Her work as the counselor is more vital than ever. (I’m curious as to why the plot with her supporting the mayor has all but disappeared and why it wasn’t brought up here, as that would be yet another valid reason for Tami to stay.) What I enjoyed about this episode was how the writers made sure to validate both women, to show us that they had perfectly reasonable justifications for staying behind. While this episode gives us the worst fight the Taylors had, I think it’s indicative of how strong their relationship is that they do reconcile not long after the argument, that they’re affectionate with one another, and that they are willing to listen to one another respectfully.

That being said? I have no idea how this is going to end. Tami is staying behind in Austin, and her ultimatum complicates everything. What the hell is Coach Taylor going to do? I HAVE NO IDEA. Oh gods, I’m so excited for the finale next week.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com 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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