In the third episode of the second season of Friday Night Lights, everything is a mess. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.
Oh my god, how.
It’s strange for me to watch his journey because there’s a personal angle to it that is hard to ignore. As much as Tim would like to say that he’s not “lost,” he sure is aimless as hell in this episode. Understandably so, I should say. He collapses at practice due in part to his hangover and to the brutal routines that Coach McGregor puts him through every day. Then he witnesses his brother sneaking out of Angela’s house, which only adds to his confusion and frustration. So when Lyla invites him to attend her church, he gives her a chance. Sort of. And this is where I had to compartmentalize my own thoughts about Tim’s religious experience and try and see things from the show’s perspective.
First of all, I trust Lyla, and I really do get the sense that she’s being genuine in this episode. So I have to view this through that lens instead of my own experience, which is something different than what I normally do! I actually enjoy having a very personal lens in my writing because it makes this project so rewarding to me, both because I can be so open and honest about my life, and because I want to empower others to do so. Coming at this episode, though, I can see how my own experience would bias me against the story. I was in a very vulnerable point in my life when people with just a fraction of Lyla’s sincerity tried to help me find my way in religion. I was taken advantage of because of this. I don’t feel like I need to repeat myself, as I spoke about this at length during Mark Reads Twilight and Mark Reads His Dark Materials, but suffice to say that it was a big reason why I eventually came to identify as an atheist.
But that’s not what’s happening here. It’s striking that the writers twisted by own expectations by having Tim be the one who appears to be taking advantage of the situation. Lyla truly cares about Tim, but I don’t think she’s doing this to repair her relationship with him or to send the signal that she wants to kiss him. And perhaps Tim is telling the truth. I suppose that’s a possibility, too. Maybe he does feel closer to God when he’s with Lyla, but that still isn’t an invitation for him to come on to her. Given all this, I wonder if his impulsive decision to go with Jason to Mexico is practical. Does he really think Jason has a chance at gaining the ability to walk again? Or is he acting out of guilt?
Which doesn’t mean I should ignore Jason’s stake in all of this. It was good to see Herc again, even if it was just a brief scene where he did what he always does: Tell Jason to accept who he is now. But Jason is still on a quest to find his own path in life, even if that ends up being impractical most of the time. Coach McGregor plays a large part of that, as does Tim’s stubborn attitude. Again, I find McGregor to be one of the most revolting characters in the show’s history. I DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD OUT-DO BUDDY GARRITY, BUT THERE IT IS. And we’ll get to Buddy in a second, but let’s talk about how gross McGregor is. The only time in the entirety of these three episodes that he’s actually nice is when Jason mimics him and his abusive way of coaching. Which Jason then tries out on Tim! After Jason already told McGregor that this would never work on Tim Riggins. It’s a sign of how manipulative and fucked up McGregor is. As soon as Jason offers up his own opinion on the opening game â€“ and a very valid one â€“ McGregor calls him the team mascot. Oh. Oh. Fuck you, McGregor! Way to dehumanize someone in a single sentence. So I don’t blame Jason for quitting. Good for him! Why stick around that? But I don’t have a good feeling about him going to Mexico. That just feels like a generally bad idea? In every way? Oh my god, can this not be a thing that Jason does and regrets?
I totally missed on commenting on the fact that WE FINALLY SAW LANDRY’S DAD IN THE LAST EPISODE! AND HE’S ON THE FOOTBALL TEAM! I remember entertaining the idea of trying out for football so I could impress my dad, but then my sophomore year, the football field was closed, so my cross country practice was somewhat invaded by the football team. And I watched their practice and wanted to die because no thank you. Too violent for me! Landry’s doing his best to be a good football player, and the change in his life is not ignored by his father, who is proud of his son for making the effort. And it’s nice to see the positive support regardless, you know?
And then things are kind of weird. Landry’s dad spots Tyra leaving the morning after they first spent the night together. (Is it safe to assume they had sex? I feel like that’s what the writers implied here.) He presses Landry for information, gets none, and then PURPOSELY SEEKS OUT TYRA AT HER JOB IN ORDER TO INTERROGATE HER. Holy uncomfortable, no. So bless Tyra for then handling the issue with class because I sure as hell would not have been able to. That’s creepy! And yet Tyra makes it into this extremely sweet and genuine thing. And I really thinks it leads her to realize that what she said about Landry was the truth, that he is kind to her, respectful, funny, and a pleasure to be around. So when the two of them get together near the end of this episode, it finally feels right. She really does enjoy him, and it’s just a big ol’ face squishy moment of joy, y’all.
Things aren’t going well for Matt, are they? McGregor is ignoring him and enabling Smash’s more egotistical side. (Where’d Waverly go, by the way?) And I get that Smash needs to play well to guarantee a future for himself and his family. We know how important this is to him! What I hate is how McGregor doesn’t care, and that’s a fundamental difference between him and Coach Taylor. Coach Taylor would try to unite the team. All McGregor cares about is winning at any cost, and I am really afraid that this is going to backfire. How can Matt be expected to deal with all this stress in his life and the fact that his own coach doesn’t seem to have much faith in him?
I do like that the fact that the writers purposely use Carlotta to fuck with Matt’s perception of her role in the house. She’s not his servant by any means, so bravo for the writers for getting this right. At the same time, she’s becoming a part of his household. She comes to the game with Grandma Saracen! That’s so awesome. I will say that I really hope that this doesn’t go the same way that Tim’s story did with his neighbor. We already had that plot on this show, and that final scene with Carlotta and Matt felt a little too sexualized/sensual to me. I’ll wait to see what happens, though.
It’s just really hard seeing this family in such a state of disarray. No matter what has happened to them before, they’ve found a way to work through it. But not this time. Everything hurts forever, and it’s one giant mess. Seriously. Julie is acting out, disobeying her mother and staying out until past two in the morning; Tami is relying on Glenn to help her out around the house, which makes Eric jealous; Eric’s not treated as he expected; and then, when he visits Dillon’s first game on Buddy’s urging, he sees that his old team is somehow even more fucked up than he could ever imagine.
It’s a difficult thing to watch. It was difficult to watch Tami hit her daughter as much as it was to see Julie act so flippant and rude toward her mother. Seeing Eric’s dejected face after he was ordered to let go of a player that he thinks is worth some investment was heartbreaking. And I can’t believe we’re at a point where Buddy Garrity is the one being somewhat sensible. As uncomfortable and ironic it is for him to be the one telling Coach Taylor about how to run his family, he’s not off-the-mark. Tami is miserable on her own. Julie misses her father. The Taylor household is a warzone. Him being away isn’t even accomplishing what he wants from the job!
So what the hell does Buddy have planned??? How the fuck is he going to get McGregor out of the picture? The guy doesn’t have much social standing in the community because of his most recent behavior, soâ€¦ what does that leave? Oh god, I genuinely don’t know! And as much as I want Eric Taylor back home with his family, I also hope this doesn’t lead to something Eric regrets.
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,Â and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
-Â Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsÂ is now published and available for purchase!Â Itâ€™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!!!
-Â Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!