Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S02E15 – May the Best Man Win

In the fifteenth and final episode of the second season of Friday Night Lights, Smash is terrified at his collegiate future, and an old boyfriend of Tami’s comes to Dillon and things happen. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

So, I know this season was affected by the Writer’s Guild of America strike. Oh god, so many shows were affected. I’m going into the end of this season and the beginning of season three with an open mind because of this. It wasn’t an easy thing to deal with! I remember agonizing about LOST at the time, which was the only show I was following then. The pain, y’all. It was too much! But I lived in Hollywood then, too, and I understood why it was important that this strike needed to happen, especially when I learned how terrible writers were treated when it came to digital distribution. Anyway, given that season two just ends for a few storylines, I’m actually still rather pleased with season two. Hell, when it comes to Jason and Smash’s plots, it actually felt like a real finale, you know? SO LET’S GET TO IT.

Jason

The writers could have seriously botched this storyline, but they do a few things that made me feel better about Jason’s ridiculous behavior towards Erin. I was completely shocked by Erin’s reveal that she was pregnant because HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? Knowing just how rare this possibility is, Jason latches on to the idea that this is his way out of mediocrity. Thankfully, as Jason puts on a totally gross display at Erin’s work, the show doesn’t try to make us think that what he’s doing is noble. He objectifies Erin in a way that puts his own interests before hers, refusing to think about how absurd it is to ask her to carry a child just because he might not have another one. His clinical tone is just WAY TOO MUCH, dude! Also, if you’re suddenly fertile, couldn’t you like… save your sperm? Or something? The idea that this woman has to have a child is just too fucked up for me. Thankfully, Coach Taylor’s advice sobers Jason up somewhat. What he’s asking for is a big deal! It shouldn’t be viewed as an escape. It’s not an answer to his life’s problems.

And yet he still asks Erin to reconsider. This is such a weird plot, y’all! Jason is going to have a kid??? Maybe??? We don’t actually see Erin’s answer, but she’s hesitating instead of outright denying the chance to raise a child. So… oh god, what’s going to happen? Damn you, cliffhangers!

Tim

I haven’t spelled it out yet, but Tim is stalking Lyla, plain and simple. And it’s super creepy and not romantic at all! He got the radio show to impress Lyla, and it’s not working. (Well, it’s not working on Lyla, but I’ll get to Chris in a second.) He goes to church every Sunday, embeds himself in the community so that it’s difficult for Lyla to turn him away, and he is REALLY FUCKING CREEPY. I don’t think the show is necessarily saying he’s doing a good thing, for what it’s worth. We see how it affects Chris and Lyla, who both handle it like mature adults. Hell, what can they do? How can they get Tim out of their lives? I did get the sense that Tim’s presence affected Chris more than anyone. Is that why he acted so reticent at the ranch? Of course, he could just genuinely believe that one shouldn’t have sex before marriage, but then I saw the way he looked at Tim later in the episode, and I thought it was something to pay attention to. Is Chris insecure? Or does he just feel massively uncomfortable with Tim being around? (I suspect it’s the latter because who wouldn’t feel that way???)

Eric/Mo

Oh my god, it’s Peter Berg. I forgot that he, like, acts and stuff. Anyway, “May the Best Man Win” is not the first episode that explores Eric’s jealousy. I feel comfortable enough at this point to say that jealousy makes up a large part of how Eric acts around other men who are anywhere near Tami. And it’s not like he doesn’t trust his wife! He just doesn’t trust other men. In this case, though, his jealousy is partially validated by the fact that Mo is really creepy. There are so many little comments he makes in this episode about how Tami was the one who got away, or how he would look good with her, or how WHY ARE YOU SAYING ANY OF THESE THINGS OUT LOUD? Ugh, what is with men doing this shit? I just realized how Mo’s story directly parallel’s Tim’s. Both men are unable to accept that the women they covet are not single, nor do they want the attention they’re getting.

All this being said? That brawl made me gasp in shock, and then I just put my head down and started busting up. IT’S TOO FUNNY. Oh god, you literally got in a drinking competition with the guy, Eric. And then you fought him. Are you in high school again? Bless. BLESS.

Smash

Hi, I’m unable to deal with anything regarding Smash anymore. I can’t. Oh god, if this is the last we see of him, I’ll be shattered forever. It’s so disheartening to watch him try extremely hard to find a future in college football and get turned down or ignored. This is supposed to be his family’s lifeline. He was supposed to go to Alabama or TMU or anywhere that would put him on a path towards going pro. But what do you do what what is supposed to happen doesn’t come to pass? What we see here is a man having his hope taken away from him, and it’s awful to watch. I hate it. I hate that those kids from the theater will never know what they’ve done to Smash, nor do they care. And that’s something that plays out all the time!

What’s touching about this, though, isn’t necessarily that Smash finds a future in Whitmore. That is a good thing, but I found the scene where Smash found out that Coach Taylor and the Whitmore coach had taken an interest in Smash many years before. The truth is neither of these men – especially Coach Taylor – ever gave up on Smash. At the time when he most needed it, Coach Taylor was there for Smash. He believed in him. I am so full of feelings! So Smash is going to a historically black university! And he’ll have the option to transfer in two years. It’s certainly better than nothing, and the full scholarship is definitely sweet. But I wonder what role he’s going to play in season three. How much will we see him? Will he get to play in the playoffs? I mean… damn, I don’t even know the timeline of the next season. I AM SO UNPREPARED, Y’ALL.

Mark Links Stuff

– I have redesigned MarkDoesStuff.com! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– 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!
– 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!!!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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