Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S03E08 – New York, New York

In the eighth episode of the third season of Friday Night Lights, Jason puts into motion a plan that might secure him a bright future, while the Taylors spar over a financial decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the finest shows I have ever seen, y’all.


Seriously, are we meant to feel perpetually sad for Matt Saracen? While his story in “New York, New York” ends positively, I spent most of this episode just feeling bad for the dude. It seems like he can never catch a break! He didn’t even appear in the previous episode! Here, he’s restless with being benched all the time. You know, I understand why Coach Taylor has gone with J.D. as QB1 rather permanently. We keep getting hints that he’s afraid of his own job security (which is something I’ll bring up later), so it makes sense that he’d put aside his personal distaste for Joe McCoy to keep the pressure of Buddy and the boosters off his back. Plus, it isn’t smart to put QB2 into another position and risk a situation where there isn’t anyone to be quarterback. But you know what? Matt’s pretty damn resilient. I think he’d be able to handle it. On top of that, Coach Taylor is kind of grating at times in this episode. I know that he’s stressed for a lot of reasons, but Matt’s been so loyal to the team that it also seems a tad silly not to use him in a way that can help the team.

So, all credit must go to the wonderful Julie Taylor, who steps up to the plate for Matt. I love how this is deliberately paralleled with Jason’s own journey. Both characters have the difficult task of negotiating what would seem like an impossible situation to anyone else. But they do it. Hell, Julie should earn 20% of all of Matt’s future earnings. IT’S ONLY FAIR. I am entirely into the idea of J.D. and Matt becoming a powerhouse team, too. DO IT. IT’S A GREAT IDEA.


UGH, EVERYTHING IS SO COMPLICATED. On the one hand, I want Tyra to go to college. I think she’d love it, and it would be a great way for her to find a place outside of Dillon, to live a life like the one she wants to have. I don’t necessarily trust Cash, either, and something about him still bothers me. At the same time, I’m a big fan of throwing practicality to the wind. In Tyra’s case, she makes the decision to travel with Cash in a moment of panic. Sure, she probably wasn’t in the best mental state to make such a huge decision, but every time I see Tyra with Cash, she’s happy. Who am I to deny her the choice to be happy? but WHAT IF


I guess I mostly just want to see where this goes before I say anything more. I really love this character a lot, and I don’t want bad things for Tyra. Please? Please, can there be good things? Please?


What other show does this? I seriously have not seen a television drama that gives its characters such meaty, thoughtful roles, and combines them with ridiculously satisfying storytelling like this. There were so many ways Eric’s struggle with his wife could have gone that would have seemed saccharine or hokey, but instead, we get a portrait of a couple trying their best to do things together.

Of course, Eric can’t do this at first. He’s moody and irritable for most of this episode, though I think I should acknowledge why that’s happening. The man fears how the McCoys are further creeping into his life, even if Katie McCoy has the sweetest, best intentions in the world. Joe couldn’t even resist thanking Eric for hiring Wade to temporarily replace Coach Mac. OH MY GOD, DO YOU HAVE TO BUTT IN TO EVERYTHING? He’s creepy, and I refuse to trust him ever. Then you’ve got Eric’s fear that he won’t make it through playoffs, which would all but guarantee that he would lose his job. Then, his wife drops a possible house into his lap, and it would double his mortgage. Instead of taking the time to listen to her and understand why she would want to invest in such a thing, he flips the fuck out. Oh my god, he is such an asshole during that first showing!

But this is something that Friday Night Lights traditionally handles well. When characters fuck up, they are held responsible. They apologize. They try really hard to do right by those they love, and that’s what we see here. I’m not even kidding. I tell my boyfriend that I hope one day, we have a relationship as perfect as Eric and Tami Taylor. Their perfection isn’t in their flawless actions, because both parents have screwed things up before. It’s in their dedication to one another, as a couple and as a family. When Eric is able to see Tami’s reasoning for the house, he knows that her logic is good. He’s also able to be honest with her without being condescending or crude. As Tami says, that’s all she wanted! I mean, yes, she’ll probably be sad that they aren’t going to pursue a bigger house, but it’ll be a passing thing. Look at everything else she has!

I love the Taylors so much.


Just like Smash’s exit from the show, “New York, New York” gives Jason Street one of the most phenomenal stories of his entire run on Friday Night Lights. This is a realistic and uplifting example of why Jason was always one of the most compelling characters in television. Time and time again, he was dropped into chaos and trauma. Here, his unofficial meeting with Mr. Halbert ends in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. Jason getting turned down was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t expect that Halbert would also have lost Wendell’s business, too. Like so many plot twists that Jason’s character has faced, there’s a period of abject misery. Jason’s not one to hide his emotions, especially not from his best friend. And Tim really makes sure to be that best friend in New York. Jason had every reason to sulk about his future. But Tim knows better. Tim knows that Jason has risen above the unreal amount of diversity he has faced, and this situation is no different. In that sense, Tim is actually similar to Julie in this episode, since both characters stand up for their best friend in a time of need.

Now, I teared up a lot during the last half of this episode. I was so happy to see how good Jason is at negotiating with people. I was crushed when Tim quietly reassured Jason that he would always be Jason’s best friend. And every emotion ever came forth as Jason, choked up with fear and anticipation, told Erin about what he’d done to change his life. This is as good of an end for Jason’s character as I could ask for, but I’m drawn right back to Tim Riggins. That final close-up of his face is the most devastating thing in all of “New York, New York.” He’s realizing he is leaving his best friend thousands of miles from home. While Tim is quick to bury any emotion he feels deep within his manly exterior, here he is nearly in tears. He hasn’t had to come to terms with growing up very much. That’s partially because he and Billy live on their own and take care of one another. It’s not like Tim’s had a traditional upbringing, you know?

But as Jason hugs Erin, Tim sees his friend grow up instantly before his eyes, and it’s like the full weight of the future hits Tim. I really hope that the next episode addresses what this change has wrought upon Tim, because his life just changed in a huge way. Oh my god, I am so glad that there are plenty of y’all in this community who are overflowing with feelings for Tim Riggins. LET US DISCUSS.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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