Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S03E13 – Tomorrow Blues

In the thirteenth and final episode of the third season of Friday Night Lights, the end of the school year brings shocking new changes to the lives of those in Dillon. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

Honest to Gandalf, that was one of the best season finales I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know which character to start with, y’all, because I just want to cry forever and hug all my babies, and this is too much to deal with in one forty-five minute episode.


I was fascinated by this idea that both Lyla and Tim had made decisions that were based on their emotions for the other partner, and through “Tomorrow Blues,” we see them engage with the idea that they’ve made the wrong decision out of love. Essentially, that’s what is at work here. Tim loves Lyla, so he agrees to go to San Antonio State, even if he’s ultimately disinterested in college. Lyla turns down the offer to go to Vanderbilt because she loves Tim and doesn’t want to be separated from him. Both come to a compromise of sorts, which is admirable in and of itself. It really is! I guess I’m a big softie these days and I don’t care. I love that they want to stay together!

But the events in this episode force both of them to examine their choices. I think it was obvious that Lyla did want to go to Vanderbilt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason she turned down the school was out of spite to her father for losing her college money. At the same time, it was also clear that she was agonizing over the decision. I was actually surprised that she apologized to Tim for even considering the possibility without talking to him because I thought she was just going to outright change her mind. However, these two respect one another way too much for that to happen, and it’s one of the best parts of their relationship. That’s why I’m so happy that Tim urges her to go. He doesn’t want to hold Lyla back from a fantastic future, and Vanderbilt is an incredible school!

It’s interesting, then, that Tim is the only person holding himself back, too. Obviously, he has a knack for repairing cars, but everything we’ve seen of him on this show has centered around his love for Dillon, Texas. He was aimless after Jason left town, and after having settled down with Lyla, I could tell he was reluctant to leave again. So, bless Billy Riggins, who is the beautiful moral and emotional core for Tim in “Tomorrow Blues.” Seriously, the Riggins brothers have been on one hell of a journey in terms of their characterization, and it’s maybe my favorite thing here. After about twenty other things. I have too many favorite things about Friday Night Lights. I am not sorry about this.

Oh god, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO PULL THIS OFF? San Antonio and Nashville are FOURTEEN HOURS APART. Oh my god.


Oh no, no, too many tears, TOO MUCH SADNESS, THEN TOO MUCH JOY. Okay, no one should be surprised that I have a vested interest in all things Tyra, so this episode was a journey for me. Look, while academically I may have had more in common with Landry than Tyra, no one in my family had ever gone to college. I was living independently of my parents at age 16, and I had no money. College was my only ticket out of Riverside, and I spent a good deal of my senior year panicking about everything. In my case, getting accepted meant nothing. I needed the money to go to school because I had nothing to fall back on. Ultimately, that’s why I’ve been so drawn to Tyra. I know that fear of believing you’ll be stuck in a town with no future because I worried that’s what I’d become, too. Now, in hindsight, that might seem like a ridiculous thing to believe, but I wanted to touch on something Tyra brought up. When you hear one thing your whole life, it becomes hard to trust anything else. My self-esteem issues are all rooted in how I was raised, and that means I grew up doubting everything about myself. Despite that I was great in school, I was always convinced that others only saw the worst in me. I’m glad, then, that Tyra had someone like Landry here, who was able to give her the positive reinforcement she needed without relying on her self doubt. His love for her is not based on any sort of validation, you know? He loves her unconditionally, and as someone who grew up truly believing that any love in my direction was conditional, I know how important that is.

So yeah, I cried when Tyra got her acceptance letter. WHAT OF IT. I am so happy for her. I AM SO HAPPY FOR HER. Oh god, I suppose we’ll deal with Landry/Tyra as a couple in the future, but for now I AM SO HAPPY.

Matt/Grandma Saracen/Tears Until The End of Time

Yeah, you fucking stop it. This show follows up Julie’s super sad scene in her new car, where she realizes everyone’s growing up and leaving her behind, with Matt saying goodbye to his grandmother as he leaves her in her new home. Yeah, fuck you, writers. You space this shit out. GIVE ME TIME TO HEAL FROM ONE SCENE BEFORE YOU TORMENT ME WITH ANOTHER. I know that season three had been building to this point the whole time, but I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready for Grandma Saracen quietly telling Matt to go home. His home. His home without her. Oh my god, when Matt lingered outside her room and you could see her inside… no. Nope. Lost it. Cannot deal.

Of course, this was going to be a complicated decision. Matt going to Chicago is a big deal! Given how frightened Julie was of a future without Matt, it wasn’t surprising that she wanted to end the relationship, to give Matt (and herself!) a clean break, before he left. However, the moment gives Matt pause. Does he really want this? Does he want to leave Julie, his mom, and his grandmother behind? I think it’s realistic that at least one of the graduating seniors isn’t going to leave town, and I was touched by Matt’s reasoning for staying. He refused to abandon the one person in his life who never left his side. Whoops, tears again. So Matt is staying in Dillon!!! Oh god, this is kind of exciting? I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I’m glad he’ll be staying on the show for the foreseeable future.

The Taylors

I will definitively state that someone has eclipsed Buddy Garrity (easily, I might add) in terms of how much I actively dislike a Friday Night Lights character. Buddy’s flawed, yes, and he’s made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t really dislike him anymore. I think this season in particular has helped round out his character, and I’m thankful for that. But Joe McCoy deserves endless hatred from me, and I shall hold this grudge until our alien overlords take over the planet, and even then, I’ll make sure they know that the fictional character of Joe McCoy should be vilified at every turn. Joe represents the power of money and influence in sports culture, and I know that’s a big reason why I hate him so much. Well, he’s also an unapologetic abuser, too, so there’s that. He secretly goes behind Coach Taylor’s back to recruit new players for the Panthers and setting up Coach Taylor for failure in the upcoming vote on whether or not to renew his contract.

Now, we’ve seen how important Eric’s pride is to him, and he’s often refused to betray his own personal values and dignity in order to bow to the pressures he’s put under as the head coach. It’s one of his most admirable qualities; he’s inherently a moral person, and he’ll choose to do what’s right over what’s popular. When faced with the fact that people are going to vote whether or not he gets to keep his job, he doesn’t want to dignify these folks with an appearance. He doesn’t want to beg for his job when his work with the Panthers has more than spoken to his ability to lead the team. However, Tami makes an important point: Fighting for something is not the same as begging for it. He can either defend himself and lose his job, or he can do nothing and lose his job. Why not try? (Bless you so much, Tami. Bless you.)

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to get such devastating news about your future at a fucking wedding, but that’s what happens here. Not only is Wade offered Coach Taylor’s job, BUT THEY WANT HIM TO COACH THE EAST DILLON LIONS. !!!!!!!!!! I SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED THIS GIVEN THE CLEAR FORESHADOWING EARLIER IN THE SEASON BUT I EXPECTED NONE OF THIS !!!!!!!!!!

Oh my god OH MY GOD. So the Taylors are going to work at different schools??? Who from Dillon High is going to have to transfer? Oh my god, East Dillon High is a mess, and that final shot is just so mind-blowing, and HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK.

This episode just messed with me so much. The joy of Mindy and Billy’s wedding mixed in with so much happiness and devastation and I should just learn to expect this. It’s Friday Night Lights. It always ruins me.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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