Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S05E10 – Don’t Go

In the tenth episode of the fifth season of Friday Night Lights, SO MUCH NOPE FOREVER. Oh god, and so many tears. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

Seriously, I adore this show so much.


OH GOD SO MUCH CUTENESS. It’s nice that some of the characters here are experiencing a cute relationship. There are some interesting themes brought up through Becky and Luke that are familiar for the show. Like Julie, Becky has got to deal with Luke’s impending life after high school. And then we’ve got Luke’s sudden realization that he doesn’t know what to do with his life without football. It’s all he’s known! (Which isn’t actually true, but Luke doesn’t come to believe that until later on.) You know, I’d actually forgotten that Luke’s prospective college career was a ploy to get to Vince, and this just made me SO SAD. Luke is so talented! He’s a great player! Why is no one coming to him to play for their teams? I just want the best for Luke.

Except Tinker already knows what Luke is good at. OH GOD, IT WAS ACTUALLY THERE ALL THE TIME. The writers didn’t just invent this. We’ve seen him working on the farm (with a hell of a lot of skill) since the beginning of season four! I don’t know what that means exactly, but neither does Luke. So what we get is that incredibly hopeful, adorable scene where Luke and Becky imagine a future. Luke thinks about life in Dillon, running a farm. Becky imagines Luke winning the next football game. But what’s so sweet about this is that Becky and Luke both imagine each other in their visions of the future. It’s nice. LOOK THERE AREN’T MANY NICE THINGS HAPPENING. LET ME HAVE THIS JOY.

Tim Riggins

YEAH, THIS ISN’T FAIR. I WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED FOR TIM RIGGINS TO RETURN TO THIS SHOW. Initially, the writers’ focus is on Billy’s struggle to ensure that Tim is released on parole. Stressed out and convinced that he’s ruining everything, he increasingly lashes out at Mindy and Becky. Can we just appreciate the fact that Mindy is the one who manages to get Billy to realize how he’s behaving? Because she has a lot more patience than I would in the same situation. Anyway, Billy’s task – to get people to show up as character witnesses for Tim – does yield Buddy Garrity and Coach Taylor. (Though I’ll talk about why that happens more when I get to Eric’s section.) It’s a nervewracking experience, one I’m familiar with because I’ve appeared in front of a parole board for the very same reason. You always feel like you’re not saying the right thing, that your own words are what will get your friend thrown back in prison. So, I do want to say that I absolutely get why Billy is so terrified and overwhelmed by the experience.

Of course, this wouldn’t be Friday Night Lights without a punch to my emotions. So we get Coach Taylor’s passionate little monologue about why Tim deserves a second chance. And it really hit me then that these people had no idea what Tim did, and they won’t ever know that he went to prison to help his brother and his family. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A GOOD PERSON TIM RIGGINS IS BECAUSE HE LITERALLY CAN’T TELL THEM. And then Buddy stands up, and his earlier emotional manipulation of Eric doesn’t matter because he tells the panel that he’ll give Tim a job as soon as he’s released. This show cannot keep making me tear up, I swear. It’s not fair anymore.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the writers deal with Tim being around. It’s clear from the final scene of his in this episode that things are awkward, and I’m not surprised by that. What’s his role in the house? What about Becky? Is she going to continue fostering an infatuation with him? Oh gods, Tim Riggins.


This was rough to watch, especially since I enjoy that Ornette is around for Vince. However, Regina’s advice from “Gut Check” is particularly relevant here: Ornette is smothering his son. Still, I get why he’s doing this! He knows that young black men don’t exactly get colleges begging them for their attendance, you know? So Ornette’s intentions are positive here, and he’s obviously doing this because he cares for Vince, you know?

But that doesn’t mean Vince isn’t struggling with the predicament. “Gut Check” really was a way for Vince to check himself, and he wants his fellow team to go all the way to state. With him! But he knows that means he’s got to change his own behavior. My god, Michael B. Jordan is just so continuously spectacular here, y’all. He has to navigate anger, disappointment, confusion, and eager hope, all in the same episode. HE DOES IT SO WELL. How does he not have every award ever? I should also compliment Angela Rawna, who has one hell of a scene as Regina in this episode, too. TOO MUCH. TOO MUCH.

Anyway, I’m glad that Vince is back on a path to earning his place on the team. I’m worried that his father is going to assume that this means he doesn’t have a role in his son’s life, when that’s not the case. But can he let go of his ego, too? On top of that, I’m gonna need Vince to step his game up when it comes to Jess. That’s not how you’re going to get her back on your side, dude. An apology? That would be a nice start. Because he does have a lot to apologize for!

Ugh, I just hope this works out. There are only three episodes left, and I’m scared. I don’t want this to end. 🙁


It’s interesting to me that we’re dealing with a situation that is technically like the one we got at the end of season one, but it doesn’t feel anything like that at all. Eric’s offer at Shane State puts a wrench into his coaching, but only because the rampant speculation becomes so distracting. That being said, the audience gets to see the Taylors mull over their options. Which makes me wonder if Tami’s appearance at that convention is going to bring up another option for the future. (Can it be TamiCon 2014? I would like to be head of that con, thanks very much.) The idea of going to Florida is so appealing. Who wouldn’t want a three-year guarantee with a house like that? (Let me just put this out there, though: I really don’t think I’d want to live in Florida unless it was in Miami. Yeah, no thanks.) And given how much the Taylors have struggled with finances, their own jobs, and the future they want to give Gracie Bell, I don’t blame them for wanting to leave Dillon behind. I’ve made this joke to a lot of my friends, but the second I’m given the option to sell out, I’m going to do it. I mean, okay, I’m not going to literally sell out my ideals and my identity or anything, but it’s exhausting to have to struggle all the time. The promise put before the Taylors is something a lot of us dream of, isn’t it? You’re paid to do what you love, and you have security included in that.

And yet, the entire town of Dillon sends one message to Coach Taylor: Don’t go. Stay. The banners appear before he even arrives in town from the airport! It’s such a touching display that only gets more and more emotional WITH EVERY SECOND. Which isn’t fair. IT’S NOT. Because then his team is asking him if he’s going to stay. Then Buddy is emotionally manipulating him to stay. (Which works in Tim Riggins’s favor, actually!) Then the Fall Sports Banquet basically turns into the Eric Taylor Is Amazing Banquet, which made me tear up because Tinker’s speech alone is so good. Ugh.

See, Coach Taylor is a good coach because he cares about the players he is coaching. I’ve known that the whole time, but you can see it in “Don’t Go” when he tells Tami that more than anything, he wants these kids to get to state. You can see it when he tells that reporter he is staying in Dillon. You can see it when he rejects a lucrative, life-changing offer just to coach a high school football team. You can see it as I cry more and more.

I love this show so much. Again, I really, really don’t want it to end.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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