Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S04E07 – In the Bag

In the seventh episode of the fourth season of Friday Night Lights, I JUST FELT EVERY EMOTION KNOWN TO HUMANITY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

Seriously, there has not been a bad episode in this season. I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS.


Okay, I kind of have one major problem with this episode, and I think it’s more the execution of his story line than anything else. For seriously 99% of Jess’s screen time in “In the Bag,” she is clearly uninterested in Landry’s obsession with her. She makes it quite obvious that she wants nothing to do with him in… well, virtually any context. Social, academic, romantic. All of her body language says this. All of her literal words coming out of her mouth say it. So my assumption, based on all of the visual and audio evidence, was that she was not interested in a date with Landry!

Now, I understand that it certainly wasn’t appealing to her or anyone ever to hear that the guy pursuing her is fostering a deep-seeded crush against an ex-girlfriend, and that his chances may have improved upon getting some sort of closure on said relationship, but this plot came off in a way that wasn’t clearly communicated to convey that point. Instead, it feels like one of the worst tropes you could use: If men just pursue a woman relentlessly, eventually she’ll just give up and say yes. Yeah, no. That sort of persistence is creepy. And I like Landry a lot! But I don’t like how this story was executed at all. No, thank you.


Oh, gods, this is so awkward and emotional and help me. I’m so happy that we’re getting more depth to the Howard family while exploring the complicated role that both Vince and Eric play in this narrative. First and foremost, Eric has to keep his team together, and he demonstrates his faith in Vince as a player after the McNulty game by making him quarterback. At the same time, when Vince is accused of bringing a gun to school, that role becomes muddied and messy. How can he keep Vince’s trust and protect the kid from the possibility of going to juvie? Is he overstepping his boundaries by acting protective of Vince, or is that just what Vince needs? The writers don’t like giving us easy answers, and I appreciate that as a viewer! I mean, Vince openly addresses the fact that the world he lives in is one that gives him every reason to need to carry a gun. Plus, both he and his mom make reference to the fact that given their economic hardships and their skin color, they don’t get too many good things coming their way. These deliberate efforts to humanize and explain their lives are just so refreshing, y’all, because not everyone has the same privileged upbringing as everyone else.

Ultimately, this is about earning respect. Coach wins Regina’s respect by treating her son with kindness and giving him a chance. Vince earns Coach’s respect by leading his team and showing drastic improvements to his game. And Coach earns Vince’s respect by demonstrating that he’s truly willing to help him out and not just do it because he’s good at football.

I am just so full of feelings for the Howards, y’all.


I should have seen it coming. I really should have. Seriously, every sign that Glen was attracted to Tami was right there, and I didn’t pick up on one of them. Which brings up something I want to say: I don’t really buy Glen’s excuse that this came out of nowhere, that he was just drunk, or that he isn’t the sort of person to do that sort of a thing. Yeah, does that count for every instance in this episode where you’re inappropriate with Tami or too close to her? No. No. I don’t think so! In fact, I’d say that Glen orchestrated the whole thing in some misguided effort to get closer to Tami. Again: No!

Then he goes on that horrifically awkward “mouth rape” apology and NO. NO. Oh my god, Glen, what have you done???

I am surprised, however, that Tami didn’t tell her husband about it. She’s usually quite good with that! Maybe it was just dropped?


I don’t know that I could navigate another episode of heartbroken Becky because… holy shit, y’all, I just want to hug this girl forever. The return of her father mirror’s Matt’s own struggle with his dad, and… shit, a lot of her life parallels the same thing. And yet, none of this feels repetitive. Becky has really intense fears of abandonment, and it explains why she’s so eager to run straight to her father, who hasn’t ever been there for her, even when her mother has made far more of an effort to be in her life. But as she does this, she unknowingly sets herself up for disaster.

My god, how did I forget about Tim’s father??? He clearly understands the allure of a father returning to his life, but has also experienced the inevitable heartbreak that comes with having a deadbeat dad. However, this time, he gets absolute confirmation that Becky’s dad isn’t coming back. He has another family in Seattle. Then there’s all that gross talk about not getting married or having kids, and all I could think about was how much this was going to hurt Becky. That poor girl, I swear. And who can blame her for having hope? She so badly wants normalcy in her life that she irrationally clings to things like her new dog in order to give her life some regularity.

And look, I do agree that Tim’s execution of telling Becky the truth is… poor. At best. Why are you doing that at a party? DUDE. NO. But Tim empathizes with Becky so much that he wants to prevent her from getting harmed any more than she has to. Of course, when Becky’s father picks a fight with him, the situation becomes more personal than he expected. It’s not hard to imagine that as Tim wails on the man, he’s imagining his own father in the process.

Ugh, I have so many feelings for these characters. So what’s Tim going to do with that plot of land? And Billy, do not try to break the law again, I swear.


Luke’s included in that, for the record. Seriously, this show does such a stellar job of telling stories of people who struggle with various marginalizations. In Luke’s case, he and his family are poor, and that means sometimes, he has to miss school to help his father with the ranch. It’s something that Coach Taylor doesn’t quite sympathize with, and so Luke ends up staying up all night just to be able to do school, football, and the fence building.

So bless Tinker so much. Bless him, and I’m so pleased that the writers used a secondary character we don’t see much of to tell this incredible story of compassion. Tinker helped Luke because he was a good kid and it helped the team as a whole. UGH. FEELINGS. Of course, it’s absolutely devastating that Luke is injured at the end of this episode because why is everything so unfair??? Goddamn it, he was just getting everything in line! TRAGEDY. 🙁


I saved Julie’s story for last because… well, it was the most difficult one for me to deal with. In a way, I feel very protective of Julie as a character because a lot of her development as a character is purely emotional. People tend to demonize and look down upon any outward expressions of emotions, and I don’t want to do that. Plus, I can empathize with her struggle in “In the Bag” because it really details the difficulty of heartbreak and disappointment in a realistic way.

Johnny is my third long term relationship. I’ve only had two boyfriends before him, and without going into detail, they both ended badly. I was dumped by both guys, and both times, it was extremely sudden, traumatic, and was followed by a long period where I never heard anything from the guy, nor got closure on the reasons why the relationships ended. There are so many physical cues I saw here that I recognized because I did the same thing. The loneliness of waking up alone. The constant spacing out. The repetitive behavior. The rush of tears that comes with music associated with their memory, or hearing something that triggers their face in your mind. To be heartbroken like that is physically painful, and it honestly feels like someone has torn part of your chest out. Aimee Teegarden plays this with a grace and brilliance that the part deserves, and I think she has done an outstanding job as Julie Taylor. Coming off of “Stay,” it’s especially painful to Tami, too, since she knows this is yet another step in her daughter’s growth into an adult. It has to be scary, you know?

Where did Matt go? Why wouldn’t he tell Julie he wasn’t coming back? Fuck, I’m getting sad just thinking about this. I sympathize and empathize with Matt to an extent, but I draw the line at him hurting Julie. No. No. You do not hurt my Julie Taylor. YOU DO NOT.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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