Our head-over-heels love for Friday Night Lights is well-established here at FItB, but one of the things we like most about it, and that we haven’t discussed a whole lot, showed up in a big way in Wednesday’s episode.
Moving back and forth between laugh-out-loud moments of comedy and deep, emotional drama is probably one of the more difficult things to pull off on screen. A lot of shows don’t even attempt it, but FNL has become one of the best at it in just one season.
Case in point: Tonight’s episode had a scene with Coach Taylor and Street — new assistant coach Street, that is — gleefully tearing apart Saracen as they discussed how they’d prepare him for state ("not one damn laurel"). Cut to Landry telling Tami about the assault on Tyra — a dramatic moment leavened considerably by Tami asking if Landry’s "friend" was, in fact, him.
And then we see Tami and Tyra talking to a detective about the assault, and it’s positively gut-wrenching. To say nothing of her lashing out at Landry, which, overly harsh as it was, is pretty understandable given the context.
Tonight was also another great showcase for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, this time focusing on his snap decision to take the job at TMU (that stadium, by the way, belongs to Texas State University, which looks to have undergone a visual-effects upgrade in seating capacity).
Their argument over her proposal that she and Julie stay in Dillon was just a marvel, from Eric’s admission that he wasn’t sure he could handle being apart from them to Tami’s assertion that she’s needed where she is. That, I think, is what really caused Eric to put his foot down: He knows his kids need him just as much as Tami’s kids need her, and he doesn’t want to face the fact that he’d be leaving them behind.
A lesser drama would have had Tami blab all this to the entire town at the roast, or at least make a few barbed references to commitment that would have had everyone raising their eyebrows. But this isn’t a lesser drama, and so Tami was funny (unlike the joke-stealing Buddy and Tim "How ’bout Saracen sleeping with Coach’s daughter?" Riggins) and a little dirty ("Go for two!") and, ultimately, incredibly touching without being overly sappy.
And yet, she hasn’t backed off her position. Just great, great stuff in that final scene between the two of them.
I’ve barely touched on all the other things going on in the episode, from Landry and Tyra’s semi-reconciliation to Riggins’ breakup with Hot Single Mom and his seeking comfort with Tyra to Lyla’s double shot of "I’m done" with her dad and Street to Smash refusing to take his hiatus from Waverly. I’ll let you take care of that in the comments section.
One thing I fear, though: With just about everyone dealing with big issues, the Panthers are in for a hurting at state. Distracted teams don’t play well, so Eric better coach ’em up something fierce in the finale.
Oh, and one more thing: NBC, pick up this Peabody Award-winning show already!
Handing it off to you: Can Eric and Tami get through this? And do the Panthers have a shot at state?