Spoiler warning: This is a recap for Friday Night Lights Season 5, airing now on DirecTV. If you’re waiting to watch until next year on NBC, please read no further!
“I ride with the team.”—Vince
There was so much to love about this episode. Humor, ice buckets, team bonding, branding, hangovers, bitch slaps, this episode had it all.
This week the Lions headed to Kingdom to play the team that they had to forfeit against last year. And although you may be able to take the football player out of Dillon, you certainly can’t take the sense of community out of the player. The team was fueled by their developing bond with each other, and their desire for revenge after last season’s upsets, even if they weren’t part of that team embarrassment.
There was a lot of bonding on this trip, most notably in a pitch-perfect scene with Vince, Luke, Tinker and Hastings, who so easily moved from talking about pigs and porn to looking to Vince for his leadership in the upcoming game. And Coach Taylor secretly listened on, no doubt proud of how far they’ve come, even if they still have a ways to go.
After a slew of penalties, questionable calls, and insults in the East Dillon/Kingdom showdown, Coach agrees to hang the rules by the door, and lets Vince loose on the field. It results in an incredible hustle from the Lions, who come out majorly victorious, although now with a certain reputation for playing a bit dirty, justified or not. But above all, the team was having fun.
In fact, both the coaches and the players were having their own kind of fun. The coaches celebrated the victory with some drunken poker, while the boys were drunkenly using a poker to brand “L’s” on their arms in the name of brotherhood. Their level of fun and stupidity may have been different, but the echoes of the parties in each group resonated, and not just in the morning after hangovers.
Across the state, the person not having so much fun was Julie, a.k.a. the slut. After late nights with her teacher, his wife (and Julie’s indiscretion) suddenly had a name, a face, and a loud voice when Allison arrived in the student lounge to literally slap some sense into Julie and announce her tryst to the student body. This storyline still felt like an accessory more than anything, but it has brought a messed-up Julie back to her empty-nested mother, and back to Dillon. Hopefully there will be something more to come of Julie returning home.
Vince and Luke are at the peak of their friendship; even see each other as brothers. Sadly, the effects of the TMU recruitment trip will inevitably drive a wedge between the two. That is, if Vince’s dad doesn’t screw up Vince’s recruiting options by stepping on Coach’s toes. Maybe Jess will be able to patch up more than the players arms and her relationship with Vince and keep his future on track, too.
It was nice to see both Hastings and Buddy Jr. assimilating more into the team, although not without a fair amount of hazing for Buddy Jr. I’m not quite sure what to make of Hastings tossing the cheerleader’s phone number out the bus window. I might be completely wrong, but it could be that Hastings is gay, which would be a pretty interesting development for the team. We’ve had Devin and Coach Stan so far as the only gay characters, and the implications of a gay football player in Texas would be welcome new ground for the show.
What was particularly great in this episode were the humorous moments throughout. I think most importantly we learned that Coach Taylor cooks bacon in his office. That pretty much speaks for itself. But even in small moments like Coach Stan’s enthusiastic locker room cheer, Eric’s drunken slurs, Luke rapping, the team peeing on the side of the highway, and Coach’s distaste for macadamia cookies, the episode had a certain sparkle to it that made this easily the best episode of the season so far.
Thoughts? Drunken confessions? Leave them in the comments!