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!
It felt a bit like the return of Smash Williams this week, as Vince continues to wobble between a leader and an egomaniac. His first TV interview is a big deal, and draws a crowd to the outdoor TV they set up in his neighborhood. But all the star talks about is himself, and the Lions aren’t putting up with it. Especially after he misses practice to go on an “unofficial” visit to Oklahoma Tech. Vince is barely walking the line of legit recruiting anymore, and he feels too invincible (and dazed by promises of hot girls in bikinis) to care. In a clearly illegal moment where Vince and his dad are told not to talk, just to listen, the recruiter and coach make it clear they want to offer Vince a spot heading up their offensive line in two years. Vince and his dad think it’s a done deal, and are ready to celebrate.
Coach is still trying to be the voice of reason and keep Vince on the right track. But there’s not much more he’s going to put up with after Vince lied about his mother’s drug habit as an excuse for missing practice for the visit. When he confronts Mr. Howard and threatens to bench Vince if he misses another practice, Mr. Howard has one up on him by knowing that Coach is still in talks about potential college coaching jobs, pointing out that Coach himself isn’t all about the team either. The tension is starting to bubble over, with Vince and Luke (and the coaches too, for that matter) fighting on the field, and right before a pep rally. Once as close as brothers, this is just the start of the problems, so it seems.
Epyck (remember her?) has problems of her own, although some of them are more real than others. As Tami continues to try to get through to her, Epyck exaggerates her situation by lying about her foster home. Caught in the lie when a concerned Tami goes to check out her current home and discovers nothing out of the ordinary, Epyck proposes what’s perhaps the most irresistible challenge to the Taylor family: “You’re not gonna change me.” It seems as if Tami already has, and she’s certainly not going to give up until she knows Epyck has a promising future ahead of her.
Becky’s future still seems a bit uncertain as well. Now that she’s officially under Mindy Riggins’s wing, she’s back on the beauty pageant circuit with her own Landing Strip entourage. What was mostly a humorous storyline this week, though, had the most emotional moment. Now that Becky and Luke have gotten together, Becky is having trouble getting intimate as she struggles with reminders of the abortion. It’s a sympathetic, and humbling, moment when she reveals her deepest emotions and fears to Mindy and her friends. Almost at a loss for words, Mindy encourages her to leave the past in the past. But it’s the companionship that seems to matter most to Becky. Now she has a support system, people who make her feel like she’s not alone (even if that does include a shared experience of all four girls losing their virginity in a truck).
Julie’s still haunted by her own mistakes when Derek shows up on her doorstep, trying to talk. Tami may have realized she needs to start taking the high road when it comes to her daughter, but Eric certainly doesn’t when he chases Derek back out to his car with a slightly less-than-threatening pink tricycle handlebar. Derek doesn’t seem to give up that easily and visits Tami at work, attempting to get her permission to talk Julie into going back to school. Always poised and polite despite what her endgame may be, Tami starts to crack a little despite herself. She encourages Julie to do whatever she has to do to put this all behind her and return to college. And when Julie finally talks to Derek, he reveals that he quit his job and is getting divorced. But he ultimately wants to seduce her again, referencing a rare connection he knows they had. It seems to at least convince Julie to apologize to her parents for her mistakes and go back to Burleson, until she confirms all Derek wanted was to get her back.
Whatever it may be, a lack of anywhere to go, or a memory of a real connection, Julie ends up at Matt Saracen’s doorstep in Chicago instead of school. Although the piled-on lies will certainly have their consequences, it’s lovely as always to see Matt’s half smirk on screen again. Perhaps not quite enough to make me forget my frustrations with Julie this season, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of him next week!
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