Friday Night Lights

Episode Report Card
Drunken Bee: A+ | 3 USERS: A+
Team Building

Coach is in his office when Vince walks in, letting his tough jaw do the talking. Vince tosses a twenty on Coach's desk and tells him "You're not my father. I support my family. She had no business taking that from you. Shouldn't a given it to her." Holy to the point. Way to call bullshit on the white paternalism thing, Vince. Coach asks Vince to sit down, which Vince does, showing us a face that is allowing those soft, vulnerable eyes to take over from that tough jaw. Coach apologizes and then asks Vince: "Don't quit on me. Don't quit on yourself." Coach asks Vince to do him a favor and help him put the pieces of the broken team back together. Coach says he doesn't know where he's going, but he'll be able to get another job -- but if this "job" doesn't work out for Vince, they both know where Vince is going. Hard truth, that this will be a job for a kid like Vince. Coach tells Vince about the special practice on Saturday night and begs him: "Talk to 'em and bring 'em to me." Vince doesn't agree or disagree, he gets up to leave, with Coach calling after him, asking, asking, asking.

One of those scarily huge pep rallies at West Dillon. The cheerleaders are on the floor, the band is playing, everyone is whipped up into a froth, kids in the stands are holding signs that say "We Want Luke," Joe McCoy is standing off to the side. Why is this guy allowed on campus all the time? Is that how it works? I don't remember random adults/parents hanging around my high school ever. The band stops, the crowd chants -- "We Want" clap clap "Panthers" clap clap -- as Tami takes the podium. But just as she leans into the microphone, the chant turns to booing. It takes her a moment to register it, but it's painful when she does. She tries to limp along, welcoming them all and talking about the big game coming up, but the booing gets louder. Cut over to Wade, McCoy and the football team, who stand around with arms crossed; cut to Buddy standing in an alcove somewhere, feeling sorry for Tami. Cut back to Tami, telling the students, "I will wait." But as she quiets down, the students get more and more riled up, starting a chant about wanting Luke. Tami fights the tears in her eyes, glances over at Joe, who is shot and lit from below by the camera but also by the fires of the devil he serves.

Commercials. Nighttime. East Dillon field. It's hot, the crickets buzz, the only people there are the three coaches, waiting. A lone figure enters from the left -- it's Luke. He runs up softly, like he's walking on egg shells, like he doesn't want to do anything that might set something in motion that might further completely fuck up his life. He politely introduces himself to the coaches and then asks where the team is. Awkward silence. Coach paces, hands on hips in Gonna Blow pose, when one of the assistant coaches directs his attention to the bleachers. And there they are. If you build it and then try to bribe somebody's junkie mom, but he catches you and yells at you, but then you appeal to his better self... they will come! Coach doesn't miss a beat, he doesn't thank them for coming, he just greets them as they come in. They stand around, wary, and Coach launches into one of his speeches: he tells them that last week, they got their asses kicked, and there is no shame in that. But Coach has shame and he apologizes for not giving them the chance to finish their fight. He tells them that he wants to finish the fight with them, and he asks them if they will allow him to help them finish that fight. That's a lot of prepositions, Coach! They all stand there looking at each other until Coach goes over and lights a fire in a barrel and then starts throwing their game tapes in. The game tapes represent the past. He grabs a jersey and he asks them again, "Who wants to finish this fight? Who will finish this fight with me?" The players all look down, probably less because they are taking his question to heart, and more because they have no idea how to interact with such an overly sincere request. In my experience, teenagers often respond to sincerity with looking down at the ground where they are hoping to find irony and the ability to not have to interact with any adults ever again. Finally, Vince comes forward, grabs the jersey out of Coach's hands, they look at each other a long while, and then Vince tosses the jersey in the fire. Landry's next, then Tanker, then Luke-- taking off his blue Panthers t-shirt!-- and then all the nameless boys start lining up as Coach starts a refrain "Let's finish it! Let's finish it!" and the boys respond by starting to clap and yell sincere man things like "Let's do this!"

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Friday Night Lights




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