Friday Night Lights

Episode Report Card
Drunken Bee: B+ | 3 USERS: A+
Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Drive-by shot of the Beverage Barn. Sigh. We don't have drive-through liquor stores here in Chicago. But we had them in Louisiana. And I...I just miss getting a frozen margarita handed to me through the car window. Billy and Tyra are stocking up on alcohol for the party. Billy thinks they're getting too much, but it turns out he doesn't even know how much that is. Tyra tells him that they simply can't run out of alcohol at the party; "If we want this thing to be a hit, we gotta think big. Trust me on this."

In the locker room. Smash sits with a Bible next to him and a playbook in his lap. Coach Taylor walks by and asks him what he's doing there, since the game isn't for four hours. Smash says he's just trying to get his mind right, but as Taylor turns to leave, Smash asks him what he knows about Shady Grady. Taylor sees what the problem is, and comes in -- looking exhausted I might add -- to give Smash a talking to. He tells him that Shady Grady has a list and that Smash will be on it. He tells Smash that he is a prospect, and that he's going to have to get used to people coming and looking at him over the next two years. But, Taylor says sternly, Shady Grady cannot make or break his career. Smash has to focus on "this game, and this game only." Smash responds, ambivalently, "Yeah, you right." Taylor turns to leave, asking Smash if everything is "all good." Which it obviously isn't. This episode is doing such a great job of not having Taylor at the center of any of the story lines; they're taking his absence from the plot as an opportunity to underscore, thematically, all the ways he can'tcoach these kids out of their personalities, preconceptions, or worries.

Out in the middle of nowhere, Tyra and Billy set up for the party. Billy lugs a keg into place and then rushes into their ramshackle RV command center and turns on the radio which takes us over to...

Homecoming at Panther Stadium, with its bright white light trying to fend off the surrounding darkness, the garish team colors, and cheering crowd. But the usual game night cacophony fades out a bit as the camera swings behind the huge Panther banner to show us Jason Street sitting quietly in his wheelchair; Explosions in the Sky gently insistent behind the roaring crowd noise; the rest of the Panthers standing behind Jason with heads bowed. The announcer shouts, "And here are your Dillon Panthers!" and while the crowd shrieks, one last quiet shot of Jason's paralyzed feet gracefully resting against the bottom of the banner as he reaches out and pokes his arms through the give-away banner and wheels through it. The crowd goes silent at the sight of him, and the announcer quietly asks the crowd to "Welcome tonight's honorary captain, Jason Street." At which the crowd resumes its cheering and Jason reaches one gnarled hand up to wave back in acknowledgment. Lots of furrowed brows of confused Love/Pity/Pride/Regret/Self-Congratulation-for-Sticking-By-Him from folks in the crowd, Lyla, and the Streets themselves, which Herc would say reminds us of the sensitive politics of a display like this one. The team sort of walks behind Jason slowly as he wheels along until Tim rather graciously gives them a big-ups sort of signal to run onto the field, which they do, leaving Tim to wheel Jason onto the field. The team huddles around Jason and chants "clear eyes full hearts can't lose" over and over until they've reduced not only the paralyzed guy on TV but also the lazy recapper on the couch to tears.

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Friday Night Lights




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