Friday Night Lights
Pilot

Episode Report Card
Drunken Bee: B | 33 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
I'm Too Busy Crying to Come Up With A Clever Title

Less than a minute to go, so the Panthers go for an onside kick. There's a scramble and it's unclear for a moment who's recovered it, but I think you can probably guess who has. Insanity in the stands. Taylor calls the play to Saracen and then grabs him, "Son! We got a chance to win this game." Snap. Saracen fakes a pass and hands the ball off. The ball is run a good bit downfield, and the carrier gets out of bounds to stop the clock. Very little time left. Saracen is a mess, everybody is offsides, Taylor's screaming plays out to the field, the soundtrack swells big time, and after the snap, the camera goes slo-mo as Saracen stumbles and then runs into the backfield -- like majorly, unrealistically into the backfield -- to get away from two defenders before launching the pass -- a perfect spiral -- from, like, his own thirty yard line, complete to Smash at the Chaps' thirty yard line, who runs it in and PANTHERS WIN!!! Okay, so probably not the most realistic or most unexpected play in the entire world, but when we cut to both Taylor and the Panther stands just gaping in awe at Saracen's gorgeous pass, it's enough to experience that sublimity by proxy. Or it's enough for someone who cares more about artfulness than truthfulness.

Some honestly-felt celebration in the endzone and in the stands. Coach Taylor walks toward his jubilant team, but casts a -- what's that you say? oh, yes! -- furrowed glance at his wife in the stand. Quickly enough, the celebration tones down as both teams gather in the center of the field to kneel and listen to Smash's prayer for Street. "We know that you work in mysterious ways, and we just want to send our spirit, and our love, just to heal him in whatever way you see fit." As far as prayers go, a nice one. Not cajoling or begging, but just asking. Acknowledging weakness, asking for help. The camera roams around the stadium, the same people who had held up their crossed fingers before, now with heads bowed in Christian prayer, and I can't help but think that all of these rituals -- the game itself, the kneeling, the finger crossing, the bowing, the clapping, the cheering -- are just among the innumerable ways that human beings come together to wish something was different than what it is.

Coach Taylor voice-overs his own prayer, a prayer about the fragility of life and the vulnerability of humans, as we cut from an aerial shot of the crowd at the center of the football field, to the crowd of people gathering at the hospital. Taylor: "We will all, at some point in our lives, fall. We will all fall." Taylor makes his way to Street and continues voice-overing: "We must keep this in our hearts. That what we have is special. That it can be taken from us. And when it is taken from us, we will be tested." Taylor comes around the corner to see Street, still under anesthetic, in a hospital bed, wearing a halo and chest cast. The soundtrack is set to "insta-cry" and he continues, "We will be tested to our very souls." In the hallway, Julie awkwardly approaches the popular Lyla, who looks just so slight in her little cheerleading uniform. The whole team is gathered in the lobby. Coach Taylor slow-motion walks into Street's room and hugs Street's despondent father. Outside, Julie walks in close to Lyla and offers her shoulder, upon which Lyla collapses in silent sobs. In the lobby, Tim and Smash clasp hands, and then, back in the inner sanctum, Taylor approaches Street's bed and slips his hand into the boy's. Meanwhile, Drunken Bee is sobbing, even though she has already seen this damn scene. We end on Taylor's face, inscrutable, gazing on his best hope, his best thing, the thing he never should have put so much upon.

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Friday Night Lights

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