Friday Night Lights

Episode Report Card
Drunken Bee: A+ | 7 USERS: A+
Full Circle

Cue "Devil Town" and yet another sublime montage of a team and its town. The Panthers are feted with a championship parade which, thank God, progresses in slow motion. Old codger farmers clap, young girls with pony tails and legs clap, Coach beams, the boys all beam, the marching band marches, Lady Mayor gets loose, Tami and Julie stand by, family gathers around, Lyla looks on at Jason with stony pride, Tyra raises her eyebrow at Tim (I love those two looks the pushed-aside-for-now girls are giving at these boys and their Kings of the World stuff), Grandma Saracen looks positively, radiantly manic, Billy flies Bo over to Tim to ride in the championship truck, Julie and Matt lock eyes, Coach looks on it all, inscrutable, in hair/face lockdown.

Cut to Coach driving in his truck once again, listening to Panther Football Radio, once again. Full circle. The more things change. Platitudes have never been so artful. The announcers discuss how Coach took an ailing team and healed a team and its town. But no good deed goes unpunished, because those announcers then pose the question of what his flight from Dillon says about his devotion to the team. And, unsurprisingly, there's plenty of folks ready to call in and say that his flight means that he's heartless. Coach screws up his mouth and gets out of his truck to go into his office. The minute after you win, you're back at work trying to win some more.

He goes into the locker room where he finds Jason lecturing the team. They can feel good today, he says, but tomorrow they've got to work. Next season every team in Texas will be gunning for them. "So here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna think about the off season. Off season's about development. Development of speed, development of strength, development of character." He forgets to mention DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWAL. Coach hangs back, listening to his protege, before walking down the hall as Jason tells the team to enjoy the day, but telling them "tomorrow we go to work." The camera ranges across the dozens of 8x10 photographs of the men that have made Dillon Panther Football throughout the years.

Coach comes through the door and meets the steely and seemingly disappointed glances of his players. He looks on them gently, they stare back, until one man -- Matt Saracen -- starts it up, what we've been waiting for all season, dreaming of and hoping for. Yes. The slow clap. It starts, and once it starts it cannot be stopped. And so it goes. The boys slow-clapping and then standing to honor their coach -- a man who has supported them and disappointed them, a man who made dreams come true, a man who made a lot of mistakes, not one of those mistakes hair-related -- they clap and cheer and Coach watches them with pride and takes their thanks gracefully. Jason calls from off screen, "Clear eyes, full hearts!" and the boys respond, "Can't lose!"

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Friday Night Lights




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