As us Packers fans experienced this week, sometimes bye weeks are painful long-winded moments without worthwhile football, and sometimes they’re a necessity to stop and lick your wounds. Same is true for Friday Night Lights.
We begin with Jess, who is surprisingly upbeat for someone who deals with a lot of smelly boys, once again in the locker room. She exchanges snarky quips with the players and gives “Coach” Riggins some really good advice regarding Tink. Riggins later repeats the Jess “he’s following the snap count and not the ball” advice in a meeting with the real coaches and Coach Taylor praises him. Win one for Riggins and for the girls out there. Jess really turned it up for me this week. I appreciate her all out love for the game. She’d rather talk smack with the smelly boys and, even if she doesn’t get the credit, get her voice heard somewhere in the coaching ranks, than be a cheerleader.
Our hero Vince though is not completely pleased with Jess’s new role. He tries to defend her from the evil, jockstrap holding, football players, and asks her to quit the team. In a very un-dramatic scene at the lamest school dance ever, Jess stands up for herself and her new job. Vince displeased, gets up from his lawn chair (?) and leaves. Vince is not playing the typical bonehead “girls and football = bad” guy role, instead it’s clear – and this is the genius of FNL – he is obsessed right now with trying to protect the women in his life. Over a “family” dinner, Vince interrupts a happy trip down memory lane as his parents are reliving their first date, questioning his “dad” about all the time he has missed. Vince’s dad leaves, Vince’s mom cries, and Vince is Vince. We learn that Vince’s dad – I’m sure he has a name but it escapes me – was the drug dealer who got Vince’s mom – again, there’s a name in their somewhere – strung out. We find Vince searching his father’s new apartment for drugs to no avail. Daddy promises on his life that he is different and swears he will never let Mommy get messed up again. Vince then shows why he is our hero as the memories of last season’s sacrifices and struggles to get Mommy clean are written all over his face. Fingers crossed Daddy – who seems to have money for an apartment but not money for a second outfit – is telling the truth. If he leads to Vince’s downfall, I might have to bring the pain.
In other “I have Daddy issues” news, Buddy Jr. is back!!! And on the way home from the airport we finally learn that the car lot is closed. Thank god, closure! Here’s what we know about Buddy Jr. 1. He’s eerily looks exactly like Buddy Sr. 2. He really likes steak, although I’m pretty sure he wasn’t eating a lot of it living with hippie vegetarian step-dad. 3. He likes Tami Taylor’s boobs (yeah I just said boobs, deal with it!) 4. He likes to drink during the day, but can’t hold his liquor and also likes to throw up during the day. 5. He will steal your car. No lie, I LOVED the “let’s go find Buddy Jr.” scene. Buddy turns to Coach and they go searching for the car. When they find Jr. he takes off running and in a scene taken straight out of COPS, Sr. runs him down and tackles him. Apparently this is just what Jr. needed as he now listens to authority and is trying out for the football team. It all comes back to football.
Speaking of Daddy, Becky’s dad wants her back home. But before dropping her off, Mindy and Becky bond over the state of Mindy’s butt and the stripper’s schedule. This leads to the very predictable scene of Mindy telling Becky to get back in the car as drunky step mom and drunky dad argue. Stripper and chop shop owner Riggins really have grown up! The tale ends as we stare off lovingly at a picture of martyr Tim Riggins.
In football-ish news Luke gets some interest from TMU as they give him tickets to a game and a tour of the facility. As the gang heads out on to the field for the game, the coach takes Vince aside, and it becomes clear that this was all a trick to get our hero to the fictional school. Vince then enters the “Head Coach” room that is filled with probably the entire staff of TMU.
In fringe character news, where’s Slutty? Locked in a supply closet is my guess. Epic can’t do math and hits a guy with a book and then is mad that her and her loser friends can’t get into the dance. And then there’s Julie Taylor. I hate to put her in this category, but right now her story has turned into drinking and then sleeping with the TA and then repeat.
In two weeks we can expect Julie to get slapped and Coach Taylor tells Vince that “we’re going to play by our rules.” I’m sure there was more in the preview, but the slap really made it hard to remember anything else.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose! (I really hope someone says this phrase at least one point in this season)