Kingdom Come, Kingdom Conquered.
Oh Kingdom. If you would have asked me to name the team that the Lions quit on last season, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Now, this girl will never forget Kingdom, Texas “In Heaven as it is in Texas” as this was one of the top episodes of Friday Night Lights ever!
The episode opens with the duel story line of Coach and the team and Coach and Vince. With Vince, he’s in his office cooking bacon (?) discussing the recent TMU issue. We learn that apparently schools can’t talk to juniors. Also, Coach advises Vince to not tell Luke the truth behind the TMU visit. On the field Coach gives the perfect speech to the team. He realizes that the team is talking about giving up and that this game is more than about a win this season, it’s about finally overcoming the “old Lions” stigma. He warns the team against playing for revenge, “When you’re playing football with revenge you’re playing stupid football and I’m not going to have it…Success is not a goal, it is a by-product.” Its times like these that make me want to clap, jump up and hug my TV, but maybe that’s just me. It seems as though the school missed the message though as when the bus for Kingdom departs a giant Revenge banner is raised and the bus drives through it.
The team arrives in Kingdom to a sign welcoming the “East Dillon Loins” and the message from Kingdom could not be transparent: The Lions are quitters, who also deserve overly fancy cookies from the hotel. Back on the practice field Coach gives Billy Riggins a chance to run the special teams drills, and I think the Packers should take a look at hiring Riggins in the off-season as I’m confident that Riggins would be better than Slocum. “Special Teams is when the real players get a breather. You will run with Hate in your heart. You’ll be lucky if your parents remember your name” Love it.
Meanwhile, Coach is meeting Vince’s Daddy, who has lost some weight from his days as Bailey’s husband on Grey’s Anatomy. The three discuss again the recent TMU situation. Vince makes perhaps the smartest decision of his life and agrees that all college and recruiting talk should go through Coach. In very real foreshadowing, Vince’s Daddy clearly looms as a soon to be issue when it comes to Vince’s future.
But what really matters is what happens on the field. And what happens is that the Kingdom players have no respect for the Lions and apparently neither do the refs. This is clearly not a Roger Goodell monitored league as even the radio announcers blatantly stated that the refs were siding with the home team. In the halftime locker room, Coach tries to stay the course and asks the team to “stay away from dumb” but when the team starts the second half and clearly the refs are also maintaining their course, Coach pulls Vince aside and lets the reigns loose. The Lions then mount a great comeback littered with amazing passes, blocking (see that Packers! That’s called down field blocking!!) and apparently a TON of penalties. The Lions end up winning the game; Kingdom come, Kingdom Conquered. However we then learn that the Lions gave up over 200 yards in penalties and I’m amazed that any team can score let alone win with a statistic like that. Also surprising is what appear to be snazzy new away uniforms on the East Dillon players. Funny how things like that happen.
Regardless though, the team is happy and everyone is going to celebrate. The coaches drink beers and whiskey and play cards, and the players attend some crazy hippie party where Buddy Jr. uses the great pick-up line of “I like how you’re putting on your lipstick” and makes out with a girl. Coach Taylor drunkenly explains his dismay at playing “loose” football and stumbles off to bed to drunk dial Tami Taylor who is drinking what appears to be 10 plus bottles of wine with the previously mean teacher. Meanwhile the players sit around a fire and Vince drunkenly tells Luke about TMU and Luke proclaims that all the players are his brothers and he would walk on fire with them. Funny looking new guy then comes up with the genius idea that everyone should get branded. The old lady in me was screaming at my TV at this point, “Luke Cafferty, you stop that!” but alas, he does not and the players return to Jess to have her bandage up their new wounds.
But in the end we all go home, victorious, and all is well. Coach asks Hero Vince is he would like to drive home with his father. Vince, “No Coach. This is my team. I ride with them.” Awww.
Speaking of going home, Julie comes home at the end of the episode to do some laundry. And why does she come home? Because according to the TA’s wife, “Julie Taylor is a slut who is sleeping with a married TA.” Recapping Julie’s time at college, she makes her roommate go to her classes, she drives around with TA, she talks about Matt to the TA, the TA clearly has never seen FNL and has no idea the greatness of Matty Saracen, and then while at the library a very angry TA’s wife finds Julie, slaps her and then screams that Julie is a slut.
And while this episode ends with everything feeling moderately warm and fuzzy, next week’s scenes are very ominous. The gangster that loaned Vince the money for his mom’s rehab last year has returned and he wants his money back. I don’t have a lot of experience with gang members, but I’m surprised that the gang leader waited this long. We also see Vince and Luke, this week brothers from another mother, arguing about the TMU issue and Julie getting called out by her parents for sleeping with a married man.
Hold on tight folks, this season is about to get bumpy.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.