Friday Night Lights: “Texas Whatever” (Episode 5.12)

TV Reviews Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights: “Texas Whatever” (Episode 5.12)

I wish I didn’t have to recap this episode. I wish that I could just give it a perfect 10 and let it bask in its perfection. I wish I could just tell you that for 42 minutes, my heart was in my throat, that I didn’t—for one single second—wish that anything were done differently, that every nuance, every line, every song was TV at its best.

But I do. And so, here is what I loved about it. (I also wish that I could infuse this recap with Bright Eyes’ cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town” as the background music—just as they did in this episode. So hum that to yourself to really get in the mood. Nothing epitomizes Dillon more.)

• Riggins (shirtless) right back in his old trailer, right back in his old life, recognizing that nothing has changed and being pretty damn pissed about it.

• The news that there are about to be two more Rigglets on the way. Twins! Bravo to the writers for totally redeeming Billy Riggins and proving that even in a town like Dillon, people are capable of change.

• “We’re going to have to put him in a tent! And we won’t even be able to afford a tent.”-Mindy, sobbing at the news of her twins

• The very realistic, very honest slow burn of resentment that’s developing in the Taylor marriage. They’re both right. They’re both wrong. (Actually, I think Tami is right, but anywho.) Anyone who has ever been married has faced a crossroads such as this, and as painful as it is to see the Taylors struggle to find common ground, we, as viewers, empathize with every move both toward and away from each other that they take.

• “How many times have we moved before, for your job?” – Tami

• Luke’s crumbling disappointment at his potential college football prospects. The truth about high school football is that most kids aren’t stars, and Lord knows that I love me some Luke, but props to the show and to Matt Lauria for injecting a wise dose of realism into his future.

• And of course, what made this disappointment all the more palatable is the advice he got from Riggins. Luke approached Riggs to ask if he’s in love with Becky, but also listened (wisely) to his counsel: “Let me give you some advice, Luke. You’re going to State, correct? Nothing is going to be bigger than that. Play it that way. Play it like it’s the last time you’re ever going to lace up. Then let go. And move on. That’s my advice.” BRILLIANCE! (And tears.)

• Tyra’s back! And she loves Riggs! And she’s gonna have his back no matter what. Texas forever! Season one forever! Damn, I love this show! And more importantly, as Tim confesses the extent of Billy’s sins, he also realizes that everybody needs at least one person on which to lean.

• The town’s divided loyalties were portrayed to a tee. After watching five seasons in Dillon—the anger, the rage coming to a boil, the grotesque Panthers’ celebration, and of course, Buddy’s glee at the idea of a “super-team”—was spot on.

• “Before football, I was going nowhere fast. Straight to juvie. Playing for the East Dillon Lions probably saved my life. I have a bond with my teammates that can never be broken. I have a coach who is like a father to me. He shows up and gives 100 percent. Every game, every practice. It’s more than just a game to us. Football is our life.” – Vince. (Welcome back, Vince! I love you again! And…it turns out, so does Jess. Which makes me surprisingly happy and swoony.)

• “Let me tell you something. You are going to be the star quarterback of the Dillon Panthers next year. And you are going to shine.” – Coach to Vince. (Sob – Me to my pillow.)

• “I could never come back to this school and coach. Never! To hell with them…you got everything you want. You’re a son of a bitch.” -Coach to Buddy

• The core crew of the East Dillon Lions reveling on their field for the very last time. We watch this show for the honest display of weakness, celebration and true humanity. And man, did these boys bring it in this scene. I only wish that I could cut up a piece of the field and bring it home with me too.

• The Tim/Tyra kiss. (Yes, I rewatched. What can I say? I would probably move to Dillon if I knew that Riggs would have me.) But more than just me being pervy, I adored how Riggins came full-circle—that while nothing has changed, he has the capacity to open up and change himself. Five years of rooting for him later, it looks like our Timmy Riggins might just make it out okay. (But Riggs, if you’re reading this, call me! I’ll go live on that gorgeous chunk of land that you still own!)

• Saracen is back too! And toting a Christmas tree. (And now, I’m in full-on waterworks mode.)

• “I’m going to say to you what you haven’t had the grace to say to me. Congratulations, Eric.” – Tami

One more episode left. God love you, Friday Night Lights. I don’t know what I’ll do without you. Texas forever, indeed.

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