"Tomorrow Blues" began five months from where we left off last week, with the Dillon Panthers losing the state championship thanks to JD's family crisis and his subsequent meltdown. Though the episode opened with a montage of carefree spring moments lounging by the pool, the crack of baseball bats, taking in an afternoon movie there's trouble a-brewin' in Dillon. Coach Taylor's contract is up for renewal (already?), and Joe McCoy is looking to make a power play that involves taking over the team and placing his main lackey, Wade Aikman, as head coach.
To be fair, Eric's tenure at Dillon High has always existed on the brink. It took a full season to get the town's support, and he continued to struggle against Buddy and Boosters for the remainder of his time. It's of little wonder then that he hesitated to make a strong play to keep his job, showing up at the board meeting simply to state the facts, "I love this team, I love my job, and I'm good at it." In the end, it wasn't enough, but a final shot of Eric and Tami standing together among the ruins of the East Dillon High football field gave the hope that Coach Taylor can start fresh and really prove himself with a new team.
Had this been the final season of "Friday Night Lights," as was originally rumored, I can't help but feel the ending would have been mostly satisfactory. There was enough closure (Lyla and Tyra going to the colleges of their dreams) yet enough left open (the Taylor's future in Dillon, Tim and Matt both considering not going to college) to go either way. As much as I believed this should have been "FNL's" swan song, the possibilities of another season focusing on the fight between the evil Joe McCoy and the good Coach Taylor as cross-town rivals is both promising and downright exciting.
There were plenty of great moments in this episode that focused pretty heavily on couple support. Landry convinced Tyra to believe in herself while Tim told Lyla to go to Vanderbilt so that he wouldn't be the man who keeps her from accomplishing her dreams (and perhaps so that he can back out of his own college obligations?). Matt promised Julie that they'd be able to stay together, and of course Eric and Tami leaned on each other for support, literally, throughout.
In between, there was the amazing Mindy-Billy Riggins wedding, an auction scene that absolutely supports my calls for a Riggins Brothers spin-off, as well as a tear-worthy moment when Tyra found out she was accepted to the University of Texas. My main complaint about this season was that the episodes lacked cohesion and greater purpose (besides getting rid of characters) with their narrative arcs. I realize now how perfectly the groundwork was laid throughout the season for another one subtly, in case it wasn't meant to be, but enough so that the changes and progressions made sense. I have high hopes for season four, with the conflicts already in play that should continue to make for great television. I hope another season (or two) will bring the show the popularity it deserves to match its unending acclaim.
Musings and Miscellanea:
- Is it just me, or did Tim Riggins genuinely laugh for the first time ever in this episode?
- One of the most touching moments belonged to Matt and Lorraine. I've always loved their relationship, and it was easy to feel his pain at putting her in a nursing home the woman who basically raised him since childhood, and for all intents and purposes was his primary parent. Later in the episode he said to her, "You're the only person who's never left me, I'm not going to leave you," which gives the distinct impression that Matt Saracen will be around next season after all.
- Speaking of Lorraine, she had a great quote when she met her fellow nursing home coevals, "This is my grandson he's a quarterback! Or ... used to be."
- The auction scene was priceless, as are most all Riggins Brothers' exchanges. My favorite quotes from this episode:
Billy: "What are you, the car whisperer, Tim?"
Tim: "Where's the me time? I have four classes back to back, where's the time for me? They don't have a bar where I can just be me!"
Billy: "I gotta get the hell out of here and go to Puerto Rico so, don't torch the house."
- I like that there was much less Julie this season, and what little there was was actually likable. Good thing, since one would assume she'll play a much more prominent role next season. As much as I agree that Lyla and Tyra's storylines are played out in Dillon, I will miss both of them next year.
- Oh wow, Taylor Kitsch with aviators on in the wind fixing a truck ... I am going to be first in line to see him play Gambit in the Wolverine movie, mark my words. "No regrets!"
- From the Buddy Garrity School of Morality: "If it was recruitment, it would be illegal. This is just a 'visit!'"
- Goodbye, Panthers: Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!
(Photo courtesy NBC)
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