Where to start with the brilliant in this episode? Maybe with the Smash plot, which has actually been connected to football. Woot! I sense the onset of a plot arc here and now there's actually some tension about whether they'll make the playoffs or not. This is a good thing. And this sort of plot is what Friday Night Lights does well. Smash has our sympathy because the situation is unjust: the guys are goading him and harassing his sister. However, Smash really does need to learn some restraint--his ego and indignation steer him into danger. I was glad that Mama Smash and Coach kept a firm leash on Smash to begin with, and it was good to see them handle the initial press conference so tightly and successfully. Of course, I should have known it was too good to last! There was nothing that they could do about the press ambushing Smash in the diner. It was a clever tactic--the press got exactly what they wanted and Smash fell into their trap because he just really doesn't get it, that sometimes you've got to be cautious and play the game, even if it infuriates you.
I am way unimpressed with Smash's girlfriend too. She made no attempt to sympathise with his sister or offer an apology directly to her. I feel she should. If I saw my boyfriend's little sister getting picked on like that, getting distressed by prank calls and, worst of all, taking all the guilt on herself, I'd be reaching out to her even if she rebuffed me. It's possible that we're meant to think she's just cautious around Smash's family, but she's so confident and outgoing around Smash, I read it more as self-centredness on her part.
Landry's got a cute new indie chick! Hee1 I liked her. And I loved seeing it wind Tyra up. While I'm definitely 'over' the Landry/Tyra sexual tension, I do enjoy seeing Tyra cranky. And she obviously clued in fast that Jean was a rival, and so was determined to take her down a notch or too. I liked the scene with Matt and Tim as well--they were so amused by Landry having found someone so like himself.
It was cool to see Tyra dinnering with the Taylors (continuity!), and Tami fishing for a favour was hilarious. I didn't think I'd like the volleyball plot--it brought back painful memories of volleyball as a kid (at our school volleyball was the 'loser' sport that you played if you didn't make the football or netball teams). But I actually found it interesting to see Tami coaching, albeit desperately. And any plot that results in Tim hanging around girls' sports paining his competitive sensibilities is a good thing in my book. He's too funny! He so wanted to be coaching them himself.
Add to that mix, a Tyra with a grudge, and you I just adored it. I find Tyra and Tim fascinating because they're so similar in so many ways. And they work really well as a pair who've got history together, but who are way too alike to wind up together long term. Also, I love Tyra's anti-sports feelings. 'Are you having fun?' 'No.' EXACTLY! I hate team sports and am just as apathetic as her about them. But I found it cute when she grudgingly admitted that it was quite fun to win. And she and Tami are great together.
And oh, Tim! Tim, Tim, Tim. *hides face* He was brilliant in this episode and I can't help but love him despite how hopeless he is. I hated seeing him get beat up, but loved how honest he was about it with Lyla in the Church. That was a very funny scene in a painful way. And it led to an even more painful one. My heart was in my mouth for Tim when Lyla came over for dinner. It did all seem so forced, until Tim himself admitted that the candles weren't him, and from that point on it was raw and honest the way FNL is in its best moments. The blurted out 'I love you' was fabulous--such a contrast to the perfectly timed confessions on most shows, this was said in desperation as the girl was walking away. And 'brutal honesty' was such a fabulous line--I love Tim for saying that, for wanting that, and then for arguing with it. That conflict says so much about him.
But even more exciting than that, I loved Lyla in this plot! So much so that I'd almost ship them. HA! But I really admired her for being honest, for being direct, not playing any games and telling him what he needed to hear (even if maybe she harbours more feelings than she acknowledges, I think). And while I was wary of her lying to her new bf, she wound up confessing the truth to him. She carried herself with such dignity in that scene it made me really like her. She's not just saying she's changed her life, she's really changing. I wasn't that impressed by the new bf's response--it felt a bit constrained and a bit of a 'pat' reply. But he's right that it took courage on Lyla's part.
And then she brought Tim the cash! Wow! That was another wonderful scene, with Lyla not taking no for an answer. And I genuinely believe she doesn't want anything back from him now. But wow, Tim must be heartbroken. And the scene with the dealers was so nerve-wracking. Man, Billy drives me crazy. I was practically screaming at the screen. He chose totally the wrong tone to take with them and now it looks like they won't have seen the end of them. Gah!
Oh, and JASON was back! \o/ I love that he can apply all that energy and competitiveness and charisma to anything he sets his mind to, even car sales. This won't be a satisfying career for Jason, but it's something and I'm glad he's working out his independence. Though did anyone else find it kinda hilarious that he was bitching about only having $4000 left to his name? Dude, when I first moved out of home, I was lucky if I had $100 in the bank at a time! And I'd save that kind of flip out for when the mechanic's costs would put me in the red.
Bring on more eps like this one!
Oh, and while I'm in glowy Friday Night Lights mood, everyone's seen American Baby, right? Just checking. ;)