The first episode of Season 5 was everything I expected it to be. This show feels like home to me now, after all these years, and I loved the way they drew on old memories for both the characters and the audience... the Alamo Freeze, the ping pong!
In terms of the set up for the season, I am already on board. Love the new guy, Hastings. His attitude towards football would totally be my attitude to football, and the scene between him and Coach amused me no end because I would have found Coach such an asshole if I didn't know him. It was terrific to see the bond between Luke and Vince and them double-teaming to get Hastings on the team was adorable. Though I note that Vince's involvement was incredibly passive. SEND GIRLFRIEND. It would be obnoxious if she didn't know how to give him shit for it. Plus it totally worked. Of course.
In terms of the plotting it's classic and relatively simple, but so beautifully done, as always, that I can't wait for more: using Hastings' advantage in the first game, while showing at the same time showing his inexperience. Yay! It's on! My East Dillon Lions pom poms are at the ready for a great season!
This episode was totally heartstring-tugging with all the farewells. OMG Matt's empty room! *tear* The Alamo Freeze! I MISS HIS LITTLE WHITE HAT TOO! LOL, Julie, is too adorable--she took Landry to a strip-club in the most Mum way possible.
I found Coach and Tami adorable with their clinginess with Julie. They really are incredibly lucky with their daughter (even though she had that horrible brat period for a while!). I liked that this episode showed how Julie has grown up, and that they were clinging to the past. At the same time, you totally can't blame them, it was a big deal for them, and they are of course capable of embracing the change.
Wow, Becky and Jess were both playing 'mums' in this episode! Both have really difficult situations on their hands with absent fathers. I liked the handling of both. Becky can be a bit of a crybaby sometimes, but that situation with her stepmother was completely untenable. The woman was horrible and hypocrtical (giving Nicorette to her husband and smoking in front of the baby--yuck!), and Becky's essentially been made home-less and family-less. I am glad she DID go to Billy, because Tim would want her to.
Speaking of Billy... well, as anyone who reads my FNL reviews knows, he's not exactly my favourite character, so I'm viewing his move to the coaching side with some reservations. Tim totally broke my heart in his prison scene, and I was mad as hell at Billy's audacity to claim he had been Tim's coach! UGH! Did yelling at him and punching him and accusing him of ruining your life make you his Coach? Thank goodness Tim quietly put him straight.
And that's great, Billy, that you think about Tim's sacrifice every second of every day. SO YOU SHOULD. I'm also down with you becoming an improved version of yourself. However, if you manage to nob any of my other favourites in the process I will not be a happy camper. And I FEAR YOU WILL. I also expect you and your wife to be ungracious hosts to Becky. I can feel it.
Oh, Tim, sweetheart! You are really pulling inside yourself, aren't you? I think it's taking all his resources to stay sane and calm in prison and he doesn't have anything left for anyone else. The visits from Becky and Billy are making him feel the distance between him and other people all the greater and I worry so much for him as a consequence. Right now, there isn't really any way out mentally, as well as physically. Neither of them are able to give Tim what Tim would need right now. And I think he's going down a long, hard road (as if he hasn't already been on one!). I respect the show very much for 'going there' but it's heartbreaking.
In the more uplifting column, I loved Vince and Jess in this episode--they have such great chemistry and I loved Vince playing dad to her little brother so well. It's awful to see these young kids shouldering such burdens, but it does make for great TV.
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