Friday Night Lights: The Finale


Let me tell you, it's hard to write on perfection. And Friday Night Lights is perfection. So before I slap a big ol' SPOILER ALERT on this here blog post, please permit me a few words to wax poetic about the greatest show on television. That's right, I said greatest show on television. Sure, there are people out there who would prefer Gossip Girl or some less-than-FNL-y show like that. But in the prophetic words of Coach Eric Taylor, "To those people, I would say you're wrong. You're dead wrong." Now, I'm not an expert on TV (some would argue I'm not even an expert on sports), but I do watch a lot more television than anyone else I know... and that has to count for something, right? Right. So without further ado, my thoughts/questions/concerns about last night's Friday Night Lights finale.

*SPOILER ALERT* If you haven't watched the final episode of the third season yet, stop reading here. I don't want to be that loudmouth girl who ruins the personal emotional roller coaster that is an episode FNL.

The viewers flash forward five months from football season to the end of the academic year. We quickly learn at an awards banquet that everybody's favorite quarterback and imaginary TV boyfriend (that's just me? Oh, whoops, sorry) Matt Saracen is going to school at the Art Institute of Chicago, that the world's most beautiful couple, Lyla Garrity and Tim Riggins, is going to San Antonio State and that the spunky Tyra Collette has been waitlisted at Texas. In true FNL fashion, however, as the episode unwinds, all of these declared futures hang delicately and poignantly in the balance. Matty takes grandma to the home, which surprisingly is a lot harder on him than on his senile grandmother who displays a touching level of grace through the whole moving process. Lyla is called into Principal Taylor's office where she is informed that her offer at Vanderbilt is still on the table and that Buddy Garrity (whom my 18-year old brother cites at the fashion inspiration for Coach K's gameday attire) is willing to go to his hated brother Gary to try to get enough cash to pay for his daughter's education. Landry convinces Tyra that she just shouldn't rest on her laurels, so they drive to Austin together so that Tyra can meet an admissions officer and win him over with her extreme good looks superior intellect. All the while we learn that Joe McCoy, pretty much the biggest jerk to hit TV since, since... I don't know when I hate this guy so freaking much, is working to force Coach Taylor out as coach of the Dillon Panthers.

Oh, we also learn that Billy Riggins is going to be a father, which, at first blush, is terrifying, but not as much so after he gives his younger brother a lecture at the end of the episode imploring him to go to college so he can be an example for all Riggins children to come.

Phew. Deep Breath.

All of the storylines converge at the Riggins-Collette Wedding, where Tim convinces Lyla she has to go to Vanderbilt because he loves her and doesn't want to be "that guy" holding her back (And we love YOU, Tim!), Landry and Tyra celebrate her acceptance to UT (Landry wins TV boyfriend of the night after he had pulled the car over on the way back from Austin to tell Tyra to get off the pity train and that he believed in her, which is what counts), Matt Saracen—after talking to Julie—leaves the wedding to pick up grandma and tell her he's not going anywhere, and Tami informs Eric that he has, indeed, been forced out of Dillon but that the board is making him the new coach of East Dillon High—which sucks.

What sucks more, though, is that I am going to have to wait months for the next season of this show. My prediction: Matt Saracen becomes an assistant to Coach Taylor at East Dillon. The season starts off terribly for East Dillon, they draw no fans, can't win a game—including a regular season loss to the Panthers—but then face Dillon again in the playoffs and beat them on a final drive led by a young quarterback who has flourished under the tutelage of Matty and Coach Taylor. This all ends with a moment at centerfield, where Coach Taylor gets that searing look in his eyes, and stares down the coach of the Panthers as well as Joe McCoy. There will be a poignant moment between Taylor and Tyler Hansbrough J.D. McCoy, and everyone will feel warm and fuzzy inside. The End.

Until May 19, when we can all buy our copies of the third season on DVD: Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't lose!


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