Friday Night Lights, Episode 502: Outside Looking In

Thoughts on tonight’s episode of Friday Night Lights, “Outside Looking In,” after the jump.

Nothing truly spectacular happened in this one. It felt like a middle-of-the-season kind of episode. And yet … last night I was saying on Twitter how it was still good enough that I started thinking about how few of them are left and how much I’ll miss the show when it goes away in a few months.

There are a few significant plot points, but the one I imagine we’ll hear the most about going forward is Vince getting in with the man — Bob — who runs that Short Garden store. This is one of those “straight from the headlines” kind of plots. Man buys a few meals, hooks someone up with a job, and then would like to  maybe direct a player to a certain school in a year or two. All of which is definitely a violation of amateurism rules. This can only end poorly, but I imagine Vince will find himself deeper in this mess before coach finds out and has to step in. The only question, down the line, is whether it’ll cost him eligibility. Because the show is in its final season, I really hope we don’t end the year with Vince on the sidelines, but it’s early yet.

We also finally see the infamous student Epic. I can’t decide whether she’ll be a regular (and I don’t really want to do the research to spoil it) but obviously she’s someone who Tami Taylor has connected with and they’ll undoubtedly get some mileage of trying to turn Epic into a real student. (Still, given what we heard about her in the first episode, would Straight As even matter? Maybe she won’t make a Tyra-type turnaround, but at least something that gets her to a junior college?)

The rally girl story was great because other than the Taylors, Michael B. Jordan is definitely the show’s best actor and the interplay between Vince and Jess this season is very good. Jess was borderline mute for the first few episodes last season, but now there’s a real chemistry there. Loved a story that had them spending so much time together on screen.

Along those same lines, Jordan does a killer job on the scene with the college letters and his mom, asking her where she wants to live and saying “They want me!”

Now onto a few bullets…

— Luke being suspended. Just purely from a football fan perspective, I’ll say this much, Luke not only left his feet, but I thought he was trying to do in a front flip in the replay! Still, that it wasn’t really about the hit, but more about Eric being forced out of the inner circle of elite HS football set up some interesting stuff down the road.

— Speaking of forced out, loved the scene with Mac, talking smack about the East-West game this season. Good to see a brief reappearance from Mac.

— Maybe my favorite line of the night: Drunk Luke telling Becky that he traded a pig to Tinker for her to be his rally girl.

— Coach Taylor has given a lot of great speeches, but he found a new way to give me goosebumps without saying anything by just writing “STATE” on the whiteboard in the locker room.

What’d you think of “Outside Looking In?”

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