Friday Night Lights, Episode 503: The Right Hand of the Father

It’s another Wednesday and DirecTV 101 Network just aired the third episode of Friday Night Lights’ final season, “The Right Hand of the Father.”

There was more than one story this week, but let’s be honest, we all just want to talk about Michael B. Jordan’s work as Vince this week. I’ve already said it before this season, but outside of the Taylor family, his acting is easily the highlight of the show. This week wasn’t quite Zach Gilford’s showcase of “The Son,” but it felt close, or at least similar in the very nature of dealing with that father-son dynamic.

We never have it made particularly clear what Vince’s dad went away for (unless I completely missed it — and come to think of it, I’m never sure we even got a proper name. But clearly, he’s been gone for a few years for something that Vince doesn’t think too highly of. (He mentions robbing, etc. as something his dad could fall into, so that gives us some insight.)

As coach Eric Taylor wants Vince to strive to be better, Vince has no idea how to do that because until recently he’d had no guidance to do any such thing. But all of those stupid rules that Coach has placed on Vince have almost unconsciously helped steer him in the right direction. While Vince doesn’t think he knows how to be better, he gets confirmation at the end of the episode from his father that he’s already better than his dad ever was.

You had to wonder, as Vince’s dad watched from a distance when the QB embraced Coach Taylor after the game, did he see he wasn’t needed and that was what expedited his exit? For my money, I’m glad they didn’t go the corny route of having Vince chase down daddy in the parking lot and offer him a place to stay. That can happen down the road, but it shouldn’t happen immediately. Not after one honest handshake and apology. That’s the kind of cookie-cutter stuff they don’t normally do on this show and I’m glad they avoided it here.

(Quick aside: Anyone who was also a Wire fan think about the parallel of when Michael’s father, who obviously sexually abused both Michael and possibly his younger brother, came home from prison. Thankfully, Vince deals with it differently than Michael. And thankfully, Chris and Snoop are nowhere near Dillon.)

There was more to this episode, like the Drunk Girl Puppet video, the Buddy Jr. storyline, Jess joining the team as an equipment manager and Buddy’s new bar, but this was really all about Vince and I’m not particularly moved to go into great detail about the other points, so we’ll hit those in rapid-fire bullets.

— Julie sleeping with the T.A. — make that, the married T.A. Not sure how I feel about that line right now. Is it setting up for a teacher-student controversy? Julie feeling like she needs to sleep with him for a better grade? Or just being used and heartbroken? It was very un-Julie though.

— Drunk Girl Puppet Video… I mean, we’ve got a two-pronged thing going here. First there’s Tami trying to reach the girls, particularly that promiscuous redhead, but did we ever reach a conclusion about how they were going to avoid expelling a bunch of football players? Is that what some community outreach and suit-and-tie day bought them?

— Buddy Garrity had two sort of C-level stories tonight. Buddy’s new bar sets up a new place for everyone to hang out and provide a backdrop. Always kind of figured that’d stay with the BBQ joint though. (Also, I guess the auto industry is OK again if Buddy can open a sports bar.) The stuff with Buddy Jr. puts the wheels in motion for what I’d guess is a showcase episode for Buddy down the road. Maybe one last emotional hurrah for the Garrity clan before we say goodbye.

— Jess has the potential for some funny stuff. Hope they don’t take it to the dark place they could with players harassing her. I’ll say it again: her character has come a long way from where it started. Finally has a personality.

— The Lions are 3-0, in case you’re keeping track.

So what’d you think? Leave me your tweets, Facebook replies and comments after you watch the show!


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