Friday Night Lights, Episode 512: Texas Whatever

If you’re reading this, you’ve (hopefully) just finished the second-to-last episode we’ll ever get from Dillon featuring the Friday Night Lights gang. Go beyond the jump for thoughts on Texas Whatever.

After rocketing through the playoffs at light speed, we get to the episode where we could possibly expect to see State and … no football. But if you’ve made it this far and you haven’t figured out that football is just a framework for this wonderful story, then we haven’t been watching the same show.

So we really lose nothing by not seeing State this week. There is so much more to talk about. It’s hard for me to even really pick where to begin, but I’ll dive in with Tami and Eric. It would be beating a dead horse to say they’re pretty brilliant together, but their scenes this week were just perfect. In Eric’s office or at home, the two had award-worthy performances. And of course there was the double-barreled capper from Mrs. Coach, first when saying “I’m going to say to you what you haven’t had the grace to say to me. Congratulations Eric.” And then as she quietly says “18 years…” (referring to her previous statement about being a coach’s wife for 18 years, and how it was her turn) before walking off to get the Dillon Panther boosters a drink. Ripped out a little bit of my heart in both instances.

And this is the choice they face: Eric Taylor, becoming an iconic high school football coach by possibly winning three state titles in six years, or Tami Taylor taking a college administrative job, a far cry from simply being a guidance counselor. (Now, there’s a bit of a “suspend belief” moment here that Alan Sepinwall pointed out regarding how lucrative Tami’s new gig would be vs. the Shane State job Eric turned down, but that’s something I’m willing to let slide.)

But while there is still time on that decision — at least another episode — it appears that the final episode will also be the final game for the East Dillon Lions. (Look, I know it’s not real.) It should be no great surprise that in this situation, they’d go with the school that has the facilities, etc., but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking. As Vince and Jess discuss, it feels like everything they’ve done is going away. It feels wrong for so many reasons, and not just that they’ve become a better team. So much of what the Lions were about involved a sense of healing in a community, and now that’s taken. I know they try to wash over it with “Well, we’ve got one more game to win State, and isn’t your future bright, Vince?” but it’s more than that.

Speaking of other knock it out of the park moments, not sure we’ve had a better “almost nothing said, but a lot was said” moment in a while than the hug between Vince and Coach after the announcement. Definitely left me a little bit choked up.

And then there was the “reunion” if you’d like to call it that between Tyra and Tim. That can’t be long-term, right? But just as sure as that can’t be long term, neither can Tim Riggins going to Alaska. (Don’t get me wrong, I think Tim and Sarah Go Hunting is a promising reality show.) So while Tim has changed — and I’d say for the better — that doesn’t mean Tyra can’t snap a little bit of sense back into him and hopefully restore some order before she leaves and heads back to her college life. Who could leave that big, beautiful patch of land?

On to a few final thoughts in this one (because sometimes those great one-liners just need to be elevated)…

— “If you’re asking if I was raped in prison Tyra, the answer is no.” — Tim Riggins

— More on the Riggins clan: Twins? Oh yeah, Billy and Mindy are totally equipped for that.

— The brief Saracen scene broke my heart. Grandma Saracen is not well, but I’m glad it looks like she’ll live through the series. Hearing her ask Matt if he’d told his dad that he was coming home was such a gut-punch.

— How about the use of Devil Town by Bright Eyes? It was the parade song at the end of Season One. It was used again in Season Three promos for the show. Now, as we approach the finish line, we see it one more time when the fate of Dillon’s football programs was announced. Great song.

— I’ve never felt particularly invested in the future of Becky and Luke, but they finally gave Becky an honest, thoughtful scene when she explained her complicated situation with Riggins and I loved it.

— Speaking of Riggins, is his admission to Tyra about him taking the fall enough to keep her interested?

So, now that it’s almost over, what did you think? How will it all end? (Please, no spoilers in comments or messages if you’ve already seen the episode.) In fact, by the time you read this post, I’ll have watched the finale, but I made sure to write this post before watching that last episode so my perception of this one wouldn’t be skewed. Get your tissues ready and we’ll reconvene next week after the series finale of Friday Night Lights airs at 9 p.m. ET on DirecTV’s 101 Network.


2 Responses to Friday Night Lights, Episode 512: Texas Whatever

  1. Miguel says:

    Great review but i have one question:
    How did you watch the finale already?

    I can’t wait to see it!

  2. chrislittmann says:

    Because I’m still watching it as a “media member” I’ve been watching on the press screener website, which posted Episode 512 and 513 on the same day. I couldn’t help myself, so I watched 512, wrote about it, and then immediately watched 513. Thanks for reading. Come back for the finale.

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