Previously on FNL: Tara had the hots for Cash, the rodeo cowboy, and actually had to yell at Landry to drive the point home. At Billy’s urging, Timmy agreed to help him steal a bunch of copper wire. Matt’s Mom came back to town and just wants to help. Coach knows JD has the best throwing arm he’s ever seen, but he also knows “what he’s got” with Saracen; Coach also knows that benching Matt in his senior will kill him.
Panthers Field on a Friday night! Coach yells encouragement to his QB on the field, which is Saracen, as Slammin’ Sammy VOs that alternating two QBs has left the team “dazed and confused”. Matt does what he can, shouting directions and pointing for players who’re mixed up, but it’s no use – they run out of time for the play, and we’re told it’s the third delay. Panthers fans are extremely frustrated, but not as much as Coach, who literally hurls JD on the field. JD has the same problems, fortunately, backing up into one of his own players and shouting for him to get in a different position. Slammin’ Sammy VOs that Coach’s indecision has caused a “certified disaster.” There are some times when you can’t toe the line, Coach; sometimes you have to roll the hard six, to quote one of my favorite TV father figures. The opposing team scores, and all Coach can do is pace the sidelines like a caged lion, snapping “Aw, hell” over and over. As we catch a glimpse of the scoreboard, which is 0 to 13 for the Non!Panthers, Slammin’ Sammy VOs that if the Panthers lose this game, they can kiss this season goodbye. Well, the scoreboard also said that it was the last two minutes of the first quarter, Sammy, so shut up, wouldjaplease? Coach calls JD and Matt over, using words like “calm”, “steady” and “composure”, and then sends JD out on the field. Montage time! JD throws a short pass to Riggins and then another to 16, working his way down the field. This is not lost on Matt, who looks utterly woebegone on the sidelines with the D. On the next play, JD pulls back and lets one of his shiny, hail-mary passes fly: he hits a Panthers receiver in the end zone, and the Panthers fans erupt with jubilation. “Matt Saracen has been hangin’ tough, but JD McCoy is en fuego tonight!” Slammin’ Sammy crows, but the other team still has momentum – they score another TD. Coach calls the team together and announces that JD is in, that they’re going up the field and they’re going to win the game. Wow. Coach, I have to say, I really wish you would’ve taken Matt’s feelings less into account and just benched him earlier, because now the boy is going to be shattered. Slammin’ Sammy notes that it looks like “the torch has been passed”, and there’s less than a minute to go. There’s :36 on the clock, to be exact, with a score of 36 to 39, Not!Panthers, by the magic of television. JD passes to 33, who almost makes it to the end zone. Coach decides now is the time to put Matt back into the game, and tells him the play to use as Matt runs out. The other team scrambles to put their defense together for Matt’s inevitable ground game, but it’s chaos: Matt snaps the ball and even Slammin’ Sammy thinks it’s a handoff to Riggins, but no – Matt’s kept the ball, and thank God, he practically walks into the end zone. Lorraine shrieks happily and high-fives random strangers in the crowd; Tami and Julie hold each other and jump up and down. Coach just takes his headset off, exhausted. The crowd, however, is all about JD. His mom and Monty rush the field; the Panthers lift JD up on their shoulders; he pumps his fist at the crowd. Aside from a few players slapping Matt on the back, everyone’s focused on JD. As Matt walks out of the end zone, Slammin’ Sammy tells us that “there is another king in the castle: JD McCoy has arrived and he is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen!” Matt removes his helmet and walks off the field alone, most likely wondering not for the first time what the hell you have to do to get some recognition in this town, and we go into the inspiring credits.
Chez Taylor. Julie peels carrots as Tami rushes about getting dinner ready. Tami passes Julie and asks “what that mess is” on Julie’s leg, asking if she was drawing on herself with a marker. Julie, whose hair looks stunning in this episode – shiny and straight, with her fringe braided and tucked behind one ear, very fetching – breezes that it’s a tattoo, and asks if they want tortilla strips on their salad. Coach says yes; Tami says surely Julie means one of those lick-and-stick tattoos, smirking that that’s a little young for Julie – well, yes it is, Tami, which is why the tattoo is real. Coach and Tami blink and turn to stare at their oldest daughter. Tami freaks the hell out, y’all, demanding to know why her perfect, flawless daughter has marred herself for life with this – this heart-shaped atrocity! Be happy she didn’t get something in Etruscan, Tami. Julie explains that she was on her way home from work with her paycheck, and she always wanted a tattoo, so she did! Coach asks if she thinks that’s how she’s gonna spend her money, Tami is still processing the “real tattoo” bit, literally screeching that Julie has “ruined her skin forever!” I have way too many friends with way too many cool tattoos to be on Tami’s side here; substituting “tattoo” with “quitting college and backpacking through Tibet” might prompt a different response. Julie rolls her eyes and raises her eyebrows, remarking that Tyra said Tami would have a problem with it. Oh, Julie! You do not misdirect to your friends in order to give you more credibility! You just fell back into ‘entitled teenager’ form. When Tami asks what that’s supposed to mean, Julie says Tyra was there when she got it, and Tami snarks that that is fascinating. Julie starts shouting back at Tami, lobbing her snark right back at her, and Eric throws his hat into the mix, telling Julie not to speak to her mother that way. It’s a full-blown shouting match on all sides for a minute, and then Julie ends it as she storms out: “It’s done, it’s on my leg. Deal with it.”
STREET! Jason Street, y’all! I have missed this character so much, I can’t even tell you. He wheels around his apartment with a bunch of girly mags on his lap, and throws them into the trash. Still living with Herc, then? Dare I hope? Yes, because Herc comes tearing out of his bedroom, demanding to know why Street’s throwing his porn away again. Over his shoulder, we see a framed picture on the wall of Jason, beaming over a little baby on a bed. Awww. Street wheels to the end table by the sofa, happily picking up take-out boxes and empty beer bottles. Herc: “Dude, you do not have to hide porn from a baby! Babies are not freaked out by boobies.” Street counters that there’s a lot more than ‘boobies’ in those magazines. “What, vaginas? Babies love vaginas, man, they just took a big trip through one! It’s like a postcard.” HEE. Oh, Herc; I missed you, too. Street gets terse as he reminds Herc that he should clean up before the baby gets here. There’s a knock at the door and Herc shouts, “BABY’S HERE!” and races for the door. Heh. Erin – the waitress who became Street’s baby mama last season, played by the lovely Tamara Jolaine – comes in with a plump, sleeping and adorable baby in a carrier. Both Street and Herc coo over the baby in a manly way, which is to say they call him “Little Man” and promise to play with him when he wakes up. Erin heads out to get to work, saying she has to work an extra shift, so she’ll be back late to pick the baby up. Street follows her to the door and suggests that she sleep over instead of driving home so late, and then amends that to “or you could just move in.” Herc glances over as Street exposits that their names are right next to each other’s on the birth certificate, so it wouldn’t be hard to do the same on the lease. Smooth, Street: very smooth. Erin says that she wishes she could think about something more long-term; Street says that he’s trying to get more hours at Buddy’s dealership so she can go back to working part-time. He promises that he’ll come up with a way to make more money.
Garrity household. Not the condo of broken dreams, the actual house. Lyla packs up some blankets as Buddy paces on the landing upstairs; he’s furious with their real estate broker for not selling the house yet. Tim is in the living room, putting a giant entertainment cabinet on a dolly, and I may have rewound that a few times. All for you, dear reader. Buddy tells the broker that it’s a steal at $250,000, but he’ll go as low as $220,000. He grouses that he’s been a salesman his whole life, and actually gives her the sales pitch as he walks past Tim: “when all the scared rats are leaving a sinking market, that’s when a real entrepreneur steps in – a true visionary.” Behind him, Tim pauses with the cabinet and blinks. Ohhhh dear. Buddy continues that he’s hemorrhaging money as Tim, inspired, decides to put his back into it, literally lifting the entire cabinet off the floor. Both Lyla and Buddy lunge at him to stop – whether to save the cabinet or Tim isn’t exactly clear. It’s Tim Riggins, though, and you can always buy a new wardrobe.
Coach’s office. The various subcoaches argue about strategy and blocking and I don’t get a lot of it, but the whiteboard is paying the price. It’s covered in red ink! Coach interrupts the shouting match to remind his enthusiastic staff that they’re staying with the spread, which is to say, Saracen. Mac asks about their power game, which even I can tell is Panther Coach lingo for “JD ‘Golden Arm’ McCoy”, and Coach says that he’s figured something out that’ll work out for both of them. Mac can’t keep his disbelief to himself any longer: he says Coach’s plan will result in “more routes, more zone reads for Matt and JD.” Coach interrupts that it plays to their strengths, but Mac disagrees – “JD is our strength.” Oh, ouch. Coach adjusts his hat and implies Mac should get whatever he’s got brewing off his chest. Mac looks around the room and says that Coach’s strategy worked against the last opponent, but they’re past that now. “Matt’s a tough kid,” he says. “He deserves all of our respect. But we all feel this. You gotta tell him the truth, Eric.” Oooh, “Eric”? Coach looks completely blindsided, but also like he knows Mac is right. My first response to this scene was that Matt had taken their sorry asses to state three years in a row, and won it once – what the heck is wrong with these coaches? And the answer is, their jobs and the well-being of their families are on the line, and they need to win. Right now JD seems like the obvious choice, so Matt’s persona non grata. There’s no crying in baseball or football, apparently.
Chez Street, wherein Herc and Street sit at the kitchen table as Street brainstorms for ways to make money. He asks Herc what people need. “Sharp pencil?” Herc asks, gesturing with the nubby pencil, complete with a broken-off barbie doll’s head stuck on it like a spike. Random! Street is contemptuous, as you are when your friends are boneheads. From the couch, Tim calls out that they could flip Buddy Garrity’s house. Normally, this would be a Very Bad Idea, but given the current economic fiasco, it’s angling for the Worst Ever Idea. Street reasonably asks wtf Tim is talking about, and Tim says that Buddy’ll accept 220,000 for the house, and they could fix it up and re-sell it. “I saw it on TV. It works.” Street agrees with me that the housing market sucks at the moment, and Timmy literally quotes Buddy word for word – without credit, of course – about the rats and the ship and the visionaries. Street hesitates, frowns and looks over at Tim, and Herc practically has to flag Street down: “I’m good with design! You know this.” Hee! Herc the interior designer. Get on that, TLC! Street muses that $220K is indeed a good price, and Herc offers that the down payment would be twenty grand; Street scoffs that he doesn’t have that kind of money, so it’s a moot point. Tim volunteers that he and Billy have some copper wire money, so they could all go in on it together – but it’s up to Street to convince Buddy. Street’s head pops up, intrigued; Herc beams a hopeful smile at him.
Saracen house of woe. Coach walks up the steps slowly and pauses before rapping on the door. Matt opens up the door and stops dead when he sees Coach. He walks out onto the porch slowly, knowing what’s coming. “JD’s gonna start Friday,” Coach says evenly. “You’re gonna be QB2.” Matt, hands in his pockets, lowers his head and says okay. Coach leans close, murmuring that a lot of thought went into this decision; Matt says he knows, but not in such a way that lets Coach off the hook, either. Coach can say no more, though, because Lorraine and Shelby have pulled up, and we all know what happens when Lorraine sees Coach. She rushes up to the steps, asking Coach if he’s had supper, as Matt sits down slowly on the porch chair. Lorraine kisses Matt hello, but she’s still focused on Coach; Shelby introduces herself to Coach, and there’s an awkward moment as Matt offers that she’s his mom. Coach: “Oh! Uh. Nice to meet you.” Heh. Shelby says she’s heard a lot about Coach; Lorraine interjects that Coach walks on water, and proclaims him a hero in the Saracen household. Coach tries to brush it off, as he has so many times before, but Lorraine won’t hear of it: she insists on sending Coach off with something to eat. She goes inside and Coach turns to Matt, who hasn’t moved. He asks Matt to tell his grandmother that he, Coach, said thank you; he pats Matt on the knee as he goes, supportively, and tells Shelby it was very nice to meet her, and then Coach is out of there. Matt watches him go, hurt and seething.
Next day. Landry drives to school blasting Skid Row’s “I Remember You”. Matt’s riding shotgun. “I’m sorry, I know you’re hurting, but power ballads?” Matt demands. “How cliche can you be?” Hee! Landry points out JD McCoy on the quad, surrounded by hordes of high school admirers, and Matt shuts up. Aw. Landry glances right and sees Tyra and Cash, who has given Tyra a ride to school and pulls her in for a kiss. That gets Landry to shut the power ballad off and walk into the school.
Principal’s office. Tami stares at Tyra and asks what the heck is going on. Tyra’s clueless. Tami says she’s watching Tyra go off the deep end in her senior year – skipping school, failing tests, pushing young naive innocents into destroying their skin with tattoos – sorry, I might just have inferred that last bit. Tyra’s impassive: “You win some, you lose some.” Tami regards Tyra for a moment, and then asks who the guy in the truck is. Hilariously, Tyra is a mite offended at this question, and kind of rolls her eyes to the side contemptuously. Tami clarifies that she’s asking about the “man” who dropped her off that morning. Tyra says she’s allowed to have a boyfriend, and Tami says she does: “(Cash) doesn’t look like a boy to me.” Ooh, burn! She further says that if “that relationship is anything like what I think it is, it is a one-way ticket to nowhere.” Tyra says that it’s none of Tami’s business, and Tami counters that it is her business, because she made an investment at Tyra. She very kindly does not point out that she did so at Tyra’s behest. Tami is worried and doesn’t like what she sees. To both of their credit, I think she does get through to Tyra a little, but the part of Tyra that wants Cash still does not want to hear it.
Riggins Ranch: Street, Tim and Herc are making their house-buying pitch to Billy Riggins. I’m tempted to repeat that just for the sheer awesomeness of it. The camera’s shooting from behind Billy, so all we see is the trio’s unabashed enthusiasm. Also, Taylor Kitsch is good, but even he can’t keep from cracking up at this scene: his head’s hung down and he’s grinning when he finally takes a sip from his beer. Street tells him they’ll “flip the house in 30 days,” and that he’ll get a 210% return on his investment. Herc tells Billy that he’s not going to get a return like that “anywhere else that doesn’t involve some crazy-ass risk.” The camera angle changes to the real estate wannabes’ POV and we see Billy Riggins in his barc-o-lounger, munching on Fritos like a redneck Don Corleone. HA! Oh, show, let me huggle you. Billy rightly asks how he can be sure that this isn’t some kind of crazy-ass risk. Street says that’s an excellent question, and his answer is that “people need housing.” I literally facepalmed when Street said that. He continues that there’s a serious lack of upscale housing in Dillon, and his research shows that the good houses go quickly. Billy munches on a Frito; he is unconvinced. He lightly tells them that it’s a lot of money, and it’s his nest egg to start a new life with Mindy. Street points out that it’s a lot of risk for all of them, and that it’s going to work because they’re going to make it work. The younger Riggins points out that it’s when all the scared rats are leaving a sinking ship that the true visionaries step up, and both Herc and Street each do a slow turn to stare at Tim that cracks me up. The three boys stare at Billy, hopeful and wide-eyed. Billy: “I’m a visionary!” The three boys tumble over each other to yes, absolutely, he certainly is, and then Billy says he’s in. Timmy whoops, Street breathes out a sigh of relief, Herc high-fives Tim. Billy puts the Fritos aside and ask what the plan is. Street says they’ll go to the bank tomorrow to get the details, and adds that he’ll need a check from Billy & Tim, who stare at each other, realizing that they’re more cash-poor and copper-wire rich. Whoops!
Some food service place that looks like Alamo Freeze but isn’t. Cash enters – wearing a black cowboy hat, for the record – and crosses the restaurant, getting checked out by various women as he goes. He sits down at a table where Tyra’s waiting and feeling guilty for getting a C- on a test. Cash supports his college-aspiring girlfriend by saying that his mom would have be over the moon if he’d brought home a C-. So there’s a perk for setting the bar low, then! Tyra points out that he wanted to be in the rodeo and she wants to get into college, so the prerequisites are a little different. He asks how things went with the “school lady”, and Tyra says that it went okay, but she’s not a fan of Cash. Cash allows that they rarely are. Tyra says Tami thinks he’s just some cowboy that rambles from town to town, and Cash blinks: “You have met me,” he says. I’ll say this for Cash, he has no illusions about himself – well, none that we’ve seen yet, anyway – he knows all his faults and embraces them. Tyra coyly says that she thinks there’s more to Cash than that, and Cash says something about “the right woman makin’ you more than you are,” and then he pops more pills. Run for the hills, Tyra! Instead of listening to me and every woman over the age of 25 yelling at their TV screens, Tyra asks if Cash didn’t just take some pills this morning. Cash responds by asking if Tyra’s ever been thrown from a horse, and says he only takes it when he hurts, but he hurts a lot. And this doesn’t, I don’t know, make you consider a career change? No? RUN, Tyra! But no: Tyra laughs, beaming that gorgeous smile, and leans over the table to kiss her self-medicating, most-likely-addict of a boyfriend. They do bump noses cutely, but still, girlfriend should be running for all she’s worth.
Taylor bedroom, where the magic happens. The magic is currently on hold, however, because Tami and Eric are sleeping. Well, Eric’s dozing, and Tami suddenly has to tell her husband that she feels old and out of control and why would Julie get a tattoo? Eric suggests that a lot of kids do it these days, and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything; Tami is not feeling that. Instead, she shifts the blame to Tyra, saying that her former protege has gone off the deep end and is turning into “a good old-fashioned bad influence, and that is a slippery slope.” Eric asks what that means as Tami starts listing off things that’ll push Eric’s buttons: “parties, boys, drugs… I see it at school every day.” Well, now she’s got Eric’s attention, and I think she had him at “boys“, to be honest. Tami announces that it won’t happen while she’s Tami’s little girl, “no sir”; Eric taps his fingers together nervously. Heh.
Street wheels up to Erin’s house, wherein the baby is crying. Erin is overwhelmed because he just won’t settle down, and she just has to get some sleep. Poor girl. I know Street’s backing her up every way he can, but this all evolved out of a one-night stand last season, and her life has changed a lot since then. Street tells her to take a break, of course; he’s happy to help however he can. He tells her things are looking up financially, too, so she doesn’t have to worry; Erin sits back, happy and relieved.
Riggins truck, middle of the night. Billy drives as Tim snarks that they’re out on a mile-long dirt road, and that it really feels legit. Billy reminds his little brother that they need the cash “tomorrow morning,” and they finally pull around to an open space… where Guy, whom I shall dub Creepy Ferret Boy, is already waiting with a friend. Timmy is rightly pissed off, because the last time he saw the ferret psycho, some baaaad juju was going down, and he and Billy barely escaped with their lives. Billy grits that they didn’t have anyone else to go to, and the Riggins boys get out of the truck. Creepy Ferret Boy immediately charms me by whooping, “If it ain’t the Duke boys!” If that makes Lyla Daisy Duke, then yes. Yes, it is, Creepy Ferret Boy. CFB says that “they always come back” and greets Tim, calling him “Timmy” and asking him how football’s going; Tim just glares anxiously. You have to be blood kin, Street or Garrity to call him Timmy! Well, or a recapper. Moving on! Billy throws the tarp back from the bed of the truck, revealing the spools of copper. CFB’s friend walks over and says he’ll give Billy ten. Billy asks if he wants all three, and the guy says that’s what he just said. CFB pipes in that he wants his own cut for setting up the transaction. Billy balks, asking if CFB knows what he had to go through to get the copper; CFB lies that he feels real bad about that, and asks whether they have a deal or not. Billy starts to leave, and Timmy stops Billy: they’re in way over their heads, they need to be at the bank tomorrow, and most importantly to Tim, Street’s depending on them for the money. Billy says he doesn’t care, and as the boys argue, CFB comes closer, asking if they have a deal or if the boys want to keep arguing “like a bunch of dumbasses.” Billy the Visionary does not take kindly to this on top of the low-ball offer, and asks what the hell CFB just said.
CFB laughs right in Billy’s face: “I called you a dumbass, Billy! A stupid, short, white trash, dumbass.” Tim is freaking out behind Billy, panicking and trying to assess an escape route, but even his head snaps around at ‘white trash’. Billy takes a few steps toward CFB as he puts the last nail in the coffin, saying Mindy gives one hell of a VIP dance. Billy’s face is haunted and stone cold. Tim says Billy’s name in a low voice and tries to talk him into just leaving; Billy turns away from CFB, who mocks him with a “that’s good,” and it’s unclear whether he means Mindy’s dancing or Billy’s rolling over for him. Billy moves toward the driver’s seat and I breathe a sigh of relief, and then Billy spins and punches CFB! Yes! Wait, I mean no, because now he might shoot you and Timmy! AUGH I AM SO TORN. Timmy screams for Billy and runs for his older brother, who’s charged CFB and is hanging off CFB’s back; CFB shrugs him off and Billy hits the ground rolling. Timmy slams CFB, knocking him to the ground, and the Riggins boys both run for the truck. Tim climbs in the driver’s seat and Billy rides shotgun, shouting “Go, go, go!” CFB finds his gun in the dirt and shoots at them, firing four rounds. Tim tells Billy to get down, out of the range of fire, and we cut to –
Street’s baby’s nursery. Hoo! That was a rough segue; they should make dramamine for eps like this. The little boy is blissfully quiet, due no doubt to Street humming “La Cucaracha,” which I’m going to take as a nicely-timed acknowledgement to his and Tim’s time in Mexico last season. The little tyke gurgles and coos at Street, and you can’t really blame him: Scott Porter really is adorable with this kid. Street tells his little boy that he bought a house today, but not to get too excited, because he’s gonna fix it up and sell it and then the three of them can all be a family. When the little guy’s down for the night, he checks on Erin, who’s finally asleep; he covers her with a blanket and turns out the light.
Next day at the bank. A besuited Herc and Street sit in front of a bank rep, who tells them that while she’s sure there’s a good reason for the Riggins boys being late, they nonetheless need to have everyone present. Herc says that “they’re always late, but worth the wait… at least that’s what their license plate holder says.” Heh. Street promises brightly that they’ll be here any minute, they’re sure of it! No problem!… and the next thing we see is a frustrated Street wheeling through the bank angrily. Whoops. When he gets to the door, Billy and Tim are walking in – we overhear Tim asking Billy what they’re going to say, and Street snarks that “the Idiot Brigade’s here.” Hee. Herc says that no thanks to the Riggins boys, the bank’s approved their loan. Street mutters that he had to play the “crippled town football star who’s not giving up” card. Billy grins delightedly as Herc says it was really emotional and believable. “That’s because I am the crippled town football star who’s not giving up,” Street snaps, and demands to know where the hell the money is, because they need to deposit it – the loan depends on it. Billy stumbles that they had a “hiccup”; Street stares at Tim and asks what kind of hiccup they’re talking about. Billy essentially hops from one foot to the other. Tim: “Remember when I said that we had a lot of copper wire money? Well, what I meant to say was that we have a lot of copper wire.” Billy offers that it’s not really liquid, and Street snaps that telling someone that something’s liquid when it’s not really liquid is a pretty “dumbass thing to do.” Billy gets huffy and tells Street to quit with the name-calling, and that he can’t hit Street because he’s in a wheelchair. Street awesomely snaps back that he doesn’t mind because “(he’ll) hit back, just ask your brother.” Oh no he didn’t, but yes, he so awesomely did! I can’t believe they made that connection to Street freaking out on Tim back in S1, but well done. Street then further increases his awesomeness by asking Billy if he wants to go outside, and calls Billy SHORTY. HA! Oh, that’s beautiful. Tim and Herc try to run interference as Billy wonders aloud what the hell is up “with everyone callin’ me ‘Shorty’ right now,” hee, and Mama-hen Herc finally brings the smackdown: “You in public.” Herc asks to take a gander at the copper wire, because he might know a guy. Tim, Billy and Street all look at each other furtively.
Saracen house. Matt walks up to see Shelby sitting on the walkway steps. Her Volvo is pouring off steam, and he asks if it’s okay: she says it just needs a lot of water. “I forget she gets angry. We have a co-dependent thing goin’ on.” Heh. Matt heads inside, and Shelby calls back to him; there’s a hair salon in town with an open chair, and she was thinking of renting it and staying on as a hairdresser, which means she’d be in Dillon long-term. She’d like to help out, until Matt graduates. Matt, who has had his heart broken by one too many adults this week, tells her she can do whatever she wants. Shelby looks dejected and turns back to her car.
Riggins Ranch. Herc’s guy checks out the copper wire as the boys overlap, telling the guy that it’s premium stuff. He asks if that’s all they have, and Herc laughs until getting confirmation that it is, indeed, all they got. He offers the gang twenty grand, and Billy hedges that he has to confer with ‘his group’, gesturing to the quartet. Tim: “Why?” Billy: “Let’s do it.” HEE. The guy takes off his backpack and brings out a cigar box of money. The boys, they are mighty pleased with themselves. Thank God for Herc!
Tyra sits in class, with all the students studying quietly, until her cell phone goes off. Well, it is set to “vibrate” – I suppose that at least shows Tyra’s trying to focus? It’s a text that reads “Turn around.” You get three guesses as to who that’s from, and the first two don’t count. She twists around in her seat and sees Cash standing outside her classroom, leaning next to his truck. He inclines his head for her to come join them, and we cut to Tyra riding shotgun in pretty boy’s ride. Scott Matthews sings “Eyes Wider Than Before” as plays as Tyra looks out at horses, and then corrals, and then a horse ranch. Cash leads her through a stall as Matthews sings to not “underestimate this precious time/every second is treated as though there is no time”; Cash stops at a stall, where a newborn foal lies with its mother. Tyra says she’s never seen anything like this before, and Cash quietly says he thought she probably hadn’t. The foal paws at the hay, struggling to rise to its feet, and Tyra smiles.
Julie’s bedroom. Tami knocks and asks if she and Eric can talk to Julie; Julie’s wary but says sure anyway. Eric says they want to have a conversation about the tattoo. Tami says, “Now that everyone’s calm, we want to -” “What the hell were you thinkin’?” Eric snaps. Tami soothes Eric a little and then refocuses on Julie, saying they’d like to know more about her thought processes, and Eric grumbles that he just said that. Heh. Julie says it’s not a big deal, but Eric thinks it is – Tami’s more concerned that Julie didn’t talk to them about it, and Julie rightly says that they would’ve said no. “You’re damn right we would’ve said no!” Eric barks, and I absolutely love that now that Tami’s made him think about parties and BOYS, he’s suddenly all up in arms about the thing he didn’t really care about in the first place. Tami says that their approval or disapproval isn’t the point, it’s the fact that “this isn’t like you,” and if there’s something going on, then they want Julie to talk about it with them. Julie, exasperated, says that there’s nothing going on, it’s just a tattoo. “Well if it’s just a tattoo, then let’s go ahead and have it removed,” Tami says evenly. Oh, Tami! Choose your battles, girl! Julie huffs in disbelief, still not believing that her mom would go this far, but Tami is firm: she’s found a place in San Antonio, and they are going to go together and have it removed. Julie tells the two of them to have fun, because she’s not going, and Tami interrupts that it’s not her decision to make. Julie points out that it’s her ankle body, and Tami throws back that until she’s 18 it’s not her ankle body, that it’s TAMI’s. Tami, girl, usually you are right on the money but I cannot support you in this at all. Tami stands up: “End of conversation.” See, that right there? Would have compelled me to go back to the tattoo parlor and get a HUGE sleeve all the way down my arm, just for spite. Julie watches her parents leave, humiliated, hurt and furious.
Garrity Motors. Buddy is jubilant because his broker has come to tell him that she’s sold his house! Yay! Buddy thanks “Missy” – and hee, I thought he was being obnoxious to her in his earlier scene, when he kept calling her that on the phone – and looks over the paperwork. He stops dead when he sees the signature page, which has “Jason Street, Tim Riggins and William Riggins” signatures. Where’s Herc’s signature? Buddy asks what their names are doing on his document, and Missy tells him that they’re the buyers! Buddy gapes like a goldfish and stares back down at the document. Cut to…
Riggins Ranch, where all the boys are doing shots. Street offers a toast to the American dream, and the boys all drink. The phone rings and Street gets it as Herc, in what I’m sure is an ad-lib, laughs at Billy for wearing a pink shirt. Missy tells Street that Buddy won’t sell them the house; he was happy with the price until he saw their names on the document. Behind Street, the boys knock something over, and Street has to yell at them to shut up. Street asks what, exactly, Buddy said. “Somethin’ about ‘this house can rot into the ground before I sell it to this clown car of idiots’,” Missy snaps, getting in her car. Street thanks her and hangs up; behind him, Billy yells at either Tim or Herc to “not shush (him).” Street wheels around, frustrated, and heads back to the group.
Tami’s office. Tyra walks in and genuinely thanks Tami for all her help. She tells her that Tami’s been there for her and has always come through for her, which has not been her general life experience, and she appreciates everything Tami’s done. Tami looks at Tyra with appreciation and not a little suspicion as to where this is leading, and she’s right to look that way, as Tyra ends her speech to Tami by telling her that Tami’s wrong about Cash. “Ah. Mm-hm,” Tami says disbelievingly. The camera angle shows a framed picture of a very young Julie over Tami’s shoulder, and that’s no coincidence. Tami says she doesn’t think Cash is a bad guy – “Well, wrong for me, then,” Tyra says, practically glowing. She tells Tami again that Cash is “such a good guy, he really is,” and Tami can do nothing but shrug and hope that Tyra’s right. Tami tells Tyra that she doesn’t care about Cash; she cares about Tyra, and just wants to make sure that she has her priorities straight. Tyra thanks her again and leaves. She’s wearing a low tank top, and as she goes we can see a tattoo line, right between her shoulders, heading down her spine. Tami looks at another framed picture of Julie, which is sitting on her desk, and sighs.
Panthers locker room. In a wide shot, Matt sits alone, staring at his empty locker; over his head we can see a sign that reads FOOTBALL: Training For the Rest of Your Life. Ha! Indeed, FNL. Indeed. What lessons do you think Matt is learning? Matt closes his locker, and the camera POV changes from the other side, so we see him behind the metal grid of his locker; he looks frustrated, beaten, trapped. Cut to Saracen beating the hell out of his Panthers equipment; he slams his helmet against his locker over and over, and knocks another helmet to the ground. Coach comes in as Matt takes on a whole wall of helmets; he asks what the hell Matt’s doing, and Matt is finally ready to lay it on the line for Coach: “I did whatever you asked me to. I helped you win a state championship, I got you to 3-1 this season, I worked my ass off at practice, I do everything that you say!” Coach stares at Saracen, shocked, and I don’t know why you look that way, Coach: even the best of us has their breaking points, and this has been a long time coming. Saracen asks if he’s demoted because JD’s better, because then Coach should just tell him that.” Coach stammers at first, but then he says that his job is to win football games, and right now that means JD McCoy. That’s not the only part of your job, Eric, but I’ll cut you some slack for the moment. Matt stares at his locker and then the floor: “Okay,” he says, picking up his backpack and walking past Coach: “I quit.” Coach immediately says that Matt’s not quitting this team, that he’s not going to let Matt quit, and that he knows Matt well enough to know that if Matt quits this team he’s going to hate himself. Matt turns that slow-burn stare of his onto Coach, who continues to half-shout that Matt is not going to quit, and Matt doesn’t even blink: “Fine. I’ll sit on your bench. I’ll come to practice and do whatever you tell me to do. But I’m gonna hate it, and you’re gonna hate it.” He stares at Coach for a second and then turns away. “Good talk, Coach,” he says. DAMN, Matt Saracen! You are so badass with standing up for yourself this season, I am so proud of you! Eric glares after Saracen as he goes, with absolutely nothing to say.
Garrity Motors. In the near-dark, Buddy and Jason talk about Buddy’s reservations, which are all. About. Tim. “Riggins has got my daughter, as you well know, and between you and me I’m not real fired-up about it,” Buddy spits. He says that Tim’s great on the football field, “but I don’t relish the idea of him being the father of my grandchildren, you know what I mean?” Street flinches at this but nods, and I don’t know if it’s the talk about Riggins and Lyla or that Street still thinks of Tim as a screwup in some way, but it’s clearly difficult for him on multiple levels. Buddy flat-out says that he won’t sell Riggins the house, but Street tells him to think of it this way: “You’re not selling the house to Riggins, you’re selling it to me. And you’d do that, right? You’d sell that house to me.” Buddy sighs in agreement. Street takes a breath and says he wants to buy Buddy’s house, but he can’t do it “without those guys.” Street goes on to say that he has a baby and a woman that he loves to death who is “keeping him at arm’s length until he can show that he can make some money in this world.” He tells Buddy that buying Buddy’s house is the first step, and that he’s not going to take no for an answer. Buddy looks at Jason and laughs sadly; you can tell he misses the days when Street could walk, and play ball, and would come pick up his daughter and bring her back by her curfew. Street asks that if Buddy ever cared about him as a person, and then adds if Buddy ever “cared about (him) as a player, as the quarterback of the Dillon Panthers, then you will sell me that house.” Street leans forward, asking if Buddy remembered a game in Jason’s sophomore year: “fourth quarter, we were down by six.” Buddy’s already nodding and mm-hmming, but Jason presses on: “two minutes left to go, we drive right down that field, we end up at fourth and goal.” Buddy’s eyes glaze over a little, lost in the memory. Jason describes the way he stepped back and threw a dart pass on a quick slant: Buddy’s watching it all happen again. “Touchdown, state playoffs,” Jason says. “You remember that?” Buddy grins ear to ear, nodding. “That guy,” Jason says. “That guy is who you’re gonna sell your house to.” Football: Training for the rest of your life. Buddy’s wibbly, and so am I.
Garrity former household. The boys confab in the kitchen as Herc suggests vaulted ceilings. Oh, lord have mercy. Herc and Billy start arguing about everything: Herc thinks the place is stuck in the 60s and they should tear down the wood cabinets, but Billy kind of likes them. Herc argues that Billy would, and calls him an “idjit”; Billy asks why Herc has to start with the name-calling again, and Herc launches into a tirade about cottage-cheese ceilings and Burt Bacharach. Billy asks who the hell Burt Bacharach is, and Herc shouts at Street that he cannot work with someone who doesn’t know who Burt Bacharach is. HEE! Jason shakes his head, wondering how he went from running state championship teams to herding the Dillon equivalent of ornery cats, while Tim tapes up the walls for paint, wearing a giant “33: NO ONE ELSE” T-shirt that I simply. Must. Own. Street tries to get everyone to focus, and then Erin walks in, obviously not knowing what’s going on. In a low voice, Street says that some of the wood stays, and there’s no way they’re doing vaulted ceilings in 30 days. “Great ideas, guys! Keep ’em coming,” he says brightly, wheeling away from the table. Heh. Billy and Herc continue their bickering banter as Scott asks Erin to step outside. He tells her that he bought the house, and Erin’s face falls. He quickly fills her in on the plan – fix it up, sell it for a profit, buy a smaller house of their own. Erin is thunderstruck, and Jason says that’s not the reaction he was hoping for. Erin drops a bombshell of her own – she’s moving back east with her parents. She just can’t keep up with everything that needs to be done, and she needs to go make a different plan; Jason argues that this is the plan, that it’s a good plan. She interrupts that it’s crazy, and that she can’t do this anymore. Jason looks like his heart breaks on the spot. The camera pans across from Erin and stops on Tim, listening through the front window and staring down at his feet. The camera switches to Tim’s POV as we see Erin try to touch Jason; he flinches away from her. She tells Jason that he can come visit: “he’s your son, too.” Ouch. She walks to her car as Jason shouts after her that the plan is going to work; Jason stares down at the lawn. Tim comes out of the house and calls to Street, who half-gasps in frustration and waves to Erin as she leaves, like nothing’s wrong. Tim asks what Erin said. “She’s excited! She’s thrilled, she can’t wait to see what we do with the place,” Jason says, not looking at Tim. He tells Tim that they have a lot of work to do, and goes past him into the house. Tim stares at the ground for a second and then looks after his friend, wheeling himself down the hallway.
Taylor car. Halfway to San Antonio, Tami pulls the car off the main road and gets out. Julie gets out of the passenger side and asks what they’re doing. Tami asks if she ever told Julie that she almost dropped out of high school. The what now? Julie is shocked that her mother was ever so cavalier about, well, anything but especially school, and can’t help laughing. They stare out at a grassy field as Tami says that she was “a wild child” back in the day, confirming something I always suspected about her relationship with Tyra. Julie asks what happened, and Tami says that Eric happened: “I mean your Dad, you know… and he had struggles of his own, too, but we were lucky. We had each other, always managed to pull each other up by our bootstraps… but I know how easy that road is to go down.” Julie frowns a little, thinking, and looks away. Tami tells her daughter that when she sees her daughter getting tattoos, she worries. “You are just independent and smart and beautiful, and you are not gonna need any guy to pull you out of some hole. But I feel like… I feel like I need you to promise me that that’s true,” Tami says. Julie nods, smiling, and promises that she’s not going down that road. The Taylor women hug and Tami half-collapses against the side of the car in relief; Julie closes her eyes and hangs on tight. Tami lets go and says they should go; Julie asks if this means she can keep the tattoo. Tami guarantees that by the time Julie’s thirty, she’ll be taking it off herself, and Julie laughs, not believing a word of it.
Saracen household. Lorraine is reading Shelby the riot act for buying the wrong groceries. I’d give Lorraine a hard time for her kvetching, but I’m guessing that she knows by now about Matt’s humiliating demotion, and it’s easier to take her frustrations out on Shelby. She says they don’t like grape jelly, they like strawberry, and they don’t drink 2% milk! Well, I have to go with Lorraine on that last one. Lorraine asks if Shelby bought the vanilla cremes that she likes so much, tearing through the bag, and Shelby drops her head back in disbelief: she forgot them, of course. Lorraine has no time for such incompetence, and makes a big show of slamming cabinets and then her bedroom door. Matt, who caught the latter half of this exchange, tells Shelby that Lorraine’s pretty serious about her cookies. Ya think? Shelby asks half-heartedly if Matt likes grape jelly, and Matt kindly says that nobody likes grape jelly. I do, Shelby! Gimme. Matt opens a box of cookies as Shelby says exactly the wrong thing – she asks if she can come to one of Matt’s games. Matt gets Shelby up to speed with being QB since sophomore year and winning state, but says he was replaced. Shelby says she’s sorry and asks if that’s why Coach was there; Matt confirms it was. Shelby sits down. “You don’t deserve that,” she says gently. Matt says that he never deserved it in the first place, and tells her about being put in when Jason Street was paralyzed on the field. “You know, they needed me and I stepped up, I worked my ass off, I did everything I could…” Shelby nods, familiar with failing even when you desperately try everything you can. “I guess it just wasn’t really enough,” Matt says, slumping back in his chair. Shelby asks if he ever thought about taking a break, and Matt scoffs, not unkindly: “You can’t quit the team,” he says, realizing it himself. That’s a really nice moment from Zach Gilford. Shelby asks what they would do – shoot Matt? “Probably,” Matt says, smiling. “We do live in Texas.” Hee! Way to rally, Matt. Shelby smiles at her son; Matt offers her a cookie. Nice scene by all three actors. We hear the sounds of a Panthers practice before we arrive on…
Panthers Field, where JD is QB1. Matt and Landry stand next to each other in full gear on the sidelines. Saracen rests his hands on his shoulderpads, the same exact stance he had when Jason Street was paralyzed in the Pilot, and Coach called him in. Coach twists around to glance at Matt, who waits for someone to call on him, to believe in him, to recognize everything he’s achieved and everything that he still could, and the screen goes to black.