Friday Night Lights 3.06 – “It Ain’t Easy Being JD McCoy” Recap

Previously on FNL: Matt Saracen, who has stepped up on every possible level for the Panthers – even including stepping down, this season was usurped by JD McCoy, a freshman with a golden arm. Matt asked if he and Julie could hang out and talk about anything other than football. Cash told Tyra sometimes it just took the right woman to change a man, Tyra ate it up like a chocolate-covered donut and my retinas nearly detached from all the eye-rolling. Street promised to give Billy a zillion-percent return on his investment in “30 days’ time” if he, Tim, Herc and Street all bought Garrity’s house together and flipped it, and Billy went all in. Street shared his Big Plan to Get His Baby Mama back with his baby boy, but a better person would have been to tell his Baby Mama, Erin, who’s moving back east with her parents and is taking their baby with her.

Nighttime in a Dillon parking lot. From the bed of his truck, Riggins tells the freshmen of the Panthers that the seniors have called them here for a reason. Was it to bask in your hotness? No? Just checking. Another senior informs them that they’re about to participate in a “Panther ritual”, and asks for a drum roll: “The Naked Mile.” The seniors cheer as a heavy freshman mutters that he thought that was ‘just a myth,” but Not!Riggins schools him, telling the froshies to strip down. What kind of party is this, exactly? The froshies are directed to keep their running shoes on, so I’m guessing this is going to be normal, regular, heterosexual athletes just getting naked for the fun of it. I’m in! JD is in this crowd, as you’ll recall, and he’s reluctantly following instructions. Another senior steps up, directing them to run to the water tower and back. Not!Riggins singles JD out and tells him that he, the “Superstar”, isn’t running with the others: he’s running alone to the field house. See, this is why I never got into team sports: it’s the naked hazing.

JD balks at the idea of running naked, in the dark, and alone – what a prima donna, because who among us wouldn’t want to do that on a Saturday night, right? – but Not!Riggins won’t hear it: “you’re the quarterback, bro! You gotta run the extra mile.” Ahahaha! (Jackass.) He tells JD to get his ass in motion; from the truck, Riggins girly-screams for the guys to start their naked run. I do adore Taylor Kitsch, but he has this crazy high-pitched scream that kind of cracks me up. The camera goes wide as JD hauls his naked little ‘tocks to the Panthers locker room. Once inside he reaches for some clothes and realizes too late that COACH IS THERE, working late. D’oh! JD stops himself from walking past Coach’s window and, er, exposing himself; Coach sits up in disbelief. JD crouches down to crawl past the window, and from Coach’s POV we see a little tuft of dark hair bob at the bottom of his window pane. HA! JD then grabs – I kid you not – the official, framed, 2006 State Championship picture of the Dillon Panthers off the wall in order to cover his loins. Oh, sweet mother of God, son! JD tries to hobble away with what little dignity he has remaining, but Coach calls him into the office, and he is not well pleased: “Where the hell are your pants?” JD uhms and errs as Coach surmises that JD “fell for” the naked mile; he tells JD to “take your team there” (heh) “and get some clothes on and I’ll take you home.” JD stares at Coach for a second and then blurts out, “Please don’t tell my dad!” Just regular old fear of humiliation or an early hint of a more serious dynamic? That’s a question for another recap. Coach, in the best line of the night: “Son, I wouldn’t dream of it.” I do love Kyle Chandler’s simmering, deadpan line-delivery.

Erin’s car, which she packs while Street cradles his son and tells him to start hollerin’ if Erin’s “lead foot” gets out of control. Erin claims her feet are exactly the right weight, thank you. Street pointedly informs the little woobie that Street’s never ever gotten a speeding ticket, “unlike some people ’round here”; the camera pulls back to reveal a U-Haul trailer hitched to Erin’s car. Ah, so I should have started this paragraph with “Erin’s Getaway Vehicle of Financial Despair”, then. Street kisses his son goodbye, and Erin says she wishes she knew how to stay in Dillon. “Well, it’s pretty easy,” Street says brightly, smiling desperately. “You just park the car and stay!” She puts the baby in his car seat as Street continues talking about house-flipping and financial cushions and getting things on track so they can be together. Erin says they’ll see what happens, which Street knows is girl for “That’s a very nice dream, and we can’t live on it.” She leans in to kiss him goodbye; Street loops his arms around her neck and pulls her close. She grips his neck and shoulder tight and whispers that she’s scared; he tells her for the Nth time not to worry! Things are going to be great! Have fun visiting your parents! I know this is the best way he can deal with this, but lord, it ain’t just a river in Egypt, Seven. He calls out that he loves her as she gets into the car; he adds “I love you both” as she drives away. He sits in the driveway, in his wheelchair, and waves to his child and the woman he loves, watching them drive away. They don’t even make it around the corner before he bursts into tears, and everybody wonders where the tissues are as we go into the credits.

Across town, we see another daddy and his baby: Eric and baby Grace. He’s in the living room trying to spoon-feed her some baby food, and she’s making a game out of swatting the spoon away and laughing, which brings out Eric’s eye crinkles. SO CUTE. From the kitchen, Tami meaningfully singsongs that she’s looking forward to the dance at the school on Saturday night, calling Eric “my date, my hot-husband-date.” It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up, y’all. Eric clarifies that the principal has an obligation to be there “to chaperone”, but he may not be able to make it. Tami counters that Eric “has an obligation to be (her) date,” heh, and talks over Eric as he tries to get out of it. Julie stands in the middle of her gorgeous, bickering parents, thankful for once that she’s not the source of friction, until Tami says that everyone will be there, even Julie. “I’m not going!” Julie says, fleeing the room. Tami says of course she’s going, Eric bails on feeding Grace, and Tami’s left alone with her MASSIVE mug of coffee, gaping at how she’s just been sidelined.

McCoy estates dinner table. Monty raises a toast to “QB1” as JD, Katie and he sit down to eat. Monty reaches his glass over to JD, who does not clink glasses. Burn! Katie asks what’s up, and JD says he’d rather toast “after the game.” Monty snarks that it’s “Westerbee”, and pronounces that JD will smoke ’em; Katie announces she has a far more interesting question, and asks if JD’s interested in any of the cheerleaders. JD buhs that of course he is, and then deadpans that he’s actually proposed to two of them. She cracks up and grins, reminding her son that she’s told him he can only propose to one girl at a time. Heh. I actually like JD with his mom; they bring out the goofy best in each other. Monty has to buzzkill this, of course, by snarking that JD’s not “getting serious about any girls” because JD’s too busy. JD looks at his controlling father in disbelief and then stares at his napkin; Katie pointedly says that they were joking, but Monty says this isn’t the time for jokes, it’s the time for manipulative speeches! He says that JD’s been under a lot of pressure lately, but he’s shown everyone what he’s made of, and for that Monty is very proud. Katie beams, JD blushes, and Monty basks vicariously. Of course, on the other side of the tracks…

Lorraine is livid, LIVID, with Coach Taylor. In the Saracen kitchen, she tells Landry and Matt that she wants to give Coach a piece of her mind, because Matt is QB1! You don’t have to tell me, Lorraine. She bellows that Matt won state, and Matt agrees that he did indeed. Lorraine snaps that Coach is “out of his natural mind” to think that someone could walk into Matt’s shoes. She tells them to go to Coach and “tell ‘im that you made a big mistake.” I’m not sure if she means for Matt to tell Coach that Matt made a mistake (in the last game, maybe?) or that Coach made a mistake, but Landry’s and Matt’s faces both say either way, no such conversation’s happening. Lorraine says that she’ll fix it, and turns back to her breakfast. The boys leave her as she’s still fuming: “He thinks he knows football!” she bellows contemptuously. HEE.

Street wheels into the former Garrity house and calls out a hello to his boy Timmy, asking him how he got out of school to help them. Firstly, Street, we’re talking about TIM. And secondly, like 33 would let an attendance policy stop him from helping you make things right with your baby mama? Please. Tim, who is wearing a cut-up, sleeveless black tee and a hardhat – complete with a Panthers logo on the front and a giant blue “33” drawn on the side with marker – says that he told them he was pregnant, and needed a few days of rest. Herc and Street laugh while I rewind the tape to watch that in slo-mo once or five times. He Panther-bedazzled his own hardhat! HEE. Streets suggests they get started and pulls out a worksheet, and Herc crows that he told the Riggins boys that “Miss Bossy-pants” would have a list! Street asks Herc if there’s a problem with having a list; Herc’s all, “Nooo, why would there be a problem, control freak?” Billy picks up the list and whoas for everybody to stop, asking why he & Tim are supposed to do everything upstairs. Herc and Street stare at each other in disbelief until Street snatches the list out of Billy’s hand, saying he’s going to forget Billy just said that. Even Tim stares at Billy like he’s a goober. Hee! Street says starting with the bathrooms would be great, but they need a sledgehammer, and suggests that Billy pick one up from the store. Billy isn’t pleased at taking orders from his little brother’s best friend and huffs out, taking his beer and mumbling “Whatever” under his breath. Street calls out that he was just asking, which he totally wasn’t; Herc tells Street that he’s bossy; Tim just says, “That was abrupt.” Heee, this is going to be a train wreck, and I love it.

Crucifictorius rehearsal, and HA! I never thought we were going to see this. There’s a drummer, a bass player, and Landry’s playing guitar and singing lead. I’ve been in a few bands, so it’s no surprise when the drummer starts abruptly – there’s some interesting music going on, but only occasionally, and they’re playing in the same room but not as a unit. The bass player stops and demands to know what the song’s about, anyway, and when Landry says it’s about a lot of things the drummer interrupts to say that the song is slow. That is the same complaint I’ve gotten from every drummer EVER, because the whole reason drummers picked up drumsticks in the first place is to play loud and fast, and this song is neither. Landry says that not all songs have to be fast, and then throws the moral high ground completely out the window by telling drummer boy that he’s really not all that good. Way to break up the band, Landry! Drummer boy’s heard enough: he’s taking his drumsticks and he’s going home! Wait, I hate to nitpick, but – that’s his drumset, right? He’s gonna need to take those home at some point, although I can see how it would dampen a dramatic exit. “I’m going to take my drumsticks and go! And this high-hat. And this snare. Hand me that cowbell, would you?” ANYWAY. Landry calls to drummer boy (calling him Jimmy) that he’ll see him tomorrow; bass guy packs up his amp (see? Portable instruments make for better dramatic exits) and heads for the hills as well, telling Landry that he quits. Landry tells bass player, whom he calls Castor – wait, Castor? The kid that was randomly beat up by the latino Panthers player back in S1? Nice, writers! – that it’s fine with him if Castor leaves, and Castor calls back that he really thought this project was going to go somewhere, but clearly that’s not going to happen. Landry stands alone in his garage, snarking to an empty driveway, and we cut to…

Tyra, who’s at Applebee’s before the dinner crowd gets there, talking to Cash. Cash asks Tyra to cut out early and “come by the pool hall.” We get a quick shot of Julie nearby, watching the two of them as she buffs the bejeezus out of the bar counter; Tyra answers that she can’t. Cash asks if it’s because she’s got a date with boyfriend #2. “Yeah, how’d you know?” Tyra teases, and Cash has a “Wait, WHAT?” facial response to that which is pretty hilarious. If you can’t handle the snark, honey, get out of the relationship. Tyra explains that she has to decorate for the school dance on Saturday, and she also has to work overtime for “a whole month” because college applications cost upwards of $150 a pop. Yikes! Cash lives up to his name by pulling out a wad of hundred-dollar bills and peeling a bunch off for Tyra. Tyra rolls her eyes and refuses, and if you’d like to see Adrienne Palicki channel Tami Taylor? Watch the girl as she says “Nope, I cannot do that.” It’s a very nice nod to Connie Britton and her character’s relationship with Adrienne Palicki’s character. Cash says please and bats his eyes and somewhere the angels of Maybe He Just Needs a Good Woman to Change Him start singing, and Tyra folds, taking the money gratefully. Quick shot of Julie noticing the exchange and polishing the bar until it begs for mercy. Tyra asks Cash if he’d like to take her to the school dance. “No, no I would not,” Cash says, grinning, and Tyra rolls her eyes, laughing. He would, however, like to pick her up after the school dance?… Tyra would be fine with that. Cash leaves and Tyra goes over to join Julie, who asks what that was all about: “Big tipper?” Tyra says it was just for her college applications, and Julie, who was raised by someone who knows better, asks if Tyra’s sure that was all it was for. “Well, that and my high-class hooker job,” Tyra says, smiling wryly. Julie bumps her shoulder as she walks past her, giggling. Nice moment, but it just drives home that Tyra doesn’t get the blurred boundaries that can come along with something like this.

Panthers practice. JD’s off his game, throwing passes wide. Coach overhears one of JD’s O-line heckling him, calling him “Naked Gun” and “QB-Bun.” I don’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the kid, and that goal was nakedly (ahem) obvious in the episode title, so well done, writers! Coach tries to calm JD down, but the heckling continues, and Coach can see how much it’s affecting his newly-appointed QB1, so he turns to…

Riggins. Coach turns to Riggins. I know that we’re three seasons in and a lot of water’s gone under the bridge and everyone’s Grown A Lot, but I just want to go back to the very first segment in the Pilot, in which Coach put a drunk/hungover Riggins into a ring of Panthers football players and let them knock him off his feet over and over for not pulling his own weight. Both characters have come a long way, that’s all I’m saying. Back to the ep! Tim sits down and smiles at Coach, no doubt sensing what’s coming, and Coach just has two words: Naked. Mile. Tim says that it’s a Panther tradition, but Coach is not feeling it – they have a big game coming up and the team needs to be focused: “and a Team Captain should know that.” Whoops. Tim looks stunned. Coach tells Tim that JD needs to have the whole team behind him; Tim tells Coach that they are, especially on the field. “Does he know that?” Coach asks. Tim says that JD does, but Coach isn’t buying it: “You know damn well this team respects you. You accept this kid, the team is going to accept him. I need that.” No pressure, Tim! Coach says he needs Tim to “fix this.” Tim, bless him, actually says he doesn’t know what he can do to help, and Coach pauses before continuing: “You’re a senior,” he says quietly, not unkindly, his face silhouetted from the daylight through the window. “You’re not gonna be wearing a Panther uniform much longer.” Don’t remind me, Coach! I don’t know if I can watch Friday Night Lights without Riggins. Now I’m going to have to watch the Gambit nanoseconds from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer until I feel better.

Back to the ep: Tim blinks and looks away. I don’t know that he’s given much if any thought to no longer being a Panther, to tell you the truth; at the very least I’m sure it’s the first time he’s heard it said out loud. Coach tells him to think about that, and to think about everything that the uniform means. “I’m askin’ for your help,” Coach finally says, and asks Tim if he understands. Tim nods, because if he understands anything from the past three years, it’s Being There When People Need You. Coach quietly dismisses Tim, who picks up his backpack and walks out of the office, looking over his shoulder anxiously at Coach as he goes.

After commercials, we’re outside the Panthers locker room at night. From his truck, Tim watches JD emerge from the locker room, looking pretty downcast. He calls McCoy over, who stammers that he was going to catch the bus. “Get in the truck, one-two,” Tim snaps. Hee. No “let’s make some memories”, Tim? I know Matt and Tim aren’t close, but even so there has to be some tension here for Riggins, who’s more or less been charged with bringing Matt’s replacement into the fold. JD jogs to the passenger side of the truck and hops in; Tim asks if JD’s had a tour of Dillon, and JD says he has. “Not my Dillon, my friend,” Tim drawls, smiling. JD stares at Tim, confused, as Tim guns the engine and we cut to –

Tim Riggins’ Sexual Tour of Dillon. I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, except some brilliant writer obviously did, and I love it. Naughty honkytonk music plays as JD asks where they’re going, exactly?… “It’s on your right. Look right,” Tim says, pointing out the Landing Strip. “You are not ready for that, son. And when you are, you will know.” I pause for a gigglefit at Tim calling this kid “son”, but it’s spot-on. Tim next points out “Fran’s Hamburgers” (since 1973, according to the sign). It’s open 24/7 and has the best burgers in town, along with the “best fans”, but that’s not why it earns a Riggins stop: it’s because this is where “the real Rally Girls” hang out. “I hope you know what that means,” Tim mutters. Nubile ladies wave and woo, recognizing the Riggins truck of debauchery and good times as it passes; Tim waves and honks the horn twice. HA! JD grins at Tim, who just throws a “good times” his way and keeps going. Tim next shows JD “Smitty’s”, Tim’s favorite bar in town, which is run by a two-time Iraq veteran. “You ever need to get away from anything, anyone, you go in there, you hear me?” Tim directs. And then we get my favorite exchange of the night, which I’m willing to bet $5 was ad-libbed:

Tim: “Lisa lives down this road.”

JD: “Who’s -”

Tim: “You’ll know. You’ll know.”


JD stares out at neon sign after neon sign until we cut to Riggins pulling up at the McCoy estate in all its lavish, manicured, McMansion glory. JD’s Panthers sign is outside, which is a nice touch. JD thanks Tim for showing him around, saying it was fun. He grabs his backpack out of the bed of the truck and turns to look at Tim: “Coach put you up to this?” Ohhh, busted. Tim blinks at JD and mutters a “…no”; JD smiles a little brighter, believing the lie. Tim drives off and JD skips up the steps into his massive house.

Bridal Shop. Dear readers, I have a BA in English Lit and am pursuing my master’s in the same, but I lack the words to convey the brilliant horror that is on my screen. Let’s start with the basics: it’s Mindy. In a wedding dress. If by “wedding dress,” you mean a poofy white concoction that has been glittered and bedazzled, every square inch, by the acid-tripping sprites of the tackiest production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ever put on stage. It has the compulsory Atrocity of Giant-Bow-Ness, of course, but Mindy has trumped even that with, wait for it, GIANT BUTTERFLY WINGS. I’d need a drink if I wasn’t afraid she’d turn around with body glitter and I’d do a spit-take. Tyra tries to sit quietly and not make any sudden moves so the wedding dress won’t somehow turn and devour her whole; Angela squees over Mindy’s fashion abomination, of course, as Mindy proclaims “this might be the one.” Was it the butterfly wings, Mindy? Angela says that she didn’t know that she would get “so emotional” (BWA!), and she and Mindy giggle. Angela says she looks like an angel and asks if Tyra doesn’t agree; Tyra – who’s wearing all black, just for the record – hmms politely, taking it all in like the brave thing she is. “Mindy, I love you, but I can see your crack,” she says, pointing at Mindy’s ass. Angela says it’s just a little bit, and anyway, it’s hardly there: “It’s subtle,” she says. You know, when your daughter’s a stripper, maybe only showing your ass crack at your wedding is tasteful! Tyra once again looks like she can’t believe she’s related to these people, and Mindy snoots that it would have been nice if Tyra had come to support her today instead of bringing paperwork. Angela looks closer and sees that Tyra’s filling out an application to UCSF. “How’re you gonna hang on to that cowboy of yours if you go off to San Francisco?” Angela wails. Tyra says that she doesn’t want to “hang on” to anyone, THANKS, and Mindy snarks “that’s mistake number one.” Tyra argues that Cash is supportive of her, and Angela snarks that they’re all supportive “until it comes time to do something.” Tyra lets it slip that Cash gave her money for her applications, which stops Angela in her tracks. “Well this is a very good man! They don’t normally just take care of you like that,” Angela says, she with the record of AWFUL when it comes to men, and advises that Tyra should hang on to Cash for all that she’s worth. Tyra stares down at her applications, despondent and anxious. I really cannot decide if Angela or Henry, Matt’s dad, is the worst parent ever. At least Matt had Lorraine, you know? Angela decides that if they’re “dropping a truckload of cash on a dress”, the least they could get is “some free champagne,” and bellows that last bit toward the reception desk. Heh.

Supermarket. Eric and Julie go through the frozen foods aisle as Julie tells Eric that frozen burritos contain no actual food, just preservatives. They turn the corner and literally run their cart into Matt and Lorraine’s shopping cart. Ruh Roh! Eric beams a hello at Lorraine, his number one fan, but Lorraine has just four words: “Well! Coach Eric Taylor.” HA! She’s totally using his full name on him! Eric asks how Lorraine is and starts to wheel by without even waiting for the response, but Lorraine’s got her gander up: “Well I’m not that good. You wanna know why? I’d be a HECK of a lot better if I thought you were gonna do the right thing and make my grandson starting quarterback, like he should be.” YES! GO LORRAINE! Eric looks like a deer in the headlights, Julie’s eyes go wide behind her dad and the corner of her mouth quirks; Matt tries to dissuade Lorraine, but she tells Matt to hush, because “(Coach) needs to hear this.” Matt nods and walks away from the righteous smackdown Lorraine is bringing, crossing over to Julie. Lorraine: “This boy has played his heart out for you!” “Yes ma’am,” Coach says quickly. “I know it’s difficult -” “No, it’s not ‘difficult‘ at all,” Lorraine snaps. HEE! Oh, Lorraine, I love you.

The camera follows Julie and Matt as they walk further away. Julie mouths an OMG and notes that it’s awkward. “Little bit,” Matt says, grinning and not meaning it in the least. Julie teasingly asks if Matt wants to go get a cup of coffee while Lorraine reads her dad the well-deserved riot act. Matt: “We can get lunch if you want. She can talk about this all day.” Heh. Julie says that Lorraine must be taking Matt’s demotion pretty hard, and Matt thinks demotion is a little harsh; when Julie asks what she should call it, Matt admits it’s also accurate. We get a quick shot of Julie’s converse shoes toeing the linoleum and Matt’s beat-up hiking shoes shuffling back and forth, and that might just be my favorite glimpse in the entire scene. Julie asks about practice, and Matt says it’s okay; he winds up talking to Landry on the bench most of the time, “because he’s always there.” Heh. The camera cuts back to Lorraine, who sternly advises Coach to think about what she said. Coach promises he will and goes to hug Lorraine as she grumps, “It’s hard to be mad at you, Coach Taylor.” She dropped the Eric! Aww. Coach breaks up laughing at Lorraine’s protectiveness and breaks out the eye crinkles again, which melts my heart a little; Lorraine’s made of sterner stuff, though, because she pats his arm as he hugs her and over his shoulder we see that she isn’t smiling, so he’s not out of the woods yet. The scene ends with closeups of Julie and Matt beaming at their respective parents, and then at each other. I think everyone had a lot of fun filming that one.

Garrity House of Tenuous Dreams. Street wheels in to find Herc literally knocking the stuffing out of a wall with a sledgehammer, which was not on the To Do List, and Street bellows Billy’s name. Hee! Herc asks if Street got the permits – after they’ve started the work, nice touch – as Billy and Tim roll in their piece de resistance: a high-end toilet. Street is flailing on the inside, finally starting to realize that Buddy wasn’t kidding when he dubbed this the idiot brigade. Tim gleefully points out that the toilet has a bidet, and I take a break because I can’t even type for giggling. Street completely loses it when he sees the $1700 price tag on the Commode of Wonders, and Billy smarms that you need to spend money to make money. That’s true, Billy, but it also depends on how you spend it. Herc and Tim anxiously look back and forth at the pissing contest as Street snaps that they’re on a budget, and if they don’t keep to it, all the money goes up in smoke. Street yells for them to take the toilet back and yells at Herc for busting out the wall; Billy interjects that it was his idea. Street says it’s “supposed to be” a load-bearing wall, and point to Street. Street says his grandmother could do a better job that this crew, and asks if they’re even following the work list anymore. Billy’s sick of it, and passive-aggressives that he’s got Street’s damn control freak list, and why doesn’t he just put it up on the wall so everyone can see it? Street snarks that he’s fine with that. It’s a good time to point out that both Billy and Street are spiraling out of control, albeit in totally different directions, because they’re trying to start a new life with the woman each of them loves. I only mention this because when Billy grabs the pneumatic air gun, snarking that Street doesn’t need to talk to Billy as if he’s a moron and that he’s “worked construction before”… well, once Billy misses the list and nails his own hand to the wall, the only thing you’re going to be doing is laughing at Billy’s moronic ass. Herc whoops hysterically in disbelief; Tim whoas and then asks, in grinning little-brother fashion, if it hurts. Street shakes his head and wheels away furiously as Billy tells the idiot twins to stop giggling “and get me some pliers!” HEE.

Chez Colette. Tyra makes some dried-leaf decorations as she talks to Mindy on the phone, and asks Mindy to bring some chocolate fudge home for her. The radio announcer starts talking about the upcoming game, which will be JD’s first time starting as QB1, and Tyra changes the channel. Missy Higgins’ “Where I Stood” starts to play as Tyra hears a knock at the front door. It’s a random blonde with a toddler on her hip, and she asks for Cash. Tyra tells the girl that Cash doesn’t live there as the chorus kicks in: “I don’t know who I am/who I am without you“. The girl says she heard that Cash was “around a lot”; Tyra tells her she heard wrong. The girl yells Cash’s name, and Tyra’s eyes bug out: “Um, seriously? He’s NOT HERE.” The girl asks if Tyra can tell Cash that she came by, and Tyra gets a little snarky, saying she doesn’t know what any of this is about. “Really. What a surprise: The pretty girl’s out of the loop. When you see Cash, just tell him that he owes Allie and Tucker $1600 in child support,” she says, nodding toward the little boy in her arms. “Okay? Can you do that for me?” Tyra shuts the hell up, as you do when you find out your boyfriend’s a deadbeat dad and gave his child’s money to you on a whim; the woman walks away wordlessly. Tyra shuts the door as the music behind her goes back to the chorus again: “I don’t know who I am / who I am without you“. ExACTly, soundtrack designers. Thank you.

Panthers Field on a Friday Night. The game’s over except for JD taking a knee in the final seconds – the Panthers have won, 31 to 17. The bleachers erupt in cheers: Katie and Monty hug each other joyfully, and Tami and Julie do a reluctant soft-clap. Matt stands on the sidelines as the team rushes out on the field to celebrate, and behind him the Panthers fans count down the clock. He looks over his shoulder at Grandma Saracen, the only one not clapping, who stares at him anxiously. Saracen starts the slow walk out to the field to join his teammates, which we are thankfully spared, because we cut to the Panthers locker room, post-win. There’s wooing and hooing and everyone’s making plans to go celebrate. Riggins tells two of the seniors – who led the Naked Mile event, of course – that not only is he going to go party with them, and guess who else is coming? “This cat,” Riggins says, grabbing JD and telling him that they had a great night and they’re gonna go “make some memories.” HEE, I absolutely love that Riggins line. JD grins and says he’s in; the Naked Mile seniors high-five him, finally accepting him into the group, and guess who walks in and undoes all this goodwill?

MONTY. Of course. Monty waltzes into the locker room like it’s his pool house, yelling “There he is” and “That’s what I’m talkin’ about” at his son. He high-fives Riggins as he tells his son that JD just had “one hell of a ball game”, and hugs him in front of the circle of players, telling him how proud he is of him. Coach watches from his office doorway, furious, because Monty’s completely undermining the whole team part of this sport, and not to get too meta, but that’s exactly Monty’s problem. Monty doesn’t want to play by the rules, he doesn’t even want to acknowledge that the rules are there for a reason – they’re for other people. Monty doesn’t care about Matt, or the team, or Coach, or even the game: Monty’s really all about himself. He’s gracious and he’s smooth, but it’s really all about him. Monty congratulates Tim on a spectacular performance and shakes Tim’s hand, and then shakes hands with everyone in the circle, thanking them for playing a great game. They all mumble their thanks and turn away awkwardly. JD starts to tell his dad that he’s going to go with his team, but Monty has other plans – JD’s going to celebrate with his parents over at Applebee’s. Not many memories there. Tim watches Monty march JD away. One of the other boys – interestingly, one of the froshies from the Naked Mile, I think, which just goes to show how you’ll throw someone to the wolves when you’re trying to fit in – snarks that “Daddy got him on a leash”. The seniors fall out laughing at the joke, and Tim stares after JD, realizing that his job just got ten times harder.

The next day, Lyla Garrity stands outside the Panthers locker room, looking like a million bucks. Tim says as much, and she says she came to check in with Tim about tonight. “Yep,” Tim says, nodding. “Tonight.” Lyla helps him remember that she’s referring to the Dillon dance. Tim’s all, right! Of course! If you close your eyes you can hear Tami and Eric saying these lines, and I always love parallels between those two relationships. Lyla observes that Tim totally forgot, which Tim denies: “The Dillon dance.” Lyla asks where it’s being held. “C’mon. It’s in Dillon!” Tim says. Heh. Lyla changes to the guilt track, saying she thought it would be fun to go to something like this “before it’s all over.” Aw. Tim asks whether she’s going to wear “something as cute as this”, because then he’s totally on board, and they get all kissy and sweet. Best. Job. Ever.

Lumber mill. Street’s looking over a pallet of 2X4s and asks for it to be delivered tomorrow afternoon. Across the lot, Coach sees his former QB and walks over to say hello. They compare lists: Eric has a “Honey Do” list, hee, but Street explains about the Garrity House of Tenuous Dreams. Eric cannot even register, at first, that Street has bought a house with the Riggins boys, and clarifies that Street’s talking about “Tim and Billy.” Street knows it sounds crazy, but they’re a good team! They’re working 24/7 to make it happen! Street also LIES that they haven’t hit any snags yet, no sir! Coach is wearing sunglasses, which is helpful, because it keeps him from grabbing Street and asking what the sam hell he was thinking. Coach says goodbye, and Street invites him to stop by the house sometime – he says it’s looking great. “I’m sure it is,” Coach deadpans, which is Coachspeak for “Lord, son, you are in a hole.”

Applebee’s. Tyra tells Julie that she, Tyra, is a “stupid, stupid girl.” I’d say you’re in a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ kinda phase, Tyra. Julie says Tyra isn’t, like a good friend, and Tyra says that the worst part is that she liked him and even thought she was falling in love with him. Julie suggests that maybe there’s some far-out explanation, and Tyra recaps the scene for Julie just to drive the awfulness home. I already did that, Tyra! “How much worse could that get?” Tyra demands. “She could be his sister?” Julie says. HEH. Tyra laughs despite her broken heart: “That’s like something Landry would say,” she murmurs gratefully. O RLY. Behind her, we see black-hatted Cash walk into the restaurant. “How’s my lady?” He smarms, putting his hand on Tyra’s back. “Don’t touch me,” she says in a low voice, and walks away from him. She tells him to leave, but he wants to know what she’s upset about it. Tyra loses it in Applebee’s, near hysterics as she recaps the scene again. Cash says he can explain; Tyra hands him back what’s left of his money and tells him to get out. He does, and she bursts into tears. Cut to –

Landry’s garage! Jimmy the drummer boy is back, but they’re auditioning new bass players. Guess Castor was serious, then. They’re holding auditions, and we run through a montage of young musical geeks who are ready for their closeup, except they’re awful – too slow, too busy, and then we meet Devon. She’s a girl, to start with, and she introduces herself as someone who “wants to expand, music-wise.” She’s got a little nose-ring stud and is wearing Converse; she plays simply but not badly. Landry starts singing, and the lyrics literally recap a previous scene between him and Tyra, in which she told him she needed time and crawled out his bedroom window. Good times. Landry kneels down to check his pedals, and Devon literally steps up to the mike and sings in Landry’s stead. Rude! Sorry, I’m a singer, this is a faux pas. She’s got a decent belt, though, and it IS a jam session, so… she speeds up the rythym, Jimmy picks it up, and Landry realizes they’ve got an actual musician in their midst. Jimmy: “She’s in, right?” Heh. Landry says she is, “although I think we’re all set on vocals, pretty much…”. See? Not just me. Devon’s startled, but she beams at being in the group. It’s very cute.

Garrity House of Tenuous Dreams. Street sits in his wheelchair and stares at the wall where Billy nailed his hand; around Billy’s blood-stain, in big block letters, someone’s written “We’ll finish in the AM!” That might be both the funniest and the saddest thing I’ve ever seen on this show. Street, near tears, struggles to breathe properly; behind him, Coach walks in through the front door and calls a hello. He doesn’t even make it ten feet before he takes his sunglasses off so he can take in the full damage to the place. Street folds completely, saying that they’ve succeeded in taking a perfectly livable house and turning it into a shambles. “So we’re… you know… getting there,” he says, turning away. Aww, and hee! Poor Street. Coach shares that his dad used to say it gets bad before it gets better, and Street nearly loses it, saying he doesn’t think that’s going to happen. He recaps Erin’s departure and his crazy house-flipping plan to Coach, who looks stricken. “I love them both so much, I just don’t want to be a deadbeat dad, I just want to be able to provide a little bit, some security, something…” Coach has heard enough, though, and tells Street to stop it right now: “First of all, you are not going to be a deadbeat dad. You need to calm down here.” He tells Street that he’s 20 years old and isn’t supposed to know what he wants to do, that he started a plan and he’s executing it. “You gotta give it a chance, you gotta give it time. You can’t beat yourself up for taking chances, but don’t give up on what you set out to do in the beginning, because that’s gonna get you nowhere, I can promise you that.” Street looks up at Coach with tears in his eyes. Man, I have really missed these two: they have such a great relationship as equals, and I love how it’s evolved since Street’s accident.

Back at Chez Taylor, Julie answers the front door to find Sarcen on the doorstep. He says he’s borrowed Landry’s car. “And you drove it over here (because)…” Heh. Matt starts to stammer and then asks if Julie’d like to go to the lake. The lake? THE LAKE! Gimme five seconds to grab my flip-flops, Seven! Cut to a flock of birds flying in the sky, sunlight dancing on water, and Matt and Julie swimming merrily in the lake. I love Zach Gilford, but the boy is PALE. Matt asks Julie if she’s ever been fired from anything, and Julie admits that she once didn’t get asked back for a babysitting gig. “Wow. And you still carry that,” Matt deadpans. Matt admits that he never thought he was going to play pro, but he thought football might help him get a scholarship. Julie commiserates that it just sucks. Matt points out that, on the bright side, this is the first Saturday in a dog’s age that he woke up on a Saturday and didn’t worry about the mistakes he made the night before. Aw. Julie asks if he feels prepared, and Saracen asks what for: “To get your butt kicked by a girl,” Julie grins, splashing water in Matt’s face and swimming away. Matt dives after her. Don’t swim too fast, Julie! The camera goes wide and we hear something between giggling and shrieking. Girlfriend knows what she’s doing.

School dance. Hey, remember when part of Tyra’s election platform was the suggestion that no one would get laid at the prom if her opponent was elected? Guess where they’re having the dance? I see what your campaign promises are worth, Tyra Colette! Tami and Tyra, both clad in classic little black dresses, meet as Tyra sets down a platter of rice krispy treats. Tami asks what it IS that makes rice krispy treats so good, and if I knew that, Tami, the Middle East would be a tranquil land. Tami congratulates Tyra on her hard work; Tyra’s self-depreciating about the AMAZING work – well done, set designers! – and Tami says it a second time to let Tyra know she means it. She then wonders aloud where Eric is, and Tyra practically spells out her devastation in nautical flags when she snarks that it’s typical, because “he’s a man”. Tami allows that sometimes stuff comes up, but she thought he’d be there tonight… “I broke up with Cash,” Tyra interrupts. Tami says she’s sorry, and Tyra says Tami’s not sorry. Girl, will you stop making it so difficult for good people to help you? Tami doesn’t rise to the bait, explaining that she’s sorry Tyra got hurt. Tyra tries to rally, but she’s too upset; she’s just going to go home.

Landry and Devon sit at the dance. I like Devon, but I’m going to speed through this scene: Landry’s got a little bit of a crush, understandably, and shows Devon all the lyrics for various songs he’s working on. This is in full view of Tyra, who never registers their existence, which is a nice touch. Devon looks through them and asks if she can be honest; she thinks they’re all about the same girl, and thinks that the band could be great, but that Landry needs to get over this girl so they can move on to writing about other stuff. She asks if the girl’s here at the dance. Landry, looking right at Tyra and then back at Devon: “Nope, she’s not.”

Bad high school dancing. Tim mutters “Footloose, here we come” as he and Lyla walk in to the gym. Tim says he loves this stuff, and Lyla tells him to stop being snarky, but she’s laughing. Tim sees JD, who is dressed in a blazer and tie. Do his parents think he’s 12? What the hell? More importantly, why did JD not pocket the tie as soon as they dropped him off? My dad dressed me in the 80’s equivalent of nun habits, but you better believe I was making clothing adjustments before I got to the bus stop. I’ll say no more. Tim asks what JD’s doing, and JD says his mom thought he should go have some fun. “And… are ya?” Tim asks. JD says not so much. Tim introduces his girlfriend and then proceeds to badger her into ditching this boring dance and going off with JD. Lyla is not convinced, but Tim argues that the kind of people who stay at this dance are the ones that will have regrets years from now, but that’s not them, no sir! Let’s blow this popsicle stand! Tim tells JD they’re going to go have a beer, and JD says he doesn’t drink, because it disrupts protein synthesis. You may as well have just told Tim Riggins that you don’t breathe, JD. If disrupting protein synthesis is wrong, Tim doesn’t want to be right! Tim pronounces he’s the designated driver, then, until JD says he doesn’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. Tim’s had enough of negotiating and practically commands JD to follow them, which he does, like a cute little puppy.

Party! WOO! Riggins pulls up in his truck, and how has he not yanked that ivy-league monstrosity off of JD’s neck yet? Get in the game, Riggs! Tim says “No regrets” as they go in, and that’s dangerously close to becoming your “Ay Caramba!”, Tim. Don’t wear it out. Tim hands Lyla the keys, saying “Safety first” as he does so; Lyla counters by telling Tim to let her know when “you and your date” need a ride home. HEE! “Is she mad at me?” JD asks. “Yes, McCoy,” Tim mutters. “Let’s have some fun.” As they walk in, Riggins gets lots of high-fives and woo’s; someone snarks on JD’s tie, and I *headdesk* once or twice.

Chez Colette. Tyra sits in sweats, eating ice cream and listening to angry chick music as Cash starts banging on the door, telling her to open up so he can explain. Tyra refuses, so he goes to the window and begs for her to listen. She finally jerks open the door and asks what part of “Go to hell” he doesn’t understand. He stands exactly where Allie stood and claims that it’s not his baby, that he hooked up with her five years ago and it can’t be his kid, she’s stalking him on the rodeo circuit, and finally, it’s not his fault! He claims that he’s telling her the truth and that he has no reason to lie to her. Well, maybe he wants ice cream. He might lie for that. The angry chick music has stopped, for the record, which means Tyra’s going to cave. SIGH. Tyra asks Cash not to lie to her, and Cash says he’ll never lie to her. Never ever ever? Sad, scared, insecure Tyra opens the door and lets him in, and they kiss. Hey, remember when Tyra took a fireplace poker to her mom’s near-abusive boyfriend in S1? I miss that girl.

Party. JD and Tim stand in a near-empty room, and two girls who’re about to fall out of their dresses cross the entire room to walk between the two, throwing a suggestive “Hi, Tim” as they pass. “How many girlfriends do you have?” JD squeaks. “Just the one, McCoy,” Tim says, staring across the room at Lyla. Aw. JD says Lyla’s pretty, and Tim corrects that to “pretty special.” He tells JD that he’s on his own for a bit and heads over to Lyla, but JD holds him back, asking what he’s supposed to do. Tim points out the zillions of pretty girls at the party and tells JD to relax and have some fun. JD walks into a room full of seniors, who bring out the tired “Naked Gun” schtick; JD stammers and buhs and is generally a social misfit, poor thing. One guy offers him a beer, and Not!Riggins from the Naked Mile snarks that JD’s body is a temple, and not only taunts him for not drinking, but says Monty “runs a tight ship, doesn’t he?” Ohhh, this is gonna be bad. He hands McCoy a beer, and of course JD takes it, saying it sounds pretty good right now. They toast him, and we cut to a cellphone, which is taking video of JD, drunk as a skunk. The blazer’s gone, he’s standing on tables playing air guitar and is just about falling down drunk. Someone finally calls Riggins, who realizes how far south this has gone (getting buzzed with your team, good; acting like a fool when you’re supposed to be a leader, not so much). He steers JD out of the party, and Lyla takes JD’s other arm to lead him out. “You’re like the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen in my life,” JD slurs at Lyla. “You and Riggins are gonna have some cute babies.” HA! JD tells Tim that he’s the coolest, because he doesn’t listen to dads – not JD’s dad, not his own dad, not anyone’s dad. And of course Tim is trying to run this whole circus because the one decent father figure he has asked him to. Ouch.

Back at the dance, Tami’s clapping forlornly to the music, alone, when Eric sneaks up behind her and hugs her. “Oh, I thought you were Mr. Stackhouse,” she snarks. Heh. She asks if he knows what time it is as he sways her back and forth, and tells him he can’t just waltz in and slowdance with her, while he does exactly that. She asks him where he’s been and then immediately asks why he has paint in his hair. AW, he was helping Street! Of course he was. “You stood me up! I could fire you,” Tami says. Eric says she couldn’t, because it’d be too much paperwork. Tami agrees, and the two dance under the big disco ball. That’s one of my favorite scenes ever of the two of them.

Lakeside. Julie announces that veggie hot dogs are the best thing ever, while Matt prefers the good old American hot dog. Julie lists off the gross things in hot dogs, and Matt nods as he chews, saying that it’s good. They’re sitting around a bonfire, for the record, and Julie says they should probably get going. Matt agrees. They look at each other and then out of nowhere there’s kissing! And groping! They pull apart and look at each other, and then they fall off the log into the dirt, rolling around making out, and the camera goes to black and they TOTALLY DO IT. EEE! I’m sure shippers must be frustrated that they got falling off a log and a cut to black, more or less, but these are two goofy and sweet and earnest characters, and that felt very real, if a little sudden. That’s not the big scene, though…

This is. Matt drives Julie home in the early dawn; she rests her head on his shoulder and nuzzles against him. Outside her house, he parks the car and looks at her, and I know I give Taylor Kitsch a lot of credit for doing unspoken acting very well, but Matt looks at Julie and it just speaks volumes. She stares at him, happy and content and with no regrets; she kisses him twice before she gets out of the car. She walks into the house wearing his Dillon Panthers sweatshirt; he watches her until she closes the door.

Cut to my favorite scene: we see Julie coming down the hallway to the bedroom, watching her reflection in her bedroom mirror. She closes the door and catches a glimpse of herself. She brushes her hair back, smiling vaguely, looking to see if she looks different. Of course she is; you remember how it felt. She smiles, hugs herself, and walks to her closet to change, because she’s going to…

Church. Oh, AWESOME transition. JD, Katie and Monty stand together, singing out of a hymnal; Tami holds Grace, standing between Eric and Julie. Across the aisle, Matt and Julie lock eyes and smile, sharing their secret. Tami catches Julie and looks over at Matt, who immediately moves his eyes front. All three families congregate at the church entrance after the services, and Monty breaks away from the crowd to catch Eric, dragging JD with him. Monty announces that JD has something “to share with (Eric),” and Eric turns to stare at JD, who confesses that he got really drunk last night. Oh, MAN. There’s a new control freak in town, Street! The title is no longer yours! Monty expounds that JD hasn’t just let down himself and his father, but his team, the coach, the whole town and perhaps all of Texas for this mortal slip, and tells Coach that Monty felt it was “imperative” that Coach understand the seriousness of this situation. “Understood,” Eric says, staring half bug-eyed at Monty. “Anything else he’s done that I should be aware of?” Monty asks, and JD stares worriedly at Coach, terrified that he’s going to mention the Naked Mile. “Naw,” Coach says, glancing meaningfully at JD. “He works hard.” Tami and Katie walk up; Tami apologizes for interrupting and hands Baby Grace to Eric. The McCoys say their goodbyes and walk off, leaving Eric completely unsettled and worried that not only is he not driving the truck where JD’s concerned, but Monty’s got such a tight grip on the kid that he might go completely off the rails.

House of Tenuous Dreams, which looks worlds better. Herc, Tim and Billy all paint the wall of Billy’s hand injury, when Street’s phone rings: it’s Erin, and Street wheels across the room to answer it. She’s halfway there and has just stopped for a break. He asks for her to put the little guy on, because he doesn’t want his son to forget the sound of his voice. Erin assures him that’s not gonna happen, but your recapper’s the child of internationally divorced parents, and it’s a rough road. Street tells his son that he loves him, and proceeds to sing to him, saying “I’m gonna start singin’, and you just jump in whenever you want, okay?” Lord, FNL, you are killing me. Street starts singing “There’s a hole in my bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza).” Both Herc and Billy turn to stare at Street, who pauses when he gets to the woman’s verse, but his son won’t sing it, so Street sings it for him – in a high-pitched squeak. KILLING ME, SHOW. This gets even Tim’s attention, heh. Erin rocks her son back and forth, smiling down at her boy. Street tells his son that he’ll see him soon, and smiles softly as we fade to black.

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