Friday Night Lights 3.10 – “The Giving Tree” Recap


Everyone’s losing it this week: Buddy’s having drunken brawls in strip clubs, Eric’s throwing things on the field, and Lyla may never forgive her father again.

Firstly, my apologies for not getting this up sooner. Note to self: when going on vacation, make sure you have a connection other than dial-up. But this ep is a brilliant one, so let’s get to it!

Previously on FNL: Matt and Julie totally had sex; Monty has JD on a figurative leash, and his teammates know it; Eric brought JD’s personal coach, Wade Aikmen, onto the coaching staff while Mac was in the hospital; Riggins told Lyla that he was going to college, and it’s all because of her; Tyra called Landry when her road trip with Cash started going south.

Dillon High parking lot. Tyra tells Julie that she’s so stupid for leaving and she’ll never make up the work she missed. Julie pollyannas that if Tyra aces her SATs and brings her teachers cupcakes, she’ll be a shoo-in! Oh my. Tyra eyerolls that she’s not that good with tests, as if the last several eps haven’t highlighted that fact, and Julie finally asks why Tyra doesn’t just ask Landry for help: “it’s not like he has anything better to do.” Nice! Tyra thinks about this for all of three seconds before lip-shrugging that it’s not a bad idea, and the girls part. A few parking aisles away, a group of Panthers sit in a big American car, kvetching about what to do with themselves. It’s just like American Graffiti. Squished in the middle of the back seat, Landry asks if they’re just going to sit there or actually decide on something; in the front passenger seat, JD’s had enough and decides to leave, but the driver – the same African-American freshman from the Naked Mile, who snarked that Monty had JD on a leash – tells JD not to touch his car. Talk about control issues. Fortunately, if the Panthers won’t go to the hotties, the hotties will come to them. A blonde girl comes over and tells the boys that “Madison’s parents are out of town”, so they should all come to the compulsory party that she’s throwing. “Who’s Madison?” JD asks, and everyone rolls their eyes at him and tells him to shut up. Heh.

Chez Madison, where the booze and snacks are freely flowing. If you’ll take just a moment to put on your anvilicious hardhats for this scene, btw, you’ll have less of a headache at the end. Forewarned is forearmed! Madison asks the owner of the car in the previous scene – naming him “Charles” in the process – wants to use a fork rather than simply pouring bowlfuls of carbs onto his plate. Ye gods, son! Madison saunters over to her blonde friend and comments that “these guys are like cavemen.” Tell it to Tami Taylor, newbie. She flashes a big smile across the room of teenagers at JD, who blinks a few times and then walks over like a big puppy. She offers him an appletini, and he declines, saying he doesn’t drink alcohol. She asks him if he’d like a glass of milk instead; it’s very Mean Girls. He says no, but she goes to get it for him anyway, saying that it could be his ‘thing’ as she pours some into a wine glass for him. She suggests that JD could be a “young, wholesome, milk-drinking quarterback,” but she sexes it up instead of making it sound cruel. JD downs the glass and leaves a milk moustache behind; she softly points it out and dabs at his lips with his hand. It’d be old-school if it wasn’t so completely cliche, but I suppose an upper-middle class aspiring troublemaker/sex kitten has to start somewhere. “There we go,” she says, beaming. “Perfect.” JD grins, because this girl’s sledgehammer technique has finally gotten through his skull (Madison SMASH!), and he finishes off the glass of milk. Cut to –

Buddy Garrity, drowning his sorrows with something stronger at the Landing Strip. There’s another guy with a blazer at his table, so this is some kind of informal business meeting, I guess. Buddy’s obviously a little liquored up, and the guy asks him if he wants the chicken fingers, maybe a snack… “What I want to know is when are you gonna tell me why you brought me here?” The guy mentions a strip-mall investment they made a few months back, and Buddy clarifies that he’s talking about “the sure thing.” “It went belly-up,” the guy admits. Buddy stares at the guy, goggle-eyed. The guy has the balls to say that it’s okay because he’s got another plan, and he’s here to offer Buddy the chance to be his first investor. Buddy, rightly pissed and brimming with liquid outrage, demands to know where his $70,000 investment went. They start to argue so loudly that one of the Landing Strip patrons tells them to shut up, and Buddy loses it: “you redneck sonofa, are you telling me you need silence to watch naked women? Is that what you’re tellin’ me?” HEE, we’re not five minutes in and Brad Leland has already claimed the second-best line of the episode. The guy backs down, and Buddy turns his attention back to the guy who cost him $70 grand. The guy claims that Buddy’s not even going to miss that money, and that Buddy’s been coming to him all year begging for a money-making opportunity, and then? BUDDY SMASH! Tables are knocked over, lights are ripped down, curtains fall prey to the Rage of Buddy. Strippers squeal in horror and run on their little peep-toe stiletto heels as we get a close-up of Buddy hitting the guy in the face over and over and over and over. Yikes. Cut to the outside of the Landing Strip, where cop cars have arrived on the scene; they put a handcuffed Buddy in the back seat and close the door, and we go into the credits.

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